Books

Wrap Up | Manga Madness Readathon (Round 4)

You guys…I read…22 volumes of manga.

Okay! No one yell at me but I kinda cheated by extending this readathon for myself to Wednesday -3 days over- ’cause I wanted to start posting my anime/manga content on Wednesdays buuuut other things pilled up and now here we are in December…better late than never! 😅 Still, I was glad I got through almost all of my TBR choices for this round, a different Manga Readathon I did earlier this year in June, I had only gotten through 5 volumes. That’s quite a leap in quantity I’m proud to say. However, I added a sprinkling of anime to that mix, which is always fun – no anime this time around but I did discover a few amazing stories!

Into the pile, we go!

📚

Beauty and the Beast – Special 2-in-1 Edition (via Amazon)

You may or may not know but I LOVED the 2017 live-action adaptation of BATB -read my fangirlings about it here if you wish- but what I adored even more than the film was the stunning new merch to come of it, including the books! I own a copy of Belle’s Library and it really is a beauty, reading it some nights before bed. While not expatiating much from the film’s story beats, this pair of manga does offer charming bits of internal dialogue from the dueling perspectives of the best relationship to ever grace the world of fiction. There was a great amount of care taken to include the lush rococo style into the backgrounds and adapting each character’s physique to suit the art style. Loved these and wish I owned a pair!

Rating: 5/5 red roses
🌹

Yona of the Dawn, Vol. 5 by Mizuho Kusanagi (via Amazon)

I have a different series going in depth with this particular manga -here- called Anime Wednesdays where I align the manga volumes and anime episodes of a series, it’s my first series so please be gracious. With this first set, I’m most anticipating when I get to the final volume where the anime cuts off and can finally see what happened after that beautiful tease of a cliffhanger the anime tragically had to leave on. I discovered Yona through the anime, it was canceled after 2 seasons while the manga is still currently running. The story beats are the same so far, only a few minor shifts, and this volume isn’t the one to cut off yet so, for now, it’s just a review of the anime, but it’s a lot of fun! I had to stop reading Yona for a bit when other things came up but it felt really good to get back to reading Yona again, hopefully, I’ll be finishing my Anime Wednesdays soon.

Rating: 5/5 cherry blossoms

🌸

The Water Dragons Bride by Rei Toma (via Amazon)

My first new series of the stack and oh my, was I hooked! Upon moving into her new house, a little girl named Asahi fall into a puddle and in a twinkling of bubbles, she comes up to a new world where she is sacrificed to the Water Dragon for good fortune. Her new friend Subaru tries to save her but this is her test of survival. The Water Dragon is much the apathetic creature, to an intriguing level. This would make a wonderful anime! The pastel, watercolor (how appropriate 🐟) cover art was enough for me to fall in love, I’m excited to read the rest as it comes out.

Rating: 5/5 water drops
🐟

Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle by CLAMP (via Amazon)

“Sakura is the princess of Clow – and possessor of a mysterious, misunderstood power that promises to change the world. Syaoran is her childhood friend and leader of the archaeological dig that took his father’s life. They reside in an alternate reality…where whatever you least expect can happen – and does. When Sakura ventures to the dig site to declare her love for Syaoran, a puzzling symbol is uncovered – which triggers a remarkable quest. Now Syaoran embarks upon a desperate journey through other worlds – all in the name of saving Sakura.” (via Goodreads)

This is very much an “episodic” series, meaning new book = new world/dimension, and there is a secret plotline unfolding behind the main one but the most fun is in getting little snippets of each new world with the excitement and mystery of how they’re going to find the next feather there. As usual, the artwork the team has done for this manga series is wonderful, full of clear-lined dramatic darkness and subtle writing – towards the reveal of the secret, which I already know since I’m pretty sure it happened in the anime OVAs but there could be another one…I don’t know yet. 😉

Rating: 5/5 fires cause this story is fierce and I will follow it to the end!
🔥

V. B. Rose by Banri Hidaka (via Amazon)

“Ageha gets the job of a lifetime – making her sister’s wedding dress. Ageha loves making handbags and other accessories, so when one of her sister’s dressmakers hurts his hand she jumps right in to help! And thus begins Ageha’s adventures at the fashionable Velvet Blue Rose.” (via Goodreads)

I remember picking this up from donations purely based on the beautiful gold, symmetrical cover design, oldest one in my very stumped collection of manga, from 2004 – which the art style is evident of and the story so far is cute enough. I don’t think I’ll start collecting it (which would be hard anyway considering the final volume never got a translation) but I would like to see where it goes.

Rating: 3/5 wedding bells
🔔

Happy Happy Clover by Sayuri Tatsuyama via Amazon

Clover is a brave bunny, I love her spunk, she’s adorable! These are a bunch of short stories about the woodland creatures of Cresent Forest, very slice-of-life and adorable! I might continue this with the anime though. It’s cute in the same way a picture of a puppy is cute but actually watching them do the cute things is even better! 😊

Rating: 4/5 ripe strawberries
🍃

The Earl and The Fairy (via Amazon)

“Lydia Carlton is a fairy doctor, one of the few people with the ability to see the magical creatures who share our world. During one of her rare trips to London to visit her father, Lydia’s quiet life is suddenly transformed when she is rescued from kidnappers by a mysterious young man! Edgar Ashenbert claims to be descended from the human ruler of the fairy kingdom, and he urgently needs Lydia’s help to find and claim his birthright, the legendary sword of the Blue Knight Earl. Things will never be the same for Lydia as she is pulled into a dangerous quest against dark forces!” (via Goodreads) 

I had watched the subbed anime a while back and all I remember is that the ending was disappointing. (Spoiler, like they ended up together but they didn’t even end on a kiss so big letdown after watching 12 episodes of build-up…but on the other hand, I wasn’t feeling connected to the characters all that much with the sub.) Oh well, the manga is alot more intense than I remember! Oh boy – deeply mysterious, lots of suspicions, and some low-key manipulation from the male lead, the Earl? I love how much fun lore is packed into the story and Lydia is admirably confident in her beliefs as a fairy doctor…so we’ll see!

Rating: 3/5 fairies

Astra Lost in Space, Vol. 1 by Kenta Shinohara (via Amazon)

“It’s the first day of Planet Camp, and Aries Spring couldn’t be more excited! She, along with eight other strangers, leave for Planet McPa for a weeklong excursion. Soon after they arrive, however, a mysterious orb appears and transports them into the depths of space, where they find an empty floating spaceship…” (via Goodreads)

Well, I found a bad apple. Ugh, this was an exposition scrap-heap. The dialogue is clunky and repetitive, there’s a sprinkling of meta-humor about all their characters types but it doesn’t help them be charming by any means – and it was just sooooo boring, I skimmed the last 20 or so pages just to finish this one and move on. No thank you, Astra, you can stay 5,012 light-years away from me.

Rating: 1/5 Comets 👎🏻

One Week Friends, Vol. 1 by Matcha Hazuki via Amazon

“Yuuki Hase desperately wants to be friends with Kaori Fujimiya, the girl in class who seems to always be alone. Just when he thinks they’ve hit it off, she tells him her secret: Every week, her memories reset. Yuuki resolves to befriend her as many times as it takes but is he prepared for how much it will hurt to be one-week friends…?” (via Goodreads)

I bought this volume while on a trip to visit my brother a few months ago at a B&N, drawn to the unusual size, thinner than a typical manga and the art style was interesting. Uniquely soft and well-lined, the story is sweet and wholesome, I’m excited to collect the rest of the series.

Rating: 4/5 bento box lunches
🍜

A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima (via Amazon)

“Shoya is a bully. When Shoko, a girl who can’t hear, enters his elementary school class, she becomes their favorite target, and Shoya and his friends goad each other into devising new tortures for her. But the children’s cruelty goes too far. Shoko is forced to leave the school, and Shoya ends up shouldering all the blame. Six years later, the two meet again. Can Shoya make up for his past mistakes, or is it too late?” (via Goodreads)

With the anime movie unavailable to buy in the US, I spied the first three volumes of this at work on Saturday and thought why not? I didn’t know the plot very well other than Shoja being a bully and wow, is this story amazing! The art style is immensely detailed, almost to a horrific level for me but it’s a very fresh and beautiful story. It’s not at all as light-hearted as most shoujo try to be even with this type of subject material, it’s raw and real and deep in it’s writing. Some reviews I’ve read said they couldn’t get into liking the characters as nice as the story is – I went into this not expecting myself to because that isn’t the point – especially in the first volume, everyone is a jerk and Shoko is mostly a blank sheet at that point since you’re following Shoya’s perspective. Vol. 2 and 3 get alot better. Shoya’s phycological growth through being the bully to becoming the bullied to being completely shunned by his friends and other classmates is very intriguing and seeing how he tries to better himself and discover the types of people he wants to surround himself with is a feat I hope other former bullies take to heart as well. Others say that this is their first manga ever and I’m so happy it’s this important story!

Rating: 5/5 filled notebooks
🖊️

Manga Classics: Jane Eyre (via Amazon)

“As an orphaned child, Jane Eyre is first cruelly abused by her aunt, then cast out and sent to a charity school. Though she meets with further abuse, she receives an education and eventually takes a job as a governess at the estate of Edward Rochester. Jane and Rochester begin to bond, but his dark moods trouble her. When Jane uncovers the terrible secret Rochester has been hiding, she flees and finds temporary refuge at the home of St. John Rivers. Charlotte Bronte’s classic tale of morality and social criticism takes on an entirely new life in this Manga Classic adaptation of Jane Eyre.” (via Goodreads)

The only other adaptions I’ve seen of this piece is the 2011 film with Mia Wasikowska & Michael Fassbender – beautiful and well-acted – and 2000 Musical by Paul Gordon & John Caird, of which I never saw, but the soundtrack was great. I’ve never read the story in book format, and I felt the story is a tad dated on the prospects of an 18-year-old falling in love with a 40-year-old man….but the love story is very sweet in thinking of dear Mister Rochester as a young soul trapped in an older body when so many responsibilities of his family were thrown at him and he’s just been stewing in that for years until a new type of eyre began to fill his lungs, age is just a number yadda yadda…and Jane is still the passionate heroine in her own right to be admired for her candid nature of speech. She’s a confident young woman who just wants love in her life and it’s the tale of how she achieved it. The manga style is fitting and there are a bunch of notes on character designs and historian context for adapting it that are a fun bonus to read. I still love the tale of Jane Eyre. 🙂

Rating: 4/5 wedding rings

Here’s the end result of my bingo card for this round. never made a full bingo so I didn’t win but it was fun!

Twitter: @MMReadathon

How has your December been so far? Have you ever read Manga before?
Let’s chat over Twitter!

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