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Nisekoi / False Love Review

(Please note that this review covers the entirety of the manga with minimal spoilers and does not focus solely on volume 12)

Nisekoi, written and illustrated by Komi Naoshi, bears a simple concept. The story revolves around a high school boy (who ages at the series progresses) by the name of Ichijou Raku (last name, first name). Despite his yakuza background, he is otherwise an average honor student with an ambition to become a successful government worker against his family’s wishes, as they want him to inherit the title as the next head. Meanwhile, he must also deal with his struggles for love as he fondly recalls a memory from nearly a decade ago where he struck a promise with a girl, whom he has promised to marry when they reunite. To remember this promise by, the girl gave Raku a locked pendant while she herself left with the only key that has the ability to open it.

However, things get complicated when Raku slightly goes against his plans by crushing on the sweet and kind Onodera Kosaki in his class… and the struggles don’t stop there. The sudden appearance and first meeting of Kirisaki Chitoge, the daughter of the chief from the Bee Hive Gang, not only goes wrong, but she ruins his plans of achieving love. What’s more, the Bee Hive Gang and the Shuuei-Clan of the yakuza are caught in turmoil, and the only way to stop a mass destruction of Japan is for the young Chitoge and Raku to date. Both groups agree that for the happiness of the two, they will cease their fighting. And thus, the title of False Love comes into effect as Chitoge and Raku pretend to be each other’s lovers.

The beansprout (Raku, on the left) and the gorilla (Chitoge, on the right).
The beansprout (Raku, on the left) and the gorilla (Chitoge, on the right).

The basic premise of the story is simple, but unfortunately for Raku, the girls are not. His life takes a complete 180 as he must learn how to adjust to this new setting. It becomes apparent immediately that Chitoge and Raku don’t get along due to their hot-blooded natures. Furthermore, Raku fears his fake relationship with Chitoge may detriment any chances he had with Onodera.

Allow me to go over the characters in Nisekoi/False Love so you can understand then better.

Raku (on the left), Onodera (in the middle) and Chitoge (on the right).
Raku (on the left), Onodera (in the middle) and Chitoge (on the right).

Ichijou Raku, despite his yakuza background, is truly just an average high school guy. He achieves amazing grades, hopes to secure a high paying regular job and wishes to find love. However, that’s not all. From the very beginning of the manga, we see that although he is indecisive and lost with his own feelings, he is incredibly kind, selfless and constantly worries over other people’s well beings. But alas, he is nothing short of a typical harem male protagonist, which is what puts most people off.

Kirisaki Chitoge is introduced as a half-Japanese half-American girl. At the beginning of the story, she has returned from her time in America and is reintegrating into Japanese society. During the story, we see that she is brash, loudmouthed, speaks before thinking and is a glutton by nature. However, despite this, Chitoge also has a soft side. She, like Raku, is also selfless, kind and caring. She acknowledges her own faults after her outbursts and often attempts to take responsibility when it calls for it. Again, like a typical harem, Chitoge is your average tsundere character.

Onodera Kosaki is someone Raku has had a crush on since middle school. She is described as the perfect wife for her appealing outwardly appearances, her generally soft and welcoming nature and her overall cuteness. Often referred to as just “Onodera” by Raku, she is shown to reciprocate her feelings for him- but both of them fail to realize this and are too awkward or insecure to admit it to each other. Onodera’s best friend, Ruri, takes notice of this and constantly tries to set them up for perfect opportunities to be alone. Onodera can probably take the place of the “childhood friend” role in common harems, even though their respective crushes have only started since middle school.

More characters will appear later, but you will have to find them out for yourself! Some of the side characters you will see early on are Miyamoto Ruri, who is Onodera’s best friend and wing woman. She, along with the other side character, Maiko Shuu (who is Raku’s best friend), are both incredibly insightful, aware and they only want the best for their respective friends. It should be noted that Shuu is probably more aware than Ruri, but he often makes jokes or plays along with situations that he thinks are fun (that other characters may think otherwise), so he is used for comedic relief.

In any case, if you are looking to dive into Nisekoi/False Love, be prepared for over 200 chapters of content (many of which are filler chapters, and the ones that are NOT fillers will focus on one of the many girls involved in Raku’s harem). You will laugh, you may cry, you may board a ship that is bound to become the next Titanic- who knows? The manga is still ongoing, but rest assured, the ride may be enjoyable (if you’re into this genre) and definitely not a bad series to follow once a week (serialized in Shounen Jump).

An image with some of the girls. Source.
An image with some of the girls. Source.

Personally, I think there are plenty of ups and downs with this manga. I particularly dislike harems and more-so the cliche harems, but for some reason, I have never felt compelled to drop this series. So even if this type of genre doesn’t quite strike your fancy, give it a try! You never know what kind of journey Nisekoi/False Love may take you on.

If you’re interested in giving it a try, check it out on Amazon.co.jp! Digital copies are available, even if you do not own a Kindle. Click here to get started! And if an Amazon Gift Card is all you need, then rest assured, because we’ve got you covered as well. Click here to buy one today!

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Shokugeki no Soma/Food Wars, Manga Review

Shokugeki no Soma, otherwise known as Food Wars! in the U.S. is a shonen manga that follows Soma Yukihira on his quest to become a better chef than his father. While the main premise seems a bit simple, the cooking techniques that are featured in this manga are anything but easy. Beginner cooks that want to learn how to cook via manga will have to look elsewhere. The manga does feature a few recipe pages for the intermediate cooks to tryout Soma’s style of cooking. Shokugeki no Soma is a cooking manga but cooking is often used as a motif for Soma’s transition to adulthood. At its core, this manga is essentially a shonen battle manga with a kitchen themed battleground. While unique ideas can enhance a story, Shokugeki no Soma prefers to use a tried and tested formula in order to keep its readers entertain. By no mean does this make it boring to read, but one can’t help but think that they have read a similar manga elsewhere.

The formulaic approach is a tried and tested method that several successful shonen manga have used before. It can be a boil down to two elements; a young and hot-blooded protagonists and his lofty goal of becoming the best ___ (fill in the blank). While Soma never explicitly states that he desires to become the best chef in the world, he does declare that he wants to become a better chef than his father Joichiro Yukihira. He is also known as old man Yukihara, who happens to be a chef capable of cooking at the Royal Manhattan hotel.While it is not based on a real hotel, Manhattan is often known as home to some of the best chefs in the world. Essentially Soma desires to beat his old man is synonymous with most shonen’s protagonist goal to become the best in the world. Perhaps the formula works because most readers can identify a time in their childhood when they wanted to be the best in their field of interest.

The characters are vibrant but hardly original. Soma’s implied rival is an stuck-up loud mouth girl named Erina,l who came from a noble background. Old man Yukihara is the embodiment of a cool old-man with loads of experience in cooking. If the author decides to imply romantic interest between Soma and Erina, I will grill this manga and dip it in peanut butter. In the beginning of volume one, Yuto Tsukuda says that he read the autobiographies of famous chefs in order to write Shokugeki no Soma. He questions how much “drama is hiding behind [the] dishes that they serve so effortlessly”. It would have been good if he explained the drama that he found or interesting details about the lives of famous chefs. Perhaps that idea will be in future volumes, but as of now it seems that Shokugeki no Soma uses an idealize version of professional cooking.

What interested me the most about the first volume was the one-shot that was included in the manga. While the characters and premise remains the same, it seemed that the main character was slightly altered when Shokugeki no Soma got serialized in Shonen Jump. Soma in the one-shot was less hot-blooded and a bit more mature in his demeanors. One of the few lines that changed Soma’s character in the one shot was when he told Erina that he found her cooking dull. He seemed rather displeased with Erina’s cooking whereas the new Soma would be eager to challenge Erina and tell her how his cooking is much better than her’s. Soma’s mature side is also shown when he lectures Erina on why he finds her cooking dull because she never fails. Ironically the quote relates a lot about how I feel about the manga itself, “the perfect recipe…leads [to] nowhere/ There are people out there…who think there’s only ever one right answer/ I can’t help but think those people…will never be able to discover something even better” It seems like the shonen jump editors had a lot of influence on the serialization of Shokugeki no Soma. Prime example being Soma’s original goal of tasting every last dish under the sun rather than beating his father at cooking. I can’t help but feel that the perfect shonen recipe will hinder Shokugeki no Soma from its discovery towards something even better.

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Fragments of Horror Manga Review

Fragments of Horror contains several short horror stories with a variety of themes. From a girl who is obsessed with being cut open to a writer that kidnaps her fans in order to find the perfect writing material. Junji Ito demonstrates in Fragments of Horror that terror can come in all forms. For readers that are used to reading serialized manga, it might be a bit difficult to relate or understand the characters. Simply for the fact that the characters themselves are used as disposable puppets in order to tell the story. Junji Ito’s works are a reminiscent of old school manga in terms of storytelling and art direction. While the artwork might be different in comparison to the clean lines and minimal design of modern manga, it’s filled with intricate details that describes the madness and terror of his story.

Horror is a very tough genre to execute. What may be scary for one individual might not work for another person. There’s also the issue of being predictable simply because the horror genre encourages characters to be tossed away like disposable tissues. While Junji Ito’s works are classified as horror, it does not mean every page will be filled with gore or explicit images that promote shock values over a proper narrative.

The merriam-webster dictionary defines horror as “a very strong feeling of fear, dread and shock”. This collection of horror stories focuses more on the dread and shock portion of horror. As I mentioned earlier that horror can be a tricky genre to work with due to it being predictable. However Junji Ito uses this factor of predictability in order to create a mysterious element within his stories.

For example in one of the story “A Gentle Goodbye” describes the process of mourning and how one copes with it. It begins with Riko, a girl who is frighten by the idea of losing her father. The scene then transitions to her traditional marriage with the Tokura family. However it is revealed that her husband’s family did not want the marriage to happen in the first place. Despite her effort to fit in and please her relatives, nobody wants to interact with her. A little bit afterwards, she discovered that the Tokura family has a tradition of creating afterimages of their deceased family members. Essentially they’re ghost versions of the people that are dead, however the ghosts aren’t alive but rather they’re delusions created by the living. This essentially describes how when a person passes away, the dead lives on within our memories. Riko’s husband comments that the afterimages can’t say anything that “surpasses the expectations of the living”, hints that the images are metaphorical representations of how our memories of the deceased remains unchanged after they pass away. One of Riko’s dream is that her father turned into a toy and “at first [she] loved it and played with it. But…in the end, [she] left it in the drawer. And then as the long months passed…[her] toy father went off somewhere without [her] realizing [it]. The drawer represents the coffin where the dead resides and the toy father represents the living’s perception of the dead. This part describes how after someone passes away, the mourners often wishes they spent more time to play with the deceased. However as the long months passed the mourners would eventually forget about the dead and move on with their lives.

Overall Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito contains some of the most bizarre, grotesque and intriguing short stories within the manga world. His old school art style might not be suitable for those that are used to modern day manga, however his style really does bring out his unique ideas of what horror manga can look like. Most of his stories are interesting to read because of how well Ito pushes the boundaries between the supernatural world and how people would react to these supernatural events. Some of his stories can be looked at from different angles in order to interpret the hidden messages, which can be fun on its own but not necessary if you simply want to enjoy a good manga from the beginning to the end. I recommend this manga to those looking for something light to read or those that simply love horror. Hopefully Viz will publish more of Junji Ito’s works in the future.

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A Silent Voice Review

Shoya Ishida isn’t a fan of boredom. His daily activities involve jumping off bridges and getting into fights with older men. He fights not for some lofty goal but because he is bored. What starts out as an innocent endeavor eventually leads to Shoya’s realization that he must grow up. However he ignores his friend’s warning to mature and declares that life is a war against boredom. Koe no Kitachi or A silent voice in the U.S release is a manga written by Yoshitoki Oima that is an emotional read that explores the motives and impact of childhood bullying through its two main characters Shoyo Ishida and Shoko Nishimiya.

The manga originally started as a one-shot and was later expanded into seven separate volumes. The reader will not need to read the one-shot before they start this manga. The one-shot is included in this manga and have been expanded to fit a full volume. Currently there are two volumes released in the U.S. While this may seem little in comparision to other manga, each volume feels like a separate story on its own. It reads more like a series of novel rather than a weekly serialization. This story is by no mean slow, but don’t expect there to be excitement every 10 page or so.

The plain character design shows how Shoyo views people as simply a way to relieve his boredom. From jumping off bridges with his friends to getting into fights and bullying Nishimiya, all of Shoya’s reasons for his actions were simply because he was bored. Another noticable thing about the art direction of this manga was how subtle the author kept the story. Shoya began as a mischievous punk who only did stupid things to entertain himself but ends up being shun by his close friends. The bruises and marks on Shoya were a minor addition to his character throughout the pages. The mangaka never explicitly shows Shoya being beaten by his friends until later in the manga. This illustrates how bullying can start off as minor incidents and then escalates into major ones.

A silent voice is an easy read but its subject matter can leave readers uncomfortable with the realities of bullying. For readers that are looking for escapism and delightful humor within their manga, look elsewhere. A silent voice tackles on the subject of bullying head on, similar to Shoya’s attitude on boredom. It is a refreshing read amongst the sea of battle fantasy manga and gag manga. But rest assure a silent voice’s story is a good story even with a tough subject matter such as bullying.

It’s hard not to recommend this manga. Even if you are not a fan of school settings in manga and anime, a silent voice destroys the anime shool cliché and fills it with reminders of how difficult it is to grow up. Especially if you grew up different amongst your peers. The first volume can be read as a one-shot so in theory you could read the first volume and be done with the series. But I’m curious about what the author has packed for the next 6 volumes. Of course I’ll be picking up the remaining volumes, it’s just a matter of waiting for the U.S release to come out. Koe no Kitachi can be previewed on crunchyroll for free, give it a try if you’re still on the fence about this series.

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Another Manga Review

Koichi Sakakibara is a new transfer student from Tokyo. His lung disorder has forced him to move in with his grandparents in a rural town known as Yomiyama, the same town that his deceased mother has attended. During his time in the hospital, he has a particular strange conversation with a girl wearing an eye patch. The conversation left him puzzled because it felt like he had talked to a ghost. What’s even more ominous is that no one in his class can see her except for him. His home classroom is also known as the cursed classroom. Twenty-six years ago, a beloved student passed away, however his classmates refused to acknowledge it. They carried on their daily lives as if he was still around. When an end of the school year photo had been taken, the image of the dead student can be found in the photo. Is there a connection between the mysterious girl and the deceased student?

While anime and manga have become mainstream in the public eye, horror manga still remains a niche of their own. It is no wonder why this is a manga adaption of the novel Another rather than a standalone manga. Ayatsuji is a well known mystery and horror writer in the Japanese scene and it shows in this manga adaption. Horror in movies and manga work in two different ways. While one can be scare by a sudden shift in sound or a simple jump-scare tactic, pictures and words can rarely produce this type of emotion. What makes a horror story standout is a sense of unfamiliarity and the tension that it builds until the climax. Yukito Ayatsuji’s story and Hiro Kiyohara’s drawings have certainly done this.

This story is meant to be read from start to finish in a single book like a novel. If you are buying the U.S copy of Another, it is release in a single volume with all four volumes of the manga included in one. It essentially is a one shot manga in the U.S, whereas in Japan it was released over a series of four volumes. This is a pretty good deal as you will not have to buy all four volumes and can buy it in one go.

The manga’s art is a lot less focused on the gore and violence compared to the anime. What was most noticable about Kiyohara’s art in Another was through his use of symbolism and atmosphere. The reader will notice that each character’s eyes standout in comparison to their facial features. While this is a common trait in manga stylization, Kiyohara uses this design in order to promote the idea that what we see may not match with what is in front of us.

Overall Another is a manga that relies less on anime tropes and cliches and focuses more on character dialogues. Its sense of horror won’t leave you shaking in your boots, however it will make you question a lot of things in reality. Japanese horror is a lot more subtle and complex in comparision to the standard jumpscare American horror that some might be more familiar with. Even if you are not a fan of horror, Another is a good manga to pickup just for the story itself.

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Bamboo Blade, Vol. 1 Review

Bamboo Blade tells a story about a bet between Kojiro and his senpai Kenzaburo Ishibashi. If Kojiro can form an elite squad of female kendo students and beat Ishibashi’s team, then he is entitled to a year’s worth of free sushi. However if Kojiro loses the bet he has to forfeit the most precious item in his room. Kojiro considers his Super Famicom the most precious item in his room. However what his senpai really wants is the trophy that represents Kojiro’s victory over him senpai during high school. This demonstrates the sense of rivalry between the two that has not been extinguished over the past few years. As a result Kojiro agrees to this bet, only to find out that the trophy has been shattered to pieces, and he is left with no choice but to win this gamble.

This manga is not a typical sports manga in the sense that it focuses more on character interactions rather than diving into the complexity of the rules and mechanics of kendo. The author Totsuka Masahiro demonstrates this clearly by having free sushi as the goal for Kojiro rather than the desire to win nationals. Kojiro even uses this motivator in an attempt to persuade kendo prodigy, Tamaki Kawazoe, to join his team. Be that as it may, she shows no interest in kendo or Kojiro’s prize. It seems that many of the characters in Bamboo Blade join the kendo club for a reason outside of the sport itself. Even the freshmen only join the kendo club because they got rejected by the ping-pong club. What’s even more interesting is that Tamaki later decides to join because she dreams of being an anime hero. Ultimately this alludes to the idea that kendo can attract different personalities under the same sport. Such is shown through each character’s motivations and reason to practice kendo.

The high speed kendo scenes are a testament to each character’s ability and skills. For example the very first page of the manga shows multiple consecutive strikes done within a short amount of time. It then transitions to Tamaki’s face, illustrating the turning point of the match before it ends with her image as the victor who has not broken a sweat. . This scene supports the idea that Tamaki is a skilled Kendo prodigy. I think the fight scenes are done very well in terms of showing how skilled each of the kendo practitioners are. However the art doesn’t stand out as much when the characters are not fighting each other. This does not hinder the story, but it does leave some room for improvement.

Overall Bamboo Blade is good series to pick up if you want to read a sport theme manga with a focus on character development. This is a series I would recommend if you are into old school manga. However be warned that the art style and pacing can feel a bit different compared to the standard manga of today.

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Kagerou Daze -In A Daze- Review

The series originally starting back on February 17, 2011 with the song Jinzou Enemy, the Kagerou Project didn’t obtain major popularity until September 30, 2011 with the song Kagerou Daze. The Kagerou Project has been developed into several media adaptions, all with different story Routes that lead to one ending. The novel adaption is just one of the routes.

The creator of Kagerou Project, Jin(Shizen no Teki-P), not only wrote and composed the songs but he also wrote the story himself for the manga, novel and anime adaptions. However, the music videos are the origin of this story and the manga and novel help give life to the story. However, each adaption is meant to be different. The music videos are the base of the story, with the manga and novel each having different events that lead to one ending. The anime adaption, Mekakucity Actors, is the final adaption of the series while the novel and manga are still continuing their story lines.

From reading the blurb of the book, the story would sound very lacking. Those that have stayed within the Kagerou Project since the beginning or those that have seen the music videos first, would know the story and how deep it actually is. Right from the start of the book, the story is not self explanatory in any sense and that is a good thing. The first chapter being Kagerou Daze I is supposed to take place in the song of the same name, Kagerou Daze, showing Hibiya Amamiya’s point of view. After that chapter, it goes straight into what actually is the beginning of the story. Shintaro Kisaragi, the protagonist of the series, ends up having to go outside after 2 years of being a shut-in. Thanks to a random “AI” that entered his life, ENE, Shintaro has had to deal with her day after day. The torture goes from changing his passwords, annoying him constantly and making fun of him until one day, August 14th, Ene caused Shintaro to spill soda all over his computer. Since he is a shut-in and all he ever did was stay on his computer, Shintaro and Ene try to look for replacements but since it was the Obon holiday, they had no other choice but to go outside into the blistering heat.

Even though that is only the beginning of the story, there is a lot of things that come after. The story leaves out and gives you no context of what is going on, and thats what it is trying to do. The characters in the story, they don’t know whats going on until it is explained to them. The way the story is told is meant to put you in each character’s point of view, to show you how little they know or to help expand on the background of the story. However, this may be confusing for some readers.

The easiest way to get into this series would be to listen to the songs and watch the PVs. They set the basic storyline and atmosphere of the series, after that the manga would be the easiest to understand to a certain point. That is where you should read the novel and then watch the anime. Kagerou Daze -In A Daze- isn’t a bad start to the novel adaption at all. When getting to the final chapter, at lot more feels because it ties into the more arbitrary chapters. However, -In A Daze- was a bit weird to read even already knowing and loving the entire plot of the series beforehand. Even Jin himself states in the afterword that writing this novel was hard.

The second volume of the novel, -A Headphone Actor-, will release on September 22nd. The manga’s first volume has already released in America and you will be able find Mekakucity Actors online. This book only costs about $15 and you can find it at certain bookstores, being Barnes & Nobles or at Kinokuniya.

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Assassination Classroom, Vol. 1 Review

Presumably, everyone has been to school at least once their life, and there is always a teacher or two we come to hold in high regard. On the other hand, there are also the teachers who we love to hate for one reason or another.” Of course every new school year is filled with different expectations and promises, and while not every teacher induces a murderous rage within us, there are always ways to tolerate even the most hateful instructor. However, nowhere, does it state that one is allowed to plot to kill their fellow educator. That is unless you are part of Room 3-E of Kunugigaoka Junior High School, where every assassination is planned with zeal and is part of the curriculum.Assassinating your homeroom teacher is an idea that I am amazed is able to work over the course of several chapters. Of course, one element adds a particular twist to an already strange premise. What would that be? Aliens. More specifically, an alien homeroom teacher that introduces himself by saying he blew up the moon and will also blow up the earth

With such a silly introduction, the reader already knows that Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination Classroom) is anything but serious. Its plot revolves around a group of students in Room 3-E, who are essentially a bunch of misfits due to their grade average. They are asked to not only raise their grades but are told to kill their homeroom teacher by the Ministry of Defense by next march, with the only rules being that assassination must not interfere with their studies. The students are armed with bullets designed to harm only the teacher and keep other students safe. This is odd as there should be no reason for an alien with the intent to blow up earth to care about keeping the students safe.
What allows Ansatsu Kyoushitsu to differentiate itself with such a simple premise is the creativity shown through the student’s attempts to assassinate their teacher. Now assassination is no easy task when your alien teacher can move at a speed of Mach 20, but with the fate of the world and 10 billion yen at stake for whoever can kill their teacher, students can become innovative very quick. Better yet assassination seems to be one of the many ways that the students bond together because they have a common enemy.

Although Ansatsu Kyoushitsu is not a mystery genre manga, it has elements of mystery in it. The alien teacher’s kindness and desire to teach Class 3-E contributes to this mystery. For example Nagisa is one of the main character who is pressured to wear a grenade by his fellow classmates Terasaka, Yoshida, Muramatsu. When Nagisa is forced to go up and act as a sacrifice for the sake of his classmates, the teacher quickly sheds his skin and protects Nagisa from the impact of the grenade. On top of that the alien teacher also display a sense of anger that his students would perform such a tasteless assassination that has no regards for the welfare of others.

When one look pasts the main goal of assassination, they can see that Ansatsu Kyoushitsu is a simple school manga that focuses on the relationship between a teacher and a class that has been given up on. The students are desperate to be recognized as people other than the cursed students who belong in class 3-E, and with the opportunity to save the earth they have something to look forward to and work for everyday. One way or another Ansatsu Kyoushitsu is sure to create fond memories as the students learn to accept themselves with the help of their teacher.

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So I Can’t Play H, Vol. 1 Review

When one imagines a grim reaper, an image of a tall figure with a dark robe and a long scythe comes to mind. Luckily for Ryosuke Kaga, his first encounter with the personification of death was with someone much prettier than expected. That grim reaper is none other than Lisara Lestorl who comes from the most distinguished house of all grim reapers. Her task is to find someone worthy and form a contract with such person. Unfortunately her search comes to standstill because of her unfamiliarity with the human world. Ultimately, what is at stake here is Lisara’s pride as a grim reaper, she cannot go home until she finds a worthy contract partner. Although Ryosuke could careless about Lisara’s objective, the idea of being around a beautiful girl certainly does persuade him into helping her.

So I Can’t Play H! is a supernatural comedy ecchi that relies more on its comedic and ecchi aspect in order to entertain its reader. Ryosuke’s perversion and desires are often the prime targets for hilarity. At first glance, Ryosuke appears to be a goofball who is mainly focus on a girl’s erotic body. But closer inspection reveals that his honest expressions are what draws other characters closer to him. The first volume of a series is often regarded as the most important volume, therefore it is understandable that the supernatural aspect played a minor role in the beginning of this manga. The only supernatural mechanism that was included in this manga was the fact that Lisara needed to form a contract with Ryosuke in order to continue her adventures in the human world. The only drawback is that Ryosuke’s libido is heavily drain from him in order to sustain Lisara’s life. Thus he goes out of his way to regain his libido and help Lisara.

Those unfamiliar with the ecchi genre may be interested to know that it basically boils down to the main protagonist getting involve in as many perverted situations with as many girls as possible. I agree that this premise can get repetitive at times but this manga manages to find the right balance between perversion and comedy. It’s still a bit unclear whether or not the supernatural elements will play a heavy role in future volumes, but it certainly is not the main feature for the first book.

Common sense seems to dictate that if a manga’s main appeals are sexy girls and perverted situations, the art has to be visually appealing. Sho Okagiri who is the main artist does a good job of drawing the various scenarios and character expressions. What makes Yoshiaki Katsurai suitable as a character designer for this series is his vast experiences of designing erotic characters. The fan service is not as overwhelming as other ecchi manga. Overall the art does its job and provide a lot of sexy displays for the reader.

It’s been said that there is nothing new under the sun and So I Can’t Play H! is an example of this. With most ecchi manga, there won’t be any thought provoking or intellectually stimulating ideas, but what is there will appeal to the target audience. If you are a fan of ecchi manga, So I Can’t Play H! will keep you entertain with its comedy. Those who are new to the ecchi genre should give the first manga a try before buying other volumes.

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Is This a Zombie?, Vol. 1 Review

Ayumu Aikawa isn’t your typical zombie, he doesn’t hunger for brains or flesh. But instead he feasts on moe images and delusions of his roommates. There is no hiding it, Is This a Zombie? is a mesh of contemporary anime tropes such as magical girls (or in this case magikewl girls), vampires, zombies and cute girls with powers that can drastically change the world. These random combinations are combined together in the hopes of forming a coherent story line.

Our protagonist is someone who lives an ordinary life until something dramatic happens and he is forced to battle evil. The trope itself is almost as redundant as the gags in this manga. The manga starts out with our protagonist walking home, when all of the sudden a girl by the name of Haruna falls out of the sky. A battle scene quickly erupts as the protagonist is forced to protect the magikewl girl against a giant bear . This is because Ayumu took her powers when he touched her weapon. Eventually the battle is won and Haruna decide that she will live with Ayumu until her powers return to her. Ayumu is forced to battle with creatures known as “Megalos” with his newly found magical girl powers until further notice.

While simple plot can allow characters to shine, Is This a Zombie’s plot is perhaps too simple. Characters are introduced on a whim, bad guys appears out of nowhere and the dialog overall feels weak in terms of plot development. This manga panders to otaku demographics and is very upfront about it. Ayumu’s frequent reinterpretation of reality to fit his otaku taste and the occasional panty shot makes it very obvious who the target demographic is. Otaku pandering isn’t necessarily a bad thing, considering that they are the main consumers of anime and manga products. However it can have a polarizing effect on its audience. Readers that are not familiar with the otaku culture will feel alienated with the references in Is This a Zombie?

The manga’s art is heavily catered toward the otaku demographic with its usage of fan service and stereotypical moe cliché. First we have Haruna who is the cute loli magical girl, E.U who is the silent but powerful type, and Sera who fits the busty older sister type. And last but not least we have Ayumu who is essentially an otaku himself. There are a fair amount of panty shots which doesn’t really enhance the story but serves as fan service materials.The art itself is fair and the character designs does a good job of portraying anime stereotypes.

Overall Is This a Zombie? vol.1 is a manga that is designed to appeal to the otaku population. With its use of fan service and otaku humor, it can be a monotonous read if the reader is not familiar with the otaku culture. The story is slow but it does have its moments during the various action scenes in this volume. While Is This a Zombie? has its moments, the whole premise itself does not leave anything interesting to think or ponder about. One of the manga’s strong point is its use of slapstick humor, but even then the events feels highly forced and as a result leads to a disappointing laugh. The overall concept of a zombie that has to fight evil does have the potential to be an interesting and hilarious story. Whether or not volume 1 can captivate the reader with this premise is dependent on the reader’s sense of humor. Is This a Zombie? can be a fun read, but be aware that its sense of humor is not for everybody.