Nisekoi: False Love Volume One Review

Nisekoi False Love Volume One

For some reason I had a sudden urge to review Nisekoi, the same time when I was writing my thoughts on Monster Musume Vol 4. With that, I gave into my urge.^^/

 

 

  1. SYNOPSIS

Fate works in mysterious ways especially when Chitoge and Raku meet for the first time. You will probably think, “oh, a classic shoujo moment when Chitoge bumps into Raku with a toast in her mouth!” Nope, none of that cliché stuff is involved. Their first greeting came in the form of a crash landing where Raku was acting as Chitoge’s P.E. mat.

No pun intended but the two literally got off on the wrong foot. To make matters worse, their respective families are Yakuza[1] gangs who are at odds with each other. The two leaders from the two Yakuza families negotiated a truce and were successful, but… with the request of the two leaders Raku and Chitoge had to enter into a “false” relationship to keep a war from breaking out.

It is most inconvenient for Raku. Our main hero is hoping to find the source of his promise, which lies with his memento (aka, his pendant). One day, he’s hoping to find his childhood sweetheart who holds the key that will fit the lock of his pendant.

 

 

  1. THEME
  • Comedy
  • Romance
  • School Life
  • Shounen[2]
  • Slice of Life[3]

 

 

  1. REVIEW

WARNING: I MAY GIVE SPOILERS AWAY

This Shounen manga is quite different in many ways. The main plot is heavily build on romance with the main male breaking the mould. He’s not dense when it comes to the ladies, he’s into romance, and, he’s a good cook. In other words, he is the modern man… in a Yakuza world.

I like Raku. He’s a little rough around the edges since his upbringing is in a Yakuza environment, so, having a little temper and being blunt is not all that surprising. Still, I think he was a little harsh yelling at Chitoge though. If he hadn’t then I don’t think she would have hit him hard. She’s the type who will give as good as she gets, perhaps giving harder. However, by doing this, we find out the type of person she is quicker, so this was necessary. =D

I feel for Raku though… he’s head over heels in love with Kosaki, yet, he has to grin and bear his own situation. He can’t really confess to Onodera for fear that this will cause a war. He can’t exactly confide in her either, not with Claude breathing down his neck!

I can see why the Yakuza dads did what they did. It does make me wonder though if they could have agreed a truce in a different way. Oh well, what’s done is done. This situation does remind me of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Two families who loath each other but the boy and girl go out with each other, with one difference though… Raku and Chitoge can’t stand each other. So, in a way, that comparison is invalid! Haha.

The key backbone of this story does literally lie with Raku’s childhood and his ancient pendant. Raku made a special promise with a girl when he was younger. He kept his pendant as a keepsake so that one day, when he meets this special girl, she will use her “key” to literally unlock Raku’s pendant. If that pendant never existed, then, I don’t think we would have a story to tell. It does make me wonder who this destined girl is. Will we ever see her? The young man is certainly determined to see her again, so it makes me think that we will.

I also have a feeling that Onodera will play a huge part as I think she is somehow linked to Raku’s pendant. I also suspect that she may harbour feelings for Raku. On what level, I don’t know. But having a picture of him in her room and getting flustered with her “key” does make my mind boggle with endless questions. I can easily say “she’s that girl from ten years ago!” but I feel that it’s too early to speculate.

At this moment in time Kosaki is my favourite character and I think she will make a very dashing girlfriend. I like very polite and gentle girls like Onodera and I’m not usually keen on happy-go-punching girls like Chitoge. Chitoge does have a nice side though; I just think that she’s in a similar situation to Raku. Due to her upbringing in a Yakuza environment she’s bound to be a little rough around the edges, so, I can easily overlook her violent tendencies. In some ways, she’s funny. Her headband is especially cute; it really does make her look like a rabbit.

 

 

  1. BONUS

We have short bonus chapters. We also have a biography page about the author with a picture showing his hair looking like spinach. =D I think it’s supposed to be spinach? Regardless, he’s fun to look at. =)

 

 

  1. CONCLUSION

This is a very funny romantic manga with many awkward moments, in a funny way. Raku has many good qualities but he does have his quirky points, due to his Yakuza connection. The romance is executed soundly. Two people, who don’t want to be other each other, are doing their best for the sake of their families. Raku, who wants to be with another girl, has to endure his pain and be part of a “false” relationship. In a way it’s like a sort of love triangle but not quite. We don’t know how Onodera feels about Raku and if her feelings will reciprocate Raku’s. I have a hunch that it won’t take too long to find out.

Oh! The art is nice too. I especially liked the comedic reactions of some of the characters. They are funny and cute.

I give this, One Thumb’s-Up and a Pinky. (My Rating System)

Thumbs-Up Pinky

 

 

 

 

 

THANKS FOR READING

Nisekoi Thanks for Reading 1

This really is easy to read. It’s interesting to note that the Nisekoi: False Love anime has announced its second season. I wonder if they will be able to cover enough of the manga materials. By reading some of the feedback on various anime sites, quite a few fans are asking the same questions. To me, it will depend on how many episodes this season will entail. Will it have 24 episodes, or, will it have 12 episodes? Perhaps it will be the latter this time around?

I’m becoming more and more tempted to write a full review of Non Non Biyori and Locodol. I’m also really keen on reviewing High School DxD. I’ll watch the Blu-ray, back to back, when the time is right. =D Coming up next will be Monster Musume Volume 4. =D

 

Thanks for reading.
Sayonara.^^/

Ryan

[1] Yakuza are a syndicate similar to Mafia or triads.

[2] Shounen translates to “boy” in Japanese. A Shounen manga is where the target audience are boys.

[3] Every day mundane life.

High School DxD Volume Two Review

High School DxD Vol 2

Konbanwa.^^/

I am thrilled to announce that I have recently uploaded my 50th blog post. So far, I have been enjoying it a bunch. =)
It came to my attention that I don’t really review or scrutinise manga like a professional. I also realise that some readers will not appreciate being spoiled during review. I understand and respect those points.

However, I talk about manga based on my enjoyment through my casual rambling. You will notice that I go off-topic in many of my reviews, like this one. =) The whole purpose of me blogging is a chance for me to express my feelings and how I handle social situations and cope with Autism. I figured that reviewing manga would give me another reason to blog and express myself, rather than just talk about Autism. I actually have read a few manga but so far I’ve chosen to review the ones that I’m really, really enjoying.^^/

I may not be the most professional reviewer but I’m still going to keep reviewing casually as doing it this way makes me happy. =D

WARNING: I MAY GIVE SPOILERS AWAY

  1. REVIEW

Issei Hyoudou, once human pre Volume One, is now the servant of the voluptuous devil, Rias Gremory. Issei has entered into a forbidden friendship with the nun of the church, the pacifist sister, Asia Argento.

Issei’s devil master, Rias, prohibits Issei from interacting with Asia, let alone befriending her. Doing so would create a striving commotion between the Devils, Fallen Angels and the church. As you can imagine, when Issei comes into contact with Asia and rushes to her aid, he’s practically asking for trouble. How will he handle Heaven’s malevolent schemes?

I enjoyed Volume Two as much as the previous volume, in more ways than one. Since this is classed as an ecchi manga and it’s targeted towards a mature audience, it’s easy to assume that it’s just full of unnecessary cheeky moments… you would be surprised that this isn’t necessarily so. It has much more to offer then beautiful ladies that expose their sensual skin and figures. I effectively refer this as a guilty pleasure bonus. 😉

With how Issei is treating Asia as a friend it does make me wonder if their relationship is going to turn into something more serious. It even implies at the back of the book that a forbidden romance could transpire between the two. Their first encounter was very nice, and their friendship certainly has blossomed in this volume. Issei may be perverted, but he’s not a jerk about it. He treats Asia with respect, and likewise, Asia treats him like a precious friend. I definitely like Asia; I tend to connect strongly with innocent and kind girls like her. I’m not that keen on aggressive girls as I don’t necessarily find them funny and it will take me a while to accept them for who they are. However, I have no such worries with innocent and polite girls like Asia as I find them to be endearing.

This is when I got concerned about Rias… She instantly grew on me when she made her debut in the first book, she is simply gorgeous. So, because she is adamant about Issei abandoning his friendship with Asia, I was concerned that she was going to dislike her. Granted, her reasons for being concerned and acting like a typical big sister are very well justified. But, I was really rooting for Asia to enter into a friendship with Issei. At that point I did suspect that a love triangle could happen. However, luckily, everything worked out in the end and my worries about disliking Rias were squashed. In fact, the opposite happened. Rias eventually accepts Asia and welcomed her into the world of the devils…

Naturally, I was most upset when Asia died after that, ahem- malicious lady killed her. The villains in this story are very well portrayed. I always think that at least the most villainous of characters will have some redeeming features, like perhaps baddies of this series…NOPE. I hate them all, at least, in this manga. XD I really like girls like Asia and I certainly like Issei, so to see those getting beaten down or besmirched did leave a bad taste in my mouth. I was upset when Asia was abandoned but nearly cried when she died… I then sighed and puffed my cheeks into a wide smile. Asia was brought back to life by Rias and made her, her bishop. I’m very happy indeed. =D

Let’s talk about Raynare, one of the many villains… I mention about redeeming features. She implied that now that she obtained Asia’s sacred gear, which involves healing abilities, she will no longer be laughed at. It makes me wonder if something horrible made her what she is today. Perhaps something drove her mad into becoming a fallen angel? Perhaps I should feel sorry for her? Perhaps I should look at it from her point of view? Perhaps her reason for killing Issei and Asia can be justified? …NAH! I still dislike her. XD I must say though, I did feel for her to some degree when Rias obliterated her. She deserved by all means but isn’t this one of those where two wrongs don’t make a right? I wouldn’t have killed her per se, but, I’m glad Rias did. =)

There are plenty of situations that can be taken as highlights, such as Issei befriending Asia, Asia, the beautiful ladies, but for me the main highlight is the battle.

The on-going battles and action were awesome; it also made me forget about the fact that this is classed as an ecchi manga. The ladies don’t expose their skin just for the sake of it, but when they do, it’s appropriate for the situation.

During the battle the roles of the fighters have been explained. Issei was the perfect protagonist that takes centre stage. His two back-ups, Kiba and Koneko, were the ideal support team. They showed off their skills to a big crowd of villains whilst Issei took on the big dog. To me, this shows that whilst the back-ups may not necessarily be as strong as the main guy, without the back-ups the main guy can’t move forward. In this case, we have Kiba and Koneko utilising their skills to help Issei move forward. If it weren’t for them, Issei wouldn’t have been able to move through that huge mass.

The visuals in the manga play a critical role during the peak and aftermath of the action. We learn about the chess pieces and fighting roles more in-depth. Rias’ explanations are also demonstrated visually as she talks about the pawn’s role and potential. The images have certainly helped me to understand better. We found out in this volume that it took eight pawn pieces to revive him. This is all because of his power, the Sacred Gear, Boosted Gear.

Speaking of the art, the illustrations demonstrated more of the lighter moments of the manga, like, when Asia eat a hamburger for the first time. Her reactions and showing off her clean hands was the highest peak of cuteness. Another cute and funny moment was when she tried to pray to God, but received a shock to the head (due to her new allegiance to being a devil). Her jealous face was cute too… Still, even if she is jealous, she is still graceful and polite. We need more characters like Asia around.

Everything concluded itself nicely, but wait, a new character is introduced. At the same time Rias is looking dejected and subdued… it seems to me that Rias is in some kind of arranged marriage and she’s engaged to this ugly looking geezer. Haha. I’m sort of hoping something happens between her and Issei. That kiss on the forehead was affectionate and endearing, but, I reckon it would have been better if they smooched. Haha.

  1. THEME
  • Action
  • Comedy
  • Ecchi[1]
  • Fantasy
  • Game
  • Harem[2]
  • Mature
  • Romance
  • School Life
  1. CONCLUSION

The chess pieces have been explained appropriately, especially the role of the pawn. Had everything been explained straightaway then I would have found it too confusing.

Visual aids and fight scenes were used to further demonstrate the roles of the fighting pieces. Issei took the limelight, showing everyone that he is the main character and showing that he can attain any rank during the fight. And, the supporting devils supported him as they showed off their abilities in their own way.

One of the main highlights for me was the fight scenes. The fights were constant and set at a good pace. There were some cheeky moments. But, these cheeky moments were not used for the sake of it; they were used since its part of the story.

I was sad when Asia died. But, I was as delighted when Rias brought her back to life. I was concerned that I was not going to like Rias but those worries were quashed. It looks as well that the forbidden romance between Issei and Asia may not be so forbidden after all. It can then turn into a straight romance if Rias approves it.

High School DxD Volume Two gets Two Thumbs Up(My Rating System)

Two Thumbs-Up

THANKS FOR READING

High School DxD

I’m really enjoying this manga and it has entered into my official top five favourite manga along with Monster Musume and D-Frag. =) Speaking of Monster Musume, since I’m enjoying volume four so much I decided to re-read the whole thing again… it is wonderful. =D I won’t review volume four straight away since I rather not force myself. But, I will review it at least before the release of Volume five.

Thanks for reading.

Sayonara.^^/

Ryan

[1] This manga contains risqué and sexy moments or lecherous characters.

[2] In this manga all the ladies are gunning after one man and/or lady.

D-Frag! Volume One Review

D-Frag Volume One Cover

Konbanwa.^^/

This is the first manga that I’m going to review that isn’t Monster Musume. I’m excited as it’s licensed by the same publishers, Seven Seas, and Seven Seas are licensing a lot of good manga as of late. =D

 

Let’s roll.

 

WARNING: I MAY GIVE SPOILERS AWAY

 

  1. MY SYNOPSIS

Oh no! A self-proclaimed delinquent has emerged at Fuou High in the form of Kenji Kazama! Is this something to be feared and wary of? …nope.  

Kenji may have decided to live the life of a ‘delinquent’ but in all honesty he is a kind and sincere young man. The Kazama Gang were determined to live up to their reputation so they decided to cause mischief when they came across the Game Development Club…only to discover that they had bitten off more than they could chew.

This club consists of four attractive girls who are incredibly wacky but deceitfully strong. They were able to subdue the Kazama gang due to their aligned ‘elements’ such as lightning, water, earth and fire(?) Kenji is forced to join the club following the ‘pungent torture’. Can Kenji handle the Game Development Club or will he crash and burn?

 

  1. STORY

2.1. Overview

I could tell immediately that this is a gag type story. Straight from the get go it involved over-the-top panels with an eccentric but comical cast.

Whilst I feel that I established what this manga is all about I’m not certain what the overall plot entails. So far I see this manga as a battle of supremacy in terms of winning a game or ruling over the club/school. But these battles and games involve Kenji’s daily escapades of dealing with farcical scenarios from the wacky ladies. He may want to be known as the ‘badass legend’ but with the likes of Roka (club president) and Chitose (school council president) to contend with, his wish won’t come true anytime soon. Especially as his reputation, as well as his gang’s reputation, is little to non existent.

I do question Kenji’s so called status of being a ‘delinquent.’ It’s a unique role reversal since some blokes would pretend to be good but really they’re bad. Why does he want to rule over school? Why does he want to be a delinquent? Does he have hidden traumas that have yet to be exposed? Perhaps something occurred that awoke Kenji’s strive to become the ‘king of the hill.’ He may act tough and emit a cocky attitude but in all honesty he’s as soft as they come. When faced with a crisis, he will be the hero instead of the villain. 😉

 

2.2. Chapter One and Chapter Two

The Kazama gang got a sound introduction and were potentially problematic. If you judge a book by its cover, sure, but if you got to know them personally, you wouldn’t even worry by the likes of them. Through Yokoshima’s proposal they attempted to ransack all the games from the Game Development Club… they went from being heinous to heroes since they put out a brewing fire. Even Kenji was surprised by his own actions…

Kenji and his gang went from being heinous to being heroes to being weak… Kenji especially looked weak since he abandoned his friends to save his own skin. Haha! It was touching when he got caught up in the moment and joined the club willingly… it seems that he was in debt to Roka, Sakura and Chitose after they saved him…. Would a delinquent show gratitude, get caught up in the moment and JOIN a club? Most definitely not!

My highlight is when he tried to escape Roka’s ‘darkness’ and flew right out of the window. That was unexpected. XD

 

2.3. Chapter Three

Kenji was innocently eating his lunch with his gang when who should appear but their good friend since middle school days, Ataru! This chapter was all about Ataru for me.

I could not stop laughing when I read it. I like guys who are cool but I also like guys who are hilarious. I like them especially if they have some kind of odd fetish, in this case Ataru being a masochist. The way he gets off from being mistreated is most funny. It was especially funny when he called Kenji and his gang ‘country bumpkins.’ XD This is where we truly establish Kenji’s status in the school. He’s not even close to being as ‘bad’ as he wants… Chitose being the Student Council President of the school was a bit of a surprise, but it also makes a lot of sense. I wonder what the other delinquents will be like. Are they genuine troublemakers or are they good people pretending to be bad like Kenji?

Hatsudai is cute, even if she is just an extra. 😉

Ahem-

Kenji and Ataru managed to get one over Chitose… but they lost since they entered the girl’s changing room. Of course they never intented to peek but they did it to prove her wrong… I wonder if Chitose did this on purpose.

 

2.4. Chapter Four

The club president of the ‘real’ game development club, Takao, makes her appearance. She offers a challenge to the ‘fake’ club for battle of superiority and pride. Not before meeting Kenji in person though… whilst being dressed in black cloaks! That was one heck of an introduction. The strong pace of good comedy moments and new characters being introduced felt just about right…

Kenji and Takao even share a funny and unequivocal banter between each other, especially about the topic involving boobs. Rumour started to spread by this time that Kenji had a leg-fetish, but then he walked right into the start of that topic when he mentioned that he liked boobs. He wasn’t going to win this argument with girls. Not only will he never beat girls physically, since they all seem unrealistically strong, but he will never beat them through banter or arguments either… XD He was never going to hit her since he’s not the kind who would hurt girls…

Oh! The moment when the cops came and took Yamada away was probably one of my favourite moments in Volume one. Everyone betrayed him by pretending that they’d never seen him before. Then, they all watched as he got arrested and taken to the Police car. It was a glorious moment indeed… I wonder how they were able to spring Yamada free.

 

2.5. Chapter Five and Six

We got a little bit of an insight into the relationship between Takao and Roka. I can understand why Takao would be upset about Roka. It was all Chitose’s fault and Takao knows this but she still can’t help but feel upset. I suppose it’s one of those situations where Takao felt betrayed or dumped to be with someone else other than her. Takao’s challenge was all about her club and the fake club joining forces so she could be with Roka again.

It was sad to see Takao upset and crying (although admittedly it was cute at the same time) but it shows that she does care about Roka despite her claims. I was really pleased that they made up in the end, all’s well that ends well.

The fake club wanted to cheat or sabotage the real club since there was no chance that they could win. In a surprising turn of events Kenji actually solved the problem through wit instead of physical force. Good for him! Games can be just as fun to play  as well as create.

 

2.6. Chapter Seven

The games begin!

Takao was wary of when Kenji invited her to their club’s festival. I think her worries were justified. However, out of all the people, Kenji was the most trustworthy since he would never lay her into a trap. I actually wondered if a trap was awaiting her without Kenji’s knowledge. Turns out, the club’s festival happened in the yard! And it consisted of many, many games to play. Chitose abused her role of authority and the Student Council as well as the rest of the Kazama gang slaved themselves dry into helping with the set. Ataru enjoyed the mistreatment he got  from Chitose… whatever rocks your boat. Haha.

Roka really suits a mustache. I enjoyed her interaction with the Tough Guy and Tough Son act. It seems that they’re extras but they’re brilliant extras and contribute well to the funny situations.

 

  1. THEME
  • Comedy
  • Parody
  • School Life
  • Slice of Life[1]

 

  1. ART AND DESIGN

I describe the art style to be striking, dramatic but strangely cute. All the characters have lovely designs. The tough guy act father and tough guy son look hilarious with their tough and realistic looking faces.

In the clothing department, minus the school attire, we see that Roka and Chitose are trendy. Minari has to dress smart because she’s a teacher but because of her personality she will wear whatever is comfortable and cosy. She also has that lazy look about her, especially in the eye department which look quite droopy. Sakura is the sporty type. I’m anticipating that Takao will wear girly girl clothes. I look forward to seeing her in her every day wear.

 

  1. CHARACTERS

5.1. KENJI KAZAMA and the KAZAMA GANG

Haha the Kazama Gang… Nagayama and Yokoshima look tough and therefore stand out more than Kenji. I don’t know about you but I can’t take Yokoshima seriously due to his haircut and height. XD

Despite his occasional outbursts of outrage to his club members Kenji actually blends in very well with the club, even if he does vividly deny it.

He comes off as a dude who is tough and rebellious due to his status as a ‘delinquent’. However, deep down, I can’t help but suspect that he’s as soft as a kitten. It seems like for some reason he wants to be viewed as tough so he decided to choose the life of being rebellious. Although to be honest he’s not exactly convincing, especially since most of the time he plays the role of the straight man.[2]

 

5.2. TAKAO

Takao… I could talk about her for ages but I will restrain myself.

I find her to be cute, beyond cute. In the anime world she would be described as a moe.[3] I would describe her character as someone who is awkward, impeccably cute, mature-yet-innocent. She is very responsible, hard-working and is a good role model for anyone when it comes to dealing with club activities. However, when dealing with a confrontation she becomes very sensitive and flushed, to the point where she is on the brink of tears. It can be upsetting to see her cry but this is where we see her cute and innocent side.

I think she displays traces of a traditional tsundere.[4] She is very awkward when it comes to expressing how she really feels. On the surface she challenges Roka and her club and if Takao wins then Roka and her club with merge with Takao’s club. That’s a roundabout way of Takao saying that she wants to be in the same club as Roka again. She was very hostile towards Roka and a little bit towards Kenji but deep down she wants to be with Roka again as she likes her.

No doubt Takao’s boobs will be one of the main focuses in this manga. Normally boobs would be used in a cheeky perverted situation to stimulate or excite the reader. Here though, I anticipated that her boobs will be used for gag purposes as so far they’ve been shown and talked about in a funny manner rather than a perverted manner. I find it quite refreshing. This manga I don’t feel needs cheeky moments, just a lot of humour and entertainment.

Her conversation with Kenji about boobs was entertaining to read. I’m not even sure how they got into that sort of conversation. It all started off when it was proclaimed that Kenji had a fetish for legs until he corrected them and said he liked boobs… that opened a can of worms. XD

I wonder what her first name is. I find it a bit odd that the rest of the cast have a first and last name but Takao is just Takao… maybe she doesn’t have a first name? Perhaps it’s not necessary to unveil her first name yet? It’s piqued my interested, whatever it is.

I like all the characters in this manga but at this moment in time Takao is by far my favourite. =)

 

5.3. ROKA SHIBASAKI

(FIRE TYPE/DARKNESS TYPE)

In the looks department she is very cute but she is probably by far the most eccentric character in the series. Her personality and looks don’t mix, yet, the contrast brings out a really quirky character in Roka. She is very small too and we tend to see a lot her chibi appearance.[5]

Her element is amusing. I wonder if that technique has actually worked on anyone. Her ‘true element’ the darkness, appears to be a lot more effective so she should use this more often.

When Roka comes out of her eccentric shell, she can be serious and either says something cool or does something cool… only to end up looking uncool or saying something daft. … This happened when saving Kenji, when having a heart-to-heart with Takao and talking to Kenji on the rooftop… This tells me that Roka is capable of being serious but ultimately she will bring us all back to reality by being ‘uncool’. XD

 

5.4. SAKURA MIZUKAMI

(WATER TYPE)

Sakura is mightily cute. She’s a zealous athletic type person who never seems to stop smiling. I like happy-go-lucky characters like her. She’s eccentric in the sense that she can’t do anything without her bottled water. I bet she will do well in the Ice Bucket challenge… when she pours the water over Kenji’s head, that is! XD

I would say that she’s very strong but a bit of an airhead. If she could stop Nagayama within a matter of seconds then taking care of Kenji wouldn’t cause her any trouble. She actually caught up with him after prepping herself in a running position. XD

 

5.5. CHITOSE KARASUYAMA

(EARTH TYPE)

Chitose is mean, short-tempered, intimidating and protective… in a way. She is the school council president and she is not afraid to abuse her power whether it’s something big or small. She will abuse her powers but she does have a somewhat caring side, like when she embraced Takao or when she created a fake game development club with Roka. I think she has a bit of a lecherous streak in her, especially when it comes to Takao’s chest. Haha.

I wonder why she is so fixated with sand castles. Does she strive to become a Queen? She’s also the school council president, so she isn’t green when it comes to power and dominance.

She is super strong and probably the strongest out of the entire school. Even if Kenji was capable of hitting the ladies I still don’t think he would be able to beat Chitose in a one-on-one fight.

 

5.6. MINAMI OOSAWA

(LIGHTNING TYPE)

Out of all the girls in the club I actually think that she’s most sane. XD I imagine that she does have some sort of crazy streak in her. What normal teacher would allow such chaos to go on in a clubroom? Perhaps Chitose coerced her to become the adviser of the club with the opportunity for Minami to sleep and slack around?

I think the teacher is normal to some extent because she is not 100 % insane but she’s not 100% sane either. XD Her look and presentation fits her personality to a tea. I like her. She reminds me a lot of the teacher from Non Non Biyori.

It was definitely an interesting twist when it turned out that she was a teacher. The story was making out that she was a student but it turned out that she was a teacher. The revelation of her being a teacher was timed perfectly as it suddenly had Kenji back on the ropes. XD She doesn’t necessarily stand out but I think she will contribute as an underlining character as she’s a teacher and all.^^/

 

5.7. ATARU

Not much to say except that Ataru is a very good character. He’s responsible and mature when it comes to handling duties as the vice president but he’s also mad when it comes to his fetish. The fetish of him being abused and punished… it’s truly utterly hilarious. It’s also good that he still remains close friends with Kenji and his gang…he wants to outdo Chitose since she pipped him to the post of the President of the School Council, but, he always comes up short… perhaps he deliberately loses so she can punish him? Haha.

 

  1. TRAIN STATIONS

What I also like about this manga is that the names of the cast are based on real train stations in Japan. Shibasaki Station, Roka-koen Station, Chitose-Karasuyama Station, Minami-Osawa Station, Sakuragaoka Station, Nagayama Station and last but not least, Takao Station.

 

  1. CONCLUSION

I’ve really enjoyed reading this and no doubt I will re-read this again and again. Even if it does have serious moments like when Roka and Takao have a heart-to-heart it will ultimately conclude itself through something humorous and silly. XD

I feel that all the characters in this manga are genuinely likable. There’s always a manga where I don’t necessarily hate someone but whom I don’t particularly care for. In this manga though there isn’t a single character that I dislike, even the extras in this story contribute some sort of goodness and importance to the manga. Like the Tough Guy and Tough Son characters as well as Hatsudai who has a very cute and feminine design.

All the characters are great, especially Takao.

Without any doubt or question, D-Frag! Volume One gets Two Thumbs-Up from me. (My Rating System)

Two Thumbs-Up

 

THANKS FOR READING

Double Takao I can’t wait for the release of D-Frag! Volume 2. =)

 Thanks for reading. =D

 

Sayonara.^^/

Ryan

 

[1] Based on everyday mundane life.

[2] The straight man is usually performed during a double act. When the partner behaves or says something daft the straight man will respond either with outrage or frustration. Usually he will say something to make his partner look daft/funny. The straight man in Japan is usually called Tsukkomi. Morecambe and Wise, an old British Comedy act, use the straight man in their comedy sketches.

[3] It has come to my attention that there are many meanings to the word ‘moe’ but in this case it means a young person who is very cute in appearance and innocent in nature.

[4] Tsundere is a person who is usually involved in romantic circumstances. The tsundere (usually a girl) would act in a hostile and blunt manner towards the other person (usually a guy) but deep inside she usually cares a lot for him. Perhaps more than she realises. Sometimes a tsundere is in denial that she loves that certain person or she is very awkward when it comes to expressing her feelings. “Tsun tsun” means along the lines of to be disgusted, whilst “Dere dere” means lovey lovey. Taiga Asakura from the anime Toradora is a classic example of a tsundere.

[5] A deformed character or a chibi character in anime or manga means small and miniature in a cute way. You will see it a lot in D-Frag!, especially with Roka. You would normally see Roka in her normal appearance but in certain comedic situations you will see a deformed version of her, or a minimised version of her. You can see the casts’ deformed versions on the front and back of D-Frag Volume One.

Monster Musume Volume Three Review

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Konbanwa.^^/

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for giving your time to read my reviews on Monster Musume. I’m still learning and developing my own style when writing reviews. I do enjoy expressing my feelings, blogging thoughts about my favourite things like Monster Musume as it makes me feel happy. However, it is a massive bonus when the reader takes their time to read what I have to say. For that, I am truly grateful.^^/

MonMusu[1] Volume 2 seems to be especially popular and it has given me extra impetus to blog about Volume 3. =)

Here it is.^^/

WARNING: I MAY GIVE SPOILERS AWAY

1. MY SYNOPSIS

Up till now Kimihito has been a host to four liminals; a passionate Lamia, a playful Harpy, a proud Centaur and an illegal species, Slime. Life has been kind to Kimihito; he has liminal guests who adore him and continue to pursue his hand in marriage. The competition is getting tougher though since the arrival of the courteous and gentle Mermaid, Mero.

In the same breath the darker side of the liminals started to show. A group of erotically charged orcs emerged and caused a commotion at a local otaku shop, offering gratuitous demands. Due to the interspecies Cultural Exchanged Accord the police can’t legally touch the orcs… but all is not lost since Ms Smith has a plan to solve this problem, but whether it will work or not is a completely different issue!

2. STORY

The pace and flow of this story was well thought out and applied cleverly. Not only is the timing of the story good, but the comedy and the quirkiness of the characters are well placed too.

At first glance it appears that Suu is nothing more than a background character that just happens to be there for the sake of adding more humour to the story. But actually she has played many pinnacle moments. Because of her the plot unfolded in certain chapters. I will talk more about this in Suu’s character section.

There are no small parts in a story; even the smallest part in the story can create the biggest conflict. Look at that young boy from Home Alone. When the sister did a head count and mistook the neighbours boy for her brother, it led to Kevin McAllister being all by himself. Thus, home alone.

*

Mero is really growing on me- her development was completely unexpected, in a good way. From our point of view, Mero being up to no good was all just in Miia’s head, since we come to learn that Miia has a very hyperactive imagination. Then, when Mero smiled in an unnerving manner, it made us think that Miia was right to be wary. It came to light that it was all in Miia’s imagination and that Mero isn’t after Kimihito, at least not in the normal sense.

*

It’s rather fascinating how the topic; fairy tales was brought up. Mermaids are probably one of the more popular legendary creatures, look at the book and film The Little Mermaid. I for one would be excited to meet one if they existed in real life. It’s clear in Monster Musume that this manga is very self-aware so it’s quite interesting that they delve into fairy tales- more specifically mermaids.

Mero spoke about how mermaids love the story the Little Mermaid. Miia then confessed that she too likes fairy tales and yearned to have her own prince… we see a flashback of Miia reading her fairy tale books, she looked mighty cute when she was little. All of this deep conversation developed a more one-sided rivalry between Miia and Mero. At the end of the chapter it was established that Mero’s ideal love is rather…unique. Turns out, the entire time, she wants to be a mistress rather than a wife. Haha! That was unexpected but in some ways it makes a lot of sense. XD

*

My favourite part of this volume is when Kimihito holds Miia in her arms, like a damsel in distress. He looks very good too. That’s probably the best image I’ve ever seen of him, he looked cool, strong and you could see his eyes. His eyes are never visible unless he’s part of a serious scene. It was a sweet moment too because Miia’s dream of being held came true, right after she dived in to the water to save him, even though he didn’t need to be saved. It was sweet and brave, considering the fact that she’s not good with cold temperatures, especially Mero’s pool.

*

Chapter 12 focused heavily on Ms. Smith and her new MON squad. You could say that it detracts from the main story but I personally think it’s a nice change of pace. So far we’ve been seeing Ms Smith’s useless side but here we are seeing that when confronted with a crisis, she is on the ball. She can be serious when the situation calls for it. I suppose we see more of her familiar side when she’s with Kimihito and co…

*

The baddies were fairly decent.

I usually prefer baddies or catalysts to be serious but due to the themes and style of this manga, they were perverted. XD You have the Orcs who ransacked a shop with silly desirable demands and a ‘TV crew’ who just wanted to get their hands on Papi’s egg so he can become rich. They were perverted and stupid but it would be inappropriate to expect anything else.

I’m sort of hoping that- if this manga gets serious- we’ll have a proper villain introduced who is not cheesy or perverted. He/she would be allowed to be funny but not cheesy. That’s just me though. XD

*

Up until now we just saw baddies who were narrow minded and purse snatchers but here the author is exploring a darker side of both humans and liminals. It looks like that may continue since the creepy director is on the run.

*

I like how Mero’s fetish side is coming to the surface. I can see her visions becoming animated, like she is daydreaming in her own imagination. Rather funny and cute. It’s also funny how Mero trusted Miia’s cooking and fainted, with a creepy grin on her face. You wouldn’t have thought that someone with a high class background would have such an improper fetish. XD

*

The extras and facts at the back are fun to read, I especially enjoyed Mero’s facts. Kimihito appeared to be very conscious about what food he buys since Papi is half bird (chicken) and Mero is a mermaid (fish). It turns out that it was all wasted worrying since Papi eats chicken and Mero likes fish…all perfectly fine with cannibalism. XD!

*

Chapter 14 was very engaging. It had good pacing with a very solid ending. It’s the kind of ending that makes you want to read Volume 4.

I knew the TV crew were dodgy straight away, so did Kimihito. They felt obliged to comply because of the uneasy tensions between humans and liminals.

Paper was certainly important in this chapter. I was as shocked as the characters in that scene when Papi announced that she was going to lay an egg…later revealed that it was unfertilised…Of course, this announcement led to hilarious consequences, poor Kimihito…

I do wonder how harpies and lamias reproduce. Birds and snakes do usually reproduce through eggs. I did see a documentary that certain snakes do mate. The female snakes’ stomach would turn pink, indicating that it’s going through a lovey-dovey season. 😉

It was a pity that the creepy director went on the run, but fortunately he got his come-uppance by a mysterious Arachne.

I feel quite excited yet nervous for Kimihito. It seems clear that she’s going to come after him…

Maybe she’ll join his ever expanding harem? But on the other hand she might become the latest villain.

From my initial impression I think that she’s cynical. I’m just basing this on her mannerisms and demeanour. Her design also suggests that she is. The art isn’t always about the style but the designs within the style. Her clothes are very bold, dark and suggestive.

3. THEME

  • Comedy
  • Ecchi[2]
  • Fantasy
  • Harem[3]
  • Mature
  • Romance
  • Seinen[4]
  • Slice of Life[5]

4. ART AND DESIGN

I feel that the art and story blend well together. It’s appropriate for this kind of story with plenty of cheeky situations.

All the characters have glowing presentation to their appearance. Miia is casual, Centorea is formal and Papi is…Papi. XD Mero’s gothic lolita design is pretty cool and gives off the aura of an aristocrat. Her pink hair and mermaid part of the body is very feminine and pleasing on the eye. Pink is definitely a good choice for her, I sort of pictured her fins and hair as aqua/turquoise based coloured, since she’s a mermaid. Pink is definitely the right choice, I feel. =)

I like also how Miia’s headband (representing Lamia’s eyes) varies depending on her hairstyle or what she wears on her head. It sort of reminds me of Sena Kashiwazaki from Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends. She has butterfly clips in her hair, but it changes depending how she styles her hair. Miia is very much the same in this regard.

The colourful pages were especially good. The background in one of them was designed in scales coloured red, obviously representing Miia.

It was a just a cameo but I really like that red haired mermaid that appeared in Mero’s vision. She’s like a carbon copy of Miia.^^

5. CHARACTERS AND RELATIONSHIPS

5.1. MIIA

Miia really is a gem of a character and is my favourite from this manga.

She might be a Lamia but she’s cute, sexy, caring and very hilarious. Someone so cute should not be able to show various facial expressions like she does. Before the competition ensued she was portrayed as someone who is passionate, loving, affectionate, shy, a touch naive and lovey-dovey.

Since the arrival of Papi and Centorea we started to see additional sides to her, funny sides. We’re starting to see vices in the form of jealousy, possessiveness and competitiveness. They tend not to show when she and Kimihito are alone together.

In some ways she has a bit of a vindictive and cunning streak. When she comes up with plans to stay as Kimihito’s “number one” it tends to back fire badly, especially when Kimihito had to carry Mero around.

My favourite moments do actually involve Miia, especially her comedic reactions to situations and they’re so easy to visualise. Every time she goes “waaaah?” I can just picture her shouting “naaniiii?” in Japanase. XD

It’s a shame how terrible she is at cooking. We do learn that her speciality is boiling eggs, mostly because eggs are her favourite food- as she is part snake.

5.2. MERO

On the surface Mero is pure and lady-like.

It is suggested that she could be of noble blood. If she is of noble blood then it makes sense why Ms Smith assigned her to Kimihito’s household. She knows that Kimihito treats his guests with utmost respect and affection. Someone of noble blood would probably have to receive the best treatment in the best possible way, and who more appropriate to be her host then Kimihito?

5.3. SUU

Suu is an absolute brilliant character. I was really excited when a character like Suu was introduced but I find that I like her more the more we learn about her. Her quirks in transforming, reading people’s minds, mimicking and general abilities are very unique.

In fact, it is her uniqueness that has provided many pinnacle moments in the story.

  • Her ‘attack’ on Mero led to Miia being saved by Kimihito and a heart-to-heart between Miia and Mero.
  • She was able to enter Kimihito’s room, when ill, without the worry that she will catch his ‘virus’. Of course that led to many comical situations.
  • She read Kimihito’s mind when he was ill. She ‘nursed’ him back to health.
  • She read the creepy director’s mind which confirmed that he was filming with evil intentions. It wouldn’t have unfolded had it not been for Suu.

You will note that in those situations Suu was nothing more than a background character that made a sudden appearance, i.e., a sudden impact which changed the dynamics of the story line.

It was only Chapter 13 that she played a pivotal role. Not only did she play an important part but we also got to see her personality develop.

It was very touching to see her speech and declaration of love for Kimihito. It seems as though every time we see her, there’s more to her personality. Her feelings started to grow more affectionate to, the more she starts to develop a mind of her own. She had her own personality to begin with; we’re just seeing her grow as an individual, even if she is just a Slime.

5.4. MON SQUAD

The MON (Monster Ops Neutralization) Squad are a very good addition to the series.

You have an overzealous captain, Zombina, who is the undead, or zombie. Her specialism is raiding. It’s appropriate for her to charge into dangerous situations since there’s no danger of her dying.

Then there’s Manako, who is a Cyclops. A very shy type of character who cries easily due to her oversized singular eye.

You then have Doppel who can transform into anyone that she desires. This can be very handy for when she goes under-cover. It especially helps when she pretends to be that pinup type character girl as it certainly fooled the orcs.

I especially like Tionshia. I describe her as a gentle giant. I think she’d be more suited to being on a catwalk rather than as part of the MON squad.

5.5. MS SMITH

It’s very easy to take Ms Smith at face value but I can’t help but wonder if there’s more to her than meets the eye. We’ve seen her in bad light plenty of times but she showed that she can be reliable in dangerous situations.

I question her views towards Kimihito. It’s not clear if she harbours a deep affection for him but it’s clear that she sees him in a positive light. Since the young lad became an impromptu volunteer she became very familiar with him and his house. I don’t think this can be swept under the carpet.

Sure, we could say that she’s taking liberties and uses him as an excuse to get away from work and hang out for coffee and dinner. But, she could use any other hosts as an excuse to get away, so why is it Kimihito? She teases him sometimes through flirting. She assigned a noble like Mero to his household. And she turns a blind eye to any wrong doing that involves Kimihito, including the illegal species like Suu. Is she slacking off, or, is she giving him special treatment?

Whatever should happen I think it is worth keeping an eye on Ms Smith’s relationship with him to see if something happens.

6. BREAKING THE FOURTH WALL / SELF-AWARE

We established that one of the many charms of this manga are the puns and its self-awareness. Miia’s “Fire for fire, slime for slime” was one of those glorious puns. And “Get your filthy fins off my darling2.” Haha

Then you have moments where I feel like the manga breaks the fourth wall. In two of the cases it was Kimihito and Miia who broke the fourth wall.[6]

One where Kimihitio said “look, I don’t care how much the fetishists get off on this…!! I still don’t wanna drown!” when Suu is suffocating him, and the one with Miia…

“Anyone who gets that excited over my skin… is the worst kind of pervert!”

I couldn’t stop laughing when I first read that. I initially interpreted that as Miia insulting herself. However, when I read it again, I actually think it’s a joke between the author and the reader. I think it’s implying that we, the reader, have a ‘fetish’ over Miia’s skin which is why we are reading it.

Regardless, I think it’s hilarious. XD

7. CONCLUSION

The pace of the story was very good throughout.

One story focused on Ms Smith and her crew to give us a glimpse as to what she’s like at work. It was good. Certain characters like Suu were important in order to conclude parts of the stories. If Suu and her uniqueness didn’t exist then none of the stories could have unfolded and have a decent ending, even if they appear to be a background character. The one-sided rivalry between Miia and Mero had an unexpected and funny ending and the ending finished in a dramatic way which whets my appetite to read the next volume.

Most importantly though, I laughed a lot and thoroughly enjoyed it and I am most looking forward to Volume 4. If something makes me laugh and smile then it becomes very precious to me.

I give Monster Musume Volume 3 two thumbs-up.(My Rating System)

Two Thumbs-Up

8. OFF-TOPC RAMBLE: 12 BEAST

12 Beast Volume 1

This week I have learned that Seven Seas are going to release the manga, 12 Beast, on 14th April 2015.[7] [8]

12 Beast is another manga by Okayado and by what I’ve heard and seen, it’s somewhat similar to Monster Musume. I would say it looks more of an adventure fantasy rather than a slice of life like MonMusu. I’m very excited about this announcement and it’s something that I’m looking forward to in 2015, that and Avengers: Age of Ultron. 😉 I like Okayado’s work and style of writing and I get the impression that I’m definitely going to like 12 Beast. =D

For those who are interested, it is now available on Amazon.com.[9]

9. OFF-TOPIC RAMBLE: HIGH SCHOOL DXD

High School DxD

I’m also pleased to hear about the news of High School DxD. The TV Anime is going to have a third series and OVA within the next year. Yen Press publishers have also licensed the spin-off of High School DxD starring Asia and Koneko. It’s called High School DXD: Asia and Koneko’s Secret Contract!?[10] It’s released sometime in December so this is going to go on my Christmas list! =D

I’m twiddling my thumbs in anticipating for the novel to be licensed.^^/

I wonder what the DxD stands for in the title. Does anyone know? Judging by the theme and what I’ve read it’s probably something like “Devil x Dragons” or “Dragon x Dragons”… I’m hoping for the latter, it sounds cool. =D

THANKS FOR READING

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I learnt I can’t truly share my thoughts unless I spoil it a little…I know I’m not good at keeping secrets but the only way I can share my thoughts is if I don’t hold myself back. So, I do apologise if you didn’t want to be spoilt but it’s important to me that I annotate my feelings without restraint. =)

From now on a “WARNING: I MAY GIVE SPOILERS AWAY” will be plastered at the top of each review so that you’re aware of the spoilers ahead. =)

Thank you very much for reading.

Sayonara.^^/

Ryan

[1] Acronym for Monster Musume

[2] Risqué and sexy moment or lecherous characters

[3] All young females gunning after one man and/or lady

[4] Target audience for young man

[5] Based on everyday mundane life

[6] On a stage of a room there’s usually three walls. The fourth wall is presumed to be there, but it’s invisible. The audience is watching the TV/play on that fourth wall. The fourth wall is “broken” when the actor/performer engages with the audience through the fourth wall. British sitcoms like Miranda and Mrs Brown’s Boys break the fourth wall through their shows.

[7] http://sevenseasentertainment.tumblr.com/post/93331953770/license-2-from-one-of-our-new-york-times

[8] https://twitter.com/gomanga/status/499262048396910592

[9] http://www.amazon.com/dp/1626921776/

[10] http://www.amazon.co.uk/High-School-DXD-Konekos-Contract/dp/0316334855/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1407950639&sr=8-7&keywords=High+School+DxD

My Rating System

Good Day.^^/

I intend to use this rating system for manga reviews, game reviews, film reviews and anime reviews. I’m going to give you an example of how I would rate manga so I can explain my thoughts better. =)

Two Thumbs-Down:

Two Thumbs-Down

I would give two thumbs down if I find a certain manga unreadable, or, I dislike it in many ways. I hardly doubt I would ever give a manga this rating though. If I disliked a manga to that degree then I would probably stop reading it altogether.

One Thumb’s-Down:

Thumbs-Down

In a certain manga I may find many vices or things that irk me but I can find positive points, especially if it’s humorous.^^/

So-So:

Thumbs So-So

I’m rather neutral about this manga, I don’t love it but I don’t hate it. I would likely read this to pass the time or if I had nothing else to read.

One Thumb’s-Up:

Thumbs-Up

I find this is a good read. What I look for in a manga is the humour. If this manga makes me laugh or chuckle on more than one occasion then I will give this One Thumb’s-Up.

One Thumb’s-Up and a Pinky:

Thumbs-UpPinky

If I like this more then One Thumb’s-Up but less then Two Thumb’s-Up, this would be the happy medium. =)

Two Thumbs-Up:

Two Thumbs-Up

I connect with this manga very strongly. It makes me laugh a lot even after I re-read this a good number of times. I experience many emotions when I read this book and I can re-read this countless of times and never tire of it.^^/

THANKS FOR READING

I like to think that my rating system is pretty simple to understand. If you have any questions, just give a shout. =D

Namaste.^^/

Ryan