Tag Archives: Japan

Don’t Read This! Blood Ninja

Blood Ninja

Title: Blood Ninja

Author: Nick Lake

Summary:  A boy in warring states period Japan (1500s) becomes a vampire after ninjas kill his dad and goes on an adventure with destiny and good ninjas and vampires and nobility.

Gut reaction:  It was OK …but later I realized it really sucked.

Why:  The writing style is professional and it feels (while you’re still reading) that it’s good but given time to reflect, it’s the worst book ever. It’s very historically inaccurate and the characters get away with all sorts of stuff they shouldn’t.

Who would like this book:  people who like Japan but don’t know much about it, people who like cheap vampire novels, people who like fantasy adventures – it’s really a very European story.

Spoiler-filled Rant (don’t read if you intend to read the book): Continue reading

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


Two transgender students grow up in Japan.

wanderingson1Title:  Wandering Son

Author:  Shimura Takako

Summary:  Two transgender elementary school students in Japan grow up.

Gut reaction: Deep and cute.

Why: The characters and their reactions are very life-like and the contemporary Japanese setting was executed flawlessly.  The plot progressed logically and mimicked the pacing of real life, which you don’t get often these days.  I could empathize with the main characters and the side characters had a lot of personality.

Who would like this book:  All shoujo fans, seinen fans, and anyone into LGBTQ+ would love this series.  I will definitely follow it to the end!

–Lexie, West Seattle, Teen Blogger

Manga Reviewed: The Wallflower

wallflower1Title: The Wallflower
Author: Tomoko Hayakawa
Summary: Four pretty boys have to turn a horror-loving girl into a perfect lady
Gut reaction: shallow but fun
Why: The heroine, Sunako, grows on you and isn’t annoying. I find that the constant chibi drawing style of only her is, though. The four boys, especially the main, Kyohei, are quite annoying but they don’t get in the way. The plot is going nowhere and allows for little to no development. Also, each chapter is a repeat of the same old scenario.
Who would like this book: Shoujo fans and fans of light-hearted simple fun stories would like this. It’s a good light read, so I’ll probably follow until it becomes a pure love story.

— Lexie, 16, West Seattle

Cyber punk, magical realism, and questions of the afterlife…

HBWatEotWIs the elimination of the problems of life worth the loss of the mind?  Is an eternity of Boredom better than nothingness?  These are the intriguing questions Haruki Murakami dives into in his novel Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

The novel takes place in two separate worlds.  One world is futuristic cyberpunk-esque yet slightly mystical, containing information theft, Kappa, and other-worldly science.  The second world is a mythical world, containing unicorns, dream-readers, and shadows that die.  Each chapter switches between each world.

This a good book for you if you are a fan of cyber punk, magical realism, human behavior, and questions of the afterlife, but this book is not the easiest to read.  The author spends much of the book focusing on detail, and towards the end, on the way the characters spend their lives.  Instead of continuously working towards a problem, solution, and ending, the author explores the lives of the characters in intense details and creates a more realistic story, from the perspective of human nature, than readers seeking action-packed novels may be accustomed to, or even enjoy.

–Sam Z, Teen Blogger

Toriko – Typical battle shōnen…but with cooking!






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



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