Manga Monday: Latest Reads (April 5th-April 24th)

Okay, really, all of these are from this weekend, because new manga shipment from RightStuf arrived!  Yay!   And as I needed a mental break, most of Saturday was spent snuggled on the sofa reading.

Note: quite a few of these are later volumes, but as always, I’ve tried to avoid major spoilers 🙂

A Silent Voice, Volume 6

ASilentVoice6The penultimate volume of the series and a much anticipated one considering how volume 5 ends!  I liked how those events twisted and that this is the first volume where we truly see the world from Shoko’s point of view, as well as getting a bit more insight into the true feelings and thoughts of a lot of the characters Shoya has interacted with, his “friends”, so to speak.  

How they all react the events in the beginning are part of what is the real strength of this series: it’s brutally honest look at how we can be incredibly selfish and self-absorbed, but how we also have the capacity to “waking up” and seeing how much we have and are affecting others, much less hurting them.

Suffice to say, the last volume is on preorder!

My Little Monster, Volume 12-13

MyLittleMonster12These make up the final two volumes of My Little Monster, so I’m not going to talk a ton about them as I’ll be doing a full series review later.  I will say, however, that I found them a bit disappointing. Twelve does have some nice relationship wrap up for couple Shizuku and Haru, but it also has an entire chapter that’s nothing but a confusing montage of images, with no internal or external dialog at all.

Thirteen adds some nice “after the end” type stories for some of the side characters, but it also leaves a huge gap for some of the others which left me wondering why when a good chunk of the extra pages of this thick volume is just random “fan” stuff, including character summaries that are purely intro without even adding that final bit of “and afterwords they went on to become…” type things you would expect for an end of the series “introduction.  

Say I Love You., Volume 11-12

SayILoveYou11I was mildly surprised when these two volumes introduced a pair of characters, twins even, who I presumed would immediately begin to cause some potential issues for our main duo, Mei and Yamato.  Fortunately, I was only half right, and so far, the story has continued its less traditional manner of having things be more about friendship and coming together versus “OMG, everyone falls in love with the main characters and is jealous and evil yeah”.  It was a great reminder of why I enjoy this series so  much.

This volume also brings all of most of the characters to the start of their 3rd year of high school, which means the familiar issue of the “career survey”, where the students are expected to list college preferences and career plans for advising.  Both Mei and Yamato are uncertain in this regard, and it makes for some great, realistic exploration of their relationship.  Bonus points for more on Megumi, who is such a complex girl, as she deals with struggles of her own as her goals and desires seem to be getting stymied by limitations she hadn’t expected.

Noragami: Stray Stories

NoragamiStrayStoriesThis was a separate series that was set up to run alongside Noragami: Stray God, with extra, mostly comedic, stories of the series characters.  Apparently it was discontinued and likely won’t be more than one volume, which I’m ambivalent about.  I mean, these sorts of stories are not uncommon for manga series, though having them as a separate “series” was a bit odd.

Overall, the seven stories were a very mixed bag.  Some were purely silly, almost stupid, while others provided little insights into how the world of the gods and shiki work, which make for a nice touch.  The first story, “A Story of a Fallen Man” was familiar as it was included in the first season of the anime.  It and “A Story of the Other Side of the Screen” were the strongest ones to me.  Overall it was a light read, which is a nice balance from the darkness of the series, but I can also see why it was cancelled.

Orange: The Complete Collection, Volume 1

Orange1This hefty volume includes three volumes of the Orange manga series by Ichigo Takano in a single omnibus.  Hailed as a sci-fi romance, the story focuses on Naho and her friends as they start their second year of high school.  That morning, Naho receives a letter from herself from ten years in the future, asking her to save Kakeru, the new boy coming to their school.

This is another one I won’t go into two much detail yet as I’ll do a full review later.  For the quick reaction, though, I quite enjoyed it and wished the second volume (and final) omnibus volume was already available.  It’s well-paced and nicely-drawn, and the story has an intriguing concept with nice twists.  It feels soft and gentle and yet packs an emotional punch at just the right places.

Yeah, second half also on pre-order!