Manga Review: “Twin Star Exorcists” Volume Two

Twin Star Exorcists Volume 2 focuses on Rokuro, a boy who once dreamed of being an exorcist but changed his mind after tragedy struck. Now in junior high, Rokuro has an encounter with a mysterious girl named Benio and he finds himself being drawn back into exorcism. The situation becomes complicated when it’s revealed that Rokuro and Benio are the “Twin Star Exorcists” and are fated to marry each other.

Twin Star Exorcists Volume 2

Written by: Yoshiaki Sukeno
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: October 6, 2015

Volume 2 starts out with a focus on forcing Rokuro and Benio to live together and forcing them to become a couple in order to fulfill their prophecy. As the Twin Star Exorcists, they are supposed to give birth to a prophesied child. Unfortunately, they’re not given a choice about living together, so they have to try to make the best of it. But it’s not easy to make it work, though, since the two of them hate each other so much.

This volume also includes a strong focus on character development for Benio. Through flashbacks, we start learning what happened to her parents and why she’s so driven as an exorcist. But when Benio finds the creature she’s been searching for, she receives some unexpected help from Rokuro. During this battle, Rokuro learns about Benio’s past and he shows toughness, yet kindness, when she can’t seem to find the strength to continue fighting after the creature has beaten her up quite a bit. This was a great character moment between Rokuro and Benio, and it seems to be the first step toward the two of them starting to be a little more understanding of each other.

Volume 2 also introduces Mayura Otomi, a childhood friend of Rokuro’s. It’s obvious rather early on when she’s introduced that she’s interested in Rokuro. Of course, he doesn’t seem to pick up on it. When Benio transfers into Rokuro’s class at school, he’s visibly upset. Mayura picks up on their animosity and is quite puzzled, since Rokuro hasn’t told her about anything that’s happened to him recently. When Rokuro tells Mayura that he’s moved, she and some of their classmates go to the house. Rokuro thinks the coast is clear, but it turns out Benio is there. Not surprisingly, Mayura takes this rather badly. But when Mayura is in danger, Rokuro rescues her. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that a love triangle is being set up here between Rokuro, Benio, and Mayura.

The last chapter of the volume throws a couple of major surprises at Benio, and it also reveals some important things about the Hinatsuki Dorm incident that’s been referenced in the series. But what these revelations entail could destroy the fragile relationship that Rokuro and Benio have started forming over the course of Twin Star Exorcists Volume 2.

There seems to be potential for Twin Star Exorcists, and I’m very interested in seeing where the series will go after the cliffhanger that ends this volume. Sure, in a lot of respects there are several basic ideas here that appear in other manga (such as the male and female protagonist who don’t like each other being fated to be together and a potential love triangle that includes a childhood friend, for example), but adding the exorcist element does at least provide a layer that helps to make this feel a little less cliché. But I still believe there could be potential here to move beyond the ordinary and clichéd elements, and hopefully future volumes will show that this series will find its own voice.

When it comes to the art, there really isn’t much here to make it stand out from the art that appears in similar manga series. But Sukeno does include some very good close-up panels of characters’ expressions that successfully capture the mood that’s being conveyed. Some of the action panels are eye catching as well.

I believe that Twin Star Exorcists Volume 2 will appeal to manga readers who enjoy supernatural stories featuring junior high age characters.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

Manga Review: “Master Keaton” Volume Four

Originally written for

Master Keaton Volume 4 focuses on Taichi Hiraga-Keaton, an archaeologist and an insurance investigator at Lloyd’s of London. His travels bring him in contact with various kinds of people and their stories.

Master Keaton Volume 4

Written by: Hokusei Katsuhika
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: September 15, 2015

Volume 4 opens with three chapters that involve the Romani and the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. This particular story sees Taichi becoming involved when three Romani friends who survived World War II are killed before the World Sinti and Roma conference. There’s a lot of intrigue, and it incorporates details from World War II such as Adolf Hitler and the concentration camps. I was riveted by this particular story, and I enjoyed seeing how clues from the Pied Piper of Hamelin were able to reveal what was needed to figure out who was behind the murders.

The next story in Master Keaton Volume 4 also incorporated a historical element, this time using apartheid and South Africa. Taichi finds himself helping another gentleman trying to prove a Black man’s innocence when he witnesses a car accident. The racism the police showed during this case was disgusting, and it really hits home in the wake of current real life events taking place in America. I was impressed with Taichi giving up a job interview in order to help prove this man’s innocence. This story may have only lasted for one chapter, but it really left an impression.

The next story actually focuses on Taichi’s daughter, Yuriko. She has a teacher who gets picked on by the other students, and he harbors a secret in his past. I enjoyed seeing Yuriko interacting with this teacher and learning about his secret. When Yuriko stands up for her friends who could be expelled from school, the teacher acts unexpectedly and does something to help out. While this story may not have shown Taichi very much, he really wasn’t needed for it. And I appreciated getting to see a story that primarily focuses on Yuriko for once.

Taichi also finds himself involved in a missing child case, saving a village from an avalanche, helping to investigate the death of a former I.R.A. fighter, and solving a centuries old mystery. And in the last chapter of Master Keaton Volume 4, there’s a story that focuses on Taichi’s father discovering a mystery that he helps to unravel. Of these remaining stories, my favorite is the one with the former I.R.A. fighter. This mystery also worked as an intriguing human interest story as Taichi and a journalist try to find out the truth behind her and her murder. It was a very touching story, and I liked how it ended.

At least three of the stories in Volume 4 include stories with historical references, which would mean something to older readers who lived through the time period that Master Keaton is set in and by those who have enough knowledge of history to understand the references. In some respects, including these historical references date the manga, but that doesn’t diminish from how well-written the series is.

Readers who have read and enjoyed this series should be able to appreciate the stories that appear in Master Keaton Volume 4. Taichi continues solving mysteries and helping others in need with the same compassion and determination that he’s shown in the previous three volumes of the series.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

Weekly Shonen Jump (September 28, 2015)

This issue includes chapters for Black Clover, One Piece, Mononofu, Food Wars!, Samon the Summoner, My Hero Academia, Toriko, Bleach, and Nisekoi: False Love. This issue also includes Bakuman. age 14 (the second part of the two-part Bakuman. prequel manga, and the fourth chapter of Psyren (which is the current title to be featured for the “Jump Back” initiative).

I’m providing my reactions and impressions for each manga title that appears in the volume. However, be warned that this post may potentially contain spoilers.

I only started reading Weekly Shonen Jump back in late February/early March of 2014, which means there’s a number of series published in the magazine that I jumped in the middle of. Since then, I’ve been able to start reading older chapters of some of the titles, but I haven’t managed to do this for all of the titles yet. Because of this, there may be times I might inadvertently include incorrect information in the write-ups. If you see something in a write-up that’s incorrect due to my having not read earlier chapters of a series, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know. Not only can I correct the incorrect information in the write-up, it will also help provide information for me to have when reading future chapters of a series in Weekly Shonen Jump.

Of course, you can always check out Weekly Shonen Jump for yourself by subscribing to the digital publication at

Black Clover CH:031

It’s revealed that the guy causing all the trouble is Rades, who was a top choice for a Magic Knight squad six years ago but that he was expelled. So, this is basically a revenge plot of some kind. This chapter becomes a battle between the captain of the Crimson Lions and Rades. But it’s a short-lived battle, with the Crimson Lions’ leader winning it. While it was good to see the Magic Knight captain pump up the others around him, this chapter ended up being a little on the boring side for me as a reader. I had hoped to see some kind of epic battle, not an easy victory for the protagonist. Oh well. Maybe the next chapter will be more exciting.

One Piece CH:801

We get to see Doflamingo raving about pirates and the state of piracy as he’s locked away in a cell. And then it’s revealed that the bounties for the various Straw Hats and friends have gone up. I expect that the Navy was none too pleased about what happened on Dressrosa. The new bounty posters are actually rather amusing, although it’s interesting that Sanji’s says he’s only to be taken alive. Hmmm… I wonder what that could mean.

Mononofu CH:003

Shinobu goes through the entrance ceremony at school and decides to join the school’s shogi club. Unfortunately, Shinbou accidentally causes embarrassment for a boy named Rindo, who turns out to be the one and only member of the shogi club. How come I saw this coming when Shinobu had his run-in with him? Maybe because it’s a predictable plot twist? But when Shinobu plays one move against Rindo in a game, he’s kicked out for being a beginner. But after a talk with one of his dormmates, Shinobu decides not to give up and wants to start his own shogi club. Not surprisingly, this angers Rindo. The reader learns some interesting information about Rindo through the others at Shinbou’s dorm, and Shinobu does something that surprises Rindo. So we’ve basically got a situation where a newbie is coming in contact with someone who’s an old pro at the game, yet the pro has something that’s holding him back. It looks like the story’s being set up where, with his sense of being able to see the “checkmate,” Shinobu will help Rindo overcome that hurdle.

And that’s the end of this “Jump Start” initiative. Mononofu is probably one of the better titles to come through as part of the “Jump Start” initiative, but there are times when it can be on the predictable side.

Food Wars! CH:136

It turns out that what Erina’s grandfather wanted to speak with Soma about isn’t quite as important as I thought. But after Erina’s grandfather asks Soma what kind of chef he thinks she is, he launches into explaining about Erina’s childhood. Through flashbacks, we get some backstory for her. Even though the content of Soma’s meeting with the former dean of Totsuki isn’t what I expected, I still appreciate getting some backstory for Erina. Erina’s father was so mean and nearly abusive to her as a child. This flashback just seems to reinforce my impression of how much of a jerk he is. It also shows how Erina’s father was disowned from the family. At the end of the chapter, Erina’s grandfather asks Soma to help save his granddaughter from her father’s brainwashing. This is definitely going to be a tall order, but I’m sure Soma will take it on. As we’ve seen in the past, Soma feels is very committed and loyal to his friends, and I can’t see him turning his back on Erina because of her father.

Samon the Summoner CH:002

This chapter sees Sakura getting a lot of exposition from Samon about demons and familiars. But when one of Sakura’s friends shows up and is attacked by a demon, Samon is unwilling to help. This Samon guy is such a jerk that he’s not a likable character. So far, his attitude and behavior are making me not like this series very much. Sakura decides to try to take it on herself. And when Sakura realizes she can’t do it on her own, Samon still refuses to help. But when she says something that Samon wants to hear (that she desires to save her friend), he gives her some help. OK, he did finally help out, but the way he does this makes his come across as such a major jerk. So far, this second chapter really hasn’t sold me any more on this series than the first one did. Maybe next week’s chapter will be better?

My Hero Academia CH:060

This chapter sees the characters stressing about their upcoming final exams and trying to figure out what might be covered in them. We also get to see some of the animosity Class B has toward Class A. And Bakugo makes it clear to both Midoriya and Todoroki that he intends to perform better than them on the upcoming exams. This isn’t terribly surprising, since Bakugo has been established as a hothead from very early on. Then the chapter skips ahead in time to the practical exam, and the students discover the test isn’t going to be like what the upperclassmen had told them it would be like. And with the matchups, it looks like Midoriya ended up getting the short end of the stick. Will he be able to pass the practical exam?

Toriko CH:340

So Acacia is out there and seems to be acting more like a demon than anything else. When Jiro makes it to where Acacia was, the demon of Acacia is long gone. And it looks like there’s only mere days until the Gourmet Eclipse, and it has been hinted that something really bad will happen at that time. But after Jiro argues with the Nitros, he transforms into a beast. It looks like the stage is being set for Jiro to battle the Nitros. This chapter was basically a bunch of talking to provide exposition, with very little actually happening to progress the story outside of Acacia and what he does right at the beginning. Hopefully the story will actually make some progression in the next chapter.

Bleach CH:644

We learn that Nemi had brought body preservation pods, and the two people housed in them are no longer zombies. Mayuri asks a couple of Soul Reapers to take those two individuals out and to put himself and Kenpachi into them. After this, the chapter finally returns to what Urahara and the others are doing. Finally! But the action is just starting at the end of the chapter when Kyoraku is launching into a fight with a Quincy. Prior to that, it was a lot of talking as characters were running. But at least we’ve finally returned to focus to characters other than Mayuri!

Nisekoi: False Love CH:187

Marika’s escape attempt is foiled by Honda, and then we see the others in the dungeons. Chitoge and Tsugumi are together, and Raku finds that his cellmate is Marika’s father. The two of them have a conversation about Marika’s mother. Shinohara makes a surprise appearance in the dungeon in order to rescue the four of them, although Marika’s father decides to stay put. Ichijo is undeterred, and still plans to bust up Marika’s wedding. I guess the conversation with Marika’s father was supposed to give us insight into Marika’s mother and justify her actions. While it does a good job of explaining, I don’t think it truly justifies anything. And what can Raku possibly do to change Marika’s mother’s mind? I’m afraid that if succeeds in changing her mind, it’ll be due to some kind of a lame cop-out.

Bakuman. age 14

This chapter sees Akito trying to figure out how to achieve his goals. We’re also introduced to Mashiro, an artist in Akito’s class. It turns out Mashiro has been drawing pictures of the girl in their class that Akito likes. Akito makes the discovery when Mashiro accidentally leaves his notebook in class. But this chapter definitely sets up the possibility for a collaboration of the two in the future, since Akito likes Mashiro’s art style so much. I suspect fans of Bakuman. will appreciate seeing how the partnership they know from the original series ultimately came to be.

Psyren CH:004

This is the final chapter of Psyren to be highlighted in Weekly Shonen Jump’s “Jump Back” initiative. Ageha arrives where the others are and starts to help them battle against the monsters that they came across. Although it appears that only Ageha and one other person survive. The two of them have to try to work together in order to get past any remaining monsters and find a place that’s safe. But the chapter ends just as they come up with a plan, so the only way to know what will happen at this point is if you tracks down the first volume of the manga series and read it.

Psyren was OK from what I saw, but there just wasn’t quite enough here to hook me and make me want to rush out and read more. It’s not that it’s a bad series, it just didn’t do a whole lot for me personally.

Weekly Shonen Jump (September 21, 2015)

This issue includes chapters for One Piece, Toriko, Mononofu, Bleach, My Hero Academia, World Trigger, Black Clover, Food Wars!, Nisekoi: False Love, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V. This issue also includes the first chapter of Samon the Summoner (the second title to be featured in this “Jump Start” initiative), the Bakuman. age 13 two-part manga, and the third chapter of Psyren (which is the current title to be featured for the “Jump Back” initiative).

I’m providing my reactions and impressions for each manga title that appears in the volume. However, be warned that this post may potentially contain spoilers.

I only started reading Weekly Shonen Jump back in late February/early March of 2014, which means there’s a number of series published in the magazine that I jumped in the middle of. Since then, I’ve been able to start reading older chapters of some of the titles, but I haven’t managed to do this for all of the titles yet. Because of this, there may be times I might inadvertently include incorrect information in the write-ups. If you see something in a write-up that’s incorrect due to my having not read earlier chapters of a series, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know. Not only can I correct the incorrect information in the write-up, it will also help provide information for me to have when reading future chapters of a series in Weekly Shonen Jump.

Of course, you can always check out Weekly Shonen Jump for yourself by subscribing to the digital publication at

Samon the Summoner CH:001

Samon the Summoner is the second title being featured as part of Weekly SHonen Jump‘s latest “Jump Start” initiative.

Shosuke Samon is a transfer student who has such an intense personality that his classmates isolated him. It didn’t help that he introduced himself as a summoner and that his hobby is to summon demons. Sakura Teshigawa, one of his classmates who has a demon on her back, serves as the narrator for the series. Sakura is class president, and she is the only person who tries to talk to him. Sakura has a reputation in class for being an angel or a saint. Unfortunately, having this reputation means that Shosuke hates her. It’s because of Shosuke that she ends up with the demon on her back. The remainder of the chapter shows Sakura trying to deal with the temptations that this demon shoves at her, as well as having to deal with Shosuke and the insults he hurls at her. When a powerful devil arrives to go after Shosuke, he leaves Sakura alone to deal with it. But Shosuke does something unexpected.

Ookay…. well, then. This is definitely not a typical manga where the main male and female protagonists are being set up to be a potential romantic couple. On the contrary, Samon is so obsessed with Sakura turning evil that he will only protect her so that she can live to make his desire come true. After reading this first chapter, I have to say that this isn’t a bad manga, but it’s not standing out to me like Mononofu did, either. I’m not willing to write off Samon the Summoner quite yet, and I’m hoping the second chapter will be able to expand on what we’ve seen
here and helps to make the series something I’d be more interested in reading.

One Piece CH:800

Not surprisingly, Luffy declines the proposal of becoming the captain of a whole fleet of pirates. I knew that he wouldn’t be interested. But in the end, the other pirates swear their loyalty to Luffy and tell him to keep doing what he’s been doing all this time. We also see that Fujitora allows them to escape as thanks for helping to clean up the government’s mess. The way this chapter ends, it’s hinting that some big event that includes all of these pirates will be taking place at some point in the future. It may not necessarily be immediately, though. But this looks like this may finally be the conclusion for the Dressrosa arc. And if this arc really is over, it’ll be interesting to see where the series progresses from here.

Toriko CH:339

This chapter primarily focuses on the battle between Midora and Joie. But after some initial action, the story slows down for Joie to impart a bit of exposition. While the exposition is appreciated, it does slow down what had been a rather fast-paced chapter up to that point. We then see Setsu, Jiro, and Chichi as they drive off Neo, a gourmet cell demon that lurks within Acacia. This seems to indicate that Acacia could potentially be back. But with the way this chapter ends, it appears that doom and gloom could be coming. It really feels like a foundation is starting to be placed to work at bringing the series to an end. Obviously, it won’t be anytime soon, since there’s still a lot of loose ends out there. But it does appear that the story is building up to something major happening.

Mononofu CH:002

Shinobu is now obsessed with studying shogi instead of focusing on his school work. After getting a phone call from Shiobu’s father, who says he doesn’t want his son picking up bad habits, Yasukane declares that there should be no more shogi for Shinobu. But one of the other residents tells Shinobu that he should follow his dreams. So basically, we’re at the point where on obstacle gets in the protagonist’s way, but he receives encouragement to continue pursuing what he wants to do, no matter what. This is a rather common shonen setup, so this development isn’t too terribly surprising. But this person encouraging him gives him a complicated formation for a game they’re going to play. Even though Shinobu ultimately loses, he has so much fun playing an actual game that he wants to play again. During this second game, Shinobu shows his strength in the endgame. At the end of the chapter, Yasukane says he had no right to try to make Shinobu quit, and instead encourages him to try to become the best he can. Obviously, the protagonist wasn’t just going to quit in chapter two, because it would bring about a premature end to the story. We’ve now made it past this hurdle of almost quitting, so what other obstacles will Shinobu encounter as he starts trying to progress to the world of competitive shogi?

Bleach CH:643

What? No, Kubo didn’t just do that. He didn’t just kill a particular character. No, no, no! But it looks like this death is having to make Mayuri become introspective… but not for long. But it turns out that this character’s death may not be in vain, and it could potentially be what turns the tide in this battle. Hopefully this will finally bring about the end of this battle with Pernida.

My Hero Academia CH:059

This chapter sees All Might meeting with Midoriya and telling him more about One for All. This includes finding out how One for All came to be, and how the first villain to come out of the advent of exceptional humanity is the brains behind the League of Villains. But after he hears the story, Midoriya is determined to step up to a challenge that could be coming. But from what we see in All Might’s thoughts, it looks like he knows something bad is in store for himself and that he won’t always be around to help Midoriya. But it looks like the story is setting the stage for the students to have a summer training camp… except for those who can’t pass the upcoming final exams. But the end of the chapter also seems to imply that more trouble is on the way, so I imagine the training camp isn’t going to be all fun and games.

Bakuman. age 13

This is a two-part story that serves as a prequel to the Bakuman. manga. This story focuses on Akito and what his motivation was for trying to make it big with manga. Akito is starting junior high, and he finds that he’s trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life in the future. The only thing he knows is that he doesn’t want to be a salaryman. Time quickly goes by, and Akito always comes in first on the tests in seventh grade. He meets the girl who always comes right behind him in the ranking. Then he’s suddenly in eighth grade and still at the top of the class. In eighth grade, Aiko (the girl who always comes in second) wants to swap numbers or email addresses, claiming they can contact each other if they get stuck while studying; but from her expression, she’s obviously interested in Akito. But it’s during eighth grade that Akito learns that there are manga that are written and illustrated by different people. One thing that was really fun about reading the first part of this story is the references to various manga that were running in Weekly Shonen Jump at the time the story is set in. It definitely helps to make it feel like the story is actually set in the mid-2000s.

Admittedly, I haven’t had a chance to read Bakuman. yet, but I could still follow and enjoy what was going on in this special two-part manga. I’m interested in seeing how this progresses in the second chapter.

World Trigger CH:116

Osamu and Jin have an important conversation after Osamu asks him to join Tamakoma-2. Osamu also explains why he wants his squad to be able to go on an away mission as soon as possible and why he feels they need to make it past the B-Rank Wars and into the A Rank. Jin gives the answer to Osamu’s request that I expected, and I think he made the correct choice here. But Jin also mentions that if Osamu is still looking for new blood for Tamakoma-2, he knows a person better suited for the job than he is. Osamu is trying to puzzle out who he means, and so am I. It’ll be interesting to see is Osamu comes up with the person that Jin was thinking of. And right at the end of the chapter, we see that an Emergency Response Meeting with the elite members is about to get underway. Is the stage being set for something to happen to disrupt the B-Rank Wars?

It should be noted that World Trigger will be off next week.

Black Clover CH:030

It turns out it’s not Yuno who defeats the witch, it’s another magic user in a nearby restaurant who thinks the witch is after her food. While I was glad to see the witch defeated, did it have to be in such a comedic manner? And, hey, we finally return to Asta! He finds the new monster who’s sent against him is a bad match for him. But Asta gets some unexpected help from the captain of the Crimson Lion King Magic Knights. At the end of the chapter, it looks like it’s shaping up to be a fight between this captain and the villain. Well, at least we got to see Asta for a little bit in this chapter, so I guess that’s something.

Food Wars! CH:135

The news of Erina’s grandfather suddenly retiring and her father becoming the new dean sweeps across the campus. However, daily life at the school doesn’t seem to change immediately. Erina’s father delivers his acceptance speech for his appointment, and he shows a different side than what he showed in the previous chapter. His first change comes about when he tells Hisako that he is relieving her of her duties as Erina’s personal secretary. Uh oh. I suspect this is the first of many changes that he plans to make at Totsuki. At the end of the chapter, the former dean pays Soma a visit, and says he has something he wishes to speak with Soma about. Hopefully, the explanation that appears to be forthcoming will follow through in the next chapter.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:186

Chitoge and Raku end up having to split forces, and Raku stumbles upon Marika’s mother. He tries to convince her to call off the wedding. In the process, Marika’s mother asks if Raku would be willing to marry her instead. Not surprisingly, Marika’s mother isn’t moved. In fact, she debates Raku about beliefs and value systems. When Honda arrives, we learn both Tsugumi and Chitoge have been captured. Marika orders Honda to place those two and Raku in the dungeon so they can’t interfere with the wedding. Her plan after that is to turn them over to the authorities. Wow, Marika’s mother really doesn’t care about her daughter’s feelings or happiness. And I’m not surprised that Raku wasn’t able to change her mind. But it looks like Marika may have found a way to pick the lock on the door of her room right at the end. What’s she going to do when she gets out, I wonder?

Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V CH:002

Even though this may not be the person they’re looking for, but they decide to bring him in. When Yuto’s told he’s under arrest, he says he’ll have to duel with the man trying to arrest him. So Yuto and Sawatari (the man trying to arrest him) start to duel. And in true Yu-Gi-Oh! style, we get a whole bunch of exposition on how to play each card and the various stats that the cards have. The majority of this chapter focuses on the duel and the exposition. Honestly, it feels like once you’ve read one Yu-Gi-Oh! series, you’ve read them all. While the characters, cards, and their abilities are different from series to series, the storytelling format is very similar between each one. I have to admit that the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga series tend to bore me because of this.

Psyren CH:003

Most of the other players decide to wander outside, thinking that they have clues as to where to find the gate. When Ageha tries to warn them about the creature, they laugh and make fun of him. When he tries to show them proof, it’s gone. When Sakurako awakens and finds out about the others, she tells Ageha how to pull up a map with the phone and explains where the others are headed. After getting the info, Ahega decides to go to where the others are in order to try to save them. So it looks like Ageha will be trying to play the hero here. There’s only one more chapter left for this “Jump Back” initiative, and it’ll be interesting to see what will happen.

Manga Review: “Nisekoi: False Love” Volume 11

Originally written for

Nisekoi: False Love Volume 11 features Raku Ichijo, a high school boy who pretends to date Chitoge Kirisaki in order to keep the peace between their yakuza families. During the series, Raku attracts other girls’ attention, which only complicates his situation. And if that isn’t enough, Raku is also trying to find a girl he made a promise with 10 years ago that included giving her a key that would open a locket that he wears.

Nisekoi: False Love Volume 11

Written by: Naoshi Komi
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: September 1, 2015

Volume 11 opens with Raku still having amnesia after being hit by a ball at the end of Volume 10. As Raku and his friends meet at Onodera’s house to try to help him jog his memory, Marika finds an old picture book. Surprisingly, this particular book starts to jog Raku’s memory a little, and the story and pictures seem to fit in with the locket, key, and promise aspect of the overarching story. Just as it appears this might actually provide a clue to solve the mystery of the girl Raku made the promise with, it’s discovered that the final pages of the book are missing. While finding this book was a good thing due to helping Raku with his amnesia to some extent and for starting to provide some kind of a clue for the overarching story, it’s a little frustrating that this ends up being a loose end. I expect this picture book will become important at some point later in the story.

But during the amnesia storyline, Chitoge finds herself feeling awkward. Since Raku doesn’t remember anything, he believes that Chitoge is really his girlfriend because he was told that this was a fact. It seems like Chitoge is starting to fall for Raku for real, but she keeps trying to deny this to herself. But she feels bad about the situation Raku is in, and she decides she can’t continue the charade of bring his real girlfriend. And it’s Chitoge who turns out to be the catalyst for Raku getting his memory back due to a humorous misunderstanding. While I have to admit that the amnesia storyline was kind of interesting, I’m glad Komi didn’t try to stretch it out any farther. If he had, I think this storyline would have found itself resorting to overused gags.

Next, there’s a one chapter story focusing on Onodera thinking she’s gained weight and deciding not to eat in order to try to lose weight. Raku notices that something’s wrong, and he’s ultimately the one who’s able to steer her on the right path. Personally, I didn’t care much for this story, since the humor was being derived from someone thinking they have a weight problem and need to go on a crash diet.

This is followed by another story about Onodera, this time about Raku wanting to celebrate her birthday but not knowing what to get her. Raku asks for help from her sister Haru, who only does so reluctantly since she’s still not a fan of his at this point in the story. While the interactions are awkward, it’s revealed that Raku had helped Haru in the past but she didn’t know it. By the end of this chapter, Haru may still not like Raku, but she doesn’t seem to be quite so antagonistic toward him. While it may not have been much progression for Haru’s attitude toward Raku, this small step is better than nothing.

Marika receives an unexpected visit from her friend, Mikage. She’s come to check up on Marika and to meet Raku. She gives them a hard time, and says she won’t leave until the two of them kiss. This leads to Mikage helping them cut school to go to an amusement park. But among the hijinks and comedy, a discussion that Mikage has with Marika seems to be dropping a hint that Marika is hiding something important from Raku and the others. After reading this story, I found Mikage to be rather annoying. In fact, I think I’d even go so far as to say that I find her to be even more annoying than Marika.

The final chapter of Nisekoi: False Love Volume 11 was my favorite. It’s a flashback of Onodera and Raku in junior high, with Onodera narrating how she met him and fell for him. It’s also a sweet story that shows that the two of them almost ended up at different high schools. I thought this was some wonderful background information and character development to include for the series.

Outside of Onodera’s crash diet storyline, the rest of the volume seems to include important information, character progression, and plot progression for the overarching story. While Volume 10 may have had more of an emotional punch, Volume 11 did more to progress the story.

Fans of the series will be happy to receive another piece of the puzzle for the locket, key, and promise story. They will also want to read Nisekoi: False Love Volume 11 to see Onodera’s flashback. It’s really worth the wait, since the flashback appears in the final chapter in the volume.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

Manga Review: “Kiss of the Rose Princess” Volume Six

Originally written for

Kiss of the Rose Princess Volume 6 focuses on Anise Yamamoto, who discovers she is the Rose Princess. Four boys at her school are the Rose Knights who serve her. However, there is also a fake Rose Princess and fake Rose Knights who try to get in the way of Anise finding all of the Arcana Cards.

Kiss of the Rose Princess Volume 6

Written by: Aya Shouoto
Publisher: Kadokawa Shoten
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: September 1, 2015

Volume 6 opens with the revelations of Mutsuki’s real name and that the Gray Rose is supposedly Mutsuki’s older brother. There’s a flashback sequence included in this volume that provides Mutsuki’s backstory and what happened between him and his brother. I found this flashback to be very enlightening, as it helps the reader to start understanding the mystery that’s been surrounding Mutsuki all this time.

Ella, the fake Rose Princess, appears before Anise and declares that she’s started collecting Arcana Cards and already has eight of them. At this point, Anise still has no idea that her friend Hiragi is actually Ella. Kaede knows but hasn’t said anything, and I wonder how Anise will react if she finds out the truth and the fact that Kaede has hidden it from her. I can’t believe that this won’t be touched on eventually, especially since we see Anise feel jealous when she sees Hiragi suddenly kiss Kaede. Anise seems to have fallen for Kaede but won’t admit it to herself.

But the biggest part of Volume 6 is Seiran feeling like he’s going to be left behind and never have his first awakening. When Ninufa says he senses an Arcana Card, Seiran decides to go alone to find it. Anise and Kaede discover what he’s up to and follow him. When the search leads to a swimming pool and the fake Purple Rose Knight, Anise tries to save Seiran and is injured. But Seiran takes a risk to cure Anise’s wounds, which leads to something unexpected. I have to say, it was refreshing to see Seiran finally get a story line that focused on him since he usually seems to be more in the background compared to the other Rose Knights.

At this point, Kaede is the only Rose Knight not to achieve first awakening. I find this an interesting choice on Shouoto’s part, since it’s obvious at this point that Anise and Kaede actually have feelings for each other but they don’t seem to be able to admit it to themselves. And during Mutsuki’s flashback, it’s hinted that a previous Rose Princess and Red Knight became “engaged.” Could this perhaps be a sign that Kaede will ultimately be the one to become “engaged” to Anise, or is Shouoto simply throwing out a red herring?

Kiss of the Rose Princess Volume 6 seems to be raising the stakes and setting the story to move up to the next level very soon. I think enough hints have been dropped to indicate that some kind of major event is bound to happen sooner rather than later. Hopefully the role of the Ella and her fake Rose Knights will also become more important in the next volume, so we can learn what exactly it is that they’re up to and see how their actions affect Anise and her Rose Knights.

Fans of the series should be pleased by the revelations and character developments that occur during Kiss of the Rose Princess Volume 6. And the cliffhanger at the end will make readers anticipate the next volume in order to find out what will happen to those two particular characters, because the last line of narration sounds ominous.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

Manga Review: “Komomo Confiserie” Volume One

Originally written for

Komomo Confiserie Volume 1 focuses on Komomo Ninomiya, a rich girl who enjoyed picking on Natsu Azumi, the son of her family’s pastry chef. 10 years after Natsu and his father leave the Ninomiya family to go to France, Komomo’s family loses its fortune.

Komomo Confiserie Volume 1

Written by: Maki Minami
Publisher: Hakusensha, Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: September 1, 2015

Volume 1 sees Komomo struggling with the idea of losing her wealth. She tries to get a part-time job but she’s not able to keep one for very long. Being a pampered princess for so many years and not having to do much for herself, she doesn’t have any of the necessary skills to work at a job that requires manual labor.

Just as her situation couldn’t possibly get worse, Komomo has an encounter with Natsu, who has returned to Japan now that he’s an up-and-coming chef. This run-in is made worse because Natsu sees Komomo getting fired from her latest job. Natsu tells Komomo she can live with him on the condition that she helps out at his father’s shop.

At first, Natsu seems like he’s doing this out of the goodness of his heart. However, he soon shows his true colors: he wants to torment Komomo for all the times she picked on him when they were younger. Komomo has nowhere else to go, so she’s forced to stay and put up with this. Natsu is rather mean toward Komomo, but there are hints dropped later in the volume that perhaps Natsu is harboring feelings for Komomo that he may not want to admit to.

Volume 1 also introduces a character named Yuri Lacroix, a new employee at the shop who trained at the same place in France as Natsu. At first, he seems like he’s a really nice guy and that Komomo has made a friend. However, it’s later shown that Yuri’s not entirely how he seems on the surface, either.

Near the end of the volume, Komomo starts attending a regular high school with Natsu. This storyline shows Komomo dealing with bullying from another girl who’s afraid that Komomo will take her place as the “queen” at the school. Komomo actually surprised me with how she reacted to the situation. She was portrayed as being such a stuck up and pampered princess at the beginning of the volume, so I didn’t expect her to react the way she did when she was being bullied. As strange as it sounds, perhaps being around Natsu and his attitude may have helped to soften Komomo to some extent.

Komomo Confiserie seems to be setting up the story for some kind of romantic tension between Komomo and Natsu. We’ve already seen hints of this from Natsu, but I don’t think Komomo has come to feel that way for Natsu yet. At this point, I’m not sure whether Yuri is being set up to potentially be another love interest in order to create a love triangle. I definitely see a typical shojo manga set up with this series, which sees antagonism between the main female and the main male protagonist. One of the things that make this story stand out, though, is the fact that Komomo and Natsu have switched the master and servant roles in this first volume.

When it comes to the art, I have to say that Minami has successfully captured the Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde aspect of Natsu’s personality when it comes to Komomo. When he turns into the Natsu that enjoys tormenting Komomo, Minami makes his eyes bulge out and uses shadows in a way to show that he’s turned into “evil Natsu.” Minami has also come up with a shocked look face for Komomo when Natsu’s personality shifts, and this expression really stands out.

For the character designs, Minami relies on typical looks for shojo characters. Komomo is designed to appear like a dignified princess one minute, and then almost appear to look like a young girl the next. Both Natsu and Yuri have been given the “beautiful boy” look.

Komomo Confiserie Volume 1 is off to an interesting start, even though I am a little concerned about Natsu’s near obsession with being the only one to bully Komomo. I think that this series will appeal to shojo manga readers who enjoy reading stories where the romantic interest is antagonistic toward the female protagonist early on but has the potential to evolve into a love interest.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media