• manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Shinonome Tantei Ibun Roku

    Shinonome Tantei Ibun Roku – Taratsumi John

    The stage is the Daybreak Detective Agency, located on a dark alley. Detective Waki, who takes care of everything, from finding missing people to ghost exterminations, is beloved by part-timer Rika. Hoshihiko follows Waki, who he says is attracted by a smell. The door of the Daybreak Detective Agency opens to a client… A mysterious story by Taratsumi John.

    Loved the cover art but mixed feels for this paranormal detective story.

    On one hand, The Annals of the Strange Tales of the Daybreak Detective has an interesting set-up. It follows Douchin Waki, a private detective going about his investigations that always involved ghosts. The detective agency is owned by Shinonome, an elderly ex-cop who took an orphaned Waki under his wing. The agency also employed a young college student, Rika, and later on, Hoshihiko, a ghost Waki encountered in the opening story.

    The plot and the mysteries were intriguing. The manga has a melancholy atmosphere that is offset by bursts of humor frequently delivered by the genki Rika. The more serious parts relate to Waki’s past and Shinonome’s fragile health. These are the ones that grippped me the most.

    However, I wasn’t a fan of the romance. Rika has a bad crush on Waki. He’s like an adoring puppy with the way he makes eyes at the man. Waki is attractive in his own worn out way. However, he’s such a heavy smoker I could practically smell the stink all the way here. I don’t find him appealing as a love interest.

    The worst part is that the feelings were one-sided. Rika asked the older man to go out with him. Waki seemed to be just going with the flow so he agreed. He even upfront said he didn’t know how he feels about the younger man. The closing chapter rushed into making them a couple and giving happy endings all around but I remained unconvinced.

    The romance could have been better developed but overall, this manga is enjoyable.

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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Old-Fashioned Cupcake

    Old-Fashioned Cupcake – Sagan Sagan

    Sleep, wake, and work — sums up the day-to-day life of 39-year old, Nozue. A routine that eases him, and conversely weighs heavily on him — which worries the hard-eyed but reliable Togawa, a 29-year old subordinate of his. In an unexpected turn of events, the two of them end up visiting a pancake shop bustling with girls.

    Old-Fashion Cupcake is a beautifully drawn age-gap, workplace romance. Cupcake is an apt title because Nozue is a total sweetheart. He’s a mild-mannered man, a little too hang-up on his age, good-looking, well-liked, and highly respected at work. While always kind, he’s also spectacularly clueless about his subordinate, Togawa’s advances towards him.

    I loved that this is from Nozue’s oblivious POV but we can see Togawa’s subtle but unmistakable attraction towards his superior. The two started going on food trips when Nozue casually mentioned a desire to enjoy things the way two girls they spotted on the train station were having fun hanging out. Togawa then gamely took Nozue to various cafes popular with women. They eat pancakes and parfaits while taking pictures of the food the way girls would do.

    The love story is wonderful! Togawa is one of the best manga boyfriends there is. He’s super thoughtful, very perceptive, and completely devoted to Nozue. He talks the older man out of his I’m-an-old-geezer funks. I love how the two poke fun at the 10-year age gap between them.

    The manga tackles middle-aged woes. Nozue spends too much time angsting about his old age. But this is not a story about recapturing the glories of youth. It’s more about learning to live rather than being stuck in a rut because of fear of failure.

    I enjoyed how the story flowed smoothly. Even at some parts where there was a huge chunk of text, they didn’t bog down the pace. The romantic development was slow but so emotionally moving. I rooting hard for Nozue. The guy could use definitely use some TLC.

    And, OMG! That ending! Togawa really knows how to drop a bombshell.

    But this is just volume 1. The story continues in “Old-Fashioned Cupcake with Cappuccino

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    MANGA: Koi no Mimiyori Chuuihou

    Koi no Mimiyori Chuuihou – Okuyama Puku

    Hajime can’t wait to make the scene at his high school……… but his dreams of coolness are soon dashed by the appearance of the weird and wily Nagura! A third-year elite student with a serious thing for perfect ears, Nagura will stop at nothing ’til he’s swabbed Hajime to his heart’s content! How long can this pair of almost friends keep their cat-and-mouse game going? Warning! Whispers of Love tickes your senses with astrange and sweet tale of bold obsession, braving obstacles……… and plenty of surprise crushes! Two cute guys give their all in a playful tug-of-war where no one’s sure who’s calling the shots… Which one will get everything he desires……… before the final school bell rings?

    Of all the silly, ridiculous plots… ʱªʱªʱª (ᕑᗢूᓫ∗)

    Warning! Whispers of Love is two idiots going on a merry chase all over the campus because sempai wants to clean kohai’s ears.

    Resist he might but as expected, kohai couldn’t help but slowly fall for sempai. But dare he let sempai do it to him? Clean his ears that is…

    The title story is already super hilarious. It’s extra funny to me because I’m one of those people who have a Q-tip addiction. I feel the issue of itchy ears is not talked about enough. We should have a Q-tip addiction support group. Who’s with me?

    The adorableness of the story is perfectly matched by the kawaii art. I’ve always loved how the mangaka drew her characters. They look so floofy!!!

    The volume also includes one shots of slightly less ridiculous but still cute stories.

    My Room is a roommates to lovers stories of a Tokyoite who found himself falling for the stranger he agreed to live with for two weeks. This has the most subdued and melancholy mood.

    Beyond The Lens is a reunited childhood friends to lovers romance of two high schoolers. This is the least interesting chapter for me. The characters were pretty generic, The story was so-so.

    Tomorrow, Dogday, Sunny and Clear a.k.a. cockblocked by a corgi is one high schooler competing with a dog for his boyfriend’s attention. This one’s a riot. And hella frustrating because boy badly needs to get some.

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    MANGA: Loveless

    Loveless – Penguin Frontier

    Lee is doesn’t feel love. Or so he thought…

    Thirty-something salaryman Lee is living a lonely life, incapable of feeling love since the time his parents died when he was young. He’s roommates with another man, a guy who trusts no one after breaking up with his girlfriend. The two lived together and occasionally sleeps together, all out of convenience. One day, their simple arrangement changes…

    Loveless is a one-shot that will crush your heart into tiny pieces in one short chapter. It’s a very succinct portrait of a life barely lived, of people going through the motions of living. It’s about a relationship that can hardly be called a relationship and how one doesn’t realize what they truly have until it’s gone.

    The manga is very melancholy. The gorgeous colored art really did a good job reflecting that broody, introspective mood. I imagined this would make a great short film. I could already picture the beautiful soft-focused shots of the lonely people in the city at night ala Wong Kai Wai.

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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Only Mine

    Only Mine – Katou Setsuko

    A collection of stories.

    This volume is a collection of slice-of-life stories, mostly about salarymen and a couple university students.

    Only Mine is a romance between a taxi driver and his passenger. The salaryman was pretty forward but I liked the way their relationship developed. The taxi driver was adorably blushy. This needs to be a series or a full volume at least.

    Omoi Megurasu (Think About) is two antagonistic coworkers bonding over a dog. Well actually, it was more like one begged the other to play with his dog. He was turned down but the stubborn man showed up unannounced anyway. This one had some twisty surprises. Really liked how the story played out.

    Dare yori Negau Shiawase wa (I Wish Your Happiness More Than Anyone) has an interesting premise but boring execution. This is about two men working in the bridal industry. Couldn’t say more about it because it was so meh.

    Boku no Jiman no Koibito desu (You Are My Special Lover) is about a salaryman who had to endure his coworkers boasting about their girlfriends. They all thought he was single and wanted to set him up. Dare he show them his boyfriend’s pictures? This is a nicely-done coming out story. The couple had such a great relationship. They really took time to talk things out. The boyfriend is a total sweetheart! So worth showing off!

    Mokuyoubi no Yoru, Sentou de (At Thursday Night, In Public Bath) is about a university student who goes to the public bath owned by his classmate. Said classmate would then stare at his body, smiling like a loon, while he takes a bath. I’m all for a guy who’s upfront about things but ogling your customer while they bathe is creepy. The story was boring too.

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    MANGA: Inoue-kun Hajimemasen ka?

    Inoue-kun Hajimemasen ka? – Fujitobi

    When Inoue’s asthma acts up on the first day of school, a boy named Karasuma helps him out. Inoue falls in love with him almost instantly, but Karasuma insists that he’s not interested in love. Inoue doesn’t give up and continues to ask him out at least three times a day. When Karasuma’s emotions get the best of him, Inoue mysteriously gets hurt by a mysterious breeze smashing a nearby window. But how could the sudden wind be Karasuma’s fault?


    Wanna Try Dating Inoue? is a collection of two interconnected stories set in a world where all sorts of furries and other mythical creatures exist.

    The title story is about an asthmatic high schooler, Inoue, who was assisted by a poker-faced senpai, Karasuma after a particularly bad asthma attack. The super cheerful, super positive, super persistent Inoue promptly fell in love and was asking Karasuma to go out with him every chance he got. He was turned down every time. Strangely enough, Karasuma is always there to help him whenever he’s in a pinch. Why then is senpai so adamant about not wanting to date him?

    This is how you do persistent, possessive characters. Typically I would be annoyed with Inoue’s type of character, the kind who throws themselves at the other person and wouldn’t take no for an answer. To me, that is harassment. However, Inoue did it so charmingly and so cutely. There were no dub-con moments. Everything was just so fluffy and gentle.

    Karasuma is a tengu who possessed a rare ability. It is this rare ability that caused a disaster. This is why he doesn’t want to fall in love. But Inoue was pure sunshine and positivity, Karasuma found himself falling.

    I particularly enjoyed the switch to Karasuma’s POV. Karasuma is expressionless most of the time it’s hard to tell what he thinks. But he’s just as endearing as Inoue in his own broody way. I loved their light/dark combination!

    I Tried Dating Ookami is about Asaka who was confessed to by a big-scary-looking werewolf. Too scared to refuse, he agreed to go out with Ookami. He continued to be scared during their mostly awkward, mostly wordless interactions. The wolf was too intimidating. He couldn’t take it anymore, something had to give…Then he discovered, Ookami is not what he seems.

    This is a story about not judging a person why his appearance. It was fun watching Asaka find out about the many wonderful things about the big guy. As you could have guessed, Ookami is a big softie. This wolf is really a shiba inu. Like I said, adorbs!

    I really loved this volume! The art is very kawaii with furries and random creatures everywhere. The bonus panels at the end of each chapter were super fun!

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    MANGA: Midara Na Sasayaki

    Midara Na Sasayaki – Minase Masara

    Sequel to Kokoro to Karada no Hazama. Coworkers Ryuuichi and Haruyoshi are dating but now Ryuuchi’s working all hours.

    Indecent Whispers is the raunchier sequel to The Interval Between the Heart and the Body. This one-shot is a glimpse at the life of your typical overworked couple.

    Haruyoshi is getting increasingly frustrated with his blue balls situation. His lover, Ryuuichi, has been working overtime during the weekends. When they finally had some alone time together, Ryuuichi was too tired to get in the mood. Desperate times call for desperate measures, Haruyoshi decided to get creative.

    I think this skirted the edge of dub-con. Although, the two were already a couple so…I don’t know. I’m also not sure these two would last given Ryuuichi’s seeming lack of effort to give his boyfriend some attention. I get he’s tired but he could have offered to cuddle while getting some shut-eye instead of being bitchy.

    Overall, I liked the prequel better. However, I think this would make a good series. A few more chapters might do wonders to Ryuuichi’s prickly attitude.

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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Kokoro To Karada No Hazama

    Kokoro To Karada No Hazama – Minase Masara

    Kokoro to Karada no Hazama is a prequel to Midara na Sasayaki scanlated by Hochuuami Haruyoshi was always a player until he met Ryuuichi. Now he’s settled down, but suddenly Ryuuichi says he’s going to an omai! Has Haruyoshi been wrong about their relationship the entire time?

    The Interval Between the Heart and the Body are two idiots, Haruyoshi and Ryuuichi, fuck buddies who didn’t talk properly about their true feelings for each other.

    Things came to a head when Ryuuichi met a girl for a marriage interview. Haruyoshi threw a fit, wanting to sabotage his lover’s date. His loyal-but-so-goddamn-tired-of-this-shit friend, Takahara, decided to take action forcing the two lovers to confront each other.

    That is basically what happened. The rest was them having make up sex. Still, as simple as the plot is, this one-shot was still interesting enough for me to look forward to the sequel. What happens when they take their relationship to the next level?

    Best character here is obviously Takahara, being the only sensible one. I’m on the fence about whether I want him to be secretly in love with his dork of a best friend or not but I definitely want him to have his own manga.

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  • manga,  Uncategorized

    MANGA: Apart de Itooshii Kimi ga Naku

    Apart de Itooshii Kimi ga Naku – Ohtake Tomo

    Ishikawa works as a prop hand at a television studio. One day, a young actor name Ikami comes over and says to him ”I’m going to die tomorrow”…… Following that encounter, Ikami tries to make small talk with Ishikawa.

    You, My Dearest Crying In My Apartment is prop hand Ishikawa slowly being drawn to young actor Ikami. Actually, it was more like Ikami, who everyone described as difficult and cold, inexplicably latched on to Ishikawa.

    The prop hand found himself taking notice of Ikami’s quirks and comparing them to everyone else’s comments about the actor. The latter was spending more and more time in Ishikawa’s apartment. One day, they talked about Ikami’s problems with the studio head. Then one thing led to another and they ended up kissing…

    We’ve seen a lot of characters forcing themselves on another character. I don’t know what that trope is called but I frequently found it annoying. What I liked about Ikami here was that he did it in a way that didn’t irritate me. And there were no sexual harassments involved. Or anything sexual at all, at first. I’m not even sure these two realized they were gay.

    It was just Ikami deciding to spend time with the other man. As a socially awkward person, I could understand the young actor being not personable. He talked only to people he liked, which is Ishikawa. And there’s Ishikawa realizing he’s having a good time. Also, that they liked each other that way.

    The story isn’t as dramatic as the title made it out to be. The feels were slow-burn and low-key. This one-shot was written like there were supposed to be more chapters. It could certainly use another one or two to fully flesh out the characters and some plot points. The ending had the couple reuniting but still left me hanging.

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    MANGA: Koi Saku Potager

    Koi Saku Potager – Mita Homuro

    Yui, a young chef, is secretly in love with Tetsu, the guy that works as a farmer in the neighbourhood. But secrets can’t be secrets forever, right? 

    This is why chefs should date adorable vegetable farmers!

    Fall In Love In The Potager is a super fluffy, slow burn manga about enterprising chef Yui who is head over heels in love with young farmer Tetsu. Almost everyday, Tetsu eats lunch at Yui’s cafe. The chef wows him with delectable dishes made from his own farm’s vegetables.

    The story is told from Yui’s POV. He pines for the young farmer who is quite oblivious to Yui’s more than friendly feelings. This has such a gentle vibe and the wholesomeness of fresh greenery. It’s when the POV flips to Tetsu’s that the feels intensifies.

    Tetsu’s perspective touches upon the Japanese tendency to avoid buying misshapen vegetables. As a former office worker who just took up agriculture, Tetsu struggles to grow the ideal kinds of produce that are marketable. I loved how this made a sweet and endearing connection between the two main characters. That scene where troubled Tetsu discovered what Yui had done really tugged at my heart.

    The secondary character, Miho, is a riot! He’s the bossy waiter who constantly nags the laidback Yui into working harder. He schemes to increase profit, is good with computers and brought the two dorks together. This man needs his own manga.

    The artwork is lovely! I like how it complemented the story. The cover’s vivid watercolor illustration is eyecatching. It’s a style that not commonly seen. Foodies will also appreciate the unique recipes Yui whipped up for Tetsu. The mangaka generously shared them at the end of each chapter.

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