Lenni Reviews: “Sensor” by Junji Ito

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

Kyoko Byakuya comes across a strange village almost as if it was calling to her. The Kiyokami village is covered in what they call heavenly hair or Amagami; which seems to have mystical properties. Made from volcanic glass, these hairs allow the villagers a type of cosmic sight but also herald dark and terrible events.

This was… Strange. Usually, I’m on board with Ito’s signature weirdness – which this is chock full of – but something about this story feels unfocused and incomplete. This is one of the first offerings from this author that I will say I would pass on it if you’re not a huge fan of the creator. It’s ok but nowhere near other Ito works I’ve read. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Mieruko-chan” Vol. 2, by Tomoki Izumi

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

Mieruko notices her best friend, Hana, is haunted by a particularly nasty creature and tries to help without tipping off that she can see these spirits. We also add Yuria, who wants to be a powerful fortune teller one day and sees Mieruko as a rival.

As adorable as Mieruko is, the best part of this manga is the creature design. Each one is different and unique from the ones before and some of them are really gross. We are also getting a solid storyline around the shorts in this volume; and those shorter stories also get a follow-up. So, if you were wondering about the cat from the first volume, you get more of that here. 4.6 out of 5. 

 

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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: “Elfen Lied Omnibus” Volume 4 by Lynn Okamoto

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In the final volume, Lucy makes her final stand against the organization hunting her and putting her friends in danger.

Well, everything just goes completely sideways in this volume. It’s not the ending I expected but it seemed fittingly bombastic and touching. I feel it was well worth my time getting through four huge books. The plot got fleshed out with the Diclonii vs Humans and Lucy wanting a normal life. But of course, if you are familiar at all with this series’ reputation, you may want to avoid it due to the high body count, nudity, and gore. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead” Vol. 1, by Haro Aso & Kōtarō Takata

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

Akira Tendo has a crappy job, a crappy apartment, no time for friends or a girlfriend and hates waking up every morning. Until one day he looks out his window and hordes of zombies are everywhere… And breathes a sigh of relief that he doesn’t have to go to work. The zombie apocalypse gives Akira a chance to life again and he makes a list of 100 things he wants to do before he becomes a zombie.

In a genre so saturated it’s collapsing in on itself with sheer redundancy, this is an original and hilarious idea. Akira is funny and dynamic, making a story about the end of humanity by flesh eating monsters enjoyable and light hearted. I can’t wait to see how this goes! 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: “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: “Venus in the Blind Spot” by Junji Ito

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

In another great collection, we get a nice selection of more of Ito’s signature nightmare-inducing tales; including one about how his interest in horror grew as a child. What sets this collection apart is some color pages! They look beautiful, even if Ito’s art is fantastically effective in black and white. If you are a fan of horror, this will fit the bill with ghoulish perfection. 4.9 out of 5.

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