Review – Chi’s Sweet Home Vol. 1

Chi's Sweet Home Vol. 1
By: Konata Konami
Release Date: June 29, 2010
Publisher: Verticle
Series: Chi's Sweet Home

There are certain books you stumble across repeatedly whether they are mentioned by friends or are included in lists or articles online. One manga I kept coming across is a story about a cat that looked absolutely adorable. I’ve finally read Chi’s Sweet Home, Vol. 1 by Konata Konami.

The story follows Chi, a cute little kitten that gets separated from its mother and siblings only to be found by a little boy visiting a park. Chi is taken home by the family even though they aren’t allowed pets in their apartment. What follows are a series of cute happenings and hi-jinks around Chi’s new home.

Review – Uzumaki Vol 1 by Junji Ito

Uzumaki Vol. 1
By: Junji Ito
Release Date: October 16, 2007
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Series: Uzumaki

There is nothing quite like reading a great horror story, and with Junji Ito a reader can never go wrong. Uzumaki Volume 1 by Junji Ito is an utterly fantastic horror tale set in a city beset by something rather innocent appearing at first, but quickly grows to epidemic proportions.

In Uzumaki the town of Kuozu-cho is haunted by spirals. The patterns can be found in nature – plants, water, within the human body. All of these are innocent enough. But spirals begin appearing in other places such as the crazed obsessions of Suichi Saito’s father and slowly spreads.

Review – Lumberjanes Vol. 1

Lumberjanes Vol. 1
By: Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Faith Hicks, Brooke A. Allen
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Series: Lumberjanes
Award: Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for Best New Series & Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)(2015); Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Graphic Novels & Comics (2015)

I’d recently heard some very good things about Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Faith Hicks, and Brooke Allen. When I found copies available in my local library I immediately delved in. This is a fun fantasy/mystery series that follows a group of girls at a Lumberjane sleepaway camp. The forest they’re camping in holds secrets, though, and seems to be filled with magical creatures. The story follows these girls as they go on various adventures and try to solve the mysteries of the woods.

Review – The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Vol. 1 by Kore Yamazaki

The Ancient Magus' Bride, Vol. 1
By: Kore Yamazaki
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Seven Seas
Series: The Ancient Magus' Bride

I am very late to the party on this one. Usually I keep up with each season’s anime releases, but alas, I’ve fallen behind. But a new anime usually means amazon discounts on its corresponding manga, so I picked up the first volume of The Ancient Magus’ Bride by Kore Yamazaki.

Chise Hatori is the main character, a Japanese girl who was orphaned at a young age. She has long since gave up on everything, entering the realms of magical beings and was previously sold into slavery. When she is purchased at auction by an ancient, inhuman magus, Elias Ainsworth, Chise is given a new lease on life. Suddenly she finds herself freed and apprenticed to a mage. Now she has the ability to move forward – to learn about magic, her potential, and to heal.

Review – Winnebago Graveyard by Steve Niles and Alison Sampson

Winnebago Graveyard
By: Steve Niles; Alison Sampson
Release Date: November
Publisher: Image Comics
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)

Winnebago Graveyard is the story of a young family on a summer road trip. When they come across a fair, they stop for the day, intent on fun and absolutely no cell phones. As the day winds down and they’re set to go home, they find their Winnebago is missing, presumably stolen. When the fair’s employees are unwilling to help, they walk on to the next town. But the sheriff here is completely disinterested in their problems. The whole place feels off, wrong. Strangers aren’t welcome here, and soon a missing Winnebago will be the least of this family’s problems.

Manga Monday – The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Omnibus Vol. 1

The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Omnibus Volume 1
By: Eiji Otsuka; Housui Yamazaki
Release Date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Series: The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service

One of my favorite manga genres is quickly becoming the horror genre. I had my eye on The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Omnibus Volume 1 by Eiji Otsuka and Housui Yamazaki for some time now. This omnibus edition collects volumes 1 to 4 of the manga together in one place, is a monstrous 640 pages long, and is perfect for binge reading. Which is exactly what I did.

This manga features five students and ex students studying to become monks. However, the job market isn’t what it should be and none of them exactly fit in well with the regular 9 to 5. But that’s just with the living. The dead have lingering desires, wishes they want fulfilled, and even in death they’re willing to pay. This follows Kuro Karatsu and four others as they fulfill the last wishes of the deceased clients.

Review – God Country by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw

God Country
By: Donny Cates; Geoff Shaw
Release Date: August 2, 2017
Publisher: Image Comics
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)

I am always game for a story about a giant Final Fantasy styled ridiculously oversized sword. Look, I just like them. They look cool. And they look cool in artistic formats like video games and graphic novels. When I found out God Country by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw was about an older gentleman who finds an enormous sword, I knew I needed to read it.

The story follows Emmett Quinlan, an older man who suffers from Alzheimer’s. His children and the local law enforcement are having an increasingly difficult time handling Emmett’s violent outbursts. When a storm sweeps through his Texas town, leveling his home. But when Emmett emerges from the storm, he is a different man, a man that his son thought was lost to disease. A magic sword has granted him a sound mind and great powers. But the sword belongs to someone else, and they will stop at nothing to get it back.

This was a bit of a roller coaster of a graphic novel for me, and not necessarily due to the plot. The book was one of highs and lows for me. The opening pages of God Country hit hard. The opening scene shows the sherriff of a small town in Texas returning an Alzheimer’s ridden father to his home and son turned caretaker after sneaking out of the house without anyone’s knowledge. The sheriff tries to tell the son that it’s time, that the Alzheimer’s is too advanced, and that they should really consider a nursing home. This scene hit hard, having been in similar situations and discussions with family members. The heartbreak, the questions with no good answers, all of that felt very real. Everyone’s experiences are different, of course, so not everyone who has cared for an Alzheimer’s patient will be able to relate to this scene the same way, but it did add a lot of realism to the story.

However, this hard hitting emotion didn’t quite carry through to the rest of the graphic novel for me. Overall, this is a very action packed story. There’s plenty of fighting scenes. More emotional scenes are also prevalent. But none of them had the same sort of impact that the opening scene managed to convey. Scenes that, for all purposes, were supposed to be gut wrenching never quite left me feeling that way.

There were some interesting questions posed in this graphic novel. Emmett had a real second chance, a chance to say the things he never said or never had a chance to. Yet, nothing changes. He is the same person he always was for better or worse. The relationship with his son doesn’t change very drastically despite the young man trying rather desperately to get Emmett to say something, anything. This brings up some really fascinating questions. Many other stories with similar themes play off of the concepts of things left unfinished or what could be changed if there was a second chance. In a lot of ways, God Country subverts that, with Emmett being very much the same person he was before Alzheimer’s took hold. This is something I haven’t seen a lot, and it was rather interesting to see play out.

I have some mixed feelings about the art, too. The fight scenes were a strong point, with all of the flashiness one would expect when a character fights with a greatly oversized sword. While we don’t see a terrible amount of the Kingdom of Always, this was also rather fascinating, and I dwelled on these images, along with the battle scenes, the most. The characters, however, were entirely unappealing from a visual perspective. I really didn’t like how any of the characters were drawn. Faces looked sort of mushy and lumpy. Noses were pointy and eyes tended to be squinty. Color palates used fit the settings well. Bluish tones were used in Always while Texas had more yellows, browns, and reds, highlighting the grassy landscape.[/parapgraph]

This isn’t a story with a happy ending. Even so, the ending was very satisfying and fitting for the story being told. I won’t say too much more on this due to spoilers, but the story wrapped up extremely satisfactorily.

Despite a good ending, the story was, overall, forgettable. I only read God Country three days prior to sitting down and writing the review, but already details are fuzzing over. I think it’s worth a read. The premise is quite original. I like seeing heroes and main characters that are so out of the norm. Going into this I expected to rate it extremely highly. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to initial expectations. Still, if this sounds even a little interesting to you, I do encourage you to read it.

Review – A Silent Voice Volume 1 by Yoshitoki Oima

A Silent Voice Volume 1
By: Yoshitoki Oima
Release Date: (Original Japanese) November 15, 2013;(English Translation) May 26, 2015
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Series: A Silent Voice

I’ve recently been getting more manga from my local library than I used to. (They won’t acquire more if no one’s reading them, after all). But while they have a rather comprehensive who’s who of 1990s manga, more modern titles are often missing. Luckily, one of the series they’ve made sure to put on the shelves is A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima.

Despite having a rather famous movie adaptation, I went into this series pretty much blind. I haven’t watched the movie and knew nothing of the plot beyond the very basics. A Silent Voice is the story of two middle schoolers – a boy named Shoya and a girl named Shoko. Shoko is a new transfer student and deaf. Shoya suffers from nothing greater than perpetual boredom, and begins to bully Shoko. The entire class joins in on Shoya’s bullying, with Shoko ultimately switching schools. Yet Shoya shoulders the blame of her dropping out of their school alone. Years later, at the end of high school, Shoya meets Shoko again.

Review – Puella Magi Madoka Magica Volume 1

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Volume 1
By: (story) Magica Quartet; (art) Hanokage
Release Date: (Original Japanese) February 12, 2011; (English Translation) May 29, 2012
Publisher: Yen Press
Series: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

I think its safe to say that Puella Magi Madoka Magica is an international phenomenon. The story is written by Magica Quartet with the art done by Hanokage, and I cannot recommend this series enough.

A new student transfers into first year high school student Madoka’s class. The girl is familiar, a person from something Madoka knows must have been a dream. It being anything else was impossible. Cats don’t offer magical powers in exchange for your deepest wish. Yet here this girl, Homura, is and she’s fighting a rather familiar looking cat. The offer is again given. If she speaks her deepest wish, she will be granted both magical powers and her wish. But it isn’t all fun and games. The world of magic is a world of high danger and seemingly little personal reward. The lost are not mourned here, and evil stalks the innocent.

Review – Snotgirl Vol 1 by Bryan O’Malley

By: Bryan Lee O'Malley; Leslie Hung
Website: ;
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Publisher: Image Comics
Series: Snotgirl #1

A graphic novel I’d heard about on booktube (that’s book based youtube videos for any who aren’t familiar with the term) and decided to pick up is Snotgirl by Bryan Lee O’Malley (creator of Scott Pilgrim) and Leslie Hung. While having a slight air of mystery about it, this graphic novel doesn’t fall into the usual science fiction, fantasy, or horror genres I normally read. This is both a blessing and a curse. I like stretching out of my comfort zone, but at the same time I am often reminded why I enjoy those genres to begin with.