Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” Vol. 7 by Paru Itagaki

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

In this volume we get to meet the Council of Living Beings; where the adult representatives talk about how every school has to present a Beastar every year but Cherryton hasn’t presented one in five years. All of the Beastars are supposed to compete to become the next “Valiant Beastar.” Cherryton is usually the one to present this and win by popular demand but Principal Gon has been hesitant to put a kid in this position. The Council overrules him; deciding which ever Cherryton student solves the murder (the one from WAAAAAAYYY bak in the first volume) will be declared Beastar.

I think we need a slow clap for Principle Gon for being the only one to finally remember that these are a bunch of teenagers who probably shouldn’t be saddled with what an adult would have trouble dealing with. Finally, a sensible adult. So, of course he’s overruled…

We also have Legoshi dealing with some issues and needing Gohin to help him out. There are a couple new students, a badass security guard snake named Six Eyes, and finally getting back to the inciting incident of this series. I was wondering when they were going to get back to that because it’s barely been addressed since volume one. I mean, did this kid not have parents what may wanna know? Or are any police involved? Not that I’m not invested in Legoshi and Louis and all that drama but; yeah. There’s a murderer out there. Might wanna get on that. 4.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Komi Can’t Communicate” Vol. 7 by Tomohito Oda

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

It’s Christmas season for Komi and her friends and also Komi’s birthday. While Komi struggles with gift buying, her friends go through the usual insanity of a “Present Death Game” to find something for Komi. They also have fun in the snow, go ice skating, and various other Winter and family activities.

This is still just the cutest manga and I can’t get enough of it. I’m always disappointed when I get to the end because I want more! It’d be nice if people were this kind all the time. Except for Yamai. She’s a creepy stalker and considering the books I’ve read, I have no problem judging the heck out of. She’s over the top on purpose. and whatever but she’s the worst part of this series. 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Eat, and Love Yourself” by Sweeney Boo & Lilian Klepakowsky

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Mindy has low self-esteem and a problem with stress eating. Stuck in a destructive binge/purge cycle, she happens upon some magic chocolate that transports her into the past to relive the sources and triggers to her lack of confidence, bulimia, and her unhealthy relationship with her body. As she deals with her traumas, Mindy slowly unlearns her destructive behaviors.

I love the art and the color palette in this book. Very soothing and stylized to make it unique. Mindy is a good character and watching her deal with her friends and family as she finally makes her feelings known and comes to terms with them is a sweet story. I like that her parents weren’t super abusive; it more like those microaggressions that pile up and hit harder because they’re coming from people you love. Her father was critical and her mom was overindulging but they weren’t beating her or anything (thank goodness). It shows how such abuses don’t have to be over the top evil to have a lasting impact on a person’s life. I thought the use of the chocolate was cute! Not a bad read. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Drifting Classroom: The Perfect Edition” Vol. 3 by Kazuo Umezz

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is recommended for mature readers.

The kids find train tunnels filled with horrible creatures that turn humans into their own. These things actually have a record of what happened to humanity. Sekiya manages to take over the school but has no clue what to do when those tunnel creatures attack leaving Sho to be the hero again.

I know all the kids are scared but… They really jump to some fantastic conclusions when the finger-pointing starts. The constant infighting and constant splitting up is starting to get old. I was hoping for more of Sho communicating with his mother or perhaps some progress being made to get them home? I’m sure it’ll happen but after three volumes of hundreds of pages, I’d like to see some real development here. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Way of the Househusband” Vol. 3 by Kousuke Oono

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

In this volume, The Immortal Dragon treats a roach as a hitman, plays Santa for some kids, pampers his wife with a fancy dinner, helps out as a waiter, comes upon a mafia widow at a grocery store, helps his wife get a photo with her favorite cartoon character, and even his old boss drops by to try and convince him to come back into the fold.

The fact all this is played completely straight is what makes this comedy work. He absolutely treats that roach as an enemy to be hunted down. It’s amazing. It’s just so pure and fun, I love reading these and can’t wait for each new volume. I even enjoyed the little side stories at the end; one set in high school and another involving an adorable cat. I do wonder however how long this can really go? I don’t see this series taking a sudden dark turn and it won’t take long to run out of these scenarios. But, I’m enjoying it for now! 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Smokin’ Parade” Vol. 6 by Jinsei Kataoka & Kazuma Kondou

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With the frequent losses the Northern Jackalopes face, Captain Kukuri launches a full-on hunt of the massive spider they have named Lord.

Spoilers but I like how Kukuri and Youkou go to gather data on Lord and have no idea exactly how to get it or what the data means. We see these types of “gather intel” scenes all the time and the characters magically know how all the tech works and what part of what they find is important. It was nice to see that trope played with.

This volume is paced better than previous ones with a fair balance of action and backstory. It’s dark, touching on the implications of gear technology and the advances and consequences of playing with such things. Got some twisted stuff in here, too, so if that’s not your thing, I’d avoid it if I were you. 3.7 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: “Tiananmen 1989” by Lun Zhang, Adrien Gombeaud & Am├ęziane

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Our narrator, Lun Zhang; a sociology professor, recounts his experiences in Tiananmen during a mass protest by students for political reforms in China.

Like the other graphic novels I’ve read about historical events, this book breaks down a complicated event into an easily digestible and visually interesting way that I believe will inform and entertain the reader. I was only 8 years old when all this wend down so I had no idea what as going on. The book is a bit dry in parts and there are historical names dropped that I don’t have enough context to be impressed by but this is pretty darn solid. 3.9 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: “Smokin’ Parade” Vol. 5 by Jinsei Kataoka & Kazuma Kondou

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This volume puts friend against friend and brother against sister as the Amenotori launches their attacks against The Jackalopes. We also get introduced to The Jackalope’s Northern Division with an enemy our main characters have never seen before.

There are still pacing problems in this volume. Not that I need or want long stretches of exposition but this volume pulled the age-old mistake of giving a character a TON of backstory just to set up killing them off. Despite the high stakes and otherwise interesting story, that’s lazy. 3 out of 5

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Lenni Reviews: “Smokin’ Parade” Vol. 4 by Jinsei Kataoka & Kazuma Kondou

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Midari has been captured by a kid she once saved and Youkou is determined to flush out the Spiders to save his sister.

This volume, once the fight is over, is about getting the appropriate pieces into play. And it does it well! There’s just a LOT happening all at once, switching from one story to another then another, so it’s paced strangely. It’s good but it felt scattershot. There’s all this drama and gory mess surrounding Midari and of course the angst with Youkou and his sister… Finding a way to summarize it all without spoiling some twists (because YIKES, there’s some twisted shit in this volume) has made my summary pretty gosh darn short. I like this series and the fights are drawn amazingly well but this volume, like I said, feels confused. 3.7 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: “Elfen Lied Omnibus” Volume 3 by Lynn Okamoto

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In this volume, we learn about Director Kurama’s past; whose wife died and he was charged with killing his Diclonius infant daughter. We also have Chief Kakusawa, who runs the horrid facility and his plans to eliminate humanity.

This volume has a lot going on. Kurama, Kakusawa, the chief’s daughter Anna who’s a giant mutant thing, Nana still helping Bando for some reason because he’s a real jerk; and of course all the antics with Nyu living on while others think Lucy is dead. The random wacky hijinks aren’t quite enough to offset the dour and dark overall tone. This is a good story but it really follows through with the ultra-violence and general fact that overall, people are terrible. 4 out of 5.

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