A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{February 28, 2014}   Comics and manga of february

RS-Simone-Vol1-CovA huge comic month and so much amazing new stuff (Red Sonja! Hokuto no Ken! Vinland Saga! An! So! Much! More!), choosing a cover to illustrate it was a challenge but who can resist the red headed she-demon? 😀

Baby-sitters, volume 1 (French) by Hari Tokeino

  • Ryuichi is used to taking care of his little brother, so when the two boys are orphaned, he agrees to help out in the school day care in exchange for a place to stay. So cute! Tokeino draws adorable toddlers and the stories are really sweet. I already feel attached to all the little ones.

Batman Li’l Gotham, volume 1 by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs

  • I bought this expecting a silly DC characters as children gag comic like Mini Marvels but this was so much better! This is a collection of light hearted, but character appropriate, Holiday themed shorts. I was absolutely charmed! Not to mention that the art is both cute and gorgeous somehow.

Billy Bat, volume 9 (French) by Naoki Urasawa

  • The series is far from over in Japan, but I feel that I’m finally starting to get a sense of what’s really going on (though Urasawa has fooled me that way in previous series). The various characters who see the mysterious bat are gathering in the Kii province of Japan, seeking a mysterious scroll that may be the origin of the bat and, if Albert Einstein is to be believed, the key to time travel. This isn’t like any other thriller I’ve ever read, and to be honest, I never have any idea where Urasawa is taking me, but as usual he has me on the edge of my seat and turning pages like mad.

Bokurano, volume 10 by Mohiro Kitoh

  • The series feels like it is heading to a conclusion. In this volume Jun and Yoko visit the loved ones of all the deceased pilots while they wait to pilot the Zearth in turn. I’ve come to expect tragedy from this series but even so the ending surprised me.

Fatale, volume 4: Pray for Rain by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

  • An amnesiac Josephine stay in the home of a failing grunge band but her powers quickly turn on them to disastrous results. This remains an amazing Lovecraftian noir tale but I’d admit that I’m starting to have trouble keeping track of the different characters and narratives. There is a lot going on, most of it likely to send a pleasant shiver of fear down your back.

Happy Science, volume 1 (French) by Miyuki Yorita

  • Minori finds herself homeless and miserable but an odd scientist offers to feed and shelter her in exchange for her participation in his experiment. He wants to find out what causes happiness in the brain. If you think that sounds like the premise of a porno… you’re not the only one. But it’s actually an amusing and tame story. Not my favorite of the month but it is certainly unique.

His Favorite, volume 6 by Suzuki Tanaka

  • I’m honestly a bit surprised that Tanaka has been able to sustain this series so long. Not much happens. This is the valentine’s volume with the usual panic about chocolates. There is also a bizarre story about the four boys being knocked out and stranded on a desert island for summer vacation… but even this is barely exploited. Still, the series about too very different boys in love still manages to be sweet.

Hokuto no Ken, Ultimate Volumes 1 & 2 (French) by Buronson and Tetsuo Hara (Also know as Fist of the North Star)

  • In the category of so ludicrous it’s brilliant is a Mad Max-esque series about Ken, trained in a type of martial arts so powerful that he can make people blow up from the inside just by touching them. He roams post-apocalyptic Japan, saving the innocent and giving tyrants a well deserved beat down. If you like action, sci-fi and aren’t afraid of the ridiculous, this may be the series for you.

Kids on the Slope, volume 5 (French) by Yuki Kodama

  • Sentaro and Kaoru reconcile at the school festival – and manage to boost their popularity at the same time – and Jun is back but he is no longer the man that Sentaro admired. Friendship, jazz and heartbreak. A really beautiful, bittersweet series.

Mr Mini Mart by Junko

  • This is an absolutely charming and relatively innocent BL. A boy bullied out of high school and a big softy with a scary exterior fall in love while working at a mini mart. It was a real pleasure.

My Little Pony: Pony Tales, volume 2

  • This volumes collects stories about four of the secondary characters (the cutie mark crusaders, Spike, Celestia and Luna). All are adorable and funny and full of pop culture references as usual (keep an eye out for pony Chef Ramsey ;)) but I was especially fond of the story where Luna does Celestia’s job for the day.

No Longer Heroine, volume 4 & 5 (French) by Momoko Koda

  • Rita seems to finally have developed feelings for Hatori but he’s hesitant to leave his girlfriend for her. Meanwhile Hiromitsu is pursuing her even more aggressively, declaring his love for her. I like this series because it turns usual shojo manga tropes on their heads. I can’t say that I like any of the characters (aside from Hatori’s best friend), their all quite selfish and horrible most of the time, but they often surprise a laugh out of me, even if it is sometimes a horrified laugh.

Piece, volume 8 (French) by Hinako Ashihara

  • After 7 volumes, the two Narumi brothers are finally together. But just when the truth of their relationship with the late Haruka finally seems to be revealed, new secrets further muddle the mystery. A very well executed emotional thriller; I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Princess Jellyfish, volume 17 (French) by Akiko Higashimura

  • Tsukimi and her friends work day and night to prepare their ready-to-wear collection for a fair. When they catch the eye of the head of a fashion empire, things start to look up. I lovve this series in general, but in this volume I kept madly turning pages to see what new designs they’d come up with and what would happen next. One of my all time favorite shojo manga.

Red Sonja, volume 1 by Gail Simone

  • I’ve been looking forward to this since I heard that Simone would be writing Red Sonja and she did not disappoint. She gives us gladiators, plague, cruel kings and good ones, betrayal and fights against old friends. The story is action packed and you cannot help but love Sonja for her skill, her courage, her brash personality and her loyalty. And let’s be honest, she’s just plain bad ass. Simone also fills the volume will an amazing cast of new characters. A must read for fans of action and fantasy comics.

Silver Diamond, volume 13 & 14 (French) by Shiho Sugiura

  • Rakan and his party meet up with the “Number children” as they continue their trek to the capital, planting greenery in the desert world as they go. These two volumes begin to touch on Chigusa’s forgotten past and the mysteries of an ancient, underground world. I always struggle to find an interesting way to describe this series, which comes down to a long walk in the desert, but it is a really well executed fantasy (with an unfortunate dearth of women) that I keep finding myself coming back to.

Switch Girl, volume 5, 6, 7 & 8 (French) by Natsumi Aida

  • This series is Kare Kano taken to a ludicrous extreme: our heroine goes from a lazy, penny pinching slob to an elegant beauty. Volumes 5 & 6 offer nothing new in terms of plot – school festival, new teacher up to no good and a Christmas date with her sweetie – but Nika’s wacky personality bring fresh humour to the situations. Volumes 7 & 8 do something more interesting, exploring a very twisted school that pits all the students against each other. One of my favorite storylines yet. But I have to confess that half the fun is the comfort in knowing that you are not the only one doing some of the gross, classless things. 🙂

Tora & Ookami, volume 1 (French) by Yoko Kamio

  • A new manga by one of my favorite shojo mangaka (Boys Over Flowers & Cat Street)! In this one Mii, an orphan who works in her grandmother’s restaurant, meets two young men who look like characters straight out of her favorite BL manga and slash fiction. There are a few generic elements like a secret relationship (just friendship so far) with teachers but the characters are fun and Kamio has a good sense of humour about her story.

Vinland Saga, volume 12 (French) by Makoto Yukimura

  • This series works on so many registers: a well researched historical drama, an action packed adventure and a reflection on war and violence. And it’s beautifully illustrated to boot. I love this story. In this volume Thorfinn must chose between helping a tragic, enslaved couple and his vow of non-violence.

Yakitate Ja-pan, volume 4 & 5 (French) by Takashi Hashiguchi

  • These two volumes cover the last three rounds of the new employee competition. It still amuses me that  Hashiguchi manages to give a series about baking all the excitement of a sports manga. It may not be the deepest of stories but you do get attached to the main characters and it is always good for a laugh.

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