Lenni Reviews: “Mieruko-chan” Vol 1, by Tomoki Izumi

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High schooler Mieruko is cursed with seeing horrible, twisted spirits all around her; but no one else can. She just does her best to ignore them while also protecting her best friend from these things.

This manga is cute but oddly fanservicey with all the up skirt and cleavage shots. It’s really sweet how Mieruko just want to protect the people she cares about as best she can without revealing she can see ghosts. I won’t spoil it but there’s a story about a kitty that sold me on this series. All the stories are quick one shots so I’m wondering how this will progress and if there will be an overarching story line. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Lovesickness” a Junji Ito Story Collection

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

The collection of horror stories really shows Ito’s range as to what he can make horrible. I think my favorite is “The Mansion of Phantom Pain” but the entire saga of the cover character “Beautiful Boy and the Crossroads” is good, too. Super gory in this case, so be aware of that if gore is not your thing.

This is a solid offering with another funny story at the end featuring a fake poop. The volume leaves you with a laugh if you need to recover from the rest of the stories. 5 out of 5.

 

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Lenni Reviews: “Manga Yokai Stories: Ghostly Tales from Japan” by Sean Michael Wilson, Lafcadio Hearn, Inko Ai Takita

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*This is a collection of stories based on the work of Lafcadio Hearn who  moved to Japan in 1890 and married a Japanese woman, Setsu. He not only collected stories from her, but many folktales from villagers he met.

The art is really simple but gets the point across. It also reads really fast since some of the stories are so short; like a book of fairy tales you’d get for your kid. They don’t stick in your mind for very long but I can see this being very re-readable. 3.8 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Remina” by Junji Ito

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

Set in future Japan, a new planet is discovered and the scientist names the planet after his daughter, Remina. While uncomfortable being in the spotlight, Remina slowly accepts her newfound fame. But the tide turns against her when it’s revealed planet Remina is moving closer to Earth.

I remember this story from one of Ito’s previous collections I’ve read. This edition is really nice, though.

Much like the planet bearing her name, Remina just sort of drifts along without much agency of her own. As everyone around her descends into homicidal chaos, one would think she would say or do… Something? Other than crying and apologizing for being a bother?

Anyway, this is a story highlighting the worst of humanity as it’s railing against it’s certain destruction. The art is classic Ito greatness but the story didn’t grab me. Remina is just so blah and everyone around her is either dead or terrible for most of the book. It’s more dull and hopeless than scary. 2.9 out of 5 for me.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Dollhouse Family” by Mike Carey, Peter Gross, Vince Locke & Chris Peter

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Through generations of a family, a dollhouse with mysterious powers manipulates people right up to six year old Alice. She receives the house from an estranged aunt and voices inside help her deal with her rapidly degrading family life. But Alice resists the promises of the house as it is clear even as she grows to adulthood, the house has sinister intentions.

Basically this is a Lovecraftian story of how a curse follows a family for generations until Alice fights to end it. I love the creature designs and I was hooked watching Alice grow up. The backstory with the family is revealed in-between Alice growing up and the time jumps were a little jarring, I’ll admit. But you get used to them as you read.  I hope there’s a sequel to this because it is clearly set up for one. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Daphne Byrne” by Laura Marks & Kelley Jones

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

Still mourning the loss of her father, fourteen year old Daphne Byrne doesn’t get along with her rich classmates and sees things others don’t. While her mother continues to see a charlatan medium in a desperate attempt to contact her deceased husband, Daphne’s visions get stronger and even talk back to her.

While the creature design is fantastically horrifying, some of the panels with the human characters are wonky. I get what the shadows are trying to convey in terms of emotion but the end result is blobby and unfinished. Thankfully, this isn’t a lot of the book. The rest of the art is perfect for a Victorian horror. And Daphne’s story is cool but I wanted more. I want to know where her abilities are coming from and the demon world clearly connected to her. I do hope a sequel is in the works for this one. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Basketful of Heads” by Joe Hill, Leomacs, Riccardo La Bella, Dave Stewart & Deron Bennett

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June Branch has a carefree life with her police officer boyfriend Liam, on Brody Island, just enjoying the last days of summer. But when come escaped convicts come to the small town, she uses a strange Viking axe to defend herself. But the heads severed by the weapon don’t stop talking.

While I thought this was fun and clever and I could totally see this as a Tales From the Crypt episode or horror movie short, I (spoilers, I guess) found it almost comical how many assholes are surrounding June. I liked the plot and June is a badass character that I really rooted for; her journey is what makes this book entertaining rather than the bad guys surrounding her. If you’re looking for a gory horror comedy with a kick ass female lead, I say check this out. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Blood on the Tracks” Vol. 1, by Shūzō Oshimi

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Seiichi seems like a normal teenage boy with nice friends and a girl that likes him. He does well in school and has a good family life. Except for his mother Seiko, who is strangely overprotective of him; culminating in a dark, life changing event.

Even putting aside my familiarity with this manga-ka and the synopsis of the volume, Seiko is creepy from the start. I spent the whole volume waiting for her to snap. I believe it’s Oshimi’s art that – while lovely – telegraphs she’s demented and about to do something terrible. There’s still a terrible tension to it because you really don’t expect the form it takes and it is shocking. You’re left to wonder what the heck is going to happen from here. If you like creeping horror, this is great. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Vampire State Building” by Ange, Patrick Renault & Charlie Adlard

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

Meeting up before he goes to Afghanistan, Terry, his girlfriend Rachael and his cousin Ashley meet up at the Empire State Building. Unfortunately, a horde of vampires overtake the building, cutting everyone off from the outside and leading to a massacre and Terry has to fight to get them out.

I like the premise and this is an interesting read but I didn’t feel much after it was done. It just kinda happened. This is like 30 Days of Night but instead of a small town it’s schmushed into one building. I think I would have liked this more if it had more time and the story didn’t feel crunched down.

But then again, how long would the vampires really be able to hold the entire building before the authorities clean house? I shouldn’t expect something really drawn out. This isn’t isolated Alaska; it’s a major city post 9/11. They’re gonna eliminate the threat ASAP whether they believe its vampires or not.

Anyway, despite leaving me wanting more, I did find it compelling, well drawn, and really creative. If there’s more, I’d check it out. 3.9 out of 5.

 

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Lenni Reviews: “Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows “by Nathan Carson, Algernon Blackwood & Sam Ford

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

Despite the warnings of the locals, two friends embark on a canoe trip down the Danube River only to find unfathomable creatures.

Not only does the art remind me of Junji Ito but the story – a short story by Algernon Blackwood (that I will read at some point) – has some major Lovecraftian themes with the unknowable, incomprehensible evil that is ancient beyond measure and cannot be defeated. I love how the art accentuates how otherworldly everything is and the disturbing events taking place.

I can’s speak to the accuracy to the original story but I liked this. A short and to the point horror story. 4 out of 5. 

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