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My Love Story!! Vol.3 Review

My Love Story!! Volume 3 is filled with lighthearted romantic comedy that readers have come to known and loved about the story. At the same time, light jabs about a character’s flaws can be tiresome at times. Perhaps this is why the authors have decided to give Sunakawa a bit more screen time in this volume. Obviously Takeo and Yamato are still the main attraction of this manga, however it was nice to see Sunakawa in his usual support role, even though the two couples have been together for awhile now. It was nice to see some slice of life elements in this volume now that the two couples are officially dating. Overall this volume focus more on the normal everyday lives of Takeo, Yamato and Sunakawa rather than include any significant plot development. The most important event in this manga, arguably has to when Takeo decide to study seriously in order to get into the same college as Yamato. And even then the situation itself end in a comedic fashion and the reader is left with a snicker or two.

Similar to volume 2, volume 3 includes many seemingly random events thrown together at once. For example in this volume the reader gets to celebrate Sunakawa’s birthday, enjoy a trip to both the mountain and the sea with Takeo and Yamato, and lastly watch Takeo try his best to study for a college entrance exam. The events by themselves are very plain however it is the character’s interactions with one another that lead to an enjoyable read. Takeo’s impecable timing to protect and save everyone that he encounter is delightful and the authors uses this motif sparingly. This way it does not get repetitive and serve as a good reminder of how entertaining Takeo can be regardless of what he is doing.

In contrast Sunakawa seem to only shine when he is helping Takeo with a task or two. Even though Sunakawa’s birthday was included in this volume, it is clear that Takeo is the main character. While Sunakawa’s birthday was the main focus in this particular chapter, his importance is quickly overshadow by Takeo’s encounter with an old classmate. Ironically it seems that Sunakawa only really become a main part of the story when he is helping Takeo with his problem. Whether this is intentional or became this way because Takeo is bigger than life itself remain a mystery for now. Sunakawa’s stoic side has been reduce by a significant margin near the end of the story. Which is a good thing since it gives the reader another glimpse of Sunakawa’s character. Sunakawa’s quiet supportive nature provide a nice contrast to Takeo’s vigor and help ease some of the tension within the story.

As the volume comes to an end, the reader can enjoy a cute and laughable ending. The authors does a really nice job of toning down the over the top comedy and reducing it to a nice small cackle. Not many manga can control the amount of comedy it provide to the reader. Most of them are either over the top or it sneaks in a few jokes that may or may not work. It is nice to see a type of comedy that is soothing from the beginning to the end. I would highly recommend volume 3 for its slice of life moments and the fact that Sunakawa show up a lot more often near the end. It is highly worth the read and I look forward to reading more in the future.

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My Love Story!! Vol.2 Review

vol 2

In the second addition of My Love Story both Takeo and Yamato have begin their relationship with joy. While Volume 1 focus on the relationship development between the two main characters, volume 2 focus more on them understanding each other. The manga features insightful events that reveals both Takeo and Yamato’s characteristics and how these traits are interpret among each other. Similar to the first volume, Sunakawa continue to play the support role. It is not until near the end of this volume that we get a glimpse of Sunakawa’s other personality traits that isn’t his usual stoic self.

Volume 2 contains three events that offers a way for the reader to understand more about the characters. The events are use as a way for the three main characters to express themselves towards the reader. The first event is a mixer event, an event design to allow the reader to get to know Yamato’s personality a bit more. Essentially a mixer is when a group of single boys and girls meet with each other and get to know one another in hopes of meeting a special someone. Yamato’s friends originally created this event in order to find out about what kind of boyfriend she has. Just as usual Sunakawa comes along and they all mistaken him for her boyfriend. However when they found out Takeo is her boyfriend, Yamato’s friends are quick to mock him as someone that is barely human. Kazune Kawahara obviously included this part in the story as a way for Yamato to reveal her true feelings for Takeo in spite of what her friends think. Takeo might not be the stereotypical pretty boy that her friends adore but that does not stop Yamato from loving him.

It appears that this was setup as a mini-trial for the couple, in order to see if their love would last under criticism. These events can be pretty random; a mixer events, a Judo tournament, and Yamato’s birthday, however they do have a purpose. Kazune Kawahara does not solely focus on the events itself but rather how the characters responds to such events. For example a group of first year begs Takeo to join their Judo club in order to beat their rival school. This event itself has no significance to the plot because Judo is not a primary goal for either Takeo or Yamato. However what it does demonstrate is Takeo’s desire to help out those in needs and Yamato’s inclination to support him from the sidelines. The Judo chapter shows that Takeo’s hardworking personality is enhance by Yamato’s love and that because of her he can enjoy himself while helping others.

While Sunakawa didn’t get much screen time in the first volume, this volume attempt to fix that problem and provide a bit more insight on what type of person he is. Without giving much away, it seems that Sunakawa is overall supportive of Takeo and Yamato’s relationship. This is mainly because Takeo is his first friend and he likes seeing his friends happy. Sunakawa doesn’t mind playing the support role but it seems that he hide part of his emotions even when he’s around Takeo. Hopefully in future volumes the author will explain Sunakawa’s stoic nature a bit more. Volume 2 overall contains less comedy than the first volume. However that is understandable because the reader is given a much more meaningful look at the characters. It might not have you laughing every panel but its charm is still there. My Love Story!! Vol.2 is worth the read if you are a fan of the first volume.

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Akame Ga Kill Vol.1 Manga Review

It is common for most author to use a hero’s journey as a narrative tool for shonen manga. Typically the hero is a young boy who goes on a journey in order to acquire powers for good. Although the reader can get an impression that Akame Ga Kill is a typical happy-go lucky shonen manga, this generalization is quickly strip away after a few chapters. It almost feels like a deconstruction of the hero’s journey but does not quite reflect that within the atmosphere of the story. Akame Ga Kill does have a lot going for the series; a interesting group of characters, nicely pace action scenes and a decent story to fill those blank panels. Characterization is one of the most important things for manga , and while Akame Ga Kill does have its fair share of shonen tropes character such as the busty onne-san, the tsundere loli and a cool looking aniki character, the cast is enjoyable enough that the reader won’t be hinder by these stereotypes.

Akame Ga Kill is labeled as an action and fantasy tittle, what this means is that generally the fighting sequences and inventive settings are the main selling points, as it is with most manga out there. Akame Ga Kill itself focuses on its main group of characters known as “Night Raid” and their objective to overthrow the government through various assassinations. Normally most manga would have the hero join a group of good guys in the beginning, however Takumi our main protagonist is warned against this type of thinking. His naive nature to think that the Night Raid’s actions are a form of justice is quickly dismissed by the group itself. They even refer to themselves as killers and nothing more. While Takumi accepts the reality of this group, he still show his naive nature and believe that he is on the side of justice.

While the writer Takahiro and artist Tetsuya Tashiro does a good job of creating villains and making it seem that the group “Night Raid” is fighting for good, the creators do leave some questionable morality issues within the story. While the reader will be able to enjoy the fantastic actions scenes, there will be moments when both Takumi and the reader themselves will question whether killing someone will truly solve anything. Just as Takumi naively believes that he is on the side of justice, the reader is persuade into believing that more assassinations will solve a corrupt government. Hence its focus on battle scenes rather than discussions of an ideal government. It’s clear from the beginning that the Night Raid’s goal is to eliminate the current government rather than rebuild it.

Finally, Akame Ga Kill gives the reader something to think about behind its flashy action scenes. The depictions of wartime morality is subtle and not overtly in your face. The idea that one can eliminate evil by being doing bad is a theme that Akame Ga kill attempts to explore within the first volume. The manga’s lively battle scenes and fun characters help make the story an enjoyable ride. Overall this manga is highly recommended for those looking for a battle manga with an enjoyable cast.

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Seraph of The End Manga review

In the near apocalyptic future an unknown virus has manifested itself and wiped out most of the earth’s population. There were no signs of resistance among the human race, no time to develop a cure and no way to prevent the infection. After the mysterious virus has revealed itself, a group of vampires emerged from the bowels of the earth and enslaved the remnants of the human race. The survivors are a group of children below the age of 13 who are kept as livestock for the vampire race. Seraph of The End written by Takaya Kagami and drawn by Yamato Yamamoto is at its core a story of vengeance and opposition against an overwhelming force. Its cruel depictions of vampires and post-apocalyptic world is appropriate for the atmosphere of the story and will leave reader curious for more.

While Hyakuya Yuichiro and Hyakuya Mikaela are both children from the same orphanage, their outlooks on the situation are quite different. Yuichiro is your typical hot-blooded protagonist who desires to destroy all vampires, despite the fact that vampires are seven times stronger than a human. Mikaela keeps Yuichiro grounded in reality and reminds him daily that it’s better to not resist. In fact Mikaela is rewarded with food for his obedience by one of the noble vampires. Yuichiro is uncomfortable with the idea of living life as a livestock and clings onto his dream of escaping the vampire’s underground world.

The first few chapters serves as a reminder for the cruelty of the vampire race. Of course the readers are disgusted with the vampires due to their views on these children as nothing more than livestock. What is even more cruel is that some vampires lose control and end up killing one or two children in the process of bloodletting. While it seems that most of the children have given up and decided to obey the vampires, Yuichiro is the only one that remains determined to escape the cruel reality of their daily lives.

Seraph of The End’s gritty depictions of daily survival establishes both the helplessness and danger that the children face daily. Nevertheless the multitude of children depend on one another for companionship in the face of despair. As a reader I was impressed at contrast between hope and despair through the usage of friendship in this manga. It seems that after the children’s blood are drained, they happily accept their fate and attempt to be like a normal family and eat dinner together. It almost seems as if they have no choice but do their best to be happy.

Yamamoto’s artwork gives the reader the impression that Seraph of The End is a shonen manga. In certain ways this is true. For example, Yuichiro is the typical protagonist that must overcome an astounding force of evil for the sake of humanity. However, there are also elements that move this manga out of the shonen territory, such as the vampire’s cruel treatments of the children and a sense of overall despair for the human race Despite the shonen elements, the manga does indeed get darker and reveal more secrets as you go along.

Overall Seraph of The End is a recommended read for lovers of the shonen genre. If you are looking for a shonen manga with a slightly dark and mysterious atmosphere, Seraph of The End is definitely worth the read.

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MY Love STORY!! Review

MY love STORY!! is written by Kazune Kawahara and illustrated by Aruko opens up with an interesting comparison of the two main protagonist Takeo Goro and his best friend Makoto Sunakawa in order to show the discrepancy between them. For instance in the first page Suna can be seen in the upper left corner holding a book with his calm and cool demeanor with two girls admiring him from afar. Whereas Takeo can be view in the lower right corner with a disgruntled and rough expression on his face. The two contrasting personalities allows the reader to feel a sense of silliness between the two characters. Suna’s character design fits the stereotypical shoujo love interest while Takeo can be viewed as a side character. This is not only evident in stylization choices but also through the events that has happened to both of them. A prime example being that Takeo’s love interests always left him aside and preferred his friend Suna instead.

While on the surface My love STORY!! features most of the typical ingredients for a shoujo manga; a good looking character with a funny sidekick and a main girl that is of the Mary Sue archetype. What Kawahara does well is by adding in one little change to the standard shoujo story and is able to retain a familiar feel to the plot. The decision to focus on Takeo (the sidekick) rather than his good looking best friend Suna results in hilarious moments and various misunderstandings that advances the plot in a non-standard way. Experienced readers will be able to identify various shoujo tropes and stereotypes while still being charmed by the unusual spin on them.

In the beginning of the manga, it introduces various important moments such as a confession scene and an end of the school year goodbye, however those are quickly cast aside as stepping stones for a bigger picture. That is rather than emphasize the actual confession scene itself, Kawahara chooses to show the process and the implications of such scenes. For example Suna can be seen rejecting a girl that Takeo planned to confess to in the first couple of pages. Usually a confession scene is treated with utmost importance in a standard love story, but in this case a confession scene was used the show that Takeo is frequently outshined by his best friend Suna. He seems to be used to this, considering the fact that it has been frequently occurring ever since preschool. While Takeo desires to be as cool as Suna, he admits that he can’t be as charming as his best friend.

Takeo is seen as someone who frequently misunderstands the situation even if his heart is in the right place. For instance he patrols an elementary school when the rumor of a creeper arises, yet he is reported for looking suspicious. His good deeds are usually unnoticed when he is present with his popular friend Suna. However he does good deeds because he is a good person rather than someone that wants credit. This is one of his traits that Suna likes about his friend and is one of the reason why they remain friends. Furthermore it was because Takeo decided to help Yamato when she was abused by a groper that allowed these two to meet each other.

Overall MY love STORY!! is an enjoyable tale of romance with a slight twist in it. What shines the most about this story is the focus on Takeo’s love life rather than Suna. Which can be a bit risky because Takeo does not look like the typical shoujo love interest. However this pays off immensely as the reader goes through the process of being in love with Takeo for the first time. The story has a nice pace and its humor will keep the reader interested throughout the pages.