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4042 No. 4042 [Edit]
I suppose we ought to have one. Hopefully you'll find a title or two itt to enjoy or at least something to help you pass the time.
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>> No. 4043 [Edit]
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4043
This is sol at its finest. It's hard to believe this is the only title by the author that is not hentai. He has a lot of insight to offer through his characters. I wonder why he doesn't want to do more in this genre.
So, Sen to Men is about a single dad, Chihiro, taking care of his teenage daughter, called Shima. Each story is more or less self-contained where we get to see the daily life of this family.

The heart and soul of a sol title is its ability to turn daily life into an interesting story and this is exactly what we get here. Going shopping, going to school, hanging out with friends. This is a very soothing collection of everyday life activities and thoughts told in a very entertaining manner.
The art is amazing and fits perfectly. It's a very elegant, charming style that makes you stop several times to admire a panel or a page or a character's facial reaction. It's a pity it's only 3 volumes long. This could easily go on, there is a lot in this character that would render a lot more interesting stuff to read. Here's hoping this author tries something similar again some day.
>> No. 4044 [Edit]
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4044
There's a website you can access at midnight. It's a connection to the underworld. In there, one will find but a single prompt where you can write down someone's name to be quickly dragged to hell. The entity in charge of actually taking the person there is Enma Ai, a high school girl in beautiful kimono sets. That's the premise. Each story follows a different revenge plot where a person is bullied or has something terrible done to her and that drives him or her to ask for hell girl's assistance.

Hell Girl has a very odd thing about it. The supposedly main character is actually just a minor character that receives no development whatsoever until the very end. On the entire run of this manga, Enma is featured as the main character in maybe 2 or 3 stories. All the other ones she just appears briefly to do the same thing over and over again; drag people into hell. This is rather frustrating given she's the only character connecting all these stories together and someone reading Hell Girl will probably want to know more about Hell Girl. We get some development and resolution for her but it's just not enough in my opinion.

Then there's the problem with many of the stories themselves. They can get very, very formulaic. Student is bullied, contacts Hell Girl, and the bully is sent to hell. Perhaps that's half the stories here. A few here and there really stand out as being interesting but you really have to be the patient type to reach them all. Hell Girl's friends also get pretty much no exposition even though they should be really important as well.

I'm glad I read it but I feel I won't be revisiting this title anytime soon nor did it inspire me to pick up the other ones that came after it. The art has its own thing going and might not be to everyone but it certainly has a particular charm to it. I just wish Hell Girl was more about Hell Girl.
>> No. 4045 [Edit]
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4045
Tera Girl or Temple Girl if you want a literal translation, is about three sisters whose father is a Buddhist priest. The family lives in the temple and each one has their own view of that sort of life and responsibility. The only one really invested in the whole thing is the middle sister, Hikari, so everyone in the family has a lot of hope on her inheriting the grounds and continuing the family tradition.

Hikari is actually OK with it until she falls in love with a boy in her school. This new situation brings all sorts of conflicting emotions in her life and what we get to follow in this short work by famous author Mizusawa Megumi is how she deals with it and how it affects those around her.

There's a solid premise here and the characters are filled with life. They all possess that emotional sensitivity that makes them a joy to know more about. Really the only problem is how short this is, only three volumes long, which I think was not enough time to develop the full potential of this plot and characters.

The art is really, really good and if you're into the shoujo style of the later 80s and 90s, you'll love it. This is one of the best examples of that way to draw manga. The characters look endearing and adorable, all of them. Mizusawa Megumi is really good at drawing portraits and making them alive and emotional.

This is a good introduction to her works. It's nice, it's short and a very enjoyable read. If you don't feel like going through Hime-chan's Ribbon just yet, this little title here is the perfect start for this author's oeuvre.
>> No. 4046 [Edit]
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4046
Kotarou wa Hitorigurashi tells the heartwarming everyday life of Kotarou, a mysterious kid living completely alone in an apartment complex. His past is shrouded in mystery. How can he afford to live alone? How is it even possible for him to pull this off, since he's only four years old? Little by little we get to know more about Kotarou and his rather unusual circumstances.

Most of the stories are not about Kotarou's past however, but his daily life and the relationship he develops with his neighbors, in particular with struggling manga artist Karino, Mizuki, a hostess at a pub and Tamaru, a rather eccentric individual that really likes kids. This is one of those stories where the adults are trying to take care of this child but little by little realize it's Kotarou who are fixing their lives in one way or the other, and it's a delight to watch it happening.

The chapters tell stories that are usually self-contained and they're usually funny or emotive. There are many chapters out there showing Kotarou struggling with the fact he's an orphan. I think the hardest thing to get used to here is the art. It's... unique. In fact there's a chapter where Karino is getting flak over his rather unique art and I'm pretty sure that's based on the author's personal experience. Once you get used to it though, this is a really nice read. I feel this manga is like Yotsuba's crazy ugly cousin.
>> No. 4047 [Edit]
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4047
I have posted this review before but it was the wrong thread for that, apologies. I'll be posting it here just to keep everything organized.

There's a fair amount of titles running on Gangan right now that have otaku characters filled with inside jokes about the tropes of the industry. Yankee Shota to Otaku Oneesan is, in my opinion, the best of the bunch right now. This is the tale of a fujoshi and shotacon (2D only of course) woman called Kazuko and her neighbor, Ryuou, a 3D shota (from her perspective) that starts to follow her around for reasons she doesn't understand.

It's a very light and fun comedy and Kazuko in particular is quite a hilarious character with her mannerisms and excessive inhibitions. There's a balance here between the funny moments that centers around the interactions between the main characters, and the more drama-like aspects of the story, centered around Ryuou relationship with his parents. They're good people but maybe not the best parents in the world. Don't worry though, it never reaches the point of tragedy, so you can read it always hoping to finish the volume in a good, uplifting mood.

If you like to watch socially inept women forced into social interaction, and you want the comedic aspect of those interactions expressed, then you'll certainly enjoy this title, because that's what this is at its core. Liking meta jokes about the anime and manga industry tropes will also help you out here. Like I said, there are several titles like this running right now, but to me, what makes this one the best is Kazuko and how likable she can be without trying too hard. There aren't any absurd moments purely for comedy (like with Watamote), her reactions seem more genuine and this adds a certain tenderness to it that really gives this title the edge.
>> No. 4048 [Edit]
>>4044
I wrote a review of the anime adaptation a while back
>>/an/34603

Post edited on 25th Apr 2022, 10:37am
>> No. 4049 [Edit]
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4049
I have posted this review before but it was the wrong thread for that, apologies. I'll be posting it here just to keep everything organized, this is the last duplicate piece of text I swear.

To follow the life of Itai Shiori is like watching a tiny and precious trainwreck. It gets personal very quickly, too, because you’ll care about her from page one. Itai wants a boyfriend but she doesn’t quite know how to go about it and is not the best at reading social situations. And so comedic yet painful events follow.

The way the story unfolds is really clever in this one. Most of the text is not dialogue, but narration, like we’re watching Itai’s with the narrator and she too often will get flabbergasted about her actions. This really puts you in a position of wanting to help Itai. A lot. But you can’t. You’re forced to watch as she moves along being silly and living her painful comedy day by day.

A very engaging narrative and a very interesting read. If you enjoy awkward female protagonists and painful laughter, this title has you covered. The art is simple but it has a very unique charm I don’t quite remember seeing anywhere else. The author has a way of coming up with excellent facial expressions for the characters and even though it’s a simple, straightforward way of drawing the characters, there’s an attention to detail to the expressions that really adds a very special quality to them, it’s hard to put my finger on it. I guess you’ll have to read it to find out by yourself.
>> No. 4050 [Edit]
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4050
>>4048
Reading your post it seems they never fixed anything that was wrong with the manga. It's terrible how the main protagonist is barely used or explored. It's funny, I picked up this title because of the gorgeous fanart there's out there of the main character. I thought I would be seeing Enma visiting all sorts of oddities in hell and whatnot but it really wasn't the case at all. It's been a while since I read it but I distinctly remember having quite enough by vol4 but insisted anyway just because. I like the idea for Enma and I like her character design but the rest barely makes it worth it.
>> No. 4051 [Edit]
>>4050
It wouldn't be bad as a short series. I don't mind Hell Girl herself being shrouded in mystery if it's short.
>> No. 4064 [Edit]
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4064
Ichigo Mashimaro follows the daily lives of Itou sisters Nobue and Chika and their friends, Miu, Matsuri and Ana. The stories are mostly self-contained and have a SOL bent to them, but with a rather chaotic twist in the shape of 12 years old Miu. She must be the most explosive comedy release character I've ever seen in a Slice of Life, feel good manga like this. You know the type from many other titles, the very active child that pushes the other characters to do things or force them into situations they would never get by themselves. Well, Miu is that element but she is… special. Judging by the things I've read about this work, she's a polarizing character, too. Half the readers seem to love her, the other half hates her. The reason for this, I'm assuming, is because she doesn't allow Ichigo Mashimaro to be a cozy, feel good manga all the way through. She's always scheming something and even when it's a small thing, it turns out to be bigger than expected.

But why would so many people like this to be a pure feel good SOL manga? To get why, you have to look at the art. Ichigo is just gorgeous to look at. Barasui has a very soothing, "round and cute" style. He's able to draw very delicate lines that capture a lot with very little. His sense of fashion is varied and fun to look out for and he is pretty much one of the best artists I've seen when it comes to capturing character's facial expressions and body language, especially from children. He's able to add a lot of subtlety to the way his characters exist, particularly with the way he draws hands and feet, and I have to mention again, he loves to draw clothing and that adds a lot to his panels. So when you have a very strong and chaotic comedic element that disrupts things, yeah, some people might have a problem with that.

It seems even Barasui himself sees the work as an odd mix of over the top comedy and Slice of Life. There are many stories where he compares the friendship between Miu and Chika (chaotic, comedic) and Matsuri and Ana (endearing, soothing). In fact he seems to love that sort of contrast and applies them a lot in several ways during all sorts of situations. Before we go into those however, it's better if I introduce all the characters first.

Miu is 12 and I'm not sure if she's crazy or a comedy genius. She's very energetic and seems to be constantly dying for attention. She's also incredibly flexible, athletic and cute. Basically she's born to become a movie star, there's no other place in this world for her other than the stage and I think she knows it. In one story she mentions she wants to be an idol but no, she's wrong, she wants to be a movie star. She'll figure it out, eventually.

Then you have Chika. She's in the same class as Miu and not nearly as crazy. In fact, she's a very responsible and sweet kid, unfortunately caught between a slacker sister and oddball Miu. She loves to cook and is always reading about new types of sweets she can prepare at home. Her pacifying and calm nature is essential for the wellbeing of the people around her and she's an all-round restorative force to her friends and family. Chi-chan and Miu form a sort of unity within this group of characters.

The other one is composed by Ana and Matsuri. They're a year younger than Miu and Chi and have a very different relationship. They're also friends of course, but Matsuri is a very shy, fragile, introspective girl and so Ana ends up acting as a sort of guardian and protector. Matsuri is one of those types of people that look very precious and possess the gentlest of souls, so everybody around her tries their best to make sure Matsuri is happy and safe. Ana is also a very interesting character in her own right. She's a foreigner, an English girl, and moved to Japan with her family when she was four or so. She would love to be more of a foreigner, actually, but she doesn't know any English, which is a source of never ending frustration to her. In fact, Matsuri is very focused on helping her learn English and takes it so seriously that she actually knows way more English than Ana, which is a source of funny moments in itself. Ana is very mature, beautiful, extremely polite, refined and trustworthy. Basically it's impossible not to love her, as Matsuri and Nobue know very well. She's adored by Nobue, which makes Miu extremely jealous from time to time.

Transiting around those kids is Nobue, Chi's older sister. She's 16 and kinda what binds everything together. She's also the character the reader will sort of stand side by side the most. Like her, we're also watching as these kids interact and grow together so it feels like she's the closest character to the reader, or at least that's how I felt. It's hard to say much about her because hanging around with her younger sister and the other girls is pretty much all she does and apparently cares about. She doesn't seem to want or have a life beyond that. She dislikes school, doesn't have any friends her age and she must be at least a little socially inept because even though she's very cute, all the boys are afraid of her (according to her sister). She also kicked a stranger in the stomach once because he made a comment about her being single, not exactly a healthy reaction, but there you go, Nobue justice was served that day.

And with these five characters we mostly will be hanging around Chi's bedroom as they play with dolls, talk about their dreams, eat candy, play games and generally have a very nice day. Sometimes they go out to try a restaurant or to the park, but that's not as common. Lots of antics, lots of funny moments, lots of heartwarming moments. This is probably on my top10 favorite list. The art and the characters did it, more than the comedy and plot.

To conclude this I would like to talk a little bit about the situation with releases and what to expect of it. The first and second volume came out in 2003, about six months apart. Then volume 3 came out 2004, a year later. In 2005, again a year later, volume 4 came out and from there the release began to take longer and longer. Volume 5 came out 2 years later, in 2007. Volume 6 came out in 2009. Volume 7 came out 4 years later, in 2013 and again 4 years later, 2017, volume 8 came out. As I'm writing this, it's april 2022, so 5 years after volume 8 and there's no volume 9 yet.

I don't know if there are any chapters released after the stories contained in volume 8 because I could not track any Dengenki Daioh magazines prior to 2020 but the last chapter available on their website is from 2015. I didn't see anything about Barasui giving up on publication, so it's probably an active project, albeit a very slow pace one. Now, I've been following Barasui on Twitter and all he talks about is his 5 yo son. He's having a blast by being a dad and apparently it's his full time job for the past few years. I would not be surprised if Ichigo is the last thing on his mind right now. I guess we'll see.

As a last note to this, if you happen to be learning Japanese and are intermediate or around that, this work is very easy to read. Dialogue is short and the words used are very basic indeed. I mean, the main characters are children, so that's to be expected. I checked the fan translation is actually mostly decent, probably because the dialogue is so straightforward and simple.
>> No. 4070 [Edit]
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4070
There's a fair amount of manga about cats out there and in 2020 an artist going by the handle Kyuryu Z on Twitter began publishing his own observations and interactions with his pet cat named Kyuruga (a pun on the fact his sister's mobile phone tried to read the cat like a QR Code). Yoru wa Neko to Issho have since amassed over 700k followers on Twitter. Kadokawa picked it up for publication (the third volume came out in April 2022) and an anime adaptation was announced as well for the season of Summer 2022.

Unlike something like Ojisama to Neko that focus on the emotional attachment between pet and owner or Chi's Sweet Home that uses anthropomorphic cats for comedy, this title is centered around careful observation of cat behavior. If you ever owned a cat, most pages here will depict things very familiar to you. The fascination cats have for boxes, how they love to get in the way when you're staring at your screen monitor, pushing things off tables and so on. The author is very careful in his observations and the interest and comedy contained here flow in a very natural, peaceful, non-scripted manner. The author is obviously not forcing the jokes to happen and any funny moment comes from pure cat observation. It's pretty much a diary relating funny and amusing things cats do and how it can brighten someone's day. Kyuruga the cat is the main and only star here, at least for now. The other two characters, Fuuta and his sister are just there to observe and play with the pet and the rest of their lives are not explored in any capacity. It's all about the pet cat.

It's a SOL for sure and the art is rather unique. Doesn't seem like Kyuryu Z had any pretentions with his manga, it just grew organically and the art shows his concern to depict cat behavior and movement in an accurate manner but also as fast as possible. I'm really curious how the anime adaptation is going to look like.

I highly recommend you check it out if you enjoy cats (it will be an endless source of 'my cat does that too!' moments) and also because you can actually read all this interesting stuff for free! The author keeps a blog with all the stories archived. I spent a lazy afternoon going through every story and it was an afternoon decently spent.
Author's Twitter: https://twitter.com/kyuryuZ
Yoru wa Neko to Issho archive: https://nekonavi.jp/archives/author/kyuryuz
Also comic-essay.com is currently publishing the same stories and the first volume is free to read there.

Post edited on 1st Jun 2022, 6:07pm

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