Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” Vol. 7 by Paru Itagaki

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

In this volume we get to meet the Council of Living Beings; where the adult representatives talk about how every school has to present a Beastar every year but Cherryton hasn’t presented one in five years. All of the Beastars are supposed to compete to become the next “Valiant Beastar.” Cherryton is usually the one to present this and win by popular demand but Principal Gon has been hesitant to put a kid in this position. The Council overrules him; deciding which ever Cherryton student solves the murder (the one from WAAAAAAYYY bak in the first volume) will be declared Beastar.

I think we need a slow clap for Principle Gon for being the only one to finally remember that these are a bunch of teenagers who probably shouldn’t be saddled with what an adult would have trouble dealing with. Finally, a sensible adult. So, of course he’s overruled…

We also have Legoshi dealing with some issues and needing Gohin to help him out. There are a couple new students, a badass security guard snake named Six Eyes, and finally getting back to the inciting incident of this series. I was wondering when they were going to get back to that because it’s barely been addressed since volume one. I mean, did this kid not have parents what may wanna know? Or are any police involved? Not that I’m not invested in Legoshi and Louis and all that drama but; yeah. There’s a murderer out there. Might wanna get on that. 4.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Komi Can’t Communicate” Vol. 7 by Tomohito Oda

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

It’s Christmas season for Komi and her friends and also Komi’s birthday. While Komi struggles with gift buying, her friends go through the usual insanity of a “Present Death Game” to find something for Komi. They also have fun in the snow, go ice skating, and various other Winter and family activities.

This is still just the cutest manga and I can’t get enough of it. I’m always disappointed when I get to the end because I want more! It’d be nice if people were this kind all the time. Except for Yamai. She’s a creepy stalker and considering the books I’ve read, I have no problem judging the heck out of. She’s over the top on purpose. and whatever but she’s the worst part of this series. 5 out of 5.

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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: “The Way of the Househusband” Vol. 3 by Kousuke Oono

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

In this volume, The Immortal Dragon treats a roach as a hitman, plays Santa for some kids, pampers his wife with a fancy dinner, helps out as a waiter, comes upon a mafia widow at a grocery store, helps his wife get a photo with her favorite cartoon character, and even his old boss drops by to try and convince him to come back into the fold.

The fact all this is played completely straight is what makes this comedy work. He absolutely treats that roach as an enemy to be hunted down. It’s amazing. It’s just so pure and fun, I love reading these and can’t wait for each new volume. I even enjoyed the little side stories at the end; one set in high school and another involving an adorable cat. I do wonder however how long this can really go? I don’t see this series taking a sudden dark turn and it won’t take long to run out of these scenarios. But, I’m enjoying it for now! 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Smokin’ Parade” Vol. 6 by Jinsei Kataoka & Kazuma Kondou

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With the frequent losses the Northern Jackalopes face, Captain Kukuri launches a full-on hunt of the massive spider they have named Lord.

Spoilers but I like how Kukuri and Youkou go to gather data on Lord and have no idea exactly how to get it or what the data means. We see these types of “gather intel” scenes all the time and the characters magically know how all the tech works and what part of what they find is important. It was nice to see that trope played with.

This volume is paced better than previous ones with a fair balance of action and backstory. It’s dark, touching on the implications of gear technology and the advances and consequences of playing with such things. Got some twisted stuff in here, too, so if that’s not your thing, I’d avoid it if I were you. 3.7 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: “Smokin’ Parade” Vol. 5 by Jinsei Kataoka & Kazuma Kondou

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This volume puts friend against friend and brother against sister as the Amenotori launches their attacks against The Jackalopes. We also get introduced to The Jackalope’s Northern Division with an enemy our main characters have never seen before.

There are still pacing problems in this volume. Not that I need or want long stretches of exposition but this volume pulled the age-old mistake of giving a character a TON of backstory just to set up killing them off. Despite the high stakes and otherwise interesting story, that’s lazy. 3 out of 5

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Lenni Reviews: “Smokin’ Parade” Vol. 4 by Jinsei Kataoka & Kazuma Kondou

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Midari has been captured by a kid she once saved and Youkou is determined to flush out the Spiders to save his sister.

This volume, once the fight is over, is about getting the appropriate pieces into play. And it does it well! There’s just a LOT happening all at once, switching from one story to another then another, so it’s paced strangely. It’s good but it felt scattershot. There’s all this drama and gory mess surrounding Midari and of course the angst with Youkou and his sister… Finding a way to summarize it all without spoiling some twists (because YIKES, there’s some twisted shit in this volume) has made my summary pretty gosh darn short. I like this series and the fights are drawn amazingly well but this volume, like I said, feels confused. 3.7 out of 5.

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.