Friday, 23 February 2018

Re:Zero Chapter 3 Vol 2

Re:Zero Chapter 3: Truth of Zero Vol 2
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Subaru continues to support Emilia in her campaign to become the new Queen of Lugunica. But another candidate shows up, and it's the last person Subaru expected!

The last volume left us on kind of a cliffhanger and we dive straight in with this volume. It's Emilia's turn to speak before the Council, unfortunately she's reviled for being half elf and resembling someone shady from the past which provides an interesting tidbit that may or may not be expanded upon in future volumes. 

The selection kicks off in earnest, but Subaru is parted from Emilia and left on his own with Rem at Crusch's home. While there he decides it's time to learn to fight and we could be about to see him develop and grow some more and become a stronger character. He's kind of been left to his own devices and left on his own so it's going to be interesting to see what he does. 

Meanwhile the story diverges as our two characters part way because while Subaru is off taking part in his own little version of Fight Club with one of Crusch's people, Emilia is about to undergo her first trial in the selection....and it's certainly going to be interesting. The middle of this volume was a bit slow with not much happening, but we pick up again towards the end of the volume. I'm intrigued to see how things are going to progress as our characters have their own missions to fulfil

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Manga: Kiss Me At The Stroke of Midnight 3

Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight Vol 3
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!

Okay folks, this volume brings the drama! Mitsuki makes an appearance this volume, and he's Kaede's old bandmate. He's most definitely shady and up to no good but he's also kind of an airhead. Or at least, I thought he was with his mirror. 

There are plenty of cute and fluffy moments with Kaede and Akira kind of, sort of makes a move. He's obviously not going to sit around and with Mitsuki plotting, things are going to get complicated and drama filled and I'm so here for it! 

The main focus of the volume is Mitsuki wanting to mess with Kaede and it becomes obvious that something else may have gone down besides Kaede leaving the group, or at least I hope it has because really boys?! Reaaaaaaally?! I loved the fact that when Kaede came to save the day he didn't do what I was expecting at all, but it was so very Kaede at the same time. 

The fluff/drama ratio is spot on and we get left on a cliffhanger as Mitsuki clearly isn't done with his schemes, so I'm anticipating drama in the next volume too! I'm also not entirely sure what to make of some of the other members of Kaede's band. Things are definitely getting juicy though, and I'm super excited for it to see how Hinana will react and what Kaede will do! 

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Manga: Baccano!

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

New York, 1927.
In a corrupt city where crime rules the streets, Firo Prochainezo is Camorra, an Italian criminal syndicate distinct from the mafia. A member of the relatively small Martillo family, Firo's nevertheless got big ambitions and is determined to make his mark. But while the Martillos may not be the biggest bad guys on the block, they've got some distinct advantages working in their favor. Does Firo have what it takes to become a made man? 
Let the crazy ruckus begin!

So....I anticipated one thing from this, and ended up getting blown away because it was even better than I expected, I mean...prohibition era New York....Mafia...mobsters....and supernatural elements?! So unexpected but so freaking awesome! I'm already eagerly anticipating the next volume of this manga, I'm not going to lie! 

Firo is a loveable badass with sticky fingers, and I'm already rooting for him to work his way up like he wants to. Bless him, all he wants is to be an exec in the family aka higher ranked than he is. He wants to join the Mafia gang his childhood friends are in without using connections...which is actually really admirable. He wants to work his way up to the top. I'm also incredibly curious about Firo because there's something going on with him...something with a supernatural bent to it I think. His friend Claire too! I'm so interested in him! He's a lot of fun, running over rooftops and so on. 

Maiza is another intriguing character, I felt like there was something off about him right from the start, and I wanted to know what his deal was. Then towards the end of the volume, there's a reveal about him that completely blew my mind because I was reading like "wait...this isn't a supernatural manga so what the hell?" and then I was like "Oh...okay, we're going all supernatural, I see" I was genuinely pleasantly surprised. I need more information on Maiza though! 

This is an excellent first volume, there's a surprise supernatural element that I wasn't expecting, but it only added to the fun! This first volume is fun, introducing you to the characters and setting up some interesting plot elements! There's a showdown in a casino, a shadowy phantom murderer, and a supernatural mystery element introduced at the end! I'm excited to see more! 

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Manga: The Saga of Tanya The Evil

The Saga of Tanya the Evil 
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

When the average Japanese salaryman is suddenly thrown into in a world wracked with warfare and hardship by a supernatural power, they might first think to hide or run away. But not Tanya Degurechaff. A calculating and utilitarian man has been reborn as a child soldier. This young girl will do anything to rise in rank and find a way to live a life of comfort, and woe to any king, country, or god who stands in her way. 

First off, I really liked the art and the colour palette used for the colour pages, it was kind of gritty and lent it a vintage, WW2 air. Which of course fit very nicely with the story and the setting, which is kind of 30's, WW2 but alternate kind of thing! 

Our MC was kind of a douche before he was reborn and he had it coming really, I'm not going to lie. But I have to say, I did really like Tanya as an MC, I was oddly rooting for her to get her revenge on Being X and the other characters she didn't like and so on. She made me chuckle, and her inner monologue was priceless. I absolutely loved how they showed her inner thoughts and then the inner thoughts of some of the characters she was talking to, and they completely didn't line up. It was freaking hilarious. 

There's plenty of action and battles as well as strategy, plus helpful little boxes pop up informing you of what the different tactics and strategies are as well as other things mentioned throughout like historical battles and so on. 

It's actually oddly humorous because Tanya keeps getting the opposite of what she wants and the Gods are genuinely, 100% messing with her. I'm so curious to see what things are going to be thrown at her next! Plus she just wants to chill out in the rear out of danger but keeps getting pulled into helping a mad scientist with his dangerous experiments and being thrown out on to the front line. She's like a vengeful, spitting cat, she really reminds me of the old witch woman from Emperor's New Groove when she's in cat form. That's Tanya exactly! 

Tanya is totally psychotic and she does waffle a lot, this volume is establishing everything but towards the end a new character is introduced who could prove to be interesting. A fellow Tanya perhaps? The art is beautifully drawn though, particularly the backgrounds and the landscapes, and it's certainly an interesting take on the whole "Reborn in another world" trope. One of the more interesting ones so far. The only reason I gave this three stars instead of four was because I was a bit confused about who was on which side at the beginning, and there was just so much narrative at one point! 

Monday, 12 February 2018

Manga: Sword Art Online Progressive 6

Sword Art Online Progressive Vol 6 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The war between elves rages on, with Kirito and Asuna caught in the middle! The forest elves seek the dark elves' Secret Key, but to what end? Though Kirito tries to stay detached, Asuna can't help being swept along for the ride. Kizmel is supposed to be just an NPC, right? But then why does she seem so very human...

Kirito and Asuna finally leave the camp after hooking Asuna up with a veeerrryyy familiar sword *wink wink*, and they head off to a meeting. Hilarity then ensues as the ALS and DKB Guilds decide Asuna and Kirito can't join the same Guild because it'll upset the 'balance of power' and they're worried Kirito will start his own Guild. Like I could have told them that Kirito won't bother with that. Anyway, I love how he was all "I'm the beater, who'd want to join my guild?" and it pans to show Asuna, Agil and some others like "yeah I could go for that". Meanwhile a shadowy figure watching proceedings is revealed to be another familiar face, and let's just say he has the idea of starting a third guild.....

Asuna appears to be coming over all elf and has a distinct disgust for humans in this volume, which was kind of funny. They basically end up heading back to the forest to continue the quest line. But someone's pitting the two guilds against each other and it has to be another Beta tester. 

It was nice to see Argo getting involved in the plan, I actually quite like her! Kirito pretty much has a shadowy little plan/mission of his own that he's been carrying out while we've all been focused on other stuff. He mostly just lurks in the background until it's his time to do his big reveal. There's plenty of action and humour in this volume, as well as some tidbits dropped, not to mention blanks filled in and mystery woven throughout. The big plan is revealed just in time for the end of the volume, as the battle kicks off! 

I really do like how little details and background information is being filled in while still giving us new content to go with the old, there's so many connections to be put together! There's also more of a focus on Asuna, which is nice! Don't get me wrong, Kirito is still in there too, but a lot of the time he's like a shadowy presence in the back. 

We get a cool little bonus manga that's a collab with the governments cybersecurity awareness month project which was a fun little addition! 

Friday, 9 February 2018

Manga: Compulsive Gambler 4

Compulsive Gambler Vol 4
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The Student Council President is away, and the rest of the council will play...

Yumemi Yumemite is a super popular idol who's a big hit in the indie scene. Not only is she a student at the Hyakkaou academy, but she's also a member of the student council?! How will Yumeko do in a gamble with an idol?

This volume provides an interesting turn, as everyone seems pretty convinced that Yumeko is starting off a revolution against the President. I mean...she only really cares about gambling and playing games, but let's go with that! There's an interesting question at the end of the volume as well thanks to the preview! 

Yumemi is the latest Student Council member gunning for Yumeko, she's an idol as well, and she and Manyuda organise a rather public showdown with Yumeko. None of the council are happy about Yumeko beating two of their members and their trying to work out what to do next without the Presidents input because she's off on an "errand" to do with Yumeko. She's pretty much left them in charge. Yumemi is kind of deceptively normal but every bit as psych as the others, although probably down a peg or two from some of the others. She goes from cute to ugly/scary in seconds both personality wise and in how she's drawn. To be honest, she probably isn't the worst Council member, I could get where she was coming from with her dream, but she was kind of an a-hole. 

Itsuki makes an appearance again, remember her? She wants to join Yumeko and her squad to take down the President, and so begins an interesting storyline. She could be a funny addition, one of the slightly less psycho Council members, and Mary is hilariously not impressed with her. Throughout this volume Yumeko's squad do have some humorous banter amongst themselves. 

The gambling and gaming took an interesting turn this volume, Yumeko's opponent is an Idol and she's made the battle between the two quite public, so the games in this volume are twisted towards that. There's none of the usual card games, except for Old Maid. There's basically a giant game of tic tac toe and singing other idol related activities, which made for an interesting change and stopped the plot line from getting repetitive. 

The tension leads in to a deceptively happyish and kind of funny ending, with plenty of humour throughout the volume, but I don't think it's really over yet as someone appears to have had a hand in how things turned out, someone worked against Yumemi...and it could be someone shocking. 

I'm 99% sure the Student Council President is up to something, and it has me on edge, plus I'm still trying to work out what Yumeko's deal is. What exactly is she planning? Is she really only in it for the gambling or is this all part of her plan? This is another brilliant volume as we take down another member of the Council, people are definitely choosing sides, and it would appear a revolution is going to happen. But first Yumeko is going to have to deal with the President! 
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