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Manga Review: Tokyo Ghoul, Vol 1

Tokyo Ghoul 1Title: Tokyo Ghoul, Vol 1
Author: Sui Ishida
Genre: Seinen, Drama, Horror
Publisher: Viz (US)/ Shueisha (JP)
Original Magazine: Weekly Young Jump

Ken Kaneki has eyes for the quiet girl at the coffee shop. She’s cute and admittedly fairly busty, but more importantly she just so happens to have the same literary taste as Kaneki. Despite all the “ghoul” sightings around town and people turning up dead regularly, Kaneki is thrilled when a dropped book and a chance encounter earn him a dream date. Unfortunately for him, that quiet girl in the coffee shop wants to do more than bond over books…

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Manga Review Project: Swan Wrap-Up

Swan FinalA little over four months later, and I’ve finally finished my first review project: weekly reviews for every one of the 15 volumes of Swan released in English! Below are my final thoughts about the series and the project itself.

Check out the Manga Review Project: Swan here.

Final Series Thoughts

Prior to the review project, I’d read about 6 volumes of Swan via my local library. At the time, I knew two things: I liked the series and there was a lot of melodrama. Once I was finally able to land a full set of the series and read each volume one by one, I wondered if my enthusiasm for the series would wane. Reading one volume a week did help temper my enthusiasm, as opposed to reading them all in a mad rush.

Swan is a great series — beautifully drawn, explosive, and mostly compelling — but it’s better read in larger chucks. One thing I forgot to note in my reviews is there aren’t obvious chapters breaks throughout like in more contemporary manga, so it’s fairly easy to keep reading and reading. The series constantly runs on “Will she make it!?” but it’s easy to lose enthusiasm if you don’t stick with it. Swan is a manga where you just enjoy the ride.

As for the characters themselves, while they aren’t terribly deep individually, I really enjoyed watching them interact with and influence one another. Masumi is more of a reader stand in, giving us eyes into her world and the world of her friends. There’s healthy competition between them all, but an underlying feeling — at least pre-NYC — that everyone is in the game to put Japan on the map. The “split” mid-series is interesting then, as Masumi is forced to consider how she wants her own career to progress.

I can’t say enough how much of a shame it is that Swan isn’t completed in English, though I’m glad with got the volumes we did. To anyone curious about the series I’ll say this: Come for the art, stay for the drama.

Manga Review Project Final Thoughts

The main reason I started the review project was pretty simple: to practice writing reviews on a schedule, with a final goal. More specifically, since I’d just (re)started the blog I wanted a sort of force myself to post content. I was actually a little hesitant that I’d complete the thing, but here we are!

Still, even posting a review once a week is a challenge, especially if it’s the same series. Some weeks I just didn’t feel like talking about Swan, other weeks life got in the way and the last thing I felt like doing was cranking out a review. Admittedly, I did miss two weeks throughout the project, and reviews shifted from Wednesday postings to mostly Thursday. Still I would consider this first project a mostly success if just in perseverance!

The most important thing I’ve learned throughout the project hands down is to just get started. Literally, just start writing. The idea of having to write when I didn’t want to was, nine times out of ten, worse than actually writing. Something is better than nothing, and a jumbled mess is easier to work with than a post that takes ten hours to write because it has to be “perfect.” Just write!

Also, scheduling! I had grand dreams of writing reviews weeks in advance and scheduling them and let me tell you: that never happened. About half the reviews were written a day or so in advance at most, leaving me with a lot of undue stress for the others when I just should have written earlier. Remember: Just write!

That being said, I’m glad to say I completed the Manga Review Project: Swan! Remember, you can also refer back the intro post to find reviews for all of the volumes.

But the Manga Review Project isn’t done yet! Keep an eye out for another Review Project announcement soon!

Twitter Tuesday: July 29, 2014

I owe this blog a couple of posts, so let’s kick things off with our regularly scheduled Twitter Tuesday!

San Diego Comic Con has come and gone, and while it’s not on my list of “huge conventions to attend before I die” (that would be Anime Expo), we did get some licensing announcements. (Look for full write-up links in this week’s Feedly Friday.)

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Manga Minutes — April 13, 2014: You Are What You Eat

Manga Minutes is a weekly round-up of quick thoughts on the manga I’ve read. This week: A battle between two Verticals: What Did You Eat Yesterday? and Wolfsmund.
What Did You Eat Yesterday 1

What Did You Eat Yesterday?, Vol 1
Fumi Yoshinaga; Vertical

Fumi Yoshinaga is my girl. I have a few manga artists whose work I pick up on name alone, and Yoshinaga is one of them. I was a bit surprised when Vertical picked up What Did You Eat Yesterday? though, and I’m not really a foodie so I can admit I wasn’t really clamoring for this release. I finally sat down and read it yesterday and was pleasantly surprised.

You really don’t have to be a foodie to enjoy this one at all; I really can’t emphasize that enough. Yoshinaga simply does what she does best: show interesting human relationships. The food, at least to me, is bonus.

Either way, I wound up liking this one so much I think I’ll do a longer review this week, so I’ll save my thoughts for that.

Continue reading Manga Minutes — April 13, 2014: You Are What You Eat

Manga Minutes – April 6, 2014: In Sickness

“Manga Minutes” is a weekly round-up of quick thoughts on the manga I’ve read. This week: Vertical’s Sickness Unto Death.


Sickness Unto Death, vols 1-2
Hikari Asada (Author), Takahiro Seguchi (Illustrator); Vertical

Admittedly, this week was a little slow in manga reading. April is a big month in terms of preorders though, so I expect that to change in the coming weeks.

Still, I was pretty excited when I got this newer two volume series from Vertical. I had intended to pass on this one when it was initially licensed, but curiosity ate at me, and then I read Lori Henderson’s review and finally decided to give it a whirl. At two volumes I figured I didn’t have much to lose.

The first volume flew by; I intended just to flip through it as soon as I got it but wound up reading all but the last chapter of the first volume in one sitting. I finished the rest of the series later that day and while I liked it, I expected to like it just a tad more.

The first volume was one of the best I’ve read in awhile, and is exactly the type of manga I want to see. Psychological and dark, but with a quick pace — since the story starts with Futaba discussing Emiru in the past tense, you already know that whatever is wrong with Emiru in the beginning of the series doeSUD2sn’t end well. As Lori Henderson pointed out there’s a hint that something supernatural is going on, and as a reader you’re almost afraid to find out what’s really wrong with Emiru.

Towards the end it gets too philosophically heavy, and that was my main issue with the tail end of the series. I know Emiru struggled immensely with herself/self-concept, but for a first volume that flew by the philosophical pondering drug a bit towards the end and that was disappointing. That being said, I really loved the relationship between Futaba and Emiru; I thought the sexual aspect of their relationship in particular was handled tastefully and actually contributed to the character development. I hope more manga can make it here similar to this, just one with a bit more punch throughout.