Lenni Reviews: “Deserter: Junji Ito Story Collection” by Junji Ito

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

This is a collection of short stories by the horror manga super star, Junji Ito. These are Ito’s early work and you can tell the moment you look at it. The art isn’t as detailed and the stories – to completely date myself here – give me Tales from the Crypt vibes. People messing with or doing things they shouldn’t be doing and getting a comeuppance. It’s good for some quick and creepy tales but not as good as his later work. 3.5 out of 4.

But hey, if you wanna do a remake of Tales from the Crypt with Ito as the Crypt Keeper, I’d watch that. Or maybe not considering how Ito’s anime turned out. I didn’t enjoy that as much as his printed work.

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Lenni Reviews: “Fist of the North Star” Vol. 3, by Buronson & Tetsuo Hara

 

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

While we know Ken as a master of Hokuto Shinken, he is not the only one with some powerful martial arts skills. Rei, a master of Nanto Suichoken, is searching for his sister who has been kidnapped by a gang called the Fangs, and teams up with Ken to find her.

Despite a disappointing feeling regarding the few female characters for me to latch on to (I know that’s not the point of this series but still), Ken’s journey is dated but interesting. You can tell this is series is old and it may be some nostalgia creeping in but I’m enjoying this. I wonder what younger readers would think about this series. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead” Vol. 4, by Haro Aso, Kōtarō Takata

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

Akira is still working on his bucket list and in his travels to his parent’s home to check on them and meet some interesting characters on the way.

Ok, Beatrix is amazing and I wanna be her best friend. She’s a great addition to a cast that is a mix of action, humor, and drama. This volume has a great balance of those three and has some plot bunnies I hope are fully realized in later volumes. There wasn’t much here that dragged and I can see Beatrix getting on some people’s nerves but for now, I think she’s great! 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Komi Can’t Communicate” Vol. 16, by Tomohito Oda

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

In this volume, there is the Sports Festival and Cultural Festival. We also have some side stories with the parents but the main conflict here is Manbagi’s crush on Tadano and her realization Shoko has feelings for him, too.

I like that we have Shoko talking more. She’s still quiet but her progress is showing. This volume could have benefitted from putting the side stories either at the very end or the beginning. I found them to be an interruption from the main story instead of being a cute break and it messed with the flow. I still enjoyed it because this series is fantastic but this was something I noticed. 4.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Mao” Vol. 2, by Rumiko Takahashi

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

After the story of Priestess Shoko and her prediction of the end of the world, Nanoka is doing research on the accident that killed her parents and how it connects to the portal she is using to travel through space and time. She knows something isn’t quite right at home.

I can tell this is starting to get dark and I’m here for it. I know something up with those shakes she’s forced to drink and those powers she has. And not to be forgotten, Mao is dealing with not being able to heal as well but still has to fight some creepy blood drinking nun demon things so, I can’t wait to see how this affects his mission to defeat the demon that cursed him. I do wonder if this is going to get as dark as the Mermaid Saga or try to retain some lightheartedness as the series progresses. 4.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” Vol. 15, by Paru Itagaki

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

In this volume, while we do get some wholesome moments where Legoshi meets Haru’s parents, we also get to know Melon; a gazelle/leopard hybrid who is a gleeful poacher. Yaha wants Legoshi to help hunt Melon down.

We also meet Utsugi, a jackal who refuses to eat meat and uses alcholo (and Eyes Wide Shut type parties) to supress her desires for meat.

If you’re underage, don’t watch that movie…

It’s cute to see how Legoshi is still so innocent that the mask sex drug parties embarrass him. I adore how this series keeps enough of this innocence without him being overly naive. He’s aware how serious things are around him and is trying to still be himself; not walking around with blinders on thinking everything is sunshine and roses.

Oh, and spoiler alert… Spoiler…

Still a spoiler…

We get to meet Legoshi’s mom.

4.9 out of 5. Almost perfect but I wanted more of Melon and the threat he poses.

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Lenni Reviews: “Call of the Night” Vol. 4, by Kotoyama

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

While Nazuna and Midori have some maid café shenanigans, there is also the looming threat of a vampire killer using their pasts to kill them. Ko is determined to save Nazuna so she can eventually turn him as he’s been hoping for since the beginning.

There’s a big theme of putting on a face to the public to appear normal and what it means to lose your humanity in this volume but it seems the focus should have been more on the vampire hunter after the more lighthearted story with the maid café. But hey, it makes me wanna grab the next one so, it did it’s job! 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Birds of Shangri-La” Vol. 2, by Ranmaru Zaria

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

Apollo is still trying to resist Phi’s charms to break the rules of his job as a teaser. As the attraction between them boils, demons from Phi’s dark past come stalking him.

It’s interesting that the teasers also function as a type of bodyguard when the ‘birds’ are allowed to leave the brothel. I’m not sure if they’re qualified to deal with whoever is stalking Phi; as it’s clear that stalker is going to do something dangerous that will affect everyone at Shangri-La. I do like how the story treats the chemistry between Phi and Apollo even without the naughty scenes. 3.8 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Yakuza Lover” Vol. 3, by Nozomi Mino

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

After recent events, Yuri is anxious about Oya leaving to keep her from danger and decides to get a job to be more independent. But to keep her close, Oya whisks her off to a private villa but there are secrets he’s been keeping from Yuri.

I’m not sure if I’ll be continuing this series. In terms of plot, there isn’t much for me to latch on to. They’re passionately in love with each other, we see them express that on ‘screen’ often, and Yuri wondering what will keep her busy while Oya is doing yakuza stuff. I guess if you like something really, REALLY light on an overall plot and just wanna watch them fawn over one another and bone, this is fine. But to be honest, I was bored. 2.9 outta 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Black or White” vol 2, by Sachimo

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

This volume goes back to how Shin and Shige first met back in high school. We also introduce the conflict of Shige wanting to step back in his career to give Shin a chance to fight his typecasting.

I understand the book is trying to make their careers the source of the conflict here; their stage personas having adverse effects on how they manage their private lives but in my opinion, the possible impending love triangle or a guy directly trying to sabotage their relationship. The rest feels like filler. If I had the third volume in hand, I’d jump right into it looking for things to move forward. 3 out of 5.

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