Tag Archives: manga review

Manga Review: Love Me, Love Me Not Vol. 1

Complicated romantic drama forms the basis of many shojo titles, and Io Sakisaka’s Love Me, Love Me Not falls into this category. Read on for the review of Volume 1.

Back Cover Blurb

Four friends share the springtime of their youth together.

Fast friends Yuna and Akari are complete opposites—Yuna is an idealist, while Akari is a realist. When lady-killer Rio and the oblivious Kazuomi join their ranks, love and friendship become quite complicated!

The Review

According to the Greetings page, the story has two main characters, Yuna and Akari. However, while we do get scenes in Akari’s perspective, the story feels like it belongs to Yuna, which is too bad because she is much less engaging than her costar.

Yuna’s the stereotypical nice, shy high school girl. Unfortunately, she’s so timid she doesn’t make an impression on other people nor does she make an impression as a lead character. Akari is confident and friendly, and she’s had to move often because of family circumstances. The two meet when Yuna helps Akari at a train station, and they become friends when they realize Akari has just moved into Yuna’s apartment building. Like most high school girls, they talk about boys and quickly discover they have different views on romance.

The story has a very slow start. Unfortunately, even once the girls’ relationship gets established, Yuna’s so passive and mopey I’m not inclined to root for her as a character. The plot primarily focuses on Yuna’s and Akari’s differing views on romance and how their love lives play out in real life. Yuna’s knowledge of romance comes primarily from shojo manga, she has an idealistic (fairytale) view of love, and she finds it near impossible to talk to boys. Akari has no trouble talking to boys, has dating experience, and is currently in a long-distance relationship. As such, Akari views Yuna as naïve while Yuna thinks Akari’s feelings of love are shallow. Even so, the girls care for one another and try to help each other when the focus of attraction comes into the picture.

The boys that trigger that are Rio and Kazuomi. Rio is Akari’s stepbrother and Kazuomi is Akari’s longtime neighbor and friend. Predictably, Yuna falls for Rio, and Akari falls for Kazuomi. Watching Akari navigate life is somewhat interesting. She’s very active, going so far as to take a part-time job to fund visits to her faraway boyfriend, and has an awkward blended family situation. Yuna, on the other hand, is so passive and unremarkable she’s boring. She doesn’t have the guts to confess to Rio; instead she just witnesses other girls confessing to Rio over and over. On top of that, Yuna is called a “nice” girl, but all it takes is one unfounded rumor for Yuna to essentially brand Akari a slut. While Yuna does redeem herself, it’s not enough for me to sympathize with her as a character, and I’m not especially interested in what happens to her next.

Extras include Greetings and Afterword.

In Summary

Two girls with different views on love befriend each other just before they enter high school. While the ups and downs of teen romance can fuel scintillating drama, Love Me, Love Me Not is flat as a can of stale soda due to the lack of initiative of its overly quiet and self-conscious main character Yuna. And even though the mangaka appears to be setting up the two heroines for a love square with the two boys closest to them, the story thus far hasn’t sufficiently endeared the characters that I care who ends up with whom.

First published at the Fandom Post.

Manga Review: The Royal Tutor Vol. 13

Rich, handsome young men, each with his own distinct personality…this type of bishounen cast is a staple in shojo manga. And if you like yours with a generous helping of chibi humor, you should definitely check out Higasa Akai’s The Royal Tutor. Read on for my review of Volume 13. (For my reviews of other volumes click here.)

Back Cover Blurb

The ongoing troubles at Café Mitter Meyer leave Licht feeling helpless as he witnesses firsthand the hate directed at his master for his Kvel ancestry. Infuriated by the kingdom’s ugly dark side, Licht realizes he has an opportunity many do not: the power to enact change from the highest level of government, the throne itself! With his return, all four brothers are reunited in the palace. They have all been transformed by their experiences apart, and each is more determined than ever to rule for the betterment of Granzreich!

The Review

The first half of Volume 13 is Licht centric. He’s been absent from recent chapters so Akai-sensei’s making it up with an extended arc where he’s the star and the guards Ludwig and Maximillian form the supporting cast. Like most Licht stories, it centers around the café, and like his brothers, Licht hits upon a turning point during their time apart.

A new element introduced at the close of Volume 12 is the existence of ethnic minorities within the kingdom. Volume 13 fleshes out that dynamic further. Kvels appeared to be modeled after the Jewish people, and considering how this world resembles 19th-century Europe, the picture of discrimination it presents isn’t difficult to grasp. It is, however, a shock for the privileged and mostly sheltered Licht.

Unlike the libel incident against Kai, the vandalism against the café is left unresolved. On one hand, it’s frustrating not to reach a resolution. On the other hand, it is a realistic outcome and one that wakes Licht up to the inequity that exists in his country. Thus the youngest prince discovers motivation to embrace the role he was born to, and Akai-sensei leaves the door open for this vandalism incident to reemerge at a later time.

At this point, Heine’s not only won the respect of his four pupils, but he’s leveled them up as candidates for the throne. Thus, the focus turns to the throne’s heir apparent, Eins, who poses with the Royal Tutor on this volume’s cover.

While the younger princes are technically competing with their eldest brother, most of the conflict has arisen between Heine and Count Rosenberg. Rosenberg’s position as Eins’ head steward would lead one to believe his actions are driven out of a desire for personal gain, but an unusually frank conversation between Heine and Rosenberg and a walk down memory lane with Kai reveal that the relationship between the count and Eins is deeper and more complicated. And with Eins acting strangely following his much-anticipated betrothal to a neighboring princess, Akai-sensei’s got me insanely curious as to what his fatal flaw might be.

Extras include bonus manga and illustrations and the first page printed in color.

In Summary

The troubles at Café Mitter Meyer take on an ugly tone. Although Licht is determined to stop the culprit, he eventually realizes that the problem is beyond what an ordinary café worker can handle. Thus, he embraces his princehood and returns to the palace with a new purpose. With that, all four brothers are reunited in time to receive news of their eldest brother’s engagement. Akai-sensei finally reveals more information about Eins and Rosenberg, but those details serve to raise more questions, leaving me eagerly anticipating the next volume.

First published at The Fandom Post.

 

Manga Review: The Way of the House Husband Vol. #2

As a manga trope, yakuza tend to be terrifying thugs or comical characters. Tatsu of The Way of the Husband definitely falls in the funny category. Read on for my review of Volume 2. (For other reviews of this series, click here.)

Back Cover Blurb

The legendary yakuza “the Immortal Dragon” has washed his hands of the gangster life for something far more dangerous—becoming a househusband! Cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, cooking… These days he’s doing everything he can to succeed as man of the house, if it doesn’t kill him first! The cozy yakuza comedy continues!

The Review

The yakuza gag manga continues with nine more vignettes of the Immortal Dragon’s house husband life. As with Volume 1, each chapter is its own standalone comedy routine. No extended arcs are introduced, but the young thug Masa, Tatsu’s Women’s Association friends, and the two cops from Chapter 1 return as supporting cast. There’s still no information about Tatsu’s house husband origin story, and the focus remains on Tatsu’s double entendre and the humorous contrast between his facial and verbal expressions against his domestic settings.

To double down on this gangster in suburbia dynamic, Oono-sensei adds a couple more yakuza gone domestic. Most thugs that Tatsu’s encountered so far are representatives of the Underworld he left. However, Chapter 15 introduces Torajiro, a former rival who now flips crepes, and in Chapter 16, Tatsu’s housewife volleyball team plays against the Bears, which is led by a tough whose sunglasses and animal-themed warm-ups are a good match for Tatsu’s get up.

As for the backstory of Tatsu’s marriage, what brought the couple together remains a mystery. However, in Chapter 18, we do get a glimpse of them through the eyes of Miku’s father. As you might guess, Tatsu and his housewife mother-in-law are like peas in a pod. However, there’s a ton of one-sided awkwardness between him and his father-in-law, and the comedy stems from Miku’s dad trying to find common ground with his utterly unconventional son-in-law.

Extras include three bonus manga and the creator’s afterword.

In Summary

If you liked the episodic nature of Volume 1, you’ll enjoy more of the same in Volume 2 as Tatsu battles laundry stains and joins housewife fitness activities. He continues to have brushes with the Underworld, but surprisingly, certain yakuza have embraced aspects of Tatsu’s new world, which turns a mundane visit to the crêpe stand into an over-the-top battle for Instagram likes.

First published at The Fandom Post.

Manga Review: The Promised Neverland Vol. #13

The Promised Neverland anime was a surprise favorite of mine for 2019. Its blend of mystery, suspense, and heart grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go. For English-speaking fans who can’t wait to see what happens to Emma and their friends, they can read ahead in Viz’s translation of the manga. Read on for my review of Volume 13. (For reviews of other volumes, click here.)

Back Cover Blurb

Emma, Ray and their large new family find themselves up against a new enemy, fellow humans. Armed intruders have ambushed the shelter and driven the children back out into the dangerous wilderness. Yugo and Lucas have stepped up to fight, but will it be enough?

The Review

The previous volume had a few events happening over a long period of time. This volume has a ton of stuff happening over just a few days. It begins with the conclusion of the shelter invasion. It’s edge of your seat action as Yugo and Lucas launch their counterattack, and interspersed amid the gunfire are glimpses of their Glory Bell childhood. Then when the battle reaches its explosive conclusion, we get a lengthy flashback and Yugo’s reflections on his life. Especially when Yugo was first introduced, he was a difficult character to figure out, but Chapter 109 lays bare his candid thoughts. Is it heartrending? Yes. Did I cry? Oh yes.

The narrative then shifts to the kids who have gone into hiding. Bereft of the adults’ protection and stripped of their home, their predicament seems overwhelming until Oliver reveals the message that came through the shelter phone right before the attack. Astoundingly it’s from William Minerva – or at least someone claiming to be him. The message gives them new hope and a new destination to journey toward.

Unfortunately, they haven’t even a chance to act on this new information when Andrew, the head of the raid, pounces on them. Considering he got hit by a blast underground, his survival challenges the limits of plausibility. At any rate, the scene serves the purpose of forcing the kids through yet another nightmarish struggle (and Andrew does look ghoulish) before they escape the area for good.

The story then introduces several new characters. As it turns out, the Minerva faction is alive and active. In fact, they’ve been extremely active during the months Emma and company were scouting out the Seven Walls. Whereas before it seemed the escapees were striving for a new promise on their own, now it looks like they’re part of a larger movement. The fact that two of the new characters bear tattoos of the facility Norman got moved to makes me hopeful that he’ll be reunited with Ray and Emma soon.

Extras include side scenes and the creators’ notes.

In Summary

Whereas Volume 12 was slower paced, Volume 13 is never a dull moment. In addition to an emotional roller coaster that goes from heart-stopping to heart-wrenching and back again, the plot thickens with a new message from William Minerva. The kids aren’t the only ones out to change the world, and I look forward to seeing the repercussions of the Minerva faction’s drastic actions.

First published at The Fandom Post.

Manga Review: Sacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts Vol. 8

The theme of love transcending appearances is a popular one in fairy tales, and Yen Press’ Sacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts fits that genre. The fantasy manga tells of the relationship between a girl and her beastly fiance, and you can read on for the review of Volume 8. (For reviews of other volumes, click here.)

Back Cover Blurb

Alone for the first time since she met the beast king, Leo, Sariphi has had nothing but trouble on her journey to the dessert city of Maasya. Matters get worse upon arrival as her new captain, Lanteveldt, is arrested on suspicion of attacking the local lord. But Sariphi’s belief in him is unshaken, gaining her a true knight in shining armor. Now that Sariphi has a trusted guard by her side and the confidence to stand on her own, does Leo still have a place in her heart?

The Review

The Maasya arc continues with the new captain of the Queen’s Guard getting blamed for the attack on Lord Braun. Predictably, everyone assumes Lante is the perpetrator, and he has no witnesses to account for his whereabouts at the time of the incident. Equally unsurprising is Sari’s conviction of Lante’s innocence. Sari is then saddled with the task of catching the actual culprit while Lante gets tossed into a cell.

I thought the main focus would go towards Sari’s investigation, which is under a time crunch, but we hardly see any of it. Rather, the narrative shifts to a lengthy flashback about Lante’s wretched past. While it does explain why he behaves as he does, it is yet another tale of a horrible childhood. It seems like the entire cast grew up under terrible parents or traumatic circumstances, and it is getting a little old.

At any rate, Sari (once again) succeeds in her endeavors and wins Lante’s loyalty and trust. The speedy capture of the actual attacker is a bit too convenient, but the one interesting part of the investigation is a reference to Sari’s ability to see colors that beastfolk can’t. That mention of beast colorblindness is a nice change of pace from the usual prattle about humankind’s inferiority to beastkind.

Sari then returns to the palace in time to receive a guest. I hadn’t expected Tetra to return to the story so quickly, but the tsundere princess is back–this time to meddle in Sari’s relationship with Leo. Given that Amit and Sari are so shy around their respective love interests, it’s jarring to have the child catgirl exhorting Sari to be bolder in approaching Leo in the bedchamber. While Tetra doesn’t change the Sari/Leo dynamic much, she does allow glimpses of plot developments to come.

The volume concludes with a two-chapter arc about Ilya. I hadn’t expected him to return to the story at all. He remains in the human realm, but his encounters with beastkind continue as he journeys as a vagabond beast hunter. While Ilya’s personality is prickly as ever, Sari’s influence has affected the way he views beastkind, and a chance meeting with a very small, very trusting beast demonstrates those changes.

Extras include embedded author’s notes and the bonus manga, “The Beast Lad and the Regular Boy.”

In Summary

Lante was marked for trouble from the start, and of course Sari gets him out of it. Unfortunately, the process by which she saves him isn’t that engaging, and mostly we get Lante’s tale of childhood woe while he is stuck in prison. While this arc is in keeping with overarching story of Sari steadily changing beastkind opinions about her, the plot is extremely predictable, and Lante’s wretched past is merely another addition to a cast full of terrible childhoods.

First published at the Fandom Post.

Manga Review: Beastars Vol. 3

Animal tales are often considered the purview of kids and fun fantasy. However, sometimes you’ll get one like Orwell’s Animal Farm, which is more a commentary about human society. Beastars also falls into that category, and you can read on for my review of Volume 3. (For reviews of other volumes, click here.)

Back Cover Blurb

It’s time for the Meteor Festival, which honors the world’s dinosaur ancestors. While helping to decorate the town, gray wolf Legoshi runs into dwarf rabbit Haru and finds he is still inexorably drawn to her. Is it a crush or bloodlust? Is it her or any small animal? Relationships are complicated for carnivores—their bird classmates lay the eggs they eat, and some desperate herbivores even sell their body parts on the black market. Then, when Bengal tiger Bill is tempted to buy a piece of forbidden meat, he tries to convince Legoshi to join him…

The Review

Legoshi’s first time on stage turns into a bloodied brawl with Bill the Tiger, but Louis manages to put a positive spin on the unscripted carnivore fight. His smooth talking defuses what could’ve been a PR nightmare for the Drama Club, but Legoshi’s left to ponder why he snapped in the first place. Haru is at the center of his confounding emotions, so he seeks her out.

Unlike their previous encounters, this one is simply hilarious. First because it’s timed as Haru’s fending off a mean girl attack. There’s something immensely satisfying about a victim telling off her bullies while they’re unable to retaliate. Second is the contrast between Haru’s and Legoshi’s outward behavior at the cafeteria and the frantic thoughts bubbling in their brains. It’s similar to shy teens struggling to manage a conversation with the opposite sex but with an additional level of agitation due to their herbivore/carnivore differences.

The story then breaks from the main arc for a single-chapter interlude about a hen student. An approved source of protein for carnivore students is eggs, and Legom shows us how the system works. I’d wondered how birds felt about providing eggs for consumption, and Legom gives her personal perspective about her part-time job.

Then it’s back to Legoshi as he chances upon some first-year herbivores picking on the young female wolf Juno. Turns out he’s not the only gray wolf struggling at Cherrystone. After Legoshi drives the bullies off, the two wolves commiserate on how difficult the school social order is. By the end of the chapter, Juno clearly has a crush on Legoshi.

A romance between the two wolves would be adorable, but love quickly gets shoved aside in favor of bloodlust. Legoshi goes with several carnivore club members to take care of an errand in town, and the students unwittingly stumble upon the black market.

This is our first glimpse of the world beyond the school grounds. The creator modeled it after Ginza, Shibuya, and New York, and it very much looks like a bustling modern city. On the surface, adult herbivores and carnivores live in harmony, but the back alleys tell an uglier story. Bean burgers don’t cut it for all carnivores, and according to Bill, the goods of the black market are what keeps carnivore urges at bay.

We’ve seen Bill with his rabbit blood before, so the existence of the market isn’t a shock. What is a shock is the appearance of the “Guardian of the Black Market” and his immediate presumption that Legoshi MUST have killed herbivores. His questionable actions give him a sketchy aura, so when he claims to be a doctor, a psychotherapist, I’m skeptical, especially when he claims to use small-animal porn to evaluate patients. At any rate, it’s clear that this society is a lot more broken than it appears on the surface, and Legoshi is by no means the only one struggling with the instincts in his blood.

Extras include story thus far, cast of characters, character design notes, bonus comics, and the creator’s afterword.

In Summary

Legoshi and Haru meet again, and this time they manage to start something resembling a relationship. It’s a lot like teenagers trying to interact with the opposite sex for the first time with the added complication of the whole carnivore/herbivore dynamic. Then that dynamic intensifies for Legoshi when he encounters the goods of the black market. It is an unsettling portrait of what happens when carnivores go bad, and makes you wonder how things between Legoshi and Haru will end up.

First published at The Fandom Post.

Manga Review: Hatsu*Haru Vol. 9

Ah…high school romance. It is a staple of shojo manga, and Shizuki Fujisawa adds another title to this list with Hatsu*Haru. Read on for the review of Volume 9! (For reviews of previous volumes, click here.)

Back Cover Blurb

Relationship woes are plaguing Aoba High! After confessing his love to Shimura, Taka must now suffer the waiting game: Will she accept his feelings, or was their “relationship” just another headline for her paper? Also trapped by fear, Kagura begins to worry that she has placed her heart in the hands of the wrong boy. Amidst all this, Kai struggles to read Riko, wishing he could be as affectionate with her as he was with other girls. Will these couples work things out themselves, or will divine intervention be required?

The Review

Now that six out of our eight main characters have been paired, we finally get to the last two: Tarou and Kagura. However, nothing remotely resembling a relationship is sparking between them, mainly because Tarou’s enjoying his playboy life and Kagura’s too proud to admit she has feelings for him.

As far as tropes go, Kagura is a super-tsundere to the point that I wonder if her logic circuits are functioning correctly. Because their interactions are comprised mostly of hissing and snarling from Kagura, the narrative goes back in time to when the two were more innocent. However, Kagura’s tale of unrequited love gets poured out, not to one of her girlfriends, but Kai. The fact that she’d lay bare her heart to a boy–and one to whom she’s expressed open disdain–is so far-fetched as to jar me out of the story. Anyway, the arc concludes within a chapter (because there truly is nothing happening between Tarou and Kagura) and returns to characters who actually are working on a relationship.

Chapter 34 opens with Kai and Taka seemingly at an impasse with their respective love interests. I didn’t think Taka’s waiting game with Ayumi would turn into an issue, but it does. As for Kai, yes, he’s dating Riko, but the romance is at an elementary school level. Just as Riko’s obliviousness hit black hole levels in earlier volumes, her romantic sense is so lacking as to be ridiculous. When she’s not punching Kai due to misunderstandings, she’s sumo wrestling him, which makes me wonder how she envisioned dating Suwa-sensei. Kai’s struggle for lovey-dovey moments is meant to be comic, but with him getting beat up despite being Riko’s boyfriend, I just feel sorry for the guy.

Finally, things liven up with Aoba High’s “World’s Hottest Guy Contest.” In a bid for newspaper material, Ayumi sponsors the contest which has an overnight hot springs getaway going to the winner. Between the resulting hubbub and the varied emotions regarding the prize, the arc is a lot of fun, especially the way Taka teases Ayumi.

Extras include story-thus-far, mini-manga about Fujisawa-sensei and her assistants visiting Germany, and translation notes.

In Summary

Finally an arc on the remaining yet-to-be-paired members of the main cast. Disappointingly, it’s all old history, and Kagura’s feelings for Tarou remain unrequited, although oddly Kai is made privy to those feelings. Then things move back to Kai/Riko and Taka/Ayumi. While watching Taka endear himself to Ayumi is charming, watching Kai get punched by Riko (again) is getting old.

First published at the Fandom Post.

Manga Review: Seven Little Sons of the Dragon

Back Cover Blurb

Ryoko Kui, the master storyteller behind the beloved manga series Delicious in Dungeon, pens seven brand-new tales that will delight fantasy fans and manga devotees equally. Covering a broad range of themes and time periods, no two stories in this collection are alike!

The Review

This is my first time reading Ryoko Kui’s work. As such, I cannot make comparisons to her other works. Judging from this collection though, she’s capable of covering a wide range of themes and time periods.

The title might lead you to believe that these stories are somehow connected or share a dragon theme. That is not the case. The seven stories are completely unrelated, and only half feature dragons. I’m not sure why she titled it Seven Little Sons of the Dragon, but the only thing they hold in common is they all contain an element of fantasy.

The first story, “The Dragon Turret,” does contain dragons (four in fact), but it’s less about the dragons and more about the prejudices of two medieval groups warring nearby. The second, “The Mermaid Refuge,” is also about prejudices, but the groups involved are mermaids and modern Japanese folk. That’s followed by “My God,” a somewhat amusing tale about a displaced fish deity and an elementary school girl stressed out about entrance exams. Next is “Wolves Don’t Lie,” about a young man struggling with a genetic syndrome that causes him to transform into a wolf every month. The fifth story, “Byakuroku the Penniless,” is a comedy set in feudal Japan about an elderly artist’s misadventures with paintings that spring to life. Then the mood darkens with “‘My Child is Precious,’ Cries the Dragon,” a tale of revenge set in ancient China. The volume wraps up on a light note with “The Inutanis,” a murder mystery parody featuring a family with supernatural powers.

Although the settings and tone vary within the collection, each story is thought-provoking in its own way. In “The Dragon Turret,” “The Mermaid Refuge,” and “‘My Child is Precious,’ Cries the Dragon,” people at odds find common ground. Characters in “My God,” “Wolves Don’t Lie,” and “The Inutanis” struggle with identity and their place in the world. As for Byakuroku, he is forced to reevaluate assumptions he’s made in life. While the conclusion of Byakuroku’s story is best described as bittersweet, the remaining six stories have hopeful or funny endings.

Regarding illustrations, Kui-sensei is sparing with screentones, so there’s a lot of black/white contrast. Her character designs are comic or cute as needed, but they don’t have much to distinguish them. (Prince Shun’s guards all look alike.) Her backgrounds are pretty sparse, but her animals, especially those in “Byakuroku the Penniless,” are beautifully drawn.

Extras include translation notes, fold-out color illustration, and bonus comics.

In Summary

Don’t be misled by the title. Only half of this collection involves dragons, and none of the stories are related at all. That said, if you’re looking for a wide range of short fantasy works that are generally positive and appropriate for a young teen, this is worth considering.

First published at the Fandom Post.

 

Manga Review: Hatsu*Haru Vol. 8

Ah…high school romance. It is a staple of shojo manga, and Shizuki Fujisawa adds another title to this list with Hatsu*Haru. Read on for the review of Volume 8! (For reviews of previous volumes, click here.)

Back Cover Blurb

Taka always thought he’d be the last person thrown off by high school romances. But when his seemingly perfect partner in crime, Shimura, has a sudden request-“Let’s break up!”-he totally loses his balance. Even though this all started as an elaborate scheme to help Kai, now Taka is the one needing Kai’s relationship advice! The tides sure have turned!

The Review

It’s Volume 8, and Kagura’s turn to grace the cover. But the illustration’s somewhat misleading because she doesn’t appear in this volume at all. Rather, the focus goes to two other girls.

First is Ayumi, who asks Taka to end their pretend relationship. Her reasons are twofold. One, Riko and Kai, for whom they started the ruse, are doing just fine now. Two, Ayumi is short on material for the school newspaper and wants to use their breakup as a story.

This is a shojo romance, and predictably, Taka’s thrown into unexpected turmoil at Ayumi’s pragmatic request. But even if it’s predictable, seeing the ever-stoic Taka display an unusual level of emotion draws you in. On the Ayumi front, while she’s clearly fascinated by relationships (the school paper seems more a gossip column than a channel for actual news), we haven’t seen her touched by Cupid’s arrow herself. This arc gives more insight into her views on romance. Whereas Kai’s perspective on love involved parallels with Einstein’s theories and black holes, Ayumi’s involves snails, which isn’t appealing visually, but manages to get the message through.

At any rate, the arc doesn’t come to a complete resolution, but there’s enough heart-thumping illustrations of the pair to keep it satisfying.

Then the spotlight shifts back to Riko and her relationship with Kai. The couple is on solid ground, and there are no rivals ruining their vibe, so Fujisawa-sensei continues the path of ruining the former playboy’s plans for the perfect date. This time, unexpected babysitting duty messes things up.

If you like cute kids, you’ll enjoy Kai’s niece and nephew hijacking their Sunday together. If kids make you uncomfortable, you can commiserate with Riko, who has zero experience with children. In the midst of the usual pants wetting incidents that come with little kids, Fujisawa-sensei interjects Riko’s memories of her dad. It’s a different change of pace than her typical reminisces of Suwa-sensei and provides a new way for Riko and Kai to grow closer.

Extras include story-thus-far, mini-manga about Fujisawa-sensei and her assistants visiting Germany, afterword, and translation notes.

In Summary

It’s the fake-relationship-turns-to-actual-feelings trope! However, Taka and Ayumi pull it off in an engaging way, plus we get a glimpse of how Ayumi’s mind and heart tick. Then Kai’s latest attempt at a perfect date gets ruined, this time by his niece and nephew. It’s good for laughs, but I’m not certain where the primary arc is headed without any real challenges in front of our main couple.

First published at the Fandom Post.

Manga Review: Sacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts Vol. 7

The theme of love transcending appearances is a popular one in fairy tales, and Yen Press’ Sacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts fits that genre. The fantasy manga tells of the relationship between a girl and her beastly fiance, and you can read on for the review of Volume 7. (For reviews of other volumes, click here.)

Back Cover Blurb

At last, Sariphi is able to carry out her first official job as Acting Queen Consort-giving a royal blessing to the newborn prince of the nation of Sarbul. That same night, Leonhart whisks her away to a place far from prying eyes. Once they’re alone, he tells Sariphi of his tumultuous past, which only deepens their bond. But just when Sariphi believes she and Leo can overcome anything together, a new duty may pull the two apart…

The Review

The Sarbul arc looked pretty much wrapped up with Sari and Leo rescuing the brash Princess Tetra. However, it extends two more chapters. As it turns out, the neglect suffered by Tetra not only allows Sari a path to reach out to the lonely princess, it dredges up painful childhood memories for Leo.

The mystery of Leo’s human form has been a mystery from the start. When I read on the back flap teaser that Leo “tells Sariphi of his tumultuous past,” I eagerly expected to learn the secret behind his parentage.

Unfortunately, that secret remains one. Turns out Leo has no siblings and no memory of his mother. He’s completely ignorant of his human origins, but his father was fully aware of and took pains to hide that aspect of Leo. Thus, we merely get more cold-hearted parenting and awful childhood memories, which is turning into a repeated theme for this series.

We then get a single-chapter interlude of Sari expressing her love and concern for Leo through the timeless medium of food before the story moves on to her next assignment as acting queen. This challenge is twofold. One, she must ratify the new lord of the city of Maasya without Leo’s company. Two, she must select a captain to lead her personal bodyguard.

I thought Anubis had softened somewhat towards Sari, but the manner in which he foists this task onto her indicates otherwise. Despite the supposed importance of the captain selection, Anubis gives Sari virtually no time to make her choice before rushing her out the door to Maasya. At any rate, we get new character Lante added to the cast.

Lante is a hyenafolk, whose tongue perpetually hangs out in a really distracting way. That aside, he draws nearly as much suspicion as Sari. Once more we get a chunk of hitherto unknown history and prejudices within Ozmargo. While it’s fine that Lante is a bit of a double edged sword, Sari’s personality feels inconsistent in her interactions with him. With Tetra, she was a trusting fluff-head who couldn’t interpret Tetra’s vindictive actions as anything but play. With Lante, she’s aware of his sketchy motivations from the get go and makes the conscious decision to trust him in spite of everyone else’s doubts. At any rate, she’s well on her way continuing the pattern of winning beastfolk hearts despite their universal hatred of humans.

Extras include embedded author’s notes about the characters, bonus sketches, and the bonus manga, “The Beast Princess and the Regular Servant.”

In Summary

We get a glimpse of Leo’s childhood but, disappointingly, no revelation on his human roots. Rather, Tomofuji-sensei gives yet another portrayal of a rejected child before continuing with Sari’s next challenge. Although the test ostensibly is to execute royal duties without Leo’s supportive presence, ultimately it boils down to the same formula of her conquering beastpeople’s prejudices about her.

First published at the Fandom Post.