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: “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: “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 Review: “No Gun’s Life” Vol 3 by Tasuku Karasuma

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

With Tetsuro and Mary still in custody and Chief Olivia forced to step down, Juzo battles the fugitive, Gondray, and uncovers a conspiracy hiding the truth about a ten year-old massacre. Juzo’s meds are fading, his control is slipping, and famous hero Armed Sai isn’t about to let the truth be known.

I am loving this world. If you need some good techie sci-fi along the lines of Battle Angel Alita, this manga fits the bill perfectly. It’s got me hooked. I love to see the different types of Extended and how such a technological marvel is used in so many different ways. I am most curious about the anti-Extended group lurking in the background and what their ultimate goal is because, to me, they seem unfocused. But it’s only the third volume. There’s time to build them up. 4.6 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Levius/est” Vol. 3 by Haruhisa Nakata

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

As Levius prepares for his fight with the current champion, his trainer Zack wonders if Levius could ever be prepared for a fight on this level. Meanwhile, Amethyst returns (from way back in volume one) with an unbeatable new fighter named Balthus; the brother of A.J. who claims she no longer remembers him.

I was wondering if and how Amethyst would make his return and manipulating A.J.’s brother after all she did to protect him was just the type of messed up thing I’d expect from Amethyst. This volume is a real page-turner with some interesting character development and again, the fighting is drawn incredibly well. I am super pumped for the final showdown with Amethyst! 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” Vol 5 by Paru Itagaki

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

When Haru is kidnapped and Legoshi is ready to run right into the lair of a dangerous mob boss alone until Gohin knocks some sense into him. They have to come up with a plan before Haru is killed and eaten.

We also learn more about Haru’s childhood but the real focus is on the rescue. And MAN, are they really going dark in this manga. I won’t spoil the outcome but this volume has some awesome fight scenes and completely screwed my mind up with a cliffhanger. This series really is a surprisingly addicting read and really takes advantage of the original premise set forth in volume one. I can’t wait for the next one! 4.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Komi Can’t Communicate” Vol. 5 by Tomohito Oda

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

In this volume, Komis is stuck home when a storm closes the schools, she goes out to eat with friends after a half-day, and participates in the school’s cultural festival.

It’s nice to see Komi slowly come out of her shell and talk more. She’s just genuinely learning to enjoy people and try new things. And it’s done so well, I continue to find myself rooting for her! If there wasn’t some of these kinda creepy, pervy classmates, this volume would be perfect. 4.5 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” Vol. 4 by Paru Itagaki

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

In this volume, we get some back story on Haru and Louis relationship, Jack’s friendship with Legoshi, and Juno – another wolf – trying to get closer to Legoshi. We also delve deeper in to Louis’ dark past.

This volume is my favorite so far. How the darkest parts of this world are revealed to us are really creative and really go into how complicated and tenuous the truce between the herbivores and carnivores is. It’s all well and good for these teens to want to get along but much like in reality, the world at large is much more complicated and dangerous than the safe confines of their school campus. Very intriguing! 5 out of 5.

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