Lenni Reviews: “Crueler Than Dead” Vol 2, by Tsukasa Saimura & Kozo Takahashi

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Maki along with Miura, Yugo, and Shota bring the last of a vaccine against the zombie virus to a supposed sanctuary called The Dome. When they arrive, they find it corrupt and disgusting, a place where the elite live in luxury and the rest life a desperate life of starvation and squalor. The leader, Colonel Shimamoto, believes the vaccine will save humanity but only in the way he deems fit.

If you’ve ever read any zombie story ever where the main crew goes to where they believe there is hope and shelter, you know how this plays out. Corruption, exploitation, and sorrow. It’s almost comical how poorly things go so fast to the point where you wonder how those rich assholes managed to have any control in the first place. There’s plenty of gore and character growth but this felt very shallow. Maybe using The Walking Dead as an inspiration wasn’t such a good idea. Maki is the most interesting thing about this series and if there is more, I hope they stick with her. 3 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: “Crueler Than Dead” Vol.1, by Tsukasa Saimura & Kozo Takahashi

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Maki Akagi wakes up half-naked and injured in an underground bunker with a young boy who seems ill. Unsure of where she is, Maki is shocked by an injured soldier who tells her that the boy and Maki are the last results of an experiment to cure the zombie-infested city above them and this place has the last of an experimental vaccine. Maki takes the boy with her to deliver the samples to a refugee center in the hopes a lab there can replicate it and save humanity.

This is a pretty good zombie manga. Maki is a great character and while the side stories are good, I’d like it better if more time was spent on her. Other than that, it’s a typical zombie horror story with all the tropes such a story includes. The art does a great job of making the undead disgusting and scary. Worth checking out if you like these. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Island in a Puddle” Vol. 1, by Kei Sanbe

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

Minato is a young child who cares for his little sister, Nagisa, due to his mother’s neglect; as she vanishes for days at a time. When their mom returns to take them to an amusement park, a freak storm and a strike of lightning results in Minato switching bodies with a thief and a murderer with a dead body at his feet.

From the same mind that brought you Erased, this premise is really messed up. I can’t imagine what Minato is going through when in a flash he goes from his mother abandoning him to being a wanted murderer while his little sister is living with a criminal who has gods know what plans. As a first volume, it works perfectly to introduce all the characters and hook you into the story. I can’t wait for the next one and see how this all plays out. 4.9 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: “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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Lenni Reviews: “Death Note Short Stories” by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata

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

This is a collection of short stories ranging from more people using the death note in different ways as well as the back stories of some characters from the original series.

Its nice to have some other personality types use the book and explore other ways to use the book other than just killing people because you think you can be a god. Mild spoilers but it was great to see someone get the book and just nope out of the while thing. I respect that and even with that decision, there’s a story worth reading. This is a collection for fans to want to play more in this universe. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Hellbound” Vol. 1, by Yeon Sang-Ho & Choi Gyu-Seok

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

Anyone can get a random message from an unknown entity saying you are going to hell and exactly how much time you have left. At first people think it’s just an urban legend but then a man is chased, beaten, and burned away by hulking demons; fostering religious cults and widespread panic.

I read this before I watched the show but this gives me the same types of vibes Remina should have given me but didn’t quite get there in the horror department. This is really good at showing how crazy people go when faced with a great unknowable force. The point doesn’t seem to be the demons or the prophesies, it’s how people react in different ways as they try to make sense of it all. It is dialog heavy when it’s not violent and gory so if you don’t like violence or don’t have the patience for a lot of talking, then give this a pass. Personally, I didn’t mind those at all. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Summertime Rendering” Vol. 2, by Yasuki Tanaka

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

Shinpei is still trying to defeat the shadows, with the Summer Festival being the tragic point of no return. But these restarts have limits and Shinpei’s special ability is unable to send him back to the same point in time so he focuses his efforts on Ryunosuke Nagumo; a woman with a history dealing with these deadly shadows.

This series is cool. The twists and turns feel natural and compelling. I love the characters and the mystery unfolding as the threat escalates. I don’t want to go into too much detail that may spoil things because I think this needs a blind read to let the surprises stay pure. 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Summertime Rendering” Vol. 1, by Yasuki Tanaka

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

Shinpei returns to his hometown to attend the funeral of a childhood friend, Ushio, who died under suspicious circumstances. On this island, there are rumors of a Shadow Sickness where you see a double of yourself before you die; throwing Shinpei into a time bending mystery.

This is pretty dark and violent and took some unexpected turns. I am so invested and intrigued by the creatures and the time jumping and what in the world could be going on. You may feel like this riffs on Erased, which is a fair comparison but this goes in a totally different direction with it’s own unique tone. 4.9 out of 5.

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