Summary: A girl tries to reunite her childhood friends
Gut reaction: I love this!
Why: As a nostalgia addict, I can deeply connect with Mike’s struggle to get her friends back together and into a close group once more. The desire for things as they were is both impossible and human nature. The characters are mostly solid, although a few are flimsy, and the setting is very heart-felt. I immediately empathized with the characters and cheered them on in their struggles. I hope it ends well, because I’m too focused on the past to predict where it’ll end up in the future. Please bring the good old days back!
Who would like this book: shoujo fans, slice-of-life fans, shounen fans, other nostalgia addicts. I, of course, will doggedly follow it until the end.
Gut reaction: We’re allowed to have polygamy in media now? Why wasn’t I told before?
Why: The story is actually pretty tame and simple, but I do like it. The main girl, Machiru, and her love rival decide to date their love interest together and Machiru is really fond of the other girl as well. Unexpectedly, the characters are deep and complex, insofar as shoujo goes, and the story isn’t predictable or boring. A grounded shoujo is so rare these days that upon discovery I become inconsolably happy.
Who would like this book: Shoujo fans, manga fans in general, people in threesomes? I’m happy and will follow it until it ends.
Summary: A tomboy has a series of bad boyfriends and her perfect childhood friend confesses to her.
Gut reaction: Annoying guy lead, likable female lead, I like childhood friends, music genius
Why: The hero is one of those perfect people who is half-foreign, a piano prodigy, insanely smart, beautiful, chivalrous, and has a tragic back-story and cruel family. What’s surprising is that he’s the younger one and she’s not useless. She may be a tomboy, but she’s not innocent and doesn’t need to be saved all the time. So far she has no interest in him, and it is also nice to see a girl who can reject without having another love. The story is going to be slow going for a bit and then intensify with a story about his tragic past and unknown rich family and she’s going to have to end up with him, but the beginning is good.
Who would like this book: Shoujo fans, Maid-sama fans. I’ll keep reading unless they over-do it with the tragic back-story arc.
Summary: In an interesting fusion between (mostly) manga and (a bit of) manhwa, an office lady is plagued with supernatural problems and her savior that comes with them, a mysterious spider-exorcist
Gut reaction: weird, onmyouji, eh office lady, cool monsters
Why: The heroine, Megumi, isn’t annoying but isn’t interesting either. I like her lover, an insignificant side character sure to die/be abandoned soon because he seems thoughtful in an unusual way. The onmyouji (traditional Japanese exorcist) is awesome and spider powers are also cool. The monsters are pretty awesome in their powers and appearances. The story is reasonably paced and is pretty good. I’m looking forward to how this continues.
Who would like this book: manhwa fans, shounen fans, horror fans, youkai fans, romance fans. I’ll keep reading and probably stick with it.
Summary: A college girl looks for love and will probably end up with her crush’s best friend, her gay neighbor, but don’t ask me how that works.
Gut reaction: grounded, un-obnoxious, college instead of high school, mature people for once.
Why: The characters are realistic, and although they aren’t especially deep, they aren’t shallow at all. The strange portrayal of LGBTQ+ is strange, but I guess he’s bi-sexual? I’ll be interested in how they pull this off. However, they deserve credit for a realistic homosexual character instead of the derogatory okama stance. The heroine, Suzuna, has no tragic back story or Mary-Sue qualities whatsoever. The story plays out like real life without bathos and it’s possible, although not likely, that it’ll end with the friendship ending.
Who would like this book: realistic LGBTQ+ fans (not an LGBTQ+ story though), shoujo fans. I’ll read until the end because I’m curious and it’s good so far.
Summary: Bunny wandering samurai bodyguard is generally epic, feudal Japan with animal-people.
Gut reaction: Feudal Japan, samurai, animals, episodic
Why: Basically, it’s your typical samurai story – a mysterious and powerful wandering samurai does stuff with morals, has money problems, and beats up bad guys, except Usagi has animals. Usagi Yojimbo means bunny bodyguard, and the titular character is literally a rabbit with armor and a sword. Other than that, it’s an OK if slightly unrealistic period piece.
Who would like this book: Sengoku fans, animal fans, samurai fans. I’ll read until I get bored with it, which probably won’t happen.