So, What Have I Been Up To? Books, Yoga, Anime and more!

The time has gone by so fast! I’ve read a lot of things, watched some interesting shows, and even found some promising new series. I’ve also finished and started some stimulating projects! Now, I know there a lot of book lovers who come by and read my posts. I’ve definitely read a lot of things, but honestly my brain and attention have been ALL OVER THE PLACE.

So, this isn’t a book update. Its an everything update! Hope all who come here find something they can identify with.

Let’s get started!

For Yoga Lovers

Co-creators of Boho Beautiful Yoga Mark and Juliana Spicoluk

I found a new YouTube Yoga channel to follow! Boho Beautiful Yoga is run by spouses Mark and Juliana. Their YouTube videos are generally no longer than 30 minutes. They now have an on-demand streaming service you can download to your phone called Boho Beautiful On-Demand where you can take special courses or use longer training videos.

Their styles vary between Pilates, Ashtanga, and Yin-Yang Yoga. What I like to do is go over their videos to find new ways to teach certain sequences.

I’ve also been regularly going to Yoga Dose, which specializes in longer, strength building videos. Cici is one of their teachers who I personally know from my yoga studio in Provo, Utah. She is a great teacher who will definitely give you a great mental and physical workout.

What Books Have I Been Reading?

I have several favorite discoveries since last March!

Christian McKay Heidicker‘s Scary Stories for Young Foxes (2019)

The haunted season has arrived in the Antler Wood. No fox kit is safe.

When Mia and Uly are separated from their litters, they discover a dangerous world full of monsters. In order to find a den to call home, they must venture through field and forest, facing unspeakable things that dwell in the darkness: a zombie who hungers for their flesh, a witch who tries to steal their skins, a ghost who hunts them through the snow . . . and other things too scary to mention.

Overview via Goodreads

What I loved about this story is the format. Even though the storyteller seemed to only be telling a story, it felt too real to be fiction. Somehow, through its beautiful prose I felt myself fall under its spell from the first page. It made me reminisce about my childhood and how invested I became in the characters’ stories and longed for happy endings.

This story portrayed how even when faced with horrible evil and danger, the characters overcame them and continued to survive. It is also very honest. It doesn’t sugarcoat things. I wouldn’t recommend this story for really young readers but would definitely give it to kids 12+ to read.

Arlem HawksGeorgana’s Secret (2021)

1811, HMS Deborah

Georgana Woodall dreams of freedom—freedom from her past and freedom from her secret. She has been living on her father’s ship for years, disguised as a cabin boy named “George.” But hiding her true self is becoming more difficult, and she yearns to break free of her life on the sea.

Lieutenant Dominic Peyton has no time in his life for love, not with his dedication to His Majesty’s Royal Navy claiming his full attention. Determined to prove himself to his new captain, he strives to be an exemplary officer and leader. When he sees the captain’s cabin boy being harassed by the crew, he immediately puts a stop to it and takes the boy under his wing.

Georgana quickly loses her heart to Dominic’s compassion and care, but needing to maintain her disguise as a cabin boy, she is convinced nothing can come of her affection.

Overview via Goodreads

I love sweet, Regency Era based love stories. What I enjoyed most about this novel is how it talked about gender-based boundaries, abuse, depression, and (of course) love. Lately, I’ve been drawn to characters who display great compassion in harsh circumstances and don’t let hate override doing good. I also paid special attention to how Dominic and Georgana faced losing sight of their identity.

If you like sweet romances, this is a definite read for you. It is also very clean (which I appreciate) without overlooking realistic problems which inevitably come up in life.

Image via Potterboy.com

Ben Behunin‘s Pleasantly Ruby (2020)

Two weeks into her five month stint at the farm on Harmony Hill, Genevieve Patterson, will be the first to admit she may have overlooked a few important details for the article she was sent here to write. The keys of joy, shared and understood by Pops and Ruby, as well as many of the townsfolk—and the even the neighboring Amish community—are insightful and compelling. Thanks to Matt and Greg, Genevieve’s appreciation for the deeper meaning of these uncommon keys continues to grow, causing her to question the meaning of her previous life in the city. An exploration of these keys and the personal application of them promises joy and liberty, but Genevieve must decide for herself how and if the keys will influence her future. An Amish invitation, a new Niederbipp tradition, Protopian aspirations, and a Sunday homily will all weigh in to tip the scales—but in which direction?

Overview via Goodreads

First off, Ben Behunin is one of my favorite authors. Second off, he isn’t really a writer by trade. First and foremost he is a potter and artist. From a literary viewpoint, I’d say his books are rough around the edges. From a spiritual viewpoint, I believe this and his other books carry some of the most important truths we can apply to our lives. This book isn’t really about campers learning how to get married. It’s about people learning what truly invites joy into their lives.

If you are interested in this book or others he’s written, Please check out his website Potterboy.com! His Remembering Isaac series is still one of my favorite reads to take with me on morning walks!

Any New Manga/Manhwa?

Roctis Tray’s Atelier on the Sunflower Hill (2019-?)

After discovering a hidden chamber inside her uncle’s house, Evangeline Griffon accidentally awakens an ancient being who calls himself Vernon. Bind by the contract, Eva unwillingly accepts Vernon being her guardian as she starts her new life in the countryside.

Overview via Webtoon.com

Vernon is now one of my new favorite characters! (Well, I also really like Evangeline.) I have a soft spot in my heart for gentle, compassionate people. This Manhwa (?) delves a lot in how to positively face trauma, negative emotions, and how to embrace love into your life. I can’t talk about it too much without ruining this story, but it was one of my favorite new finds in a long time.

The art is simplified, but over time the author gets better at character and background artwork. Warning though: Webtoon.com bumped Atelier to originals so it may take awhile for it to finish.

Morishita, Suu‘s Yubisaki to Renren (A Sign of Affection) (2019-?)

Yuki is a hearing-impaired university student whose world has been shrouded with silence since birth. She has lived in the same place her whole life, and rarely interacts with others save for her best friend, Rin. During her commute one day, she meets the silver-haired and multilingual Itsuomi, a mutual friend of Rin. Unlike most, Itsuomi is unwavering when he learns of Yuki’s impairment; this, along with his experiences abroad, fascinates and touches her. After they part, her fondness of him starts to grow. A new world begins to open for both Yuki and Itsuomi as they learn about each other’s different lives.

Overview via Myanimelist

I can’t get enough of this light-hearted little love story. I’ve always been fascinated by sign language and watching Yuki interact with her world is just wonderful. I’m a big fan of the anime movie Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice) (2018), so finding this manga was a lovely treat for me.

This romance is incredibly healthy and realistic. There isn’t a lot of drama, Itsuomi is VERY respectful of Yuki and her personality, and their relationship progresses slowly. Neither gives up their dreams or values for the other. They find each other and grow a little closer in every chapter.

If your preferences, especially for love stories, are more mellow and light-hearted this is the story for you! You can actually purchase the manga volumes on Amazon.com already.

Oh! Morishita’s art style and covers are GORGEOUS. I’m a big fan now!

Doruru’s Koekoi (2020-?)

Finding an adequate overview of this series was hard, so I’ll do it myself. 🙂 This story centers around a girl Yuiko, who is scared to go to school after being sick for a long while, and her unexpected relationship with her class president Matsubara who calls her to see how she is doing.

Once she decides to go back to school so she can meet him, she sees him and is shocked to see he always wears a paper bag over his head. Though it’s confusing, she can’t shake how calm and kind his voice had been when he called her. Their friendship/ romance(?) takes flight from that moment forward.

What I like about this story is how it emphasizes the source of genuine human emotion. It focuses on how Yuiko, Matsubara, and other characters struggle to convey their feelings. Reading this made me realize how superficial relationships can be if they are solely based on what we SEE. It makes me believe a person’s heart can be conveyed solely through their voice and actions.

Now, if you want to read this, you’ll need to get an app called Pocket Comics. You can collect daily tickets so you can read one chapter a day or choose to spend money on coins so you can read more.

Snapshot from It’s Okay Not to Be Okay (2020)

What Have I Been Watching?

I haven’t seen any new movies lately (It’s so sad I know!) but I’ve found a few really good shows.

It’s Okay Not to Be Okay (2020)

Moon Gang Tae (Kim Soo Hyun), is a caretaker working at a psychiatric ward who does not even bother to believe in love. He seems to be carrying all the weight and pain in life, and devotes himself only to looking after his disabled older brother.

Go Moon Young (Seo Ye Ji), is a children’s book writer who is clueless about love. She is popular among all age groups, yet very antisocial and indifferent to others.[2]

An extraordinary road to emotional healing opens up for an antisocial children’s book writer and a selfless psych ward caretaker when they cross paths.

Overview via DramaWiki

Wow. I usually watch Korean dramas to laugh at them. (Because they try to be anime, but can’t because. . . they’re live action.) It’s Okay stole my heart in the first episode. It’s expertly paced, incredibly raw, and addresses various mental issues without tearing down those who struggle with them.

I also really enjoyed how. . . off the beaten oath the children’s book author could be. She definitely walked to the beat of her own drum. I loved the characters, their stories, and the deeply poignant children’s stories showcased throughout the show. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll leave it at that.

Watch it on Netflix.

Kinema Citrus‘s Made in Abyss (2017)

The Abyss—a gaping chasm stretching down into the depths of the earth, filled with mysterious creatures and relics from a time long past. How did it come to be? What lies at the bottom? Countless brave individuals, known as Divers, have sought to solve these mysteries of the Abyss, fearlessly descending into its darkest realms. The best and bravest of the Divers, the White Whistles, are hailed as legends by those who remain on the surface.

Riko, daughter of the missing White Whistle Lyza the Annihilator, aspires to become like her mother and explore the furthest reaches of the Abyss. However, just a novice Red Whistle herself, she is only permitted to roam its most upper layer. Even so, Riko has a chance encounter with a mysterious robot with the appearance of an ordinary young boy. She comes to name him Reg, and he has no recollection of the events preceding his discovery. Certain that the technology to create Reg must come from deep within the Abyss, the two decide to venture forth into the chasm to recover his memories and see the bottom of the great pit with their own eyes. However, they know not of the harsh reality that is the true existence of the Abyss.

Overview via Myanimelist

Made in Abyss has been on my bucket list for SOOOOOO LONG. I finally got around to watching it with my brother and it was a satisfyingly dissatisfied experience. I realized the show isn’t over. . . and thought well drat. I have to wait to find out what happens!

Let me do a shout out for what I loved without spoiling anything.

1.The Animation– The backgrounds had such beautiful depth and coloring! Character animation was also crisp and captivating to follow. It also blended fantasy and reality through its visuals wonderfully!

2. The Characters– Usually in these types of stories the characters have one or maybe two dimensions to them. It is not so in this show! Plus, their motivations and personalities transform as they go through their experiences.

3. The Mystery- I couldn’t figure it out. That is a sign of a great mystery show. It gave me enough to satisfy some of my curiosity but left enough unsaid so I’ll definitely come back for more later.

This show is not for the faint of heart. It has, like the Abyss itself, a dark underbelly with grisly imagery. I had to turn away many times because I couldn’t stomach some of the scenes. But this means Made in Abyss is for sure a story with an important message.

ufotable‘s Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (2016-?)

Ever since the death of his father, the burden of supporting the family has fallen upon Tanjirou Kamado’s shoulders. Though living impoverished on a remote mountain, the Kamado family are able to enjoy a relatively peaceful and happy life. One day, Tanjirou decides to go down to the local village to make a little money selling charcoal. On his way back, night falls, forcing Tanjirou to take shelter in the house of a strange man, who warns him of the existence of flesh-eating demons that lurk in the woods at night.

When he finally arrives back home the next day, he is met with a horrifying sight—his whole family has been slaughtered. Worse still, the sole survivor is his sister Nezuko, who has been turned into a bloodthirsty demon. Consumed by rage and hatred, Tanjirou swears to avenge his family and stay by his only remaining sibling. Alongside the mysterious group calling themselves the Demon Slayer Corps, Tanjirou will do whatever it takes to slay the demons and protect the remnants of his beloved sister’s humanity.

Overview via Myanimelist

Once upon a time, I watched Demon Slayer‘s first episode and vowed never to see the show. That was a shortsighted decision. I’ve seen about 10 episodes now and am in awe of how beautifully crafted this anime is! The story doesn’t waste time with filler and fluff. The animation is purposeful and so gorgeous it leaves me spellbound. the characters develop and change in ways that don’t scream at the audience. Their motivations are simply complex and a joy to watch unfold.

I could gush about how in love I am with the show now but. . . I won’t. You should go check it out for yourself! However, this is another show not for the faint of heart. The reason the first episode turned me off the first time I saw it is because of how traumatizing the story is. Tanjirou and his family endure so much grief. Also, the demons are EVIL. Some of them will make your teeth curl.

I hope you enjoyed seeing what I’ve been exploring these past few months! Hopefully, I’ll add to this list as the year goes by.

Happy hunting for books, yoga teachers, anime, manga, and the like!

Koi to Yobu Kimochi Warui: The line between romantic and disturbing relationships.

People fall in love in the most mysterious of ways. This statement seems to be especially true for the affluent genius playboy Ryou Amakusa. When he nearly falls off the stairs one rainy morning, a girl named Ichika Arima saves him. As if by fate, Ryou encounters Ichika again later that night; she happens to be the best friend of his little sister, Rio.

Wanting to “thank” her, Ryou attempts to woo Ichika by employing his usual flirtatious tactics only to be immediately shot down, his target creeped out by his behavior. Rather than being discouraged, Ryou instead becomes more enthralled by her, and he begins to do everything he can to steal Ichika’s heart despite receiving disgusted reactions each time. However, as time passes by, will Ichika remain repulsed by Ryou’s creepy yet dedicated advances?

Myanimelist Synopsis

Nomad animation studios released Koi to Yobu or Koimoi April 2021 as a romantic comedy between an adult business man Ryou and a high school girl Ichika. I’ve read plenty of age-gap shoujo romance before. There is a wrong way and a right way to handle these types of stories, just like any other type of relationship.

I first read Koi to Yobu Ni Wa about four or so years ago when there were only 6 or so chapters out. I felt, like the main girl character Ichika, Ryou was creepy but not a bad person. I didn’t think much about the story until I saw a few months ago, by some miracle, there was an anime.

I couldn’t believe anyone would want to animate this story. Not because I hated it or anything. I didn’t think it had much substance or merit. It was a forgettable, strange romance.

What I wondered is what kind of romance Koimoi is trying to be and how audiences should react to it.

Abuse and Lust are NOT Love

Some age-gap romances sugar-coat alarming relationships by making an abuser beautiful and misunderstood. These types of characters exhibit abusive and manipulative tactics to seduce a younger person. Usually, this is painted romantically by writers and directors and, oftentimes, the younger person “changes” or changes for the abuser, abandoning their morals and dreams. It’s Beauty and the Beast‘s toxic, wily twin. 

One example is Naomi Novik‘s novel Uprooted (2015). In my review of the book I surmised,

The central relationship between the ‘dragon’ and heroine Agnieszka is one of the worst examples of toxic attraction I’ve been unfortunate enough to read.

Let me clear, how the Dragon treats Agnieszka is horrendous. He was constantly angry and annoyed at her for no reason. He verbally abuses her from the moment he meets her, calling her an astonishing amount of cruel names. He physically abuses her in his lessons during sudden spurts of anger. He mocks how she looks, calling her ‘horse-faced’ and ‘dirty,’ and makes her change her appearance to conform to his tastes. When Agnieszka defends herself when a prince attempts to rape her, he screams at her, asserting her virtue is not worth the price of an angered prince. 

I could talk about the moments he works her till she is emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted, or the many times she breaks down in tears because of things he’s said or done to her. I could also talk about how terrified she was in the first half of the book because she thought he would rape her. He never apologizes. He barely gets better. Not to mention, he starts a sexual relationship with her near the end of the book when he is almost 130 years older than her. This relationship is acceptable because he looks young and handsome. . .

The real issue is some readers buy that this is a romantic and healthy love story. It’s not. It’s incredibly dangerous. Those who have suffered through abusive situations similar to those illustrated in this book wouldn’t find this story so sensational.

Taken from March Book Madness! Day 2, Naomi Novik’s Uprooted (2015) 2/5 (Emphasis added)

There are many other examples I could name like Vladimir Nabokov‘s novel Lolita or director Christophe Gans‘s film La Belle et la Bête (2014). It is easy to “fall in love” with these type of stories because they contain just enough backstory to help you empathize with twisted individuals. In other words, viewers and readers rationalize toxic behavior because the character suffered.

On paper it seems to work out great. In real life, it never does.

Respect and Sacrifice in Age-Gap Romances Make All the Difference

The main difference between corrosive and healthy age-gap romances are the characters’ intentions. In every great romance I’ve read where the main characters had a larger age gap, their relationship was defined by respect and sacrifice.

Take for example Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet by Yamamori, Mika. Akatsuki and Fumi have a twelve-year age gap between them. They live in the same house together for almost two years. There is no parental supervision whatsoever. Usually, this becomes the breeding ground for unhealthy relationships. Yet, Yamamori didn’t take that approach.

Just because they were in love didn’t mean their relationship had to or should have been primarily sexual. Akatsuki tells Fumi several times he would respect her age and wait for her to grow older. Once Fumi’s father comes back, Akatsuki explains to him that he and Fumi have feelings for each other. They wait five or so years and marry. Their relationship was grounded in respect and sacrifice.

The same can be said about Kouchi, Kaede‘s manga Love So Life. Matsunaga and Shiharu had a 9-year age gap. Both fell in love with the other. Though there were many times where he could have given in to his feelings or used her feelings to his advantage, he respected her age and waited till she was in college before they started a relationship. What was truly remarkable about this story was how they not only respected and sacrificed for each other, but they also respected their own feelings.

So What Type of Romance is Koimoi?

Koimoi should feel really romantic, but it doesn’t. It feels incomplete. It wants to be a heart-warming romantic story between a good natured high school girl and and misguided adult, but it comes across as immature and confusing at times. That doesn’t mean it portrays a toxic relationship.

I’ve thought a lot about this story these past few months. I finally figured out why. I was curious to know what type of person Ryou REALLY was, and the depth and scope of his intentions. I wanted to see if his relationship with Ichika would be any different from his previous flings.

I paid attention and waited to see if this story would surprise me.

Ryou-san Acted Like a Middle Schooler with a Crush. Not a Pedophile

The whole time I watched the show, It never occurred to me Ryou had bad intentions. I wondered why, I mean. . . he wanted to take the toothpick Ichika used as souvenir. Then it hit me. He had never actually experienced being in love with someone before. So, he reacted and pushed himself on her through phone calls and gifts to try and figure out why he was feeling the way he was.

Watching Ryou shower Ichika with gifts and attention brought back memories from middle school, when I was young and didn’t understand how to properly convey my feelings. That said, Middle Schoolers are rarely the best examples of how to maintain a good relationship. It’s not okay to force your feelings on someone or ignore them when they tell you they are not interested.

In all his encounters with Ichika after their first initial conversation, he never made sexual overtures at her. Not once. He changed for the better, albeit in a strange and immature way.

Do I think this romance is disturbing? No. Ryou respected Ichika and her decisions. In fact, there even comes a point where he truly starts to understand how she could potentially suffer being in a relationship with him. His feelings were genuine, yet immature. All in all, I think their relationship needed a better foundation. They needed moments to develop trust and know more about each other.

What about Ichika’s Feelings?

Ichika’s feelings mattered. Just because Ryou was in love with her, didn’t mean she should feel obligated to accept him. That’s not how love works. She saw him change and in due course developed feelings for him. She didn’t ask him to get rid of his bad habits. He just did. And his feelings were sincere and evolved throughout their “courtship”.

I believe it was his sincerity that won her over. She could tell he was serious, even though she had little confidence in herself because of her age and looks.

I wasn’t necessarily rooting for her to fall in love with him. Honestly, if she had fallen for her classmate Tamaru instead it would have been fine. But I didn’t mind seeing her finally accept and reflect Ryou feelings. I needed more substantial evidence of her feelings.

I just wonder if she should have fallen in love with Ryou. Even if he was not a bad person, that doesn’t mean she needed, for the sake of a story, to like him back. Again, it’s not bad that she fell for him. It’s just. . . she could have done ANYTHING. The story didn’t give her time to blossom in different ways.

I Still Have SO Many Unanswered Questions

The story had a lot of plot-holes regarding the characters and their motivations.

I had countless other questions:

What happened in Ryou and Ichika’s relationship? Did they get married? How did they get there?

Were Ryou and his father able to resolve their differences? How did they even develop such a harsh relationship? Did Ryou rebel or was his father simply too strict on him?

What happened to Tamaru and Arie? Were they just random love interests to progress the story?

Why did Ichika fall in love with Ryou? What was it about him?

What is the main message this story is trying to convey? etc. . . . etc. . . . . etc. . .

Though it felt like the story had resolved itself, I still had the most questions and misconceptions about Ryou as a character. Ryou had a really strenuous relationship with his father which caused him to detach and not seek meaningful relationships. But there was no time dedicated to this part of his character.

I didn’t feel like he went LOOKING for ways to rebel. He just accepted trouble when it came to him. For example, whenever it showed women fawning all over him he looked completely detached, like he couldn’t care less if they slept with him or not. It was as if he was stuck in the Doldrums, falling in and out of bad relationships because he didn’t have the will to fight it.

However, this was all speculation on my part. The author and the show never talked about this. If they had explored this part of his character, I think it would have given readers and the audience more clarity concerning his character and development.

This Could Be a Revolutionary Story in the Hands of a Better Storyteller

With all its missing pieces, Koimoi feels incomplete. Not only that, but the animation in the show was clunky and lazy.

People are complicated. That is why I kept watching this show. I had a feeling it was different than people said it was. I also wanted to see if the storytellers could evolve this type of romance in ways I’d never seen before. If they did that, the characters and their relationships could BLOSSOM.

But that didn’t happen, unfortunately. I’m still confused and wondering why the original author wrote this story.

In the future, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for more English chapters. Perhaps the anime is a watered down version of the manga.

My Score for the Anime:

Animation: 6/10

Story: 7/10

Characters: 6/10

Overall Score: 6.3/10

Behold! My Favorite Manga Covers

These covers are the runner ups!

I’m so excited to finally finish this list! I’ve been writing it so long. . . I get easily distracted though so it took up a good chunk of my life. I hope you enjoy my favorite manga covers as much as I do! My greatest wish is you are able to find something new to read.

Let’s get started!

52. Sakisaka, Io‘s Strobe Edge, Volume 6

What I like about this particular cover is the lighting. There is a nice balance of pastel colors and movement in the character’s clothing. Miss Sakisaka also has a talent for drawing and coloring eyes.

51.  Murata, Yusuke (Art), ONE (Story)- One Punch-Man, Volume 11

Murata Yusuke is an extraordinary artist. I actually talked about his profound attention to detail in my post Best Artwork From Manga I’ve Read. As fans know, he isn’t the original artist for One Punch Man but he tries his best to really enhance the original author ONE’s artwork.

I love, love, love, the coloring in this cover. Its RED and awesome. I also like Metal Bat from the series. Therefore, its a win win situation for me. What REALLY sold me on this cover though was Saitama in the background with his ugly wig on. 🙂

50. Morishita, Suu‘s Yubisaki to Renren, Volume 1

A Sign of Affection is one of my favorite recent finds. The manga is great, but I’m not going to talk about that right now. I’m a sucker for beautiful covers outlined with flowers and with watercoloring. What I also appreciate about this cover is the hand gesture the girl is making. In Japanese sign language it means “That’s okay”. Very fitting for a title like A Sign of Affection.

49. One Punch Man, Volume 23

Word of warning, because I like the artist Murata for One Punch Man, his covers are going to come up A LOT. This cover encompasses my feelings concerning this series. I just want Saitama to come and punch the villain already. I like the lighting and spotlight effect Murata did over Saitama. It’s almost like he’s saying, “Thank the Lord! Saitama is here to punch them!”

48. Kubo, Tite‘s Bleach, Volume 22

Tite Kubo’s covers for Bleach are going to be all over the place! Though I am not happy with how drawn out the story became, I am definitely a fan of Kubo’s artwork. He’s a great artist! One of the highlights for this series is the large variety of manga covers he finished. He has a way of posing his characters uniquely.

Case point 1 is his first cover featuring Ulquiorra. Its like a still shot someone made right when he moved to stand in the frame. I really like Ulquiorra as a character too, which also adds to my admiration for this cover.

47. Mikanagi, Touya‘s Karneval, Volume 25

I featured this cover in one of my earliest manga posts Beautiful covers for aspiring art collectors. The artist, Mikanagi, makes his covers feel like a circus with their wide variety of colors, shapes and unique lighting. For this particular cover, I love how he incorporated BLUE. It’s been too long since I read this series so I couldn’t say if this has some significance. For me, it just pops aesthetically!

46. Karneval, Volume 4

Another fun fact about all of these manga covers for Karneval is Mikanagi always includes a butterfly somewhere in the background. What I especially like about this cover is the posing. I feel like I mentally need to look up to the character’s eyes.

45. Kouchi, Kaede‘s Love So Life, Volume 17

I love this manga series, especially for its heartwarming variety of manga covers. This particular cover is for the series’ finale, bringing together the four characters I came to love so much. It feels like a family picture and it makes me smile. 🙂

44. Bleach, Volume 60

I said Kubo’s art would persist on this list. I keep my promises. I appreciated Kubo including a homage to Ichigo’s mother, who he lost at a very young age. This cover feels like a precious, captured memory right before she died.

43. CLAMP‘s Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE, Volume 10

You have no idea how hard it was to narrow down my favorite covers for Tsubasa. I truly admire CLAMP’s artists and how well they stage their inter chapter artwork and manga covers. The theme for this particular cover is GREEN tropics and I eat it up. There are so many details to look over and it evokes a needed sense of mystery and apprehension.

42. Takamatsu, Misaki‘s Skip to Loafer, Volume 1

I found Skip to Loafer while browsing online blogs and was surprised how much I liked it. What especially impressed me was how the artist Takamatsu staged her characters on the cover. It fits the more upbeat flow for the series and alludes to the hope filled future ahead of them.

41. Azuma, Kiyohiko‘s Yotsuba to!, Volume 7

Good gravy (Don’t know where that came from) I love almost all the covers Kiyohiko does for Yotsuba&!. Much like the series, they have such a warm energy to them. What I especially like in this cover is Yotsuba’s enthusiasm as she runs from/with sheep. I’m pretty sure this is the volume where she goes to a farm for the first time. All in all, it just makes me smile.

40. Mochizuki, Jun‘s Pandora Hearts, Volume 3

Seeing this cover for Pandora Hearts makes me want to read it again. Mochizuki balances her covers by having a blank white canvas and crisply inserting well posed characters. By doing this, the facial expressions and color stick out more.

Though I love the first two covers for the series, I’ve always had a soft spot for this third volume. There is something about Break’s pose that draws me in.

39. Yotsuba to!, Volume 9

Volume 7 from Yotsuba&! isn’t so much about posing as it is about creating a beautiful atmosphere. Though the place Yotsuba lives seems ordinary, Kiyohino makes it feel so warm. This cover is very inviting, like its gently pushing a reader to opening its pages.

38. Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE, Volume 19

I’m super surprised I liked this cover so much. I’m not really into science fiction. However, what intrigues me about this volume is the atmosphere. For those who have read the series, its darker coloring and more oppressive atmosphere match the tone present in the story. I appreciate the attention to details CLAMP had in their character presentation and how they set the reader for the crazy plot changes coming up.

37. Strobe Edge, Volume 8

Andou, from Strobe Edge, is not my favorite character. But I like this cover featuring him. I didn’t think that would happen. What I liked most was his hair and eyes. I also like the angle Sakisaka used for the character.

36. Arakawa, Hiromu‘s Fullmetal Alchemist, Volume 10/ 3 in 1

Being the nerdy fan I am of Arakawa’s artwork, I’m not surprised this volume popped up. As I’ve said before, I am always on the lookout for great lighting and posing in manga covers. Luckily, this volume has both. I’m also a HUGE fan of Edward’s character design so I’m always for seeing him on covers.

35. Pandora Hearts, Volume 10

Wow. The theme for this volume cover is PURPLE. Since the series is a a much darker place in this volume, this color is very fitting. If I’m not mistaken, it features Jack, who originally they thought was a hero. Anyway, I won’t spoil anything. Needless to say this cover is fantastic!

34. Watsuki, Nobuhiro‘s Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 28

Ah, Rurouni Kenshin. How I love you. Here is the simple reason I love this cover. Kenshin looks at peace. I love his expression and how the cover eludes to his happy future.

33. Hikawa, Kyouko‘s Kanata kara, Volume 13

I. LOVE. THIS. SERIES. I wish I owned all the volumes but I don’t have the money to spend $800 for certain volumes. So, so sad. All the volumes feature the two main characters. Volume 13 is one of my favorites. Hikawa has such good taste in coloring and clothing design.

32. Hoshino, Katsura‘s D.Gray-man, Volume 18

Hoshino is one of the best artists I’ve come across in manga. No joke. She is great at drawing hands and clothing. What I like about his cover in particular is the coloring and posing. It feels ALIVE. It also has a more Halloweeny feel to it, which I am always down for.

31. Bleach, Volume 49

I think this is the best cover featuring Ichigo. It has more defined shading, almost like Film Noir or Romantic paintings.

30. Kanata Kara, Volume 11

Be prepared because this isn’t the last cover from this series. Much like volume 13, I mostly like the colors and clothing design. In particular, I like Noriko’s hair color and dress.

29. Mosco‘s Kuzumi-kun, Kuuki Yometemasu ka?, Volume 8

If you haven’t read this series yet, I would recommend it simply for its humor. And Kuzumi. His dead pan expressions make me laugh. Anyway, this cover is just super sweet. I’m always a fan of these type of stories where “loser” characters get with those they love. In this case I’d say Erika, the girl, is in the loser category.

28. Bleach, Volume 54

I don’t remember who this character is but I love how Kubo portrays him on this cover! I especially admire the gray shading on the dark uniform as well as the watercolored platform they’re standing on.

27. Love so Life, Volume 14

Compared to volume 17, I think 14 has a little more life breathed into it! I also like how it portrays Shiharu’s relationship with the twins with such positive, bright colors.

26. Yotsuba to!, Volume 15

What I love most about this cover is how it portrays Yotsuba’s relationship with her dad. It’s just sweet to see it shown in such a positive, cute setting like the beach.

25. Touma, Rei‘s Reimei no Arcana, Volume 1

I don’t like the other covers for Dawn of Arcana as much as I do this one. The Turquoise and red silhouetted against each other is simply beautiful. What really catches me is her GREEN eyes.

24. D. Grayman, Volume 4

Levi is one of my favorite characters in D.Gray Man, besides Allen. The black surrounding him in this cover feels like a curtain parting.

23. Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE, Volume 24

Dang. I just. . . man I just love Syaoran. This is one of the few covers with just him. He looks cool on this cover. This is one of the few times where I like the brown tones used.

22. Bleach, 18

I forgot this character’s name too (Sorry!) but I have always like this cover’s energy! It feels like a still frame for an animated scene. I say that because of the smear effect Kubo used for her foot. In animation, action scenes often are smeared to give an illusion of fast motion.

21. Fullmetal Alchemist, 25

This cover has depth. I also like where Arakawa put the focal point. Because Alphonse in the suit is so big, your eyes naturally go from him back to his body and the gateway of truth.

20. Yubisaki to Renren, Volume 4

Sigh, this cover is so pretty. It reminds me of Art Nouveu paintings done by Alphonse Mucha, with its brighter colors and floral/ nature themed outlines. I especially like how Morishita used baby blue on her characters.

19. Togashi, Yoshihiro‘s Hunter x Hunter, Volume 3

I feel bad for saying this, but I don’t like Yoshihiro’s artwork. The anime is great, but the manga’s art lacks. . . things. That said, I still love this cover! It’s just fun and encompasses Gon’s lighthearted nature.

18. Love So Life, Volume 15

Love so Life is one of my favorite love stories. Matsunaga handled his relationship with Shiharu very well. I like how happy and content they look together. Matsunaga especially looks at peace with the future they had awaiting them.

17. Sugisaki, Yukiru‘s D.N.Angel, Volume 1

If there is one good thing about D.N.Angel its the manga covers. Even here in volume 1 Sugisaki was able to catch readers’ attention with captivating colors and designs. The reason why I even wanted to read this series was because I was drawn to this cover.

16. Bleach, Volume 3

Orihime is one of my favorite characters, and not because she is pretty. I like her modesty and how her feelings and motivations develop. What I like about this cover is how it plays on her personality. This is also a really clever pose. I’ve never seen anything else like it.

15. Bleach, Volume 13

Details, details, details. I like the coloring, Kenpachi’s facial expression, and how he is angled toward the where the reader will open the volume.

14. One Punch Man, Volume 2

This cover is freaking cool, like Genos, who tries so hard to succeed but hardly ever does. I think this cover portrays the roles Genos and Saitama play in the series. Genos gives readers something cool and pretty to look and Saitama looks like a dork in the background, until he starts fighting. (Note, I love how Murata makes it seem like Genos’ arms are shining.)

13. D.N.Angel, Volume 13

Looking back at this cover, I marvel at this character’s angle. It’s like he’s twisting towards the reader mid flight. All in all, it’s a captivating shot of Dark from D.N.Angel.

12. Midorikawa, Yuki‘s Natsume Yuujinchou, Volume 5

All my friends know I love Natsume’s Book of Friends. I perused all the manga covers and decided volume 5 is my favorite of the bunch. It’s like a wind is passing through the scene, lifting the papers up around the characters. I also like how this volume has a brush of calligraphy to its style.

11. D. Grayman, Volume 7

I’ve said before Hoshino draws spectacular covers. This one feels as though its falling apart or unable to fully come together, which is fitting since the featured character isn’t exactly human. I love how this artwork feels, and the sense of mystery behind it.

10. Shiwasu, Yuki‘s Takane to Hana, Volume 13

Ah, the infamous volume for Takane and Hana where things finally click for both characters. It doesn’t show it right here, but the full artwork has their full figures falling together. It’s quite beautiful. Most of the covers for this series are funny but at the right times they have a more serious undertone.

9. Rurouni Kenshin, 3-in-1 4

Kenshin how I love you! On a whim I decided to go through all the 3-in-1 volume covers for Rurouni Kenshin. In-so-doing, I found this hidden gem. I’ve never seen him in blue before, but its suits him wonderfully. Kenshin is a very lighthearted character so this cover fits him very well. (If you couldn’t tell, I basically love this cover because of how it portrays Kenshin.)

8. Yubisaki to Renren, Volume 2

Such a pretty cover! Morishika has such a talent for blending colors! I especially like how the characters are looking at each other.

7. Fullmetal Alchemist, Volume 27

Yes, yes, yes! This cover encompasses everything I love about this series’ finale. It’s almost like Edward says with his eyes, “I’ve found the right answer. I’m here for my brother now.” Ah! so good.

6. Kanata Kara, Volume 3

This is my favorite cover for From Far Away because of how gentle it feels. It almost feels airbrushed, with soft hues of blue and pink. It’s almost like Hikawa blended two different people through color and imagery.

5. Urushibara, Yuki‘s Mushishi, Volume 7

Yes, I love Mushishi. Sorry there is only one cover! Thinking back on it though, I realized this is the cover I admire the most because of Urushibara’s choice of colors and posing. It reminds me of one of the more haunting stories from the series about a young woman hundreds of years old, connected to an old Cherry Tree. I’m a huge fan of watercolors in general so it’s no wonder I feel so drawn to this cover.

4. One Punch Man, Volume 17

Hot dang! This cover has such presence and energy! Besides Saitama and Genos, Zombie man is probably my favorite. (I wonder why that is? Maybe I like strong silent types) Looking closely at this cover, the focal point is his EYES at the end of his gun. I understand this character without even having to read about him just by looking at this image.

3. Takane to Hana, Volume 7

Such. Beautiful. Colors! I didn’t realize how much I love soft coloring in artwork until I did this post. This volume from Takane and Hana takes place right at a serious moment in the story. Character development comes like a storm! Shiwasu chose just the right colors for Takane and Hana for this volume. I also like how she posed the characters. Like most volume covers, they don’t feel at war with each other. It’s like they are finally connecting.

2. Takaya, Natsuki‘s Fruits Basket, Ultimate Edition 2

I’m surprised myself how far this cover has come! Fruits Basket is my favorite manga of all time. I have quite a bit of emotional attachment to it. When I searched through all the volumes, this 2nd ultimate edition popped out at me! This was at a time where Takaya’s artwork flourished. I love how I feel when I look at it and that is what really matters when picking artworks for ourselves.

1.Yamamori, Mika‘s Hirunaka no Ryuusei, Volume 6

Hmmm hmm hmmm. I’m sorry more volumes for this series didn’t make it. However, in light of all the volumes this has always been the cover I’ve been most drawn to. Its partially because I love Mamura as a character. It’s also how Yamamori chose to use to use pastels on black. I’ve also always been a fan with how the artist draws her characters.

Thank you for brushing through my long list! Maybe you found something new to read. I hope so.

Anime April Mayhem! Day 10, Anime/Manga I Need to Re-visit

These are manga or anime I haven’t read or watched in about ten years. I still have at least a basic idea what they are about. Some of them didn’t make it on my favorite anime or manga list because I didn’t think I remembered them well enough to know for sure.

Therefore, here is a list of one’s I’ll re-visit and review in the upcoming months.

Dengeki Daisy (2007-2013), Manga by Motomi, Kyousuke 

Teru Kurebayashi is left all alone in the world after the death of her brother, Souichirou. Well, all alone except for “Daisy,” someone that she can always talk to and who never hesitates to cheer her up. However, Teru has never met Daisy, she has no idea what he looks like, and her only means of contacting him is through a cell phone that her brother left for her.

In stark contrast to the kind words and encouragement Teru receives from Daisy, she gets nothing but grief from the rude school janitor, Tasuku Kurosaki, who forced Teru to work for him after she accidentally broke a window. But while Kurosaki seems like a lazy good-for-nothing who only enjoys making her miserable, is there more to him than meets the eye?

Myanimelist Overview

Once upon a time, I was obsessed with this story. I even had all the manga volumes. However, one day about five years ago I sold all of them because I had re-read the first few volumes and didn’t like them. Weird. . . I do think it’s about time to re-read it and write a full on review.

Kimi ni Todoke (2005-2017), Manga by Shiina, Karuho 

Kuronuma Sawako is completely misunderstood by her classmates. Her timid and sweet demeanor is often mistaken for malicious behavior. This is due to her resemblance to the ghost girl from “The Ring,” which has led her peers to give her the nickname Sadako. Longing to make friends and live a normal life, she is naturally drawn to Kazehaya Shouta, the most popular guy in class, whose “100% refreshing” personality earns him great admiration from Sawako. So when Kazehaya starts talking to her, maybe there is hope for the friendships Sawako has always longed for. Maybe…there is even a little hope for some romance in her future.

Myanimelist Overview

I still really like this manga! But, I haven’t read it all the way through in a long time. I’ve also never watched the anime all the way. Since I prefer more warm-hearted romances like this, I want to revisit it and see if I want my future daughters to have access to it. (I like collecting romances that teach wholesome lessons about marriage and relationships for that reason.)

Karneval (2007-?), Manga by Mikanagi, Touya 

Nai searches for someone important to him, with only an abandoned bracelet as a clue. Gareki steals and pick-pockets to get by from day to day. The two meet in a strange mansion where they are set-up, and soon become wanted criminals by military security operatives. When Nai and Gareki find themselves desperate in a hopeless predicament, they encounter none other than the country’s most powerful defense organization—”Circus”!!

Myanimelist Overview

Of all the entries on this list, I remember the least about this one. I have a vague memory of the two main characters but nothing else. I want to read it again because of the beautiful manga covers I came a cross a few weeks ago for my Beautiful Manga Covers entry.

Kobato. (2009-2010), Anime by Madhouse

Sweet and naïve Hanato Kobato came to Earth on a mission to collect and fill a bottle with “konpeito,” which appear after healing a person’s heart that is suffering. Kobato collects these because it is her wish to go to a certain place. Despite her strangeness, Kobato turns out to be well-suited for this mission as her heartfelt sincerity in helping others earns her the love and admiration of everyone she meets. However, she is not allowed to fall in love with anyone whose heart she heals.

Myanimelist Overview

I love this story! Re-reading the manga about two months ago I remembered I used to like the anime a lot because it fleshed out the short series. Therefore, I’m going to look into it again to see if I truly like it as much now.

La Cordo D’Oro (2004-2011), Manga by Kure, Yuki 

Every few years, the prestigious Seiso Academy holds a prominent musical competition, and only the very best students at the Academy are allowed to participate. Though all are eligible to apply, only students from the music department actually make it to the competition…until now.

Myanimelist Overview

Music and its a reverse harem. That’s what I vaguely remember. When I read it at eighteen, I was a music major in college and loved how it emphasized the spirit of music, and its healing effect on people. Now, I want to look over it again for nostalgic reasons. Maybe I’ll like it, maybe I won’t.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1982-1994), Manga by Hayao Miyazaki

Humanity, once a technologically advanced and thriving civilization, has been pushed to the brink of extinction following a cataclysmic war known as the “Seven Days of Fire.” The remnants of the human race now live in scattered kingdoms to avoid the unrelenting spread of the “Sea of Corruption,” a colossal forest infested with dangerous mutant insects and fungi that produce poisonous spores.

Nausicaä, sole heir to the throne of the agricultural kingdom Valley of the Wind, is thrust into a war after an ally kingdom, the imperialist Torumekia, invades the Dorok Empire. Forced to fight alongside the Torumekian military and their cunning princess Kushana, Nausicaä witnesses firsthand the horrors of war and its effect on both humanity and the environment. With her uncanny charisma and gentle nature, Nausicaä may be the only for hope for humanity as the ongoing war and the Sea of Corruption hasten the extinction of mankind.

Set against the backdrop of a devastated world, Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä depicts the aftermath of human folly and the immortal power of nature.

Myanimelist Overview

Nausicaä is still one of my favorites, unfortunately its been a LOOOONG time since I’ve read it. It’s also on the ever going “Need To Buy” list. I think its a good thing I haven’t read it in so long. It means I can re-experience its magic all over again.

Ouran high School Host Club (Anime 2006, Manga 2002-2010), By Hatori, Bisco

At Ouran High School, an academy where only the children of the rich and powerful attend, there exists a club consisting of the most elite of the student body: the legendary Host Club. Within the club’s room, six beautiful, bored boys spend their time entertaining equally beautiful and bored girls.

Haruhi Fujioka, a poor scholarship student, has no interest in the Host Club—until she breaks a valuable vase in their clubroom. After being mistaken for a boy, Haruhi is forced by Kyouya Ootori to work for the Host Club to repay her debt. Tamaki Suou, the princely leader of the club, eagerly takes her under his wing to teach her the ways of the host.

Things, however, are never quite so simple with the Host Club around. Even the most mundane events can turn into huge spectacles with the likes of prankster twins Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin, stoic Takashi Morinozuka, and sweet Mitsukuni “Hunny” Haninozuka. The crazy adventures of the Host Club are just beginning, and Haruhi must learn how to survive in the glitzy world of the hosts.

Myanimelist Overview

I would never show the show or manga for Ouran High School Host Club to young children because they wouldn’t understand its a satire. (Like Voltaire’s Candide) I have no bad memories of this story; just a big gap between when I last experienced it. The manga and anime are both good. I remember that much.

Soul Eater (2008-2009), Anime by Bones

Death City is home to the famous Death Weapon Meister Academy, a technical academy headed by the Shinigami—Lord Death himself. Its mission: to raise “Death Scythes” for the Shinigami to wield against the many evils of their fantastical world. These Death Scythes, however, are not made from physical weapons; rather, they are born from human hybrids who have the ability to transform their bodies into Demon Weapons, and only after they have consumed the souls of 99 evil beings and one witch’s soul.

Soul Eater Evans, a Demon Scythe who only seems to care about what’s cool, aims to become a Death Scythe with the help of his straight-laced wielder, or meister, Maka Albarn. The contrasting duo work and study alongside the hot headed Black☆Star and his caring weapon Tsubaki, as well as the Shinigami’s own son, Death the Kid, an obsessive-compulsive dual wielder of twin pistols Patty and Liz.

Soul Eater follows these students of Shibusen as they take on missions to collect souls and protect the city from the world’s threats while working together under the snickering sun to become sounder in mind, body, and soul.

Myanimelist Overview

Ecchi material. . . how I hate you. Soul Eater‘s anime has way less ecchi than the manga but its still there. I am a huge fan of Halloweeny type stories, and loved this show when it first came out. Also, the animation is great! I like looking at AMVs for it.

Trigun (1998), Anime by Madhouse

Vash the Stampede is the man with a $$60,000,000,000 bounty on his head. The reason: he’s a merciless villain who lays waste to all those that oppose him and flattens entire cities for fun, garnering him the title “The Humanoid Typhoon.” He leaves a trail of death and destruction wherever he goes, and anyone can count themselves dead if they so much as make eye contact—or so the rumors say. In actuality, Vash is a huge softie who claims to have never taken a life and avoids violence at all costs.

With his crazy doughnut obsession and buffoonish attitude in tow, Vash traverses the wasteland of the planet Gunsmoke, all the while followed by two insurance agents, Meryl Stryfe and Milly Thompson, who attempt to minimize his impact on the public. But soon, their misadventures evolve into life-or-death situations as a group of legendary assassins are summoned to bring about suffering to the trio. Vash’s agonizing past will be unraveled and his morality and principles pushed to the breaking point.

Myanimelist Overview

I remember liking Vash as a character and wondering if he and Meryl actually get married. . . but beyond that I haven’t thought about it in a while. The time has come to re-visit this comedic, philosophical drama played like a Western.

Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE (2003-2009), Manga by CLAMP

Warmhearted Syaoran has always been friends with Sakura—the princess of the Clow Kingdom who holds an extraordinary power capable of changing the world. When a mysterious man attempts to monopolize Sakura’s ability, her memories scatter throughout different worlds in the form of feathers. To save Sakura, Syaoran seeks help from the Dimensional Witch and meets two other travelers—Kurogane and Fai D. Flourite.

Kurogane, a capable fighter and ninja, has been banished from his homeworld and wishes to return. In contrast, Fai, a magician from Celes, wants to traverse different worlds to avoid his home and past. As the price to cross dimensions, each of the three must sacrifice their most valued possession. For Sakura’s sake, Syaoran agrees to give away their relationship as payment to the Dimensional Witch. And with firm determination, Syaoran, Kurogane, and Fai begin journeying through numerous worlds to fight against their ill-fated destinies.

Myanimelist Overview

I KNOW I love this series. I just haven’t read it in a long time. I’m never in the mood. However, this is the year I will sit down and make my way through it!

Thanks for reading! See you tomorrow!

Anime April Mayhem! Day 9, My Top Ten Favorite Anime

Anime April Mayhem! Day 11, My Most Disappointing Experiences.

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Anime April Mayhem! Day 7, Best Artwork From Manga I’ve Read

For clarification, this list exclusively lists manga I have personally read. Therefore, I won’t be listing anything like Berserk or Vinland Saga. I love art and exploring different mediums within comics and manga. Those featured in this list are listed in alphabetical order. I don’t have the heart to pit them against each other in a competition.

Let’s get started!

Bleach, Artist Tite Kubo

No matter what anyone says against Bleach, Kubo did an phenominal job drawing this manga. Each chapter heading, even from the first volume, is cool. Characters are the gears of any story and he had a way of bringing them to life with his art.

Would I buy an artbook for this series? Definitely yes. Do they exist? Yes!

Daytime Shooting Star, artist Mika Yamamori

Those who have gone through my other posts know this manga has come up A LOT. It will pop up in the future as well. I guarantee it. I’m not sorry. Now, why did I include it here on an art list? Yamamori is one of the most consistent character artists I’ve come across. She is especially gifted in how she draws hands and eyes. Aesthetically, this series pops because of her character designs and how she carries through with them till the end of the series.

D. Gray-Man Man, artist Katsuro Hoshino

D.Grayman ALMOST made it onto my underrated manga list. If not for its anime series and bigger following I would say it definitely deserves more attention. As for the art, it is GORGEOUS. From the amazing manga covers and character designs as the series progressed, her art just pops for me. Hoshino is also great at sequencing action scenes. From the get-go, her manga has maintained a higher quality.

Also, her art books are phenomenal. They are on my to buy list.

Fullmetal Alchemist, artist Hiromu Arikawa

People gush about Fullmetal Alchemist often. It’s for good reason. For me, one of this series’ highlights is the artwork. Specifically, Arakawa’s fluid designs and knowledge of human anatomy fascinates me. Of all the manga artists, Arakawa is the most similar to me in personality, especially in how much research she did for this series.

I also want to own the art books for this series. (You see the pattern. I need to buy these art books but don’t have the heart because of MONEY. So sad).

Immortal Rain, artist Kaori Ozaki

Kaori Ozaki draws amazing character profiles. Even outside this series, her works consistently feature well-balanced designs. As for Immortal Rain, her artwork blossomed throughout the story, featuring beautiful human caricatures and striking details in the backgrounds and sequencing. I did not mention this in my Underrated Manga Post, but her talent as a story writer and artist is underappreciated.

Mushishi, artist Yuki Urishibara

Because Mushishi is recognizably one of the most beautiful anime, specifically in its backgrounds, the manga is a little undervalued. This is rather foolhardy because Urushibara has a very distinct, earthy quality to her artwork. Throughout her ten volumes, she created such a vibrant view of Old Japan, disconnected from the modern world.

Natsume’s Book of Friends, artist Yuki Midorikawa

Much like Mushishi, Natsume’s Book of Friends has an ethereal feel to it. Yuki Midorikawa’s brush strokes feel like Japanese calligraphy, and her chapter headings have a beautiful watercolor feel.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, artist Hayao Miyazaki

One of the reasons Miyazaki’s movies are appreciated worldwide is because of their artistic quality. Miyazaki, though viewed primarily as a director, is really at heart an artist. Over twelve years, he drew an extended manga covering his first film from 1984. truly, Miyazaki is an incredible artist. It is hard to convey the depth of his talent through the few pictures I could find. To truly experience it, it is best to read the manga in full.

One Punch Man

I love the first season for One Punch Man. Its’ animation and comedy are great. The manga is definitely undervalued in light of the anime. The original story is by ONE, who has great ideas but limited artistic ability. Therefore, for the manga, Eyeshield 21‘s Yusuke Mirata stepped up as the primary artist.

Dang. His drawings have DEPTH and amazing shadowing. He was the right choice as this iconic story’s artist. Of all the artist’s I searched for, his art pieces were the easiest to find.

Pandora Hearts, artist Jun Mochizuki

I am a sucker for Alice in Wonderland parodies. Pandora Hearts‘ artwork, much like D.Grayman, is definitely a major highlight of the series. Of all the manga on this list, Mochizuki’s artwork is probably the most likely to find its way into an Anglophile’s personal library. (Much like Black Butler). Basically, lovers of Tim Burton-esque Hot Topic fans.

Personally, I simply admire Mochizuki’s coloring for her art book features, designs, and manga backgrounds.

Psyren, artist Toshiaki Iwashiro

Psyren was the hardest to find the right feature artworks. (Another sign it is underrated). Iwashiro is one of the best worldbuilders I’ve seen, especially in his backgrounds. He puts such amazing detail into the setting, it comes to life. Another highlight is his character designs. He is best at drawing hands and teeth.

Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE, artist CLAMP

Magical. CLAMP’s artwork throughout Tsubasa, and their other works, is simply magical. I feel like I can drink in the manga like an exquisite three-course meal. I love how they do hair, clothing, and staging. Literally, any piece from their artbook could go on the wall.

The Girl From the Other Side, artist Nagabe

Nagabe’s artwork for The Girl From the Other Side shines differently than any manga I’ve listed. It reminds me somewhat of the artwork featured in Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls, with its heavy shadowing. It could be mistaken for artwork commissioned for Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories. It’s Gothic and beautiful.

Vampire Knight, artist Matsuri Hino

I have conflicting feelings about Vampire Knight. Its story and the odd ending really threw me for a loop when I finally got the courage to read it. Honestly, it’s not a great story. But its artwork is breathtaking. When I found its artbook in Barnes and Noble, its beautiful colored pictures surprised me. I expected to hate it. Now, I admire her visual artistry despite her struggles writing good stories.

The Way of the House Husband, artist Kousuke Oono

Hot dang Oono is a great artist! Not only does he draw amazingly accurate character designs, but his staging and use of light and shadowing also enhance the series’ comedic effect. The first time I read it, I was in awe of his drawings and surprised it was his first released manga.

Thank you for reading! See you tomorrow.

Anime April Mayhem! Day 6, Underrated Manga Tag

Anime April Mayhem! Day 8 Webtoon/Manhwa Special, My Favorites

Anime April Mayhem! Day 6, Underrated Manga Tag

Cover from Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

This is a rather fickle list to make because popularity shifts like the wind and people’s tastes are subjective to their interests. I thought long and hard on the underrated titles I wanted to highlight. At least half of them made it onto this list because no one talks about them anymore, and they have a very specified fan base. All in all, I think they deserve more love and attention.

For this tag, I’ll be listing a variety of manga I feel are underrated. Feel free to use this tag yourself and be sure to tag me into your post so I know it’s going around!

Let’s get started!

Enhanced by Jul26

Daytime Shooting Star, 2011-2014 by Yamamori, Mika 

If you’ve been following my posts for the last few days, yes, this manga has come up A LOT. It’s one of my favorites and is a well-rounded mature romance. Yamamori treats her characters well and doesn’t create “villain” like rivals. Instead she built up the eventual relationship for her main character Suzumi in a way that honored her feelings and experiences.

Yamamori’s art style and consistent quality artwork should be praised more.

D.N.Angel, 1997-? by Sugisaki, Yukiru 

Fans probably rate D.N.Angel‘s manga so low because of the anime. (It’s not good.) The original publisher, Tokyopop, of the English translation also went out of business about ten or so years ago so access to the manga volumes plummeted. This is unfortunate because Sugisaki’s artwork is hauntingly beautiful at times and her story is thought-provoking. She hasn’t released any new chapters in a long time, so the story is on hiatus for an indefinite time period.

From Far Away, 1991-2003 by Hikawa, Kyouko 

From Far Away is another manga that has popped up a few times the last few days. With how popular Isekai style manga and anime are nowadays, I think more people should know about Hikawa’s Fantasy adventure with its optimistic and compassionate character Noriko from Japan. It’s a very romantic story and it also teaches pivotal truths on individual worth, power, and choice and accountability.

Immortal Rain/Meteor Methuselah, 1998-2011 by Ozaki, Kaori 

Immortal Rain was fairly popular about fifteen years ago while Tokopop was publishing its volumes. However, once it went out of business access to the new volumes became impossible. Ozaki has a crisp, unique art style which is easily recognizable. She also has a knack for creating relatable, deep characters with identifiable motivations and problems. I hope VIZ media or another company chooses to re-translate it sooner than later. It is a really beautiful story. (Warning though! It has some mature content I wouldn’t recommend for younger readers.)

Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet, 2015-2019 by Yamamori, Mika 

Much like Yamamori’s other work Daytime Shooting Star, I admire this story for its mature, more relatable take on relationships and communicating as a couple. I also really admired how she set specific boundaries in their relationship, giving them time to grow and eventually marry one another once Fumi was older. (The main characters havea big-ish age difference so it is important the author did this.)

Unlike Daytime Shooting Star, there is no English release for the manga volumes yet. There is also no anime. So sad. My hope is after Yamamori’s other series is completely released in English, VIZ media will also release Lonely Planet.

Love So Life, 2008-2015 by Kouchi, Kaede

(Yes, it is here again.) As far as Shoujo romances go, this is yet another more realistic take on relationships with bigger age gaps. I loved how Kouchi set up the romance between Shiharu and Matsunaga. There were not huge passionate scenes, however, they grew towards each other.

I am truly surprised more people don’t talk about this series. I am equally surprised it is no translated into English yet.

Mushishi, 1999-2008 by Urushibara, Yuki 

Some may argue this series is not underrated. However, looking over a lot of different blogs and lists these past few months I have barely ever seen anyone talk about this series. Perhaps its because its so difficult to buy the English translation for the manga. It also may be because it has a completely different appeal to it then big Shonen anime and manga like One Piece and Bleach.

Regardless, more people should know about and read this series. It has beautiful artwork, compelling mysteries, and it is utterly therapeutic to read. It will also make you think deeper about different aspects of human nature, especially with its relationship with nature and the spiritual world.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, 1982-1994 by Miyazaki, Hayao 

Miyazaki’s manga for his infamous animated film by the same name is the epitome of an underrated cult classic among manga fans. I only found it because, at 17, I was still working my way through all of Miyazaki’s films. When I watched the film I had this strange feeling something was missing from its story. So, I looked it up and found out he wrote a manga to better portray what had originally wanted for the story.

Its artwork and story are incredible. Miyazaki drew and wrote it himself and every page is a visual and literary delight for me. It suffers from the same problem Beserk does. It’s not a main stream genre so its looked over by general fans.

Psyren, 2007-2010 by Iwashiro, Toshiaki 

During the 2000’s a lot of people talked about Psyren. Since Iwashiro finished the manga though, no one talks about it anymore. I can for the life of me fathom it. It has great pacing, dynamic characters, and incredible artwork (especially how he drew teeth).

Silver Spoon, 2011-2019 by Arakawa, Hiromu 

Don’t get me wrong. I love Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist more. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t think this manga is both hilarious and incredible. If anyone could get me interested in farming, its Arakawa. Silver Spoon draws a lot from her roots as a farming child. It might even be a small tribute to the world she grew up in.

Though it has an anime and a fairly large fan base, I think most readers skip over it because it is nothing like Fullmetal Alchemist. When they see Arakawa as the author, they must expect another great Shonen, action thriller. Instead, they get a well-rounded slice of life growing up story. Though it’s not for everyone, I still think the fan base needs to grow.

Yotsuba&!, 2003-? by Azuma, Kiyohiko 

Here we are again. It should probably be obvious Yotsuba&! is one of my favorite manga. The story is so down to earth and it’s so funny! Not as many people know about it though because it has no anime and not that much identifiable merchandise. (Shrug.) That’s the way it goes sometimes. Thankfully, at the very least there is an English translation for this manga readily available.

There you have it! I did treat this post as a possible tag other blog writers could use. Feel free to use it and be sure to tag me in there somewhere as the original creator.

Thank you for reading!

Anime April Mayhem! Day 5, Anime/Manga I’ll never do

Anime April Mayhem! Day 7, Best Artwork From Manga I’ve Read

See you tomorrow!

Anime April Mayhem! Day 4, I’m surprised it’s not an anime…

Screenshot of Volume 1 of Takane and Hana

In the small random plane-ride-induced moments of my life, I stop and wonder, “Why hasn’t this manga been made into an anime yet?” Perhaps other adamant readers feel the same way. Sometimes this goes for manga I like or just popular titles I am genuinely shocked haven’t been animated yet. (OVAs and Live Action Dramas don’t count.)

May this post help these titles find prestige on the big screen outside our hearts! (If I was popular enough to make it happen that would be interesting.)

Daytime Shooting Star, (Hirunaka no Ryuusei) by Yamamori, Mika

Suzume Yosano has spent the entire 15 years of her life in the countryside, so when her parents decide to move overseas for work and leave her with her uncle in Tokyo, she finds herself in a whole new environment. On the way to her uncle’s house, however, she gets lost and faints.

Waking up safely at her uncle’s house, she learns that a strange man had carried her there and that he happens to be an acquaintance of her uncle. Moreover, when Suzume goes to her new school for the first time, she discovers that the weird man in question, named Satsuki Shishio, is actually her homeroom teacher! Now, Suzume must adapt to her new school and make friends, since her blossoming high school life in the city has just begun!

Myanimelist Synopsis

Daytime Shooting Star has such good artwork and characters along with a mature outlook on romance and relationships. Though it has since been made into a drama, it is puzzlingly to me why no anime studio has picked this story up. (The same goes for her other big work Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet.)

Dengeki Daisy, 2007-2013 by Motomi, Kyousuke 

Teru Kurebayashi is left all alone in the world after the death of her brother, Souichirou. Well, all alone except for “Daisy,” someone that she can always talk to and who never hesitates to cheer her up. However, Teru has never met Daisy, she has no idea what he looks like, and her only means of contacting him is through a cell phone that her brother left for her.

In stark contrast to the kind words and encouragement Teru receives from Daisy, she gets nothing but grief from the rude school janitor, Tasuku Kurosaki, who forced Teru to work for him after she accidentally broke a window. But while Kurosaki seems like a lazy good-for-nothing who only enjoys making her miserable, is there more to him than meets the eye?

Myanimelist Synopsis

I feel like this series has such a huge following and yet there hasn’t even been a whisper about an upcoming anime adaptation. I liked it when I was in my early twenties and thought it would have an anime really soon after it finished. No such luck it seems for the avid fans.

Hiyokoi, 2009-2014 by Yukimaru, Moe 

Little 15-year-old Hiyori Nishiyama gets into an accident the day before her high school entrance ceremony, leaving her hospitalized with severe bone fractures that prevent her bones from growing. Due to her timid nature, even after recovering, she hesitates to attend class.

But when Hiyori finally decides to go to school for the first time in a year, things take an unexpected turn. As she introduces herself, she is abruptly interrupted by Yuushin Hirose, a tall and outgoing boy. Hiyori not only loses her chance to make a good impression on her classmates, but Yuushin ridicules her by comparing her to a baby bird. However, due to Yuushin’s sociable nature, she slowly feels more at ease around her classmates. With Yuushin at her side, Hiyori hopes to accomplish her goal of making friends.

Myanimelist Synopsis

This addition may surprise people but it has a reason to be on this list. Twice, in 2010 and 2012 anime studios made an introductory ova to promote this story. Yet, there is still no anime. It’s a cute story and I’m sure there would be a good following.

Love So Life, 2008-2015 (Rabu Sō Raifu) by Kouchi, Kaede 

Shiharu Nakamura is a high school girl who loves children, lives in an orphanage, and aspires to run a daycare. She works part-time at a nursery school where the cute two-year-old twins Akane and Aoi Matsunaga attend. One day, a handsome young man named Seiji Matsunaga comes rushing to pick up the twins, but they refuse to go home with him, clinging onto Shiharu instead. Shocked by the children’s strong attachment to Shiharu, Seiji urgently requests for her to babysit them, offering to pay twice the amount she currently earns at the daycare. Shiharu realizes the cash will cover her living and schooling expenses while also providing the experience she needs to fulfill her dream.

Love So Life follows the happy days of Shiharu as she finds herself falling in love with her makeshift family, and the twins as they live out their early childhood playing, learning, and growing.

Myanimelist Synopsis

Here is yet another well-liked manga, with a huge following, that has never become an anime for. . . reasons. With all the less than compelling shoujo anime that have come out throughout these last five years alone, strangely, no studio thought to adapt this manga. Perhaps, because Shiharu is a little bit like Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket, it will catch someone’s eye. 

Madame Petit, 2012-2017 by Takao, Shigeru

It’s the 1920s and Mariko, age 16, is married to a man 30 years her senior. She is honestly happy to be his wife and really excited to board the Orient express in Turkey on their honeymoon trip. But her life takes a rapid turn when her husband is discovered dead after the first night on board… And that’s only the start of Mariko’s great adventure.

Myanimelist Synopsis

My feelings personally about this story are mixed. However, I wonder why it hasn’t caught the eye of lovers of historical drama anime. It has great art, a compelling romance, and interactive mystery. For those interested in early 19th Century, this would be a breath of fresh air.

Psyren, 2011-2014 (PSYЯEN) by Iwashiro, Toshiaki 

Ageha Yoshina is a self-confident high school student who helps others for a fee. On his way back from a job, he finds a strange calling card with the word “Psyren” imprinted left behind in a phone booth and decides to keep it, unaware of its purpose. The very next day, Ageha discovers that his classmate Sakurako Amamiya has the exact same calling card in her possession. When he questions her, Sakurako asks him to save her, signaling the day his troubles begin.

Confused by the circumstances of this encounter, Ageha realizes something is wrong when Sakurako goes missing. In an attempt to figure out what is happening, he decides to call the number provided on the calling card and is asked a series of questions by a mysterious voice, ending with a final, cryptic question: “Would you like to go to Psyren?” Thus begins two teenagers’ participation in a game of life or death within a strange world inhabited by monsters called “Taboo.” Granted the ability to use psychic powers known as “PSI,” the duo fight to return to the place they call home.

Myanimelist Synopsis

I know there is a huge following for Psyren. More than any other series, I see readers question why no one has animated it. It has great pacing, compelling futuristic artwork, and a cool “power system”. Personally, I don’t mind it staying just a manga, but I understand how other fans must feel frustrated.

Takane and Hana, 2014-? (Takane no Hana) by Shiwasu, Yuki 

Sixteen-year-old Hana Nonomura is forced to be the substitute for her older sister Yukari at a miai: a meeting between two people considering an arranged marriage. Hana’s prospective suitor turns out to be the handsome heir of the wealthy Takaba company, Takane Saibara, who is 10 years her senior. He promptly shows disdain toward Hana and, in response, she tells him that she is equally unimpressed by his status and personality.

Hana believes that her actions at the meeting should have put an end to the discussions about marriage with Takane. To her surprise, not only does the man want to proceed with negotiations but he also starts to show interest in her! This is just the beginning of a special relationship between two polar opposites!

Myanimelist Synopsis

Takane and Hana is one of the best Shoujo romances I’ve ever read. It’s hilarious and treats the romance between Hana and Takane realistically. Plus, the art is consistently high quality. It has the makings of a great anime, untapped except for a random drama. So sad.

The Girl From the Other Side, 2015-2021 (Totsukami no Shoujo) by Nagabe 

Long ago, there was a god of light and a god of darkness. While those devoted to the god of light experienced happiness and good fortune, the god of darkness would play tricks on the people and steal their joy. And so, as the legend goes, the god of light decided to punish him by turning him into a monster. Enraged by this, the god of darkness wielded his punishment as a curse in order to inflict suffering upon others. Because of his actions, he was banished to the Outside, where he and his monstrous children are to remain for eternity, while those from the Inside must never come in contact with someone from the Outside, lest they be cursed with a hideous form.

A little girl named Shiva, an Insider, is found by an Outsider she comes to know as Sensei. Though they cannot touch, Sensei cares for Shiva as best he can, and together they live a moderately happy life. But soon, Shiva not only finds herself in danger from the Outside, but from her own kind as well.

Myanimelist Synopsis

With all the followers of shows like The Promised Neverland and Tokyo Ghoul, I expected Totsukami no Shoujo to make its way into the anime world seamlessly. No such luck so far. I just think its a bit odd considering how unique the artwork and story are.

Yotsuba&!, 2003-? (Yotsuba to!) by Azuma, Kiyohiko 

Yotsuba’s daily life is full of adventure. She is energetic, curious, and a bit odd—odd enough to be called strange by her father as well as ignorant of many things that even a five-year-old should know. Because of this, the most ordinary experience can become an adventure for her. As the days progress, she makes new friends and shows those around her that every day can be enjoyable.

Myanimelist Synopsis

Azumanga Daioh has an anime and it has barely any volumes. Yet, Yotsuba&!, with exemplary reviews both by critics and fans, has nothing whatsoever. It is a little boggling to me. Perhaps no one thinks they can adequately transfer the series’ great humor into animation. We may never know. . .

Thanks for reading!

Anime April Mayhem! Day 3, “What Bugs You?” Anime Tag

Anime April Mayhem! Day 5, Anime/Manga I’ll never do

See you tomorrow!

Anime April Mayhem! Day 1, Beautiful covers for aspiring art collectors

I love manga covers. I’ll do another list showing my favorite manga covers, but for today I found a few covers which I would be tempted to put on my wall.

Let’s get started!

Pandora Hearts volume 3 by Mochizuki, Jun 

Children of Whales Volume 11 by Umeda, Abi 

Daytime Shooting Star Volume 6 by Yamamori, Mika 

From Far Away Volume 3 by Hikawa, Kyouko

Kimi ni Todoke Volume 7 Shiina, Karuho 

D.N.Angel Volume 1 by Sugisaki, Yukiru 

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 27 by Arakawa, Hiromu 

Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNICLE Volumes 8, 9,10, 17, 23 by CLAMP 

D. Gray Man Volume 7 by Hoshino, Katsura 

Bleach Volume 49 by Kubo, Tite 

Kobato Volume 6 by CLAMP 

Natsume’s Book of Friends, Volumes 14 and 22 by Midorikawa, Yuki 

Mushishi Volumes 4, 5, and 7 by Urushibara, Yuki 

Takane and Hana, Volumes 7 and 13 by Shiwasu, Yuki 

Madame Petite Volume 9 Takao, Shigeru 

Dawn of Arcana, Volume 1 Touma, Rei

See you tomorrow!

Anime April Mayhem! Day 2, Anime That Started It All Tag

Anime April Mayhem!

For those who know me well, you might have wondered why I didn’t include any manga in my March Book Madness! blogathon. Well, that’s because I’ve dedicated all of April to Manga and Anime. I like Dostoyevsky and Regency Romances. But I also love many manga. I’m excited to write this month and relook at the many anime and manga I’ve found over the years.

There will be the good!

There will be the ugly!

But there will also be perfectly nostalgic titles many people have never heard of.

My goal this month is just have fun!

I look forward to seeing you throughout this month! Thank you for reading.

Feel free to donate! Anything is appreciated.

Book Quote:  鋼の錬金術師 (Hagane no Renkinjutsushi) or Fullmetal Alchemist

Hehe, this is one of my favorite stories of all time. But to review it I need to do some heavy duty research. So everyone must wait. If you are a fan of Japanese literature and have not read this… for shame. Start now! 

Father: Why did you not become mine God!?

God: “Because you never believed in yourself. You thought you could make God’s power your own? Don’t make me laugh. You think stealing something powerful makes you great? You’re nothing but a cunning thief. You should have stayed satisfied inside the flask where you belong. All you have ever done is use the strength of others to grab godhood. You haven’t grown at all.

Father: “I wanted to become a perfect being! I wanted to understand God! I wanted to know everything about the world! So, why do you oppose me? Who are you?!

God: “I am what humans call the world, Or the universe or God or truth or all or one. And I am you. . . The truth brings despair to those who dare to reach above their station. This is the end you wished for.” ― Hiromu Arakawa, Fullmetal Alchemist 2001-2010