Lenni Reviews: “To Strip the Flesh” by Oto Toda

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

Chiaki Ogawa is trying to be a good daughter to his sick dad but deep down feels more like a boy and hates his female body. With the added stress of wanting to keep an old promise he made when his mother was alive to get married and have a family, Chiaki is determined to transition and begins to do so without telling his dying father.

There are other stories in this book too and it’s a nice collection. Some are as simple as one page while others have more time to grow. I thought this entire book was going to be about Chiaki but the other stories are good too and have similar themes. It’s a good way to show the unique feelings of a trans person in a new format. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Alice in Borderland” Vol. 2, by Haro Aso

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Feeling confident about the games, Arisu isn’t too worried about what may be next. But, with his friend’s visas expiring soon, they can’t be picky about the next game and soon find themselves in over their heads.

I don’t wanna spoil anything so I am being deliberately vague in my description above. I do have to day, when Usagi is added to the cast, the character development for her and Arisu is well done. They work well together and I like following them as they navigate this crazy world. Again, if you’ve seen the show, you know what’s going to happen but it’s still cool to experience this story in both formats. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Ima Koi: Now I’m in Love” Vol. 2, by Ayuko Hatta

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

Satomi and Yagyu are dating after Satomi had the courage to make good on the promise to herself to be honest and confess to the source of her crush right away. Things seem to be going well until Yagyu’s little sister, Juri, insists on tagging along with them and wants her brother all to herself.

Even with Juri bringing in some conflict, Satomi and Yagyu are too perfect. Not that I need high angst in my romances but this doesn’t feel like low angst, it’s no angst. Juri isn’t the type of character you love to hate, she’s just annoying and unpleasant to deal with. In general, I didn’t feel there was enough going on to enjoy this volume, even as a slice of life manga. 3 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: “Dick Fight Island” by Reibun Ike

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

When it’s time to pick a new king, eight remote islands send their best warriors to compete to decide who will ascend to the throne. The nature of the battle is they have sex and the first one to orgasm loses.

If you think I’m reading this based on the title alone, you’re absolutely correct. The story also includes Matthew and Harto. Harto travels away from his island into the wider world where he meets Matthew as a roommate in school. Harto wants Matthew to help him train for this competition and it turns into a more romantic relationship. In fact, there’s more to every match in the series so despite the clear gratuitous sex scenes in this series. There is some heart and some laughs here, too. If you’re looking for an explicit yaoi that also makes you laugh, this is a book to consider. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “I Am a Cat Barista” Vol. 2, by Hiro Maijima

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This volume is more tales of Hachi and his café as he helps people with what ails them. This time, we meet a new character, Tama; an anthropomorphic dog who is a friend and comes to work with Hachi. While they dole out advice and comfort to their customers, Hachi shares his backstory and how he came to own a café in the first place.

This is a quick read and very touching. Someone was definitely cutting onions around me while I was reading because I’ll admit, I got teary-eyed. This is a series where everything is dreamlike and kind, leaving you feeling pleasantly at ease. I know this won’t be the type to have many volumes since there’s only so long you can keep this interesting, but I plan to enjoy it while it lasts. 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Crazy Food Truck” Vol. 1, by Rokurou Ogaki

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

A food truck owner named Gordon laments his lack of customers in the apocalyptic landscape around him. While changing locations, he finds a naked woman sleeping in the middle of the road. When he takes her in, an armed militia is hunting her down.

This is an interesting way to tell a post-apocalyptic story. Gordon’s a classic grumpy protagonist with a secret and Arisa is the one to come into his life to give him something to care about again. With humor and some cool action, this is a fun volume and is perfectly paced to make me want to the next one. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Change World” Vol. 2, by Yuu Minaduki

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+.

Yosuke and Arimura’s relationship is almost dreamlike until Arimura gets a job offer overseas and his former classmate, Masato, comes in to start trouble.

It may be spoilers to say so but Yosuke and Arimura are clearly an unshakeable couple. They may have some hesitation but there was never a point in this volume where I thought the conflicts presented would pose the slightest threat to their relationship. If you’re looking for a low angst yaoi, this fits the bill perfectly. The main couple are sweet and fun to read and there’s some sexy times that are graphic so be aware of that. 3.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “A Man and His Cat” Vol. 1, by Umi Sakurai

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

A cat languishing in a pet shop resigns himself to never getting adopted due to many people coming to look at him and making cruel comments. But then an older gentleman comes in and immediately pics him to take to his forever home.

This manga is so sweet. Maybe I have a soft spot for touching animal stories but this is a perfect cozy read if you like cute animals and slice of life manga. Mr. Moriyama is a nice guy who dotes on Fukumaru; who is just a squishy sweetheart and they have the best interactions. Very heartwarming and perfect if you are in the mood to say “AWWWWWWWW!!” repeatedly. 5 out of 5.

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