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review 2018-05-06 23:19
Yukarism (manga, vol. 4) by Chika Shiomi, translated by John Werry
Yukarism, Vol. 4 - Chika Shiomi,John Werry

It has become very clear that if Yukari can't figure out how to break his, Mahoro, and Satomi's connections to their past lives, then history will repeat itself whether they wish it to or not. Yukari learns that Yumurasaki's death was much more terrible and tragic than he realized, and he becomes determined to find a better solution than Mahoro/Takamura killing Satomi/Kazuma.

This is one of those rare short manga series that's actually pretty decent. It's a bit inconsistent throughout, and the first volume is, unfortunately, probably the weakest, but this final volume was excellent.

Considering that the series started off more focused on Yukari/Yumurasaki, I was surprised at how important a character Mahoro became. I'm still not a fan of Takamura's scenes in volume 1, but I really liked how things turned out between Mahoro/Takamura and Yukari/Yumurasaki in the end, even if the explanation for Yumurasaki's numerous rejections of Takamura's offers to buy her freedom was a little awkward. Too bad it took them one and a half lifetimes to finally have a proper conversation, although sadly Yumurasaki probably couldn't have spoken so freely when she was still alive.

The action and tragedy in the pages leading up to the volume's climax reminded me of other historical series I've loved, like Peacemaker Kurogane (I've only seen the anime so far, which has some sad bits but stops prior to the really sad stuff). All flames, bloodshed, and crying. Thankfully, the series as a whole didn't end tragically, although I was afraid it would. And, oh, I worried about Mahoro in the aftermath, poor girl.

I did have some questions about Mahoro and Yukari's relationship in the end, and how things would work out considering

their differing memories

(spoiler show)

, but for the most part I found this to be a satisfying ending. I'm tempted to buy myself a copy of this last volume because I enjoyed it enough that I could see myself wanting to reread it. But, knowing me, I'd then decide I should own the first three volume too, and my shelf space is at a premium.

Extras:

 

- Two pages of translator's notes.

 

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

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review 2018-03-27 12:59
Yukarism (manga, vol. 3) by Chika Shiomi, translated by John Werry
Yukarism, Vol. 3 - Chika Shiomi

In this volume we learn that Kazuma is

Yumurasaki's brother. Their mother sold Yumurasaki when she was a child, which allowed Kazuma to survive.

(spoiler show)

When he meets Yumurasaki again years later, she doesn't recognize him, but he recognizes her and decides to devote the rest of his life to protecting her.

In the present, Yukari has decided to try breaking free of his past life by purposely learning more about those around him and allowing himself to grow attached to people. In particular, he'd like to grow closer to Mahoro. Unfortunately, Yukari, Mahoro, and Satomi have all become so bound up in the patterns of their former lives that breaking free might not be possible. Mahoro and Satomi have a habit of blanking out and attacking each other every time they spend more than a few minutes together, and Yukari can't seem to stop being drawn back to the past.

My experience with short manga series has been that most of them are unsatisfying on some level, but so far this has been one of the more decent ones. I wish that Mahoro and Satomi's connections to their past lives could have been done a little more subtly, although I suppose the way Shiomi did things wasn't too bad. Their connection started off so suddenly and over-the-top that it was almost comedic at times, but in this volume it morphed into something more serious that could truly get people killed.

The section of this volume focused on Kazuma was...disconcerting. When he first met Yumurasaki as an adult, he wasn't 100% sure that she

was his sister, and he found himself a little attracted to her. The realization that she was definitely his sister came right after his realization that he was maybe attracted to her, but I somehow doubt he ever examined that horrifying mixture of feelings too closely. Oh man, I hope the last volume doesn't reveal that his protectiveness really does spring from feelings a bit more complicated than survivor guilt and brotherly love, because ewww.

(spoiler show)


Yukari (in Yumurasaki's body) and Takamura had some cute scenes this time around. I'm still not sure I buy that Takamura's scariness in the first volume was really just an act, but Shiomi did a better job of making Yumurasaki and Takamura a believable potential couple than I expected.

I'm looking forward to reading the final volume. Here's hoping it at least ends well for Yukari, Mahoro, and Satomi.

 

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

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review 2018-03-25 00:00
One-Punch Man, Vol. 2
One-Punch Man, Vol. 2 - Yusuke Murata,John Werry,ONE 3 stars

Meh. The fights are fun, but there is no depth. The some of the humor is just gross, but the art is visually exciting. On the fence with this series.

full review to follow
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review 2018-03-24 00:00
One-Punch Man, Vol. 1
One-Punch Man, Vol. 1 - ONE,Yusuke Murata,John Werry 3.5 stars

I'm not sure what to rate this. The beginning felt like a bunch of one shots, but after the introduction of Genos, the story felt a little more fleshed out. This was a very fast read, most of it fight scenes, with lots of destruction and villains galore. For being big, bad villains, Saitama wasted no time taking them out with only one punch. I'll read the 3 volumes I checked out of the library, but not sure if I will continue after that.
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review 2018-03-18 22:43
Yukarism (manga, vol. 2) by Chika Shiomi, translated by John Werry
Yukarism, Vol. 2 - Chika Shiomi

Katsuhiko Satomi has arrived at Yukari's house in order to take over the housekeeping duties while his aunt is waiting for her back to heal. Yukari immediately notices that he seems familiar and figures that he knew him in his past life. But who was he? Takamura, the man who may have killed Yumurasaki? Or perhaps someone else?

The question continues to plague Yukari as he is once again transported into the past. This time around, he witnesses new sides to Takamura and Kazuma that make him wonder about everything he's assumed so far. Meanwhile, Satomi and Mahoro struggle against their past selves, who hate each other intensely.

This volume was definitely better than the first. The way Mahoro and Satomi kept being taken over by their past selves was a bit odd and over-the-top, but I loved the various revelations about their identities.

Yukari continued to be somewhat bland, but it was revealed that this blandness was connected to the way his past life had mixed with his current one. He held himself aloof from everyone because a part of him still approached life the way Yumurasaki had. I thought that aspect was interesting.

Considering how menacing Takamura was in the first volume, I was more than a little surprised by the way he was suddenly presented, in this volume, as more of a romantic figure, amusingly lovesick over Yumurasaki. He still had that edge of menace from time to time, but this time around it was never directed towards Yumurasaki, but rather always towards those who might hurt her. While I enjoyed the scene where Yumurasaki turned down his offer to buy her freedom, it was a reminder that, if he'd really wanted to push things, she probably wouldn't have had much of a choice.

Two more volumes to go before the end of the series. The past has already happened and presumably can't be changed - Yumurasaki is going to die in a fire, potentially after some kind of battle. The question, now, is who was responsible for her death, and will the events of the past lead to people in the present killing each other?

Extras:

Several author sidebars about the time Shiomi hurt her back, and two pages of translator's notes.

 

Rating Note:

 

My gut-level rating, the first time I finished this, was 4 stars. Then I waited several weeks before reviewing it and realized I'd already forgotten a lot of it. Upon rereading it, I downgraded my rating to 3.5 stars.

 

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

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