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February is here ❤️

0ugi: “ 15 / ∞ Random Ouran High School Host Club Gifs ” | Host club, Ouran  high school host club, Ouran host club

          I hope this blog finds you well ✌🏻 I spent my last week of January recovering from the flu, which took a lot out of me 💀 It gave me less time to read physically and to shift a minute focus on revamping my old iPad Mini 2 as my Reading Tablet! It was definitely worth the effort since I've only been reading on the VIZ app via my phone up until now (my back is grateful for it 😅), and I love still having the convenience of reading and keeping track of my collection while on the go. 

I am unfortunately still on the hunt for my bookcases 🔍 

          There is a specific set of IKEA shelves that I'm looking at, but until they are back in stock I'm unable to continue growing my collection efficiently. I'm bummed, but not completely since I now have time to better organize myself and reshift my focus on different sections of my collection. For example, I wish to complete/catch up on the Shojosei titles I've bought in the past. I'm currently watching the A Sign of Affection anime alongside my Manga Book Club members and I definitely wanna completely the set I have before the omnibuses come out. 

          I'm thankful I continue to update my Bookshelf app for all my Manga! It's been useful in helping me categorize my collection efficiently, discover what other readers think about certain series, and track my reading progress and recent purchases with the app's Scanner through your phone's camera. I'm not paid by Bookshelf, but I highly recommend this app to any reader/collector to conveniently access their hoard on the go 📚

With this in mind, let's start the blog 🤙🏻🤙🏻

also Minor Spoilers (bc reasons) 

. . . 

Week 1 (Jan 28 - Feb 3)

One Operation Joker, Vol 3

     + One Operation Joker Vol. 3

            Written by Satoshi Miyagawa and Illustrated by Keisuke Gotou

     + Astro Baby

            Written and Illustrated by Shiro Moriya

So I managed to get One Operation Joker sooner than expected ✌🏻

          I am THRILLED with how this series ended. In last month's blog, I mentioned that I felt something was missing in this series. The sudden inclusion of the Boy Wonder and The Riddler added some extra flair and drama to the story. Miyagawa did a great job in bringing his boisterous story back full circle while remaining faithful to this classic hero/villain dynamic. I've grown to enjoy his playful storytelling and commentary, so I hope I can find and read more of his works in the future 👍🏻

          Astro Baby was a series that I came across on the Shonen Jump app this past weekend. The manga takes place in a world where an astral parasite dubbed Couper-29 has infected the North Hill sector of the Farthes Peninsula. This parasite has mutated over the span of 6 years and causes the infected to exhibit cannibalistic behaviors. The series' protagonist Billy fell witness to some of these events as a child, and brought himself up to be a soldier in order to protect his loved one Elly. 

          I'm a fan of Moriya's character design and storytelling so far! I love how lively the panels are, especially once Elly is introduced. Their streetside reunion and catching up in Elly's apartment made for wonderful character building and memorable expressions (great use for my Emojis on Discord ✌🏻) The inaugural chapter and its ending clearly set the tone of the series, displaying raw and impactful imagery that'll keep me coming back for more. 

. . . 

Week 2 (Feb 4 - Feb 10) 


     + Haikyu!!

            Written and Illustrated by Haruichi Furudate

          I got a pile of Haikyu!! from a coworker! She told me she bought these library copies as an attempt to get into the series, but couldn't find time to read it (opted to watch 😭). I never got around to checking Haikyu!! since Sports Manga is my least familiar genre. In terms of Sports manga, I have been reading Martial Master Asumi as part of my Weekly Online Readings. I feel like I would enjoy any Sports series if it were animated compared to reading it. 

          I'm enjoying slowly making my way through the start of the series! As of writing this blog I've made it through Volume 1 and I've enjoyed the read so far. I think I might experiment and try watching the anime too so I can see how dynamic the games are versus reading them. Compared to other manga I've read lately, I found this one to be the most Shonen-y, and I don't mean that in a bad way! I think I need to just get used to the series as a whole over time. Hope to keep y'all updated 👍🏻

Here are some quick thoughts on this week's VIZ/SJ 💬 SPOILERS (obvi)

          Astro Baby didn't fail to surprise me with its back-to-back action scenarios. Surviving the initial incident at the hospital isn't enough for Billy to get through the trauma of losing Elly. The pacing felt natural and I loved the small interactions between Billy and the baby. I'm looking forward to next week's chapter to see how they get out of the hospital 🤙🏻🤙🏻

          Wild Strawberry always leaves me wanting more every two weeks 😤. For those not familiar with the series, Wild Strawberry is a dystopian action series that follows adoptive siblings Kingo and Kayano in a world infested by Jinka - plant parasites that infest humans until they are capable to fully bloom and infest/consume other humans. Circumstances cause for the siblings to part and forcing Kingo to join the Flower Funeral Force, a taskforce in charge of protecting humanity and defeating the Mother Jinka. 

          This series reminded me a lot of Hell's Paradise by Yuji Kaku with its dynamic artwork, brilliant use of color and panel design, and use of love and a normal life as a driving force for their protagonists. I highly recommend both series for fans of fast-paced, drama fueled action series with memorable fighting sequences and emotionally charged moments. 

. . . 

Week 3 (Feb 11 - Feb 17) 

Martial Master Asumi

BUMMED Martial Master Asumi got the axe 😭

          This series was a wonderful edition to my week with its wonderful highlight to MMA. This series follows 16 year-old Asumi, a high school student with ambitions of wanting to be a nurse. This comes from wanting to care for his ailing grandfather, a martial art master with a reputation for learning and applying his opponents' skills to his fighting style. Though appearing meager, Asumi's fighting skill caught the attention of upperclassman Nao Okiba whose family owns a gym. 

          What I loved about this series was that it followed a storyline that I haven't seen a while: a student originally rejecting his calling in order to pursue a more humanly pleasure. His older brother, however, pursued MMA which caused Asumi to hate him for neglecting his grandfather and family (in his eyes). With this, Asumi motivates himself to become strong enough to challenge his brother and get him to visit his grandfather. 

          This series deserved a much more fitting end! It was setting up a tournament arc that I was reeeeeeally looking forward to 💀, not to mention the heartbreaking fight that Asumi had to experience on his quest to go pro. I felt that there was definitely a lot more to highlight, especially with this series leaving so many plot threads dangling. I'm sad to see the poor reception it received in Japan, but I hope that VIZ decides to publish this series in English so that it's fans can continue supporting Kawada-sensei and his future (or past) projects!


     + Under Ninja

            Written and Illustrated by Kengo Hanazawa

     + Fate/Grand Order: Chaldea Scrapbook

            Original Concept by Type Moon
              Written and Illustrated by Nakatani

          Despite having that cancellation start my week, I was happy to come across these DENPA titles that I missed during my time at AnimeNYC! These titles were ordered to my workplace AGES AGO as a way to have more variety in the Manga section. They must have gotten lost in the madness that was the Holidays (or Ingram vendor being a jerk :/), but I'm glad they made it here ✌🏻 I know I said I won't buy anything until I got my new Bookcase, but these BARELY fit in the shelves I have now so that's fair, right? 🤷🏻

          I was mainly excited to have Chaldea Scrapbook in my hands. This is an anthology Manga with short stories that appear as Extras in the Fate/Grand Order mobile game. They include Romani's first encounters with Demi-Servant Mash, Alteria and Jeanne Alter shenanigans, Servant romance, and a throwback chapter including some familiar faces. I've enjoyed the extras in this volume, primarily their use Chibis as they have always been a guilty pleasure of mine 😶 

          And with that I can honestly that I enjoyed reading Nakatani's stories, and I wish I had discovered the franchise sooner! I would love to have the other Fate manga on my shelves, but collecting these out of print titles could be difficult. I'm gonna make an effort to look for them as often as I can, but need to prioritize completing other series and better structure my collection before making that Grail quest 🏆

          Under Ninja is a Seinen manga that is currently running in Weekly Young Magazine. The series takes place in a world where ninjas and their institutions were publicly dismantled after World War II. In the shadows, ninjas still manipulate the justice and injustices committed both in Japan and abroad. Around 200,000 populate Japan and are linked with law enforcement and government agencies. 

          Our protagonist Kuro is a non-Career ninja whose NEET tendencies makes him unwilling to properly conform to society. Despite his antisocial exterior, he wields a proficient skillset that literally goes unnoticed by other fellow ninjas. He is contacted by his superiors to infiltrate a local high school as a student, and nothing more than a small kit to help him gain access. This series has a lively and zany cast, including but not limited to: a ventriloquist high school student, ninja-obsessed Russian agents and author, a breast-milk obsessed homeless person, and a rapping serial killer.

          I'm looking forward to picking up Volume 4 in a few months! This gives me enough time to watch the Anime and give Hanazawa's work a proper read. I wish I picked up I Am A Hero when it was still in print/affordable 😤 If y'all are fans of Zombie/Action Manga (a rarity in Japanese media) with terrifyingly intriguing panels, then you should give this a read ✌🏻

. . . 


     + Origin, Vol 1

            Written and Illustrated by Boichi

          I snagged this volume during the start of the Holiday, but I didn't get around to reading it until now 😶 I'm familiar with Boichi's work, having seen and sold copies of Dr. Stone and am looking forward to adding the Manga adaptation of Ace's Story in a few weeks! I saw that he has a Youtube channel that recently started uploading videos again too. I enjoyed watching his optimism and artwork come to life through his passion of creating and teaching others about Manga. Definitely need more content like this in my life and I'm glad I discovered his channel when I did 👍🏻

           Origin takes place in Tokyo during the Year 2048: the world is in an age where the entire Northern Hemisphere is linked via the Eurasian Railroad. Citizens face a daily variety of criminal activity and chaos, with the latest being a series of unimaginable mutilations occurring in the darkest parts of the city. Simultaneously, TOTALLY REAL HUMAN Jin Tanaka begins his job at the Asia-Europe Express & Energy Robotics Engineering Division and soooo isn't using his workplace as a Spare Parts Shop for his Cybernetically Enhanced Robot Body. 

          What I enjoyed about this volume was how it showed a robot's attempt at being human and trying to live a life in "peace". Seeing Jin celebrate, imitate and panic over ordinary or menial human activity breathes so much life into the Manga while you read it. Boichi mentioned in one of his videos that he's fascinated by the advancement of technology, and expressed viewers to be aware the positives, negatives, and proper utilization of it. This philosophy becomes important in the latter half of the volume when Jin confronts both human and robotic dilemmas, causing him to make dire yet calculated decisions. 

          I have Volumes 2 and 3 on order to the store since I want to see how Jin manages to explain away this first major conflict. Despite knowing how humans act and wanting to a peaceful life, Jin doesn't seem to know how to properly achieve that without a proper model to base himself off of. Part of me is also very thankful that Kodansha is publishing ORIGIN in a bi-monthly format (for now 💀) so that I can collect it so much faster. If you love Sci-Fi Action plots with one-of-a-kind artwork and a touch of morality, then it's definitely worth checking this series out! 🙌🏻 

. . . 

Week 4 (Feb 18 - Feb 24) 

Work kept me from reading as much as I wanted to this week 💀

          There were big changes being made at work and I had to begin planning a few events for March (more to come later 👀). I also didn't manage to find a bookcase that could fit in my bedroom /: however I do plan to do some furniture shifting so I can accommodate smaller shelves. I was debating either doing the smaller shelves or setting up various sized Wall Shelves around my room, but I think I can manage something more aesthetically pleasing ✌🏻

Having said that...


          I bought some goodies as a way to treat myself 👍🏻 I bought Death Note: Short Stories since my Ohba/Obata shelf had some space, and I've been waiting on My Name is Shingo for AGES. I'm a fan of unorthodox releases, especially with this one running on the concept of a robot learning what its like to be human through befriending children. I love Kazuo Umezu's work and I'm looking forward to reading this title next month 🤙🏻🤙🏻

. . . 

Dear Anemone - Rin Matsui | MANGA Plus

     + Dear Anemone

            Written and Illustrated by Rin Matsui

I wasn't expecting to see another Plant-hybrid series to come out this week. And I just getting over missing Ecuador 😤 🇪🇨

          Dear Anemone combines the Darwinian theory of Evolution with terrifyingly detailed monster design and . Its first chapter follows a group of volunteers sent out on a rescue mission to the Galapagos Islands to recover Japanese officials trapped there. The area was affected by an unknown explosion, causing the once beautiful isles to become plagued with pollution and a virus. When the volunteers make the delayed discovery of the islands' inhabitants, panic ensues with the meager Hachiue attempting to take charge of the situation (which he doesn't)

          I took the series' setting of the Galapagos Islands with both a sense of pride and gratitude. The islands' natural scenery, despite being the birthplace of Darwin's discovery, have been affected heavily by tourism and pollution caused by ships. I would like to look for Matsui's thoughts on how this series came to be, especially the themes they plan to explore. I am a fan of commentary on the treatment of nature/Earth under the guise of Manga, so I'm intrigued on where Dear Anemone could go! Fingers crossed for a bit more universe lore to keep me hooked 🤞🏻🤞🏻

. . .

Week 5 (Feb 25 - Mar 2) *IN PROGRESS*

     + Steins;Gate | The Complete Manga

            Original Concept by 5pb. Inc (Now MAGES.) & Nitroplus

              Illustrated by Yomi Sarachi & In Collaboration w/ Saitoh Sakae

Steins;Gate was a trippy experience. 

          I had an idea on what the series was like before reading: Mad scientist creates time machine out of a cellphone and microwave and can communicate with people in the past. I only recently begun reading stories involving Time Travel, with the Before the Coffee Gets Cold series and The Tatami Galaxy by Tomihiko Morimi being the latest (Non-Manga related, but I read them for work so I'm putting them here 🤷🏻). With that said, I was prepared for this Sci-Fi Adventure series to leave me confused at times, but it left me genuinely captivated on what else the series has to offer. It has an entertaining and lively cast, excellent character development, and introduces readers to Time Travel elements that go beyond the theoretical realm and into the cognitive one.

          What I found most interesting was how the story paid homage to the John Titor conspiracy. For those who aren't familiar, John Titor was a prominent figure in Internet history who appeared online in January 2001 and claimed to be a Time Traveler from the Year 2036. While online, he would tell his story about being a soldier on a mission to acquire an IBM 5100 computer, state events in his timeline differ to the one he's currently visiting, and went "into detail" on how the future was like. He would then go silent in March 2001, claiming to have completed his mission

          Steins;Gate succeeded in making me accept its eccentric and chaotic mess of a world. It reminded me of the high-stakes action and drama within the plot of the Terminator series as well as the importance of maintaining irregularities in a Time Line à la Loki. I have my eyes on Steins;Gate 0 at work and I thought the Robotics;Notes manga was a completely separate title (I should've noticed the ;), so I'll be adding those to my collection as soon as I get the space ✌🏻

. . . 

Shoujo Null is Shonen Jump's New Take-No-Prisoners Manga – Otaku USA  Magazine

          I wanted to take this time to highlight a series that I've been reading on the Shonen Jump app. It's titled Shojo Null, and its written by Kanae Nakanishi with artwork done by Akima. Taking place in the 23rd century, Japanese society has Gijin working in their midsts as laborers or entertainment. Gijin are organic humanoid-robots that are the subject of advocacy groups for their rights. Protagonist Riaha stumbles upon Marie, a military-grade Gijin that escaped custody and is being persecuted by the government. 

          This series tackles a series of issues including human rights, military black operations, ethics, and normality under a dystopian society. The early chapters showcase these topics with twisted imagery, impressive two page panels, and extras that provide breakaway from the series' heavy plot. What I can say for certain is that I enjoy reading Shojo Null every week and pine for a new chapter every other week when the extras come out instead 😭

. . . 


          I wish I got to do more reading this month than the last. Work has me super busy, which is a good thing for me and this blog ✌🏻 I can't wait to share with everyone and I look forward to participating and and showing off what March has to offer 🍀 Until next time! Please follow me on all my socials, reach out with comments or recommendations, and subscribe to the blog if you haven't 👍🏻 

. . . 

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