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Discussion Forums => Manga => Topic started by: Krozam on July 28, 2011, 07:17:26 pm

Title: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on July 28, 2011, 07:17:26 pm
A relaunch of the topic where I'll occasionally review a manga that I've just read and liked. Usually short ones or ones just getting started, but maybe I'll sometimes review a long one as well. Hopefully someone will find these reviews useful. I won't mind it if someone else posts recommendations, reviews or comments, it's more fun if there's dialogue.

Neji by Yuki Kaori

I just read it through for the third time. Yuki Kaori is one of my favourite mangaka, ever since I read (the first half of) Angel Sanctuary. Neji is a shorter work, only three chapters, and it's pretty much the only tragic story that I've read/watched more than twice in my life. I usually avoid tragedy, and those rare times that I feel like reading/watching something tragic, I usually go with something new, since there's no shortage of great stuff to read/watch. Neji is just such a cool story that I don't mind reading it again every two years or so.

Yuki Kaori's art is beautiful in a messy way. It's confusing and sketchy, yet the male characters are cool, the females beautiful and it perfectly conveys the beauty and tragedy of certain scenes. I'd say that characters are her strong point, especially when they're close to each other. I find exceptional beauty and emotion in every hug, every kiss and every backstab that these characters perform.

In my experience, Yuki Kaori's works are never thematically empty. Quite the contrary, for example Neji manages to reflect upon several more or less deep themes in its short run, starting with how the society fucks up the individual and ending with thoughts on the value that the life of an artificial intelligence may have. Some of them are prominent, some are merely scratches on the surface, but all in all there's LOTS of food for thought in this story.

You can't make a one-volume manga very complex of plot, but at least it's not terribly clichéd. Naturally there are elements I've seen many times elsewhere, but there's nothing I've seen too much (with one possible exception). The greatest weak point in the story, I think, is the storytelling, which is a little messy and hasty. The messy art really doesn't help the matter.

In a tragedy, you always need good characters, characters you get attached to. In this particular case, the mangaka doesn't give all that much depth to those who die, choosing to concentrate on those who remain to grieve for them. It works, more or less. I can't say I shed tears reading Neji, but I definitely feel the sorrow of the characters who lose their loved ones. The story is short, so naturally there's no much time to deepen the characters, but the cast stays small and the story is tightly wrapped around their lives.

The final factor I'm going to analyze is the action. There's quite enough of it, and somewhat amusingly, it's both a weak point and a strong point in the story. The words "messy" and "confusing" apply once again, but still... some of the action scenes are just so damn cool. Whatever shortcomings the art has with clarity and fluidity of movement, it makes up with great expressions and occasional really cool panels. The plot and dialogue also contibute to making some the action scenes stand out with epicness and coolness.

All in all, Neji is nearly a masterpiece. Maybe it tries to fit too much material into too few pages, it could've been much better given another volume, but the quality of its themes, characters and crowning moments of awesome is undeniable. It is also noteworthy that the story is scifi - I usually dislike Japanese scifi. Scifi and tragedy, and yet I've read it three times... only a very good story could make me do that.

Oh boy, that ended up being much longer than I intended. Don't expect my every review to be a wall of text. Maybe it's time to finally finish Angel Sanctuary, now that I'm in the right mood. Or maybe I'll start with some unread Yuki Kaori work next...

Edit: Almost forgot...
Music I listened to while reading: Within Temptation (the newest album) and Shinrei Tantei Yakumo OST.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on July 29, 2011, 12:44:02 am
Okay, I just caught up with Nurarihyon no Mago, read the last 11 chapters, and I must say that the last two chapters (161-162) are easily the coolest of them all. So. Fucking. Cool! This manga has always been the epitome of sheer coolness to me, and the last two chapters are, in my opinion, among the very best so far. What most amazing is that they take place during the day, for the most part, so they manage to be so damn cool without even relying on a nightly atmosphere. For the first time, the Day Rikuo is so cool that it's easily on par with his night form. All in all, thoroughly enjoyable. :D

BTW, I always listen to Disciple when reading NuraMago. Especially Southern Hospitality ( has just the right feeling.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on July 30, 2011, 01:02:01 am
Iris Zero by Pro Shiki and Hotaru Takana

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From now on, I think I'll accompany my "diary" entries with an image.

I don't know how I was able to put off reading Iris Zero until now, but I'm glad I did. I followed it from the start until the 7th chapter (I even posted in my old manga diary about it) and then something made me take a break, which come to be a long one. Quite conveniently so, because the 10th chapter begins the first long arc, and I sure am glad I didn't read it until its concluding chapter, the 20th, was out. There are some bad cliffhangers.

For me, Iris Zero is the rare kind of manga where every single page is an enjoyment on its own. The art is excellent (and thankfully the scans are good quality), every line of the dialogue feels important, every panel is worth paying attention to. It lacks all the boring "filler" material, and yet it also lacks any unnecessary sense of urgency. The storytelling is damn near perfect in every way, save a few hard-to-spot plotholes.

Let's start with the art. The picture above is coloured in a special way, so let me give you an example of the b&w art:
( (
Beautiful, isn't it? This manga has a very clear and pleasant art style, where the panels are arranged with skill, where the emotional, dramatic and dark moments are all presented with equal skill. The girls are all really cute, and the guys, while they may seem ordinary at first, they all have some really cool moments. Last, but not least, the expressions are truly fantastic. There is strength in the style's simplicity, I can't help admiring the skill that makes every panel worth paying attention to, without relying on any kind of complex artistry.

The settings are quite simple, based on one conceptual innovation: everyone around the main character has a supernatural power, he alone among the important characters is what we think as "ordinary". Sounds interesting, but only as the settings for a short story, not really much potential for a long series, right? Well, these authors have apparently made it their mission to prove that kind of thinking wrong. Four volumes, and the story just keeps getting more interesting, without really adding any major elements into the settings. High school settings, practically no action, it's all just slice of life and detective stuff with a strong supernatural flavour and a romantic undertone.

It works far better than you'd expect: I've rarely been as excited by a battle manga as I was all the time while reading the arc that spanned from ch 10 to 20. This is a story that allows you to think and enjoy it, while not forcing you to do it, like most of those complex, psychological, dark-toned manga (Death Note, Liar Game etc.) It's not the most intelligent story I've read, there are a few plotholes here and there (the downside of the convenient abilities almost every character possesses is that they tend to open plotholes, especially the one that detects lies), but it's just twisty enough for my taste. It has moments of darkness and psychological depth, without ever getting truly depressing and heavy to read. Excellent balance, just as I like it.

The dialogue deserves a paragraph of its own. It's thorougly brilliant, never rushed yet always meaningful. Together with the art it makes the emotional scenes truly touching and the dramatic scenes truly cool. Every line has a purpose, whether it is plot-related, character-deepening, dramatic, funny or just a plain name or sound in the right place. I love the flow of the dialogue in this manga. Also, I really have to give the translator and editor the recognition they're due for their excellent work on this manga.

While the mysteries are all superficially centered on the "Iris", the supernatural, sight-related abilities that nearly every young person in that world possesses, in truth they're all character-related and heavy on psychology. While the protagonist's friends all have useful Irises, it's his ability that is always on the key role in the solving of the mystery. His ability to think from the POV of other people and make connections. He's the kind of "detective" who gets inside the heads of everyone involved and builds the picture from there. That's what makes him interesting, he's the rare kind of protagonist who's seemingly powerless, but actually very intelligent. There are other dimensions to his character, but to me, the most important thing about him is his intelligence. I'm thoroughly tired of stupid protagonists that get through every problem with hard-headedness.

So, Iris Zero is very character-centered and psychological. Well, it's a good thing that it's also one of the first manga I've ever read where every single major character is interesting. Not one of them is annoying in the slightest, they all have very distinct personalities and their own appeal. The main female character is ridiculously adorable and has the ability that's usually associated with a shounen protagonist: the ability to affect people with her words and deeds, her conviction. Her best friend has a discordant personality despite having a strong sense of justice, and the male lead's best friend has the most interesting, dark-toned Iris and excellent acting abilities. Then there are two more major characters who both have complex, central roles in the long arc which had me figuratively speaking sitting on the edge of my chair. But now I'm simplifying things. Each of those characters is remarkably multi-layered, and I fully expect to see more character development and layers unveiled in the future.

Finally, a word on the romance. So far love has played a prominent part in both dark and light parts in this manga, being a major motivator and driving force for many characters. Thankfully, it seems like there won't be a love triangle involving the male lead, even if the female lead is very popular. It seems like a very clean-cut, sweet romance with the potential to even make me cry. It's possible that the authors will start stalling, get scared of actually making something of it before the end - but since this is a seinen manga and so far it hasn't let me down about anything, I hold my hopes high.

I had forgotten how good this manga is when I posted my top 5 list in the other thread a while back - today I corrected the mistake and put Iris Zero in its rightful place as my fourth-favourite manga. I do hope it gets a good anime adaptation some day, because this gem seriously needs more exposure and acknowledgement. If I were to rate it like I rate my anime, I'd probably give it either 4.5 or full 5 stars, that's how good it is.

Music: Poets of the Fall. Mostly Save Me (, but in the darker-toned moments I listen to some others, like Carnival of Rust, Shallow and Dying to Live. In the really romantic, atmospheric moments, Rewind.

Uh... I only wrote this much because I love the manga so much, I swear this won't become a trend! >.<
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on August 06, 2011, 11:51:44 pm
Hehe... I found something that should prove helpful in getting people to read Negima:
Not that it's bad in the beginning, but these days it's just awesome.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on August 21, 2011, 05:46:37 pm
WTF?? The latest Negima chapter is absolutely terrible! A long and epic arc was practically ended is a very abrupt and anticlimatic way. :( My initial reaction:

(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Zarich on August 24, 2011, 07:55:50 pm
WTF?? The latest Negima chapter is absolutely terrible! A long and epic arc was practically ended is a very abrupt and anticlimatic way. :( My initial reaction:

(click to show/hide)

Really? Good. I actually,  really hated the Magical World arc truth be told. I know that itw as like set up since like the start with Asuna's flashback dream in the Kansai Magic Association Arc but yeah..
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on October 24, 2011, 02:47:40 pm
Just read the 5 latest chapters of Nurarihyon no Mago. Full of action and sheer coolness. I just love the brand of coolness that this manga exudes in almost every single chapter... <3 And once again, I find Disciple just perfect for the mood.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on October 28, 2011, 07:58:54 am
The Breaker manhwa is getting interesting again. New Waves started a bit boring - but then again, so did the first series - and it took thirty chapters before Shioon got back to kicking ass. But it was worth it to keep reading. I just enjoyed twenty chapters of Breaker goodness while listening to various Pain ( songs. This is the music that I mentally connect to Breaker, and manhwa with dark-mooded ass-kicking in general.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on November 03, 2011, 05:02:26 am
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann - School Version (Gurren Gakuenhen)


Six chapters of energetic, hilarious school comedy. Also insanely fucking awesome. That's all you need to know, now go read it! And don't forget to listen to some badass music while you read it.

"...So if you want to stop me, you'd better ready the apocalypse!!"

I wish there was more of this. :(
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on November 15, 2011, 07:17:44 pm
Hammer Session! by Tanahashi Namoshiro and Koganemaru Yamato

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...Huh. I never thought I'd find a teacher manga that seriously rivals GTO as the best of its kind. Hammer Session might not be as emotionally appealing as GTO, but it's almost as funny and wise, and the art is way superior (the girls are really hot, though there's not much fanservice). More importantly, it's much more intelligent than GTO, almost as psychologically deep and interesting as Iris Zero.

The best part about Hammer Session is the protagonist. He's not your typical male protagonist, as he's not stupid, ordinary, or even moderately intelligent: he's truly intelligent. His methods when helping his students (and occasionally other teachers) are as original as Onizuka's, but they're less emotionally appealing and motivated by feelings. This guy is a master swindler and manipulator, his methods are always well thought out and intelligent. Both ways have their good points, but I kinda prefer the intelligent way, as could be guessed from my fondness of protagonists such as TWGOK's Keima and Iris Zero's Tooru.

I'm pretty hooked, but unfortunately there are only 17 chapters translated so far. The manga is already complete with 11 volumes and a 3-volume sequel in the country of origin. It's sad when treasures like this don't get the love they deserve. :( At least there's a dorama adaptation, so I guess it's reasonably popular in Japan.

Music: Haven't found anything particularly fitting yet. I've been listening to Papa Roach, but I'm pretty sure I could find something more fitting if I really tried. Poets of the Fall would probably fit well.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on December 18, 2011, 02:03:42 am
Just caught up with The World God Only Knows. God, that was almost too awesome for words. Unexpectedly, epic Two Steps From Hell music fit it perfectly - despite the less than epic settings and tone, the plot and characters are just so epic. To phrase it differently, TWGOK isn't epic in the traditional sense, even though it's fantasy and has devils and goddesses... it's just so incredibly good that it deserves to be called epic. Keima is a one of a kind main character (though Mizushima Tooru of Iris Zero has many of the same qualities and is just as awesome) and the plot gets more and more... well, epic. I liked the manga from the start, and I've always liked short arcs, but this long arc is just way higher on the awesome-scale, with its unpredictable plot twists and abundance of great character development.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on December 29, 2011, 07:57:32 am
Continuing my project to catch up with my favourite ongoing manga. Yesterday was Kaichou wa Maid-sama's turn. I had 10 chapters to read, so I spent a very pleasant evening enjoying one of my favourite romances.


Maid-sama is truly on a different level from most shoujo romances, IMO. Sure, Usui is a bit too perfect, which makes him hard to identify with, but at least he isn't a jerk. Besides, I like cool and over-powered male leads, which is basically what he is. Misaki, on the other hand, is a female lead of the highest class. I've never seen such a splendid response from a female lead when a new character appears and claims to be the male lead's fianceé. That was the most awesome thing I've seen in a while. Both lead characters are superbly entertaining, I never get tired of their interaction.

It's getting terribly sweet, lately. I even had to change the music I listen to while reading from the kind that suits Usui's coolness into the kind that suits the new, even sweeter atmosphere. Fortunately I'm highly resistant to over-sweetness (both literally and metaphorically). On the other hand, it's kind of refreshing to read as unpretentious a romance as this for a change. It's not trying to make itself more widely accepted by being a romantic comedy or something deeper. It's simply a silly romance with comedic elements. No unnecessary drama, just enough conflict to keep it interesting (at least to me). It advances steadily through all the phases of a romance - even after they finally start going out officially, there's no sing of speeding up the pace for a climatic conclusion, the story simply goes on, like life does. There's a slight shift of focus, from Misaki's troubles to accept her feelings to Usui's troubles with his family, but that's it. Maybe I'm just a silly romantic, but I like this kind of a light, steadily advancing romance, with a taste of ordinary life rather than adventure.

Things did seem to get a little stagnant for a few chapters there, but then a new arc started (sort of... it's difficult to divide this into "arcs") and I really like the first couple of chapters. A slight change of settings and a bunch of new characters is a simple but effective way to air out a story. I'm really looking forward to the continuation.

Music: Fitting for Usui's coolness: T.M.Revolution - Untouchable Girls (You're Damm Touchable K-mix) and T.M.Revolution - Aoi Hekireki (Deep Blue Kiss U-mix). Fitting for beautiful scenes: FictionJunction Keiko - Kaze no Machi he (among others...)
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on December 30, 2011, 06:10:59 pm
Kagami no Kuni no Harisugawa by Kanou Yasuhiro

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I can't believe this manga has been coming out for months before I noticed it. Finally Kanou started a new long series, years after Mx0 got axed. For most of those who've read Mx0, Kagami no Kuni should automatically be a must-read - and for those who haven't read it, what are you waiting for?! Go read it! Now! It's a must-read for anyone who enjoys an intelligent shounen manga.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about Kagami no Kuni. The first thing I noticed is that Kanou's art has improved considerably since Mx0. I always liked how he draws girls, but now he's even better at it - and he's putting that skill into plenty of use. Kagami no Kuni has quite a high level of ecchiness. Unfortunately, it's mostly panty-shots, which I don't particularly care for (even if he does draw them relatively delicious >.<).

Plot-wise, this is quite intelligent, as can be expected from Kanou. Not superbly so, but significantly above average, especially for a shounen manga. There are nice twists every once in a while, although since this is a romantic comedy, one can't expect too much.

I'm pleased to see that Kanou has given more depth to the characters as in Mx0. That was a vital change, since there's no action, but a much stronger romance element instead. Both of the leading female characters are far deeper than their counterparts in Mx0  - although, the fact that I can recognize Aika and Mizuki in them doesn't speak well for them (even if I do like Mizuki). It's even worse with the male protagonist, who's just a pale, stalker-ish imitation of Kuzumi, who on top of all reminds me of that annoying Manaka from Ichigo 100% with his wild imagination. Still, Kanou could've chosen a worse character to base Harisugawa on - Kuzumi is easily one of my all-time favourite shounen protagonists. Harisugawa is altogether a pretty likeable guy, despite his faults. Definitely from the better end of shounen protagonists.

The comedy is hilarious most of the time - again, a thing to be expected from Kanou. His humour is pretty intelligent on average, sometimes downright brilliant and sometimes not very smart at all. He's also a good face artist, he draws great expressions, both funny and cute.

Since the beginning, I was a little worried how he'd be able to pull off a romantic comedy, because apart from somewhat shallow characters, romance is the only thing in Mx0 that isn't near perfect. So far I'm not disappointed, but I must say that it could be better. The plot is good enough to make up for the lack of romantic scenes that'd make my heart pound, but after 24 chapters, I can't say yet that I truly care about the characters and their relationships enough to consider this a high-class romance. I do like all the characters, especially Saki, but... something is still missing.

All in all, Kagami no Kuni is well worth reading, for its art, plot and comedy. For those looking for a heartwarming (or heartwrenching) romance, there are far better options, but for those looking for an above average plot and good laughs... this should entertain you well. It's not even close to as good as the brilliant Mx0, because at least in my opinion Mx0 was a more suitable story for this author, genre-wise... but it's still very good.

Music: So far I haven't found anything particularly suitable for this manga. I'll keep looking.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on January 05, 2012, 10:30:05 pm
Goumaden Shutendoji by Nagai Go and Natsumoto Masato

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The world of Goumaden Shutendouji is harsh, cruel and perverse. When the veil between the world of humans and Hell fails, humans are powerless against the demons that come through. Taking advantage of the ugly sides of human nature, they take control of humans, killing them, making them kill each other, and worse. The sole hope of the humans in the city where the invasion takes place is the protagonist, a demon brought up believeing he was human: the guy himself has been pretty useless so far, but he has some powerful protectors. And since the demons are mainly gunning for him, his protectors are helping humans by fighting those who attack him.

The thing I love about this manga is its art. The demons are inspired by traditional Japanese oni, their designs are butt-ugly, hell-cool, and delightfully detailed. The designs of the human characters are less spectacular, but the backgrounds are also very nice. Horror and bloodshed have rarely looked so good, without going completely overboard with the gory details.

Another thing I like is the complete lack of mercy in the story. The humans in this story are seriously in deep shit. What makes it worse is that evil isn't completely externalised: the demons were apparently originally born from human vices, and all kinds of ugly feelings are what many of the demons take sadistic pleasure in releasing in their victims. It's a dark story, but I can enjoy one as long as I don't develop too deep feelings for the characters. And I don't think there's much danger of that: none of the characters are particularly likeable, that wouldn't fit in with the theme.

So far the protagonist has been pretty useless, but he intends to change that, so I'm hoping to see him kick some ass eventually. He's been holding up well, considering what he's been through: what'd you do if you found out that
(click to show/hide)

I feel sorry for the heroine, she's been given nothing but the classic damsel-in-distress role. And by "distress" I mean
(click to show/hide)

The battles have been quite entertaining so far, I'm just waiting for the protagonist to learn some basic control over his powers - and to start swinging his newly acquired sword. The atmosphere is awesomely dark and heavy, though not competely depressing: the protagonist's guardian seems to be in sufficient control of the situation most of the time. The storyflow has some problems, but it's on acceptable level IMO. The plot... well, there are some intriguing mysteries, but other than that, there's not much of a plot to begin with.

Overall, it's an enjoyable read when you happen to be in the mood for something really dark and bloody. Mainly I'd recommend it for the art: these demons make those bishie demons you mostly see in anime look like kids in a playground.

Music: Anything heavy and dark should do. My personal favourite for this kind of manga/manhwa is Pain:
Just to list a few of many suitable songs in their production.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Haxton Fale on January 08, 2012, 07:56:54 pm
I was asked by Krozam to prepare this Manga Diary entry. Ladies and gentlemen, while my writing skills may not be as good as his, let me present Maoyuu Maou Yuusha
-Become mine, Hero!
-I refuse!

Usually, whenever the Demon Queen is confronted by the Hero, it's the climax of the story. This time, however, it is just a beginning. After his probably long and cliche struggle through demon's realm, Hero arrives in front of Demon Queen willing to take her life, but instead of fierce fight or pleading for life, he hears the above request, and declines it. They agree on a compromise - Hero will hear Demon Queen out for a half-day, and after that time he is free to do whatever he wants with her.

I'm sure there are lots of great fantasy series. Many of them have pretty dark tone, and many of them deal with wars and politics. Maoyuu however is very unique and I don't mean characters with no actual names, only their occupations. This series is probably the most realistic one, since it deals with all aspects of war and its impact. Demon Queen doesn't want to end the war because humans have to lose - she wants to end the war since it's wrong, and she'd like to do it without completely destroying her opponents, trying to find the most peaceful way instead. With that thought, she visits the human world in disguise and starts the education.

Among numerous manga adaptations of original novels, I find drawing style of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha (without any suffixes) the best of them all. Maou is definitely as cute as she should be, wihtout focusing too much on her shamelessly useless meat. Hero goes from being a rather dumb, but powerful warrior to educated (and dedicated) paladin (of sorts), and because his struggles (and battles in general) aren't the main problem of the story, they are resolved in epic way. While battles remain quick, they're not chaotic. And whenever he wears armor, he looks cool - just as Hero should. Fortunately, the main pair (clumsy in most things apart from politics and economy Demon Queen, and mostly oblivious to that stuff Hero) manages not to overshadow the rest of cast, which includes many interesting and colourful characters, such as Head Maid, Grandpa Archer, Female Knight, Winter Prince... most of them has their own set of values, and still avoid being one- or two-dimensional.

Long story short: Maoyuu Maou Yuusha in general tells about various problems and aspects of war, as well as ways of dealing with them. Not-so-frequent cute encounters between Demon Queen and Hero mostly serve as intervals between mountains of dialogues (which are also enjoyable). If I were to grade Maoyuu at this point, I'd probably give it about 4/5, because of story's steady level during the 8 translated (and loaded with text) chapters.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on January 10, 2012, 03:54:51 pm
Thank you, Haxton. Indeed, though the topic's name is "Krozam's Manga Diary", it's not intended solely for me to post. It's more interesting if more people contribute. I might do this again in the future, ask someone else to write a review on a specific manga.

As for me, apart from reading Maoyuu Maou Yuusha upon Haxton's recommendation, I've just finished re-reading and catching up with Kami to Sengoku Seitokai by Akahori Satoru and Takada Ryousuke.

( (

This is a very underrated manga that isn't nearly as well known as it deserves to be. Maybe it's because of this unfortunate lack of appreciation that no group has finished scanlating this manga, even though it's been complete for a few years now. It's about halfway translated. It's vexing, but I don't have any means to get the project moving, though if I had, it'd be very high on my priority list. I love this manga.

Don't take me wrong, this isn't one of those deep and intelligent stories for which I usually save my highest praise. It's simply entertaining as fuck. Kinda like Kaze no Stigma: objectively thinking I can point out numerous weaknesses in it, but somehow it's just the most entertaining anime I've ever watched.

Now, where to start...? Well, the protagonist, of course, since he's by far the most awesome thing in the story. He starts out as a pretty ordinary, unlucky male lead, but within two volumes he evolves into one of the coolest protagonists ever. His quick power-up could be viewed as a weakness in the pacing, but somehow it fits the story.

Mom, dad... You once said there is no such thing as a man who will resist when a woman gives herself willingly... but when I say no... I MEAN NO!

Katsuragi Musashi is the kind of protagonist who seems like a man with some serious balls whether he's refusing a woman's advances or acting like the worst kind of womanizer. And yes, he does both. He has a harem, too, and for once I find it completely fitting. You see, his two personalities cover pretty much every base: normally he's a kind, good-natured guy who cares deeply for his friends - in his animorphose mode he's overwhelmingly powerful, seriously badass, forceful with women, an alpha-male if I've ever seen one. His charisma is way off the chart, especially compared to all other harem leads I've seen.

Listen up! You members of the Council of 10... belong to me. And since you belong to me... if anyone lays a finger on you... I'M GONNA MAKE 'EM PAY!

No wonder they soon start calling him with titles such as "king", "lord" and "master". Even though he's just a student council president. In a school which stands between the world and its end, the Ragnarök.

The other characters are great, too. Like any good shounen fighting manga, Kami to Sengoku Seitokai is loaded with interesting, memorable characters; a weak, bullied guy with a great character development, a hot catgirl, a funny friend who turns out to be one of the most kickass characters in the story, a bi-sexual reverse trap, and a loli "lamb" who's oddly eager to get "devoured" by the "wolf", just to give a few examples. The reason why everything is overshadowed by Musashi is not because the other characters can't hold their spotlight, it's simply because Musashi is so overwhelmingly awesome.

The female lead is pretty cool and interesting in her own way, although I think feminists would be appalled by how eager she's to literally chain herself to Musashi, to give herself to him and to call him "Master". ;D I guess the author likes his women submissive... Overall, I can't help thinking the manga is a bit... sexist. While most of the female characters are strong and even cool, there's clear symbology in Musashi's alpha male attitude and how almost every woman in the story wants him. Well, harems and sexism in general is nothing new in Japanese stories, and I don't think there's reason to think too deep into this, just enjoy the awesome story.

There's quite a bit of character development, despite the heavy focus on action. Much of it is done through mid-battle flashbacks, but I wouldn't say that flashbacks are overused in this manga. I'm actually quite impressed by how much character development the authors have managed to stuff into five volumes, despite the pretty large amount of characters, fast pace, and heavy focus on battles. I really like many of the characters, they grew on me quickly. Overall, I'd say the writer is considerably more skilled, as far as pacing and storyflow go, than most mangaka. I think that's pretty common in manga with two authors: after all, being a great artist doesn't make you a good storyteller, but few artists are willing to draw another writer's story unless it's really good. The manga market is flooded with average or worse manga just because any manga seems to get through as long as it's well-drawn, no matter how bad the story is. IMO, more mangaka should cooperate with professional storywriters instead of doing their own story, although of course there are good and bad results from both methods.

The art in this one is pretty damn good, in my opinion, though not everyone likes such heavy and dark style. Some character designs may need some getting used to (for example, I didn't like Mami's design at first), but they're all individual. The artist isn't the most versatile expression artist out there, but he's passable. There's a fair amount of pretty well-drawn ecchi, both in comedic and battle scenes, though I never really got the feeling that it interferes with the story. It's just a spice, as it should be, though rarely it even has a purpose in the plot. The battle scenes are where the artist really steps up his game (in addition to when drawing the main character pair), they're awesome.

The battles are awesome in other ways, too. They're entertaining, reasonably intelligent, and they usually advance the plot. One thing I love in this manga is its use of pairs: I've always loved fighting pairs, and this manga has plenty of them. A cool character is cool, two are cooler, but two who fight as a pair are definitely the coolest. Regardless of whether they're lovers, brothers, friends or rivals.

The plot is nothing amazing, and neither is there anything particularly thematically deep about the story, but as I said in the beginning, this manga is all about entertainment value. Although it's arguable whether the fast pace works for its favour or against it, I personally am quite happy with the pacing. It keeps things moving almost constantly, there isn't a boring moment is the manga. The level of suspension of disbelief required is easily within acceptable bounds for me, and I think the pros just might outweigh the cons. At least it's not another Naruto/Bleach.

All in all, I highly recommend Kami to Sengoku Seitokai, especially to those who like their protagonists badass and over-powered. Characters - all of them, not just Musashi - are the strongest point in this manga. The art is great as well. The entertainment value is potentially very high, although naturally I don't expect everyone to enjoy it as much as I do, because it's so well up my alley.

Music: 30 Seconds to Mars - Night of the Hunter (

Man, I wrote another wall of text... and I wrote it twice, lost the first version by accident just when it was ready. This better get someone to read the damn manga... >.<
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on January 19, 2012, 10:53:12 am
A short review for a change: Isuca by Takahashi Osamu

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This is a nice shounen-y seinen manga, though not particularly innovative. The only thing seinen about it is the ecchi: nipples are shown frequently. Otherwise it's a pretty standard light shounen manga where a tsundere girl with special powers and a seemingly ordinary guy - who also turns out to have special powers - team up, defeat some evil spirits and gradually fall in love. Naturally, a bunch of other girls butt in and it becomes a harem. Quite comparable to, say, Zero no Tsukaima.

Like Louise, the female lead is a flat-chested, short, cute tsundere. She's better balanced, though, not quite as abusive and shows her dere side a little more often. She's also much more adept at using her powers, which makes her actually useful in battle. Useless in housework, which leads to Toradora-like elements in her relationship with the male lead,

The male lead, on the other hand, is a semi-useless ordinary guy, who ends up under her thumb. Unlucky in that he gets frequently hit, lucky in that it's nearly always after he sees or touches something good. Almost unreasonably nice to all the girls in his harem and patient with the female lead. Not altogether unlikeable, and surprisingly reliable in some situations, but the one thing that makes him interesting is his power, which leads to a fair bit of fun and interesting relationship twists.

It's got some nice action and comedy, a fairly promising romance and plenty of quite (in)decent ecchi. It's so clichéd that I can't call it a great manga, but it's quite entertaining, so I'll call it a good one instead. It's well worth reading if the premise is at all up your alley, especially if you happen to like tsunderes.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on January 21, 2012, 07:09:28 pm
Kubera by Currygom

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You know the relieved feeling when you realise that you almost dropped a fantastic manga/anime because the beginning was uninteresting? "Thank god I decided to read a little further!" Well, this is the kind of feeling I got when reading the manhwa Kubera. I'm not a fan of the format (long pages, you have to scroll down a lot to see everything) and the beginning really isn't that interesting, so I nearly dropped it after the first two chapters. Ten chapters later, however, I was hooked.

Kubera's art isn't all that impressive, but it's fully coloured, so it might be a "soft landing" for those not used to B&W comics. It also gradually improves over time, though not at an easily noticeable pace. The author's sense of dramatics is pretty good, though, so sometimes she (I assume the author is female, that's the impression I get from the story and characters) really makes good use of the colours and creates impressive scenes, especially of late.

Characters are in my opinion the strongest point of this story. Although the main character is like a female version of usual idiot shounen protagonist (minus the pervertedness), she doesn't really end up in embarrassing situations much, so she doesn't annoy me. And later on, she has some really entertaining dialogue with a certain male character, turning thick-headedness into an advantage, which raised her points in my eyes a lot.

Her companion is a cold bitch most of the time (she does have softer moments as well), the female version of the classic shoujo male protagonist, so I dislike her a bit, but I can't deny that she's an intriguing, multi-dimensional character.

The major characters are divided into three groups. The second group consists of two antagonists, later joined by a third with unclear motives. They're all great characters. The first two have their pasts and motivations rather thoroughly explored, which gives them a lot of depth, and the third one is delightfully mysterious and intriguing. They're all male, cool, and relatively sympathetic considering they're antagonists.

The third group is a female-male pair. I'm neutral towards the girl, she has depth but her personality is so mild it leaves me cold. The male, however, does not leave you cold - and it's not just because he's a fire-god. He's amusing, intriguing, multi-dimensional and very likeable.

The settings are also very interesting. It's a fantasy world, but it draws deep on the rich Indian mythology. This world, its magic system, history, society etc. are well thought out and interesting. The plot keeps you on your toes: it's not predictable even though some character can see glimpses of the future. It might be because the ultimate goal of the story isn't apparent. The goal of each character is clear, but how they plan to achieve it isn't always apparent, and the fact that every character seems to have their own goals - which often conflict each other - complicates things even more. I have no idea how this story's going to end, and I'm far from sure that the main character's goal is the one that's going to prevail in the end.

Kubera is surprisingly good, and it improves constantly. It's not very fast-paced, but after the first few chapters, it never gets boring, IMO. Great characters, interesting world, avoidance of the good vs. evil cliché and unpredictable plot are the most important elements of good fantasy, and Kubera has them all. Apart from the beginning, it deserves 4½ stars from me - but as a whole I'd rate it 4/5.

Music: I listened to the Two Steps from Hell album Pathogen, which includes this kind of tracks:
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on February 02, 2012, 04:29:23 pm
Trinity Seven: 7-nin no Mahoutsukai by Saitou Kenji and Nao Akinari

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It's a rare treat, a manga that always does well whatever it does. Trinity Seven only falls short of that with one thing, and even to that one thing I'd give a passing grade. It's only disappointing in comparison to every other element in the manga.

This manga could turn out to be something that I've wanted to see for a long time: Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou done right. Of course I don't know if the original light novels do it right, but that anime was serious waste of a fantastic concept. Trinity Seven has a remarkably similar concept, and it's doing things right. High quality ecchi that never feels like waste of space, absolutely hilarious comedy that never fails to make me laugh, a genuinely interesting plot, an innovative magic system and great characters. The one thing I find lacking are the battles, of which there haven't been many so far.

Apart from the top-class comedy, the element that most stands out among all the good things is the main character. He's very, very awesome. He's nonchalant beyond belief, he takes almost everything in stride, which gives him a rather rare kind of coolness. He's a harem lead who can walk into a naked girl in a bath and casually excenge greetings with her; jokingly propose to a girl; be decisive, serious and somewhat badass when he needs to; and most amazingly, be perverted without seeming despicable. He does have an innocent side to him, but all in all, he's a refreshing change from all those wimps, idiots, innocent boys and disgusting perverts that you usually get for harem leads. He's not quite as awesome a harem lead as Musashi (from Kami to Sengoku Seitokai), but he's close.

Of course, a character like him wouldn't work quite so well were everything around him not so... tailored for him. Much of his strength (or rather, ability) comes from his grimoire; his nonchalant, difficult-to-surprise nature only has such an impact because the world around him is so crazy; his pervertedness wouldn't be so hilarious were not so many of the girls around him just as perverted and quite willing to go with the harem route; and a great deal of the comedy comes from the funny character dynamics between him and everyone else. The supporting cast seems to almost be defined by their relations to him. There's the equally unfazed girl who wants to be his wife, there's the "serious" girl who gets easily embarrassed and hits him occasionally, there's the sweet (though a bit perverted) little sister type girl who looks up to him, there's the headmaster whose sense of humour is very similar to his... All in all, it makes for great comedy, but the price is a rather one-dimensional cast of supporting characters. We'll see if this changes in the future.

The art style is very much for my liking: it's clear, the character designs are good, the facial expressions are pretty good, the battle scenes have some fairly impressive panels, and the ecchi is good. Mind you, the ecchi being "good" isn't enough, it can still feel like it's waste of space - fortunately, in this manga it usually serves the purpose of comedy as well, and like most things, it does it well, so all is fine as far as I'm concerned.

As I mentioned earlier, battles are the one element where this manga doesn't excel. So far they've been short, and the art, despite some impressive panels, doesn't really give the movement sufficient fluidity. They feel... meh. Unexciting. Not exactly bad, there's some great dialogue there, but compared to everything else, it's definitely an element that lowers the overall score.

Trinity Seven is definitely one of the best manga I've ever read. It's not quite in top 5, but I'd rate it 4½/5 stars, with a clear potential to eventually rise to the 5-star class. Improve the battles, give the supporting cast some more depth and dimension (even at the cost of some comedy effect), and we're there. I already know two other people who've liked this manga, so I'm not afraid to say that Trinity Seven comes with my highest recommendations.

Music: Lama - Fantasy ( and Kobayashi Yuu - Fight or Flight (, mostly. Edit: Later, also Iwasaki Taku - Flame (
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on February 16, 2012, 03:48:30 pm
Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru by Juuji Juuji and Nanasuke

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I never thought I'd ever say this in my life, but I'm actually enjoying a love triangle. This manga is unique enough to give it a new flavour. The protagonist is a boy whose parents are divorced and who hates romance. He has a childhood friend who likes him but isn't entirely aware of it at first. Then enters a beautiful, popular girl who blackmails him into a fake relationship, because she also hates romance and wants to get rid of her numerous male fans. It's a simple setup, but enables lots of hilarity.

Too bad hilarity isn't exactly the strong point of this manga. The comedy is mostly so-so, though there are moments that give me good laughs. A romantic comedy with mediocre comedy... I must say, despite its many good points, the entertainment value of this manga isn't great.

However, this romantic comedy has quite possibly the best plot and deepest, most complex characters I've ever seen in a story of this genre. And yes, that includes TWGOK. The three central characters are all amazing in their own way. The protagonist with his unpretentiousness, courage and good heart. The childhood friend with the strength found in her petite body and wounded mind. And my favourite, the fake girlfriend, who contantly surprises me and keeps me on the edge - I can never quite tell what the heck she's thinking. One moment she's hugging him, smiling like the happiest girl in the world, the next moment she's smiling evilly and claiming it's all an act. I sense she has a painful backstory, like the two others, and I can't wait to read it. I have a theory about how the diary is involved in that backstory...

As for the plot... Well, this is honestly the first time ever I've found myself theorizing while reading a romantic comedy. It tooks me a few chapters to realize it, but there's a surprising amount of depth and intelligence in this plot. Seemingly trivial details may suddenly gain major importance, and I often get the feeling that everything is not as it seems. I thought Kagami no Kuni was intelligent for a romcom, but it can't hold a candle to this. TWGOK, on the other hand, is overall a better manga, and it's very intelligent as well... but this just might surpass it in some areas, given some more time to develop.

The art is pretty simple, and at first I didn't think much of it. It's not bad, but it's not high-class stuff either. However, I really like the girlfriend's character design, I find her really cute. Also, some scenes are well dramatised, though I feel that most of the honour for that goes to the writing. In the 9th chapter I seriously felt the chills, it was so f*cking awesome almost since the beginning. The protagonist earned my eternal respect in that chapter. And there's a beautiful 2-page spread in the 10th chapter. Some scenes are truly touching, in various ways, despite the fact that there are only ten chapters out and often those scenes could be better... built up. The storyflow, especially in the beginning, is a bit weak IMO. Still, awesome scenes are awesome scenes, regardless of what happens between them.

Then there's the romance. It's a triangle, and a very even one at that, you can't tell yet which one is going to win his heart. Usually I hate that, and I do have a favourite now, too... but all the characters and the plot are just so good that I can't help thinking, the triangle might actually improve the story from what it could be otherwise. The character dynamics are very well thought out, and apart from the mediocre comedy, they work well and keep things constantly interesting. And I sense a high potential for an actually touching romance... once those two get over their hate for romantic love. <.<

Overall, I'd give this stars. Barely. It needs much better comedy, and some storyflow and art improvement, for full 5 stars - but I'd say that the potential to eventually rise into that highest class of manga is still there. An excellent read for those who appreciate intelligence, subtlety and depth in their romance.

Music: Nothing really hit me until the awesomeness of the 9th chapter. There, finally, Faster by Within Temptation ( clicked.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Zarich on February 24, 2012, 10:13:33 am
Sup People, Tis Zarich, Most of you new ones might have seen me just with a passing comment. I have the approval of Krozam to write reviews, so here we go, Tonight, written in the wee hours of the Californian' Morning...

Sugar Dark: Umerareta Yami to Shoujo by Mebae. Art by Ooiwa, Kenji


Before I start the review let me ask you a question. When you walk down the street, and see a Dark Alley, a Graveyard, or just the world at night, what do you see? Does your imagination go wild? What do you see in the dark?

Sugar Dark is about Muol, a 16 year old soldier sent to spend the rest of his life digging graves for the crime of killing his superior. Muol then meets a mysterious girl named Meria (or Melia, I will be using Meria for this review), who walks the graveyard at night. Every day he digs graves and every night he converses with Meria. But, who...or what is meant to be buried in the graves?

But really, the Romance between Muol and Meria is just a Red Herring. Behind these two is the classic story of Good Versus Evil, Progression and Tradition, Man and his greatest Fear, the creature that can never truly be killed no matter what. The creature that appears where ever there is no light. The Darkness.

Now, creatures hidden in the darkness appears in many forms of media. In Doctor who, they are the Vasha Nerada, in biblical texts it is the devil. In Sugar dark, this isn't just a creature hiding in the shadows. They are the Shadows, creatures of pure darkness that used to rule like gods that commanded mankind in history. What else do you think the DARK ages were about?

To the actual manga, the two story lines intertwines well and the manga itself has many elements of different genres as to do make it hard to say what actual type of manga it is. It has elements of Military, Horror, Comedy, Guro, Action, Romance, Supernatural, Fantasy all rolled into one package. The manga series is just giving pictures to the actual book Sugar Dark, the winner of Kodakawa Shoten's 14th (iirc) Sneaker Award, an award that has also graced LNs such as the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

The art itself is well done. Ooiwa Kenji, whose art can also be seen in mangas like Welcome to the NHK, does a great job blending Manga art with semi realism, creating a dark atmosphere throughout this whole manga. Kenji shows that he doesn't screw around with art, when he going to make something frightening, he will.

Sugar Dark only has three characters with actual names. There is Muol, the soldier, Meria, the mysterious girl who only appears at night and Karas, a mysterious child-like person with Goat pupils and only appears in the day. These Characters are all interesting and leaves us room to guess who or what they are as the story progresses as we start out not knowing really who these people are. Though we do get to know Muol more at the start as he is our MC in this story. The only other character to talk about is the man who owns this cemetery, a short man with no nose, sort of reminiscent of the Crypt Keeper.

Sugar Dark came with a bang. At first I only picked it up due to the similarity to a great fantasy manga I have read numerous times, Shina Dark. But as the days and weeks passed by, I read it for the story, the characters, the atmosphere, everything. This manga is one of my favorites, my only qualm is that it is 19 chapters. But, unlike a lot of stories, it closes. It actually has an ending. So if you are in well, any mood. Read this manga, this review is not doing it justice.

If you want music, I can't really recommend any as nothing fits the whole atmosphere for the whole story.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on August 21, 2012, 05:21:58 pm
I broke my self-imposed manga ban. For one night, for one manga. I don't regret it.

Zetsuen no Tempest by Shirodaira Kyou and Saizaki Ren

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Holy fuck that was awesome. I only intended to check out a few chapters in order to get an idea of what to expect from the upcoming anime, but it's kinda hard to pull out from a manga this mindblowingly awesome.

What's so awesome about it? Two things, mainly: the main characters and the plot. I was originally intrigued because the concept is very much up my alley, with there being two main characters, friends who fight together. I've said this before, but I really like badass fighting pairs, be they friends or rivals, lovers or siblings. Zetsuen no Tempest far exceeded my modest expectations, the main characters are both badass incarnate. Not the gar way, one of them is just immensely cool and the other is the intelligent badass type. And they really fight together, as I'd hoped for, though their relationship also has some delicious issues, especially in relation to a certain major character who only appears in flashbacks. They aren't just badass, they're pretty deep, too.

After a few chapters, the plot started getting really good. It was a bit confusing at first, not even all that interesting, but after the first two or three chapters I was mindblown, like, once a chapter. It's a deliciously twisty, and yet entirely coherent plotline. There are some pacing issues, frequent time skips and scenes that seem to last forever, but the story and characters are simply so good that I wasn't bothered in the least. Never thought I'd see a mexican standoff lasting about two manga volumes and being one of the most epic things I've ever seen or read.

The dialogue is good, but rather than being entertaining banter, it's good because it delivers the plot so well. It's the brilliance of the plot and how it's advanced so much by dialogue alone (though of course there are actions as well, not just talk) that makes the dialogue good. It also delivers dramatic moments pretty well.

The art is great. Not top-class, but very close. The guys' character designs are great, if you happen to like a bit shoujo-ish art... well, just check the picture. There are some issues with the female character designs at first, but the artist is clearly improving in that field, the girls are getting cuter by the chapter. Other than characters, the artist is a bit lazy with the backgrouds in normal pages, just like most manga artists, but the epic two-page spreads are truly epic. The faces convey emotions... adequately. There's space for improvement in that field as well, but some expressions, expecially cold and merciless ones, are seriously good.

The action is overall well done. Some scenes are truly epic, the depiction of movement is fairly fluid and the writing isn't bad at all. And the badass, oh the badass... The issues are mostly with pacing, though the writer does try to give us action in every chapter. Not that it's boring in the least even when there's a break in the action.

The world is our own with extra elements, magic and stuff. I like magic systems which are well designed starting from the source, logical yet quirky, have limitations and possibilities beyond the classic magic systems. The system in Zetsuen no Tempest fulfills all my basic conditions, though it's a bit more limited in application than I'd like. The battle of two godlike trees provides the story a conflict of an epic scale, and while it seems pretty clichéd at first (a battle of two gods at the beginning of time, "bad guys" trying to resurrect the evil one etc.), the brilliant plot soon shows us that things are not as simple as they seem. The question of morals is rather ambiguous in this story, "good" and "evil" are far from clearly defined, and I especially like the fact that none of the humans in the story can be sure that their faction, their ideal, their solution, is the "right" one. Their struggling to understand the nature of their gods, or to free themselves from the shackes of fate is rather interesting. And lastly, I really like the fact that the rest of the world doesn't remain unconcerned by the actions of the sorcerers. I don't quite remember the last time I saw a battle between a modern army and sorcerers.

If I had to name the worst weakness in this manga, I think it'd be... the fact that it's a bit difficult to get attached to the characters. The central characters are technically pretty deep, but for some reason they're just not very emotionally arresting. I wouldn't say the same about the story at large, and some characters are much more emotionally arresting than others, but... Well, I'd say the problem is in the scarcity of casual dialogue, nearly everything is used to either advance the plot or to purposefully deepen the characters. This way works too, but it's much slower to get attached to the characters than, say, in a good slice of life story.

By this point, it should be pretty obvious what my rating for the manga is. Full 5 stars. I'd highly recommend the manga to anyone who doesn't dislike dark-toned, actiony stories and doesn't require moe... <.<

Music: Didn't find anything exceptionally suitable, but the Shinrei Tantei Yakumo OST worked pretty well. Edit: Later, I found that DWB feat. Fade - From the Heart ( also fits pretty well.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on August 22, 2012, 03:07:51 pm
...So I read another manga. When I found out there are 4 new chapters of Hibi Chouchou out, I just had to catch up with it. Sadly, there are still only 7 chapters translated.

Hibi Chouchou by Morishita Suu

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Sometimes it's enjoyable to read a simple romance. In my opinion, Hibi Chouchou is shoujo romance almost at its best. As is typical for non-harem romances, especially shoujo, it's very focused on the romance, at the cost of giving the supporting characters any depth, or any attention for problems not directly related to the romance. Or even drawing the supporting characters with detail. Also, how this will end seems clear from the start, I highly doubt there are going to be any big surprises or excitement. But that's all fine. Sometimes keeping it simple is for the best. It allows you to relax and enjoy the funny and cute romance.

The main characters are somewhat atypical for shoujo romance leads, which is excellent, IMO. The guy is neither a cold bastard nor a perfect prince/butler. He's good-looking, nice, quiet and reserved, doesn't call much attention to himself. A very likeable character, I imagine from the PoV of either gender. The girl is neither an energetic tomboy nor a timid ordinary girl just waiting for her knight on a white horse. She doesn't lose to the guy in looks either, which is pretty rare. She's a beauty who gets a lot of attention but doesn't let it go to her head. She's pretty quiet and reserved, too, often has trouble finding words, and a bit airheaded but not stupid. Again, a very likeable character.

It's funny how the romance of two so quiet and reserved characters that they can barely exchange two words when meeting can be so interesting. There's a lot of non-verbal communication and quiet moments that have a rather unique kind of romantic feeling to them. It's really a cute and simple romance that gives you a nice warm feeling, nothing more, nothing less.

The only major problem is in the rather weak quality of the scanlations, especially the 5th chapter done by someone else than the group that did the other chapters.

3.5/5 stars.

Music: Anything beautiful, a bit on the energetic side as opposed to melancholic, should do. I didn't find anything exceptionally suitable, but I mostly listened to Tsunagu Kizuna by Team Nekocan (ft. Amaoto Junca), one of the Yosuga no Sora EDs.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on November 17, 2012, 05:47:53 am
Sometimes it's good to read something way out of your comfort zone. You know, widen your horizon. In that spirit, I present you

Kunisaki Izumo No Jijou by Hirakawa Aya

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That's a guy in that picture.^ Let me say from the start that I very much dislike several key elements in this manga: crossdressing, shounen ai undertones and the lack of significant female characters. I checked this out on a whim based on the cover image on the scanlator's site and didn't read any summaries until I'd read the first chapter. Had I read a summary first, I most certainly would never have checked this out.

As it happens, I liked the first chapter. The protagonist is pretty awesome and the chapter was really funny. Moreover, somehow the crossdressing element was presented in a way that I actually kinda liked the idea. The androgynous protagonist plays the role of a girl in a kabuki play, not because he likes it but because he has a debt to pay to the guy who usually plays the role but is now sick. Somehow that's kinda cool. A man who's manly enough to take the embarrassment of dressing as a girl though he hates it. An actor who's willing to go that far for the sake of his fellow actors and the audience. And he totally captivates them all, to the point that several supposedly straight guys fall head over heels for him. Yeah, the protagonist is awesome.

The comedy is at times rather unique and really good, I actually laughed aloud quite a few times, something I don't do that often. The plot is pretty episodic, there are short arcs which focus on different kabuki plays, different characters and their problems. Nothing amazing, but enjoyable. The art is, IMO, really good: it's clear and strong, the character designs are good, the expressions are good, it's a style I'm used to seeing in shounen and seinen manga, not shoujo (though as is usual for shoujo, the male character designs are much better than the female designs).

This manga is half painful and half ejoyable. It's painful to watch all the guys trying to get the MC (mind you, the MC doesn't seem interested in either the guys or the few girls who have semi-important roles in the story, this isn't a romance), and it's annoying that after 44 chapters, the MC still hasn't got a proper male role to play, it's getting repetitive that there are always circumstances that force him to take a female role. Yet I still find myself well entertained by every chapter: the characters and their individual problems are mostly interesting, the dialogue is good, and as I said, the comedy is good and the MC is awesome. Something about the storytelling kept me hooked all through the 44 chapters that are out so far.

I do recommend the manga to anyone willing to "widen their horizon", try something new (I think this'd be new to anyone who reads this, I don't remember ever meeting any fujoshi in Doki <.<). 3.5/5.

Music: Mustasch - The Audience is Listening ( suits quite well the story in my opinion, what with the theme of performing on a stage (though the song is about performing music, not theatre).
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on November 18, 2012, 08:13:35 pm
Yamada-kun to Nana-nin no Majo (Yamada and the Seven Witches) by Yoshikawa Miki

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First crossdressing, now gender-bender (well, actually body swapping). Looks like I'm in a phase where I like to try out manga which I'd normally skip because of elements I have no interest in. It's not like I'm learning to like those elements, I'm just beginning to tolerate them in stories that are otherwise too good to pass up. Who knows, maybe I'll one day listen to some rap songs just because of good melodies, even though I hate the weird, unmelodic speaking style that passes for singing in that music genre.

Now then, about the manga. Yamada-kun is like Kagami no Kuni no Harisugawa ( done right. Or better - it's not like Harisugawa isn't good. This is not just a gender-bender harem romcom, this has a very interesting, intelligent plot that contains elements of mystery and school politics. I wouldn't say this is particularly deep, but it's certainly not an ordinary, clichéd and shallow romcom.

It did take me a while to get into this, the first few chapters I wasn't sure if I liked it enough. The comedy has its moments, but it's not like it's cracking me up all the time (it's not entirely my cup of tea), and Yamada is nearly always embarrassing when he's in a girl's body. However, when some more characters and the actual plot kicked in, and Yamada started to have more cool moments, I was eventually hooked.

The characters are overall interesting and likeable. Yamada, as I said, is often embarrassing, but he also has his cool moments, especially lately. He's one of the few truly dumb main character whom I find genuinely likeable. Shiraishi, the female lead, is a bit too composed to my liking, but she also has cute moments, and I like her character development. The supporting cast is generally a hilarious bunch, and some of them are used very intelligently to advance the plot. One thing I like is that there's a good balance of male and female characters: it's not just Yamada and his harem, there are other genuinely important male characters as well.

The art reminds me of Mashima Hiro, the author of Fairy Tail. Which is no wonder, given that she used to be his assistant. It's good for comedic expressions and action, but not so good for fanservice or romantic scenes. Still, I have to say I find some of the girls rather attractive. Not sure about the romance, it has potential, but Shiraishi will have to start showing more emotion and the cute scenes will have to get much cuter before I start getting emotional over this manga.

All in all, I rate this manga 4 stars. It could be half a star more if Yamada wasn't so damn embarrassing at times.

Music: Mustasch - Morning Star ( I'm sure I could find more suitable songs for this manga, but I happen to be into Mustasch right now, and I found this song suitable enough to create a good reading atmosphere.

Now that I've found this mangaka good, I think I'll go check out her earlier, rather succesful work, Yankee-kun to Megane-chan...
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on November 20, 2012, 02:35:53 am
...And so I did. Damn, what a manga marathon. I read the almost 20 scanlated volumes of Yankee-kun to Megane-chan (by Yoshikawa Miki) practically in one sitting, over ~18 hours.

( (

No, it's not really that addicting, I simply had nothing better to do, for some reason I didn't even get tired enough to feel like going to sleep. The first few volumes are actually pretty meh, I contemplated dropping the manga many times over the first few vols. The characters were difficult to like and the story didn't seem to go anywhere, the comedy alone couldn't really keep my interest. However, eventually it did start getting better, and after a certain point it became so good that I was well and truly hooked. I'm glad I patiently stuck with it (I'm sure wouldn't have done it if I hadn't read Yamada-kun first, this one took a much longer time to get good), because in the end it was an experience I think I will truly appreciate later on. Actually, I already do.

Like Yamada, the "Yankee-kun", Shinagawa Daichi, is a feared delinquent who's absolutely bored with school but has a good heart and a strong sense of justice. He was sort of likeable from the start, but not really. It's a real pleasure to see how he matures and changes during his three high school years, becoming a truly likeable and respectable person. "Megane-chan", Adachi Hana, differs from the female lead of Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo in that she's only pretending to be a smart honour student - in reality she's a former delinquent and dumb as a doornail. I never really liked her, she seems a bit like a bitch from the start and only develops to a moderately likeable level during the story. On the plus side, her past explains her personality in the beginning well, and the rare times that we see her fight, she kicks ass. But still, I kinda wish some of the other girls who end up with a crush on Daichi had a chance.

The other characters are, again, a hilarious (and occasionally badass) bunch with important roles in the story, good character development and a good balance of genders. I really like this mangaka for her excellent use of supporting characters in both of her series.

This is a long story with several phases to it. First there is the introduction phase, where the two main characters get to know each other and later some supporting characters are introduced. Then there is the student council phase, where the story finally gets interesting, many new supporting characters are introduced and various problems are solved. The final phase is where they start taking studying seriously in order to get the whole gang, even the hopelessly stupid Hana, to the same college - however, this phase also contains a lot of character development for everyone, and wraps up several side plots. Alongside it all there is delinquent stuff, some good fights. This story covers pretty much the whole scale of school life manga, from slice of life and romance to student council and delinquent stuff. I've missed this kind of long school life manga, where you really have the time to get attached to the characters, over a large number of volumes, and many years in the story. It's been a while since I've read anything this long. I think this will eventually be one seriously nostalgic story to me, like for example Love Hina came to be.

All in all, a truly memorable experience worth at least 4 stars. Could easily be more, if the boring phase in the beginning hadn't lasted so long. Could still be more, if the story wraps up in a satifying manner, giving the romances and everything proper conclusions.

Music: I listened to a lot of different songs during this long session, but mainly heidi. (they did the Kaichou wa Maid-sama EDs) and certain Abingdon Boys School songs. In the best fights I listened either Show Me What You Got by Powerman 5000, JAP by ABS, or Reckless Youth by Pillar. In emotional scenes ABS's Desert Rose served well. Pineapple Army - also by ABS - was good for normal comedy and slice of life, some fights as well. In the beginning I mainly listened to heidi.'s Ikkoku, Mugen Loop and Pain, until I got bored of them and switched to ABS.

As usual with these kind of stories, it made me feel pathetic for never taking studying seriously. So, I think I'll take a little break from manga and such, and finally get to writing that essay I've been pushing off. >.<
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Haxton Fale on November 25, 2012, 01:07:31 am
Figured I might as well just go and post it here, in the middle of being utterly frustrated with homework.

Amidst all kinds of manga I read, I enjoy absurd comedies about the most (second only to yuri). At some point, however, they tend to lose their freshness - jokes seem repetitive, new characters (heck, old ones usually too) are one-dimensional and overused running gags are overused, not to mention the fact that majority of those (as it is usually the case with gag series) are 4komas.
But there are exceptions. One of them is Fujimura-kun Mates by Shiki Seiichi.
Fujimura Haru Is a delinquent (kind of). Having no friends to enjoy the school with (and being feared in general), he skips classes until he is found by class representative Usami Eriko. She claims to be sent by a teacher to find out why is Fujimura skipping, and she tries to convince him to go back to school. All is fine, until... let's just say that Eriko has a few (hundred) screws loose. And she's not the only one. Through a series of unexpected events, Fujimura ends with three school-sanctioned (with a grand ceremony-slash-election) girlfriends - aforementioned Usami Eriko, who seems to enjoy sexual innuendos with Fujimura (and has slight yandere tendencies, sans jealous fits), Yumizuka Subaru, who was once harassing a girl who then got saved by Fujimura, and Urabe Shizuru, both the most and the least crazy of the bunch, total airhead who fell in love with Fujimura due to a misunderstanding. All three, as well as rest of the cast, do their best to drive the Only Sane Man Fujimura crazy.
This is one of the few gag mangas that manage to stay fresh and hilarious (and completely unpredictable) even after 74 chapters. With new chapters of SYD or Working!! the best I can muster is a smirk, while every new release of Fujimura-kun Mates has me dying of laughter. For the art, it's very pleasant to the eye - girls are very cute, while the level of detail is quite high. It's not in yonkoma format, which makes it even more interesting for a gag series.
I can definitely recommend this manga to anyone who likes to have a good laugh. It's been enjoyable so far and it seems it will be for a long time. My score is 10/10 - I might even consider re-scoring several top titles on my MAL, since this is one heck of an amazing read.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on November 27, 2012, 02:24:44 am
Thanks, Hax, I was getting lonely all alone here.

Angel Densetsu by Yagi Norihiro

( (

Angel Densetsu is one of my early manga experiences, I think it's been 5-6 years since I read it for the first time. No wonder I'd forgotten just how good it is. I don't know what the fuck I was thinking, rating it merely 3.5 stars when I put it on my (far from complete) manga list. So, yeah, a supremely nostalgic manga for me, a classic and must read of its genre, and a real pleasure to re-read especially after so long, having forgotten so much.

I'd compare AD to Yankee-kun to Megane-chan and Mx0. Like YK&MC, it's a school manga with comedy, delinquent stuff and romance. The difference is, AD has a bit more action and much better comedy, while YK&MC has more variation in its elements, like the student council stuff and, well, actual studying (what's up with all these school manga where the students are barely ever shown studying?). Like Mx0, the basic concept of AD is that a student comes to a school, stuff happens, and suddenly everyone thinks he's some kind of a monster. The difference is, in Mx0 the protagonist keeps up the illusion on purpose, while in AD it's entirely unintentional, held up by his devilish appearance, inability to express himself when agitated, and a bunch of coincidences. God I love that concept, it makes for such hilarious comedy.

You might be turned off by the art at first, but it's the guy's first long manga, and he develops his art a lot during the story. It never gets amazing, but IMO it's pretty good by the end. Everything else in the manga is great from the start to the end, there's no real rise or drop in the quality of the manga.

The characters are generally likeable, and although I can't say they're particularly deep, I still grew very attached to them and I'd love to read more about their life. In a way, AD reads like a good slice of life: it's an episodic story which never really feels complete, because it's a story about the ordinary life of these characters. Like the author says at least twice, he just created the characters and let them live their lives, without confining them into a pre-determined plotline. In this case, it works extremely well.

There's no particular depth or intelligence to the plot, but it's fairly interesting anyway. It's a good mix of hilarious comedy, (extra)ordinary school life, cute romance and nice fights. It's a heartwarming story about how a boy with the face of a devil and the heart of an angel overcomes prejudice, gets himself a handful of good friends and a cute girlfriend. The theme of overcoming prejudice is very strong throughout the story, the main character isn't the only one whose looks don't match his personality. But it's usually handled in either comedic or heartwarming manner which doesn't feel preachy at all.

So, where did I raise my rating from the initial 3.5/5? To 4.5. I was contemplating 4, because the ending is a bit unsatisfactory: although there's a very romantic scene and a badass battle in the last two chapters, there's something I didn't like in both of them:
(click to show/hide)
Also, there's the matter of the art at the beginning, and the lack of any particular depth in the story or the characters... But in the end, nostalgia and sheer reading pleasure won, I decided on the higher rating. Angel Densetsu is, in the end, one of the most enjoyable and re-readable manga for me, it deserves my second-highest recommendations.

Music: I tried a lot of different songs with this, too many to list them all. Most of the time I listened to Poets of the Fall - Shallow (, it has a nice tone that fits especailly the heartwarming scenes. For some of the more actionful or comedic scenes I used Save Me, also by PotF. I also listened to Powerman 5000 - Super Villain a lot, because I thought the subject of the song's lyrics is kinda fitting - in a perverse way - to the multitude of scenes where the protagonist is portrayed through the eyes of the people who see him as a devil... and it fits the fights well. In the last fight I listened to Recless Youth by Pillar, a pretty badass song for youth gang fights. For the few kinda sad scenes, Someone Who Cares by Three Days Grace is great. A lot of others, but those are the best fits.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on September 09, 2013, 01:47:46 am
So... I caught up with Breaker: New Waves. After over a hundred chapters, Shioon is finally back to full health, and stronger than ever. He's kicking some serious ass. Too bad he almost immediately faces one of the friggin' Grandmasters of Murim, and once again survives only through his completely fucking ridiculous mental and physical endurance. He lives through stuff that'd kill an ordinary man a hundred times over, and his determination is way off the chart as well. It's way extreme even by manga/manhwa standards. -_-'

Still, his powerups are pretty extreme, too. Sometimes it feels like he's getting stronger slowly, but taking into account the plot moving at a snail's pace, he's actually making giant leaps between and during every serious fight.

Also, elder Kwon just keeps getting more badass. And right now he's fighting that other Grandmaster. It could be pretty damn epic, but I get the feeling it's not yet their time to seriously face off. Even though they're fighting seriously, the storytelling doesn't support it well enough, the focus is still on Shioon.

Still, I look forward to the next chapter. They're on a hiatus now, but fortunately it should be over soon. It was supposed to be a month, and it's been a few days over a month since the last release.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on September 12, 2013, 12:57:35 am
It seems I'm getting back on my manga groove. Today, I present you

Rosario+Vampire Season II by Ikeda Akihisa

( (

First of all, for those who've seen the anime and not read the manga, I assure you, there's a great difference. I haven't actually seen more than a couple of episodes from the anime, but I've heard horror stories about it. It's not a faithful adaptation, not even close.

Secondly, I probably should review the first manga series first, but it's been a year or two since I read it, it's not exactly in fresh memory anymore. One thing I do remember about it is how it evolved from a mediocre, ecchi harem comedy with some light battles into quite a decent shounen battle manga (without losing the harem elements, of course). In the end I rated it 3 stars. For many things, like character development, I'll be considering the two series a single story in this review.

The second series continues to escalate, though at first it kind of resets back to the status quo and to its roots as an ecchi harem romcom. However, this doesn't last long in the big picture, and soon we're back to serious stuff. Through multiple short arcs gradually gaining in seriousness and slowly revealing the organisation to which all the serious antagonists have belonged to and which as a whole kinda plays the role of the ultimate antagonist (though there is also a single character who in the end takes that role). It reminds me of Negima, which evolved from a comedy into one of my favourite long shounen battle manga, but R+V takes it a step further, completely changing the tone of the manga from light to dark, from funny to serious, from slice of life to epic. If someone read the beginning of the first series and then jumped to the last arc of Season II, he'd definitely wonder if he was reading the same manga or if it was some kind of a reboot with only some common characters.

The characters evolve with the story. Tsukune, the male protagonist, at first a classic useless harem lead, already becomes pretty badass in the first series, but in the second he becomes a full-fledged shounen battle manga lead, complete with training sessions, sudden power-ups and incredible determination. I, for one, like the change, especially as it's accompanied by growth in maturity and personality depth. Moka, the female lead, is at first a beautiful airheaded vampire with a super-powerful (and super-prideful) inner personality. The second series reveals her mysterious past, why she's at the centre of world-shaking events, and deepens her character, especially the inner personality, a lot. She remains a powerful character, but with other powerful characters entering the fray, she can no longer end her battles in a single kick. She even becomes a damsel in distress for a while, spurring Tsukune's growth a great deal.

The other characters also gain some depth. Some of them, a lot of depth. Quite a lot of attention is paid to Moka's sisters, all three of them, and even though they're new characters introduced in the second series, they all become major, well-rounded characters. As another example, Kurumu, I never really liked her until the last arc, where I gained some serious respect for her. Many characters who used to be pretty much defined by their relationship to Tsukune gradually gain independence and a variety of personality traits. I can hardly say that R+V is a manga defined by its deep and multi-dimensional characters, but comparing to its humble beginning, the character development is, in many cases, quite impressive.

The art has also developed a lot during the 9 years that this story has been published. It was never downright bad, but it was pretty amateurish at first. The mangaka has gradually improved his skills and become more professional over the years. Whether it be ecchi fanservice, grotesque monster designs, touching dramatic scenes or cool battles, the artist has retained his basic style while steadily improving every aspect of it. I'm no art critic, but I can say that I quite like his art now, and it seems to have no significant weaknesses left.

The comedy is mostly so-so. It makes me laugh often enough, but it's nothing amazing. There is one exception, chapter 23 of Season II, which I found particularly hilarious. Overall, I'd say that while the light parts of this manga are fairly enjoyable, it's a good thing that the manga got more serious as it advanced, because epicness and seriousness suit this author much better than light comedy.

The overall plot suffers from its humble beginning, because while the author does occasionally tie the current epic story into the beginning, the first series, it seems that he didn't really have a good idea of where he'd end up when he started writing the story. The conversion from comedy to serious isn't too sudden or anything, it's patient and well enough built, but it's still one of the most extreme genre and tone conversions I've ever seen in one story. There's nothing particularly twisty about the big plot or any of the short arcs, but there are enough mysteries and moderately surprising revelations to keep things interesting.

While harem is a very strong element thoughout this story, it's obvious that there is only one girl who ever had a chance with the male lead. Still, Tsukune is likeable enough, after some character development, to not make it utterly unrealistic for the other girls to stay around him even after they realise they'll never be the first in his heart. Like any decent harem lead, he treasures all his friends but never wavers in his love for the one girl his heart chose. That is not to say that the only good kind of a harem lead is one who never gives up on his first love, my point is that I never saw him as the indecisive kind of guy. In terms of touching scenes, this romance has yet to reach the level that'd bring tears to my eyes, but some scenes are truly well dramatised and have touched me in various ways. I have grown fairly attached to the characters, and if the ending is done right, it still has the potential to reach that level. The latest chapter already came very, very close.

The action, too, has much improved. At first it was quite light and comedic in nature, not to mention repetitive, always ending with Tsukune removing Moka's sealing rosary, and her inner personality ending the battle with one kick, shouting her catchphrase, "Know your place!" Already in the first series things began to change, with stronger enemies appearing and Tsukune gaining some battle power of his own. But it's nothing compared to the second series. Not only Tsukune, the harem members (and even some male side characters) gain more power and become actually useful. And of course, the battles themselves, both in writing and artistically, keep getting better. Now they are quite comparable to any shounen battle manga.

The last arc is... special. It kinda feels like everything before this has been one overly long prologue and the real story started with the last arc. This arc is significantly longer, darker and more epic than the ones before it. It reveals everything that the story before it has merely hinted at, diving into Moka's past, revealing the antagonist organisation, expanding the settings in many different ways, etc. It has its own training session, plenty of character development and new characters. It cranks the epic up to eleven.

And then there is the last battle. I can honestly say that I probably have never read another last battle quite like this. It just keeps going on, an epic rollercoaster of desperate situations and flares of hope. Usually they have a clear climax, or two at most, after which things calm down and the arc ends. This one has already had like half a dozen "climaxes", and every time I've been surprised when a few pages later there's another turnaround. Now it's heading towards what I believe to finally be the final showdown, after which the manga wraps up and ends. Probably no third "season" coming. It's kinda hard to top this, and I don't see any plot threads extending beyond this arc, it'd have to start something completely new. But I might be wrong, long shounen manga do it all the time, extend beyound what should've been their ending point.

In conclusion, R+V has been quite an enjoyable run. It kept evolving, far surpassing my expectations when I started reading the first series many years ago. I'd say that the quality/enjoyment increase from the start of the first series to the current point (ch 66) is at least 2 stars, from 2.5 to 4.5/5. But since the whole is so unbalanced, I'll give Season II as a whole 4/5 stars.

Music: Onlap - From Dust to Ashes ( By the time I'd finished, the repeat count was around 240... <_<
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on September 25, 2013, 12:55:15 am
I know I've mentioned this manhwa a couple of times before, but I've just re-read the entire thing, so I figured now is a good time to write a proper review:

The Breaker and its ongoing sequel, Breaker: New Waves by Geuk-Jin Jeon and Kamaro


Although this is probably one of the most internationally famous manhwa, the industry in Korea is apparently squeezing the life out of their authors, so these two have my respect for hanging in there and stubbornly developing their story in their own patient pace. At times a little too patient, one might say. Reading the chapters weekly, it definitely feels like the story is dragging for, like, 100 chapters from the start of New Waves, but when you read it all at once, it's actually not that bad. This way you get a much clearer picture of the somewhat complex plot, the intriguing world of martial arts in this story, and the extensive cast of characters. Marathoning a story is typically much more enjoyable for me than taking it in small doses weekly or monthly, but it's especially true for this manhwa.

But nevermind the plot and stuff, the primary reason to read The Breaker has always been the fights. Glorious, badass, unrealistic martial arts fights. In this, The Breaker is unquestionably among the very best of its kind. In both art and writing, superbly entertaining stuff.

The protagonist is a high school boy with a weak body who gets bullied to the point that he contemplates suicide. He's "saved" by a new teacher, who initially doesn't give a damn about a coward like him, but eventually relents and promises to teach the kid martial arts. Little does the boy know that he's about to enter a world far more brutal than his life until now. Through a series of events in the first series, he ends up leading the most powerful martial artist clan in Korea in the second series. Swearing to never again be a coward, he puts his life on the line fighting agains one overpowering opponent after another, visiting death's door so many times that I've lost count. His determination and endurance are ridiculous even by manga/manhwa standards, and he fully takes advantage of his plot armour, lol. Initially it feels as though he's doomed to be a punching bag forever, but at some point you realise that it's only because he keeps encountering ridiculously strong opponents. In truth, he's a friggin' martial arts genius: although his progress is aided a lot by a miracle drug that gave him a ridiculous amount of ki, and being taught by several top martial artists, it's undeniable that within mere months, he's turned from a boy with a weak body that'd lose a fight against any normal person his age, into a master-level martial artist. Oh, there's still a wide gap between him and the TOP masters, whom he keeps encountering both as allies and enemies, but he's getting there. And he's getting pretty badass, too, lately. Though it's his kindness and naïvete bordering on idiocy that keep attracting ladies to his harem (which he has NO idea he has, except for his "girlfriend", who ironically enough is one of the only two people around him who don't know about his secret new life)...

His master, known as Goomoonryong, Nine Arts Dragon, is recognised by some as the strongest martial artist in Korea. His disrespect for the rules of the martial arts world, however, has earned him many enemies, and he's generally seen as a villain. And true enough, the further the series goes on, the darker he gets. He's a seriously badass character, and an antihero (or more like, a hero turned villain) in the best manhwa tradition.

There is a multitude of interesting, badass characters in the series, with clashing motivations, many of them trapped in a spiral of vengeance. (Elder Kwon, intruduced at the very end of the first series, but taking spotlight in the second, deserves a special mention for both badassery and an interesting personality.) The martial arts world is a brutal place with brutal rules: the strong dominate the weak, and clan ties, and especially the ties between the master and the student, are more absolute than blood ties, resulting in feuds spanning generations. However, there are also good things about this world, chivalry and dignity rarely seen in the world of ordinary people. In the best tradition of shounen heroes, the protagonist takes in these good things and denies the bad things, slowly changing the outlook of at least the people close to him, eventually perhaps the entire martial arts world. His master also seeks to bring down the system, but his methods are a lot more brutal, leading them on different paths after the first series.

The plot is surprisingly complex, a mess of clan politics, mysterious organisations and powerful, world-changing characters with clashing motivations. Like I said, if you read it weekly, it gets confusing and feels pretty slow. It is only now that there are 10 volumes of the original series and 129 chapters, roughly 13 volumes, of New Waves, and I've read it all in a few days, that I start to grasp the whole picture. I do enjoy a plot and a world with some intrigue and complexity, so while it may be somewhat confusing, especially to an international reader not very familiar with the korean culture, it's at least better than the usual straightforward shounen manga plots.

The art is pretty classy, though somehow... cold. As is usual for manhwa. Clear, dynamic in fights, individual character designs, cool and sexy covers. It develops noticeably during the series, but it's pretty good from the start.

All in all, The Breaker is an enjoyable ride filled with badass characters and exquisite violence for those who enjoy bloody, unrealistic martial arts battles. Especially enjoyable when marathoned. But it's not all violence, there's a decent plot with some delicious intrigue. It's a bit slow at times, and some, like me, may not enjoy the overuse of plot armour with the protagonist (seriously, he'd probably survive even if a skyscraper was dropped on him), but all in all, good fun. 3.5/5 stars for both series (I only recently raised New Waves' rating to the same level with the first series, though).

Music: I typically listen to Pain with any dark, actionful manga and manhwa, but it started with The Breaker, and to this day Bye/Die (, Clouds of Ecstacy (, Don't Care ( and Reach out (and Regret) ( in particular are most strongly connected to this series in my mind.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on October 13, 2013, 04:28:50 pm
Kaichou wa Maid-Sama finished at 85 chapters. A good, touching ending for a great romance. I grinned like a madman through the "10 years later" part (the latter half of the last chapter), and cried a little, too. I'm sure the effect would've been stronger had the story been told from Usui's viewpoint - even though Misaki is a wonderful protagonist, as a guy I naturally have some trouble identifying with a female protagonist - but it's so good that even this way it had this much of an effect on me. Well, Kaitou Saint Tail had me crying for like 15 minutes, so it's not like this is the first romance with a female protagonist to make me cry.

Sad to see a good manga end, but it was time. The mangaka told her story and ended it when she ran out of material, naturally, without dragging it out too much. And the ending is satisfactory in every way. In fact, it's one of the most perfectly executed romance endings I've ever seen. This is how it should be done. Too many manga/anime either end incomplete or get dragged out too much, and then fail the ending.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on December 08, 2013, 04:16:07 pm
Not in the mood to make a proper review, but I felt like this one deserved a mention:

Gate - Thus the JSDF Fought There (by Yanai Takumi and Sao Satoru) is a pretty awesome manga. There's an immortal gothic lolita demigod apostle of the god of death swinging a huge axe probably twice her weight... who gets turned on when people die nearby. And the protagonist is pretty awesome, too, appearing like a laid-back slacker otaku, but being actually a very competent and intelligent, not to mention highly sympathetic soldier and officer. Those should be enough reason to read it, but there are plenty of other reasons. For one, it's actually political, in a way you rarely see a Japanese work of fiction being. Sure, the author is clearly nationalistic and glorifies JSDF and Japan, but apparently it's very much toned down from the original light novels. The adaptation seems to be better than the original, in this case. It's all fine if you consider it artistic license with the purpose of making the protagonist's side "the good guys" and his comrades badass.

It's like a darker, bloodier, more action-filled, but also more comprehensive and intelligent take on the same theme that Outbreak Company has at its heart: a clash of cultures when a gate to a fantasy world suddenly appears in Japan. In this case, though, they fight first and get to know each other afterwards. 4/5 stars, I'd say.

Edit: Oh, and music: Celldweller - Own Little World (Remorse Code & Blue Stahli remix) ( and other Blue Stahli works. Mostly because I just recently found Blue Stahli and like it a lot. This Celldweller remix suits most parts of the story well, though I also listened to many Blue Stahli originals. Scrape, for example, is awesome. The Destroyer of All Things is great for the really brutal battle scenes.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Haxton Fale on December 08, 2013, 07:17:27 pm
So I've kinda been asked to write a post about a rather unique manga, and it was about four months ago. But, well, better late than never, right?
by Aki Eda
( (
In an unspecified condo somewhere in Japan lives Oyamada Zenji, a bespectacled programmer whose brother is travelling around the world and sending various interesting (and most often bizarre) gifts. A few floors above lives Ozawa Michiyo, an OL in her twenties, who happens to meet Zenji on the day she broke up with her boyfriend. One thing led to another and they start hanging out together, along with Oyamada's childhood friend Shimamoto, a mahjong addict.
The story isn't very dynamic, far from it. It's a slow (but not too slow) and relaxed love story about two adults who by chance managed to find their soulmates in one another, who try to make it all work out, maybe a bit clumsily. There's no big drama, just a simple and soothing story, where almost nothing goes wrong.
This is a rather unique story. Many are likely to find it plain boring and uninteresting, but for me it was a welcome change - it was nice to see everything working out in the end, I was even under an impression that their problems were more real(istic?) than in many others... Aki Eda's drawing style is both a little rough and a bit cute, striking a near-perfect balance. Her other stories are very similar too - the volume of her original stories titled "Itou-san" and all the Touhou doujins released as the circle Rocket Fuel 21/Rocket Nenryou ★ 21 (warning: they are mainly gay).

I guess the post turned out a bit short, but there isn't really a lot to say about this manga. It's cute, lovely, mature, relaxed, predictable and finished, and I will gladly recommend it to about anyone, having given it 9 out of 10.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Hanover Fist on December 09, 2013, 11:14:10 am
First off, I like Gate a lot and think it excellent. It has the depth, action and intrigue that Outbreak Company - while fun and amusing - lacks.

I've also snarfed up Bonnouji in one swell foop. A cute story, sweet romance and silly little bits that had me laughing out loud: "Google-sensei" for one. So thank you for the post Haxton!

And now another manga - Biblia Koshodou no Jiken Techou by Mikami En and Nakano.

( (

I believe it began as a light novel ( series, made the jump to manga and was also adapted to a TV drama as well. While googling for a cover image, I also found figurines of the female lead. Anyway, this is a quiet little story, slow paced with armchair mysteries and a hint of (undeveloped so far) romance. A little over one volume has been scanlated of the three published to date, so I've only read four chapters. For a summary, I'll steal from quote the Baka updates page (

"Shinokawa Shioriko, a young owner of a bookstore in Kamakura, unravels mysteries of ancient books that are taken there. The story begins with a young man named Daisuke, who grew up practically without reading books due to a phobia, bringing the complete (and autographed) works of Natsume Soseki, Japanese writer of the Meiji era, inherited from his grandmother, to the mysterious bookstore. Will the shy and introvert Shioriko solve the mystery of the books?"

Another short post. I'm not sure what else to say except that I like it so far and give it a 4/5.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on December 11, 2013, 05:52:52 pm
Thanks, both of you. Bonnouji is indeed a good manga, if you appreciate the kind. The lack of any even moderately serious conflicts could be considered a problem, but it's a good read that always brings a smile on my face. I'd rate it 4/5 stars.

Now, let me present you an excellent manhwa I found a couple of days ago:

Noblesse by Son Je-Ho and Lee Gwang-Su

( (

I'm glad I didn't find Noblesse earlier. Or, well, start reading it. I honestly didn't expect much, but reading 307 chapters in 2-3 days (289 practically in one sitting, the rest the next day) was a memorable experience. It did take me a while to really get into it (about 2 out of the 5 long arcs that are currently complete), but it was good from the start.

Noblesse is one of those stories where it's difficult to pinpoint the real main character. Raizel, the mysterious, quiet, elegant, seemingly all-powerful vampire who wakes up from a coffin at the start of the story (apparently having slept the last 820 years) is clearly an option. He undeniably the heart of his group. However, he's a bit colourless for a protagonist. I don't mean he's a bad character: he has mystery, depth and plenty of interesting scenes. He's just too quiet, too powerful in battle, and hides his emotions too well to be an engaging main character.

Fortunately, the authors realise this. That's why, instead of flooding the story with his internal monologue, they choose to keep his mystery, rarely allowing us a peek inside his head. Instead, they divert attention to the other characters around him. Interesting, deep characters such as Raizel's servant, Frankenstein, an enemy agent who switches sides, M-21, and our main window to the antagonists' side, Dr. Crombell. Frankenstein in particular is no doubt one of my top favourite characters ever. By far the deepest and most multi-dimensional character in the story, he's badass as fuck in battle, has an incredibly interesting past, and he's of course cool-looking (as almost every single character in the story). I especially love it when his sadistic side surfaces, and when he taunts his opponents in battle.

The storytelling has its weaknesses. It's unfortunately repetitive with its jokes (doesn't mean they aren't funny most of the time) character introductions and kidnappings. I'm also not happy with how the story after the first couple of arcs breaks its balance between the light-hearted school life and all the epic stuff. I'm fine with the ordinary students always playing the helpless victim parts, but after the first couple of arcs they quickly started to lose their screentime. I feel like it's been ages since I last saw Shinwoo kicking some punk's ass. Nevertheless, it is an engaging, thematically rich story with an interesting plot and a lot of good characters.

At first, the battles are somewhat repetitive, with the ordinary students always getting in trouble and Raizel and Frankenstain always coming to the rescue and utterly curb stomping the arrogant enemies. Not that I don't enjoy over-powered protagonists and seeing arrogant, evil enemies getting their due, but too much is too much. Fortunately, the battles keep getting better and more characters join the group, providing more moderately powered good guys to battle the increasingly powerful enemies, who are eventually able to give Frankenstein and even Raizel a run for their money. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that the battles in the last three arcs are among the best I've ever seen. This'd make one hell of an action anime, I'm sure of it.

The comic is fully coloured, and I'd say that the art is very good. All character designs are individual and easy to differentiate. In the best tradition of manhwa, this story is filled with beautiful and elegant people, both men and women. Well, I never say no to eye-candy when it doesn't harm the story: there's little to no actual fanservice (which is actually a pity, Seira in particular is really hot). The action scenes are very well drawn, there's great motion and fluidity to the pictures, especially lately. Regarding the quality of backgrounds, I can't say great things about the BG art, but given that this is a fully coloured weekly webtoon and has decently long chapters, it's understandable that not a lot of attention can be paid on the backgrounds. At least there are rarely any white panels with just characters.

All in all, I'd definitely recommend this one to any friends of action and supernatural battles. This far outstrips the likes of Bleach and Naruto in terms of plot and depth, yet it still manages to provide at least as much action and entertainment. Edit: After some deliberation and a few new chapters, I decided that 4½ stars is just a little too generous. 4/5 stars.

Music: Blue Stahli mostly. Again, because I found it recently and don't really feel like listening to anything else. For battle scenes in particular, it fits well. Throw Away ( is good for moodier scenes, I'd even say it's a perfect fit as M-21's theme. I also listened to Position Music's Production Music Vol. 141 – Damned Anthem ( when the action got too heavy for the likes of The Destroyer of All Things (
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on January 19, 2014, 09:31:21 pm
This isn't really a manga or manhwa, but it's a special case that deserves all the fame I can spread.

Courtney Crumrin by Ted Naifeh


In my opinion, Courtney Crumrin is one of the greatest comic series ever created, East or West. Rarely have I read anything so full of wisdom and depth, and yet so utterly entertaining. It is one of the two best Western comics I've read, and they're both quite comparable to my top 5 manga and manhwa.

First of all, don't quit as soon as you open the first pages of the first issue. I know the art looks pretty bad, but trust me, not only does it get better, it actually fits the story perfectly and creates a very powerful mood. The comic is B&W at first, but the 10 last issues are in full colour. Just keep reading, and I can almost guarantee that you'll be intrigued by the end of the first issue and totally hooked by the end of the first series. Make sure you have ample time as you start reading, because you may end up devouring it all in one sitting. About a day should be enough.

Courtney is definitely one of the most badass little girls ever. She also has a lot of character, she's anything but bland. She's gloomy, yes, but she doesn't wallow in self-pity. She has a complex moral compass, she's highly empathetic yet capable of some rather terrible deeds. She's wise beyond her years, yet like any child, she makes mistakes all the time, and learns from them. She's relatively self-sufficient, yet finds herself relying on certain adults. A delightfully complex, likeable protagonist.

While Courtney is badass for a little girl, her great-uncle Aloysius, the second most important character in the series, is badass incarnate. He's the wise mentor for the inexperienced Courtney, her guide to the world of magic, witches and the night things. Also a complex character, he's a kind man whose unshakeable sense of duty and selflessness have forced him to make great sacrifices and commit terrible deeds. I can't help pitying him, while being totally in awe of him. Powerful, frighteningly so, yet not without moments of weakness. Wise, yet not without lapses in judgement.

The dialogue and storytelling are top-class. Like I said, you'll probably be hooked by the end of the first series, possibly much sooner. Apart from Malazan Book of the Fallen, which is radically longer, there isn't another work of literature which has provided me with so many awesome quotes to add to my collection.

The depth and wisdom in this story is just amazing. The story could be read, enjoyed and mostly understood by a 10-year-old, yet an adult could learn from it just as well. There are powerful moral lessons there, but they're not all straightfurward. There's a learning curve, contradictions, ambiguity, openness for interpretation... It's not preachy, it's all a part of the superbly entertaining story, but there's plenty of food for thought.

The world is wonderful, magical, full of secrets and things that work different from the human world. The faeries are interesting beings, inhuman in many ways, but with some important things in common with humans. The witches are interesting as well, with their place between the human and the faery world, and their troublesome politics.

The ending was suitably climatic. That is to say, an EPIC ending to an epic story. That last part, which I just read today, was more plot- and action-focused and less contemplative, which was a good choice. It was also a good ending to the entire series, the author had the good sense to stop at the high point instead of letting the story drag on, stagnate, and slowly lose its glory.

All in all, there are very few flaws I can think of. It could have given some of the antagonists, particularly the final one, more depth. The art has some weaknesses, particularly at the beginning, although it also has some significant strengths in its individuality and strong dramatisation. The flaws aren't serious enough to make me even consider anything but 5/5 stars.

Music: Courtney Crumrin has a unique atmosphere to it, and I don't think I ever found anything quite suitable. While reading the last series, I mostly listened to From the Heart by DWB feat. Fade. (
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on March 24, 2014, 06:14:17 am
So I started reading UQ Holder, the sequel to Negima, with a new cast (aside from Evangeline), that takes place some 80 years after Negima. That is fine with me in principle, it's not like I was particularly attached to the cast - the atmosphere, fights and plot were more interesting. Besides, Eva was pretty much my favourite character, and she's still here.

Akamatsu does some interesting things with magic in UQ holders, just like he did in Negima. And immortality as well, an element apparently very central to the story. Also, there are some societal dimensions to the story, interesting changes caused mainly by the revelation of magic to the public. The fights are still okay, although as of yet, nothing close to Negima's best fights. And finally, it is interesting to learn what eventually became of Negi and the rest of the cast from Negima.

However, everything else is just... meh. It feels like a bunch of shounen clichés slapped together, starting with the protagonist - an energetic, dumb kid with big dreams and ridiculous natural fighting talents. Pretty much a typical shounen protagonist (apart from the talent part), nowhere close as interesting as Negi. None of the other new characters so far are particularly interesting either, I keep comparing them to some Negima characters they resemble. Some of them have potential, though, we'll see.

Characters aside, the overall plot is still hazy, the story feels pretty aimless for now. Aside from some brief hints, I still have no idea what Akamatsu is planning for this story long-term - or, heck, even short-term. It's kind of rushed, he obviously wants to make Touta, the protagonist, strong quickly - what I don't understand is, why didn't he give the character a proper headstart, to shorten the trip? Sure, he has certain... advantages he either acquired in his (forgotten) past or at the very start, but still, his development is pretty ridiculous.

Anyway, the story feels rushed and aimless, which makes for an experience lacking in feeling, atmosphere and, well, common sense. I'm not sure this is worth reading, it's a huge disappointment to me, but I guess I'll give it a while longer, see if a plot surfaces in another 20 or so chapters.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on March 31, 2014, 07:33:17 am
Tora Kiss by Kamoshida Hajime and Tomato Mato

I don't need to write a long post to review this manga. It's enough to say that it's very similar to Trinity Seven (, and almost as good. It suffers from the same problems and benefits from the same strengths. It has a similar male lead (except lazier and lacking in ambition), similar humour and a similar harem setting. The girls are a a bit weaker, more reliant on the MC's strength, but quite cute, both in personality and appearance. The art is different, but almost as good. The plot is more interesting than you'd think based on the summary, but I feel it hasn't reached the good part yet, the manga is still just setting up, at 20 chapters. A superbly entertaining read, and I eagerly look forward to more. 4/5 stars.

Edit: Aaand it got axed. Gg, Japan. -_-'
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on April 03, 2014, 03:31:21 pm
Koharu no Hibi by Ooshiro Youkou

I've occasionally wondered, what kind of a romance it would be if a guy actually accepted a stalker yandere's feelings, and somehow worked out solutions to each of her psychotic episodes. Somehow making the relationship work. I actually considered writing one. Well, Koharu no Hibi effectively ended my contemplation about that subject. At times it's really creepy, at times it's really cute, but ultimately, it was a rewarding read. Something quite unique, something I hadn't read before. The male protag is not totally useless, and I must admit, for all her insanity, Koharu has some endearing character traits. As expected of a hentai mangaka (this one isn't hentai, though), the difficulty of things like an indirect kiss, or on ordinary kiss for that matter, aren't exaggerated. The sole exception being moving on to the first name basis - but that scene is so adorable and funny that I can't blame the author. In the end, this story is quite cute. 3/5 stars.

Music: I Feed You My Love ( by Margaret Berger... That title is so fitting. XD
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on April 05, 2014, 05:45:49 am
Monkey High by Akira Shouko

( (

Yesterday I randomly remembered this manga, which I years ago read up to where it was translated back then - around the 6th or 7th volume out of the total of 8. I remembered it was a good shoujo romance. Well, I remembered wrong. It is a fantastic shoujo romance.

Haruna, the protagonist, is the daughter of a politician who recently fell from grace, and as a result she had to change schools. She's smart, beautiful, and a bit of a cynic. She compares the rowdy bunch in her new school to a mountain monkey community. (The original name of the series is "Saruyama", which translates to "monkey mountain".) And the baby monkey, Masaru, aka. "Macharu", is the silliest of them all.

Yet it is his bright smile and straightforward kindness that so easily breaches the walls she has built around herself, and drags her along to their pace, as a member of the monkey community. Contrary to her expectations, she quickly begins to enjoy her new school life, and by the end of the first volume, the two are officially going out.

So the beginning advances relatively fast. After that, the pace slows down, and while it never feels like it completely stops, their relationship keeps developing for 7 more volumes, spanning over two years of their high school life. The result is one of the most complete, touching, emotionally fulfilling romances I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

There is just the right amount of drama. I've never been a fan of heavy drama, but at the same time, too light makes the romance lose emotional impact. Perhaps with the exception of my all-time favourite romance, Maison Ikkoku, Monkey High is the manga that most perfectly maintains that precarious balance. Some of the conflicts come from external sources, most notably from Macharu's best friend, the bishie Atsuyuki, and Haruna's disapproving father. A more or less equal amount of conflicts stem from the couple's own inner insecurities and growth pains.

Comedy is always a matter of taste, but I found Monkey High mostly quite a hilarious read. Much like in Maison Ikkoku, a big part of a the humour comes from their friends teasing the couple. It's also quite amusing how the comparison of Macharu to a little monkey stays in the series as a constant source of friendly jokes. Made all the more funny by the constant reminders that it was this childish baby monkey who scored the hot girlfriend.

Central characters are definitely one of the strongest points in this story. As a shoujo lead, the sensible Haruna is at the very top of my list, along with Misaki from Kaichou wa Maid-sama. Macharu is a weird one for a shoujo male lead as well, as he's the hot guy's silly friend, who'd normally be the supporting character. Atsu, the aforementioned hot guy, is easily understood and occasionally not very likeable, but nevertheless not a simple character. Besides a romance, Monkey High is also a coming-of-age story: in falling in love and growing up, each of these characters gains a significant amount of very realistic character development. Everyone else, however... get zero character deepening. Which, in my view, is the most serious flaw in this story.

The art is a bit amateurish at first... it develops a moderate amount during the course of the series. There is one thing, however, where this mangaka absolutely excels as an artist, from the start: atmosphere. There are beautiful, touching scenes in practically every chapter (far more than in any other manga I've read - perhaps too many, resulting in weakened impact), made so much more so by the beautiful art (and fitting music). She might be even better with those than Akamatsu Ken, whose atmospheric panels in Love Hina have so far been unrivalled in my mind.

Usually, as a male, it is difficult to identify with a female protagonist, so shoujo romances are naturally somewhat dulled in their emotional impact. In this case, I believe the fact that the author frequently let the reader inside her heroine's thoughts and made her so relatable to anyone who's once been a teenager in love, may have helped. And Macharu is quite a likeable and relatable character as well. But, ultimately, it's just such a good romance, and the touching scenes are so well drawn and narrated.

I believe I have a new addition to my previously Holy Duality of romances, Maison Ikkoku and Love Hina. Now it's the Holy Trinity. I spent some 15-20 minutes crying after finishing the manga, before I started writing this review. However, like all of these three manga, Monkey High as well has a serious weakness that drops it to 4.5 stars - that being the lack of love for the supporting characters.

Music: Okuda Miwako - Shizuku ( Occasionally the effect of its beauty weakened due to looping it for too long (I did marathon the whole manga in one night), so I had to switch to Makino Yui - Yuo Are My Love (, but Shizuku is definitely the most fitting song I could find.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Fuzzy Bear on May 25, 2014, 09:37:14 pm
Hello there, I saw you once translating this work and I wanted to ask if there will be more of this artist translated in the future?
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on June 02, 2014, 12:22:27 am
So far, there haven't been other Tohgarashi Hideyu works that have raised my interest sufficiently, but who knows, maybe some day. I'm currently working on a Kamiya Zuzu manga - slowly.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on November 12, 2014, 03:20:42 pm
It's been a while since my last entry. It's not like I haven't been reading manga, I've just been too lazy to write reviews...

World Trigger by Ashihara Daisuke

( (

I have to say, the first episode of the anime is rather underwhelming, I considered dropping it right there. However, I continued. After 5 eps, it's still an unimpressive beginning, but it has started to show some promise. I'm not sure what it was, maybe it was just Yuuma's character with his unusual thought patterns, but I was intrigued enough to check out the manga. Can't say I regret it.

The setup is pretty clichéd for a shounen manga: an organisation of superpowered people protect the Earth from otherworldly intruders. It's supposedly scifi, the powers they use are not magic, but advanced technology stolen from the invaders, but in effect it's almost indistinguishable from magic. The setup is probably the weakest point of this manga, but once you get over it, there's a decent story underneath. Not plot-wise, the plot so far is as simple and straightforward as they get, and shrouding the enemies' motivations in mystery isn't anywhere near enough to change that fact. But, sometimes simple and straightforward is enough, particularly in a shounen battle manga.

The MC, Osamu, is your usual heroic goody-two-shoes shounen MC who can't leave anyone in trouble, even if he clearly understands he's putting his life in considerable risk by helping them. There's just one thing: he's pretty normal. And I mean that: he's actually within normal parameters when it comes to power or brain. No hidden talents, no genius tactical thinking, just a mediocre ability to use the alien technology, a decent head on his shoulders, and a protective instinct so strong it frequently leads him to downright reckless actions. Surprisingly, the manga actually makes it work. He's not as boring as he seems at first, nor is he by any means useless, despite having to be frequently saved by his far stronger friends. His circumstances remind me a little of Mx0, as he has unintentionally gathered quite a reputation just by being in the right/wrong place in the right/wrong time and associating with far more powerful characters, and he's often misunderstood to be stronger than he is.

The other MC, Yuuma, is far more interesting at the start. His foreign way of thinking and unfamiliarity with our world's ways makes for quite interesting dialogue with the "normal" Osamu, right from the beginning. Later on, the roots of his foreign thought pattern are explored, and he's also influenced by Osamu, so the intrigue I felt at first is more or less gone now, but he's still a fairly good character overall.

There are a LOT of supporting characters, some of them pretty interesting and possessing considerable potential, but amidst all the action, not many of them have yet had much character development. Still, the cast is lively and diverse, as good as you can expect from a shounen battle manga.

The action gets a lot better after a while. There is logic and diversity in abilities, and the battles get much more exciting and intelligent, quite comparable to some of the better shounen battle manga I've read. Right now, that might be the greatest strength of this manga, keeping my interest alive and well.

I was at first put off by some aspects of the art... namely, the character designs of some of the younger cast... namely, Yuuma and Chika (who'll be properly introduced in the next ep of the anime). Well, I got over it. Overall, the art is quite decent for a shounen battle manga: the action is well done and most of the numerous characters are easy to differentiate by looks.

In conclusion, World Trigger still isn't good enough that I'd go out of my way to recommend it, but I have to say I personally enjoyed it quite a bit. It's nothing amazing, but if you feel like reading a shounen battle manga, here's a decent candidate with slightly better MC than I'm used to seeing in this genre. 3.5 stars.

Music: Anything that goes well with action, really. Usually something heavier rather than lighter, but the tone isn't ultra-dark or anything, so I tried to find the middle road.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on December 14, 2014, 11:59:11 pm
Yasashii Sekai no Tsukurikata by Takeba Kumiko

( (
20 ch read.

A young genius is recruited to teach in an all-girls high school. The premise sounds a lot like Denpa Kyoushi. However, the truth is that these two manga have very little in common. Not to say that Denpa Kyoushi isn't good, I found it very entertaining up to where I've read it (ch 46), but I've got to say that Yasashii Sekai completely outclasses it in depth. This is far more realistic, focuses on a smaller cast of very well developed characters, and focuses a fair bit more on romances.

The male lead isn't as good as I had hoped, in terms of likability, but since he has actual depth and dimension, I suppose I shouldn't judge him by the same standards I use on regular harem leads. I suppose, genius or not, he's still only 19 and inexperienced in life, so let's allow him a bit of naïvete and thickheadedness.

The female lead's complexity consists mostly of the discrepancy between her "gal" outer appearance, and her extremely innocent personality. TBH, I think she's among the weaker character in the cast, depth-wise. Which still makes her far deeper than your average romance female lead. Likeable, and kawaii as fuck, too. And maybe the author is saving her arc for the last.

Alone, these two wouldn't carry the manga very well. They could, but not well. Fortunately, the author gives a lot of attention to secondary characters, giving some of them their very own plot threads. The female lead's three friends and two other teachers, as well as some even less prominent characters, are all well defined characters with their own problems, given some development and sometimes romances of their own. Truly, supporting characters are a strong point in this manga.

Another strong point is the art. Even not looking at the author's name (assuming it's not a pen name), I'd guess that she's is female, from the art style, but she sure draws some hot girls, too, even some classy fanservice (which is fairly rare, though). From the start, the art style was top quality, even though this appears to be the mangaka's first series. Overall, very pleasant to the eye, with some attractive characters to ogle at, whether you like guys or girls.

Just like the art, the content of the manga is pretty gender-neutral. By that I mean it contains elements that pander to both genders - and it actually works, maintaining a pretty good balance. I'm not sure if this is serialised in a seinen or josei magazine, but it would fit equally well in both. Due to some mature themes, there's little chance it's shounen or shoujo.

So, as I was saying, I expected a harem, with some Denpa Kyoushi -like elements: the teacher MC helping students resolve their problems with his out-of-the-box thinking, having them fall for him in gratitude. Boy, was I wrong. Sure, the teacher does occasionally help his students with their issues, and one student definitely fell for him for it - but only one. The rest of the students pretty much resolve their issues amongst each other, occasionally with the help of other teachers or outsiders. Although there's a simple romance at the heart of the story, this turned out to be a surprisingly deep and complex story. Woven around that romance, there is a multitude of realistic, painful issues that various characters will have to resolve in order to move forward with their lives. Nothing super heavy, but serious enough to put this manga at least a peg or two above most romance manga I've read, in terms of depth.

Apart from the awkward start (with some stupid misunderstandings that almost made me give up after only 2 chapters), this feels very much like a story written by a professional with clear goals where the story is heading. The author has excellent control over her plot threads, and I get the feeling that this is one story which won't be dragged on beyond its natural lifespan. The dialogue is good: sufficiently entertaining, and carries the story onward at a deliberately controlled pace, neither too slow nor too fast. The drama so far has maintained precarious balance between touching and frustrating. In a story like this, there is alaways a danger of too much melodrama, but so far the author has avoided it, so I'm quite hopeful regarding the last (probably 2) volumes.

In conclusion, this is a manga I could recommend to anyone with a taste for good, serious but not overdone drama, and some sweet romance. I'll give this 4/5 stars, dropping half a star each for the not quite good enough mains and the weak beginning. Might raise it to 4.5 later, if the rest of the manga keeps being great.

Music: Marija Serifovic - Molitva
A beautiful song, won ESC 2007 completely deservedly.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Hanover Fist on December 29, 2014, 10:16:08 am
Yandere Kanojo by Shinobi

( (

Online version (
Joker magazine version (

I found this on the same scanlator site where I was snarfing up Krozam's latest recommendation above. The first point to note is that the "Yandere" here is an unusual abbreviation of yankee dere, so the main character is a lovey Yankee/delinquent rather than the usual meaning of an insane person in love. The manga is a romantic comedy about the delinquent girl that gets struck with love at first sight with a boring studious guy. Her feelings are quickly returned, but she wants to keep the relationship a secret to preserve her tough delinquent reputation. Cue the comedy.

The manga is released with different chapters in two places, online and the magazine Joker. The cast and continuity are the same in both, but the chapters focus on different scenes of the overall narrative. So it's double the fun each month. It may be best to alternate between the two sources arc by arc rather than snarfing up one completely then starting the other, but that's just me though. So far there are 56 chapters scanlated of the Joker magazine releases and 69 of the online chapters. They are all together on Batoto ( if you prefer reading online.

Yandere Kanojo's art isn't that great, but the humor more than makes up for it. It uses many cliche elements but still manages to get me to laugh out loud nearly every chapter (although sometimes that's from the scanlator's comments on the credits page). There is a gradually expanding cast and the story delves into their backstories at a good pace to keep the comedy flowing, while still providing some plot and heartwarming moments. Then around chapter 55 (online) things got all serious, but we're back to the goofiness now at c69.

It's not amazing, but I think it's certainly worth the time for a good laugh with occasional drama flurries. Call it between 3.5 to 4 out of 5.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Irie Naoki on January 17, 2015, 03:20:44 am
Before I start I just want to say that I have absolutely no previous experience in "critiquing" mangas so take this as you please.

Victorian Romance Emma by Kaoru Mori.


What I absolutely love about this manga is the setting; the era of Victorian England. The story is about the forbidden love between our two main protagonists: a wealthy merchant and a low class maid.

William Jones, our male protagonist, is the eldest son of the "House of Jones," a very wealthy merchant middle class family trying to rise through society and make a name for themselves. With William being his father's heir, he shoulders a tremendous amount of stress not only to take over the family business but to also marry a girl from another wealthy family and take on a prestigious image in the high class society.

Emma, our female protagonist, is originally from a poor seaside Yorkshire village. She works as a maid for Mrs. Stowner, a private tutor for middle class children, who educates Emma in reading, writing, and a variety of other subjects.

It is your rather ordinary run-of-the-mill forbidden love between two very different people of two very different standings in society. What I do like about this manga are the characters and the settings. All of the characters introduced in this manga are all really interesting and enjoyable. There was the possibility that a love triangle would form but it thankfully never did. I found no dislike for (almost) any of the characters as I found it so fun to see the interactions between all of the characters. This excludes a couple of the kids which were, in a couple of cases, annoying.

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But I feel like the strongest points of this manga are the art, which is absolutely gorgeous as shown in the image above, and the setting. When I read the manga, I felt like I was in Victorian London. I was so immersed into this place that I, many times, wished I could be there myself to see it with my own eyes. The manga has the tendency to exaggerate a lot on what they are about but it never got to the point that it broke the immersion. I never felt like I was reading a book about Victorian London; I felt like I was in Victorian London, that I was right there in the middle of the streets.

I honestly love this manga and I'd recommend anyone to read it. It's not just about romance but a true Victorian story of love and more. The amount of detail and dedication Kaori put into this manga really does show. By the end of the last panel, I really didn't want to say goodbye to William and Emma. For me this was definitely a 5/5

Now this is my first time doing this so please let me know of any grammar or spelling errors.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on January 17, 2015, 10:26:57 pm
I read Emma several years ago, and it was indeed an enjoyable read. IIRC, I pretty much marathoned the whole thing in one sitting. I don't remember it well enough to rate it (I didn't rate the stuff I read back then, and even if I had, the scale would have shifted since then), but it was good enough to warrant a recommendation. Not a "must read" level recommendation, though.

I've also checked out Yandere Kanojo earlier. I'm not a fan of 4-koma manga (omake are fine, but I find that sort of storytelling far from ideal as the main form of storytelling in a longer story), and I've stalled it indefinitely, but I suppose I found it moderately enjoyable. Recommendable to people who like that sort of thing.
Title: Re: Krozam's Manga Diary
Post by: Krozam on June 03, 2015, 03:17:52 am
I just marathoned a manga called Chocolat (by Kubonouchi Eisaku). A night well spent. The first couple of volumes are so-so, but then it gets pretty good. The epilogue chapter is very nice, almost had me tear up. Almost. It's too bad the author didn't quite have what it takes to squeeze the best out of the concept and the characters. Art-wise, the dramatisation is good, but writing-wise, it's a bit lacking, IMO. While I wouldn't really call it a "great" manga, it's still a good one, well worth reading. 3.5/5 stars.