Yokai Manga

I have read so many manga lately, and barely talked about any of them (which is such a shame because I am afraid I won’t remember most of them), Anyways I am starting with these because I am continuing to read them and thus remember the story line.


Reimei and TobariAke no Tobari by Momo Chidori

This is a web-comic (fully colored) that follows the story of Tobari, a fox demon that dreams of creating a word where humans and demons can coexist. He loves humans, especially after meeting a young girl and befriending her (but she dies of old age once he comes back to the town she lives in). He befriends the town’s local priest Reimei. Tobari becomes Yokai Leader of the Shinonome Mountains, and together with Reimei starts to work towards the dream of creating paradise for all. The characters are lovable, and the art is wonderful. I am really enjoying the story so far. Tobari and Reimei find themselves facing opposition from both yokai/demons and human beings, but slowly bring both together through handwork and friendship. But seriously, look at how cute they are (left is Reimei and right is Tobari).

4be39f06df7959a4e03e32f18db92f58Kanojo wa Rokurokubi by Nieki Zui

Another really cute, almost slice of life romance manga. This story focuses on Kanoi Natsuki, a rokurokubi (demon girl whose neck becomes long when they fall asleep) who has a crush on her childhood friend (who is perfectly human). This world seems to also have a mix between humans and demons, only in this case it is almost normal and set in the modern era. The story is pretty light and very silly and funny at times. I love Natsuki’s friends who are both demon girls (though you only find that out as the story progresses). I also really enjoy learning about different less known mythical beings. The drawing style is cute and very round looking. The characters are not the delicate looking kind found in most shoujo, but it is still very cute. So far, I am on chapter 18 and the love story still has not really kicked in (it has been a little prevalent in the last 2 chapters, but not really), so I am not to sure if this is a romance. Either way, it is a really enjoyable story and also one of the few manga from the spring that I have continued.

mokkeMokke by Kumakura Takatoshi

Last but not least, we have this story which focuses on two sisters who live with there grandfather. Shizuru is the older sister (in junior high) who can see monsters that other people cannot see. Her younger sister Mizuki, on the other hand, cannot see the monsters, but is easily haunted by them. Each chapter focuses on a little episode of them dealing with monsters that either haunt Mizuki or other people. In many cases, Shizuru wants to help others, but her grandfather (who also deals with monsters) use his wisdom to guide them and keep them from getting involved with the supernatural and divine. One of my favorite chapters really took me by surprise with how serious it was and almost existential in a way. I really like this one, because it is like a slice of life mixed with mythology, and yet it adds some deeper stories inside too. I highly suggest it.

-Blog Barista

Cute New Favorites- Romance Edition

I love reading romances and I love stories about sweet, innocent, and more realistic love. I went through so many romance manga in the last week, many you will see in another post, but two of them really caught my eye and ended up becoming brand new favorites of mine.


stand upStand up by Yamakawa Aiji

Furuya Utako is the main character of this manga. She is a very tall (5 ft 6 in) high schooler with big ears, who is shy and reserved, because of past child teasing. She slowly starts to befriend Harada Naoyuki, a good natured and extrovert boy who sits next to her and who wants to be her friend. The story basically follows their relationship as they befriend each other and start to like each other more.

I loved the drawing style so much, its unique to the manga but still very cute. I also loved the character. Its hard to make a realistic love story still be different then other stories, and its hard to make realistic characters who don’t fall flat. Personally this one succeeded in both accounts, and for that reason, I find this an interesting manga. The boy character, who is supposed to be your average everyday popular kid, comes off more as an extroverted and likable character. Even his friends don’t stand out as weird or bizarre as characters in manga tend to do. And how often do you get a main character girl who looks more like a little monkey, with her ears and long limbs, and not the perfect cute girl. I really loved it and plan to continue reading this one.

StellaFlowerStella to Mille Feuille by Watanabe Kana

Another fantastic manga. This love story focuses on Ginga, a freshman in high school who feels that his past was heavy and traumatic, but learns that even though he may have had problems with his controlling father, his life was not all that bad. When he moves out to go to high school, he meets his new neighbors including an older (I think she is 23 years old) woman and her young (7 year old) niece. Her strong and hardworking personality helps him learn to make friends and he slowly falls in love with her.

I liked this love story. Its hard to find manga where there is a heroine in her 20s, mostly one that falls in love with a younger man. I am still not a fan of high schoolers and adults being together, but its ok as long as you don’t think to much about it. The art is pretty, but not extraordinarily different. I love the character personalities (though I can see some of them being slightly annoying, like the one girl who is in love with her sister’s boyfriend), but outside of that I loved the manga and plan to continue reading this.

-Blog Barista

Tetsugaku Letra by Mizu Sahara

tetraToday, is the first day of my Spring Break. Actually it starts in about 20 minutes. Right now I am in class as we compare sexuality in Ancient Greek religion and Taoist religion (and whether or not they contrast in ethical substance). Anyways, yesterday I read a few manga that I really enjoyed, and I feel that I need to have individual posts for each of the really good ones. This particular manga is one of my absolute favorites (I would love to own them in English, but I am not sure if it has officially come out in English).

Letra1Plot:

The story is about Ichinose Kimitaka. He is a first year high school student, who feels a little lost (he hates himself a lot). In middle school, he taught his friends how to play basketball and found his friends were getting more skilled (as he fell behind). He was frustrated and jealous and overheard his friends saying that they wished he would suicide. From then on, he blamed himself and his feelings of jealousy as having ‘polluted’ his life.

Upset, Kimitaka went to the bridge to throw away his red basketball shoes (in frustration), but meets a tall girl throwing away her dance shoes. He learns that because of her height (and large appendages, feet, and hands), she cannot become a flamenco dancer like she dreams of doing. She too feels frustrated and a sort of self hatred. Kimitaka trades shoes with her and tells her to try basketball out (since her size would help her).

As he enters high school, Kimitaka discovers that the girl’s life changed so much because of their meeting, and he suddenly realizes that he was the one that let his own life become sad and stagnant. Now he wants to go after his own dreams, and show to the girl how much his life changed.

Characters:

The main character is Kimitaka. He is, like many of the young characters, just a man in his new found youth struggling within himself and socializing with others. Personally, he seemed a little pessimistic, but was still empathetic person. Like most shonen tend to be, Kimitaka is just in need of a push to reach for some goal, and in this case its through some soul searching that he realizes on his own accord that he needed to change. He ends up helping the other characters that become his friends. I really liked him. He seemed pretty normal, not ridiculously talented or extremely strong willed or even unrealistically happy.

Kimitaka meets lots of characters, but the most important would have to be his two new friends and the young girl. Ichikawa Tsubura is a young man in Kimitaka’s class who is on the heavier side. He has some self esteem issues, but is kind, understanding, and considerate. He is a sweetheart, and will go to any extent to help a friend. Kikuchi Hana is another classmate who is stoic and can’t be bothered most of the time. He also has self esteem issues that came about when he began puberty (and led to him losing his dream and even to an eating disorder). He is actually really kind and silly, willing to go any extent to be less pitiable and show gratitude for his friends. Lastly, there is Fujimoto (the tall girl who plays basketball). She is a tall and lanky girl, who also lacks confidence (due to her huge size and soft spoken almost stoic demeanor). Fujimoto is a hard working high school girl, who just wants to be able to be depended on by someone.

LetraArt:

I love the art. Again the characters are mostly lanky, but in this case you can see the more ‘shonen’ like tone. What I like most are the really pretty covers on the volumes. They are super colorful and pretty and I really love them. Also, the parts where he dances are really cool.

Final Thoughts:

At first, I thought that maybe this manga was going to be silly. Its weird that the author picked flamenco dancing, and Kimitaka and his friends all seemed to suffer from mostly minor problems (not so much the bullying, but the fact that small problems affected their personal view of themselves heavily). But I realized, that is what made them so sympathetic. We have all probably been there: one point in our lives where we give up because a bunch of small things add up, and we don’t feel like we are enough. And the simplicity of the story line also really helps. Sometimes the simplest plot can be the most touching, especially if its executed well. Here I really like the interactions between the characters. Its refreshing, even though its a pretty dour at times, and I really just want to cheer him on so he can meet that girl head on and with some confidence that their meeting meant a lot to him.

 

2847196217863844321353703939I found it weird, but I really liked this manga. I think this is definitely a favorite of mine. It felt weirdly sad while also very motivational in a not so loud way. Its almost whimsical in a way, while still being more realistic. I don’t know if that made sense, but mostly this just makes me want to work hard, even though things won’t always turn out very well (or even mediocre level of average). I especially feel a simple happiness. I mean, there was one point where he was crying and holding those ridiculously gaudy, red girl shoes. At that moment, I think he realized how much of his life he just let slip because he felt he wasn’t good enough. It was sad, but cute and really moving, but in a simple way.

-Blog Barista

Bunch of Young Love (Review pt. 2)

See I told you I read a lot of manga a lately! And many of them I don’t even plan on commenting on cause they were just that bad. Though the last post (on magical girl manga) had more that I disliked, this one has more that I really enjoyed. If you are into romance manga, which I hope you would be by this point see the title of the post and all, then you will enjoy many of these!

HadiHadi Girl by Miyabi Akino

Hadi Girl is about Sae, an extremely shy high school girl who is also really tsundere (but not as annoying as usual). Much like Shougo Chara, Sae makes a wish to break out of her shell (so that she may fall in love) and get visited by a little angel and has an egg. From then on, Sae must work to help hatch the egg by fulfilling little lovey-dovey challenges with guys (like holding hands or hugging) or she will never be able to fall in love again.

I actually really loved this manga and plan to continue reading it. It may be a little cheesy, but the story is really cute (just like the characters). I like Sae and the boy that she falls for. the drawing style is super cute with big eyes and almost chibi like bodies, and the plot line is a great idea. I am very glad to have started this one and recommend that you try it out also!

LoliipopHatsukoi Lollipop by Matsumoto Kaori

Another of the manga that I really enjoyed! Hatsuoi Lollipop is about a young high schooler named Seo. She goes to a nice school, with cute friends and lenient school rules. Everything is great, except for the annoying guy named Narusawa Shin who sits behind her. She finds him hard to deal with, but quickly falls in love with him.

The story may feel a little rushed (by chapter 2, she is in love), but it was fluid enough that it wasn’t a big deal for me. The story is cute, and I really like how the characters interact. The drawing style is also really pretty, and I love the way the main character female looks (so cute). Its only on chapter 3 right now, but its still very enjoyable. I also really liked how we get to hear from the guys perspective, instead of just the girl fretting over whether or not she liked him. I really loved the way the characters were drawn, with big eyes and lanky bodies.

FujiFujiyama-san wa Shishunki by Ojiro Makoto

Fujiyama-san is a really, really tall young girl who plays volleyball for her middle school team. She is sweet and a little naive (and quite stoic), and she has a childhood friend named Kanba who plays practical jokes and is a little runt. One day Kanba peaks into the ‘girl locker room’ and sees a little more of Fujiyama then he expected.

This story is a little different then I expected, and I liked it a lot more then I thought. It is a seinen (written for older men) and is from Kanba’s perspective with bulky characters. It is also an  ecchi which you can see in lots of the chapters. But even in this way, I really liked it. It tells the story of young ‘love’ with the curiosity and prepubescent sexuality that you may expect in reality. The characters are innocent and sweet and I found this actually really refreshing. This one may be the one on this list I liked most.

TaroTaro-kun was Kou Miete Igai to xxx Desu by Ichikawa Shou

This is the last one I read, and the last one I am writing about (even though its technically the fourth one you are reading about cause I put this out of order). Anyways this is a really cute story about a young girl (whose name slipped my mind) who starts dating a boy named Taro after he moves into her apartment complex. He is a typical half Japanese, half American with perfect blonde hair (cause that’s how genetics work) and piercings (cause Americans) lol. He is super shy and bad with people so he is always scowling, and thus everyone thinks he is a scary yankee. but in reality he is a gentleman and a sweet heart.

I love the fact that the girl lead is straightforward and wants to be physical (while still wanting to the guy to be in control cause its what she wants), while the guy is shy and awkward and all about staying pure. I also really liked the kids. The two highschoolers take care of the neighborhood kids after school, and those kids are really wise for their age. For toddlers, they give way to much advice in love and being adults (really silly but cute). I hope its only a one-shot, cause they story can’t go for long with out being repetitive and getting too silly, but for now it is really nice.

TsuruTsuru Tsuru to Zara Zara no Aida by Tsukiko 

This one was refreshing in a cute sort of simple way, with a light and airiness to the story line. Tsuru Tsuru is about a young boy, named Takumi, who goes to an all boys middle school, and whose parents run a pet shop for reptiles and amphibians. One day he meets Saya, a young girl from the all girl’s middle school, who is super cute and delicate, and who loves reptiles (and amphibians). Soon they start dating, and the story follows them as they get closer.

This is a slice of life sort of story, and is mostly from Takumi’s perspective. Its cute and nice. I am not sure if its something I really want to keep reading, but I would recommend it.

PochiPochamani by Hirama Kaname

This one was another cliched shoujo, that focused on a slightly chubbier main female lead and a guy who prefers larger women. Honestly I am not too sure what to say about this one. I didn’t like how everyone seemed so upset with how the main male lead was interested in a girl who was chubby. She was sweet and nice, and reality his preference is not that weird or wrong. I also didn’t like how big a deal they made it. It was not like she was ugly, dressed badly, or had a sour disposition. She was chubby, that was it. And not chubby like her fat was in the worst places. She was well proportioned and her fat was placed nice enough that she was still attractive, because she was an attractive girl with some meat. I don’t plan on continuing to read this. It was just so so.

And how is it all these manga girls get cute boys to fight over them, even when they are considered so ‘unacceptably not pretty’ in pop culture?

PopBeauty Pop by Kiyoko Arai

This is a typical and cliched shoujo manga with your angst filled male leads, reverse harems, and a female lead who seems indifferent and distant while also being extremely talented. It was a fun read if you’re bored, but its not that interesting. Though I say this, I still read it all to completion. Its about Kiri Koshiba who is completely uninterested in a lot of things, and also really talented hairstylist. Of course she goes to a special school that gives too much freedom to a select few students (the main leads) and with a lot of adults and students acting like hair styling is EVERYTHING in this world. Some of the characters are grossly annoying (like the cutey boy who does nails and the narcissistic perfume one). Its about as silly and ridiculous as most shoujo rom-coms from the 1990-early 2000’s. If you enjoyed stuff like Skip Beats (which had a better plot then this), then try this one out too.

 

 

-Blog Barista

Kengai Princess by Aida Natsumi

kengai2I should really do a mythology post soon; it has been a while since I did one. I have been reading a lot of manga lately and have hardly talked about 1/5 th of them, but Kengai Princess is one I really liked, so I thought I should share.

Plot:

Kengai Princess is about Meguro Mito, a young girl who is kind of ugly (not because she is over weight, but just in general). She has little self-confidence and loves discussing otome games with her two best friends. She often gets bullied, but makes friends with a boy in her class after he sticks up for her. The first half of the manga is all about how she falls for her friend while growing as a person (and she becomes a little less ugly just by becoming more confident and happy). The second half is when she goes to high school. She exercises and learns to use makeup and becomes extra pretty, but this part feels more like basic romance manga tend to be.

Character:

kiMito is the protagonist of the manga. She is a young middle school girl who loves otome games and is not very pretty (she has a chubby face even though her body is average weight). She is often bullied and does not do well socializing. After becoming friends with Kunimastu-kun, she slowly grows into a ‘normal’ girl and gains confidence in herself. When she goes into high school, she works extra hard for her high school debut. She exercises, learns to use make up, and gets cute clothes. She has a great personality that can be pretty funny at times, especially after she stops putting herself down so much.

kisKunimastu is the classmate that saves Mito. He is an athletic young boy who seems stoic and cool, but is really just a simple sweet heart with little to say. He is kind and can be friends with just about anyone, and sees the good stuff about people. He and Mito become great friends, and he protects her many times when getting bullied (even beating the shit of one boy after he tells Mito to kill herself. This makes him go berserk because his own mother died, and he couldn’t take this lightly). I personally like him best.

kissKanata is the second boy that Mito falls in love with. He looks just like the young man in her favorite otome game. He is a basic shoujo male protagonist. He is rich and mean with a tragic back story. He sleeps around and treats Mito badly, but gives her advice that allows her to grow (and she in turn gives him advice to grow too). Personally, I am not a fan. He is as typical and cliched as a target for shoujo love can get, but oh well.

Art:

I like the art. Its nothing extra different (seems like many other shoujo artstyles), but it is still super cute. I especially like how Mito is drawn. Even after becoming prettier she is still drawn differently from the other girls (round face) and lots of characters have small little imperfections which is nice.kengai-princess-27-pic-8

Final Thoughts:

kengaiTo put this simply, I liked the manga. The very first part was the best. It felt like it would be a normal shoujo where the ugly girl falls for the average (not too rich or smart or talented) cute boy who like her for her. But instead, she gets rejected and has to continue on in her growth. Then she gets into high school and it becomes your basic otome game, shoujo romance, and its still great! I also liked how she really was ugly to begin with. She was not chubby or a glasses girl who was technically cute. She was unfortunate and drawn to be that way (I loved that she was not fat, cause I hate how they always use being ‘chubby’ means you are ugly and unattractive which doesn’t work when the characters are still cute). I am really glad I started to read it and it quickly became a favorite romance manga of mine. If you like romance manga, especially the kind where the main character female is not to annoying, then I really recommend this one.

-Blog Barista

 

Valentine Manga

This is extra late, but I figured I wanted to make a post about romance manga and manhwa that were fun to read and February is the best time of year to do so. These are all mostly really sweet love stories and great shoujo/josei stories.

Picture1Dame na Watashi ni Koishite Kudasai by Nakahara Aya

I loved the characters so much, thirty year old love story

This is a  josei manga that focuses on a 29 year old unemployed Shibata Michiko. She wastes all her money on a frivoulous university student after losing her job in a company (it went out of business). One day she meets her old boss Kurosawa, one that she hated because he was so strict, and he ends up helping her get her life back together. Along the way, she ends up trying to help him too.

I love how the characters interact with each other; they are just so funny. And I also like how simple the story feels up until now. The fact that they are older helps keep the story grounded and more real world (though the fact that Shibata is almost thirty, never had a boyfriend, and acts like shes a middle schooler in love may be the most unrealistic part). The art is pretty cute, and the characters are great because they aren’t delicate or shy high school characters. They are sarcastic little bastards and really sweet at the same time.

Picture2Tsubasa to Hotaru by Haruto Nana

Such a sweet story, high school level

The manga is about Tsubas Sonokawa, a high schooler who is rejected by the upperclassman she loves because of her ‘extreme’ personality. Just like the previous manga, this girl too shows affection by being as helpful as possible and trying a little to hard. Through some events, she ends up becoming manager of the basketball team and makes some great friends with the players. This is cute story, simple like some of the better shoujo tend to be (no extremely rude or narsistic male characters who fight a lot with the girl or treats her poorly). I like most of the characters and even root for the other guy that falls in love with her. This isn’t my all time favorite shoujo romance (Ao Haru no Ride and Say I Love You are much better), but this one is still really great if you like this genre! I love the drawing style too, especilly the side profiles.

Picture3Our Relationship Is… by Lee Yun Ji

Colorful love story, university level

This was definitely my favorite of the bunch. I found the characters easy going and very relatable. This is a manwha that focuses on two friends, Do Gayoung a girl who is also nicknamed Pig and Han Woojin a guy nicknamed Hanwoo (beef). Both are in university and have been friends since high school. Slowly, Do Gayoung realizes that Hanwoo means a lot to her and she begins to develop feelings, but he has his sight set on a super cute friend of hers. Right now I can’t help but to root for Do to end up with Hanwoo. The two of them have such a wonderful friendship and it feels more real to think of people who have known each other for a while to fall in love (instead of like most manga where it is a little rushed). The story is going at a great pace, and it is so cute. The art is pretty and its all colored in light pastel colors that make it extremely aesthetically pleasing. I love it and plan to continue reading when new chapters come out :D.

 

 

The first two characters had something in common. Both Tsubasa and Shibata were the type of girls to go overboard, to try and do everything in their means to help, and were ‘extreme’ in their affections. I really liked them for being that way. To be honest (though we may not all be that extreme), I felt a little bit of a connection to them, and I feel like maybe lots of other people can imagine a time where they did something similar.

Bonus Stuff:

Picture4Witch Workshop by So Hee Park

So so art and story, but it is interesting and unique

I also read this manhwa. It was OK, but I don’t think I would continue reading it. To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend it, but that doesn’t mean it was bad. The story is about 3 families that have been cursed for 400 years, because of a really creepy situation that happened in Europe between a witch and a noble family. The main characters girl, whose name escapes me now, has no idea about the full story, but its about her and two other guys (one who is the descendant of the noble family and one from a Korean family that is meant to protect the witches) as they try to fulfill their own personal goals. Its hard to explain the story with out giving away too much. The art is ok, I am not a fan, but the colors are really pretty.

 

Check them all out!

-Blog Barista

Manga/Manhwa/Manhua Review: Fun Compilation

It has been a long while since I last updated, and I think I will try and do something special for Halloween. For now I just wanted to do a couple of quick posts on some things so as to have something come out. I haven’t been reading a lot of manga lately (because of school), but I still try and find some time. So here are some that I am currently reading (or in the case of Majo to Yajuu, finished reading), and my opinions on them.

100Majo to Yajuu by Fujio Ai

So we are starting with a manga that I actually read sometime in the end of summer, before school actually started. I wanted to talk about it sooner, but did not have enough manga to fill in a post with. Anyways, It turns out better this way cause it is October and this one matches well with Halloween.

The story focuses on a lonely lion who falls in love with a kind human girl. Each day he asks a witch to grant his wish to change a part of himself until he becomes fully human. I don’t want to ruin the end, but the manga poses the problem of whether it is worth losing yourself in order to have someone love you.

This is a one-shot so it is fairly short read, but it was an enjoyable story and concept. I really liked the art style, though it is not really aesthetically pleasing. It has a mystical quality to it, and that really brings out the story well.

10One Punch Man by One (illustrated by Yusuke Murata)

The second manga is one the both the BetterCup and I recommend highly. This started off as a poorly drawn web-comic, and soon blew up into an amazing anime and manga featured in Shonen Jump.

The story focuses on Saitama, an extremely strong hero, who defends the the fictional Japanese metropolis of City Z from an epidemic of monsters with only one punch.  However, due to his overwhelming strength, Saitama has become bored with his life and constantly looks for an opponent who can help him gain back that thrill he experienced in his first fight. He meets new friends, makes enemies, and gains his own disciple, the cyborg Genos. Later he joins the Heroes Association to try and gain fame for his hard work (though no one sees that it is him doing all these amazing things) struggling to gain respect. Most people look down on him due to his plain physical appearance, and some accuse him of being a counterfeit hero. Only a small number of individuals recognize his incredible talent and humility towards others (the bad guys always seem to notice, but die before they can say anything).

Wow if ever there was manga I wish I started sooner, it was One Punch Man. This is an amazing manga and anime. The art is amazing, the fight scenes are epic (even in the manga it is extremely dynamic), and the concept is so original and funny (with awesome characters).

10Lookism by Park Tae Joon

This third one is actually a manhwa from Korea. It is fun and wonderful, while also pointing out how we can tend to be a little more focused on appearances then we should (I am guilty of liking the protagonist more when he is handsome).

Park Hyung Suk is overweight and unattractive. He is constantly bullied and abused by other students and then takes his frustrations out on his hardworking mother. When she finally realizes that he is struggling, she pulls together enough to send him to another school. One morning, he wakes up to find a great miracle has happened, and he is able to live as someone handsome.

Over the course of the manhwa, lots of characters grow and come to realize that handsome or ugly, a person’s physical appearance has nothing to do with who they are inside. Park Hyung meets many great people and changes lives of many students as he learns and deepens his own understanding of what is important in life.

10Mosspaca Advertising Department by Old Xian, Tan Jiu

This fourth one is another that I am so very happy that I could find. It is incredibly funny and so enjoyable though it feels confusing at times. This one is a manhua from China and it is drawn so incredibly!

The story follows a trio of artists at the Mosspaca Advertising Department. There the personifications of Old Xian and Tan Jiu (the actual artists of the manhua) and their supervisor interact with various entrepreneurs and create commercials/advertisements for their products. Sometimes there are random stories mixed in.

There is no coherent story line, and at first you will feel like you were just thrown in with no information to go off of. But this is a gag comic, and it does its job well.

10Otoko Issho

This last one, that I am leaving you with, is a strange and some what sweet love story. I am still not too sure how I feel about it, but I will continue reading it. The art is pretty and light, and the story feels mostly the same way (airy). The only thing that makes me dislike it, is that the main male was in love with the protagonist’s grandmother before falling in love with her. But I think if you go in not worrying about that, its still a good story.

This manga is about Tsugumi Dozono, a woman in her late 30s/early 40s who works at a large electronics company in Tokyo. One day, after her grandmother passes away, Tsugumi Dozono decides to live in her grandmother’s house while working from home, but finds a strange man in the house named is Jun Kaieda, a professor at a woman’s university that is around 50. They live together and slowly fall in love.

 

Well there you go,

-BlogBarista

All Magical Girls EVER

All Magical Girls EVER

Romance Manga Review

So I still have to take classes over the entirety of my summer holiday. It seems I am not as free as I thought I was a week ago. Oh well. I read about five romance manga last night and decided to review each of them. So here we go, a review of the last 5 manga read.

  • Watashi-ga-Motete-Dousunda-tome-550Watashi ga Motete Dousunda (Kiss Him, Not Me) – Junko: So, I chose this one because the art style looked really beautiful and well done. I had high expectations and I felt very disappointed with the story. This manga is about Kae Serinuma, a fat otaku girl who loves yaoi and dreams up pairings between her classmates (this was not all that bad, I thought it was original). One day, her favorite anime character dies, and she becomes so depressed she locks herself in her room for a week with little to no food. When she goes back to school everyone is astonished with how much weight she lost and how beautiful she is (this part bothered me. Lets ignore how physically impossible it was for her to lose that much weight in only a week with out any physical activity. Instead lets focus on how every one finds weight to be the only standard of beauty and how her physical characteristics changed not just weight. Her eyes got huge, she got large pretty lips, and her breasts were much bigger when she lost weight). The worst part, four boys start to want to date her and three of those four only notice her because of her looks. At first, she does not want any attention from males, since she finds pleasure in just watching them be together. Of the four guys I hope she ends up with Asuma Mutsumi. He is a third year (she was a second year) that is president of the history club she is in. At first he hardly noticed her weight loss, and was the first to tell her that it did not matter because she is still the same person on the inside. It takes him time to realize he likes her. Unlike the others he does not become infatuated with her appearance, instead he likes her personally and that leads to his feelings. He is laid back and chill, and is the cutest one too. But I feel she won’t be with him. The meanest of the boys, named Nana, (teased her when she was fat and cares most about her appearance when she gains weight back) looks like her favorite anime character and she most likely will be with him. I may be wrong, since this is only first impressions, but I won’t be reading the rest anytime soon to find out.

-Blog Barista

  • watashiWatashi no Ookami-kun (My Wolf Boy) – Nogiri Youko: This one, I feel, was the poorest in art quality (but that is an opinionated statement so do with it as you will), but the story was actually really cute. Komugi Kusonoki moves from Tokyo to the Hokkaido (country side) to live with her father when her mom has a business trip to go on. She has some trouble with girls at her old school (bullying) and hopes that the new opportunity will allow her to get along with her new classmates. But she ends up sitting next to one of the most popular boys, Ookami Yuu, who tells her she smells good. One day, she discovers his secret (which you should be able to guess by the title) and school becomes totally different from average. This story is pretty much basic, girl befriends popular boys who everyone else treat like gods. And of course she falls in love with one of them (not the bad boy tsundere though, instead it is the sweet puppy like one). The only thing that feels very original is there secret, which gains points from me. The girl is average, she falls into the category of the closed off girl trying to be normal and accepted, but the one is not overly done so its not like you can be annoyed by her. I thought is was a nice story, but I probably won’t continue it.

-Blog Barista

  • shuudanShuuden na Kankei (Relationship Population) – Oota Yoshio: This one was chosen on a whim, with little to no reasoning behind the decision, except that it looked cute and the story’s summary seemed entertaining enough. This is not a riveting story, but its definitely something nice and carefree to read when you want to pass some time. The story is about a young professional magazine columninst named Hibari, who works long hours and (due to the asshole nature of her ex/co-worker and sometimes her boss) inevitably rides the very last train home. Because of her horrible sleeping patterns doing so much overtime, she often sleeps (defenselessly) on her train ride home; however, being the only person getting off at the very last stop of the last train she always runs into a train station worker, Yokose. Yokose seems to be quite older then her (he calls her a girl and sometimes talks in an odd way), but he is kind and polite and is always looking out for Hibari. There are only 2 volumes, but already you see the feelings between them blossom, so I really hope they end up together. I find the story so easygoing, and it is also funny as Yoosuke is very clumsy (falling at every important moment).

-TheBetterCup

  • largeGozen 3-ji no Muhouchitai (3 am Lawless Zone) – Nemu Youko: I am so happy I found this one. Absouletly wonderful story. As much as I enjoy some shoujo, I realize I am getting into the age where school life does not always resonate with me. I mean, it still does in some way because I am in university, but many of their problems are no longer problems I can relate too fully. Once I enter into the work force, it will no longer relate to me. But josei can relate a little better sometimes. This one in particular focuses on a girl named Momoko Nanase who gets a job as a pachinko designer (pachinko is a arcade and gambling game in Japan) after finishing schooling to become an illustrator. The office is extremely high pace, with ‘yakuza’ like business and very eccentric coworkers. As she gets bogged down with her work, and has strains on her relationships, she realizes how much she can enjoy working there and meets new people along the way that make it special. Momoko was a cute girl with pretty regular problems, I liked her personality too (pretty simple, a little feisty at times and not too childish most of the times). All the characters are great, and most have a lot of adult problems. TheBetterCup and I read the entire thing with out stopping. I also liked how open this one was about sex and relationships (most the josei and shoujo that I like tend to be that way), it grounds it in reality and keeps the problems focused on things people actually find important (unlike the romance manga where girls freak out over a kiss as if it was the epitome of love). Anyways, it was refreshing and I would definitely suggest trying this one out. The art was also really great, the main character male is not your usual bishonen but instead described as a bear of a man.

-Blog Barista

  • 1Haru x Kiyo – Akira Ozaki: I did not expect it, but I think I just added another manga to my all time favorite romance manga (up there with Say I Love You, Blue Spring Ride, and Jelly Fish Princess). At first I thought this was going to be my least favorite, but ended up being my favorite in the group (exact opposite of the Kiss Him, Not Me). I came upon it because the cover art was beautiful and colorful and the characters looked amazing. Then I quickly felt disappointed when the main character had hair in front of her face making her less pretty (I see the hypocritical nature that I have and I am both embarrassed and ashamed). Yet I could not put it down, and the story ended up being fantastic. The art style is extremely dynamic, with the characters taking extremely exaggerated emotional depictions at times (think the older shonen anime). The story focuses on a girl named Koharu Miyamoto. She is described as boyish and extremely simple. At 5 ft 9 and only 15 years old, she is a giant that is often made fun of by others, but as always she is a gentle giant. Her personality and reactions (except for the exaggeration of course) is actually really realistic. She is an average girl, not very obsessive of anything, who gets hurt and gets happy with out it becoming the only priority in her life when it does happen. She is not super confident, but it does not come off as self-deprecating (which can be annoying). She befriends a four eyed classmate named Mineta. He is tiny (15? cm as they describe him, so anywhere from 4 ft 9 inches to 5 ft 2 inches), and he is strict (always making sure that when he does something it is the best and most efficiently done possible), and he is also very angry (of course). He is so cute, with sage advice, and when given the chance to be her boyfriend he is so manly you cannot help but like him. He stays straightforward about everything (always saying exactly what he feels he must, even if it is too rough), but he can regret it later. He is also not over confident, no matter how uppity he acts at times. Also I was wrong about the art, it is just as cute as the cover and at some points Mineta is shown as a chibi because that is how Koharu sees him. I loved the manga, and I cannot wait to read more.

-Blog Barista

Well anyways, I hope you all find something you like. These are all first impressions, so maybe my opinion will not meet up with yours. Have fun.

His face has officially been revealed!!!!

His face has officially been revealed! Look it up!!

Three Anime Review: Day 2

I think I may need a break from all the love stories soon. So many of the manga I read lately have to do with love. I really need a change of pace soon. Anyways, today’s anime had love in it, but two of the three were definitely a change in pace. Was this a ‘good’ change? Probably no, but still. Today’s review is not as positive as the first day’s.

Daibolik lovers by Shinobu Tagashira

Diabolik-Lovers-OP-1-1

Oh God. This piece of ‘art’ is something I have known about before. Both TheBetterCup and I like otome games, so of course we have stumbled over this before. When I saw that this was an anime, I just had to watch it. Now to get serious, and I am sorry but this is just my opinion, this is a piece of garbage. The game is something that I cannot stomach very much (you need to have specific taste to be able to enjoy it) and the anime is somehow even worse. The art is nothing special, the characters are as basic as an anime can get, and the creepiness of the entire thing just does not help it. I hate yanderes. I understand that some people love them, but I personally just find the idea scary and unappealing.

The story line goes like this: When Yui’s father moves abroad, she is sent to live in a new town. She soon discovers that the six Sakamaki brothers (yeah send your teen age daughter to live in a home alone with six men who are some what abusive, great) are vampires. They abuse her psychologically and physically, often feeding off her. Some how this girl optimistically accepts her situation. I honestly could care less ‘why’ or ‘how’ she is connected to them. This stinks of trash to me. Neither of us could sit through the first episode comfortably, and half way through (since it was obvious that this twisted reverse harem was poorly written) you won’t even care about the actual plot. I regret ever seeing the game, and I really regret the anime. I really should have known better. But, there are many who do like this. So if this seems to be interesting to you then please try it. It was not for us, but you never know if you like it with out trying, right?

DRAMAtical Murders by Nitro+chiral

drBoth TheBetterCup and I had mixed feelings about this one. We picked it cause the name was just so intising. The art was for the most part very well done (excluding a few of the characters that is), and the setting was also great. This was also a game before being an anime. It was really well drawn, mostly the scenery. The characters were over all good, except the main characters stuck out a little to much. Their entire beings were shiny (like plastic) and colorful, and they did not match well with the distopian, cyberpunk background. Even before the story began, or the characters were introduced, you could tell who was a main character only because their clothing were more noticeable to ridiculous levels. The grandmother of the main character also had stupid looking, unnatural looking hair (worse then usual). It is a rule of ours that anime with characters that have brightly colored, unrealistic hair and ridiculous clothing are usually what we ignore (think the most recent Pokemon). Crazy weird looking anime characters, with eye brows or eyes that show through hair, and characters that use cards or animals to battle each other make the hall mark  of anime in the eyes of western society. Those are usually not good anime. This one had some hints of that, but if it had kept a creepier and darker plot line it would have been fine.

Aoba Seragaki lives in the poorer portion of town called Old Residential District and works in a store called Junk Shop Mediocrity. He hopes to live a peaceful life, but is soon dragged into the popular cyber game Rhyme. Here they use Allmates (mobile devices disguised as robot animals) to battle in a virtual world. The story is full of disappearing people, gang turf wars, and a struggle between the gangs in Old Residential district against the owner of Platinum Jail (the rich resort area, why was ‘jail’ a good idea for the name?). This is actually a BL game (boys love), so the male main character falls in love with one of the other guys.

Ao Haru Ride by Io Sakisaka

tumblr_static_tumblr_static_43pxoi8ni680g0kcokw40gc00_1280Ao Haru Ride is one my of my all time favorite manga. It follows the typical love story with a girl meeting her childhood love and rekindling those feelings, but there is so much more to love. Yes there is a lot of drama, but all of that is not the simple love story problems. It focuses more on the hardships of disease and familial death. I found the drama to be of deeper kind, and all of the characters are actually quite complex and wise. I ended up loving all the characters, and actually cheer for both the male love interests (both are so wonderfully cute!). I am getting ahead of myself let me tell you what the anime is about first. It is a great way to introduce yourself to the manga.

140Futaba Yoshioka is a very cute and feminine girl who tries her hardest to act in an unattractive way (no longer feminine) in an attempt to keep from being ostracized like she was when she was in middle school. Some time in the second semester of freshman year in high school, she meets Kou Mabuchi (a boy from middle school who she loved and never got the chance to be with). 148Kou went from being a sweet, shy, and calm person in middle school to a much colder man in high school. the story revolves around her recreating herself, reliving the love she felt for Kou, and learning what he went through to make him so different. They make many friends along the way, and all the characters are really wonderful.

The art work is very great, though the manga is even better. The characters are long limbed and the girls have these really nice and round eyes. I also love how the artist includes the details of lips (many manga/anime just never define the lips). I love the story, I think it is cute how they progress through there relationship. It’s not just ‘oh I hate you’ and then ‘no really I love you’. In this, I felt there was a slow progress. Best part is, at one point you could actually see the two main characters not getting together in the end. It made it seem a little more natural and realistic knowing that it may not work well. Usually I am all for a main male who teases and is a little mean to the girl, but I really liked Kou the way he was before. I wanted him to stay sweet, soft spoken, and shy. And Toma is so wonderful, I love how he blushes so hard all the time (so cute…..). The story also does not focus on only the girl understanding herself and feelings, and connecting with friends. Much of the time also focuses on Kou reaching out to his friends and understanding himself more.

So I know these were not as positive, but we went out of the general genre that we do here on this blog so that is good. Anyways tell me what you think about these anime in the comments below. 🙂

-Blog Barista

I think this image captures the feeling of the manga very well.

I think this image captures the feeling of the manga very well.

Ikemen Manga Reviews

I decided to try out these two manga on a whim. I saw them on Goodreads and the cover art was just so nice. As you can see in the title, both manga contain ikemen. An ikemen is a term used to describe very ‘good looking’ and ‘cool’ men. I have been reading so many manga lately on love stories of young people (like high school age), and it begins to take its toll. Reading shoujo manga with only cute love interests makes me think about romance all the time. The stories are so ideal and seem almost completely unrealistic, but I like them so much. *uggggghhhhh* All the shoujo lovers out there must know what I mean. You end up being a slightly naive person into romance, or at least that is how I feel lately. But anyways, if you like most of the manga that I have recommended so far (as you can see their is a theme to my choices), you will mots likely like these as well.

cover (1)Sugar by Yamamori Mika

f033Sugars is a collection of six short stories (one shots) per volume that connect some what between them. The stories can intertwine either by having previous characters being friends with each other or by having them come into contact one once with each other. All the stories focus on love and bettering oneself. Some of the love stories end well, some rejected, and others stay unrequited. For the most part each of the stories are the basic sort, but they are so sweet and airy. It is all mostly a slice of life so nothing bizarre or unexpectedly unrealistic occurs. The title is ‘Sugar’, and from the few chapters I have read so far, it seems that there is a theme of sweets and sweet food to go with the romance. They may be lovey-dovey, but there are none of those ridiculously annoying anime characters. Most are about as natural as they can get, more realistic, and the author seems to have put great thought in each of the character’s personality. We may not know everything, or get told everything about every single one, but the characterization through actions are pretty spot on.

I really like the art style. The bodies and limbs of the characters are long, and I really love the eyes of the characters. The art reminds me a little of Say I Love You with long eyelashes and large deep set eyes. It is exactly the type of art I like.

UPDATE IN Feb.20.2016: The manga is now completed and the stories are super adorable.

cov          Kimi no Chuusin ni Sekai Wa Mawaru by Hatta Ayuko

pkimi_wo_chuushin_sekai_wa_mawaru_v001_ch002_pg002This manga was created by the same author as Wolf Girl and Black Prince, but it is also many one shot stories that focus on love. There are only two chapters out so far, but the characters do not seem to connect to each other in any way. The stories are really cute and fantastic. The ikemen so far are all kind and good-hearted, understanding the problems of the female characters. The very first one focused on a possible student-teacher relationship. I am usually against them, but this one was more acceptable. The girl was third year of high school (so about eighteen years old) and the man was a young professor. In the end, she does not confess any deep feelings, but states that she may fall in love with him, and he handles it well. He does not accept the idea nor completely say no. Instead (repeating the same thing she said to him before), he tells her that she should not feel bad or act differently for liking what she likes. The stories also feel more innocent and like they would end with happier endings then Sugar does. So far none of the stories have left off with the girl not getting the guys, but the manga is still on going.

The art is great. The girls have these large round eyes and the ikemen look really cute too. It is not as artsy as the last one, and has more of the typical girl manga art, but it is still so very adorable.

I recommend both manga. Well written and fun to read.

-Blog Barista

This is how I feel nowadays....

This is how I feel nowadays….

Three Anime Review: Day 1

So I only have one week of freedom left, and TheBetterCup has already begun her school for this second semester. We decided that we would watch three anime each day this week until my school begins. Our choices ranged from randomly picking based on name to picking based only on the cover art to hunting down those we promised to watch but forgot. Some are pretty bad, some huge disappointments, and some fantastic. Now lets get started.

Edo Nekoe Jubei Otogizoshi by Maru Nagao

jubeiThis was picked because of the art style. It looks old fashioned, with some traditional aspects mixed with anime and that goes well with the plot line. The story is about this young man and a mythical two tailed beast (basically a talking cat). Jubei, the young man, is a cat painter in Edo and each episode tells of the different encounters he has with the cats in the city, usually with some little magical elements.

What we did not know till we watched the first episode is that this is actually more of a moving manga. Everything is drawn as manga panels with only some parts actually moving (like blinking eyes or cat’s tail swishing). You hear them talk, and you hear the sound effects (like of a person walking), but there is not all the movement to go with it.I really liked the idea, and I felt the simplicity of that style suited the era of story line very well. Everything is drawn great, especially the cats, and the story just panels in and out as the episode progresses. It is very whimsical. The main character is very likable with his understanding and calm personality. The cat demon is very sarcastic and crude sense of humor. He also has a very deep voice. The first episode was very sad, but it was a wonderful way of introducing the plot and anime.

Denki Gai no Honya-san by Asato Mizu

i90SQ91uiMXNyThis is a much stranger anime that focuses on the workers in a manga store. Each of the coworkers are unique and a little strange (some very strange), all become very close friends. It is a typical slice of life but with the characters being more ‘moe’ than sometimes natural. It was a good watch though. despite the cute art style, this is more for adults with concepts of yaoi and erotic manga being commonly mentioned (whole plot of episode 1).

The art is super cute, and more a style that TheBetterCup liked verses my own taste. It is very chibi-like and moe, but it works well with the story type. It is youthful and matches with the innocent feel. It is overall very funny and sweet, but more for adults. Only one thing really stuck out to me in a way that was a little ridiculous. I just cannot understand how the female main characters are about two feet shorter then all the other people (male and female).

Wolf Girl and Black Prince by Ayuko Hatta


vkss_ookami_shoujo_to_kuro_ouji_ch_005_img001I picked this one off of a whim, I thought it would match the anime I usually liked. To be honest, I wanted more from this anime. I feel like the plot has so many possibilities that were not taken. The opening sequence had so many scenes that were never actually shown. The story is about a wolf girl (young girl that lies about most all things) who needs the most popular boy to help her by pretending to be her boyfriend. He accepts readily, but only in the condition that she becomes his dog (he is super twisted). In the anime, I hated how desperate she was and how cruel he was. At one point, it felt hard to continue. This sort of thing was a little less extreme in the manga (at least to me). I really wished that the part where they keep up the charade lasted longer. I feel like this girl fell in love very quickly, by like episode three, and it was to a guy who is not very nice to begin with. But some where in the middle of the anime, he just gives a complete turn around.

I really like the art style. It is the typical shoujo art, but the author is really great at ikemen (handsome men). So most of the best parts was how well drawn the cute guys were. I was really surprised by how much I ended up liking the manga. I say try it if you got the time.

-Blog Barista

7

Manga Review: Double Special

Happy New Years!! BlogBarista here. I hope everyone had a good day, but most of all I hope everyone goes into the new year with a positive outlook. I for one am not. I feel this horrible feeling of dread that I just cannot explain without beginning to panic. Anyways, outside of all my responsibilities that comes with the spring season, I have been catching up on all my favorite manga (all of which I have mentioned here on this blog at some point or another). They have been helping me cope with the panic of reality, but I finished all of them and have to find more. All day TheBetterCup and I have been reading a bunch of pretty bad manga, and we felt we could share our thoughts on two of them. So here you go.

Hadashi de Bara wo Fume (Stepping on Roses Barefoot) by Ueda Rinko

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-What is this manga about?

Well this manga is a historical shoujo romance, that plays out like an Otome dating sims game (I’m addicted to these, so I’d know). It starts off with a poor girl named Sumi during the year Meji 25 (around the 1890s). She has about 6 adopted siblings, all younger then her, and an older brother Eisuke. Eisuke has taken out 2,000 yen (3 million yen now-a-days) in loans (half under Sumi’s name) and gambles away all of it. They haven’t payed rent in over half a year, and to make matters worst as her brother brings more orphans for her to take care of, when one of the children, Tomi, gets a fever, and doctors refuse to help her. This causes Sumi to break down in the middle of a busy street begging for help, and a young gentleman (dressed in foreign like clothing) gives her money for medication. As Sumi immediately falls in love for this mystery man, we discover that Eisuke’s job is to date rich, married women, one of them being the wife of the man who loaned them the money. As the Ooya-san (landlady) threatens to kick them out, and Eisuke runs away abandoning Sumi and her siblings, the loan shark threatens to sell the children off in the slave market. Sumi agrees to make the money over night and runs to the red district to work as a prostitute. In the end a man named Soichiro Ashida (rich, young, gentleman type tsundere) agrees to buy her for 2,000 yen. But when she is taken to his house he reveals that he bought her life. He makes a deal for her to hadashi-de-bara-wo-fume-601321be his wife so that he may receive his inheritance, and he will buy her anything she wants (even help her family) on the condition that she never falls in love with him (this is a hint that they will fall in love). The story continues with her conflicting feelings as she falls in love with the princely man that helped her initially and her husband who has his own conflicts.


-What do I think?

This is the exact same plot as like three of the dating sims I am playing at the moment. The main character Sumi is very 2 dimensional and in my opinion a little too obedient, but she is only 15 years old. The plot is over used, and though I would never bother to continue reading this, if this floats your boat please try it. I know that playing this plot out in the Otome games pisses me off, because I cannot understand how the MC agrees to and ends up loving the guys who put them through this bizarre scenario so readily, but maybe the awkward start leads to a much more in depth plot and characterization.

-TheBetterCup

Hirunaka no Ryuusei/Day Time Shooting Star by Mika Yamamori

tumblr_n5tx1c0icF1shksruo1_500 -What is this manga about?

Suzume Yosano is a fifteen year old country bumpkin whose parents send her to Tokyo to live with her uncle for a while. Through “unexpected” circumstances she meets a mysterious, some what older man who turns out to be her homeroom teacher. Her very first friend in school is a classmate who feels uneasy around women and thus can be very rude. A love triangle forms between her, her teacher, and that new friend. Along her journey in her new home, she makes new friends, falls in love, and learns more about herself (of course). ‘Who will she end up with’ is the most important question.

dhirunaka-no-ryuusei-3227513-What do I think?

I started reading without looking at a synopsis first, and from the get go i liked it. The art was cute and unique, and the girls personality is good. She does not come off as dull but she is not unpleasant and annoying either (at least to me). Then we found out her potential love interests were her teacher and this adorable guy. At first I was not pleased with the idea of a student-teacher relationship, it just is not something that I feel comfortable with. But the teacher was so cool and cute!! He is the type of guy I like in general. then we met the classmate, and he was awesome from the start. I secretly hope she ends up with him. Anyways, I like the art and the plot. It may not be original, but is not boring and cliche feeling so far, it may be because I like the character personality a little more. Honestly this may have been better if it was just a love story with two people (no conflict with morals and no love triangles), just a story of how to people fell in love and got along. I still like it though.

-BlogBarista

5

Kuragehime- by Akiko Higashimura

Kuragehime_vol01_CoverI have been wanting to write this post for so long. Finally I have the chance to write about Kuragehime, and I have no idea how to start. I just have so many things I want to say. So I will begin with this statement: I adore Kuragehime and it is now officially my second favorite Romance Manga (kicking out Iroha in my Top Ten*). We found the manga by mistake. TheBetterCup found the first manga cover on pinterest and then we watched the anime. I loved it so much that I read the first 57 Chapters of the manga in about 4 days. The story is fantastic, and I love the characters. The entire thing is unique, mostly because the author is weird. She writes about these characters with obsessions (that make them Otaku) and how they struggle to fit in society. She understands how these character feel about the obsessions because she is like this. The truth is, anyone who is part of a fandom is like this and can relate to the characters (I am like this and so is TheBetterCup). That is why the characters are so likable. On top of that, how often is there a story where you root for a crossdressing university student to end up in a romantic relationship with dorky NEET that is obsessed with jellyfish. But let me not get to far ahead of myself, let me explain the plot line first.

*Refrencing this: http://www.espressocomsaudade.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/top-favorite-romance-manga/

illustration-jellyfish-kuragehime-princess-jellyfish-Favim.com-372422Kuragehime (Jellyfish Princess) is a story that focuses on these otaku women that live in an all girls apartment building. They are all super obsessed with ‘nerdy’ hobbies, and all of them struggle to fit into society. They even have anxiety being around so called ‘normal’ and ‘fashionable’ people (I feel for them. Anyone who is into something that is not a typical hobby that fits gender or age or cultural norms). Anyways, the main character accidentally befriends a young boy who is the illegitimate son of a 51olklpolitician, fashion enthusiast, and cross-dresser. Together they struggle to keep Amamizukan (the apartment of the women NEETS) from being demolished in a redevelopment plan while keeping the other girls from learning that he is actually a guy and not a girl. There is a distinguishable plot, and yet it also succeeds at being lighthearted. It can venture off that main problem to the characters’s personal problems very smoothly. It also shows that most people have obsessions (like the boy has one with fashion), and they tend to be very important to the characters (many of them have strong feelings about these obsessions because of their bonds with their mothers).

Characters:

kurage11Tsukimi Kurashita is the protagonist of the manga. She is an 18 year old otaku (youngest one of the girls in Amamizukan), who moved to Tokyo to become an illustrator. She is obsessed with jellyfish, and that obsession was influenced by her deep love for her deceased mother. She is awkward, nerdy, and shy. Social interactions scare her and she struggles to break out of her comfort zone when it comes to how she dresses (she just feels like she could never be as beautiful as other girls). I love her. She is super petite, but with a figure that is more akin to the average 18 year old. She is not tall, super thin, with angular features and all leg. Instead she is short, slightly boxy, and with a relatively rounder face. (As a 19 year old, I felt like I could relate with her in body type, and social anxieties, and nerdy obsessions). Sometimes I wished she could be more open minded to fashionable people (I feel like the Amars or Otaku ladies treated fashionable people badly when they should understand how that is wrong), but she is still lovable. When she dresses in clothing other than sweatpants, she is actually really cute.

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Kuranosuke Koibushi is the male love interest to Tsukimi, and second protagonist. He is a university student and illegitimate son of a politician. He enjoys cross dressing (so as to avoid his obligations of becoming a politician) and has an obsession with fashion that is also rooted in his love for his mother (who is not deceased but is no longer part of his life). He finds Tsukimi interesting and begins to befriend her and the Amars. He tries the hardest to save Amamizukan. He is very popular with women both as a handsome male and a fashionista, and comes from a very rich household.

tumblr_mhax1q7eM81rqna90o1_500Art:

So the manga and the anime are very similar in the art style. At first I was not sure how I felt, but when I read the manga I actually fell in love with the drawing style. It is unique and beautiful. The characters are varied in body shape and looks, and I love the lips being drawn on (instead of straight lines for mouths). The best part is how reactive the expressions are.


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Princess Jellyfish - Shu escapeOver all this is one of the nicest manga I have read. I feel it is well balanced in humor, drama, love, and development. I find the author to be very talented and natural. The idea of the plot is super unique and the story is enjoyable. Like Say I Love You, this is more realistic and focuses on actual anxieties and problems of young people (virginity is a major theme). The difference is that Say I Love You is more serious, while Kuragehime uses humor while showing all these problems. It tells a lot about society by showing that the obsessive nerd characters can be just as judgmental as the ‘normal’ characters, and that the judgmental ‘normal’ characters can be just as obsessive as the nerds. I recommend this josei manga so very much and it has won a new place in my heart. The anime is good too. It only has 11 episodes, and for about 7-8 of those episodes, it follows manga exactly.

-Blog Barista

How can anyone be mean to this face?!

How can anyone be mean to this face?!

Pretear- by Junichi Sato

Shin.Shirayukihime.Densetsu.Pretear.full.1293414I saw this anime a long time ago when it first came out on crunchyroll. At first I was so excited for it, but the first episode was boring and I soon fell out of watching it. The story, though, is definitely unique and the concept new. Himeno and her Leafe Knights are a fresh addition to the magical girl genre, and to be honest this is not a bad anime. Even though I did not love it off the bat, the anime is actually really good mostly if you like romantic comedies full of drama. Oh and a reverse harem.

What is the anime about?

Shin.Shirayukihime.Densetsu.Pretear.full.1294654Himeno, a high school girl, tries to adjust to her new life after her father remarries to a rich woman. She feels out of place struggling to feel like belongs. On her way to school one day, she meets seven young men known as the Leafe Knights. They explain to her that the red snow that began to fall on the city was actually caused by the Princess of Disaster. She plans to absorb all the life energy, called Leafe, from the town (and later the world), and that they need her to become the legendary warrior Pretear and help them defeat her. (Pretear seems to be magical girls who absorb the Leafe knights and use their powers to fight. The Leafe knights are the essences of certain elements, so the Pretear gain elemental powers). She later learns that the Princess of Disaster was a former Pretaer who, through a number of circumstances, fell into anguish that caused her powers to become evil.

Who are the central characters?

HimenoPretearSoundHimeno Awayuki: Himeno is the protagonist and titular character of the anime. She is a sixteen year old girl whose father remarried, after the death of her mother, to a very rich woman. She has a hard time adjusting to her new high class lifestyle and new family (who do not seem to accept her). One day she meets the Leafe Knights who ask her to help them defeat the Princess of Disaster by becoming a Pretear. Her personality is that of the basic magical girl package. She is kind, good hearted, courageous, hard worker, and stubborn, but with a good moral compass.

TakakoLookFenrir the Princess of Disaster: Takako now known as Fenrir was the Pretear before Himeno, who became evil after certain circumstances occurred. Her goal is to suck all the Leafe from the world, there by destroying it. I cannot say much else with out ruining the basis of the plot line. Just know that she is mixed in deep with the driving drama of the story. The reason she became evil also begins to occur to Himeno so that is also a part of the drama. TheBetterCup thinks the situation is pretty dumb and not a good reason to turn evil, but it works for the magical girl genre.

pretear-screenshot-001Leafe Knights: The seven Leafe Knights are the immortal beings who meant to protect Leafe (earth’s energy source) with the help of the Pretear. They each have control over a different element, and when absorbed by Himeno, give her different powers/abilities and weapons. Hayate (the black haired one in the center with a blue outfit) is the Leafe Knight of the wind and gives Himeno a Wind Sword to fight. He is angry and does not get along with her at first. So, obviously he is her love interest. Sasame (the white haired one with white clothing in the bottom right corner) is the Leafe Knight of Sound. He has the ability to make shockwaves out of sound. In the manga he is a flirt, but in the anime he is serious, mature, quiet, and (get this) a great listener. Himeno uses sonic arrows when transformed with him. Go (the red head with red clothing at the end) is the Leafe Knight of Fire who can throw balls of fire. He is the tough, hot-headed one who mostly looks after the younger knights. He gives Himeno the ability to use a fire ax. Kei (dark skinned one with blonde hair at the left) is the Knight of Light. He throws balls of light and gives Himeno the ability to utilize chakrams of light. He is a narcissist in the anime, but in the manga he was direct/straight forward (like Spock!). Mannen (the shorter white haired boy in the middle) is the eldest of the group of kid Knights. He is the knight of Ice who can freeze stuff and gives Himeno the weapon of an ice beam cannon. He is the clever trouble maker of the group who can be spiteful, disobeys, and is really childish at times. Hajime (the short orange haired little boy) is the Leafe Knight of Water. he has the ability to make whips out of water and gives Himeno the use over water flails. He is the second youngest. Lastly there is Shin (blonde boy with the hat) the Leafe Knight of Plants. He creates containment feilds to protect the world from their battles and seals evil demons. He is the youngest and acts like a crybaby child. She never transforms with him in the anime.

How is the artwork?

The anime is from the early 2000s (it came out 2001) so the art is very much like the 90s magical girls. The characters are long legged, with huge eyes, and obviously cute. It is not my favorite (I really appreciate how male characters, who were not all that well drawn in the 90s anime, progressively got better by today’s day), but is acceptable and nostalgic. She gets to change outfits with each of the knights (as she absorbs them) which is cute.

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What makes this awesome?

Well even though it is not my favorite magical girl, Pretear is a magical girl with a uniqueness. This is the first one where the magical girl gain powers of the elemental nature, the first to have a group of male team members, to absorb said memebers to transform and gain said powers, and the first to use weapons like swords to fight. This is also the first one where the antagonist was a former Pretear whose reason for turning evil is different (cannot ruin it for you, but know that it is full of drama). Pretear has a theme of princesses and fables, like Lilpre, but in its own sort of way. Anyways it is different and enjoyable.

-Blog Barista

I wonder why?

I wonder why?

Check out the episode:

Princess Tutu- by Mizuo Shinonome

tumblr_static_ahiru_arima_render__by_xxsweetlemonadexx-d5o5rr5Even though we have reached the day when Sailor Moon Crystal was released, TheBetterCup and I still wish to continue the Magical Girl Marathon. So today, I am super excited to talk about Princess Tutu. This is one of my favorite magical girls. I did not include her in my Top 5 Maho Shojo only because I was not sure if she counted, but now that I checked, she is definitely a magical girl and she is my fifth favorite one. This show is truly unique, but its originality is emphasized by the amazing plot and fantastic characters.

For a magical girl, you do not see a story that deters this much from the basic outline. Princess Tutu takes place in a fantasy world were magic seems to be a normalcy, and talking animals tend to mix with humans naturally. This is full of magical realism that makes the entire story feel like a story book. I saw Princess Tutu when I was in middle school, about the same time I saw Tokyo Mew Mew, and they were nothing alike (which is why I was not sure she counted as a magical girl). The story was just so different, that she missed many of the formalities that made a magical genre. But looking back now, this a magical girl story. It focuses on an average young girl who is given the abilities to transform into a stronger version of herself (one that exists within her) and fights in the name of goodness, love, justice, friendship, and respect.

-What is this cartoon about?

tumblr_miuzkxrkKE1r7r23oo4_400The story is super interesting and full of drama that makes this heart wrenching and beautiful. It is refreshingly creative while having darker themes included. The entire story is based on story books with an additional ballet theme. The anime opens with an old storyteller that dies before creating an ending to his final story. Then the main story opens. It focuses on a little duck named Ahiru who is given a magical necklace that allows her to change into a young girl and into a magical girl named Princess Tutu. Her goal is to collect the missing shards of a young prince’s heart. Yet, there is an evil puppet master that attempts to control the entire story and Ahiru’s fate.

-Who are the central characters?

Ahiru6ahiru en piedDuck/Ahiru Arima: Duck is the protagoinist and titular character of Princess Tutu. She is a normal little duck that falls in love with a lonely prince. Her wish to make him happy is granted, when a strange man named Dosselmeyer gives her a pendant that allows her to transform into a 13 year old girl named Ahiru. With this ability she is also able to become Princess Tutu, a magical girl that collects shards of the prince’s heart. Of course she cannot stay human if she quacks or touches water, and she vanishes if she proclaims her love to the prince. Duck’s personality matches well with the fact that she is a duck. She is awkward. Ahiru tends to be very easily excited, talks very much, clumsy, uncollected, scatterbrained, and nervous. Yet she also holds the qualities of any magical girl like kindness, friendliness, and good moral strength.

njsFakir: Fakir goes to the same ballet school as Ahiru. He is 17 teen years old and Mytho’s roommate. He has a major role in the story (sorry I cannot tell with out ruining the awesome plot, but trust me you will love him). Anyways he is the knight that protects the prince by sacrificing his life for him. At first, he is mean and cold toward Ahiru. He acts rude, being very brash and straightforward to her with no concern for her feelings, and acting possessive of Mytho. At first he even tends to be a little afraid of what may happen. After they learn to work together, he opens up to her. He is a possible love interest for Ahiru.

rueRue/Princess Kraehe: Rue is a very talented and advanced ballet dancer in Ahiru’s school. Rue has a very sad story and dark past that is revealed throughout the anime.  With out ruining the plot, I will tell you only that Rue is the Raven in the story (kind of). She is very attached to Mythos, wishing to make him her prince, and she is able to change like Ahiru into Princess Kraehe. Rue is distant and snobbish. She does not make anyfriends (she only keeps her goal in focus) but can be kind and good hearted at times. As Kraehe, she is completely different. Kraehe is manipulative, and dark person. She acts with pride, cruelty, and jealousy.

vlcsnap-51468Mytho: Mytho is the 16 year old prince of the story. His entire heart is shattered and with out the missing parts causes him to be emotionless. He is one of the main reasons behind each of the other characters’s actions. Even though he is so central, he does not seem to be the most prominent character in the anime. He is Ahiru’s main love interest, and her reason for being able to become human. Mytho is unemotional and easily ordered around.

rv1NOVaDosselmeyer: Dosselmeyer is an old man that grants to Ahiru the magical pendant that allows her to transform from a duck into a girl and into Princess Tutu. He has a huge role in the plot, acting mainly as an antagonist (but in what way I will not tell). As the writer who created the story of the prince and the raven, he tries to control the characters so as to end the story as he wishes. At first, he seems to be trying to help Duck, but it is quickly revealed that his motives are not what they seem. He is sadistic, selfish, and cruel. His goal is to have an entertaining story no matter what the cost to the characters. He is actually really twisted and scary, as far as magical girl antagonist go, he is very dark maybe second to Kyubey.

-How is the Artwork?

The artwork is simple, but super cute. It does not have anything particularly amazing, and yet it is not necessarily average either. The magic and colors tend parallel its darker themes since they are more grey, dull, and not bright or exciting.

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-What makes the cartoon awesome?

The idea is extremely different and unique. The entire plot is bizarre and full of drama that will eat at your heart. The entire thing is beautiful and artistic as well. I personally loved it, and the story is well worth it all.

-Blog Barista

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I wonder what she is saying…

Sailor Moon Crystal- by Naoko Taeuchi

12And finally the day has come that the new revamped Sailor Moon has been released on Crunchyroll. The excitement has been built up since last year with the release being changed multiple times, but it has finally been released. Now let me start by stating (I have already said this before but let me do it again) my love for Sailor Moon. I grew up with this show. It is the gateway anime that has led me to enjoy so much great (and horrible) anime which I enjoy. Sailor Moon is what represents my childhood if I had to pick one character to symbolize it for me. I loved the cartoon and still do, heck my student ID hangs off an awesome pink sailor senshi lanyard. And the two things that best contain my fond memories was the awesome opening and the beautiful transformation sequences. TheBetterCup and I loved it so much, but I do have some mixed opinions that I feel I should share.

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Story: 

So let me start off with the story. The plot line is the same as the original and the first episode follows the same exact events as the first episode of the 1990’s version. It was nice to see that the story will be about the same. The only difference is, and since only one episode has been released so far I cannot guarantee this, that the story of the Sailor Moon Crystal will follow more closely to the original Manga plot line.

If you are unfamiliar with Sailor Moon, you maybe one of the younger generation who missed out on this, then let me give you a small synopsis. Sailor Moon focuses on the story of fourteen year old Usagi Tsukino.  As she realizes her true identity as Pretty Soilder Sailor Moon, she battles alien monsters attempting to take over the universe.

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Characters:

The characters, just like the story, are exactly as they were in the original. Sadly, the first episode only introduces Usagi, Luna, and Mamoru. Their voices maybe different, but their relationships remain intact. The only big difference at this point that I feel may be present in more than just episode one, is that Luna does not seem to be as naggy as she was in the original. Usagi is just as much of a crybaby and klutz as was her original lovable self.

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Artwork:

Now it is very obvious that the animation has changed drastically. The art is so smooth and so beautiful. That is not to say that the original version is not, but the new one does come with all the advances of the time. It is gorgeous. The art though still retains the same style of the original with elongated limbs and a specific characteristic in the way the faces are drawn. Also all the characters keep true to their original designs, so no worries, you will know who they are when you see them.

Comparison:

So now we must compare the two together. That is the only way to know if this will be better or worse.

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Complaints:

I have few negative things to say. I really, really loved this, and yet…. One the anime is missing all of Usagi’s exaggerated expressions, which is a shame cause they were hilarious. There was one thing that really startled me and drowned me in disappointment. The original transformation was so beautiful and is the epitome of my childhood. And in this new version, the transformation was in a CGI animation. It was so startling and saddening and just…. ugly. Her limbs reminded me of One Piece, and it all lost the magic that it had. It looked really fake, out of place, and just bad. Worst of all its longer then the original. I feel like it is just a waste of time, and she could have gone with out any transformation and it would have been better. But you know what, I could get used to it.

Overall:

For the most part I loved it! I am so happy that it was remade, and it turned out great. But of course the original will always be better for me, mostly because this will always be, to me, one of my favorite childhood memories. Anyways, we plan on continuing the marathon a little longer. There are so many more Magical Girls to go!

-Blog Barista

Yayus!!!!

Yayus!!!!

First Episode of Crystal:

http://www.crunchyroll.com/sailor-moon-crystal/episode-1-usagi-sailor-moon-656623

First Episode of Original:

Transformation Comparison:

Opening of the 1990’s Version:

Tokyo Mew Mew- by Reiko Yoshida

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Today is Day 17 of our magical girl marathon, and we will be looking at one of my favorite magical girl anime, Tokyo Mew Mew. This one is particularly special for me, because I saw the entire series in elementary school (subbed not dubbed). It, along with Sailor Moon, is what paved the path for my love of frilly, cute, badass heroines, and eventually lead me to others like Shugo Chara and Madoka. Sadly, the BlogBarista does not hold a love for this show as adamant as my own.

 -What is this cartoon about?

mewewewThe show starts out with your average middle school girl, Ichigo Momomiya, going out with her crush, Masaya Aoyama. They are enjoying their day at an endangered animal exhibit, but unbeknownst to her she has been targeted by two men. An earthquake (and some mysterious light) knocks her out, and she awakes to find that she has cat-like abilities. It seems her DNA has been scrambled with that of the Iriomote wildcat, and now she can transform into a cat-eared, pink haired warrior named Mew Ichigo. She and four other girls chosen to posses these “Red Data” animal DNA for the Mew Project, Earths only hope to fend off the aliens and their leader known as Deep Blue. As she works part time at a pastry shop, the MewMew Headquarters, she meets interesting characters and pretty much goes through the magical girl story of love, friendship, shocking personas, and defeating a new Chimera creature each day.

-Who are the central characters?

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Ichigo Momomiya (pink) at first feels like another Usagi. She is hyper, cheery, madly in love, sweet, and a klutz (she even has pigtails); however, she is not the crybaby type and turns out to be very headstrong, brave, and hard working. She is the leader of Tokyo Mew Mew, but she’d rather spend her free time shopping or with Masaya. She loves sweets and eating in general, except for carrots, and she transforms into a pink, cat themed heroine, Mew Ichigo.

Minto Aizawa (blue) is initially the small, spoiled, rich, snobby character, but eventually you learn that she is empathetic, very caring, but headstrong. She loves dancing ballet (which is evident in her transformation), and she loves French food, which is cliched for the rich character. Her DNA is mixed with the Blue Lorikeet, and she becomes Mew Mint. She also idolizes Mew Zakuro.

Retasu Midorikawa (green… literately her name is Lettuce Green River) is the character I feel is forgotten at times. Looking at her, no one can guess that her animal DNA is a Finless Porpoise. Actually, I thought she was some bug at first. She even has one of the shorter transformations, which is disappointing. Anyway, she fits the cookie cutter personality of the smart girl. She is shy, sweet, polite, and positive, though she has little confidence in her own abilities. She speaks formally to everyone, even family, and she doesn’t fight as Mew Lettuce unless it is to defend someone. Her favorite food is shiitake mushrooms. The unique thing about her, however, is that she has a crush on Ryou Shirogane. Blog Barista really liked her and cheered for them to be a couple.

Bu-Ling Huang (yellow) is the youngest MewMew (by like two years) and is Chinese. She loves doing acrobatics, which is what her fighting simulates. She also loves playing, because she is the “child” character, which is immature, full of energy, and hyperactive. This matches the Golden Lion Tamarin DNA scrambled with hers. Her favorite foods are tientsin/sweet chestnuts and pudding, and like any kid she dislikes onions. Her outfit is Chinese themed, she becomes Mew Pudding, and her love interest is one of the aliens, Tart.

Zakuro Fujiwara (purple) is a model and actress who speaks many languages and is idolized by young girls. She has a hard past, however, being left alone as a child and losing someone close. She also has a lot of church themes and symbols, visiting the church when she is confused. She is the “loner” character, who refuses at first to fight with the Mews, but later becomes the mature, calm older sister character. She likes watermelon, milk, and the internet, but hates natto (fermented soybeans). She is Mew Zakuro, and her DNA contains that of the Grey Wolf.

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Quiche Ikisatashi is one of the three antagonists working for Deep Blue to “reclaim” Earth. He is carefree, clever, and playful, though as a child he was always sad. He also seems open-minded, but then again he wants to destroy mankind. He even as a cruel sense of humor, playing with his opponents (he’s sadistic). Even though he teases Ichigo a lot (even a little possessive of her) and wants to wipe out humanity, he is actually very kind and only wants to help his people, family, and friends. He acts for what he thinks is a noble cause, so you can’t actually hate him. Throughout the series Quiche is shown to have developing feelings for Ichigo, whcih alternate between love and obsession.

Tart Ikisatashi is another one of the alien antagonists. He is a crybaby and hates being called small. He argues alot, mostly with Ichigo, and acts very childish and rude. He is similar to Bu-Ling as they both like having fun and playing games, though he likes to make people cry. He also laughs a lot and throws tantrums and has a curious personality. He has a crush on Bu-Ling.

Pai Ikisatashi is the last of the alien antagonists. He is the calm, serious, and analytical character, who does not express is emotions and rarely smiles (God hes the Spock of Tokyo Mew Mew). His mission is to wipe out humanity, and though he seems emotionless, he shows interest in Retasu.


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Keiichiro Akasaka and Ryou Shirogane are the two mysterious men who recruit Mew warriors. Kaiichiro is the main leader of the Mew Porject and he is the baker in Cafe Mew Mew. He is calm and sympathetic, often seen as the gentleman with excellent taste and manners. Ryou is the genius in this partnership. He is stubborn, rude, headstrong, sarcastic, and anti-social though he cares a lot for the Mews. He is the closet thing to a magical creature, because he helps the girls and advises them (though there is this ball of floating fluff). He the love interest of Retasu and Ichigo at one point.

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Masaya Aoyama is Ichigo’s love interest. He is popular at school, polite, and calm. He is an interesting character (that is ALL I will say).

-How is the Artwork?

The artwork looks old, but its so cute. The transformations are great and the little CG they do just works with the simplicity. At first you think it would look cheap and badly done, but the animation is actually great.

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-What makes the cartoon awesome?

Even though its cliched, it is pretty unique at times. The drama is not overly done like in Mermaid Melody, and though it resembles Sailor Moon, this is the only animal DNA based magical girls (so its more like unrealistic science magical girls). I also like that the entire show follows two themes: nature/animals and sweets. This is a great cartoon and just one more magical girl to add some variety to the genre.

-TheBetterCup

 

Me trying to do all the Precures.

Me trying to do all the Precures.

 

Check it out!!

CardCaptor Sakura- by Clamp

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Clamp is a group of manga artists that is formed by four female members. They began in the mid 1980s and have produced some of the most famous mangas/anime in history. Anyone who has been in the anime/manga hobby since the 90s has heard of at least one of  their popular stories. Some of their more well known ones include xxxHolic, Chobits, Kobatu, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, and CardCaptor Sakura. For the fifth day of the Magical Girl Marathon, we will be talking about CardCaptor Sakura. Now I personally dislike most Clamp produced animes, but CardCaptor Sakura is amazing and my childhood.

-What is the cartoon about?

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The story is like any typical magical girl with a bit of a unique twist. Sakura discovers a mysterious book in her fathers study one day When she opens it, she discovers a set of magical cards that are called Clow Cards. She reads the name aloud, Windy, and accidentally uses its magic. The cards are scattered in the town and she awakes the books guardian. To save the city from the dangers of the cards, and collect them all, the Guardian, Cerbus, gives her a magical wand. She begins the journey as CardCaptor, and must keep it a secret from her family and her friends (not her best friend though). She also has to deal with her normal everyday life: her caring older brother who teases her a lot, her crush and brother’s best friend, and tsundere rival in collecting the Clow Cards.

-Who are the central characters?

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Sakura Kinomoto: The main protagonist and titular character, Sakura is a fourth grader that lives with her father and older high school aged brother. She is a very cheerful young girl, who tends be naive, clueless, and spaces out every once in a while. She is extremely talented in athletics, but hates math. She can be tumblr_n2whqqCZpb1s1jmnvo4_r2_250cowardly at times when it comes to ghosts and the supernatural.

Sakura is really liked by mostly everyone. She is kind and sweet, and her personality is very likable. TheBetterCup and I are grateful that she is not the klutzy type, and she  is actually really spunky sometimes. She is in love with her older brother’s best friend, Yukito, and her crush on him is cute and innocent. This is one magical girl (at least in the last bunch that we have seen) that does not start a romance with someone who could be considered a grown adult. She may like Yukito but he sees her as a much younger, very kind friend. She does not have a magical girl transformation, but she does have a magical capturing incantation that makes up for it. Best of all, she does not have pedophile panty shots!

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Cerberus (also known as Kero): Kero is the guardian of the magical book that held the Clow Cards. He appoints Sakura as the candidate to be the new master of the cards. Unlike most magical creature side kicks, Kero does not just nag at Sakura. He sees the loss of the Clow Cards as his responsibility also, and tries his best to help her. He is her friend, protector, and adviser in understanding all the magic that comes into her life. He can still be bossy sometimes, and demanding, and voracious (mostly eating a lot of sweets), and a little pompous. He looks like a little stuffed animal with wings, but his true form looks like a large winged tiger/lion thing. His powers come from the sun and is self sustaining.

images (1)Tomoyo Daidouji: Tomoyo is Sakura’s best friend and second cousin. She comes from a very rich family (her dad owns a large Toy Company), and so she has a lot of connections so she gets Sakura lots of useful gadgets to help. She designs all of Sakura’s outfits to be functional and cute, and she also records her adventures. Tomoyo is a little obsessive of Sakura, but she is kind, caring, nurturing, mature, and very formal. She helps Sakura just like any girl’s best friend. She supports her with her crush, and gives her advice when she needs it. She is also a really talented singer.

Lots of people are a little bit unsettled by how mush Tomoyo is fanatic with Sakura. I do not mind much. I think she is a great friend and someone that Sakura needs in her life.

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Syaoran Li: Syaoran is Sakura’s rival (and, near the end, a love interest). He is a descendant of the man that made the Clow Cards so he feels he deserves to be the Master of the Cards. At first he is mean, but slowly he begins to respect and help Sakura. He is definitely the tsundere of the cast, which is really cute. I liked the way his relationship with Sakura developed. It had a chance to go in the really basic direction, but the characters are well made and develop in a great pace.

Syaoran is skilled in martial arts, fights with a sword, and he has some magical ability (detecting the cards and casting spells with those papers and incantations). He was born in Hong Kong, and comes to Japan so as to collect the Clow Cards to become a candidate for the Clow Card Master.

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Yue: He is brother of Kero, and the second Guardian of the Clow Cards. His powers come from the moon, and are not self sustaining. He is dependent on the power of his master. So he is the judge of who will be the Master of the Clow Cards.

He is aloof, serious, and hard to get close to at first. Over course as time lapse, he slowly begins to respect and like Sakura.

-How is the Artwork?

One of the reasons I am not all that interested in Clamp is that I am not a fan of their drawing style. Even though I say that, I still find CardCaptor Sakura to be cute, and it only gets better as the series progresses. The outfits are definitely the best part, so much cuteness!!!

tumblr_n1zmewp89A1rja04io1_500tumblr_n332bdL2yA1r1bz0wo10_250tumblr_n332bdL2yA1r1bz0wo8_250tumblr_n1zmewp89A1rja04io2_500tumblr_n332bdL2yA1r1bz0wo3_250tumblr_n332bdL2yA1r1bz0wo5_250tumblr_n1zmewp89A1rja04io3_500tumblr_n332bdL2yA1r1bz0wo6_250tumblr_n48mdjzQkR1r5avtxo7_r1_250-Cardcaptors-Screenshot-02-cardcaptors-english-dub-25017879-640-480

-What makes the cartoon awesome?

imagesSakura CardCaptor puts a fresh twist on the whole idea of magical girls. Her personality is unique, but keeps the qualities that we love in these girls (kindness, strength, childlike innocence, and good-heartedness). She has crazy outfits but how she gains them makes more sense and is actually useful. Her magical creature is more supportive than usual, and everything is extra cute.

-Blog Barista

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Her outfits are so cute!

 

Check it out:

Kimi ga Inakya Dame tte Itte- by Hatsuharu

aaaaaaaaaaaaa I read a new manga today that I felt was very interesting, and I was excited to share. It is called Kimi ga Inakya Dame tte Itte; translated into English, it means Say You Can’t Be Without Me. I saw the cover while searching the interwebs, and it really caught me eye. I know I did a post of good romance manga just recently, and this one is super new like they have yet to release the third chapter in volume one, but I like it so far. I am pretty sure this one will be in my top favorites, and I am so excited for a new chapter to come out soon. It just seems to fit in with all the other manga that I love. Let me give you me review and opinion, then you will understand.

So let me first give you a synopsis of the manga’s plot. The story focuses on Nayu and Oumi, childhood friends who are now in high school. aaaaaaaaaEver since they were young, Oumi has been a complete airhead getting into more accidents that could have killed him then one would like to mention. Anyways, Nayu is his closest friend who takes on the role of ‘guardian’ keeping him from trouble and being very motherly towards him. Now they are in high school, Nayu is sixteen years and Oumi fifteen. Nayu has never seen their relationship as any other kind then childhood friends (almost like a brother), even though others have questioned her true feelings towards him. When Oumi confesses to her that he has a crush on the school beauty, Nayu has the sudden realization that she may actually like him very much. Swallowing her feelings, she tells herself to strive for his happiness and gives advice to help. Even so, it turns out the school beauty is actually in love with and dating their art teacher. A tangle of unrequited love has unraveled, how will Nayu choose to deal with everything that has just been brought to light? Yep… this is a tricky situation.

bluI am not sure yet, since this is so new of a manga, but so far it does not rub off as extremely dramatic and annoying. Each of the plot points have unraveled quiet nicely, and the characters do not have super extreme or unrealistic reactions. I felt like the way Nayu’s feelings toward Oumi were revealed was a good example of this. She was confused at first, like a normal girl would be, she was not really sure if her feelings were sisterly or if she felt more. Then when she did decide it was more, she felt it was wrong of her (that as a friend she should be helping him), and she tried to act cheerfully (which was hard for her to do, but it manifested itself like cold symptoms almost). Anyways, I find it to be at a good pace, and the story to be pretty realistic so far. My one complaint would be about Oumi. I like that he has this innocence connected to his character, but he is a teen age boy. He knows what he maybe doing is inappropriate or not. When he pulled Nayu down and held himself above her and then followed to fall asleep on top of her like a kid (it was a quick scene and not to big of a deal), he knew better. I doubt he could not remember really, and I am even more sure that he knew that was crossing a line for just friends.

Still I love it, and I am so excited for more! You can read it too at MangaHere.com.

-Blog Barista

 

Here have some romance! *throws hearts in your face*

Here have some romance! *throws hearts violently in your face*

Top Favorite Romance Manga

EDIT: THEBETTERCUP AND I HAVE REPLACED HANASAKU IROHA WITH KURAGEHIME. READ ABOUT IT HERE: www.espressocomsaudade.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/kuragehime-by-akiko-higashimura/

Also I replaced Taiyou no Ie with Haru x Kiyo which you can read about here: http://www.espressocomsaudade.wordpress.com/2015/05/15/romance-manga-review/ 

And also I am adding Ao Haru Ride, whose manga was one of the best ever, this will make the list round out to ten instead of nine. I talked about the anime here: http://www.espressocomsaudade.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/three-anime-review-day-2/

Also Horimiya is replaced by Kengai Princess read here: http://www.espressocomsaudade.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/kengai-princess-by-aida-natsumi/

...Romance...

…Romance…

TheBetterCup and I are saps for romantic type manga. Even though we may not have the exact same tastes in manga, we can wholeheartedly agree on at least a small list of our very favorite ones. We basically agree on all of these (except one that TheBetterCup has yet to read that I recommend, and one that I have yet to read that she recommends. But we told each other the plot and agreed that we liked them. Besides she loved hers too much not to include it, and I respect that). Anyways so now we will present our top favorite romance manga.

  • Kaichou wa Maid-sama!

blluReading this manga not only made me laugh my buns off, but it also made me cry like a baby when I reached the end. Kaichou wa Maid-sama! is about Misaki Ayuzawa, the first female student council president of a once all boys school called Seika. The rowdy male population of the student body is not exactly accepting of its new co-ed standards, and the female minority suffer and cower from the reckless majority. Misaki decides to take matters into her own hands, and tries to reform the school into a safe environment (Who am I kidding.  Shes trying to make it into an actual school).

Kaichou wa Maid-sama!

Kaichou wa Maid-sama!

Misaki trains long, studies hard, and does a dang good job as the student council president, and this has brought her the reputation of an “uptight boy-hating demon dictator” among the guys and hope for the girls. Here’s the best part though, to support her family she takes a part time job, which she is embarrassed would ruin her tough-as-nails image. She works in a maid cafe. She tries everything to keep this a secret, but one day the most popular boy at school, Takumi Usui, discovers her secret. Usui is smart, athletic, and has a cool demeanor, but as the story progresses Misaki finds out that his life isn’t perfect and that he hides a couple of skeletons in his closet.

Overall this is a wonderful manga and definitely worth reading. There is a whole cast of awkward, colorful, and confused characters, that just like Misaki and Usui struggle to accept themselves. A warning though. This manga is one giant ridiculous cliche. Its sappy as heck and predictable at times (but I loved it so much!)

-TheBetterCup

  • Taiyou No Ie
Taiyou no Ie

Taiyou no Ie

Taiyo no ie focuses on the story of Motomiya Mao and her childhood friend, Nakamura Hiro. Mao is a high school student whose relationship with her parents have never been good. As her family broke apart when she was young, her father has kept himself distant with her and started a new family instead. Through unhappy circumstances, Mao as lost her place in the home. She starts to live with her childhood friend, 23 year old Hiro, whose household and family have always felt like home to her. She helps Hiro to accomplish his goal that one day his brother, sister, and Mao would once more live together.

bluTaiyou no ie is slice of life, romance, and shoujo manga. Mao is a stubborn character that bottles up her emotions and thoughts. She is always tough and childlike (but not a whiny baby or an idiot), she becomes pleased when she finds out she has a home to go to where someone will be waiting for her. Hiro, on the other hand, is very motherly. He takes care of the home and of the people he cares for. Slowly they have a budding romance that is not weighed down by angst.

-Blog Barista

  • Kimi ni Todoke

bOk, it seems that most of the manga I pick center around a character who is misunderstood or struggling with their identity, and I will tell you right now that this manga falls into that category. The story of Kimi ni Todoke focuses on a girl, Kuronuma Sawako, nicknamed Sadako by her classmates, because she looks like the yuurei from “The Ring” (what makes it worse was it started in elementary school. What the heck!?).

Kimi ni Todoke

Kimi ni Todoke

In reality, Sawako is a timid, sweet girl who longs to be liked by others. Since everyone fears her (and spreads rumors that she has powers and sees ghosts) she is always alone, and this causes her to admire a popular boy in her class, Kazehaya-kun. He is “100% refreshing,” meaning his personality is liked by everyone. Once Kazehaya starts talking to her, however, she begins to open up to her class and even make true, long-lasting friends (her friends are very weird, just like her, and also struggle with acceptance; however, they are wonderful people and very supportive). Eventually, Kazehaya and Sawako find out they “like” each other, and the two of them face “high school” obstacles like bullies, love drama, and finding out what they want to do with their lives after high school.

The part that gets me is that the entire time she thanks Kazehaya for all the changes in her life, but in reality its all because of how awesome she is that all she needed was for others to see that.

-TheBetterCup

  • Hanasaku Iroha
Hanasaku Iroha

Hanasaku Iroha

Hanasaku Iroha centers around a sixteen year old girl names Matsumae Ohana. One day, her mother decides to elope with her boyfriend and run away from debtors. So, she sends Ohana to live with her estranged grandmother. Ohana moves from Tokyo to the countryside. While there, her grandmother makes her work at their hot springs inn, and Ohana makes it her goal to become the perfect hostess.

bllHanasaku Iroha is a coming of age, slice of life, and romance manga. The romance is not a main focal point in this one, but both Ohana and her friend have love stories blooming. Ohana is an optimistic heroine who is strong willed and realistic. Her best friend, Koichi, confesses to her in the beginning, but she does not realize her feelings till after she left Tokyo and him. While working in the hot springs inn, her new coworker, and friend, Minko has her own love story going on as well which Ohana accidentally gets mixed in to.

-Blog Barista

  • ToraDora

blusSo this story is a little different because it revolves around a male high school student, Ryuuji Takasu. He has a gentle personality (like a puppy), but because of his eyes everyone thinks he is some intimidating delinquent (so he has almost no friends). In his second year of high school he is put into the same class as his best and only friend, Yuusaku Kitamura, his hidden crush, Minori Kushieda, and Minori’s best friend, Taiga Aisaka.

ToraDora

ToraDora

But Taiga has an infamous reputation as the school’s “Palmtop Tiger”. Her delicate, child-like appearance contrasts with her brutal personality, and when Ryuuji accidentally bumps into her she takes an instant dislike towards him. Eventually, Ryuuji learns that Taiga is his neighbor (he lives in a dinky apartment with his mother, but Taiga lives all alone in a huge, brand new apartment building). He also learns that Taiga likes Yuusaku, so they agree to help each other get closer to their love interests. Taiga takes advantage of Ryuuji, getting him to do her chores and feed her (but she was just very lonely). They spend a lot of time together, and they see sides of each other no one else sees (but they do try to help each other with how others see them). Eventually Ryūji and Taiga confess their true feelings of love towards each other.

Okay, so all of the manga I talk about I love equally, but if I have to sell one of them to ya’ll, this would be the one I would be shoving down your throat. Why this one? Well each of them have their flaws, but I just loved Taiga and Ryuuji. Ones gentle with a brutal exterior, and the other is the exact opposite. Even though I prefer the magical world of Kamisama Kiss or the very strong character of Misaki, I find that this manga reaches a nice place where the pros balance out the cons.

-TheBetterCup

  • Horimiya
Horimiya

Horimiya

Horimiya is one of the nicest manga I have read. It is about a young girl named Kyoko Hori who acts differently at home then she does at school. Her parents are always working, so she ends up doing all the housework and taking care of her younger brother. So she does not have a normal social life. One day she meets a young boy from her class, Izumi Miyamura, that also seems different at school and outside of it. Miyamura goes from being quiet and bookish to being a friendly boy with tattoos and piercings whose grades suck. Together they learn each other’s secrets and share a part of their lives that no one else knows.

bluuHorimiya is a comedy, slice of life, and shonen romance (I had no idea, it reads like a shoujo). Hori is a popular, energetic, and hardworking girl. She is strong and really independent. She falls in love with Miyamura who is laid back, shy, and awkward. He is covered in tattoos and piercings that he has to keep covered up. He has a hard time making friends and tends to space out easily, but he would do anything for Hori. The story goes through their relationship and how it helps them be themselves outside of their homes.

-Blog Barista

  • Kamisama Kiss

bblushOK, so this story is also about a high school girl (not surprising) named Nanami, but it has a little more magic in it then the other manga I picked. This is kind of like the girly, modern day version of Inuyasha with a human girl finding herself in a world of yokai, yada yada yada she falls in love and what not. So, one day Nanami’s butt face father runs away because of his gambling debts, and Nanami (all alone because her mom is dead, and she has no relatives) is evicted and left to wander the streets.

Kamisama Kiss

Kamisama Kiss

As she, a shelter-less orphan, walks aimlessly she meets this man named Mikage, who is afraid of dogs (he was in a tree and she rescues him from a puppy). In thanks he gives her his house (she is homeless so of course she accepts it, but it is still a little off putting if someone just GIVES you an entire house). Fast forward a bus ride, and she finds its not any house but a shrine. She is greeted by Onikiri and Kotetsu the keepers of the shrine and Tomoe, Mikage’s familiar. But get this, they are all demons (bam! did not expect that now did ya?!). Anyways, turns out Mikage was the Earth deity of the shrine, but when he kissed her forehead (oh did I not mention that?), he bestowed his mark, which presto change-o makes her the first and only human deity. At first she rejects the entirety of the situation, but as she lives with the Tomoe, Onikiri, and Kotetsu, she begins to work hard as a Deity. Nanami eventually falls in love with Tomoe, the fox demon with a “give no sheez” attitude, but he rejects (a lot) because human yokai relationships are forbidden. As the story progresses Nanami struggles with school life, prejudice and jealousy from other deities, and an evil antagonist connected to Tomoe’s bloody past; however, she also makes many new friends, helps yokai and people, and even wins the heart of Tomoe.

The story is full of humor, because Nanami is a girl who just jumps into a situation without even thinking. She gets herself in a lot of stuff, but it always works out because she has so many people willing to help her.

-TheBetterCup

  • Suki-tte Ii Na Yo
Say I Love You

Say I Love You

Say I love you is my all time favorite romance manga. The story is beautiful and easy to relate to. It focuses on a sixteen year old girl called Mei Tachibana who has never made friends. One day she injures a popular boy in school, Yamato Kurosawa, because of a misunderstanding. Their meeting was brief but it left him interested to get to know her. Through their friendship and blossoming relationship, Mei begins to branch out and befriend others. The story has a lot of darker points that focus on real problems of teens, like bullies, low self esteem, friendship vs fitting in, anorexia, and sex.

blushSay I Love You is romance, comedy, slice of life, and ecchi shoujo. It is an ecchi because it does have suggestions of sex (but not in a perverted type way. It usually has to do with the pressures of society for people to have sex and what it means to people). Anyways, Mei is anti-social, honest young girl who does not make friends. She falls in love with Yamato, a caring young man that is popular due to his nature of looking out for others. Together they go through the ups and downs of having a relationship and what it means to be in love.

If I can get you to leave this blog wanting to read at least one manga, I hope it is this one. This is truly a well written story. Yeah it focuses on high school, just like all the other stories, but the difference is how realistic this one is. There are no silly dramatic twists and the humor is very natural. It feels like reading someone’s daily life in manga form. Yet because you care for Mei, and you see her thoughts, you get just involved in her choices as much as she does. I loved the manga (anime was so-so in comparison), and it is drawn so beautifully. I HIGHLY recommend it.

-Blog Barista

  • Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun

7So this romantic comedy is about a girl, Shizuku Mizutani, who has no interest except to dedicate the majority of her attention and time to focus on her academics, and a boy, Haru Yoshida, who a delinquent classmate who never actually shows up. One day she is given the task to deliver the class printouts to Haru (What teacher does this? Whenever I missed school I had to go ask for the printouts the day I came back. It was every man for himself), and Haru immediately greets her as a friend. Mizutani has a distant, passive demeanor, but Haru, despite being a trouble maker, is passionate and willing to help others. The two are never on the same page when it comes to their relationship, and they each confess and reject the other through out the story.

Tonari Kaibutsukun

Tonari no Kaibutsukun

Now Mizutani struggles with experiencing emotions, making friends, and out growing her selfish tendencies. I want to point out that she is not selfish in a mean way, but that she does not really function in society and tends not to notice its effects on others immediately, but as she makes new friends and hangs out with Haru she begins change her world. Haru also does not function properly in society. He is very emotional, and even when he tries to protect Mizutani, he often hurts her. He wants to help and protect others (he’s like a superhero), but most people fear him as a delinquent. They are scared because he has a tendency to glare menacingly, but he glares because he is equally afraid of them (and their rejection of him) and he does not know how to react or behave. They also fear him because he gets into a lot of fights. Every time he fights, it is to protect someone from bullies, violence, and maltreatment, but his classmates only see him beating people mercilessly (missing the part where he is protecting the victim). But Haru and Mizutani end up helping each other understand how to properly behave in society. She helps him to better control his emotions and let people see how kind he is. He on the other hand, helps her to feel emotions for others, to focus on other people, and not to only care about school work to the point that it makes her distant to everyone. The two of them are actually perfect for each other.

-TheBetterCup

You can find all these at Mangahere.com

-Blog Barista

Two New Favorites, Check Them Out: http://www.espressocomsaudade.wordpress.com/2016/04/01/cute-new-favorites-romance-edition/

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If you succeed at reading all these romance manga, you too can become a love expert like Renge here.