Lenni Reviews: “Komi Can’t Communicate” Vol. 8 by Tomohito Oda

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

The bulk of this book is devoted to the class trip to Kyoto and Komi is scared to go because she skipped the last one because she had no friends to hang out with. But now, she’s able to muster the courage to go and have a good time.

We also meet a new character, Naruse; a narcissist convinced Komi is in love with him because he thinks everyone adores him. He warps every situation he’s in as “they’re only doing it because I’m so amazing. Thank goodness the trip is most of the book because Naruse is annoying. The rest is just so wholesome and genuine, it put a smile on my face. 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Jealousy” Vol. 1 by Scarlet Beriko

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

Akitora is a yakuza head and after Hachi throws himself in front of his car, Akitora decides to take him in. This book also tells the story of how Akitora meets Uichi Rogi when coming to collect a debt, finding Uichi bound to the debtor’s bed. There is an instant connection and Uichi sets his mind on joining the yakuza to be with Akitora.

This story has me hooked and mostly because of how insane Uichi is in going about becoming a yakuza. I am so shocked he lived through the volume! He reminds me of Queen Zazau where I’m facepalming at the questionable decisions in dealing with very dangerous people. I’m excited to see what happens but at the same time, he frustrates me. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Ajin: Demi-Human” Vol. 12 by Gamon Sakurai

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The set up in the previous volume is followed through as Sato’s plan for The Ministry of Welfare is revealed. And if you’re this deep in the series, I’m sure it’s not spoilers when I say that plan certainly did not include any sort of negotiation. And Izumi gets some really badass time in the spotlight.

Sometimes, I have to wonder if Sato is this overpowered or the plot hobbles his opponents for the sake of the plot. I get that he’s experienced but I feel like someone should have at least wounded him by sheer accident with how many bullets are flying around. Or even considering we’re 12 volumes in; the cannon fodder would be a bit more effective.

And are the human authority figures really gonna keep treating the demi-humans like shit? I mean really? Have they learned nothing? “Hey, these super-powerful beings we brutally experimented on aren’t happy about that and are getting revenge. We should hurt them more!” But that’s me as the reader. Anyway, this volume makes up for the previous with some great action and a fast pace. 4.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Ajin: Demi-Human” Vol. 11 by Gamon Sakurai

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In a strange turn of events, The Ministry of Welfare wants to meet with the Ajin they’ve been abusing but of course, Sato has no intention of actually negotiating.

This felt like a setup volume; getting all the chess pieces into place for the actual action to happen later. Sadly, I felt unsatisfied at the end of it. I was able to read this and the next volume back to back but I can’t imagine reading this then knowing you have to wait a month or more for the follow-up and being pleased about it. It wasn’t bad perse but I just don’t think enough happened here to justify the price of admission. Although, I am glad to see Izumi make some moves. 3.5 out of 5.

New Stuff!

Ah, it has been a while but I have been mentally drained from slowly going back to working in the library some days and some days from home. It’s anxiety-inducing to not be just doing one or the other and also dealing with how differently we have to run things without letting the public into the building.

I have some reviews pending and I’ve been doing more cleaning out. I unearthed a bunch of old books that I’ve decided to put up on eBay. I’ve also been encouraging my daughter to clean out, so there are a couple kids books up for sale. It’s all free shipping and I make sure to ship things within 48 hours on business days. As I clean more, I’ll be adding more stuff so keep an eye out.

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.

Lenni Reviews: “The Way of the Househusband” Vol. 3 by Kōsuke Ôno

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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.