Manga List – June 2014

From this month on, I have decided to keep a little post each month reviewing the manga I start reading~
funny story: I realised today (14th june) that I had named this list the May manga list rather than June. I’m so bad with keeping track of time hahaha…

Some of the manga may have come out a long time ago, but occasionally I look through the archives of manga in genres I don’t usually read. Sometimes I read really weird manga ne ^^;
I will keep these posts smut-free, and spoiler free!
Let’s begin ~
Hiki (ongoing)

While searching behind his desk drawer, Rin finds a hand drawn map of his neighborhood with a big X marking a specific spot. He doesn’t recognize it, because he must have drawn it a long time ago, but he’s curious to see what he marked with that X. Three childhood friends join him, and they discover an abandoned chest of drawers at the X location. Wondering if there might be something inside, Rin pulls open the drawers and unknowingly unleashes a horrific chain of events…” – Baka Updates.
Genre: horror / mystery

I felt like reading some horror recently, And this was one of the titles I thought I’d tackle. The manga is incomplete with only 4 chapters out in English on mangafox atm, though I doubt it’s going to be a long story anyway. Characters and plotline are both not very original nor developed. The scare-moments are definitely not terrifying for people who like horror, but they creeped me out because I’m fairly weak to jump scares and I stupidly read this at like 1am in the dark on my phone QAQ
Ajin (ongoing)

The story follows a high-school student named Kei Nagai, who is caught in a traffic accident, dies, but immediately revives and learns he is not human, but an Ajin, a mysterious creature that cannot die. Scared, he runs away from humans but is helped by his friend Kai, who joins him in his flight from civilization. He then becomes involved in a conflict between human and Ajin and must choose a side.” – Baka Updates
Genre: action / mystery / supernatural

Although it was under horror, it’s not actually scary at all. The world in this story is quite interesting, and the logic behind the Ajin is well spun so far. I am on chapter 14 right now (rest haven’t been released in English) and the progression has been at a very good pace. There are no filler chapters, and I don’t expect there will be for a while at least. The story will probably be quite long (I’m hoping 80ish chapters) which I look forward to! Unfortunately the manga tends to ‘forget’ about side stories and side characters entirely when it’s concentrated on the main story development, but perhaps that doesn’t matter much to some people. This title reminds me of elfen lied in terms of the violence, but severed body parts are even more stumpy and detail-less than elfen lied (I wish it weren’t so, but this point can be overlooked). The story touches on humanity, but doesn’t really dive into the mentality of the bad guys which is a little frustrating. Hopefully it will be covered more in the next few chapters.
Rating: 4.5/5

Yoshiwara Hana Oboro (complete)

Hana is a normal teenager who goes to school normally, that is until she gets run over by a car… or did she? Suddenly, she finds herself in a weird place known as the “Red Light District”… in EDO PERIOD?! Trying to find a way to get back to her own time, she somehow gets mistaken for a Prostitute and has to escape. Not expecting to be saved by a gentleman, she suddenly ends up in a geisha house.. but then she is bought by the same guy who helped her earlier?!”
Genre: historical / romance

This is one of the few historical setting titles I’ve read. The english translation is up to chapter 7, but I finished the remaining chapters (up to chapter 13) in Chinese. The character design is really nice – the regular look is clean and elegant, but the expressions are really exaggerated hehe. There is a manga called Nosatsu Junkie that finished a couple of years ago which also had super exaggerated facials that really add to the humor. However, I think the art style itself is a bit love or hate – I used to hate this style, but now I’m okay with it. Up to the individual really.
Unfortunately the story and characters are quite cliche and the logic behind the time-leap doesn’t quite add up. But if anyone is like me and enjoys the super cheesy cliche shoujo manga on rare occasions, this is still a fairly good title 🙂
Rating: 2/5

Meiji Hiiro Kitan (ongoing)

It’s the middle of the Meiji Era and our heroine, the little Suzu, is sold to the red lights district. However, the rich heir of a dry goods store Tsugaru buys her freedom for no apparent reason. She is deeply grateful for being saved, but she doesn’t understand why he paid so much money for her and the only explanation he offers is “we have a bond.” She tries to unravel the mystery of his feelings and gradually grows from a little girl to a young woman, always by his side. A gentle and slow-paced love story set in the Meiji Era.”
Genre: historical, drama, slice of life, mystery, romance

First of all, I really love the art style of this manga. Suzu has got to be THE cutest heroine ever! It’s a little strange in terms of romance because Suzu is drawn as such a young character, while Tsugaru appears quite old. I don’t think their exact age is mentioned (unless there was a character profile, I don’t usually read those). The age gap is very very big judging by the art so it’s a little odd. Of course, the whole illegal age gap romance is in Love So Life! too, but Shiharu is drawn pretty mature and her character is really mature too, so it wasn’t so strange… Anyway, romance is not actually a massive part of the story, rather the manga shows Suzu and Tsugaru go through problems after problems with the people around them, mostly relationship problems. It’s a little bittersweet and I actually cried at the en

Darwin’s Game (ongoing)

Sudo Kaname suddenly gets involved in a death game through the mysterious mobile app “Darwin’s Game.”
Genre: mystery, psychological, action

First I would like to say that though I didn’t put horror in the genre, there is a decent amount of gore in this manga.
It’s a bit like a crossover between mirai nikki and psyren in terms of borrowing mirai nikki’s augmented reality setting and reliance on a mobile phone, but the game’s premise is more like psyren, although I have yet to read any hints in Darwin’s Game about how the game could end. Actually it definitely reminds me of another manga I had read in the past in terms of the zero-point death system and how anyone who loses the game is unable to pass on information about the game… Well, there is Accel World, but I think there was a more gory manga of a similar setting too…
With regards to the actual manga alone, I quite like the art style – it’s a little cute and takes away from the otherwise very gory storyline. The paradox of such cute characters in such a twisted game really adds to the psychological theme of the story. So far there are 7 chapters translated online into English, and 15 chapters in Chinese even though it started in 2012!? I hope they can release faster from now on!! QAQ
While I was trying to find what manga Darwin’s Game reminds me of, I came across Alive: The final Evolution, which was recommended in one of the forums I peeked in on. The synopsis sounds pretty interesting, so that manga is next!
Rating: 4/5

Alive: The Final Evolution (completed)

“A strange virus is making its way around the globe, causing its victims to commit suicide. In less than a week, it’s become a lethal pandemic. Now a group of Tokyo teens who have survived the outbreak are wondering why they are still alive.” – Baka Updates

Genre: sci-fi, adventure, action, psychological, supernatural
The setting is similar to Ajin in terms of the main character being ‘changed’ and is forced into a situation where he is fighting for humanity, despite being hated/hunted by humans. The synopsis for this manga is also terrible, I know, but to say any more than that would be giving spoilers. The storyline develops quite quickly (I’m around chapter 25 and the first large battle has ended), and there are no filler chapters. However, the one time the author attempted to make a gag in the middle of the manga, lol it was so fail. I think the manga has been so serious the entire time that it’s not possible to insert gags without being really obvious about it. The fight scenes are coordinated, however the clarity at which the battle plan is explained feels belittling. It’s the first time I’ve felt this way about battle scenes lol ==
Sometimes, I feel like the characters are too 2D – especially Yuichi Hirose whose background and mentality is hardly articulated despite being the direct antagonist (out of the evil bunch) in the story. The art isn’t particularly interesting in any way, but I really dislike how they had to make the one crazy bitch in the story a gyaru!!! :<
Comments after finishing the series: I originally thought that my opinion would not change by the end of the manga, however, I was so entirely disappointed with the ending. I don’t even remember the last time I have felt so unhappy with an ending. Not only was the ending something I didn’t like, it was the number one most cliche scenario I ruled off because it was so cliche. The pacing of the story was perfect up to the last battle, and then it just sort of went berserk. Wtf??? Edit: I just found out that the author Tadashi Kawashima finished writing this series on his deathbed (liver cancer) so that’s probably why it’s rushed…I’m sure that, given more time, the ending would be much better ><;;
Rating: 4/5

Aishiteruze Baby (completed)

“Kippei Katakura is a 17-year-old playboy who spends his time chasing girls, careless of their feelings. But when his 5-year-old cousin Yuzuyu comes to live with his family after her mother’s sudden disappearance, Kippei is put in charge of taking care of her. As Kippei gets to know Yuzuyu and starts to understand how she feels, he also begins to realize that all girls were like Yuzuyu once…” – Baka Updates

Genre: family, romance, drama, school life, slice of life

I did say to myself I wasn’t  going to start a new manga after finishing Alive, but that lasted all of about 2 days. /fail
Aishiteruze baby is actually a ridiculously old title from early 2000s, but honestly it doesn’t look that old at all. The manga mostly centres on Kippei looking after Yuzuyu, and the daily things that happen around them. It also has a few extras that explore some of the side characters (which is nice, doesn’t distract from the main storyline, and the length is perfect). There’s a lot of family stuff in here hence why I put family in genre even though it’s not a typical genre category. There’s also a persisting romance line between Kippei and his crush Kokoro (yes that’s her actual name), which is actually quite strongly intertwined with the family aspect of the story. Overall, the manga was really good – I cried so much like wtf, I don’t even remember the last time I read a manga and tears streamed down my face .-.
The only thing I wish could have happened is if they put an afterstory for Kokoro’s family. Perhaps it was in one of the extra chapters (I didn’t read them all), but I really wanted to know if things worked out with her family :<
Also, the ending was quite abrupt. No actually, it was VERY abrupt. In 10 pages, the author managed to end the manga AND have 2 or 3 pages of ‘after story’ wtf.
Rating: 4/5
It seems that this month I have been (mostly) enraptured with psychological stories. Perhaps the stress of exam season has really gotten to me hahaha. That and the fact that there are no good new shoujo manga coming out wtf. I’m so desperate for new chapters of Love So Life! that I’ve gone over to the dark side and started following the Chinese scanlations as they come out… hopefully July will bring some awesome new titles onto the net QAQ