Thursday, 30 November 2017

Manga: Kiss Me At The Stroke of Midnight 2

Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight Vol 2
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Hinana prizes her reputation as a serious high school student, too focused on getting into college to pay attention to boys. But she's a secret fairytale romance freak, sneaking away from her studies to see A Roman Holiday and tucking pop idol magazines into her textbooks. When her celebrity crush comes to her school to film a TV episode, she has to pretend to be totally uninterested even as she desperately tries to get close to him. However, she's not the only one who's not what she appears... her dreamboat isn't just a pretty face either!

I'm not going to lie to you guys...there's some juicy drama right from the start of this volume. Rumours abound and Hinana doesn't know what to believe, but it's not long before she and Kaede have everything sorted out...just in time for Hinana to come down sick. Kaede's busy with work least Akira is free to take care of his BFF. I'm sure you can imagine how thrilled Kaede is by this turn of events. 

This volume lets us see another side to Kaede as he gets a wee bit angry and snaps for the first time. But it's not long before he's brushed it off and his back to his usual self, still, we do get a glimpse of his temper. He and Hinana are still trying to get to know each other and navigate their new relationship, it's all still new and things need to be worked out and so on. Shige seems a bit gruff, but this volume makes it obvious he really cares about Kaede and he's like a parent to him. 

The romance between Hinana and Kaede really starts in this volume, as does a potential love triangle. Yep. Akira is totally on to them...and he's about to embark on his role as "the other love interest" as he makes it obvious as he has a bit of a thing for Hinana and he decides he's going to give Kaede some competition. 

Hinana continues to be totally relatable, and it's so easy to empathise with her and you're sitting there like...yep. That's me. I'd totally do that too! She's such a likeable character, and it's really easy to root for her and be on her side. 

Along with the start of the romance in earnest...and the love triangle potentially kicking off...we get an intriguing look at Kaede's old band and how they react to him and I'm really curious as to what went down between them all, exactly! It looks like we might get more on that and his relationships with the various members, in the next volume if the cliffhanger ending is anything to go by! 

This volume, while still having some silly bits, doesn't have nearly as much silliness as the first volume. But it does have plenty of cute scenes and the art is both gorgeous and cute! I really love the way the artist draws the characters faces for certain scenes and reactions. The plot is moving at a nice pace, throwing in some drama with the cute scenes and setting up a couple of other things to look forward to in coming volumes! I feel like this volume started to be a bit more serious, but it's still got it's funny and odd moments to keep it balanced. There's plenty of Cinderella references to keep an eye out for too, and yeah...there's the odd cheesy bit too...but I mean...we all love a bit of cheese at some points! 


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Manga: Fairy Tail S

Fairy Tail S 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

For the members of Fairy Tail, a guild member’s work is never done. While they may not always be away on missions, that doesn’t mean our magic-wielding heroes can rest easy at home. What happens when a copycat thief begins to soil the good name of Fairy Tail, or when a seemingly unstoppable virus threatens the citizens of Magnolia Town? And when a bet after the Grand Magic Games goes sour, can Natsu, Lucy, Gray, Erza turn the tables in their favor? Come see what a “day in the life” of the strongest guild in Fiore is like in nine wacky short stories! 

If you watch the anime, these stories and chapters will be preeetttyyyy familiar as they're all OVA or omake episodes! Obviously the actual episodes are longer and have additional scenes but still. This first volume was a brilliant collection of humour and heartwarming tales. There's also a lot of fan service, just warning you all. 

Remember how Makarov told the two GMG teams that whichever one won, could get the other team to do whatever they wanted for a day? Well we get to see some resolution to that and it's hilariously ridiculous. We get to learn some more about certain characters like Cana and Bisca which was nice as they don't get much page time in the main series. Welcome Home Frosch is quite possibly one of my favourite episodes and so you was my favourite chapter of this volume! It was nice to spend some time with the Sabertooth members and it was a cute story. Then we have Fairy Tail of the Dead Meeeeeeeen, a hilarious horror comedy chapter, and Natsu faces off with Mavis too, aaaandd we get a nice dose of Christmas! 

Some shippers will be very happy with these stories, especially if you ship Gruvia, Nalu and Jerza...just saying! There's also some fun background on each of the short stories that was interesting to read and gave more insight in to each story and how it came about and how it fit in and so on. The art as usual is detailed when it comes to buildings and backgrounds, and's the characters as we know and love them!

Monday, 27 November 2017

Manga: The Isolator 2

The Isolator Vol 2
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Mysterious objects from space have landed, embedding themselves within human beings around the world and granting them impossible powers according to their deepest wishes. Seventeen-year-old Utsugi Minoru's only wish is to be able to live apart from the world and events around him. But will he remain the same after experiencing his new powers--and new dangers? 

Oh you guys, poor old Minoru would like to live his life "peacefully without anything happening at all"...he's in for a rude awakening. He really starts to come to terms with his new reality in this volume I think, coming to terms with what he is now, and what he can do and what it means and so on. He has to work out what he wants before joining up with the group and it's an interesting thought process from him.

We get a lot of background on Biter that actually made me feel kind of bad for him...very briefly. Very, very, briefly. He's still super creepy and in need of being dealt with I'm not going to lie. So luckily enough, Minoru has his showdown with Biter...again. I was expecting the whole thing with Biter to be drawn out so I was quite surprised to see the turn events took this volume. The Isolator has a really nice pace to it and it keeps the story moving forward. 

This volume is mostly action, and the fights and powers and how they're used are all very well drawn! I'm forever happy when I come across a manga that portrays those scenes well because I've seen a fair few where the art for battle scenes has been...questionable. Shall we say. Minoru is the main focus of the volume and we only see Yumiko and DD briefly towards the end, but we do get to meet Himi, the guy in charge! I liked the focus on Minoru and him sorting everything out, and wrestling the problem around. His price for joining is....interesting to say the least, and I guess we'll see if he sticks with it though. 

Volume 2 is the volume that prepares us for things really getting started. We've been introduced to the world and the main characters, as well as what's going on with it all and our MC has finally decided to suit up and join the fight. There's still so much I want to know, and that we have to discover and I'm anticipating next volume getting us more acquainted with the organisation, as well as introducing us to some more characters as we delve deeper in to the plot. These first two volumes are kind of just the opening chapter, if you will! 

Friday, 24 November 2017

Manga: Seven Deadly Sins 23

Seven Deadly Sins Vol 23
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

With Meliodas out of commission after his battle with The Ten Commandments, it’s up to Elizabeth, Ban, and the rest of The Seven Deadly Sins to avenge him and bring him back. While Elizabeth, hoping to find the key that will bring Meliodas back to her, visits Meliodas’s memories, Escanor goes head-to-head with Estarossa, the Commandment of Love. Will Escanor’s pride prevail and bring him to victory, or will it lead to his downfall?

After the ending of the last volume, the wait for this one was pretty excruciating, I'm not going to lie! This volume certainly didn't disappoint either. There are some reaaaally nice parallels to how the series started, with a scary knight wandering about and showing up at the tavern. I actually really liked that whole scene, it was such a nice touch, and made me all nostalgic for the older volumes! It kind of gave a sense of how much things had changed too! 

The wandering knight heralds a giant plot twist, and I genuinely screeched "WTF?!" out loud at the reveal. I still can't even. I mean technically it's not a new character, but I can't say much else because spoilers. But said newish character is pretty hilarious and I'm looking forward to seeing more of the character in the coming volumes, as well as a certain reunion! 

With Meliodas down for the count, we get to go in to his memories and see what happened after Danafall, something I've been curious about for a long time. There's still a lot of mystery surrounding Danafall and we get a little piece filled in, as long as some background on Elizabeth. But it was nice to get to see more of Meliodas and his life, and how the Seven Deadly Sins came to be. The world and the characters are getting more and more fleshed out and little bits filled in with each of the volumes. Interestingly we get some more information on Meliodas and his curse and how it works. 

While that's all going on, everyone else is pulling together to try to fight the Commandments. We don't see much of Gil, Ban and Howser but we do get a glimpse. Escanor gets a lot of page time this volume, and he gets his badass moment...sort of! 

It really feels like we're starting afresh in this volume, a brand new chapter is beginning, the parallels to the first volume kind of underline it and it feels like everything is being manoeuvred in to place in this volume for the next stage of the story. Some pieces fall in to place with some revelations and everything's ready for the big showdown that's no doubt coming as our heroes you know...heroically fight back. We also get an intriguing little bonus story too that should prove to be interesting! 


Thursday, 23 November 2017

Manga: Sword Oratoria

Sword Oratoria Vol 1
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Aiz Wallenstein, the Sword Princess, is known as one of the most powerful warriors from one of the most powerful groups in the city of Orario: Loki Familia. With them, she ventures into the deepest parts of the labyrinthine Dungeon beneath the city, stalking the monstrous denizens that lurk there and vanquishing them with the blazing light of her sword. But when she meets a certain white-haired boy, the encounter will change both of them forever...

So, the light novel version of this is completely brilliant, and I've been super excited to check out the manga and see how well it compares! There's some stunning colour pages as well as a full colour contents page and I really appreciate the art I'm not going to lie! It's incredibly detailed and rich and the battles are gorgeously drawn, as well as the magic circles and attacks and so on. The characters are drawn both gorgeous..but also cute. I really do love how the facial expressions have been drawn. Bells in particular are drawn hilariously! 

Something the manga does well, is Aiz's inner decisions over what to say to Bell and so on, they're presented incredibly interestingly and I really loved how they where presented. This volume is action packed, with fighting and battles from the start as well as the beginnings of a mystery and we have Aiz's first meeting with Bell! Quite a lot happens in this volume, without it being rushed and its a fairly chunky volume! There's a nice pace throughout the volume too. It keeps you reading and keeps you wanting more. There's a nice amount of detail too, we do go over things we already know about the world etc from the other series, but it's actually a good refresher! 

I have to say, I think this is one of the best light novel to manga adaptions, it's managed to keep the mystery and intrigue, and all of the characters are presented perfectly!

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Manga: Frau Faust 2

Frau Faust Volume 2
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

After narrowly escaping a battle with Lorenzo, Johanna falls unconscious. In her wounded state, the century-old memories of her first contract with Mephistopheles run through her head. In these memories are answers Marion is beginning to understand: what is the nature of his master's immortality, and how is her curse inextricably tied to the body of her demon? Faust, Marion, and Nico's immediate aim is to find Mephisto's right leg, a mission that becomes more urgent when evidence of a young girl using demonic power comes to light. To find the next piece of her precious demon, Johanna may even need to form a tenuous deal with Lorenzo... 

After the cliffhanger of last volume we get to see some of Johanna's past, which I for one, was super excited about! We get a glimpse of what her life was like and how she first met Mephistopheles and came to enter a contract with him. Plus we learn an interesting tidbit about how her deal with him works and why she looks the way she does and so on! It was nice to get a couple of answers straight away, but there's still plenty of mystery left to puzzle out! 

I'm really loving Johanna, even when she was younger she had fire, and she's so sassy and intelligent and kind of sly when she needs to be. Poor old Marion gets left behind bless him, and we get a small smidge of his past too and come to know him a bit better along with why he's so determined to stick with Johanna. Nico appears to be coming along with our duo as well, which I'm thrilled about because I'm really loving her as a character! 

Lorenzo is on the case this volume, along with Vito. They're kind of a hilarious duo and it makes me sad that they're on the opposite side to Johanna and co! I just want them to all get along, especially because I lowkey ship Lorenzo and Nico! They do appear to come to an understanding and start to team up this volume, which I'm excited to see in the next volume! 

As we're on the trail of another of Mephisto's body parts, we meet an old friend of Johanna's. Niklas. I'm kind of wary of him, like I'm kind of expecting him to be dodgy, but he seems like he's okay. We'll see I guess. He's certainly got an interesting family and lineage, shall we say! 

This volume has a nice mystery element to it, with a dose of creepy. The pace is steady, the art continues to be on point and there's some nice historical details and information in the afterword. While we do get a couple of answers, there's still plenty of mystery to keep you hooked and keep you guessing. I'm waiting for Lorenzo to just give in and join Team Mephisto but I guess we'll see! There's a new character thrown in to the mix who could prove interesting, and as we go to recover the next part of poor old Mephisto....we're hit with a tricky situation! All in all, this is an excellent volume, and a perfect continuation that leaves you wanting more! 
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