Category Archives: Comics

Usagi Yojimbo: Wandering Bunny Samurai Bodyguard

Title: Usagi Yojimbo

Author: Stan Sakai

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.

–Lexie, 15, West Seattle

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Too Much to Read?

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Does this ever happen to you?

–submitted by Susanna, Montlake Branch

Toriko – Typical battle shōnen…but with cooking!

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Title:  Toriko

Author:  Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro

Summary:  Super-powered genetically engineered warriors working for rival companies fight over the best ingredients and search for the ultimate ingredient, “god.”

Gut reaction: Typical battle shōnen.

Why: eh characters, developed setting, eh battles, eh plot, eh

At least the setting is quite expanded upon.  Although the summary sounds interesting, the story follows the gourmet hunter Toriko and his chef sidekick Komatsu as they fight the evil Gourmet Corporation over delicious flora and fauna.  It’s not that bad, but it doesn’t stand out. Toriko starts out very powerful and grows through hax cells in his body to defeat all his opponents.  His friends are semi-interesting people and the villains are suitably villainous, but it’s too generic.

The battle tactics are pretty well-thought out, but they take too long and the winner is always the good guy.  The plot seems to be heading toward some goal, but right now Toriko is just getting hired to get ingredients or going for personal interest and he isn’t truly working towards some higher purpose.  It’s definitely a good series, it’s just that you can find any number of series just like it.

Who would like this book:  Any shōnen or cooking fan would like this, although the cooking bit is admittedly lacking.  I’ll probably keep reading this until it gets boring.

–Lexie, 15, West Seattle

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S·A – Typical shōjo but still funny…

S-A-specialTitle: S·A – Special A

Author: Maki Minami

Summary: A talented girl who is always in second place in everything falls for her rival in an elite school for the smart and/or rich.

Gut reaction: Typical comedic super-boy and hard-working-girl shōjo.

Why: Memorable characters, overdone setting, boring plot.

The characters themselves, although not new, are done well and done interestingly.  Although the main couple is boring, they are done in a refreshing manner.  The side characters are two-note but consistent and entertaining.  The setting is weird but not odd and had potential to be much worse than it is.

The plot sucks and anyone who has read Maid-sama can quote it development for development, although I’m not sure which came first.  It’s quite irritating that the girl can never get ahead.

Who would like this book: Any fan of Maid-Sama or shōjo in general would like it.  It’s funny but the comedy alone won’t carry you through.  It’s easy to read, so I’ll follow it to the end.

–Lexie, 15, West Seattle

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Lexie loves Cheshire Cat Waltz

AINTCOFTitle:  Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat WaltzAuthors:  QuinRose & Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Summary:  Alice’s adventures continue in a new country where she gradually begins to fall for Boris, the Cheshire cat, while struggling over the option of returning home

Gut reaction: Shoujo with Alice and bloodshed.

Why:  This is a continuation of the Alice in the Country of Hearts series, adapted from a otome game. In the second game in the series, an Alice who chooses Boris’ path has adapted to her new world and decided to stay, and other forces are conspiring to ensure that she never leaves. The follow-up to the setting was spectacular. The setting is amazingly detailed and explained. Alice is a character who never bores me, although I’ve read many portrayal of this particular Alice, and Boris is surprisingly deep. I enjoyed the characters. The love was a bit annoying to start out with, and as they grew closer nothing really changed. I feel like the character development played a huge role.

Who would like this book:  Shoujo fans and those who have already read series inside the wider “Alice in the Country of” series will enjoy this one. As the theme is of acceptance and many characters are exceedingly violent, any ok-with-romance seinen fans might also enjoy it. I can’t stand there being a series I haven’t finished, so I’ll finish this one up and move to the next Alice.

–Lexie, 15, West Seattle

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Manga Reviewed: Hayate the Combat Butler

HayateTitle:  Hayate the Combat Butler
Author: Kenjiro Hata

Summary:  Extremely unlucky yet skilled boy works as butler to eccentric otaku rich girl.

Gut reaction: Good comedy, great for otaku.

Why:  Although lately it is taking a more serious tone, the story’s strengths lie in its constant comedic interactions between characters and casual allusions to otaku culture.  The characters are all very funny in their struggles, although most are girls, and the sheer randomness of poor Hayate’s misfortunes never ceases to amuse.  Recently the plot has become more serious and I feel that it’s losing its appeal.  I am very far into the series now and I cannot give it up so this is quite disconcerting.  The first 20 or so volumes are hilarious.

Who would like this book?  Any fan of shoujo, parody, or comedy would enjoy this. Also, hardcore otaku will get many references and gain satisfaction.  As I’m stuck with it for the long haul, I hope it returns to its token comedy soon…

–Lexie, 15, West Seattle

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Teen Reviewed: Whistle!

Whistle!Title:  Whistle!

Author:  Daisuke Higuchi

Summary:  Whistle! is a sports shonen manga, and the story follows a boy whose goal is to become a professional soccer player despite his lack of height.  He starts out in a Japanese high school.

I started reading it because, as a small, small child I saw it on a shelf at the library.

In a yearbook, the man character would be vote Most Likely To: Become a Minor League Professional Soccer Player.

This book reminded me of Real because, honestly, this is the only other sports manga I can currently recall with this level of setting exploration and realism.  Whistle! has a much lighter tone, though, and they are different sports.  Real is very gritty.

I love this series because the main character is interesting and the twists aren’t too predictable.

–Lexie, 15, West Seattle

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