"Enoki is practically the poster-boy for what a typical nerd looks like: short and slight, complete with big round glasses and social awkwardness. His main hobby is playing video games, and he's used to not having many friends at school. Then, he meets Shirataki, a former member of the baseball club and his exact opposite; tall, muscular and sporty. Despite their many differences, the spark of friendship between the two boys begins to grow into something more."
A cute story where a jock crushes on a lovable nerd. This Wonderful Season with You by Atsuko Yusen is a must for those that love cute art, meet-cutes, friends to lovers, and partners that bring out the best in each other by being encouraging and supportive.
A poignant story about sisterly love, grief, and the painful process of moving on.
"Natsumi’s little sister Haru was her whole world—and now she’s gone.
After the funeral, Natsumi reluctantly agrees to date her sister’s fiancé Togo. But as their relationship develops with the passing seasons, Haru’s memory lingers over them like a curse."
In Haru's Curse, Konishi creates an emotional story centered on Natsumi's and Togo's budding relationship after the death of Haru. While I initially had some doubts on how such a story could be tastefully done, Konishi completely exceeded my expectations.
The Cat Proposed is an adorable BL (Boys' Love) urban fantasy one-shot.
"Matoi Souta is an overworked office worker tired of his life. Then, on his way home from a long day of work one day, he decides to watch a traditional Japanese play. But something strange happens. He could have sworn he saw one of the actors has cat ears.
It turns out that the man is actually a bakeneko — a shapeshifting cat from Japanese folklore. And then, the cat speaks: "From now on, you will be my mate."
I've read a decent amount of BL one-shots. A few common things I notice with these one-shots are that they are often rushed to the point that it's difficult to enjoy the romance and characters. This wasn't the case with The Cat Proposed.
I don't normally read shojo manga, but after listening to Melissa Read's review on this manga I knew I had to give it a shot.
"Yuki is a typical college student–it’s just that she can’t hear. A chance encounter on a train leads to a serious crush…but will he give her a chance?"-Penguin House
I really loved how Yuki was portrayed in this manga. Never once does Morishita make the reader pity Yuki because of her deafness. Yuki is going to school, has her own friend group, her own interests, her own dreams, and her own way of communicating. And of course, like all college students at some point, Yuki falls in love.
Moriarty the Patriot by Ryōsuke Takeuchi. First published in 2016 and published in the United States in 2020 by Viz Media.
Plot: "In the late 19th century, Great Britain rules over a quarter of the world. Nobles sit in their fancy homes in comfort and luxury, while the working class slaves away at their jobs. When young Albert James Moriarty’s upper-class family adopts two lower-class orphans, the cruelty the boys experience at his family’s hands cements Albert’s hatred of the nobility he was born into. He asks the older of the two boys—who has a genius mind and a killer instinct—to help him rid the world of evil, starting with Albert’s own family!"
This title had been on my TBR since Viz first announced it in October. I finally had some time in December and decided to give it a go!
I found the premise interesting, but the manga very much exceeded my initial expectations! Moriarty the Patriot is a social critique on how the status quo has disenfranchised the working class and the vulnerable while privileging the wealthy elites who are allowed to do as they wish without little consequence.
Blue Flag by KAITO. First published in 2017 and first published in the United States in 2020.
Plot: "For some reason, Taichi Ichinose just can’t stand Futaba Kuze. But at the start of his third year in high school, he finds himself in the same homeroom as her, along with his childhood friend Toma Mita, a star athlete. But one day, Futaba opens up to Taichi and admits she has a crush on Toma. She then asks for his help in confessing to him! There’s just one problem—Toma seems to already have a secret crush on someone else."
I discovered this manga thanks to Shae Geeks Out who recommended this title on her Youtube channel. This recommendation did not disappointment! I tend to be very picky when it comes to slice of life manga, but I absolutely adored this one!
My Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi. First published in 2014 and released in English in 2015 by Viz Media.
Plot: "Middle school student Izuku Midoriya wants to be a hero more than anything, but he hasn’t got an ounce of power in him. With no chance of ever getting into the prestigious U.A. High School for budding heroes, his life is looking more and more like a dead end. Then an encounter with All Might, the greatest hero of them all, gives him a chance to change his destiny…"
The first time I heard about My Hero Academia was in 2016 when the English version of the anime was first released. I'll admit, I wasn't very impressed and found the plot a bit more juvenile than what I was interested in at the time. Flash forward four years later and I decided to give the manga a try.
Sakamoto Days by Yuto Suzuki. First English translation released on Viz Media's Shonen Jump on November 20, 2020.
Plot: "Taro Sakamoto was the ultimate assassin, feared by villains and admired by hitmen. But one day...he fell in love! Retirement, marriage, fatherhood and then... Sakamoto gained weight! The chubby guy who runs the neighborhood store is actually a former legendary hitman! Can he protect his family from danger? Get ready to experience a new kind of action comedy series!"
There's an ongoing pandemic and I needed some humor in my life to lift my spirits. As someone who's a fan of action manga and graphic novels, Suzuki's Sakamoto Days was perfect for me as it had the perfect blend of action and comedy.
Hell's Paradise by Yuji Kaku. First published in 2018 and first published in English in 2020 by Viz Media.
Plot:"Gabimaru the Hollow is one of the most vicious assassins ever to come out of the ninja village of Iwagakure. He’s ruthlessly efficient, but a betrayal results in him being handed a death sentence. He has only one hope—in order to earn his freedom, he must travel to a long-hidden island and recover an elixir that will make the shogun immortal. Failure is not an option. On this island, heaven and hell are just a hair’s breadth away."
Yuji Kaku has a very beautiful art style and it was the covers he created for Hell's Paradise that drew me in when Viz first started advertising the English edition. I'm caught up to the latest translated chapter thanks to my Shonen Jump subscription and Kaku's art never disappoints. And better yet, the story and characters of Hell's Paradise are equally great.