Lenni Reviews: "Saint Young Men" by Hikaru Nakamura

*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

In this answer to the question "What if Jesus and Buddha went on vacation" we have a thoroughly enjoyable and hilarious set of stories about these two powerhouses of the heavens living a normal(ish) life in Japan. If you're not into 'slice of life' stories, this will bore you but I found it endearing and fun! Both religions are treated with respect and the translation notes are exceedingly helpful for some of the side humor. It wanders a little but that comes with slice of life stories. I had a lot of fun reading this volume but it's hard to see where this would keep going for multiple volumes without getting repetitive. 4.8 out of 5. 

 

Lenni Reviews: “Ten Count” volume 2 by Rihito Takarai

*This volume was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is intended for 18+.

Even after agreeing to keep his distance, Kurose still has feelings for Shirotani. Shirotani however, has virtually shut down after Kurose insisted on not seeing him anymore. With the help of his co-worker, Mikami, Shirotani finally agrees to meet up with Kurose; who confesses he wanted to stay away because it was not appropriate for a counselor to be in love with his patient. Not only that but Kurose wants to touch Shirotani; whose condition makes him sick at the thought of being contaminated. Shirotani finds that while his germaphobia still affects him, Kurose's touch also makes him excited.

And WHOA does it ever make him excited! Remember in the last review when I said there was no smut but a good build with the characters? This volume earns its M rating. Kurose and Shirotani go from tentative interaction to touching naughty bits. But as sensual as they get, there is still something traumatic in Shirotani's past that's only being hinted at in quick flashbacks. Shirotani "endures" very intimate touches but something simple like Kurose ruffling his hair sets him off. We'll have to wait to find out what happened but I give this volume a 4 out of 5.

This volume will be released November 8th, 2016.

For more of Lenni's writing and reviews, head over to Haunting Hypatia.

Lenni Reviews: "Ten Count" volume 1 by Rihito Takarai

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tadaomi Shirotani works as a secretary for a CEO while suffering from germophobia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. One day, his boss is nearly hit by a truck and a young man named Riku Kurose; who is a therapist, saves the man from being killed. Kurose notices Shirotani's condition and offers to help him work through it. Kurose has Shirotani make a list of 10 things to get over in order of discomfort from least to most. Shirotani is only able to come up with 9. They make a deal to meet regularly to work through the list then Shirotani will come up with that 10th item, but he finds he develops more than just a friendly attraction to Kurose.

Unlike a lot of yaoi manga with an M rating, this first volume is very innocent. Our two main characters meet, get to know each other, and slowly build what will likely be a deeper relationship. There's an author's note in the back expressing concern that readers will be disappointed with the leisurely pace but I like it. The art is beautiful, the writing on point, and I think I would like to see Shirotani and Kurose take their time so I can enjoy their story. 4.5 out of 5.

For more of Lenni's writing and reviews, head over to Haunting Hypatia.

Lenni Reviews: Kiss of the Rose Princes vol 2 by Aya Shouoto

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If you recall my last review, I mentioned this manga is pretty standard shojo fare unless there's a curve ball thrown in later volumes. Boy, were my words ever prophetic...

This volume begins with Anise still searching for her lost choker. She orders her knights to locate it but can only let them look for so long as their magic is powered by her blood. But things get interesting when a new transfer student, Haruto Kisugi, is added to the mix, Anise's father sends her a message that he's coming home, and a seal holding in a demon is cracking, which will require a sacrifice to repair.

By the end of this volume, I was shocked and had a new respect for Anise. Most shojo heroines are plucky by design and want to change the sad fate presented in the plot. But (as a mild spoiler) when Anise says "Bring on my punishment" (referencing the punishment for losing the choker) I found that pretty ballsy. Things went so bad so quickly and Anise really showed her bravery. She went right on without hesitation. And she's brave and strong without being overbearing or too cliche. And I have read a LOT of shojo manga. Of course that could change but we shall see in volume three!

I can't give much more detail without spoiling all of the plot twists in this volume but to sum up, things get real and it was awesome.

Lenni Reviews: Kiss of the Rose Princess Vol. 1 by Aya Shouoto

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High school girl Anise Yamamoto gets chased through the school gates every morning. But not by rabid suitors or aliens, but by the dress code enforcer who takes issue with a rose choker Anise wears every day without fail. She is willing to endure this daily nonsense because her father told her when she was little if Anise were to ever remove the choker, a terrifying punishment will befall her. In true magical girl fashion, a small magical creature manages to knock it off and suddenly, Anise is the new owner of four magical cards she can use to summon attractive knights with a kiss.

This volume is a good start to what I can see being a very cute series. I was left wondering if the terrible fate that befalls Anise is to have the hottest bodyguards around (can we all share that "horrible fate," please?) but by the end of this volume it does seem like something is brewing behind the scenes.

However, if you've read any other magical girl, high school manga, you get the rhythm of everything. Hot guys, magical charms and kisses, wacky high school hi-jinks, and a cute, mischievous talking animal. Just another normal day in manga-land. Don't get me wrong, I like it, but unless some sort of curve ball comes in later volumes, shojo fans will know exactly what to expect here. The art is lovely and all the characters are interesting so far. I look forward to seeing what happens next.

Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire Vol. 2 (Manga Review)

Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire Vol. 2 (Manga Review)

Professor Wright and his nephew Ricky is back and their mission, finding the source of the virus and halting its outbreak, continuous.  Meanwhile, Chris Redfield's team closes in to the professor's location. Will they get there in time? All this in a nail-biting second volume. Hit the jump for my review.

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Lenni Reviews: Vampire Knight vol 19 by Matsuri Hino

Lenni Reviews: Vampire Knight vol 19 by Matsuri Hino

I started reading this series when Shojo Beat was still a subscription magazine. Unfortunately, when the magazine stopped, I also stopped reading it; due entirely to my allotted money to spend on hard copy volumes of comics or manga.

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Lenni Reviews: Food Wars vol 2 by Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki

Lenni Reviews: Food Wars vol 2 by Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki

What happens after you (begrudgingly) get accepted to school? Why, you move into the dorms, of course! And of course Soma can't take such a simple step without having to battle his way through so first he battles the dorm matron, then we are introduced to the idea of the Counsel of Ten as Soma battles the ever hardly dressed Satoshi Isshiki for a place to rest his head.

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Lenni Reviews: Spell of Desire vol 1 by Tomu Ohmi

Lenni Reviews: Spell of Desire vol 1 by Tomu Ohmi

Kaoruko Mochizuki is quietly tending her herb shop when in walks a tall man in a dark suit claiming she's heir to the incredible powers of the Witch Queen... Who is also her mother... A mother Kaoruko thought was dead yet only slumbers until her power can be reclaimed.

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Lenni Reviews: Food Wars vol 1 by Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki

Lenni Reviews: Food Wars vol 1 by Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki

In this volume, we meet Soma Yukihira; a budding young cook whose man ambition is to out cook his father, who is famous for his culinary talents. Soma's father challenges his son to graduate from the most elite cooking school in the country; the Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute; which boasts a 10 percent graduation rate.

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Lenni Reviews: Manga Classics: Les Miserables and Pride and Prejudice


In life, there are books commonly assumed as Must Reads. If you don't encounter them in high school, you might in college and if you haven't read them by then, you are greeted with a horrified gasp from anyone who finds out you haven't. Heck, books like this are usually on people's bucket lists. The problem is how dense the books are and many people find them confusing or boring. This is where UDON Entertainment's graphic classics come in.

If you are familiar with either of these stories, then nothing will surprise you. Nothing in the narrative is changed. Speaking as someone who couldn't get through Pride and Prejudice and hasn't picked up Les Miserables (yet), these two books are a fantastic way to get the story across. What is most helpful is having faces to go with the names. Sometimes having so many names thrown at you makes you forget who is who and why we care who they are. If they vanish for part of the book and return, you have to go back to remind yourself. (nerd note: I had this problem with Dostoevsky; where some of the characters names would straight up change mid story... UDON, make some manga of those please!)

The art is crisp and lovely. Po Tse's dramatic and flowing style is perfect for a Victorian romance like Pride and Prejudice. Even the comical super-deformed moments are beautiful. SunNeko Lee's art is also great but at some points it was odd to be reading such a dark story with such adorable, classic manga art. But you get over it because you're too busy reading.

Both manga cut huge chunks of exposition out (of course) so don't go thinking you can read these instead of doing your homework. I wouldn't say these are nothing more than illustrated cliff notes; you get much more story than that. These manga give you the experience of the main story so you can hold a conversation about whether or not Mr. Darcy is a jerk* or what the heck is the deal with Inspector Javert's obsession with ONE guy who stole bread as opposed to a murderer, or the horrible people who took in Cosette only to neglect and abuse the little girl.

And not to badmouth the movie or the play but; no singing. You can avoid the singing by reading this.

I would love to see more classic works from UDON if for nothing but to get the stories available to a wider audience of people. The art is great, the story is clear, and I was never bored reading them.

*He did come off as a jerk.

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