Spy X Family Vol. 2 by Tatsuya Endo {Manga Review}

Spy X Family Vol. 2 by Tatsuya Endo (Spy X Family #2)

Publisher: Viz Media

Release Date: September 1, 2020

Available Through The Book Depository: Spy X Family Volume 2

Summary: Master spy Twilight is unparalleled when it comes to going undercover on dangerous missions for the betterment of the world. But when he receives the ultimate assignment—to get married and have a kid—he may finally be in over his head!

Twilight must infiltrate the prestigious Eden Academy to get close to his target Donovan Desmond, but has he ruined his daughter Anya’s chances with his outburst during the admissions interview? Perhaps the truly impossible mission this time is making sure Anya both becomes an exemplary student and befriends Donovan’s arrogant son Damian! 

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Spy X Family is one of the most brilliant manga debuts of 2020! This dark, comedic, entertaining series follows a FAKE FAMILY consisting of a spy, telepath, and assassin that each have their own secrets! The mission continues as the Forger family gets a coveted spot in a prestigious academy! This dynamic, action-packed series is propelled by clever humor, phenomenal storytelling, and a stellar cast of characters!

Twilight has been tasked with creating a fake family as part of an elaborate mission to keep the unsteady truce between neighboring countries Westalis and Ostania! Now, his family includes himself (a master spy), but also a telepath daughter and assassin wife! However, each has continued to keep their identities a secret from each other.

This volume follows Anya’s entrance into Eden Academy as the Forgers continue to adjust in their roles as a found family. However, as Loid (Twilight) does his best to carry on the mission in the background he quickly realizes his next step to get closer to his target means Anya will have to befriend his spoiled son Damian!

The plot allows for introductions to some new characters (Damian, Handler, + Yuri) and hilarious hijinks for the Forger family! The comedy brilliantly woven throughout this series makes for so many unexpected plot points you never see coming. There’s mystery, action, high stakes and tons of humor, you won’t be able to put this book down.

While Anya tries adjust to school, she not only wants to do her best for her family, but also continues to use her telepathy (and fighting skills she learned from Yor) to survive the first few days. Its so wonderful seeing Anya make a new friend, Becky and one of the funniest side plots was seeing Loid go undercover to get Anya to apologize to Damian once it was clear they didn’t get along in the beginning, for the sake of the mission. Very interested in seeing the Anya, Becky and Damian dynamic in future volumes too!

While Yor wasn’t given as much page-time this volume, I utterly adored every moment she was in. Seeing her unwavering support to Anya and Loid was so beautiful to read, in fact here was one of my favorite lines between them in Volume 2: “You’re being a wonderful father to that girl…But again, what do I know? It’s not exactly my place”…(Loid): “No Yor. It’s exactly your place…I rely on you to be everything I am not…” (120-121).

Also, seeing Yor beat up a group of people trying to hurt Anya, then teaching her how to fight was a highlight of this volume tbh, especially since early on in the volume Yor talks about wanting to continue being a good mother to mind-reader Anya.

The stakes heighten in different ways, which mixed together with the perfectly-timed comedic moments, make this manga not only entertaining but leave you on the edge of your seat as you continue to immerse yourself in the Forger’s chaotic lives!

Twilight, Anya, and Yor have captured my heart just 2 volumes in, I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! 💕

As with the first volume, the espionage motifs and references continue to build such a distinct atmosphere and world throughout this series. From the telephone booth transport, Twilight’s disguises, and a hilarious moment about overspending the operations budget, its so easy to immerse yourself in this intriguing, captivating world!

The artwork continues to be detailed, making each character and their motives distinct. From the action to the setting, characters, etc., it really builds on the exaggeration, humor, and tone perfectly crafted to match each panel.

There’s just something that’s keeping this series at a 4 for me, but rating aside this series is utterly BRILLIANT and you should read it while it still only has a couple volumes. As I’m sure many other Spy X Family readers can predict, this series will continue to get better and better, I just know it!

Spy X Family Vol. 2 is a stellar sequel that reunites readers with the hilarious hijinks of the Forger family! The dynamic cast of characters, fantastic artwork, witty humor, and page-turning story are just some of the many reasons you should hop on the bandwagon while its still in its first volumes! This series succeeds in so many ways and you don’t want to miss it!

I’m also planning some manga recommendation lists, so keep an eye out for those during the next few months! 😌💞

Satoko And Nada Vol. 3 by Yupechika {Manga Review}

Satoko And Nada Vol. 3 by Yupechika (Satoko & Nada #3)

Publisher: Seven Seas

Release Date: June 16, 2020

Pages: 128

Available Through The Book Depository: Satoko And Nada Vol. 3

Summary: Abdullah, the mysterious young man who might marry Nada one day, is suddenly in America?! Satoko and her friends (not to mention Nada’s broter are in a panic, unsure if they should tell Nada or just stall the guy until he leaves. When it comes to Nada’s future, the people who love her will do whatever it takes to make her happy!

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Satoko And Nada continues to be one of the best contemporary manga series out there! Following the adventures of 2 women who continue their university studies in the US, this series is told through 4-panel pages that delve into the daily lives of two best friends and as they learn more about each other’s cultures! Satoko And Nada is a must-read series!

I think Satoko And Nada is one of those manga’s that’s gone under the radar and more people should be reading it! Where this series absolutely excels is how it delves deep into the topic of friendship and balancing the character relationships/dynamics. If you have yet to read these fantastic books, my recent tweet sums up why its so great!

For those who haven’t had the chance to read this series it follows two university students (Satoko who’s Japanese and Nada who’s Saudi Arabian) as they study abroad in the US and after becoming roommates, they instantly click and become the best of friends. Every volume explores new adventures and features wholesome moments as they learn more about not only American culture, but each others!

As with previous volumes, this series continues its 4-panel style storytelling that presents tons of slice of life moments that happen in Satoko and Nada’s day to day schedules. The main plot for this volume follows Nada’s husband-to-be, Abdullah, who comes for a visit as Satoko attempts to stall and protect Nada, unsure of how to bring up the conversation while knowing how focused she is on her studies.

What made this story arc one of the best was seeing how it not only delves into discussing how Nada and Abdullah have their own busy schedules outside of their arrangement, getting both of their perspectives on it. Also how they are respectful of each other’s personal goals and despite being distant, still find ways to stay in touch. In addition, this really highlights the deep bond both ladies have for each other when Nada learns Satoko was only trying to protect her and respect her space before introducing her to her fiance Abdullah.

Another highlight of this series is that each volume continuously shows that each of them are still learning about each other’s cultures and having fun doing so. Focusing more on Nada’s culture we learn more about abaya care, hijabs, agals, henna, and much more!

I also enjoyed that this volume had a variety of different adventures that they get into: shopping together, being part of Miracle’s volunteer fair, having a snow day, however nearing the end Satoko has her own page time for solo adventures too.

Friendship is a core piece of this series that makes for such heartfelt and memorable moments in this volume specifically, especially as its leading up to the final volume (*sob 😭💞). I had tons of favorite pages from Volume 3: ‘Someone To Rely On’ was one the most impactful and wholesome pages, ‘Did I Pray?,’ ‘Snow,’ ‘Luck,’ and ‘Second Home.’ These were just some of the pages that showcased their lovely dynamic and the wonderful friendship that they share.

What definitely stood out to me was because its also prepping for the finale, I just found myself remembering more of these pages and appreciating the heartfelt moments where they specifically state how much their friendship means to each of them. Despite being from different countries, they’ve really made a new home for themselves in the US and cherish their relationship so much. Page 82 summed it up perfectly: “You know this is our second homeland. If you couldn’t go back to Japan for some reason, I would come here to get you…”

The 4-panel manga gives the story a unique opportunity to place our main characters in tons of different situations and moments that make for really well-timed humor. Because we get to know Satoko, Nada, Miracle, Kevin, Rahman, and Abdullah fairly quickly, it allows this novel to focus more on the plot and various 1-page acts. The dialogue is great and the distinct art-style really sets the series apart.

There’s definitely more cohesive story arcs that build over Volume 3 and its more impactful, which is why I rated this one a 4.5 compared to the last volume. However, I did want even more Satoko and Nada page time together, especially with their friends Kevin and Miracle (because these two did feel a bit distant).

This series could go on for 100 volumes and I wouldn’t mind. I’m still emotionally preparing myself for the last volume because, you know that feeling when a book just connects with you on a deep level and you can’t really explain why? That’s what reading this series is like! I’m right there with Satoko and Nada on all their adventures and every volume just leaves you smiling and full of joy!!

If I were to pitch this series and explain why it needs more attention, I’d say it follows the fantastic adventures of Japanese and Saudi Arabian hijabi Muslim exchange students who become the best of friends! It feels like the book community is also usually on the lookout for more college-set YA stories that focus on FRIENDSHIP and I definitely believe this series deserves so much love and support (PLEASE read it if you get the chance, its so wonderful) ❤❤

Satoko And Nada Vol. 3 focuses more on the slice-of-life moments as it balances humor, deeply interwoven theme of friendship, and features many vignette-style plot points that keep you reading! Delving into the beauty of deep friendship bonds and exploration of culture, Satoko And Nada is an utterly brilliant manga series that will capture your heart from page 1!

Spy X Family Vol. 1 by Tatsuya Endo {Manga Review}

Spy X Family Vol. 1 by Tatsuya EndoSpy X Family Vol. 1 by Tatsuya Endo (Spy X Family #1)

Publisher: Viz Media

Release Date: June 2, 2020

Pages: 220

Available Through The Book Depository: Spy X Family Volume 1

Summary: Master spy Twilight is the best at what he does when it comes to going undercover on dangerous missions in the name of a better world. But when he receives the ultimate impossible assignment—get married and have a kid—he may finally be in over his head!

Not one to depend on others, Twilight has his work cut out for him procuring both a wife and a child for his mission to infiltrate an elite private school. What he doesn’t know is that the wife he’s chosen is an assassin and the child he’s adopted is a telepath!

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Spy X Family is a debut spy-comedy manga series that’s action-packed and has top tier tropes! Dark, entertaining, and thrilling start to finish! Endo’s manga delivers humor, espionage, and a bit of sci-fi layered in a dynamic story that is the literal definition of FOUND FAMILY!

The neighboring countries of Westalis and Ostania are on the verge of war. In order to prevent any threat to the already unsteady truce between them, mastermind spy Twilight is put on the case!

He is tasked with gathering intel on a political figure named Donovan Desmond, so Twilight’ll need to infiltrate a prestigious academy where he’s usually seen but to do that he needs to create a family: which means he has to find a daughter and wife!

The atmosphere and presentation of the story is reminiscent of the 50’s/60’s spy and noir films. From the heightened stakes of the mission, to clever 007 references, ‘Spy Wars’ tv show, even the characters fashion choices.

Twilight heads to a local orphanage where he finds Anya and as it turns out, she’s a telepath. Even though both are keeping secrets from each other, their dynamic is still so fun and wholesome (especially in the endearing moments they have together 🥺).

As Anya gets entrenched in Twilight’s life as a spy, Yor is undercover as a city clerk by day and assassin by night. Soon due to beneficial circumstances, Yor joins Twilight and the “Forger” family is ready to become the perfect family.

If you love plot-heavy manga, this is a perfect series! There’s different plot threads, characters, and mysteries that make Spy X Family a debut filled to the brim with a page-turning story.

Twilight, Anya, and Yor each have their own unique backstories and I can’t wait to learn more about them! Twilight’s and Anya’s pasts were the more emotionally impactful ones as we get a brief glimpse into his childhood where he’s crying and surrounded by debris. While Anya is a former test subject who lost her family. Then with Yor, there’s a deep sense of melancholy due to the societal ideals that constantly pressure her (like finding a husband or being deemed ‘suspicious’ at her age) whether from co-workers or family, so I LOVED how that juxtaposes her independent role as a ruthless assassin.

What I love about this first volume as it sets up Twilight’s main mission is how they are essentially critiquing and challenging this idea of the “nuclear family.”  It makes sense given the era / aesthetics the series is laying out, even as it comments on gender roles and this society’s expectation for women (seen from Yor’s pov). The manga also comments on this idea of class as these misfits con their way into the prestigious Eden Academy.

So now a spy, a telepath, and assassin are living together! And each has their own secrets! Where can it go from here? What Spy X Family executes spectacularly is the central layer of humor that’s present throughout this entire volume and no doubt, the rest of the series! Anya with her mind reading abilities is rightfully confused about all the things she’s hearing from her new parents and those around her, making for great comedic timing! From the quick one-panel jokes to certain character personalities, its clear that the series has a brilliant approach to its comedy! The situations and reactions the characters have is entertaining and reminds me a lot of Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun.

Now remember when I said this debut has top-tier tropes? Well here’s what you can expect: Found family (obviously), marriage of convenience, misfits working together!! Need I say more?!

The art-style joins perfectly with the panel design/layout! Its detailed in the characters, setting, and with each panel specific details are highlighted to bring more into each scene. Action scenes are accompanied by phenomenal linework and were some of my favorites that I’ve seen in contemporary manga. Its exaggerated to showcase the intensity of the particular scene or an emotion and overall there’s not a single page that feels underutilized. There’s blood, some violence, and the art balances it perfectly with the lighthearted and comforting family moments.

My only issue is that I still felt the world (while interesting), is something were kind of thrust into at the very beginning. While the espionage motifs are great for atmosphere, it still feels like Westalis is a country I’m still trying to fully immerse myself in.

Overall though, I can’t wait to continue with this series because I adore this misfit family a lot and I’m really interested in learning more about them and how their mission is going to continue playing out!

Spy X Family Vol. 1 is a phenomenal start to a spy, action, comedy manga series that you don’t want to miss! There’s a brilliant cast of characters, clever comedic timing, and a unique page-turning story you will not be able to put down!

I’m also shouting out a fellow book blogger review today! 🔎🎉

For a more in-depth look into the aesthetics, artwork and characters of this manga I recommend reading Yon Nyan’s review from Biblionyan. For a look into the great artwork, Yon’s review includes some panels. I have yet to read more of Yon’s posts, but its clear Yon has a lot of great knowledge of manga that makes it into the review and if you need anymore convincing to check out this debut, read this review! ✨

The Promised Neverland Vol. 1 by Kaiu Shirai & Posuka Demizu {Manga Review}

The Promised Neverland by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka DemizuThe Promised Neverland Vol. 1 by Kaiu Shirai (story) & Posuka Demizu (artist) (Promised Neverland #1) 

Publisher: Viz Media

Release Date: December 5, 2017

Pages: 192

Available Through The Book Depository: The Promised Neverland Vol. 1

Summary: Life at Grace Field House has been good for Emma and her fellow orphans. While the daily studying and exams they have to take are tough, their loving caretaker provides them with delicious foods and plenty of playtime. But perhaps not everything is as it seems…

Emma, Norman and Ray are the brightest kids at the Grace Field House orphanage. And under the care of the woman they refer to as “Mom,” all the kids have enjoyed a comfortable life. Good food, clean clothes and the perfect environment to learn—what more could an orphan ask for? One day, though, Emma and Norman uncover the dark truth of the outside world they are forbidden from seeing.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: The Promised Neverland Volume 1 is a promising start to an intriguing manga series! Following a unique cast of characters set in the Grace Field House Orphanage, things are not quite as they seem for Emma, Norman & Ray! With intrigue, mystery, & with both a great cast of characters & equally unique story, this first volume will have you turning the page, wondering what’ll happen next!

So after finishing The Promised Neverland, I was feeling so accomplished because this is the first book I’ve finished in a little over a week (which felt like so much longer, if I’m being honest 😭💔💔). I’m also happy that this delightful manga is getting me out of my reading slump!

I’ve also really been wanting to start this series because I’d heard so many positive and great things about it! After turning the last page of this first volume, I really can’t wait to see where the story is headed!

The Promised Neverland Volume 1 introduces the reader to the Grace Field House Orphanage where the main character Emma lives! She’s the oldest (11 years old) alongside Norman, Ray & a few others who are also her age! She lives a pretty normal and happy life with the other younger kids and “Mom”, their loving caretaker.

But, things take a surprising turn when a mystery begins unraveling after Conny, a girl at the orphanage who’s getting ready to see her new family, leaves her toy behind and Emma alongside Norman, try to get it to her. Though, leaving the orphanage at night is forbidden.

I don’t want to spoil too much about this volume because the way the story unravels, its best to go in without knowing too much! Though for me personally, that’s why I’m leaning more towards a 4-star rating! From my own personal expectations I was expecting a more quiet contemporary story (with light fantasy elements), but those were just my personal expectations & Promised Neverland really takes a different turn!

I will say that my favorite parts about this manga, aside from the phenomenal characters, intriguing story, & world-building, is the themes that are interwoven throughout this volume.

If you’ve read this series, I highly recommend checking out Jeannette Ng’s wonderful thread which delves into important themes & core elements of what makes Promised Neverland filled with “defiant hope.” Her thread also inspired a lot of the themes I found while reading it and want to further explain!

Intrigue and intellect are explored heavily throughout this first volume & mainly through the older orphans like Emma, Ray, & Norman. There’s moments where they find themselves tested and facing situations where you really see the depth of their character & to the point where its clear these characters are really thinking about what’s best for everyone instead of just themselves.

Their trying to formulate plans all while gathering intel, with the perfect amount of intrigue that keeps you guessing! I never knew where the story was headed and was worried for them when their plan became a little more complicated.

No matter what conflict Emma is faced with, even if it changes how she sees the world, there’s this thread of hope & positivity that is present throughout this first volume and its inspiring!

I loved the friendship between Emma and Norman! They complement each other really well and we see that through their conflicting personalities, where Emma is energetic and confident, Norman is strategic, quiet, & resourceful.

Alongside that, I just love seeing the dynamic between Emma, Ray & Norman when they all begin working together.

Each member of the trio is unique in their own way and you see that they each have their own abilities which seems to foreshadow a bit of what strength they’ll lend to the group as their plan continues to develop. Emma is not only energetic but incredibly athletic, Norman is brilliant & strategic, and Ray is quiet, very knowledgeable and observant.

Overall I found myself connecting to each character and found each one, no matter when they were introduced, to have quite a bit of depth and feel very well developed.

The setting itself was not what I was expecting: it mixes dystopia, a bit of sci-fi, but in a whimsical sort of way that I really enjoyed & was hoping for.

As for the art-style it was wonderfully detailed. The backgrounds, character designs, and pacing/development all flowed so well!

The Promised Neverland Vol. 1 is the start to a manga series both intriguing and mysterious! There’s a mix of sci-fi, dystopia, and mystery! The page-turning plot, dynamic cast of characters, and great artwork all come together in such a unique way! This manga series balances dark and hopeful, while also having intrigue, mystery, and so much more!

Takane & Hana Vol. 1 by Yuki Shiwasu {Manga Review}

Takane and Hana Volume 1 by Yuki ShiwasuTakane & Hana Vol. 1 by Yuki Shiwasu (Takane & Hana #1)

Publisher: Viz Media

Release Date: February 6, 2018

Pages: 200

Available Through The Book Depository: Takane & Hana Volume 1

Summary: A strong-willed high school girl and a hot, young scion of a business empire can’t help trying to outwit each other every chance they get… But could these opposites be conning themselves out of the perfect match?!

After her older sister refuses to go to an arranged marriage meeting with Takane Saibara, the heir to a vast business fortune, high schooler Hana Nonomura agrees to be her stand-in to save face for the family. But what happens when Hana meets Takane is an unexpected pairing of utter opposites!

The meeting between Takane and Hana ends in an explosive manner, and Hana is convinced that she’ll never have to see that awful Takane again. But Takane actually seems interested in Hana! Exasperated by Takane’s immature attitude, yet amused and intrigued despite herself, Hana embarks on a hilarious journey with Takane that just might lead to love!

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Takane & Hana is an incredibly comedic manga series that follows high school student Hana Nonomura, who stands in for her sister as part of an arranged marriage to business heir to the Takaba Group, Takane Saibara and the comedic banter/ rivalry that develops between the two!

I originally learned about Takane & Hana through Goodreads as I was scrolling the new released manga and this one caught my eye! From the summary, it seemed like there’d be enemies to lovers and a lot of funny/comedic moments and I was not wrong!

If I was to sum up this manga in one word it would be: Entertaining!

Being on the verge of a reading slump isn’t fun, but this manga series was one I’m incredibly glad I picked up because its light, filled with humor, incredibly entertaining & absolutely hilarious!

Though I never know what to expect going into a new manga series, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have found yet another series that’s impressed me from page 1 and that I’m happy to say is a new favorite series!

With every page I was laughing at Takane & Hana’s non-stop enemies streak/rivalry they had going on and just seeing how these 2 dynamic main characters continuously interacted with each other!

The story starts with us learning that Hana’s older sister Yukari was originally going to be involved in the arranged marriage to Takane, but she had other plans (aka another date). So, in order to save her father’s position at the company, Hana decided to take her place!

When they first meet, things do not go as planned and we learn Takane is a bit of a jerk–& Hana is not putting up with it!

Takane, through his very brash personality, tells Hana he’s interested in her! Though they can’t really stand each other, sparks are definitely there.

Both Takane & Hana are characters with such strong & conflicting, but also similar personalities and that’s what makes their chemistry together so good!

Takane and Hana Vol. 1 chronicles their meeting, hangouts together as their “relationship” continues, among various other plot threads–mainly involving Hana & the people in her life, like her father & sister Yukari (briefly) and her best friends/school life!

What makes this series so funny is Hana & Takane obviously are trying to out-wit one another, avoid each other as much as possible, and have the upper-hand when it comes to their banter, but something keeps them coming back to each other!

I love how them being in different economic classes made for a lot of the comedic moments in this story and how in general, its a relevant and present discussion to their relationship.

As the story progresses we begin to see Takane isn’t exactly the heartless person he appears to be. It was great seeing the little moments throughout their hangouts (*like the bowling date) when Hana would notice Takane’s strides to make more of an effort to be a nicer person and be willing to try new things!

Takane & Hana made me realize just how much I love the “can’t stand one another, but secretly love each other” Trope! Every scene they have together, even if their just thinking about each other just showed how much chemistry they had & I loved seeing their interactions so much.

We also see that even though they despise each other, Shiwasu just brings such a comedic and interesting dynamic to the both of them where I never know how they’ll react to each other next!

All the supporting characters are all really well developed and bring even more humor & heart to this story! From Hana’s friends Hikaruko & Mizuki, her sister Yukari, Takane’s grandfather, & one of Hana’s classmates who seems to be like a more important character in future volumes!

The art is so expressive and detailed! It reminded me a lot of Monthly Girls-Nozaki with the expressive faces and detail to the characters! I also love how detailed the backgrounds were.

Though it is a contemporary, I found the setting and atmosphere to be very present within this volume and seeing how it explored Japan through Takane & Hana’s different backgrounds.

*I will admit that though this series is so funny & the chemistry between these characters is very good, there is a bit of an age gap between them!* (10 years) With Hana being 16 & Takane being 26–though truly it doesn’t read that way b/c Takane seems to act like somewhat of an immature guy & not his age at all. This was something I wasn’t expecting, however, the age difference is discussed at various points and is never romanticized. This element is why I’m honestly very conflicted with this review– now, I don’t condone/overlook it, but in a general sense if you can see past that to see the characters for who they are + are looking for a hilarious  manga–this is one I think would be enjoyable. The dynamic between the two also seems to walk more towards finding trust as friends? *

Regardless though, this was a hilarious manga & I can’t wait to see whats next with Takane & Hana’s interesting dynamic!

Takane & Hana Vol. 1 is a brilliantly character-driven, entertaining manga that will keep you laughing! The wonderfully developed characters, dynamic between the 2 leads, and immersive plot are just some of the many elements that keeps you turning the page! This is a romantic-comedy manga series worth checking out!

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun Vol. 3 {Manga Review}

Monthly Girls Nozaki-Kun Volume 3Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun Vol. 3 by Izumi Tsubaki

Publisher: Yen Press

Release Date: May 24, 2016

Pages: 144

Summary: Drawing comics is hard work, as high school boy and shoujo manga-ka Umetarou Nozaki and his motley crew of friends-turned-assistants know well. But being a manga pro doesn’t necessarily make Nozaki great at everything. In fact, Chiyo is about to discover that his talent just might be full of holes?!

As it turns out, everyone’s got some weaknesses, and nobody’s perfect-not even school “prince” Kashima! And Chiyo doesn’t get a pass either…because her greatest weakness is Nozaki himself!

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun is a fantastic manga series that gives unique + comedic spins to tropes (or more specifically, romance tropes)! The delightful cast of characters build on the comedic moments & hilarious misunderstandings throughout each episodic scenario!

Monthly Girls’ is one of the manga series (with the 1st being I Hear The Sunspot) that got me into reading manga again back in 2016!

I’d been planning to make a review for each volume, but with the format of each one, couldn’t decide exactly what to say! Now, that I’ve read 3 of them, I’m ready to share my thoughts on this amazing series!

*While reading this series, I also watched it alongside the anime (which is amazing) so I highly recommend checking it out too when reading it! ^_^

So to catch you up to speed, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun is a series that centers around Chiyo Sakura who has a crush on Umetarou Nozaki. She’s never told him how she’s felt, but through unexpected (& hilarious) scenarios, she learns he is a manga artist & basically ends up working alongside him after school as his assistant.

She meets new friends along the way and basically Chiyo, Nozaki, & the cast get involved in hilarious situations & often times ones filled with misunderstandings!

There’s not only Chiyo and Nozaki, but also Seo, Chiyo’s best friend who’s very outgoing & strong-willed, Mikoshiba, who’s the popular/good-looking guy who is actually extremely shy + gets embarrassed easily, & many more wonderful characters!! ❤

Monthly Girls’ overall continues to be one of the funniest & most underrated manga series I’ve ever read! I love all the characters (Though if I had to pick, Mikoshiba is probably one of my favorite characters of the entire series (´▽`ʃƪ)), the way the author puts brilliant twists on romance tropes, the use of humor and tropes in ways I don’t expect, the expansion on characters in subtle, but differing ways & all the wacky scenarios the characters get into!

In this volume, the side-characters have a more prominent role throughout the various skits:
-Mikoshiba goes to Nozaki for help on figuring out how group dates work (one of my favorite moments in this volume!)
-Ken Miyame (Nozaki’s editor) goes to a high school reunion. There’s also a running joke throughout this series that while Chiyo spends time w/ Nozaki, he learns more about Ken (which is funny b/c Chiyo has a crush on Nozaki, but Nozaki doesn’t really notice & cares more about impressing his editor than anyone else).
-Wakamatsu & Seo go out to the movies (another one of my favorite moments! <3)
-Nozaki & Mikoshiba try to act like bad-boys to get into the mindset for character creation in another chapter of Nozaki’s manga (the funniest moment of the whole volume.)
-And more hilarious moments between the “Prince” of the school, Yuu Kashima, and her drama club director, Masayuki!~

I loved that there was more development to the amazing characters aside from Nozaki & Chiyo! What also makes this manga so great is the subtle jokes you don’t see coming until the end of the page!

Mikoshiba just continues to try & be more confident & outgoing, but just can’ quite get there! He is the shy heart-throb I continue to love & adore!! I love seeing how he’s growing little by little with each volume (´▽`ʃƪ)<3 ❤ ❤

I also loved getting more subtle growth to Kashima & Masayuki’s relationship/interesting dynamic (its really a relationship based on them butting heads with each-other, but it works so perfectly!) Their development is what I look forward to with each volume!

Another relationship I can’t wait to see more of is with Seo & Wakamatsu! Theirs is one that’s just filled with hilarious misunderstandings and they easily became one of my new favorite duos!

Overall what makes Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun such a hilarious + entertaining series is that its just filled with tropes turned upside down and brilliantly timed jokes!

The bonds built between this dynamic group of friends, causes them to get into the wackiest situations, but at the end of the day, are always there for each other!

My only critique is that because Vol. 3 is more focused on the character dynamics between each scenario and not so much on the weaving of the plot, the pacing seemed a little slower to me. Because its also more character-driven, it does feel a bit different than previous volumes.

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun Vol. 3 continues to build its unique cast of characters and really focuses on the bonds between each of them as they get into hilarious situations! Though the plot is more episodic compared to previous volumes, this manga continues to brilliantly twist tropes in the most unexpected ways, deliver perfect comedic timing, & is filled with hilarious adventures that continue to bring its characters to life!

Little Witch Academia Vol. 1 by Yoh Yoshinari Review {Manga}

Little Witch Academia Vol. 1Little Witch Academia Vol. 1 by Yoh Yoshinari & Keisuke Sato (Artist)

Publisher: Yen Press (Yen Press JY)

Release Date: June 26, 2018

Pages: 176

Summary: “Reach out your hand, and your story will begin!” 
Those words changed young Atsuko “Akko” Kagari forever, sparking in her a lifelong dream of becoming a real witch. Now she’s been accepted to the same school as her childhood hero, Shiny Chariot-the prestigious Luna Nova Witchcraft Academy. As the only student to come from a non-magical family, Akko finds herself surrounded by prodigies from around the world, but giving up isn’t in her vocabulary. Whether it’s making friends, proving the doubters wrong, or just flying on a broom, Akko is going to make her fantasy a reality!

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Little Witch Academia Volume 1 follows Akko who dreams of being a witch and finds herself attending the Luna Nova Witchcraft Academy! With fun adventures and a delightful cast of characters, this is a great start as an adaptation for fans of the show and those unfamiliar with the series!

Little Witch Academia is easily one of my all-time favorite animes! I watched it when it first was released as a short film and fell in love with it!

If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it (start with the 2013 short) and then the series on Netflix! While the manga is definitely a great intro for those who’ve never seen it, the show is also just fantastic from the characters, world, story, etc. that you should definitely check it out (you won’t be disappointed)!

It basically follows Akko Kagari, who comes from a non-magical family, and her adventures as she attends Luna Nova, an all female school for witches. She’s always wanted to be a witch just like her childhood hero who inspired her, Shiny Chariot! She attends as one of only a couple non-traditional attendees at the school and makes new friends like Lotte & Sucy!

Though she gets into quite a bit of trouble, she doesn’t give up on her dream to become a witch and has such wacky adventures along the way!

From Akko’s first day, to a competitive volleyball match, the case of a mysterious broom by the name of The Shooting Star, & plan for a birthday party, she gets into some fun and interesting situations!

Just like in the anime, we meet familiar faces like Lotte & Sucy, the students Akko first meets that help her out on her way to Luna Nova & who end up becoming her best friends/roommates!

Then there’s Diana Cavendish, Akko’s “rival” who always butts heads with her! The two don’t get really get along, but there’s definitely moments where (while they don’t admit it) they see eye-to-eye on certain things & may even have more in common than they first assume!

And there’s also Amanda O’Neill, who’s a bit of a rebel and is a bit brash with Akko, but they definitely form a bond + beginnings of a friendship in this volume! (Their dynamic on the show is also really great 😍)

While the story mainly has an intro and various short adventure chapters, the ending leaves on mysterious note, where you learn a bit more about the school and are left wondering where Volume 2 will be headed!

The art was done just like it is in the show & if you ever see it in person, the cover design is so beautiful & colorful!

The characters personalities shine with each page and even if characters are shown for a short time, you really get a feel for who they are and the art/dialogue really captures the spirit of each character!

And for fans of the show, its also just a great addition to the Little Witch Academia universe! While it definitely goes in a bit of a different direction than the show & intro short, its still such a fun read!

Little Witch Academia Volume 1 is a fun, magical introduction & addition to the Little Witch Academia series! You’ll get immersed into the world of the Luna Nova Academy and as you follow Akko on all her adventures, you’ll definitely want Volume 2!

The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún Vol. 2 {Manga Review}

The Girl From The Other Side Vol. 2The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún Vol. 2 by Nagabe {TGFTOS #2}

Publisher: Seven Seas

Release Date: May 16, 2017

Pages: 174

Summary:To be touched by an Outsider is to become an Outsider. A clawed, black hand reaches out to touch Shiva’s cheek in her sleep. The hand does not belong to Teacher. Who is this strange new Outsider, and what do its creepy murmurings about “mother” portend?

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: The Girl From The Other Side Vol. 2 continues to delve deep into its dark, mysterious, and magical world!

Last year I was just getting back into reading more manga and this series continues to surprise me & its only been 2 volumes!

The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún is a manga series that while it is slow-moving, I feel it works so well for the mysterious, haunting, and captivating story.

If you’ve never read this series, it basically follows a world split between “Insiders” +”Outsiders.” With Insiders being human and Outsiders being shadow-like creatures, that can curse people w/ a single tough. One of the main characters, Shiva is a girl who waits for her aunt in the forest on the side of the Outsiders and then there’s Teacher, who is somewhat of an Outsider himself. They both live in a cottage in a remote village, with Teacher watching over Shiva and protecting her from Outsiders.

Picking up right where Volume 1 left off, an Outsider similar to Teacher has located and approached Shiva. As explained in the previous volume, if an Outsider is to come into contact with a human, they can be transformed/cursed with a single touch!

It claims Shiva is a “pure soul” and may know how to find her aunt! There’s a fight between this Outsider + Teacher to ensure Shiva’s safety.

After preventing any harm from coming to her, Teacher decides its best to confront this Outsider again and see if he has any answers to where Shiva’s aunt may be!

Their walk through the forest leads them again to the Outsider and a mysterious lake. Teacher soon learns more about his own origins and is desperate to get more answers, but gets very few.

Teacher’s worry over Shiva and the fate of her aunt causes him to become distant, but Shiva to get him to stop worrying.

Back on the Inside, a search party is set up to head back into the forest to continue to track down Outsiders.

As Teacher attempts to confront and overcome his fears for Shiva and his own origins, they head into the forest when Shiva hears a voice.

This voice belongs to her aunt and she quickly convinces Shiva to head back Inside, leaving Teacher behind.

The author allows for the story to be connected by the readers with the mystery and questions that are raised with each volume.

Because this is one of those manga series that jumps in and builds as it goes, it raises more questions than answers with each volume, but I find that’s what makes it so interesting!

Themes of family and self-identity are so prevalent throughout these first 2 volumes, but I felt the theme of identity and self are the main focus of Volume 2!

The unique world-building with the “Inside” + “Outside” is so interesting. However, my only issue for this volume is that the background for the Inside still hasn’t been expanded on as much, but I’m interested in seeing the development for future volumes!

The art has a simple, but elegant style to it, which weaves together so well with the story. It also allows for the dark and almost fairy-tale atmosphere to shine through.

The Girl From The Other Side Volume 2  is a tale shrouded in mystery! With a story both charming and haunting, this manga series continues to build on its unique world and interesting characters!

The Royal Tutor Volume 1 by Higasa Akai {Manga Review}

The Royal Tutor Volume 1 by Higasa AkaiThe Royal Tutor Vol. 1 by Higasa Akai {TRT #1}

Publisher: Yen Press

Release Date: May 23, 2017

Pages: 192

Summary: Accepting the post of royal tutor at the court of the king of Granzreich, Heine Wittgenstein is a little professor with a big job ahead of him! Each of the kingdom’s four princes has a rather distinct personality. Does their diminutive new instructor have what it takes to lay down some learning? It’s a comedy of educational proportions!

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Following Heine Wittgenstein, he is the new tutor of the 4 princes in the kingdom of Granzreich! With starkly different personalities, Heine attempts to secure his role as their new tutor! The Royal Tutor is both comedic and heartfelt!

 I first figured out about this series, when I picked up a poster for it at one of Barnes & Noble’s Get Pop-Cultured events & I’m so glad I did! Its been a while since I’ve read manga and I think I’ve found a new favorite series~

Heine Wittgenstein heads to Weisburg Palace as the newest tutor to 4 of the 5 princes. He is requested by the king to tutor them and make them eligible for the throne, should something happen to the firstborn prince. He finds himself working with the difficult princes and while they’ve caused all the previous tutors to quit, Heine isn’t giving up so easily!

Heine himself is a mystery. Not much is known about how he became such a professional tutor (though some hints are given in the beginning), much of his background is a mystery.

This manga was so funny, from the running joke about Heine looking like a kid to the princes themselves! There were always funny moments in this volume 😂😂

As for the characters, I loved how different and unique the princes were. They all have their particular reason as to why they don’t like tutors, so it was interesting to see how Heine worked with each prince and learned more about them.

Licht (5th): The playboy

Leonhard (4th): The athletic & stubborn

Bruno (3rd): The braniac

Kai (2nd): The quiet and tough-looking prince who appears to be dark and broody, but is actually quite shy & loves cute things (´▽`ʃƪ)

The pacing was so well done and the story never dragged, it was a pretty quick read ( I finished this first volume within a couple hours). Essentially the plot surrounds Heine getting the prince’s to accept him as their new tutor, while learning more about them and their personality as he attempts to give them a test to see their strength + weaknesses in academics.

As for art style, I really loved how it showcased the backgrounds and outfits of the fictional locations of Weisburg Palace + Granzreich.

A few tidbits of info are given to learn more about Heine, but it was great to learn a little but more about him nearing the end!

I also really loved that even though they didn’t like Heine at first, by the end they saw how dedicated he was to work with/challenge them and help them, compared to their previous tutors who never made much of an effort.

Out of all the princes, Leonhard got the most development over the course of this first volume! He’s always feared tutors since he had a strict tutor when he was young and wants to avoid Heine at all costs. But Heine understands the differing sides to the princes and while Leonhard is still wary, he’s willing to try.

While there was so much I loved about The Royal Tutor, my only minor issue is that I do wish there was more background on the world. A lot of general info was given, but it would have been great to get more (though I’m sure it will be explored more in future volumes).

Hoping to learn more about the Queen, get a little more depth to the princes + 1st prince too, who was only mentioned briefly in the beginning!

I also managed to watch the first 3 episodes of the anime along with Volume 1 & I really loved it! It does add in maybe 1 or 2 scenes that are different from the manga (from what I remember), but I loved it so much & am hoping to watch more along with the other volumes! ❤ ❤

The Royal Tutors definitely makes it into the list of my new favorite mangas! I cannot wait to read volume 2!

The Royal Tutor is fast-paced, comedic manga that will have the pages flying by as Heine gets to know the 4 princes! With non-stop humor, great character-development and a few twists and turns along the way, this manga is a great start to a new series!

Flying Witch Volume 1 by Chihiro Ishizuka {Manga Review}

Flying Witch Volume 1 by Chihiro IshizukaFlying Witch Vol. 1 by  Chihiro Ishizuka {Flying Witch #1}

Publisher: Vertical Comics

Release Date: March 8, 2017

Pages: 160

Summary: Prepare to be Bewitched!
Makoto Kowata, a novice witch, packs up her belongings (including her black cat familiar) and moves in with her distant cousins in rural Aomori Prefecture, in the far north reaches of Japan, to complete her training and become a full-fledged witch.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Flying Witch explores magic in the quiet, but normal everyday while also being comedic and heartwarming as Makoto continues her training to become a witch!✨

This manga was the cutest!! ❤ (´▽`ʃƪ)
From page 1 I could really sense the magic. Its a “quiet” type of magic that I enjoy reading about and overall made this story a real treasure.

I adored the characters and loved how, while it has magical elements stuck to a more “slice of life” approach.

It had a slow pace to it, but it really worked with the tone of story. It gives you the time to understand these characters, the magic that is infused throughout the story, and really take in the plot.

The characters were all fantastic! I adored Makato, Nao, Chinatsu, Kei, basically everyone ❤

Makato finds herself moving in with her cousins as she continues her training to become a witch. Throughout the manga, there’s tidbits of info that get revealed about the history and traditions of witches (the age they are recognized as adults, which regions of Japan they reside in, etc.) and I loved how it introduced more background of the witches and above all really helped to build the magic of the story.

I adored the friendship that develops between Makato and Nao!~ I loved their dynamic, but I do wish Nao was in the story a little bit more.

The story heavily focuses on family and self-growth and I adored that. While its clear Makato may still have a lot to learn, it was great seeing her have family and friends along the way to join her on her journey.

The artwork is simplistic, but really delivers the “quiet” and magical atmosphere of the story.

The plot itself goes in places I didn’t really expect, but I loved that! It kept me intrigued in the story, world, characters, etc. Additionally there are some hints and surprises that have me so excited to read Volume 2!

My only minor issue was that I did want more plot-wise.

Regardless…

Flying Witch Volume 1 is a story that proves magic is everywhere around you. The characters, plot, and world are wonderfully developed and truly deliver a sense of wonder and enchantment from the very first page.