Monday, May 23, 2016

Manga Monday: Art projects lead to life lessons

It's fall, and there's no better time to go camping in Yotsuba&! Volume 12.

Note: Yotsuba&! Volume 12 is part of an ongoing series. Check out the review of Volume 1 here, and Volume 11 here. Otherwise, read on!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Manga Monday: Food is important

Yotsuba finds out how udon is made, and Juralumin gets into trouble in Yotsuba&! Volume 11.

Note: Yotsuba&! Volume 11 is part of an ongoing series. Check out the review of Volume 1 here, and Volume 10 here. Otherwise, read on!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Manga Monday: Cute schoolgirls doing cute things

Trends in media tend to go through phases. At first, it's the hot, new, innovative thing. Later, copycat series spring up like mushrooms after a rain, and the quality of the entire genre suffers. Eventually, a writer decides to turn the trope on its head and create a satire.

The delinquent genre was satirized in Cromartie High School. The magical girl genre was absolutely subverted in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Finally, Keiichi Arawi takes on the cute schoolgirl genre in nichijou Volume 1. 

We certainly have all the expected characters here. There's Yuuko, the energetic girl who's nevertheless too lazy to do her homework and constantly copies off of her friends. There's Mio, who has a secret crush on a male classmate, and is constantly struggling to hide her yaoi art and manuscripts from her friends.  Nano just wants everyone to believe she's a normal girl, although the windup key on her back tends to give away her robot nature, and Professor, the eight-year-old who created her. There's even Mai, who moved here recently, and is quiet with glasses.

With a group of girls like this, there's plenty of room for hijinks to ensue, and they certainly do. Whether Yuuko's daydreaming out the window lets her spy their principal wrestling a deer, or Nano's despair at Professor replacing her limbs with random items like Swiss roll cake, the gags are fast and furious.

There's plenty to love here, and plenty of room for the series to grow. From minor characters getting their time to shine to more explanation of Professor, hopefully Arawi can keep it fresh and interesting for years to come.

Highs: The manga never tries to take itself more seriously than it should, which is exactly the attitude a series like this should have.

Lows: There are hints at storylines that may continue throughout the series, but none of them get quite enough screentime for the reader to care one way or the other.

Verdict: nichijou Volume 1 is a fun, satirical look at the adorable schoolgirl genre.

Further Reading: Cromartie High School, My Neighbor Seki, Azumanga Daioh

Monday, March 21, 2016

Manga Monday: The return of Robot Family and Thief X

Seki comes closer and closer to discovery by the teacher in My Neighbor Seki Volume 7.

Note: My Neighbor Seki Volume 7 is part of an ongoing series. Check out the review for Volume 1 here, and Volume 6 here. Otherwise, read on!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Manga Monday: Does love have to be unplanned?

The truth behind Shiro-sensei's behavior finally becomes clear to even Hina in Suki: A Like Story Volume 3.

Note: Suki: A Like Story Volume 3 is the final volume in a series. For Volume 1 click here, and for Volume 2 click here. Otherwise, read on!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Manga Monday: Time for a field trip!

Even though it's usually not organized through a school club, field trips are an integral part of high school life, and the girls of Megurigaoka Academy Private High School are headed to the mall in School-Live! Volume 2.

Note: School-Live! Volume 2 is part of an ongoing series. Check out the review of Volume 1 here. Otherwise, read on!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Manga Monday: A pretty calico remembers her kittenhood

Now that Chi's Sweet Home has come to an end, there is a distressing absence of cat manga. Thankfully, Konami Kanata has one more surprise up her sleeve with FukuFuku: Kitten Tales.

Here, a doting elderly owner comes across the photos she took of her cat's first year with her, and brings them out to show Fuku Fuku.

What follows is an adorable look into the first year of a kitten's life. From discovering that human food might not be quite as tasty as her kibble to the amazing warmth that is a kotatsu on a cold day, Fuku Fuku has a lot to learn, and a lot to teach her well-meaning owner as well.

Unlike in Chi's Sweet Home, we're not privy to Fuku Fuku's thoughts being translated into English. Luckily, Kanata's clean, simple art style lets her expressions and thoughts come through nearly as well as if they were written out.

As a reader who never wanted Chi's Sweet Home to end (wouldn't Chi in a beret be adorable?), this is a welcome callback to the simple, lovely stories that made Chi so loveable.

Highs: Watching her owner delight in Fuku Fuku learning her name, and promptly learn what it is to be ignored by her cat, is a feeling universal to cat owners.

Lows: The odd 'Alice in Wonderland' dream sequence seems more out of place than it perhaps intended.

Verdict: FukuFuku: Kitten Tales is a must-read for fans of Chi's Sweet Home who have a manga-kitten-sized hole in their reading lives.

Further Reading: Chi's Sweet Home, Yotsuba&!, Milkyway Hitchhiking