Lenni Reviews: “Ima Koi: Now I’m in Love” Vol. 3, by Ayuko Hatta

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

Yagyu and Satomi are still happily dating and go to a couples event at the cultural festival at school. But Tatsukawa, another student, sets his sights on Satomi, making Yagyu jealous.

It’s looking like Tatsukawa is going to be a real threat to Yagyu and Satomi’s idyllic relationship. I did wonder if any conflict would come into the story or if we would just watch the couple be perfect and cute the entire time. That’s not bad but it could end up repetitive and boring. We’ll see how this new guy factors in. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “I Think I Turned My Childhood Friend Into a Girl” Vol. 1, by Azusa Banjo

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Midou is one of the most popular boys in his school and his close childhood friend Hiura is considered quiet and glum in comparison. Hiura is also the only one who knows Midou’s secret passion for makeup and allows Midou to practice his skills on him. Midou completely changes Hiura from a plain quiet boy into a beautiful young girl. So beautiful in fact, Midou’s feelings towards Hiura change when Hiura feels more comfortable in the female clothing.

This is absolutely adorable. I like how progressive and understanding everyone is around Midou and Hiura. Not very realistic but in this case, it gives space in the story for the main two to workout their relationship and figure things out.

Since this is about make up mostly (and a bit of fashion) I wish more of this was in color so we get the full effect as readers. But I understand that’s expensive to print and a lot of work. I’ll take the color pages we get. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Komi Can’t Communicate” Vol. 20, by Tomohito Oda

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

Komi’s, Tadano, and their friends go on a skiing trip but unforeseen events, Tadano and Manbagi get left behind at a rest stop and have no place to stay. They end up at a hotel with only one bed available. There is also a story to parallel this where Komi’s parents as teenagers go on a ski trip.

Although the premise implies a bunch of awkward romantic shenanigans, this volume keeps it’s lighthearted, almost too pure for this world tone. It may not be believable for everyone to be so nice all the time but it works so well here and I’d like it to stay that way. I don’t want this series to end up drowning in too much angst. It’s like a precious innocent that needs to be protected. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Love in Focus Complete Collection” by Yoko Nogiri

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Mako loves photography so much, her childhood friend, Kei, suggests she takes a chance on attending a high school with a prestigious photography club. She ends up moving into a dorm with Kei and his classmates; kicking off a love triangle.

This is a cute manga that is worth checking out if you like young adult romance manga. Mako is a sweet character to follow; she’s just earnest and wants to enjoy photography and the other boys around her have different enough personalities that you really wonder who Mako should end up with. I won’t spoil it but, I found it to be a satisfying choice and ending. There’s some slice of life elements as well to break things up and while a tad rushed, it was fun to read and you could polish it off in a quiet afternoon. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Mizuno and Chayama” by Yuhta Nishio

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Mizuno has to put on a happy face as her father is the mayoral candidate in their small town, Chayama is the daughter of a wealthy family and heir to a tea company that rivals Mizuno’s father. As their families are at odd, they must keep their relationship a secret.

This volume follows them through high school as they fall in love and struggle with the pressures of their familial obligations and small town life Chayama is frequently bullied while Mizuno is put on a pedestal due to her father’s status. It’s a pretty good story but jumps around at the end but it is a tense read. It’s not explicit but there are some suggestive scenes; done tastefully in my opinion. They make a cute couple and the art suits the overall tone. A worthwhile addition to the yuri genre and I’d suggest it for older teens due to to those suggestive scenes. It’s less graphic than what they’re watching on the CW these days. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible” Vol 1, by Nene Yukimori

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Nobody notices Shirashi unless they physically interact with him. He is frequently marked absent, skipped for handouts, sat on, and have random things put on his desk. He seems resigned to it and doesn’t let it bother him but his classmate, Kubo, goes out of her way to interact with him whenever she can and seems to be the only one who never thinks he’s invisible.

This is a cute and positive story. Shirashi isn’t angsty about his predicament, just going with the flow and Kubo’s intentions aren’t cruel. For a second I thought she’d end up being a tsundere who pushes Shirashi around but she gently nudges him out of hiding and is good natured about it. This is a light, fun read with some cutesy comedic elements. I recommend it if that’s what you’re looking for. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Hello, Melancholic!” Vol. 1, by Yayoi Ohsawa

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First year, Minato, is very reserved and self conscious because of her height; towering over the other girls in her class. When upperclassman Hibiki catches sight of Minato with her trombone case, Hibiki is dragged out of her comfort zone when Hibiki insists Minato join the music club and play in her band.

Minato is a very relatable teenager, nervous about tripping up and finally making some friends that won’t mock her for her height. The contrast between her and Hibiki has some classic tropey elements but their individual personalities keep things unique and interesting. They’re a classic odd couple but it’s done well and they’re so sweet together. Even the tertiary characters are entertaining. I think teens looking for more LGBTQ+ content will love this. 4.8 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: “Chef’s Kiss” by Jarrett Melendez, Danica Brine, Hank Jones & Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

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Ben cook is on the hunt for a job to put his English degree and love of writing to good use. Facing multiple rejections, he applies for a job at a restaurant to make money while he’s still writing. However, he not only has a talent for cooking and enjoys it, he develops a crush on Liam, chef at his new job. Now, he starts to question what he wants for his future.

This is a classic story of a young adult finding their way but told with some wacky characters and beautiful, vibrant colors. All the personalities here are so unique without coming off as having one quirk and no substance. This had the right mix of fun and drama but I would have liked some closure concerning Ben’s parents. But Watson is a fun twist here. You’ll see when you read it. 4.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Needle and Thread” by David Pinckney & Ennun Ana Iurov 

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

Noah has a passion and talent for costume design and wants to make it a career, applying for fashion school against his parent’s wishes. Model student Azarie secretly loves cosplay but has to hide it from her parents since her father is up for mayoral reelection. They meet in secret to make cosplay and plan to enter a contest but if either of their families find out, their plans will fall through, along with their friendship.

This is a simple, light story about a couple of friends trying to be who they are. I thought it was really cool and realistic portrayal of teenagers without a lot of forced drama or romance. I can see real kids acting this way. The art is perfect for this type of story and I think kids will like this. 4 out of 5.

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