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: “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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Lenni Reviews: “Elfen Lied Omnibus” Volume 2 by Lynn Okamoto

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In the continuing adventures of “Everyone is Awful” Bando gets some upgrades and devotes himself to hunting down Lucy; who’s past is revealed more in this volume; specifically when she met Kouta.

In this volume we meet Nana and Nozomi, to add to the makeshift family Kouta is forming around him. And again, I reiterate my statement that “Everyone is Awful” should be the tagline of this series. I mean, YIKES.

At least at the end of this one, we get a much more lighthearted story about a violinist and a pianist coming together for their music. It was actually uplifting but compared to the rest of the omnibus, that’s not saying much. It’s a good series if a downer. 4 out of 5.

 

Lenni Reviews: “Elfen Lied Omnibus” Volume 1 by Lynn Okamoto

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The Diclonios, Lucy, who we come to call Nyu, escapes from a research facility that kept her prisoner; helpless against their viciously cruel experiments. She is injured in the process and loses her memory, happening upon a boy she once knew as a child, now grown. But the facility won’t stop hunting her.

I am not gonna lie, I actively avoided this manga for a long time. This is because the anime was mentally… I won’t say scarring but more jarring. All your anime tropes are turned on their head when someone’s head is graphically ripped off. In some admittedly fantastic sound effects (and this is coming from someone who was mentally scarred by the radio play on NPR; specifically the episode about the fog that turned people inside out);  my brain is marked by gruesome blood curdling crushing wet sounds that permeate this anime…

So, here we are at the manga!

What bothers me the most about this – and other media like it – is that people are objectively terrible. They see a weeping girl with bloody feet and look at her like garbage. They hit a random person and don’t care. They rationalize disgusting experiments that wouldn’t be ethical to perform on any species we know of under the guise of progress. I mean, what did any of these people expect but for their subjects to eventually rise up to destroy them? No wonder Lucy kills so readily… This manga comes from the thesis that everyone is awful.

The side stories are also dour but they are bittersweet; giving some much-needed light in the darkness of the rest of the book. 4.7 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: “Ajin” Vol. 10 by Gamon Sakurai

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The Health Ministry is willing to engage in negotiations with Sato while Kei finally makes contact with his no-nonsense mother while she is in the hospital with Kei’s sister. We also get some insights as to how Demi-Humans are treated in other countries; spotlighting the United States.

It may seem a contrary opinion but, I kinda understand Kei’s mom. Coming off the heels of the hysterical mom in Drifting Classroom, we have a mom character who is ruthlessly practical with a unique insight into how her son thinks. It may seem heartless but she’s letting him go to do what he needs to do; which is a mission she knows is dangerous. I found that refreshing.

As to the ending vow from Kei to take down Sato for good… Yeah, I have a feeling Kei’s gonna either get his ass handed to him a few more times or lose a bunch of people. Sato is a villain that really gives no fucks. I guess we’ll see how this goes.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Drifting Classroom: Perfect Edition” Vol. 2 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.

Sho and his remaining classmates and friends are still desperately trying to get people to stick together to survive. But while internal conflicts about, now disease threatens to wipe them all out.

Like I said in the first review, these characters are almost comically deranged. They seem eager to start killing each other for any reason they can find! It’s a wonder any characters are left for a book 2, in my opinion…

What sets this apart for me is the connection between Sho and his mother. She can somehow hear him from the future in random places and I wish this angle was explored more. But I guess that’s for the third volume. It’s hard to say I like this because it’s so violent and depressing but I do and I want to read more! 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Smashed: Junji Ito Story Collection” by Junji Ito

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

In another Junji Ito collection, I am once again impressed, frightened, and confused as to why I keep inflicting these nightmarish stories on myself. But Ito is true to his usual macabre, gory self in this series of short stories that will send shivers down your spine. I never get tired of this guy and love his work. I don’t want to go too deep into all the stories but my favorite was “Earthbound.” 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Shiver” By Junji Ito

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

In yet another collection, Junji Ito continues to simultaneously impress me all while wondering why I keep chomping at the bit to read his work. Some of these stories feel a tad clipped but when you’re trying to keep things short, it can’t be helped. Ito really is a master of what he does even if I have to read happy things for awhile whenever I pick up a book of his. 4.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Ice Cream Man Vol. 1: Rainbow Sprinkles” by W. Maxwell Prince, Martin Morazzo

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This comic is a horror anthology based around our title character who is obviously a demon of some sort. It’s trippy and surreal but sometimes I got this feeling the book is trying too hard. I want to like this more than I do but after finishing it, I didn’t feel anything. I wasn’t creeped out, disturbed, or scared in the slightest. The only reason I would continue this series is to find out what happens to the demon in the long run. Overall, it’s just meh. 2 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Infidel” Vol. 1 by Pornsak Pichetshote, Aaron Campbell

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

Aisha is a young Muslim woman living with her mother, fiancee, and step-daughter in an apartment building that has recently suffered a bombing. Aisha faces not only suspicion from her neighbors but she begins to see visions of the dead bomber in the form of enraged and violent poltergeists tormenting her. As the specters become more aggressive, Aisha and every other occupant in the building is at risk of being killed or worse.

I like the idea of the ghosts in the building feeding on the inherent fear and hatred around them; as such emotions become dangerous when people are scared and panicked. This book manages to express this sentiment without getting too preachy or pandering. The art and the writing make this an effective horror story that reminds me of Stir of Echoes with some Tales From the Crypt mixed in there and if it continues, I’m on board. 4 out of 5.

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