Lenni Reviews: “The Elusive Samurai” Vol. 1, by Yūsei Matsui

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

Hojo Tokiyuki is the last survivor of his family, the Kamakura shogunate, after they were betrayed and slaughtered. Along with other survivors or the massacre, Hojo goes on a journey to train and become strong enough to reclaim the throne.

Don’t let the cutesy art fool you. This is bloody and the art can make the characters look distorted and scary when it needs to. That being said, this is one hello of a start for a series. Hojo is young but strong and you get the sense of how strong he will become.

It feels a little rushed and the priest character is teetering closer to annoying than quirky. I wouldn’t complain if he was reigned it. A LOT.

This is focused more on action so we haven’t gotten attached to anyone more than initial interest so far but I do want to continue to the next volume. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Perfect World” Vol. 4, by Rie Aruga

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Itsuki feels he can’t be a burden to Tsugumi and breaks up with her, allowing Koreda to swoop in as her support. But Tsugumi can’t seem to catch a break as she must leave Tokyo and go back to her parents due to a medical emergency.

Geez, just throw everything at this poor woman all at once. But, this volume shows how strong she is and Tsugumi keeps moving forward and doing what she needs to do. I think Koreda is being an opportunist no matter how nice he’s being. In my opinion, he should have let Tsugumi process the breakup before immediately taking Itsuki’s place. But, nobody is really terrible in this series. Even Tsugumi’s parents are sympathetic in their own way. I think things are portrayed realistically and that’s important for this subject matter. 4.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Gigant” Vol. 3, by Hiroya Oku

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With Rei in danger, Chiho decides to come out of hiding and defeat the creature attacking Tokyo. Now the connection between the E.T.E. website and these insane events are public knowledge as well as Chiho’s identity and abilities.

This series is bananas. It’s madness and I’m somehow completely okay with that. I’m invested in Chiho and how she’s going to factor into these weird requests to the E.T.E. and we see there are other giants like her in other countries. So, there’s some moves happening that we don’t know about and I am here for the ride! 3.7 out of 5 because we’re getting more sex scenes than I’d like. I kept skipping them to get back to the story.

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Lenni Reviews: “Mizuno and Chayama” by Yuhta Nishio

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Mizuno has to put on a happy face as her father is the mayoral candidate in their small town, Chayama is the daughter of a wealthy family and heir to a tea company that rivals Mizuno’s father. As their families are at odd, they must keep their relationship a secret.

This volume follows them through high school as they fall in love and struggle with the pressures of their familial obligations and small town life Chayama is frequently bullied while Mizuno is put on a pedestal due to her father’s status. It’s a pretty good story but jumps around at the end but it is a tense read. It’s not explicit but there are some suggestive scenes; done tastefully in my opinion. They make a cute couple and the art suits the overall tone. A worthwhile addition to the yuri genre and I’d suggest it for older teens due to to those suggestive scenes. It’s less graphic than what they’re watching on the CW these days. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Perfect World” Vol. 3, by Rie Aruga

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Tsugumi is recovering from her accident and while her parents come to help take care of her, her parents insist Itsuki is unable to properly care for their daughter and beg him to break up with her.

A mild nitpick here that’s slight spoilers: Nagawa (the aide) who helps Itsuki is a former nurse and we find this out when Itsuki needs a DRF (don’t click if you can’t handle poop) when he ends up in the hospital. She tells the doctors “Yeah, I was a nurse. I can do it.” Can you just do that in a hospital? Just say that and the doctors say “Well, if you say so, go ahead?” Without any proof? I dunno, that made me pause…

Other than that, this volume amps up how disability can put extra pressure on a relationship; the stress, pain, and embarrassment… Especially when you remember being able bodied and needing all this help. I like how this series is handling it. Nothing feels like it’s checking off a box on a list. It reminds me of With the Light. 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Gigant” Vol. 2, by Hiroya Oku

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This manga is recommended for mature readers.

While Chiho gets used to her powers, Rei finally gets up the nerve to ask her to be his girlfriend. Meanwhile, the E.T.E. (Enjoy The End) website continues to send strange and horrific events to Tokyo; including a giant that arrives the same day Rei is in the city with his parents.

Most of this volume is Rei and Chiho dating and the action is a cliffhanger at the end. While mundane, it is a chance to get to know Chiho, which I think is important because both in and out of this universe, people sex workers are human beings deserving of respect. However, this could have been done with less downtime and less sex scenes. I get that Rei is a horny young man but I don’t need to see every time he gets laid. I’m here for the giant woman punching giant monsters. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Cat + Gamer” Volume 1, by Wataru Nadatani

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Riko Kozakura doesn’t socialize with anyone at work, preferring to take care of her duties and go straight home to game. When a security guard at the office finds a stray kitten, she is compelled to take him home. But she doesn’t know anything about cats so she must level up her pet owner skills.

This is another cute cat slice of life manga with the hook of a gamer for an owner. It’s unique that Riko sees learning about her new friend as leveling up a character like in her RPGs. She clearly cares for him so it’s not her brain disconnecting to her gamer space, it’s leveraging her interests to focus her energy. Just adorable. 4.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Perfect World” Vol. 1, by Rie Aruga

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Tsugumi and Itsuki went to high school together but drifted apart as they grew older. Tsugumi had a crush on Itsuki and is shocked to see him when her company and his have a work party and she still has feelings for him. She is shocked, however, to see is is now in a wheelchair; having suffered a tragic accident that left him a paraplegic.

Not many people know what it’s like to date someone who’s disabled and not many comics (or other media, honestly) address the unique complications that comes with doing so. Plenty of media have background characters but this puts one front and center with all the cards on the table.

Tsugumi is almost too perfect. I hope she goes through the full range of emotions rather than stick with being a go lucky saint the entire time. I do like how Itsuki isn’t a biter, angry character trope or an overcompensatingly happy person to “compensate” for being in a wheelchair. He’s got issues but he’s a realistic character and I look forward to watching their progress. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Battlecats Vol. 1: Hunt for the Dire Beast” by Mark London, Michael Camelo & Andy King

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Set in the fictional realm of Valderia, The Battlecats, led by Kelthan of Stormholt, are an elite team of warriors who risk their lives to protect the kingdom. However, sinister machinations from behind the scenes but them all in grave danger.

First off, I would have liked if the female cats had the same detailed faces as the males. It just makes more sense to me. Other than that, this was hard to get and stay hooked into. I’ll give this credit being such a little known publisher but this is a pretty generic party of heroes on a mission for the king, corruption, magic, swords, and blood; but it didn’t stick with me at all. I had to push to get through it, forgot everything, then had to go back and read it again. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?” by Harold Schechter & Eric Powell

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This graphic novel starts from Ed Gein’s childhood and goes through his entire life and horrific crimes. The art style allows for realism and shows a bit of gore but remains as respectful as you can be talking about a guy who made skin suits and masks. This feels like watching a true crime documentary and I mean that in the best way. It not only goes through his life and crimes, but shows his impact on popular culture and the town he lived in. I think this is a must for graphic novel true crime lovers and I liked this book. 5 out of 5.

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