Manga Review: That Wolf-Boy is Mine! (vol.4)

 

Synopsis:

LOST LOVE?

Just as Komugi and Yū’s feelings begin to reach one another, Komugi is confronted by Yata-sensei. Afterwards, she’s not the same, and drifts through her everyday life while Yū can only watch over her from afar. But…in the depths of Komugi’s memory, a familiar voice calls for her. Can the bonds she’s built with Yū and the gang overcome the sensei’s powers? And what will the future bring for the animal spirits living in Komugi’s world?

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

3/5

The ending was bitter sweet to me. It was sweet because this story ends on a happy note. But it’s bitter because I felt like there was still more to tell and I felt like the mangaka took the easy way out of the situation they created. I’m also disappointed, with how the last volume ended I thought that there would be a lot more gut-wrenching drama that would make me squirm in my seat. Instead, it felt like it flat lined between the end of volume 3 to the first page of volume 4. Everything was too convenient in a way that made it seem unrealistic. I know, that’s kinda stupid sounding for someone to say about a story of supernatural qualities, but everything else about the story should be as realistic as possible so that the reader doesn’t get pulled out of the story for a minor/major discrepancy in the reality you’ve created. At least for me, when a story already has weird elements if reality, for instance the laws of nature, doesn’t function properly it pulls me out of the story and from my experience is mostly due to author laziness more than anything. That’s it, the ending to this story felt lazy and too rushed which also made it feel inorganic, like the mangaka meant to do more but couldn’t.

I think my favorite part of this volume is the bonus story at the end. It’s a cute, but sad story from Senri’s past that really explains his character. After reading it, I feel like his character has more depth than any of the other’s in this story, which is a shame because he didn’t get much attention in the main story!

Note: Expect a review of the series as a whole soon!

Details:

Title: That Wolf-Boy is Mine! (Vol. 4)

Chapters: 14-final chapter, plus a bonus story

Written by: Yoko Nogiri

Artist:  Yoko Nogiri

Translation/Adaptation: Alethea and Athena Nibley

Publisher:  Kodansha Comics

Published:  March 21st, 2017

Pages: 180

Genre: Manga, Shojo, Supernatural, Comedy, Romance

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Manga Review: That Wolf-Boy is Mine! (vol.3)

 

Synopsis:

JUST FRIENDS

After Rin shares some profound insights with Komgi about her crush, she learns it’s easier to bottle up her feelings for the wolf-boy, Yū. As Komugi gets to really know Rin the fox, his cold exterior slowly melts away−and Yū can’t help but be concerned. In order to let someone new into his heart, Yū struggles to confront his emotional trauma from the past. But by the time Yū realizes his true emotions, something unthinkable has happened to Komugi…

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

4/5

Oh my Lord, in heaven! That cliffhanger was really mean, like if I didn’t have the fourth volume already I would be screaming like a mad woman to the closest bookstore to buy it. If you can’t tell, the drama has really shot up in this volume and particularly near the end of it when a lot more of the plot is revealed. And the drama is getting so intense, but not in an uncomfortable way. Instead, I feel more like I’m about to fall out of my seat from sitting to close to the edge. I don’t normally like love triangles, mostly because they’re never done properly, but I really like how the love triangle is being used in this story. Unfortunately, I think the couple that I prefer isn’t going to happen….sigh, oh well!

Anyways, I feel like Komugi has come more to life in this volume but I still don’t think of her as a very present character. It’s really weird, I like her but I feel she’s still a bit watered down compared to the other characters in the story. Sometimes I feel like her two best friends have more of a presence than she does, but I digress.

The comedy, like before was good for a few chuckles in between some really heavy drama. Aoshi, the tanuki, is probably my favorite character because he’s the comic relief and such an instigator of a lot of the drama. Well, if you’d please excuse me, I have to devour the next volume before I die from that cliffhanger. Seriously, though if you haven’t read this volume yet buy it with volume four or you will regret it!!!

Details:

Title: That Wolf-Boy is Mine! (Vol. 3)

Chapters: 9-13

Written by: Yoko Nogiri

Artist:  Yoko Nogiri

Translation/Adaptation: Alethea and Athena Nibley

Publisher:  Kodansha Comics

Published:  January 10th, 2017

Pages: 176

Genre: Manga, Shojo, Supernatural, Comedy, Romance

Book Review: Heartbeat (Morta Fox #1)

Note: I got a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, which reads as follows:

 

Synopsis:

When I first saw the monster hidden in the dark, teeth sharp and face covered in blood, the first thing I did was jump over Boston’s Wall of Protection to warn the people inside it. Turns out the people already knew, and all I did was turn myself into a delicious little snack for the most terrifying creature to have ever existed.

I was sure he’d kill me. He didn’t. Instead, he turned me into one of them.

Being saved against your own will is no fun, especially when the knight in shining armor is a vampire who calls himself Hammer. He’s arrogant, flirty, and even more stubborn than me. Left with no other choice but to make a deal with him, I soon find out that I’m not just your usual bloodsucker. I’m something far worse. But at least I’m no longer all alone.

Promises are not to be broken in my newfound world, and when my part of the deal is done, Hammer has seven days to complete his.

If he does, I will no longer be alive.

My First Thoughts:

The premise for this story sounded very interesting and I’m always looking for a good vampire story to read. Seriously, it’s hard to find good vampire fiction anymore which is a real shame. If you find the right vampire fiction it can be a whole bucket of angst and drama or a blood bath, anything else jut gets too boring or cliché.

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

Warning: Mentions of attempted suicide, suicidal thoughts and tendencies, and attempted rape.

For the life of me I could not finish this story and it really upsets me. I really wanted to like this book and I really wanted to read it to the end because it reminded me of a bad movie that people still found enjoyable because of its flaws. Unfortunately, I lost all interest and will to read this book and could only read a few pages a sitting before I got bored or frustrated. So, for the sake of all the other books I need and/or want to read I’ve decided to put this one down and I don’t think I’m ever going to pick it up again. At nearly 20% of the way though the book I had to shelve it.

In the beginning of the story I was a bit intrigued. Dystopians can be hard for me to get into, so most of the time I stay away from them unless they have an interesting story. So far I had never run into a dystopian novel that also had vampires, so that acted as the initial hook for me. However, it kind of dropped from there.

The one thing that really made this story hard to read were all the plot holes that were just so glaringly obvious that it became frustrating. Morta made decisions that made absolutely no sense just so that the author could have her in the right place to progress the story. The author describes how vampires were created, which at first I thought it was clever until I really started thinking about it. The author used a virus to create vampires. When infected, the body’s organs all fail and stop working except for the brain, which needs blood to survive. At first, I thought it was an interesting idea but then I really started thinking about it. If the stomach is no longer functioning, then how does the blood get to the brain? When the blood is consumed it goes down the throat and to the stomach. First thought is that the new blood just gets absorbed into the blood stream and is taken to the brain. However, that’s not how things work. For something to get into the blood stream it must either be immediately be absorbed into muscles, directly supplied by injecting into a vain, or it must be digested by the stomach. If swallowed, blood to my knowledge can’t be absorbed into the muscles so it would have to be digested, if that’s possible, which it can’t be because the stomach is no longer functioning. Also, if the heart stops beating then how would the blood, if it could, get to the brain? The pumping of the heart is the main mechanism for blood circulation, so how does the new blood get to the brain if the heart isn’t beating? There were several other issues I had with the virus approach, but I’ll stop there and spare you from my rant.

The mistakes I found in this book made it obvious that this was a self-published piece. At first they were quite humorous. Occasionally the author would use the wrong verb, ex: “I heard the smell of blood…” Other times there were issues with continuity, one minute a character would be one thing and the next they were doing an action that completely contradicted what they had just done with no real mention of it. After a while the mistakes just kept piling up and it made the story a little hard to follow, all of which could have been avoid if there was an experienced editor involved with this story.

I think I could have gotten past all of the errors in this story, because they really were funny most of the time, if I even liked the characters I was following. I hated Morta and I liked Hammer only a smidgen more than her. Morta is a pessimistic, childish, and frustrating character. It was like the author didn’t want to make her a Mary Sue, or the perfect heroine, but in doing so made an unrealistic character that just became too annoying to even care for. She doesn’t want to be a monster so she tries to commit suicide. At least four times she tries to kill herself within the first few chapters after she becomes a vampire. She is so determined to die that she keeps doing things that may get her killed and honestly I can’t stand those characters. As someone who had to talk a friend out of suicide I was extremely uncomfortable with this and many times pissed with how the author handled it. I can’t imagine what someone who actually has attempted suicide would feel when reading this.

Like I said, Hammer was a little more likeable than Morta but not enough to make me care what happens to him. When you first meet him he’s a cocky show off who just tries to convince Morta to sleep with him. Ignoring the impossibility of vampire sex, it made him come off poorly because he kept insisting until Morta gave him a firm, hard refusal. After Morta told him no though, he dropped the subject completely and then it felt like he was a teacher mentoring a young bratty child which doesn’t scream romance to me. Also, outside those two main characters nine out of ten people were complete scum and completely unredeemable. For instance, for some reason the doctors Morta ran into in the beginning tried doing nonconsensual experiments for no immediate reason. Slightly later, when Morta leaves the city she is immediately set upon by a group of men that try to coerce her into having sex with them. Not even a chapter later another guy tries forcing her to have sex with him and no one tries to stop him. And of course, because it’s a dystopian all government officials and law enforcement are sadistic, murdering scum.

Rating:

I got about 19% of the way through this book and decided to quit. This book needs some serious editing work because it read like the first draft of a manuscript, before an editor takes their red pen to the pages and make them bleed. The characters are unlikable. There are plot holes everywhere that distract from the story. The word building is lazy and reads like the author just took our reality and slapped a bunch of cheap stickers on it. I feel like I could have finished this book if I found that I had even a grain of compassion towards Morta and Hammer. Instead I doubt that I will ever pick this story up again. It’s possible that the story gets better from where I left off, but I have no motivation to find out.

I would recommend this story to anyone who likes dystopian or vampire stories, I feel like people should still give this book a try if they really want to. However, I must warn you that there are mentions of attempted suicide, suicidal thoughts and tendencies, and attempted rape. If you are someone who has any experience with suicide I seriously suggest staying away from this book because the main character only wants to die and attempts to kill herself several times. If these things don’t bother you, then by all means give this story a try if you really want to.

Details:

Title: Heartbeat (Morta Fox #1)

Author: D.N. Hoxa

Publisher: self-published

Release Date: October 16, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Dystopia, Romance

Pages: 326

Manga Review: Yona of the Dawn (vol.2)

Details:

Title: Yona of the Dawn (Vol. 2)

Chapters: 6-11

Written by: Mizuho Kusanagi

Artist:  Mizuho Kusanagi

Translation/Adaptation: JN Produtions / Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane

Publisher:  VIZ Media LLC

Published:  October 4th, 2016

Pages: 192

Genre: Manga, Shojo, Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Romance

Synopsis:

Princess Yona lives an ideal life as the only princess of her kingdom. Doted on by her father, the king, and protected by her faithful guard Hak, she cherishes the time spent with the man she loves, Su-won. But everything changes on her 16th birthday when tragedy strikes her family!

While on the run, Yona and Hak head to Hak’s hometown, where she attempts to heal her broken heart. However, she can’t rest there for long once she discovers that Su-won may soon become king! What will Yona choose to do in the wake of this news?

Rating:

4/5

Right off the bat, this volume brings character development onto the table. For those who didn’t like Yona in the first volume, by the end of this volume I promise you’ll start to see her differently. The writer has done a fantastic job of subtly pushing her in a more active role in this story, and while she hasn’t taken charge yet, I believe that they’re setting her up to do that soon. Other characters get some development as well, though it’s still not clear what their motives are yet. By the end, I wasn’t quite sure what Hak’s motives are in this story, but I have a feeling that they’ll be relieved later on in a big ‘ta-da!’ moment. Other characters get introduced in this volume as well from the various other tribes within the kingdom, though mostly from the wind and fire tribes. The wind tribe characters offer a lot of comic relief for the story and they’re portrayed as easy going, but fierce warriors. The fire tribe characters seem to be setting up to be minor villains for the story, they’re portrayed as hard, scheming individuals.

The action in this volume went up a step. It’s still not as graphic as other mangas that I’ve read, but there’s enough detail to get the point across and still make the fight scenes enjoyable to read. The tone for this volume is pretty serious, though there is some light hearted comedy that give3s you a brief moment of relief before diving right back in. All-in-all I really enjoyed this volume and I was left with quite a cliffhanger that I need to remedy like now!

Manga Review: That Wolf-Boy is Mine! (vol.2)

 

Synopsis:

OUTFOXED

Komugi, the new girl at school, has sworn to protect the secret of Yū’s lupine identity. But in the midst of their growing friendship, she blurts out a startling confession−one that could upset her relationship with Yū, his crew, and even the delicate balance between humans and spirits. Meanwhile, Yū’s sharp, sly friend Rin takes matters into his own hands and tries to speak some sense into Komugi. It’s not long before he realize that this strange human girl just might be growing on him too!

 

 

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

4/5

So what I thought would be a cute and funny little story might be getting a lot deeper than I ever expected. The plot thickens as a new ‘forbidden love’ theme gets added to the story, but so far this theme may play out a little differently than in other stories. A new character shows up that answers some questions while asking a really important one that gets both Komugi and the readers thinking!

Lord, I feel like the drama in this story is going to kill me−but in a good way. The drama isn’t insane or soap opera level, it’s a nice healthy dose that you can find in just about anyone’s life from time to time. I’m a little disappointed that there seems to be some hefty time leaps, like a leap of a few weeks at a time, because I feel like you miss some of the little bonding moments between some of the characters. That’s not to say that the bonding moments in this volume aren’t fantastic, I love them a lot, I’m just used to longer mangas I guess that love to fill the pages with little moments. The comedy in this one is nothing profound, just cute little moments that make you chuckle for a moment. The drama isn’t too terrible, making this story still a bit lighthearted and easy to read. I can’t wait to read the next volume and see what happens next!

Details:

Title: That Wolf-Boy is Mine! (Vol. 2)

Chapters: 5-8

Written by: Yoko Nogiri

Artist:  Yoko Nogiri

Translation/Adaptation: Alethea and Athena Nibley

Publisher:  Kodansha Comics

Published:  November 1st, 2016

Pages: 160

Genre: Manga, Shojo, Supernatural, Comedy, Romance

Graphic Novel Review: Joyride (vol.1)

Synopsis:

Earth sucks. Steal a spaceship.

Earth sucks. The stars have been blocked out for so long that people have forgotten there was anything else besides the World Government Alliance watching over them. Uma Akkolyte is a girl who shoots first, leaps before she looks, and is desperate for any means to leave her planet behind. And so she does. When Uma jacks an alien spaceship and punches through the stratosphere she sets forth on an adventure with an unlikely crew who are totally not ready for all the good, bad, and weird the universe will throw at them.

From writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly (Batman and Robin Eternal, Grayson) and artist Marcus To (Nightwing, New Avengers), Joyride is a rebellious love letter to the sci-fi genre, exploring what happens when nothing stands between a group of teens and their freedom amongst the stars.

First Thought:

I was at a comic book store last weekend killing some time when I found Joyride. It looked like a fun little space adventure story and I wanted a little change in pace.

Overall Thoughts and Opinions:

The art is fantastic…the story not so much.

I had no expectations going into this comic but I still felt disappointed. First off, I hate it when people throw around words/names like “Nazis”, “Hitler”, and “fascist” for no real reason. I hate it; I absolutely hate it with a burning passion because it desensitizes people to the meaning of those words and it weakens those words altogether. It’s fine if someone deserves those insults thrown at them, but in the case of Joyride they’re just thrown around like cheap liquor after payday−and it was beyond annoying, to the point of being aggravating. I don’t mean to preach and I understand the real significance to those words. I hear them used every day to the point where my brain just automatically tunes them out, which is devastating, and that’s why it aggravated me that they were used so meaninglessly in this volume. This is supposed to be in our future, why are our successors still using those terms?

In fact, why does Earth suck so much? The writers barely get into why the characters want to leave. Well Earth sucks and you can’t see the stars…aaannnd? Nothing, that’s it. The main character, Uma, keeps calling Earth fascist, but there aren’t any clear examples to back her up on that. There’s hardly any background at all in this volume, which can make readers more curious or it can make them more lost than they already are. There’s not even an outline of the current setup of Earth, there’s nothing on any governments or status, just veiled terms they throw around without explaining. There’s one incident that gets barely mentioned, but it’s so vague as to what happens that I couldn’t feel the same level of emotion as the other characters, which really takes you out of a story! I don’t want entire pages full of text boxes full of backstory and history, but seriously give me some reason to believe why Earth sucks so much other than being xenophobic, but for aliens.

Usually, stories have some sort of plot driving them or each issue is a story within itself with a start and a finish. Joyride has neither a coherent driving plotline, other than Uma wants to be anywhere but Earth, and each chapter isn’t a story within itself. The only plotline is that Uma wants to explore the galaxy while some of her companions are being chased by another character to be brought back to Earth. Why? No one knows! Why does Uma want to travel through space? Because Earth sucks. Does she have a plan/destination in mind? No. Is she smart about her space travelling? No, actually she has no care for herself or her companions. Is there anything that is driving her other than immature curiosity? Nope, she just wants to see everything just because. There’s no rhyme or reason, just wild adrenaline filled curiosity fit for a teenager but it gets old after a while.

Speaking of Uma, I actually really hate her character. At first I thought she was a pretty cool rebel girl, but as the story went that’s as far as she went. She’s a rebel with no cause, no rally cry. She’s stupidly dangerous and has little to no concern for her friends. She’s apparently smart enough to make contact with aliens, even though Earth made it impossible, and has a lot of “street smart” dealing with cops all her life yet she can’t keep herself out of trouble. She’s reckless, explosive, and self-centered and currently has no redeeming qualities to me. For how much I dislike her character, I love the others in Joyride. I think Dewydd is my favorite because he feels the most natural and realistic to me. His reason for leaving was because he was done heling Luna kill people and he just wanted to be free, and because he might have a huge crush on Uma (poor guy). Catrin is alright, though her motivations are unclear and they seemed to change at the drop of a hat. All the supporting characters are really cool and interesting, and honestly I wish I got more of them or at least Dewydd than I did of Uma.

Ratings:

Art: 5

I really enjoyed the artwork in Joyride! The character and alien designs were amazing and well balanced between simple and intricate. I’m a stickler for clothing, oddly enough, and the detailing on the clothes was just perfect. There were enough creases and folds to give suggestions of movement or stretching without looking over done and drawing the eye away from the rest of the panel. The coloring was fantastic and possibly my favorite part of the comic. Kniivila did a wonderful job using both light and dark colors to bring life and emotion to the pages. I loved it when she used both lights and darks together, it really added to the panels, making them more serious and dramatic. Overall, fantastic art and coloring that made this comic very pleasing to look at−even if the story was less than stellar.

Story: 2

I felt like the story crafting in this volume was just lazy. The writers just throw their readers into this futuristic story, saying it’s terrible without giving real reason for it except that our main characters say so. I hate stories that don’t spend the time making readers believe, or at least understand, what the main characters do. Most of the characters have no clear motivations for their actions. Honestly, they felt like teenagers who were written by writers who can’t remember what it was like to be a young adult, let alone a teenager! The space adventuring seemed cool enough. I always love weird space exploring, but it felt too random like it was space weirdness for the sake of space weirdness. I thought this story might have been a collection of isolated space adventures, but instead it read like it should’ve had an overarching plot, except it’s so overarching that it got lost in space before it could come back down. And don’t get me start on the science. This is not a science fiction, it’s a space opera because the laws of science went right out the airlock before the first chapter even ended. You cannot, I repeat, cannot survive in space without oxygen for longer than a handful of seconds before dying. You can definitely not speak in open space without an oxygen mask, it’s impossible even if you wouldn’t die from trying!

Overall: 3.5

Even though this story was extremely flawed, I think I’m still going to give the next chapter a try to see if there’s any sort of character growth and to see where the characters I do like go. I really hope that the writing improves, but I really doubt it. This isn’t a sci-fi adventure that I’d recommend to too many people, especially those who really like science fiction, though I would recommend this to those who like crazy space operas.

Details:

Title: Joyride

Volume: 1

Issue(s): 1-4

Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Creator(s): Marcus To, Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly

Writer(s): Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly

Illustrator: Marcus To

Colors: Irma Kniivila

Letters: Jim Campbell

Released Date: September 27th, 2016

Pages: 112

Genre(s): Space Opera, Young Adult, Action/Adventure

Manga Review: That Wolf-Boy is Mine! (vol.1)

Details:

Title: That Wolf-Boy is Mine! (Vol. 1)

Chapters: 1-4

Written by: Yoko Nogiri

Artist:  Yoko Nogiri

Translation/Adaptation: Alethea and Athena Nibley

Publisher:  Kodansha Comics

Published:  August 16, 2016

Pages: 160

Genre: Manga, Shojo, Supernatural, Comedy, Romance

Synopsis:

MONSTER MISCHIEF

After some traumatic experiences, Komugi Kusunoki transferred from the city to start a new life in rural Hokkaido. But on her first day of school, the school heartthrob Yū Ōgami blurts out, “You smell good!” Despite the hijinks, Komugi tries to adjust to her new school, but it’s not long before she stumbles across Yū dozing off under a tree. When she attempts to wake him up, he transformed…into a wolf?! It turns out that Yū is one of many other eccentric boys in her class year–and she’s the only one who knows their secret!

What I First Thought:

The other day I went to Barnes and Noble to kill time before a movie. I perused the manga section looking for more volumes of some of my other series that I haven’t finished yet when this one caught my eye. To my knowledge, there aren’t a lot of werewolf-esque stories in manga so I picked it up. The premise of the story seemed interesting and cute enough that I decided to buy it, especially since I needed something a bit light hearted to help cure my current mood.

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

4/5

I normally don’t buy into a new series without doing a little bit of research into it first, so I rarely buy manga on a whim. I’m glad that I didn’t wait to buy this one because it was exactly what I needed! It’s a cute little story about a new city-girl who goes to live with her dad in the country while her mom is away. At the new school, she stumbles upon the secret of some of her classmates and it becomes a story of said students becoming friends with the girl to keep her quiet. It’s a cute little story with sprinklings of lore that I’m sure will become more prominent as the story continues. There were some comedic elements thrown in that made me giggle, but nothing gut splitting yet. The romance so far is a bit light, though I feel like some of it was forced or a little unnatural by the end of this volume, which messed up the flow of the story for me. The characters are pretty likable at the start, though I feel like Komugi is a little weak at the moment but I hope her character improves once we see more of her past so I can better understand her fears. Really, my only complaint was the ending because it felt weird to me, too rushed and unnatural, but oh well! I’m really glad that I bought all four volumes, because I really want to read what happens next!