Lenni Reviews: “To Strip the Flesh” by Oto Toda

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

Chiaki Ogawa is trying to be a good daughter to his sick dad but deep down feels more like a boy and hates his female body. With the added stress of wanting to keep an old promise he made when his mother was alive to get married and have a family, Chiaki is determined to transition and begins to do so without telling his dying father.

There are other stories in this book too and it’s a nice collection. Some are as simple as one page while others have more time to grow. I thought this entire book was going to be about Chiaki but the other stories are good too and have similar themes. It’s a good way to show the unique feelings of a trans person in a new format. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Alice in Borderland” Vol. 2, by Haro Aso

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Feeling confident about the games, Arisu isn’t too worried about what may be next. But, with his friend’s visas expiring soon, they can’t be picky about the next game and soon find themselves in over their heads.

I don’t wanna spoil anything so I am being deliberately vague in my description above. I do have to day, when Usagi is added to the cast, the character development for her and Arisu is well done. They work well together and I like following them as they navigate this crazy world. Again, if you’ve seen the show, you know what’s going to happen but it’s still cool to experience this story in both formats. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Something is Killing the Children” Vol 4, by James Tynion IV, Werther Dell’Edera, Miquel Muerto & AndWorld Design

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In this volume we are introduced to Jessica, the hunter who saved Erica as a child and brought her into the House of Slaughter.

I think this is my favorite volume in the series so far. Young Erica is just the right balance of badass but still a child. She still gets scared and isn’t super human. We also get some insight into how the House of Slaughter functions and get to know some of the members. I like the writing; it keeps these hunters grounded and relatable. They kill monsters for a living but they’re still just people and their job can take a tole. It shows how what they do weighs on them. I look forward to more hunters being involved with adult Erica, too. 4.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Graveneye” by Sloane Leong & Anna Bowles

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

Isla lives alone in a mansion deep in the woods and she hires Marie to help around the house. But Isla has some dark secrets and, told from the point of view of the house, puts the reserved Marie in peril.

It’s a unique choice to have the house tell the story and it’s one dramatic house. The writing is lyrical and poetic and since we don’t get much dialogue from the characters themselves, we don’t get a full explanation of that the heck is going on or what Isla is. I like the art, I think it fits the drama in the writing and having blood red as the only color is impactful for the eye. But I didn’t feel like I had the complete story so it was overall unsatisfying despite being initially intrigued. 3.2 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Crazy Food Truck” Vol. 1, by Rokurou Ogaki

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

A food truck owner named Gordon laments his lack of customers in the apocalyptic landscape around him. While changing locations, he finds a naked woman sleeping in the middle of the road. When he takes her in, an armed militia is hunting her down.

This is an interesting way to tell a post-apocalyptic story. Gordon’s a classic grumpy protagonist with a secret and Arisa is the one to come into his life to give him something to care about again. With humor and some cool action, this is a fun volume and is perfectly paced to make me want to the next one. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “A Man and His Cat” Vol. 1, by Umi Sakurai

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

A cat languishing in a pet shop resigns himself to never getting adopted due to many people coming to look at him and making cruel comments. But then an older gentleman comes in and immediately pics him to take to his forever home.

This manga is so sweet. Maybe I have a soft spot for touching animal stories but this is a perfect cozy read if you like cute animals and slice of life manga. Mr. Moriyama is a nice guy who dotes on Fukumaru; who is just a squishy sweetheart and they have the best interactions. Very heartwarming and perfect if you are in the mood to say “AWWWWWWWW!!” repeatedly. 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead” Vol. 6, by Haro Aso and Kotaro Takata

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

Akira has returned to his parent’s village which has withstood the zombie hordes so far, only to have his former classmate, Kanta Higurashi show up with a gang and hundreds of of the undead to kill everyone.

I still adore how this series manages to balance lightheartedness with the zombie threat. One never detracts from the other. Akira and his group are so fun to follow through this adventure and to genuinely feel as if they are in real danger. In this volume there are a couple action scenes were the art was kinda chaotic and it took me a minute to figure out what happened but this series is cool. Totally check it out. 5. out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Mao” Vol. 5, Rumiko Takahashi

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

More people from Mao’s past confront him in the present while Byoki is able to follow Nanoka to modern day.

This volume is bringing every one together so we almost have a complete backstory on what went down with Mao. Byoki clearly has some major keys to the puzzle but in the meantime, this volume has a fast pace and we get a lot of information. None of it feels like an info dump since the characters are so interesting and fun to experience on the page. I do wonder how the past and modern worlds will play into each other but we shall see. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “BEASTARS” Vol. 18, by Paru Itagaki

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

This volume gives us some insight into Legoshi’s friendship with Jack and how it started when Legoshi starts at Cherryton Academy after his mother dies; explaining why Jack and other canine students are so close to Legoshi. In addition, Louis returns to the now abandoned market where he was sold to find his former cellmates; San and Kyu, are still alive and living in the Black Market.

Legoshi is still an idealistic beast who manages to impress the more disillusioned around him. He’s just so earnest about wanting a better future it makes badass  characters like Kyu ready to help him in the inevitable showdown with the psycho Melon. Much like with the Riz arch, the story is taking it’s time getting there. It doesn’t feel like an artificial build up or give a dragged out feeling. We’re just getting all the pieces in place. I still love this series. 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Children of the Woods” by Joe Ciano, Josh Hixson, Roman Stevens & Hassan Ostmane-Elhadu

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

Quinn is a quiet kid and an outcast at his high school. He has a crush on his classmate, Amber, but her jock bully boyfriend beats him up for even talking to her. Seeking revenge, Quinn goes into the Black Woods to cast a spell and never returns. Amber is convinced the woods hold the key to finding him and the power of the woods looks to claim her as well.

The Black Woods near this town is a place of magic and monsters and the story boils down to how the lure of power and seductive promises can lead to ruin. It’s a creepy read but I felt like I wanted more. There are bits of lore I wish had more time to develop; like whatever the secret society was doing, the motivations behind the mysterious voice in the woods, things like that. I understand maintaining a sense of the unknown can be scarier but I bet this could be expanded and still maintain that mystique. 3.7 out of 5

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