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review 2020-05-31 00:15
Nyankees (manga, vol. 1) by Atsushi Okada, translated by Caleb Cook
Nyankees, Vol. 1 - Atsushi Okada,Caleb D. Cook

This series stars a bunch of stray cats who are usually depicted as tough human thugs and gang members. Ryuusei is a newcomer in Nekonaki, the territory ruled by Taiga and his gang. He doesn't always think before getting into fights, but he's tough and has the scars to prove it. Taiga and the others think he might be looking to steal some territory, but in reality the only thing he's interested in is finding a mysterious calico tom with a scarred eye. There's a chance that the cat Ryuusei wants to find is the new leader of the Goblin Cat Tails, but in order to meet him he'll first have to fight his way through a bunch of cats trying to create a cat utopia.

The main reason I got this was because of the cats. And also, the "cats depicted as people" aspect reminded me a little of Hatoful Boyfriend (although I suppose that was "birds briefly depicted as people"). Based on what I've seen of the cat politics around my apartment building, depicting cats as thugs duking it out for pieces of territory seemed like something that would work well.

The art was decent: nice clean lines, cats that were usually drawn well (the legs were occasionally weird), and easy-to-follow action. I liked the way Okada worked aspects of each cats' fur pattern into their clothing design. For example, Taiga, an orange tabby, wore a jacket with tabby stripes on it. Design-wise, Madara was my favorite, both in his human and cat versions. As a cat, he was a tortoiseshell (which would probably be hell to draw consistently if Madara became a regular character). In his human form, his tortoiseshell pattern became a coat with a camo pattern.

The humor was so-so. A few crass moments, like when Ryuusei tried to hit on Mii, or when a panel focused on Ryuusei's jiggling feline balls (so many cat testicles in this). There was also the bit with Ryuusei and the box. Honestly, it's amazing he's survived this long.

The whole "cats depicted as people" thing seemed a little inconsistent. It wasn't quite that these were cats sometimes shown as people but still 100% cats - Okada occasionally drew them in poses that weren't natural for cats but were natural for their human depictions. But behavior-wise, they also weren't just cats with people's minds. It was a bit weird.

Unfortunately, the characters and story didn't capture my attention at all. The characters did a lot of shouting and posturing but didn't otherwise stand out much. The one moment Ryuusei really stood out, for example, was when he demonstrated a willingness to show his belly to humans in order to charm them into giving him food. Otherwise, though, he was mostly Main Tough Guy Who Shouts a Lot and Is Occasionally Silly. Taiga was Leader Tough Guy Who Shouts a Lot. Then there was Kinbi and Ginbi, aka Tough Villain Guys With Dreadlocks Who Shout a Lot. And Mii was The Girl. I assume this world has more than one female cat in it, but you wouldn't know it from what you saw in this volume. I liked that it was noted that the volume's male calico and tortoiseshell were both rare, but it would have been nice to see more female characters.

It was a little confusing, but it sounded like the male calico Ryuusei was looking for was maybe someone he looked up to at some point. Other than that, I have no idea why finding this particular cat was so important to him. I also don't know that I care enough to buy any more of this, although there's a possibility I might check out a library copy of the next volume one day.

Extras:

A page of translator's notes, which for some reason is included just before the final chapter in the volume, and a couple full-color illustrations.

A missed opportunity: the volume was peppered with cat-related terms that readers might not necessarily know, like clowder and molly, so a page devoted to those might have been a good idea.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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text 2020-05-29 08:21
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Ouran high school host club vol 7 - Bisco Hatori

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-05-29 08:20
Book Review: Ouran high school host club vol 7 Bisco Hatori
Ouran high school host club vol 7 - Bisco Hatori

May 29
Hunny's little brother, Chika, pays a visit to the Host Club--and immediately starts attacking Hunny, using all his martial-arts prowess against his older brother! Chika seems to be the absolute opposite of his sweets-loving, Bun-Bun-toting sibling, but why is he so angry with Hunny? The Host Club is determined to find out the cause...

Review: I really enjoyed this volume . First the gang brought Koyo to the mall when he was half asleep then he ran into Haruhi stopped a seller from selling counterfeit art .Then Tamaki calls security for Koyo as a lost child.We meet Mori and Hunny brothers . Chika thinks Hunny is a alien cause he's always eating cake at night and Hunny and Chika fight and Hunny stills wins .Haruhi gets kidnapped by the all girls school the host club and Haruhi dad go to girls school to see what's going on . The play is going on and Haruhi isn't very good at singing and the girls found out the host club came to the school. The last part is a short story about the twins when they were kids their Nanny was planning on robbing the twins and she does they give her the code . Their mom asks the twins if they gave her the code so they cried they faked the tears .

 

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review 2020-05-23 19:47
Beast Master (manga, vol. 1) by Kyousuke Motomi, translated by JN Productions
Beast Master, Vol. 1 - Motomi Kyousuke

Yuiko loves all animals...so much so that she scares them away with the intensity of her affection. One evening, while trying to get her cat home after accidentally scaring it up a tree, she encounters a wild-eyed boy covered in blood. The next day at school she learns that he's Leo, a new transfer student in her class.

Leo is rumored to have gotten into a fight with a group of thugs and won, and everyone's scared of him. Everyone, that is, except Yuiko, who's fascinated by and jealous of the way animals trust him and easily come to him. She approaches him and quickly finds out that he's actually very gentle and sweet, if unused to living among people. Apparently he used to live on an uninhabited island.

However, Leo has a problem. Anytime he sees blood, he blacks out and turns violent - possibly a defense mechanism he developed while on the island, to help him survive against predators. When Yuiko witnesses one such incident, she learns that she can do something no one else has been able to do: tame the beast inside Leo and get him to calm down.

This wasn't a bad volume, although some of the over-the-top details were a bit much for my current mood - things like the stupid blowgun, the repeated appearances by "Boss", the tough-looking softie, and the as yet unexplained detail about Leo having a Japanese-German mercenary as his guardian. Yuiko also drove me a little nuts - she demonstrated that she knew how to coax animals to her but would then screw everything by grabbing the animals and trying to cuddle them like a little kid who hadn't been properly taught how to treat other living beings.

I'm not all that wild about the premise. Leo is a gentle guy, except when he sees blood, at which time he turns into a scary killer who may once have ripped a leopard's throat out during one of his blackouts. And of course Yuiko turns out to be the only person in existence who's ever been able to calm him down with her presence and voice alone. The first time she tries, though, she doesn't manage it until after Leo has bitten her hard enough to draw blood.

There's a bit at the beginning of the volume that irked me: Yuiko's classmates, and even Yuiko herself (that bugged me the most), think it's strange that Yuiko is 17 and is more interested in cuddling animals than chasing after boys. People were literally telling her to stop wasting her time with animals, and I had to grit my teeth.

Throughout most of the volume Leo and Yuiko's relationship is more sweet and platonic than anything. Leo comes across almost like a child. Then things shifted a bit at the very end, and suddenly Yuiko thinks Leo has "a faint manly scent that I hadn't noticed before," and ugh. Really?

I wasn't originally planning on continuing on, but as I was doing a little research prior to writing this review, I noticed that the series is only two volumes long. It feels weird quitting when I'm technically halfway through, so I might see about getting volume 2 from the library at some point.

Extras:

An extra unrelated short manga called "Fly" from early in the author's career. It's about a girl named Yui who's struggling because she wants to become a pilot even though her family expects her to go to medical school. She's convinced that if she sees a rainbow again before she graduates, her dream will come true, and her best friend Arata supports her. The story is pretty weak, although not as bad as the author's embarrassed one-page introduction led me to expect.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2020-05-18 03:07
My Androgynous Boyfriend (manga, vol. 1) by Tamekou, translated by Jocelyne Allen
My Androgynous Boyfriend, Vol. 1 - Tamekou, Jocelyne Allen (Translator)

Meguru is a gorgeous androgynous Instagram model who loves looking cute for his girlfriend. Wako is his girlfriend and generally doesn't care about her own looks much. What she enjoys is looking at cute things. She works as an editor and used her photo editing skills to help launch Meguru's modeling career.

In this volume, Meguru wrestles with his desire to be open and honest about his girlfriend and how much he loves her, even though people in his industry are supposed to be single so that fans can imagine being with them.

How is this not a one-shot? I mean, Meguru and Wako are cute couple who clearly love and support each other, and it's all very nice but...I don't see how there's enough here for more than this one volume? And even this one volume barely had any substance to it.

I bought this because the cover art was pretty (I want whatever Meguru is drinking), and because the idea of a romantic manga starring an ordinary-looking girl and her gender nonconforming boyfriend appealed to me. It's made clear from the beginning that Meguru isn't gay or trans or into cross-dressing. He just likes looking nice for his girlfriend. It causes some awkward moments because people sometimes assume he's female when he's out with Wako, or, if they know he's a guy, they assume he's into other guys. His biggest worry is that it might bother Wako, but luckily for him Wako doesn't mind.

Readers get to meet Kira, Meguru's friend and another model, who's probably the most entertaining character in the whole volume. He's completely self-absorbed and doesn't even notice people unless they're beautiful or important to him in some way.

And that's pretty much it. There really wasn't much to this volume, and although I know that volume 2 will be coming out in September, I have no clue how the author is going to manage to expand upon this. The only question I had, throughout the volume, was how Meguru and Wako met and started dating, and that was answered near the end.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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