Manga Review: Noragami: The Stray God vol.1

 

Synopsis:

DIVINE INTERVENTION FOR SALE

Yato is a homeless god. He doesn’t even have a shrine, not to mention worshippers! So to achieve his ambitious goals, he’s set up a service to help those in need (for a small fee), hoping he’ll eventually raise enough money to build himself the lavish temple of his dreams. Of course, he can’t afford to be picky, so Yato accepts all kinds of jobs, from finding lost kittens to helping a student overcome bullies at school.

What I First Thought:

I watched the anime last year right before a set of finals and I was hooked. It isn’t your typical story and the characters aren’t what they first appear as. I had a coupon for Barnes & Noble one day so I decided to grab the first few volumes of the manga while I waited for the second season to hit the US.

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

3/5

It never ceases to amaze me how different it is to read the manga vs. the anime, either the characters don’t sound like you imagined or the tone is completely different than expected. The humor reads a lot differently than in the anime. For the manga, some of the humor as it travels across the world, through translation and due to our standards of comedy. On the page some of the humor just losses its impact or is harder to pick up, it’s almost like how British humor can go over Americans’ heads. If you have an ear and taste for it, you’ll probably laugh as much as you should, if not it just looks confusing. For me, it a hit or miss, though I hope there were hits than misses.

A lot of the manga that I’ve read before spend a good chunk of the first volume to set up the premise of the story, going into some details about the world/setting to get the readers comfortable and on task. Noragami, however, does most of the set up in the first chapter and then subtly sketches out a rough outline of how the story will go. It’s a simple plot and definitely not completely unique in concept, but I think it’s the story telling that will make it stand out from others like it. It’s about gods and demons and wayward souls; it’s about some of the darker parts of humanity and where it might come from. It’s nothing new, but the characters are different than what they first appear and they have a depth that I can already tell will only go deeper as the story progresses. The first volume only gives you a taste of the main characters, but it makes you care enough to want to read further.

Overall, it’s a good start of a story. The plot is a little rough looking, but I’ll cut the writer some slack since it’s their first time actually writing the story. I can already tell that this will be a different kind of manga than I’m use to and I’m looking forward to continuing on!

Details:

Title: Noragami  (Vol. 1)

Chapters: 1-3

Written by: Adachitoka

Artist:  Adachitoka

Translation/Adaptation: Alethea Nibley & Athena Nibley

Publisher:  Kodansha Comics

Published:  September 2nd, 2014

Pages: 200

Genre: Manga, Shonen, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Mythology

Advertisements

Manga Review: Nichijou (vol.1)

Details:

Title: Nichijou: my ordinary life (Vol. 1)

Chapters: 1-18

Written by: Keiichi Arawi 

Artist:  Keiichi Arawi

Translation/Adaptation: Jenny McKeon

Publisher:  Vertical Comics

Published:  March 29th 2016

Pages: 178

Genre: Manga, Comedy, Slice of Life, Surreal humor

Synopsis:

(as read on my copy)

Define “ordinary”

In this just-surreal-enough take on the “school genre” of manga, a group of friends (which includes a robot built by a child professor) grapple with all sorts of unexpected situations in their daily lives as high schoolers.

The gags, jokes, puns, and haiku keep this series off-kilter even as the characters grow and change. Check out this new take on a storied genre and meet the new ordinary.

What I First Thought:

            I picked up this manga because of the reaction a friend of mine had to seeing it on the shelf at Barnes & Noble. This friend of mine is an exchange student from Japan and is an absolute sweetheart! Anyways, she was so excited to see it that I decided to give it a read.

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

4/5

This manga was nothing like I expected! My friend warned me that it was going to be bizarre, but I didn’t think to take her too seriously. I’ve never read a manga like this and I’m glad that I have. The comedy was a lot of dry humor and outlandish events. Something things didn’t really make sense to me, which I believe may be because of error in translation or the joke doesn’t translate as well into English.

Overall though the volume was great! Each chapter or couple of chapters contained individual stories, so at the moment there doesn’t appear to be any overarching plot line. The chapters are headed by different characters or sets of characters, so you never get too cozy before you’re following someone else. The main characters are cute and a little stereotypical, up to a point, and the drawing style really matches the cutesy but surreal feel of the manga. What I loved most about this volume was that every chapter is different, either the cast members were different or the overall writing style was different. One chapter none of the characters said a single word, but the artist really captured the mood and what they were trying to express in each panel. Another chapter one of the main characters just kept coming up with different haikus and played a bystander, and later she kept getting distracted by accidentally making up different poems. Each chapter kept me on my toes and where the humor didn’t quite hit the mark for me the story made up for it; I definitely can’t wait to read the next volume!

 

Manga Review: Puella Magi Madoka Magica (vol.1)

Details:

Title: Puella Magi Madoka Magica (Vol. 1)

Chapters: 1-4

Written by: Magica Quartet 

Artist: Hanokage

Translation/Adaptation: William Flanagan

Lettering: Alexis Eckerman

Publisher:  Yen Press

Published: February 12, 2011

Pages: 144

Genre: Manga, Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Young Adult

Synopsis:

            When a new girl joins her class, Madoka Kaname thinks she recognize the mysterious, dark-haired transfer student from one of her dreams…a dream where she is approached by a catlike creature who offers Madoka an opportunity to change destiny. Madoka had always thought magic was stuff of fantasy…until she sees the transfer student fighting with the very cat being from her dream! And just like in Madoka’s dream, the cat gives her a choice. Will Madoka become a magical girl in exchange for her dearest desire? What will be the cost of having her wish come true?

What I First Thought:

            Last year my roommate convinced me to watch this show with her. The anime was fascinating and it broke me. When I found it on a shelf at my local Barnes & Noble I decided to read the manga, just to see how it compared to the anime.

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

5/5

            I thought I was prepared enough when I read volume 1, because I had watched the anime, I thought that the big plot points wouldn’t affect me as much the second time. Oh, boy was I wrong! Nothing really changed, this volume is a pretty good adaptation of the first few episodes of the anime. With that said, I still squirmed at the same spots as the anime, and some of the emotional scenes actually affected me more than when I viewed it the first time. There were little changes between anime and manga, mostly in little character designs such as added weapons and minions.

I’m a little on the fence about the magical girl genre, mostly because if it’s not done just right then I end up hating the idea all together. I was drawn into this idea, however, because I heard it was a different, darker take on the genre, and they weren’t kidding either. Don’t let the cover fool you, this isn’t some cutesy story that’ll make you feel all good at the end of the day. It’s a story that will burrow in your head and remake you think about somethings that you might’ve thought were pretty solid.

I really enjoyed reading this volume and seeing the characters again. It has a really cutesy art style that may be a turn off for some, but it serves a purpose. Again, it’s not a super cute story like a lot of the magical girl stories are, it may look the part but beyond that it’s vastly different. I found it interesting how the artist took the scenes from the anime, because in the anime there’s a lot of psychedelic animation that was really trippy to look at. A lot of that feeling I think was lost from screen to page, but I loved how the artist still brought a lot of creativity from those scenes to life.

I don’t recommend this manga to the faint of heart. It’s gory with a lot of false hope and questions that aren’t answered until later. Some of the characters may seem a little cliché now, which may be a turn off for some people, but by the end they won’t be. If you want something different, and don’t mind a dark, hopeless story, then this manga may be for you!

Manga Review: Fruits Basket: Collector’s Edition (Vol. 2)

Details:28118570

Title: Fruits Basket: Collector’s Edition (Vol. 2)

Chapters: 13-24

Written by: Natsuki Takaya

Artist: Natsuki Takaya

Translation/Adaptation: Sheldon Drzka

Lettering: Lys Blakeslee

Publisher: Yen Press

Published: June 2016

Pages: 384

Genre: Manga, Romance, Young Adult, Shojo Manga

Synopsis:

When she was living in a tent pitched on the Sohma family’s land, Tohru Honda’s primary concerns were dirt and slugs. But now that she’s living with the Sohmas, magical powers and ancient curses are the order of the day! With Yuki and Kyo at each other’s throats like cats and… rats, life at the Sohmas’ is lively enough, but it all heats up as Hatsuharu joins the fray, spoiling for a fight! And even before the new school year can get underway, the mystery surrounding the family escalates when Akito, head of the Sohma clan, confronts Tohru without warning…

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

4/5

Once again, this volume of Furuba is very introductory. We’re introduced to several more characters, including two of my favorites, Hatsuharu and Ayame, and the hijinks only seem to escalate. This volume also includes our first encounter with the head of the Sohma family, Akito, who all the members of the Sohma family seem to fear. We start to dive into the troubled pasts of the Sohma family members, as well as the complicated relationships that bind them all together. We also see Tohru’s relationship with Kyo and Yuki get stronger, and we see more examples of just how devoted Tohru’s best friends, Arisa Uotani and Saki Hanajima, are to her.

I honestly love every volume of Furuba that I have read, but this volume is one where we start getting into why I find this series so good. While we’re still being introduced to characters and crazy, hilarious things are still happening to them, we are also starting to see the more dramatic, more serious turn that this series is going to take. I find this series is so reflective of life and real relationships. It starts out very superficial and steadily gets deeper, just like any friendship (normally) works.

This is also the only volume that I feel qualified to truly judge the new translation, since volume 4 of the original release is included in this volume of the collector’s edition, and it is the only one of the original release I ever actually owned. I really like the new translation! I feel everything that was changed was changed to make more sense, but all of the changes are really minor. According to a review I read online, “the inaccuracies from the Japanese still haven’t been fixed,” but since I don’t read Japanese and never knew that the translations were inaccurate to begin with, I really couldn’t care less. Translations are never truly accurate, anyway. They just follow the gist of the story, and this one is still telling the story that I loved long ago.

Blogger Note: Please don’t forget that we are also involved with Inkitt’s Novel Writing Contest! It was announced recently by Jessica in this post. If you’re interested in entering the contest or want to read more about it, you can do so here!

banner3

 

Manga Review: Fruits Basket: Collector’s Edition (Vol. 1)

28219400Details:

Title: Fruits Basket: Collector’s Edition (Vol. 1)

Chapters: 1-12

Written by: Natsuki Takaya

Artist: Natsuki Takaya

Translation/Adaptation: Sheldon Drzka

Lettering: Lys Blakeslee

Publisher: Yen Press

Published: June 2016

Pages: 400

Genre: Manga, Romance, Young Adult, Graphic Novel

Synopsis:

After a family tragedy turns her life upside down, plucky high schooler Tohru Honda takes matters into her own hands and moves out…into a tent! Unfortunately for her, she pitches her new home on private land belonging to the mysterious Sohma clan, and it isn’t long before the owners discover her secret. But, as Tohru quickly finds out when the family offers to take her in, the Sohmas have a secret of their own–when embraced by the opposite sex, they turn into the animals of the Chinese Zodiac!

A perennial favorite of fans and librarians alike, Natsuki Takaya’s beloved bestselling Fruits Basket series returns to print in gorgeous deluxe English-language omnibus editions with beautiful full-color illustrations that are not to be missed!

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

4/5

I started reading the Fruits Basket (from now on referred to as Furuba) when I was in middle school. It was one of my very first manga (the actual first was Tokyo Mew Mew, I believe), and it was the first one I became obsessed with. I only ever owned a couple of them, I would borrow them from a friend as they came out and she completed them. When that friend went on to high school without me, I would check them out from the library. It’s a series I don’t think I ever managed to complete because there were 23 volumes and I think I may have skipped a couple. I never managed to own more than a couple of the original series because TOKYOPOP went under and stopped printing them before I had any source of reliable income that would allow me to buy them all.

So, imagine my delight when I found out that Yen Press was re-releasing the entire series in 12 volumes with new (more accurate) translations this year. I believe I squealed. I have officially preordered the remaining books in the series and am eagerly awaiting the final two release dates for the manga that introduced me to an entire genre I would never have thought about approaching if not for my friends back in middle school.

This volume is the introductory volume of the series. Most of this volume is introductions. We meet our lead, Tohru Honda, and journey with her as she becomes entangled in the lives of the cursed Sohma family. She learns of the Zodiac curse and is introduced to the key players of the series. By the end of this volume, even though we haven’t met all of the Zodiac members, we have met most of the key players in the series, and we are seeing the relationships of the characters’ form. There’s never a calm day in the Sohma household, and we are set up for a story full of fun, drama, and growth in this first volume. 

Blogger Note: Please don’t forget that we are also involved with Inkitt’s Novel Writing Contest! It was announced recently by Jessica in this post. If you’re interested in entering the contest or want to read more about it, you can do so here!

banner3

 

Manga Review: Kimi ni Todoke (from me to you) (vol.2)

kimi-ni-todoke-vol2Details:

Title: Kimi ni Todoke (From me to you) (vol.2)

Chapters: 4-7

Story by: Karuho Shiina

Artist: Karuho Shiina

Translation/Adaptation: JN Productions

Publisher: VIZ Media LLC

Published: October 6th 2009

Pages: 187

Genre: Manga, Shojo, Romance, Slice of Life, Young Adult

Synopsis:

Rumors start flying about Sadako’s new friends claiming that Yano’s been around the block and Yoshida’s a former gang member. And the source of all this tattle? Sadako herself! Will Sadako retreat to her former life as a loner because of a simple misunderstanding?!

Rating:

5/5

This volume is basically the continuation and the finish of the mini story started in the last volume (~chapter 3). It was beautiful; I loved reading every single page! There’s a lot of character growth for Sadako, who realizes that she can’t just go back to how she was, and that communication is key in all friendships. We get to see a lot more from Yoshida and Yano as they try to figure out what all of this means, stumbling to the realization Sadako meant more to them than they thought. They’re characters get even more fleshed out from chapter to chapter, allowing you to clearly see the difference between the two. There’s a lot of heart and crying in this volume, it’s so beautiful to read and reflect on, and the lessons learned here can be applied to your own relationships!

There’s no real cliffhanger at the end of this volume. There’s a possible peak into who might be the story’s new antagonist, but nothing for sure. This volume is a nice wrap up to the drama presented at the end of volume 1. Final note, I love reading the little blurbs from the author/creator! Her thoughts and stories are so interesting to read about, especially her explanation of one of the events in this volume.

Manga Review: The Seven Deadly Sins (vol. 6)

the-seven-deadly-sins-vol6Details:

Title: The Seven Deadly Sins (Vol. 6)

Chapters: 38-46, plus a bonus story (broken up into three parts)!

Written by: Nakaba Suzuki

Artist: Nakaba Suzuki

Translation/Adaptation: Christine Dashiell

Lettering: James Dashiell

Publisher:  Kodansha Comics

Published: January 13, 2015

Pages: 200

Genre: Manga, Historical-Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Young Adult, Romance

Synopsis:

Blast from the Past!

Howzer whips up a huge storm in an attempt to defeat Diane, but even a human-sized giant can stand strong against the fiercest tempests. In the next match, Meliodas faces Cain, who conjures terrifying fire magic while also leveling fiery accusations at Meliodas about his rumored involvement in the destruction of Danafell. How will Meliodas respond? Can he take the punishment for his alleged sins?

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

4/5

Volume 6 brings an end to the fighting festival with an interesting turn of events. The action doesn’t slow in between transitions, instead it picks up rather quickly. Griamore still has his ever changing body size, though the muscles don’t get too drastically large this time around he looks a lot better with his helmet on. In this volume you get to see more into Meliodas’s past and you’ll start asking more questions about his character. There’s also a bit of character development for the team in general as they start asking the same questions that the readers are.

As a whole, this volume is rather explosive with activity and new character development. There’s more action and fighting sequences than there are major plot points, if you don’t know what you’re looking for. It’s rather interesting to see how the Holy Knights differ in not only abilities, and where they get their strength, but also in ideology. You get to see the beginning of just how different the two fractions are. Overall, the fighting sequences are great, though there is one character that frustrate me. So far this manga has done a great job with the armor of the knights, making them appear more logical than others of the genre, however, there is one character with rather impractical armor and it more sexual than anything. I mean seriously, why would you allow your breasts to be exposed when a sword can easily stab through your chest and kill you?!

Warning: If you read this volume you must have the next one in hand because the cliffhanger is quite a doozy!