Saturday, February 11, 2017

February Manga Challenge 2017 | Week 1

The February Manga Challenge (2017) is currently happening over on YouTube, and while most reading challenges have not appealed to me in the past, this one sounds exactly like what I need.

The challenge put out by YouTubers @YuriInRealLife is super simple:
1. Read one volume of manga (or the equivalent) every day for the month of February. 
2. No skipping days. 

Check out their full video here: YuriInRealLife's February Manga Challenge

Now, since I jumped into the challenge three days late I will be occasionally doubling up on volumes so that I will have read at least 28 volumes by the end of the month.

Here's how 'Week One' went:

Saturday 2/4/17

Phantom Thief Jeanne, Vol.3
Arina Tanemura

Rating: 2/5

I lament the fact that I am not enjoying this series, and the third volume was the worst one yet.  Some of the antics feel unnecessary to telling this story and the naivety of Maron causes many opportunities for character growth to pass right on by.

Phantom Thief Jeanne, Vol.4
Arina Tenemura

Rating: 2/5

Still not enjoying this series any better.  A great deception is revealed to Maron in this volume, which has only a slight impact on her.  One character attempts to rape Maron and she continues to associate with him.  Then she travels back in time to learn the truth of what happened to Jeanne D'Arc.

Sunday 2/5/17

Phantom Thief Jeanne, Vol.5
Arina Tanemura

Rating: 3/5

Alright.  This concluding volume was better than the last two, but not by much.  The looming epic battle concludes quickly and anticlimactically.  I think it would have had more impact if I were emotionally invested in Maron, but I'm not.

I did feel closure with each of the relationships that were affected along the way.  The lore surrounding Adam, Eve, God, & The Demon Lord was solid.  It fits the story and is not full of plot holes, but it comes right at the very end and could not do much to save the series for me.

Monday 2/6/17

Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms
Fumiyo Kouno

Rating: 5/5

This is a collection of three manga short stories that depict life in Hiroshima and other such areas after the Atomic Bomb was dropped by the USA in WW2.  The story telling method was so simple, with clean lines and realistic depictions of fortitude after tragedy.  I really appreciated the order in which the stories were printed.  It added an extra layer of impact by the end and definitely must be read in one sitting.

I am not a reader of sad stories, but I loved this book. I will write a full review on this one.

The Voices of a Distant Star 
Makoto Shinkai, Concept by Mizu Sahara

Rating: 4/5

I have not seen the original anime movie which this manga is based on, but now I would love to check it out.  This manga tells the story of two middle school friends, Mikako, a girl who is drafted into a deep space exploration team by the United Nations, and a boy, Noboru, who is left behind to attend high school on Earth.

The two keep in touch, but the further she gets from Earth, the longer it takes to send and receive text messages, until years pass.  Again, I am not usually a big fan of tragic or melancholy stories, but this one was great.

Tuesday 2/7/17

Princess Jellyfish, Tome 1
Akiko Higashimura

Rating: 5/5

This is a strong start to a great character driven manga.  Tsukimi lives in a boarding house full of female otaku.  All the members are passionate about their hobbies, shut-ins to some degree, and despise fashionable women and men.  Their home is their safe haven--until that world is shaken up.

I love the way this story is showing the different sides of the 'be yourself' argument.  A person should know what they like and don't like, what they are passionate about, and what realistic limitations they deal with.  But there is a difference between living a life you love, and living in fear.  These girls have been largely living in fear, but now its time to take charge of their futures, with a little help from a new friend.

Wednesday 2/8/17

The Ancient Magus' Bride, Vol. 6
Kore Yamazaki

Rating: 4/5

This issue takes place during the days of Winter Solstice and Christmas.  It delves into character backstory and surrounds Chise realizing she has family and friends now.  She also makes a new friend and utilizes a new skill.

It was very sweet to see Ainsworth struggling with more human feelings but I think I prefer his character as the formidable, non-human, ancient magus.  This volume really lived up to its 'Dark Fairytale Romance' tagline.

Thursday 2/9/17

Nichijou, Vol. 2
Keiichi Arawi

Rating: 3/5

I like the random, over the top, humor of Nichijou, but it is a quirky enough read that you have to really be in the mood for it.  These ordinary lives are certainly anything but ordinary, and my favorite character from this volume was the black cat.

Friday 2/10/17

Komomo Confiserie, Vol.4
Maki Minami

Rating: 4/5

This series is very typical of the shoujo genre, but is handled in an expert way.  The recovering Princess Komomo has finally acclimated to the real world.  She really develops as a person in this volume, defending the pastry shop that has become her new home, the job she loves to do, and the chef that makes it all possible.

Saturday 2/11/17

Komomo Confiserie, Vol.5
Maki Minami


WHHAATTT!?  This is the last volume?  Huh.  I really thought this series would be longer.  Well, its now or never, do Komomo and Natsu love each other?  Or not?

Again, for an extremely typical shoujo story line, the subject matter in this series is handled so expertly that it feels fresh and new.  I really enjoyed this series.

That's a wrap for week one!
See you in week two!

Thanks for reading!