Manga Review: “Dengeki Daisy” Volume Two

Dengeki Daisy Volume Two is a manga by Kyousuke Motomi, and it was published in North America by VIZ Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2010. The series is rated “T+” for older teens; from what I’ve read of this series, I would agree with this rating.

Teru Kurebayashi has become an orphan after the death of her older brother, who had been serving as her guardian. Before his death, he let her know that a friend of his who goes by the online name of Daisy will help her out, and she can contact Daisy through text messaging if needed. Teru has never met Daisy; their only interactions have been through the text messages.

Teru meets a custodian at her school named Tasuku Kurosaki; she accidentally breaks a school window, and he has her working as a “servant” to pay it off. Even though Tasuku has an unpleasant attitude, he cares deeply for Teru. Unbeknownst to Teru, Tasuku is also Daisy.

Throughout Volume Two, we see that Tasuku feels conflicted. He keeps his identity as Daisy a secret, and so he ends up reading the messages Teru sends to Daisy about Tasuku; it doesn’t help that Tasuku appears to be falling for her. But he keeps up the unpleasant attitude in order to hide his true feelings. But unknown to Tasuku, Teru finds herself falling for him.

This volume also introduces a new character named Riko Onizuka. She’s a new counselor at Teru’s school, and she’s an old friend of Tasuku’s. It turns out that Riko has a connection with both Teru’s older brother and with Tasuku. Later in the volume, the reader is given a little more background for both Tasuku and Riko and how they are both connected with Teru’s older brother. I appreciated getting this backstory because it helped me to better understand Tasuku and his devotion to both Teru and to her older brother. Over the course of the volume, we also see Teru becoming closer with Riko.

Teru is also targeted by the school’s Computer Club, who are trying to get a hold of her phone. The plot also drags in someone that Teru would never suspect. Fortunately, she’s able to get Daisy on her side and help her out.

When I read Volume One, I thought the initial setup for the series was a little on the unbelievable side. When I started into Volume Two, I decided to go into it accepting the setup from Volume One; since I did that, I was better able to enjoy this volume. I really liked the addition of Riko; not only does she become a female confidante for Teru who’s already linked to Daisy, but her appearance adds a new layer to the series. I hope I’ll still think she’s a good addition at such a time as I’m able to read more volumes of Dengeki Daisy.

This volume introduces someone in the shadows who’s trying to acquire unpublished software that Teru’s brother developed. I have a feeling that this isn’t the last we’ll be seeing of this plot; however, I wonder how Motomi would continue this particular plot without it becoming repetitive or dragging down the overarching story.

When it comes to the art, there are some incredibly good close-up panels of Tasuku. On the top of page 8, there’s a good close-up of Tasuku looking conflicted; I can sense the tenseness and frustration he’s feeling by just looking at this drawing. The top of page 104 has a striking close-up of Tasuku; you can feel his emotion as well as see it.

I’m glad I gave the second volume of Dengeki Daisy a chance, because it’s turning out to be a better shojo manga series than I had given it credit for in my review of Volume One. If you enjoy reading shojo manga, then I think you might enjoy reading Dengeki Daisy.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Dengeki Daisy Volume Two that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Manga Review: “Vampire Knight” Volume 19 (Limited Edition)

Vampire Knight Volume 19 is a manga by Matsuri Hino, and it has been released in North America by VIZ Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in October 2014 as both a regular edition and as a limited edition with the Last Night: Vampire Knight Illustrations art book. This review is for the limited edition version of the volume. Vampire Knight is rated “T+” for older teens; from what I’ve read of this series, I would agree with this rating.

Cross Academy serves as the setting of the series, which is a school that has a Day Class and a Night Class. The Night Class has a secret that is unknown to the Day Class: the Night Class students are vampires.

Two of the Day Class students are the “Disciplinary Committee”: Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu. Ten years before the start of the series, Yuki was saved from being attacked by a vampire; her rescuer was another vampire named Kaname Kuran, and he is Night School student. Yuki has no memory of her past prior to being rescued by Kaname and being taken in by the headmaster of Cross Academy. Yuki also seems to have a crush on Kaname.

Zero Kiryu and his family had been attacked by vampires, and Zero was the only survivor. The headmaster of Cross Academy also took him in. However, Zero has a secret that only the headmaster and Kaname know. Back in Volume One, it appeared that Zero had a crush on Yuki.

Prior to reading Volume 19, I had only ever read the first volume of Vampire Knight. As I read this volume, I felt rather lost, so I went online and visited a Vampire Knight wiki in order to have some idea of what happened between the end of Volume and the beginning of Volume 19.

So it appears that Yuki regained her memory and learned that she was actually a Pureblood Princess vampire named Yuki Kuran and she awakens to her vampiric abilities. It also turns out that she and Kaname were close back before she was turned into a human.

Volume 19 opens with Yuki erasing Zero’s memories as part of her plan to turn Kaname into a human. But Kaname has plans of his own; as the remaining progenitor, he wants to become the origin metal and bequeath weapons with the power to slaughter vampires. At this point in the story, Cross Academy has teamed up with the Hunter Society to combat the remaining pureblood vampires, and the purebloods are intent on taking down Cross Academy. But the main focus of the volume is on what happens between Yuki, Kaname, and Zero.

This volume is both action-packed and emotional. Even though I came into this point in the story after only reading one volume, I could still feel the tension and drama that permeated the panels through the action and dialogue. I’m sure that for readers who have followed Vampire Knight throughout its entire run will be emotionally invested in what happens in Volume 19, and I expect that they won’t be disappointed by what they see. While reading this volume was a whirlwind and was rather confusing since I skipped over most of the story, I expect that long-time fans of the series will be able to get so much more out of this than what I was able to. From what I know of Vampire Knight, this appears to be a rather solid ending.

The Last Night: Vampire Knight Illustrations art book that comes with the limited edition pressing of Volume 19 is a hardcover book with 44 pages of color art. The art included in this book are illustrations from LaLa covers, chapter title pages from LaLa, “coming next issue” illustrations that appeared in LaLa, images from playing cards, an image from an announcement, covers for some of the tankobon releases, an image from a LaLa Slide-in Calendar, an image from a Star Portrait Set, images from the Grand Finale Event, images from New Year’s cards, and the cover illustration for Vampire Knight: Frail no Yume. This is a well-done art book, and the illustrations included in it are breathtaking. I think some very good image choices were made when deciding what art to include in the book. I believe this art book will be a real treat for fans of Vampire Knight.

Volume 19 left a significant impression on me after I read it. Between reading both Volume One and Volume 19, I now want to read Volumes 2-18 so I can better understand the series.

I wrote this review after reading a review copy of the limited edition version of Vampire Knight Volume 19 that was provided to me by VIZ Media.

Manga Review: “Honey Blood” Volume One

Honey Blood Volume One is a manga by Miko Mitsuki, and it has been released by VIZ Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in October 2014. The series is rated “T” for teens; after reading this volume, I’m wondering if a “T+” rating for older teens might have been a little more appropriate.

The main character of Honey Blood is a schoolgirl named Hinata Sorazono. Students at her school are being attacked and the attacks seem to be perpetrated by a bloodsucking vampire. However, her friend Kana says she doesn’t believe it’s vampire because she’s been reading a book about a vampire written by a popular author named Junya Tokinaga; it turns out that Hinata’s mother has also been reading this particular book. Hinata doesn’t believe that vampires exist, though.

Hinata gets a surprise when she discovers that Junya Tokinaga is moving in next door. When she calls his vampire novel ludicrous, he just asks how a mere child could possibly understand. Later, Hinata is asked to show Junya around the neighborhood; but when she gets there, it turns out that he just wanted a chance to talk to her properly. But when she gets there, Junya does something that could be seen as sexual harassment, and she obviously doesn’t like what he does. The author tries to play this off as something funny, but I didn’t find it particularly amusing.

After Hinata has a chat with Junya, she returns home and asks to borrow her mother’s copy of Junya’s book. After reading the book, she starts suspecting that Junya might be a vampire. One night, she follows him and is grabbed by an attacker; fortunately, Junya is around and saves her.

Junya invites Hinata to have dinner and asks his editor to prepare some food. She has to leave to help another author, but before she does, Junya sucks some of her blood. Hinata sees this and leaves; but before she gets far, she realizes she left her bag and goes back to get it. A half-asleep Junya mistakes her for his editor and sucks her blood. Hinata is confused and angry at first, but she finds herself falling to Junya over the remainder of Volume One.

The one thing that’s really been bothering me since I read this volume is the fact that we don’t truly know how old Hinata is. Is she a junior high student or a high school student? Junya is a 200-year-old vampire who’s posing as a 20-year-old author, so it seems her age would be an important thing to know. If she’s a 17-year-old high school student, it’s much less creepy for her to be with Junya than if she were a 14-year-old junior high student.

Something else I noticed: there are some panels where there’s a guy hiding in the shadows, but it’s most definitely the same guy in these panels. I’m predicting that he’s going to be a character who’s introduced in the next volume; the only reason I say “next volume” is the fact that in an author’s note in the back, Mitsuki mentions that this series only ended up having two volumes. Of course, if this is the case where the series was cut off early in its serialization in Japan, then the guy hiding the shadows could also potentially never be revealed.

But after reading this volume, I’m not entirely buying Hinata falling for Junya the way she does by the end of it. It didn’t entirely feel natural to me. And knowing there’s only going to be one more volume, there’s really no way to develop this story as well as it would need to work.

When it comes to the art in this volume, there were two things that really stood out to me: the intricate patterns of some of Junya’s kimonos and how good some of the close-ups of characters faces looked. Outside of those two things, though, the art tended to have more of a “typical” shojo look to it.

In the end, I wasn’t terribly impressed by this volume and it didn’t do much for me; however, readers who enjoy the Twilight book series might enjoy Honey Blood. However, since there’s only two volumes, readers could be disappointed if they read this volume and really get into it.

I wrote this review after reading a review copy of Honey Blood Volume One that was provided to me by VIZ Media.

Manga Review: “My Love Story!!” Volume Two

My Love Story!! Volume Two is a manga written by Kazune Kawahara and illustrated by Aruko, and it has been released by VIZ Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in October 2014. The series is rated “T” for teens; after reading the first two volumes, I would agree with this rating.

Takeo Goda is a large high school student who’s got a very big heart. His best friend is Makoto Sunakawa, who’s very popular with the girls but always seems to turn them down when they ask him out. One day, Takeo saves a girl named Rinko Yamato from a groper on a train and he falls in love with her. As Rinko starts spending time with them, Takeo thinks she likes Makoto; however, Takeo is surprised when it turns out that Rinko is in love with him! By the end of the first volume, Takeo and Rinko become a couple.

At the beginning of Volume Two, Rinko tells Takeo that her friends want to have a mixer so they can meet Takeo’s friends. Takeo is able to round up some guys, and manages to convince Makoto to come along. Before going, Makoto warns Takeo that just because Rinko is nice, it doesn’t mean that her friends will be. Sadly, we see that Makoto is right; after meeting Takeo, a couple of Rinko’s friends talk badly about Takeo behind their back, but Rinko and Takeo end up overhearing.

Even before Makoto said anything, I had my suspicions about how Rinko’s friends would react when they actually met Takeo. Let’s be honest for a moment: a guy with Takeo’s looks isn’t exactly going to be at the top of most high school girls’ lists of guys they’d want to date. But I still felt bad for Rinko because she became so upset over what her friends had said. Takeo acts like a gentleman and tries to tell her that what they said didn’t hurt him. But when something happens that puts these two girls’ lives in danger, Takeo ends up saving the day, and all the girls see him in a much better light.

In the next story, Takeo is asked by members of the judo club to participate with them because their captain is injured. Takeo agrees to do this, even though it means he won’t be able to spend time with Rinko for a month because he has to focus his time on practicing for the upcoming judo competition. Rinko encourages Takeo to do this, but as we see, not seeing Takeo as much is harder on her than she had anticipated. There’s some miscommunication that takes place, but as you’d expect from a series like this, they’re able to get the miscommunication sorted out, and their relationship is able to survive this test.

The final story in this volume finds Takeo learning that Rinko’s birthday is coming up soon, and Rinko’s wish is to be able to spend that day with him. Takeo starts stressing out over what they can do, and Makoto helps him out. But Takeo also notices that something seems to be wrong with Makoto; however, Makoto refuses to talk to him about it. But after Takeo’s mother tells him about Makoto’s father being in the hospital, Takeo talks with Makoto. Takeo wants to be with Makoto on the day of his father’s surgery, which is the same day as Rinko’s birthday, but Makoto convinces him to be with Rinko.

This story sees the struggle that Takeo has between being a good boyfriend and being a good friend. I have to say that I really liked how Kawahara wrote this story so Takeo could do both of the things that he wanted to do. This was due in large part to Rinko being such a nice and understanding person instead of being selfish.

And we also learn in this volume that Takeo is going to become an older brother. I really hope we get to see the baby being born during this series, because I’d like to see how Takeo handles being around the new baby. He’ll obviously love the little one with how big his heart is, but he might be a little concerned about handling the baby considering how strong he is. In this volume, we see him pick up Rinko awkwardly, and he admits that she was lighter than he had anticipated.

Now that I’ve read two volumes of My Love Story!!, I found that I enjoyed the series even more after reading this second volume. The characters are very relatable and likable, and I’ve enjoyed seeing the realistic situations we’ve seen them in, especially after Takeo and Rinko have become a couple. I hope to be able to read more of this series in the future in order to find out what kind of stories these characters end up having.

I wrote this review after reading a review copy of My Love Story!! Volume Two that was provided to me by VIZ Media.

Manga Review: “My Love Story!!” Volume One

My Love Story!! Volume One is a manga written by Kazune Kawahara and illustrated by Aruko, and it was published by VIZ Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2014. The series is rated “T” for teens; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.

The main character of My Love Story!! Is a boy named Takeo Goda. He’s a very big high school student, but he’s also got a very big heart. His best friend is Makoto Sunakawa, who’s very popular with the girls but always seems to turn them down when they ask him out.

One day while Takeo and Makoto are taking the train, Takeo notices a guy who looks like he’s about to grab a girl’s butt and he intervenes. Takeo takes the groper off at the next stop, and Makoto and the girl come with them. When the groper says something offensive to the girl, Takeo punches him in the face. Unfortunately, a cop was there, so he ends up being suspended from school.

One day while Takeo is at home, the girl (Rinko Yamato) comes to Takeo’s house to thank him for his help. Takeo realizes that he’s in love with her. Rinko accidentally leaves her phone there, and she calls from a payphone, and they arrange to meet up so he can get it back to her. Rinko keeps contacting Takeo to offer him treats that she’s made, and he always brings Makoto along, thinking that Rinko likes Makoto. But Takeo is very surprised when Makoto tells him that Rinko’s in love with Takeo, and the two of them become a couple by the end of the volume.

But there’s potential for trouble when Makoto’s older sister, who’s had feelings for Takeo for several years, becomes jealous upon hearing that Takeo now has a girlfriend. Also, it appears that Rinko hasn’t entirely been upfront and honest with Takeo about something…

I got a preview of My Love Story!! when Weekly Shonen Jump ran a preview chapter in the issue that was released on June 16, 2014. After reading that preview, I thought that on the one hand, it kind of felt like there’s a typical shojo story setup. However, I could also see potential for the story to become something more than a typical story. I also found myself really liking Takeo by the end of the preview.

Now that I’ve read the entirety of Volume One, it appears my perceptions weren’t too far off. After reading that preview, I never would have guessed that Takeo had had a secret admirer for years; even if I had, I never would have guessed that it would have been his best friend’s older sister.

Getting to see Takeo even more than I had in the preview chapter, I came to like him even more. He’s a nice guy, but can be clueless when it comes to girls; however, this cluelessness helps to make him a rather sweet guy and a relatable character.

I also have to say I’ve been enjoying Aruko’s art style. While some of the characters and tropes fall into the typical shojo category, there are other elements that don’t; the most obvious of these elements is the design of Takeo. He doesn’t have the “beautiful boy” look that is generally associated with the male lead of a shojo manga series, and I find this to be a refreshing change of pace.

Volume One gets the series off to a strong start, and I’m hoping future volumes of the series will continue to keep these characters as endearing as they are now, as well as to keep the story intriguing enough to make readers want to continue reading the series. I hope this doesn’t end up becoming a series that has a strong start but then falters and loses steam as it progresses, because I really see a lot of potential for these characters and their story.

After reading Volume One, I would recommend My Love Story!! to readers who enjoy reading shojo manga that feature a character who’s normally seen as an underdog when it comes to love.

I wrote this review after reading a review copy of My Love Story!! Volume One that was provided to me by VIZ Media.

VIZ Media Releasing Black Bird Manga in a Box Set

VIZ Media has announced that the company will be releasing a box set for Kanoko Sakurakoji’s Black Bird manga series on October 21, 2014.

The Black Bird Complete Box Set features the entire series run of 18 volumes and will be released under the Shojo Beat imprint. The set is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens and will carry an MSRP of $149.99 U.S. / CAN. With an exclusive bonus premium art book and substantial savings over buying the individual volumes, the Black Bird box set will make a notable addition to any fan’s manga collection.

In Black Bird, there is a world of myth and magic that intersects ours, and only a special few can see it. Misao Harada is one such person, and she wants nothing to do with magical realms. She just wants to have a normal high school life and maybe get a boyfriend. But she is the bride of demon prophecy, and her blood grants incredible powers, her flesh immortality. Now the demon realm is fighting over the right to her hand…or her life!

“The BLACK BIRD manga box set offers a comprehensive way to enjoy this acclaimed fantasy story in its entirety and the bonus art book also lets new and veteran fans enjoy even more of Kanoko Sakurakoji’s beautiful shojo illustrations,” says Pancha Diaz, Editor. “With its winning mix of romance and a captivating story about the darker corners of the supernatural world, BLACK BIRD has continued to be a consistent favorite with readers. We look forward to fans catching the complete series with this new release from the Shojo Beat imprint.”


VIZ Media to Release Honey Blood Manga Series

VIZ Media has announced that the company will be releasing Miko Mitsuki’s shojo manga series, Honey Blood under its Shojo Beat imprint. The first volume in this 3-part series will be released on October 7, 2014. Honey Blood is rated ‘T’ for Teens, and the print volumes each carry an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

In the opening volume, everyone is on edge when a girl at Hinata Sorazono’s school is attacked by what seems to be a bloodsucking vampire. Hinata refuses to believe that vampires even exist, but then she meets her new neighbor, Junya Tokinaga, the author of an incredibly popular vampire romance novel. Dressed in a kimono with an old-world air about him, Junya has a taste of Hinata’s blood and tells her it’s sweet… Hinata can’t help but be drawn to Junya, but could it be that he’s actually a vampire—and worse yet, the culprit behind the attacks?!

“Junya Tokinaga is a mysterious and handsome man, so readers will swoon along with Hinata and become captivated by his complicated past and the bloodthirsty secret he hides,” says Amy Yu, Editor. “The stage is set for charged passion and love in this sultry series from Miko Mitsuki.”