Sunday, January 31, 2016

Weekly Round-UP: January 24th-30th

Wohoo, an entire week where I posted on time! I mean, I already had the reviews for Noragami Aragoto and Space Boy mostly written (I hadn't published them earlier since they were so big they needed a lot of fine-tuning so they still took a while) and my take on the second Log Horizon light novel wasn't very long but hey, I'm calling it a victory anyway! 

I did also publish my second positive review in as many weeks on The OASG for ReLife and I very happily devoured the second volume when it went up on Crunchyroll over this weekend. Which got me thinking, I haven't actually listed out which manga I'm currently reading in a while so below the cut, quick thoughts on everything that I'm currently reading and I tried to remember it all (the problem with scanlations is that some of them update so infrequently I forget if it's been a few months between releases @_@)

Following Digitally

Yamada and the Seven Witches Okay by this point a more accurate title would be "Yamada and the Seven (to the power of three) Witches" but it's amazing that each time I think the series has jumped the shark Yoshikawa keeps it going more or less without trouble. Now that the second "major" arc is done I do feel like she's pulled back, which is great since that did get a bit too unwieldy, and funny enough I feel like I can see the ending now. A month or two ago we had the third years graduate and there was a few lines by Yamada and co ("man I don't want to end like THAT") which gives me hope that the series will have a fairly tidy resolution in a couple of years. The story is re-treading a few ideas and looks to do it again (I do think Yoshikawa got a bit too complicated in that second arc and is now having to deal with the fallout from it) but I'm still enjoying it week to week more or less which is enough for me.

Spirit Circle Okay now that The Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer is completely released in English y'all need to read Mizukami's current series. The art starts off a bit better (thank god) and has fewer fight scenes (see previous) and I found the characters more relatable from the start. The story does achieve Biscuit Hammer's craziness (instead of destroying the world we have a future-past reincarnation trying to kind of absorb it?) and overall I feel like it's a much more solid story, although possibly less poignant.
ReLife - You know the story could technically work without the "Arata has been de-aged and isn't a real high school student aspect" since both the comedy and the characters are strong enough to hold the story together without it but I do like that added layer of complication (plus it does give the story a goal). So far it feels like a nice, easy read as it marries fun visual comedy (I've had so much fun posting screenshots on twitter) with more serious, realistic-feelings of teenaged inadequacy and trouble fitting in. CR has a couple more volumes to post before we're current and I'm looking forward to them!

The Morose Mononokean - Another newer CR offering (to differentiate it from the CR titles I've been following for a while), this is exactly what I want for slice of life with supernatural trappings and it's another series where CR is still behind the Japanese release so it's been updating in chunks. It still feels like it's in it's early stages of the story but I like the reoccurring characters so far, it doesn't drag out mysteries about the characters and instead answers one while raising others, and like the other titles here it's simply a very "satisfying" read for me. I have a basic idea of what to expect and it performs well there, hurray!

Following Via the Library
Magi - Magi on the other hand isn't what I expected at all and my only complaint is that my library is a bit slow getting new volumes (I don't know if I want to buy it physically or digitally/know if it will stay good until the end and don't want to make that financial commitment otherwise). I've got 14 on hold at the library right now and it looks like it'll be a little while before I get my next review out (since I'm trying to review Magi by arc now) and I'm still not that interested in picking up the anime but I am enjoying it!

Following Via Buying Sort Of?
Orange - I mean, I already read at least 3/4ths of this series on CR but I couldn't bear to finish it so I'm waiting for the second omnibus. I have ordered the first one but it's dicking around in the post office currently so I haven't had a chance to reread it yet! Expect a review of the full series once that second omnibus is out, as it stands I think this first omnibus actually covers even less than what I had read when I reviewed the series last year (which isn't a problem but makes reviewing this redundant).

Maoyu (Kotowaru/I refuse! version) - So I used to follow this via scans until I discovered last year that surprise, the reason it was never licensed (or possibly part of the reason) is because BookWalker (an online store, think it's connected to Kadokawa) is releasing it in English there! Not only that, but BookWalker is way ahead of where the scans ever were when I read it so I've been having fun recently re-reading parts and reading new material for the first time (it's also giving me insight into why Log Horizon has gotten a little odd/meta). I really want to review it but I'm stumped, I feel like we're reaching the actual climax but don't know if I should do a review up to where it is now or wait a year or two until it's done (I feel like it'll be done in three years max but it *could* be within this year with how it just races through events) and do everything at once. I don't mind doing two reviews but if they're only six months apart that feels silly, guess I'll pick up volume 15 (after Katsucon, it's motivation/a way to keep myself from getting distracted) and see how everything goes there before deciding. 

Inari KonKon - I say "following" but I actually own all of these, again via BookWalker (won one of their $200 contests in December aw yeah) and just haven't finished yet! The story is as cute and charming as I remembered and as soon as I finish I'm going to have a full review up to remind people this series exists and hopefully convince a few anime watchers to read it!

The Scans
Bokura no Kiseki
 - Now that Yona of the Dawn has been (somehow) licensed this is now my "dream, will never be licensed" title which makes me sad. I am committed to buying the series some day but man, the dialogue is complicated enough that this isn't the case where it's worked on by a scanlation team, this where there is one fan who is dedicated enough to translate and a scanlation team just does the rest. This series just hits all of my favorite trope ideas (star crossed friends! reincarnation! gender bending! determined teens going 'fuck this I'M DOING THIS DIFFERENTLY'!) and manages to keep it's growing-ever-more-complicated plot under control. Some folks might disagree with me on that point but if you're able to read the manga without two+ month gaps between chapters then it does hold together quite nicely, if only one of the publishers in the US was interested!

Ame Nochi Hare - According to Manga Updates it has been almost exactly a year since this thoughtful, Wandering Son esque take on "what if a bunch of boys were suddenly girls?" story was last updated, aughhh. Unlike some other titles on this list, I know this series is never getting licensed. Period. It's simply too niche to find any audience beyond a few hundred and yet even knowing that, now that I've started reading there's no way I can be happy [about it] without also having a chance to finish. I only really like romantic stories when they get complicated like this (boys liking girls but only getting to know them as girls themselves etc) and this soft tone is one I don't find very often as well. Guess I should hope this one is easier to read and plan to import another day....

Meji Hiro Kitan - Another series that hasn't updated in a very long time and dangit guys, there are not enough series set in the Taisho era already and I have a weakness for Taisho era clothes so just give me updates please! Out of all of these scanlation stories this is the one I'm most hesitant to invest in (ie, start importing) since the romantic angle is walking a fine line, so far we have not actually hooked up the tween/early teens lead with her late teens/early 20s protector but the story is hinting at it so heavily that it's making me nervous. So far it's been handled well but since romance is becoming more and more important to the side characters it's only a matter of time before it pops up in the main storylines.....

Kyokou Suiri - Invented Interferance - Okay so this series is updated slowly because the magazine itself is bi-monthly (which, like BnK before it, means crazy long chapters) but I still think that the scanlators are behind. Honestly the fact that all of these series have update issues makes me feel slightly less terrible for reading them since if they aren't updating then technically I'm not reading them! As for the actual story, hurray more strange supernatural stories! The romance does squick me out again (I'm just not one for age-gap stories) but the characters are so weird that I don't see it lasting which in a way makes it interesting again. There are only four chapters out so far so I'm not sure if the story plans to remain episodic for a while or if there is a larger plot coming but either way I'm sticking around for a bit to see what happens!

It's weird?
Akatsuki no Yona - So the group translating Yona can be a bit slow anyway but I know they were also hesistant to continue once it was licensed (hence leaving a few pages untranslated and uncleaned, also now we can all see that Hana to Yume does not have the best paper quality!). I have to admit I do prefer to see the actual pages for this series over just summaries since there's a surprisingly amount of movement and other visuals clues but I do follow quite a few folks via tumblr who do post detailed summaries which is more legal! All of them start a bit after the anime ends (ie, you can't just jump from the anime into these summaries) but if you've felt conflicted about reading scans while waiting for Viz to catch up that's the best compromise!

Assassination Classroom - So I stopped once the series had been licensed and the anime was about to come out but I haven't been keeping up with buying the series (which also hasn't caught up to where I stopped) and I wasn't super fond of the anime when I tried it! (also, still not caught up to where I was) So, much like Tegami Bachi and Pandora Hearts before it, I still really like the series but it's going to take real effort for me to get back to where I was since I have a lot of volumes to buy to catch up (and ugh I need to someday get back to those series, I am trying to catch up with PH before the final volume comes out in English this year but I'm much farther behind on TB @_@ )

Qualia the Purple - Okay so I thought the translator abandoned this project but apparently it was finished and I just haven't finished it yet! Still salty it was never licensed in the US, since this is way way way beyond what I could read with a dictionary but if I ever do finish I'll have at least a short write-up here for posterity.