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Manga Review: Nabari No Ou by Yuhki Kamatani (Volumes 1-3)

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel
Series: Nabari No Ou
# of Volumes: 14 / completed
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: [from Vol. 1] Apathetic schoolboy Miharu Rokujou is content to meander through life in the sleepy village of Banten. But his quiet existence is shattered when the Grey Wolves of Iga, a powerful ninja clan, attempt to kidnap him in broad daylight. Only then does Miharu discover that the ultimate power of the hidden ninja realm — a power that can do both great good and great harm — is sealed within his body. As battles erupt among rival ninja clans seeking to control him, Miharu must overcome his apathy and learn the ways of the ninja if he wants any shot at survival!

 

My Review: Nabari No Ou is a good manga/anime. The volumes I’m reviewing cover seem to cover the first 8 1/2 episodes. I’d only seen the anime before now but I’m glad to have finally gotten around to reading the manga.

I wasn’t super blown away by these volumes but I was still enjoying the story. I was invested in Miharu and what was happening. I loved the artwork, especially all the action scenes. There wasn’t much character growth but it may be too soon for that. We know the stakes and (kind of) who opposition is early so we’re set for more action and tension to take off in volume 4.

I adore Miharu. I don’t mind that he’s apathetic most of the time because his big heart and sense of humor shine through on several occasions. He’s not as weak as others may perceive him to be. He can defend himself for the most part.

It’s a compelling story overall that I’d recommend to others.

 

 

 

 

Images via Goodreads

Vol. 1https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5422179-nabari-no-ou-vol-1

Vol. 2https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6406020-nabari-no-ou-vol-2

Vol. 3https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6867945-nabari-no-ou-vol-3


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Manga Review: Days by Tsuyoshi Yasuda (Volumes 1-7)

*review modified from what I wrote on Goodreads to give an overall review of volumes 1-7*

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novels
Series: Days
# of Volumes: 18 / ongoing (English translation)
Rating:
Recommend To Others?: Yes

ABOUT: [from Vol. 1] During his last spring break before starting high school, Tsukushi Tsukamoto meets Jin Kazama, who invites him to a pick-up soccer game. Their chance meeting, and his first-ever experience with soccer, move kind-hearted, timid Tsukushi to enroll in his new high school’s soccer club, which is among the strongest in all of Japan. Unbeknownst to the rest of the world, there’s something amazing hidden inside Tsukushi’s heart…and through the trials and tribulations of his time in the soccer club, it’s beginning to blossom!

 

My Review: Days is such a great sports anime. Like other in the sports genre, Tsukamoto, the MC, is lovable and often underestimated and the team is full of adorkable weirdos. So when I found the manga for purchase I was ecstatic and eager to read. Seiseki is one of my favorite manga/anime sports teams!

The first volume was an ok introduction to the story. It was missing the high energy level that the anime has but was still cute.

Tsukamoto slowly – very slowly – grows into his own in a way only he can. He’s such a lovable character who almost everyone keeps underestimating just because of his personality and the way he looks. He is a precious gift from above! But it’s an uphill battle for him as he struggles to learn how to be an effective soccer player and member of Seiseki.

Seiseki goes through several emotional highs and lows that only serve to make the team stronger. The players are very determined to win and uphold the team’s legacy. Seiseki has a top tier soccer program.

Mizuki is a beast! He’s one of my favorite characters. What he lacks in words – which most cannot understand – he makes up for in his skill on the field.

Some of my favorite parts take place when the team goes to training camps. I think it is there where you start to see character growth not just from Tsukamoto but from other members on the team.

Big things are happening. I left off during a crucial tournament for Seiseki, so I’m looking forward to seeing how far the team will go and if they can make their dreams of representing Japan come true.


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[Manga Review] Kamisama Kiss (Vol. 1) by Julietta Suzuki

Review of Volume 1 only

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel
Series: Kamisama Kiss
# of Volumes: 25
Rating: 4 out of 5

 

ABOUT: Nanami Momozono is alone and homeless after her dad skips town to evade his gambling debts and the debt collectors kick her out of her apartment. So when a man she’s just saved from a dog offers her his home, she jumps at the opportunity. But it turns out that his place is a shrine, and Nanami has unwillingly taken over his job as a local deity!

Nanami has all kinds of new responsibilities she doesn’t understand, dangers she’s unaware of, and a cranky ex-familiar who’s… actually pretty hot. What’s a new-fledged godling to do?

 

My Review: This was a great start to the story. I’ve only watched the anime so this was a nice re-introduction to the story. Reading was a nostalgic experience.

Nanami is alot different than I remember. She is an eh character as of this first volume but I’m sure I’ll grow to like her character more. She’s vocal when she needs to me. She doesn’t allow Tomoe to walk all over her or scare her.

Tomoe is like any other of my favorite white-haired main character. You can tell how deeply the betrayal has affected him. He doesn’t think much of Nanami because she’s human. But I also think he’s projecting his anger onto her. I like his character the most because of his cool attitude.

I can’t wait for more characters to appear. I think they will add a lot of color and humor to the rest of the story.


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The Best Stories I’ve Ever Read/Watched

Having a wild and very active imagination combined with the incredible effects of reading books have inspired me to become an author. While I owe every story credit for my writing passion, there are few select stories across entertainment mediums whose stories hold a special place in my heart and inspire me to no ends. These stories have outstanding characters, intricately compelling plots, and wholly original worlds. They take my breath away.

Here are the best stories I’ve ever read/watched that have been influential in my life:

 

Attack on Titan
Anime Series

Beka Cooper
Young Adult Fantasy (trilogy) Book Series
by Tamora Pierce

Circle of Magic
Young Adult Fantasy (quartet) Book Series
by Tamora Pierce

Daughter of the Lioness
Young Adult Fantasy (duology) Book Series
by Tamora Pierce

Full Metal Alchemist
Anime Series

Naruto
Anime Series

Ranger’s Apprentice
Young Adult/Middle Grade Fantasy Book Series
by John Flanagan

Sevenwaters
Fantasy Book Series
by Juliet Marillier

Song of the Lioness
Young Adult Fantasy (quartet) Book Series
by Tamora Pierce

Soul Screamers
Young Adult Fantasy Book Series
by Rachel Vincent

Study
Young Adult Fantasy Book Series
by Maria V. Snyder

Tales From Verania
Fantasy Romance / LGBTQ Fiction (quartet) Book Series
by T.J. Klune

Wicked Lovely
Young Adult Fantasy Book Series
by Melissa Marr


What are some of the best stories you’ve ever read/watched/heard? Let me know in the comments below.

And, as always, happy reading!!!


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Reading 2018: Best of Manga

Today’s the final day spotlighting my favorite books of 2018.

A large portion of the books I read this year were of this genre. But the titles below have had a big impact on me and my reading experience. I feel like the world of books just got ten times bigger.

It behooved me to pick just one as the best. I loved them all so I picked them all as the best.


 

BLACK BUTLER (Volumes 1-26) by Yana Toboso
Series Review (so far)

FRUITS BASKET (Volumes 1-23) by Natsuki Takaya
Series Review

S●A – SPECIAL A (Volumes 1-17) by Maki Minami
Series Review

THE BETRAYAL KNOWS MY NAME (Volumes 1-8) by Hotaru Odagiri
Series Review

 


See Which Books Took Home The Gold Last Year In 2017

Reading 2017: Best of Picture Books
Reading 2017: Best of Young Adult & Young Adult Fantasy
Reading 2017: Best of Fantasy
Reading 2017: Best of Romance
Reading 2017: Best of Middle Grade & My Favorite Book of the Year


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Book Series Review: The Betrayal Knows My Name by Hotaru Odagiri, Translated by Melissa Tanaka (English Vol. 1-8)

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel, Romance, Comedy
# of Volumes: 8 (in English)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

Volume 1 Summary (via Goodreads):
Abandoned as a baby and raised in an orphanage, the kind-hearted high-schooler Yuki Sakuragi is driven by a need to find the reason for his existence. Plagued by mysterious dreams, Yuki also possesses the strange ability to read the deepest, darkest thoughts of anyone he touches. As both the dreams and his powers intensify, there appears before him a beautiful young man named “Zess,” whose face tugs on Yuki’s memory. He warns Yuki not to venture outside on Walpurgis Night, the eve of the blood-red moon, which invites death. But when Yuki’s compassion leads him to disobey Zess’s order, has Yuki carelessly thrown his life away before he’s even given himself the chance to find out the very reason for it?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
So many feels! So much happiness! The Betrayal Knows My Name was awesome to read!

Yuki is so kind and emphatic. He’s just adorable and I love everything about him and his interactions with others. Luka (aka Zess) is my dark knight in shining armor (well, more like Yuki’s knight). He’s one of those dark, mysterious characters you can’t help but love. Everyone character in this series has something wonderful about them.

The premise is just the kind of story I love reading, which is what enticed me to watch the anime. It’s the dark, romantic, fantasy story that compelling you to pay attention to every minute detail, devour every polished line, and count yourself lucky you get to spend so much time with these characters in their amazing world.

When I found that the complete series in English on Amazon I knew I had to buy them all. There was no buy volume 1 first to make sure you like it. This I knew I was going to enjoy more than I could ever imagine.

Big beautiful books arrived at my door, dazzling with stunning gothic art. Eight treasure chest I couldn’t wait to open. I read all the books within four days.

The last three volumes are way shorter than the others and the ending was rushing. Given what the author writes concerning this matter, it’s completely understandable. A reader couldn’t ask for more from an author they admire. A lot of meticulously painstaking work goes into producing manga – and, of course, any work of fiction. I believe Hotaru Odagiri did what was best for herself and her readers.


Image Links via Goodreads:
Volume 1 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9414170-the-betrayal-knows-my-name-volume-01
Volume 4 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13035035-the-betrayal-knows-my-name-volume-04
Volume 8 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36205213-the-betrayal-knows-my-name-vol-8


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Book Series Review: S●A – Special A by Maki Minami (Vol. 1-17)

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel, Romance, Comedy
# of Volumes: 17
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Volume 1 Summary (via Goodreads):
Her whole life, Hikari Hanazono has been consumed with the desire to win against her school rival, Kei Takishima–at anything. He always comes out on top no matter what he does, and Hikari is determined to do whatever it takes to beat this guy…somehow!

At age 6 Hikari lost to Kei in an impromptu wrestling match. Now, at 15, Hikari joins “Special A,” a group of the top seven students at a private academy, for the opportunity to trounce the guy who made her suffer her first defeat.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
S●A is certainly a spectacularly amazing manga. It was everything I thought it would be after watching the anime so many times. The members of S●A wind up in so many wacky situations but it’s all great.

I’ve fallen in love with the characters all over again. They’re so quirky, endearing and adorable people. Their close friendship is goals because they’re always there for each other through good times and bad. They make each other (and the reader) laugh and smile all the time. There’s a lot of depth and history to them.

I was laughing and awe-ing throughout the whole series. Maki Minami really knows how to weave humor in any and all situations the characters find themselves in. Both the narrative and the artwork is hilarious. I always giggle at the drawings of shocked characters.

Hikari is probably my favorite character because of her personality. She is for sure very dense but unbelievably kind, optimistic, supportive, and physically strong. I would be so happy to have her as a friend.

S●A is a rom-com I would recommend to everyone. I’m so happy to have read this manga.


My Review of Volumes 1-4


Image Links:

Volume 1 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1649592.Special_A_Vol_01

Volume 17 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8230480-special-a-vol-17


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Book Series Review: Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya, Translated by Alethea Nibley & Athena Nibley (Vol. 1-23)

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel, Romance, Comedy
# of Volumes: 23
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?:  Yes

 

Volume 1 Summary (via Goodreads):
A family with an ancient curse…

And the girl who will change their lives forever…

Tohru Honda was an orphan with no place to go until the mysterious Sohma family offered her a place to call home. Now her ordinary high school life is turned upside down as she’s introduced to the Sohma’s world of magical curses and family secrets.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
Fruits Basket was awesome to read. There’s so much to love about this series. I’ve watched the anime a few times (which was good too) before reading the manga. Natsuki Takaya is a talented storyteller and artist.

Natsuki Takaya’s characters are so dynamic and real. Each has a distinct personality and their growth throughout the story is unique to themselves. Tohru is such a catalyst of change for the members of the zodiac who were already so closely bonded. Her genuine demeanor is something each character needed to come to the realizations they do. It’s a hard road to get to those realizations.

After a certain point in the story, things get heavy, the plot thickens, and your attention is super-glued to anything and everything going on. Of course there are still light-hearted moments to love. But I think it’s during the internal and external conflicts that each character’s inner most human desires are exposed. You come to really love all of the characters. It’s surprising, it’s sad, it’s everything you want from well-crafted characters.

The ending was emotional but satisfying. All great stories must come to an end I guess. And I can only wish each character the best in the paths they’ve chosen for themselves.


My Review of Volumes 1- 5


Image Links

Vol 1 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/555428.Fruits_Basket_Vol_1

Vol 15 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46906.Fruits_Basket_Vol_15

Vol 23 – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5322056-fruits-basket-vol-23


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Book Review: The Ancient Magnus’ Bride by Kore Yamazaki, Translated by Adrienne Beck (Volume 1)

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel
Series: The Ancient Magnus’ Bride, Volume 1
Rating: 3 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Most Likely

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
Enter the Magician’s Apprentice

Her name is Chise Hatori, a penniless orphan troubled by visions. Sold as a slave to an inhuman mage, she is about to begin a strange new life, filled with magic, fairies, and other beings of a fantastical nature.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
I liked reading this first volume, though it was a bit much on the slow, mellow side for a beginning. The story takes place at a turning point in which mages, magic, and like associations are nearing a pseudo-extinction. That coupled with Elias – the “inhuman mage” in question – taking on Chise to be his apprentice mage opens up several possibilities, which already begin to manifest in this volume. Already she’s set apart as this more advanced, rare magical being. And now she’s paired with a renowned mage and recluse. Interesting.

I like Chise and Elias. There’s a quiet humor and charm about them. I’m anticipating a lot more funny banter between them. I think their dialogue was the best part of the story so far.

My biggest issue was that the story jumped around too much. Transition were sometimes jarring.

I plan to read volume 2 to learn more about the story and characters. I don’t feel fully immersed in this story’s world yet. So, as of now, I’m still not entirely sold on the story, but I’m interested enough to keep reading.