- This is a bonus volume including little vignette’s from Rin’s childhood as well a chapter that takes place after volume 9. When I found out that there was a 10th volume, I was kind of hoping that it would change the horrible (to me anyway) ending of the series. No such luck. But the vignette’s capture everything I loved about this sweet series.
From 5 to 9, volume 3 (French) by Miki Aihara
- Junko pretends to go along with Hoshikawa’s marriage plans but she has no intention of becoming a monk’s wife (no matter how good he is in bed). Her real plan is to pass a test at work and get transferred to the US. The funny thing about this series is the men are rather detestable, both controlling and selfish, and yet, there is something irresistibly sexy about them. I don’t know if it’s Aihara’s art or what but no matter how mad they make me, I can’t completely hate them. I still think they’d make terrible boyfriends though. This volume also introduces Junko’s little sister and her budding love for Yuki. That’s a romance I could get behind.
Gisele Alain, volume 1 (French) by Sui Kasai
- Gisele is the daughter of a noble family but she has run away from home to run a boarding house and to become a jack-of-all-trades. She helps people with their problems, no matter how small or strange. Her naivete about the world and her burning passion turn even the most minor job into an adventure. There are many great characters but Eric, one of her lodgers who she strong arms into helping her, is my favorite. He would be so much fun to pick on!
Honey Smile by Yura Miyazawa
- Two work place romances about secret feelings. The first is about an inexpressive kohai,Sakaki, in love with his less competent sempai, Nachi. It’s sweet how happy he is that Nachi can read his emotions despite his inexpressive face. But I especially liked the second story about a lawyer slowly falling for a part-timer at his office, only to find out that they have a history together. Not one of my top BL titles but it’s really sweet.
Mysterious Honey, volume 1 & 2 (French) by Rei Toma
- While Meiko was napping in the school library, someone kissed her. There are four gorgeous suspects, all with her eye on her. In her search for the culprit, she finds love. This is a really sweet, two volume series. But what sets it apart from other harem series is that Meiko doesn’t need to be clumsy or stupid to be vulnerable or charming. I wish more mangaka treated their heroines the way Toma does. There are also three great short stories. My favorite stars a short, bashful boy with a soprano voice and a lot of complexes. I was completely charmed.
Princess Jellyfish, volume 6 (French) by Akiko Higashimura
- Pressure to sell the residence inhabited by Tsukimi and her fellow otaku women is increasing. The only hope for their home may be Tsukimi’s line of Jellyfish inspired clothing. The girls start despairing but Kuranosuke won’t let them give up. I love love love this series. It is so quirky and well written. And best of all, it laughs with the otaku girls while showing where they shine. Higashimura doesn’t try to transform the girls into beautiful women, she shows the many ways in which they already are.
Punch Up, volume 3 (French) by Shiuko Kano
- Maki and Kota’s relationship is strained by jealousy but before they can resolve their problems, an accident makes Kota regress to his 15 year old self, before he ever loved a man. Though the amnesia plotline has become cliche, the way it’s used here is rather heart wrenching and it doesn’t end well. I hope there is happiness to be found for our heroes in volume 4. I’ve grown rather attached to them.
Rachel Rising, volume 2 by Terry Moore
- Volume 1 ended with a terrible accident, leaving Rachel’s aunt in the hospital and her best friend dead. But like Rachel, Jet doesn’t stay dead. Something very odd is going on in Mason: zombies, witches, possession, revenge, not to mention Lilith and the devil. A lot gets revealed in this volume but I’m still not entirely sure what is going on. Whatever it is it is eerie. I know very bad things will happen, but I cannot put the book down.
Real, volume 11 by Takehiko Inoue
- OMG! OMG! OMG! This is the manga I spend all year waiting for. It is magic. The art is gorgeous, the basketball is exciting and perfectly paced and the story just makes me feel so much! In this volume Nomiya tries out for the Lightnings and Takahashi takes his first steps (so to speak) toward wheelchair basketball. Both of them have grown so much since volume 1. Can I have volume 12 now?… how about now?
Saturn Apartments, volume 6 by Hisae Iwaoka
- In the penultimate volume of this sci-fi series, we begin to see the tension between the lower and upper levels of the ring systems. Lower level residents are fired, mistreated and left to die for the comfort of the upper level residents. Their one hope is the ship they are secretly building to reach earth. This volume had a rather dismal ending but I’m eager to find out how this will all end. At this point I can’t tell if it will be happy or not.