Digimon Adventure V-Tamer Volume 3 (Manga) Review

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Plot: After Zero gets some much needed medical care at Hospitown, Taichi and Gabo meet the evolved versions of some of the Agumon that he met back at Holy Angemon’s castle. They are determined to help stop Neo and Demon from taking over the Digital World, but it’s an uphill task even for their newly evolved forms, and Holy Angemon’s army continues to suffer massive losses.

Taichi and Zero finally reach the tree where Neo stands with the final tag. While Taichi and Zero are more than ready to take him on, they haven’t seen every trick up his sleeve.

Later, Taichi and Zero meet another human in the Digital World – a girl named Rei, and while she seems normal enough, there may be more to her than meets the eye.

Breakdown: Really the only notes I have between the anime and manga are that Piyomon makes an appearance and needs a boost of bravery when faced with the trail of fallen allies Demon and Neo have left in their wake.

Also, the new human character, Rei, has a haircut that looks a lot like Sora’s, but eh.

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This volume is where the stakes get amped up a hundred fold. The battle against Neo takes center stage in this volume, and it’s definitely the biggest and most nail-biting battle of the manga so far, but surprisingly that’s the ‘second act’, so to speak. A lot more happens in this volume than you’d first think, and we have quite a bit of ground to cover.

We start off learning where the other Digi-allies are in their fight against Demon and while there is some good news, such as the Agumon who were being trained in the first volume evolving and Leomon evolving, though his evolved form is never seen on-panel, there’s no denying that the battle against Neo and Demon has taken its toll on Holy Angemon’s army. Holy Angemon himself even catches some of the damage.

Piyomon’s reluctance to brave the frightening circumstances and continue to help the battle are a highlight to this, but the one who brings the shining light of hope back into her very skeptical eyes is Taichi…..and his goggles.

Yes, we get the backstory to Taichi’s goggles. You may faint now. And because I’m such a nice person, I’ll share it with you. A Piyomon is frozen with fear after surviving a massacre lead by Neo. She makes fun of Taichi’s goggles when explaining how ridiculous it is that he and Zero can do anything to help. Taichi explains that the goggles were given to him by his grandpa when he was a young kid.

When he was younger, he saw a kid getting bullied. He knew he should do something about it, but couldn’t find it within himself to do so. Taichi’s grandpa gave him the goggles, knowing he liked airplanes, and called them goggles of friendship and courage. The goggles belonged to a childhood friend of his who was known for being brave and a great friend. When he was older, he became a great pilot but later fell ill and passed away. He kept his friend’s goggles as a reminder of him and his old saying of ‘courage will give you wings to fly’ (which is actually kinda foreshadowing something that happens later.) Taichi received the goggles happily and knew at that point that he had to be brave in order to protect his friends – a lesson he has never forgotten.

Dammit, considering how important the aspect of the gogglehead is in this franchise, why the hell have we never gotten a backstory for them in the anime? Plus, considering the strong connection the goggles have to Taichi’s courage, his crest no less, you’d think they’d jump on that chance. This revelation, if it can be applied to the anime, makes me a little madder that he just handed his goggles to Daisuke in Adventure 02. That wasn’t a reminder of courage for Daisuke, he was just given a new pair since his broke and Taichi basically proclaimed him as the new leader with them.

Onto the main event, Taichi’s battle with Neo. As I mentioned, Neo has several tricks up his sleeve for combating Zero with his own two Digimon, now a Kuwagamon and Akatorimon that he can merge and separate as many times as he wants. Not only that, but he takes their Perfect form, Megadramon, and merges it with another Perfect, Jureimon to make an Ultimate level Digimon, Deathmon. And it looks about as disappointingly uncreative as the name is. It’s basically a cyclopic (or tricloptic, considering it has eyeballs on its hands) monster with bat wings.

Despite its bland look and uncreative name, it is a huge threat to Taichi and Zero considering that Zero is still merely an adult level, they are still at a disadvantage on the ground while the enemy can fly and they’ve never once faced an Ultimate level before. As you can guess, this results in Zero getting the ever-loving crap beat out of him to the point where, again, you’re seriously wondering if they’ll make it out alive. Even Taichi and Gabo have near-death experiences. This really was the perfect opportunity to spotlight Zero’s first evolution, and they took advantage of it. It’s probably one of the best evo events of the franchise, at least that I’ve seen. Granted, V-dramon doesn’t change very much when he evolves, but it’s a much needed change to his design and power structure that gives him plenty of edge in the fight.

I’ll also give them props for how Neo was handled in the end. They cop out at the end of the volume, but it was still pretty shocking when it happened. Neo did get a little too crazy and villain-like for my liking, though. Seriously, he’s basically surpassing Kaiba and Vegeta now for how obsessed his is with beating his rival.

After the events of the ‘second act’, we see that portals to the human world have opened and people are being sucked into the Digital World either because they’re being called there or they just happened to be sucked in on accident through their computers. In comes Rei, who comes off as very abrasive. She finds herself in a strange world filled with monsters and when she finally finds some friendly faces, a human one no less, she makes fun of them, insults them and leaves to find more ‘normal’ people to help her.

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When they save her life, she pulls a complete 180 and practically flatters them while agreeing to join their group and even asks them to take her to Demon’s castle, but Taichi is soon suspicious of her.

Meanwhile, the egg of the Super Ultimate Digimon has hatched and Neo has to start training it. He sends out a new team of tamers who recently came to the Digital World through the portals, a group called Alias III, to take care of other matters in the battle against Holy Angemon’s army.

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But that’s not all, we also have our first mini-chapter in which Taichi and Zero run into a Sukamon while training. He takes advantage of the fact that his special ability is to emit pheromones that induce the need to poop to completely distract Zero and Taichi from the battle. It’s only made worse by the fact that Zero doesn’t want to fight a pile of crap because that’s gross. They can’t even fight from a safe distance with his V Breath Arrow because it will probably redefine explosive diarrhea.

Zero then can’t fight the need to crap anymore and dumps a load so large that it takes up 80% of the page, he can sit on it like a hill, and it intimidates Sukamon into leaving.

Yeah……that just happened.

And I thought that one Naruto OVA where he craps his pants was ridiculously stupid. I will admit, this mini-chapter is a little tiny itty bitty bit funny, though.

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All in all, this is the best volume yet. This series really just seems to get better and better as the ball keeps rolling. We got to start off fairly calmly while also getting some info on where Holy Angemon’s efforts stand, we got a huge battle, some more strengthening of Taichi and Zero’s friendship and we ended on plenty of interesting details for the next volume, such as the Super Ultimate hatching, Rei’s true intentions, who exactly the guys in Alias III are and what they can do, if any more humans came through the portals and even if we’ll see even more evolutions from Zero. Deathmon was a disappointment in regards to design, and I would’ve liked to see some real character development from Neo in this volume, but still a very solid vol—oh yeah the mini-chapter……

*sigh* That really does tarnish this whole volume quite a bit, doesn’t it? Like I said, it’s a little funny, but it’s an entire nine pages dedicated to fighting poop, talking about poop and actually pooping – a house-sized poop, mind you. So, yeah, I’m gonna take off at least half a point for that, but we’re still standing really strong with this one.

Rating: 9/10

Recommended Audience: Zero gets even more badly beaten in this volume, and there’s one instance where a character kinda sorta commits suicide by falling. You don’t see anything, and it’s later revealed that his life was saved so I guess we’ll stay with 7+

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.Hack Alcor (Manga) Review

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: A twin blade named Nanase is a new member of the newbie-assisting guild Canard. She joined to get closer to Canard’s guild leader, Silabus, but ends up being overshadowed by the powerful Alkaid. In an effort to win Silabus’ attention, Nanase sets out to be stronger than Alkaid. A PK named Bordeaux knows Nanase and has a grudge against her, so she targets Silabus to break up their friendship. Nanase has to work through her own shortcomings and lack of self-confidence to become strong in her own right.

Breakdown: I really didn’t think much of this manga for the first few chapters. While this character is technically someone canon in the games (though this PC is not) she’s completely new to the series, and their starting chapters with her simply aren’t very interesting. She has a crush on Silabus and is very jealous of Alkaid. Since Alkaid is so powerful, Silabus frequently admires her abilities and talks to and about her often. However, this does not mean that he ignores Nanase. He includes her in things all the time and never forgets that she’s with them, but she still feels ignored because of Alkaid.

Nanase herself isn’t powerful at all, in fact, I don’t know her level, but she really doesn’t look like she even knows what she’s doing. Which just makes it even more confusing that she was a member of Kestral. Frickin’ Kestral. She doesn’t look like she could or would PK a fly, yet basically the biggest PK crew in The World: R2 recruited her? Was it a quota thing?

The game character that Nanase’s player, Yuasa, makes is Sophora, which makes even less sense to me. It just doesn’t seem like it fits. I know Nanase eventually finds her own inner strength, but Sophora’s personality just doesn’t seem like that would be the logical next step.

I did eventually start liking this manga because it addresses her situation in a way that isn’t very preachy. You’d think she’d try and again to beat Alkaid and eventually best her at something, but it doesn’t win Silabus’ attention and may even push him away, she learns to not be jealous, hugs, the end.

But nope. She complains about not getting praised, Alkaid asks her what she’s done to be praised for, and with no answer Nanase pretty much has to figure out her own brand of strength. There are hardships to overcome, mistakes made, and she has to surmount them and find her own path without blaming Alkaid for everything.

In that respect I liked how the story went once I got into it, but the storytelling itself feels a little disjointed as I had a hard time figuring out where we were in the story.

This manga also does something a little different from many incarnations of the Dot Hack franchise and that’s focusing a little more on player behind the character. A lot of times in Dot Hack games, manga and shows, the focus is 99.9% on the game with only mentions of what’s happening in the real world, mostly someone falling into a coma and CC Corp being weasels. This manga, while not stressing the real world aspect too much, does incorporate it throughout the story, which I found to be a welcome change of pace and a slight fix to a problem that is present in the other shows, games and manga.

Without much focus on the real world counterparts of the characters, it’s hard to really care that much that they’re in comas or are having other bad things happening to them. Sure, you grow to like or even love the characters, but considering that the players behind the characters, like in real life games, are sometimes drastically different from their players.

For example, Sora in .Hack//Sign is actually a ten year old boy in real life. It creates a bit of a disconnect that is hard to get over. Then again, it’s also weird when people make characters who look a lot like their real selves. I get both situations, drastically different for a more disconnecting role playing experience, closer for a more personal one, but it’s a little weird seeing it as a third-party.

…….What was I talking about?

Oh yeah.

I actually believe that Nanase and Yuasa looks just enough alike to create a connection between the two without feeling odd. However, this is ruined again when Yuasa becomes Sophora, but here Sophora only appears once or twice.

The dynamic between Nanase, Silabus and Alkaid feels very real, and I’m glad they didn’t go too far into drama territory to mess that up. There is a situation in which the sanctity of the group is called into question, and it does present a realistic problem where their ability to truly trust someone is tested.

Nanase, while being a little immature and mopey is likable enough, at least past chapter one. She’s meant to be a little annoying to begin with so we can see her own personal growth and discovery of her actual strength. However, this is muddled a little bit considering she’s Sophora….I really can’t grasp that.

Silabus is as nice, helpful and friendly as ever. He’s always been one of my favorite R:2 characters. Despite still being clueless with girls, he’s just as friendly with Nanase as he is with Alkaid and really anyone else. He treasures his friendship with Nanase and always avoids thinking the worst of people, even if that gets him into serious trouble.

Alkaid is still likable, though slightly abrasive sometimes. I wouldn’t say she’s a mentor to Nanase, nor would I even say she’s established as a hurdle to jump, but she and Nanase hold a good relationship when Nanase’s jealousy isn’t getting in the way. Alkaid is not as trusting as Silabus in the least, but she’s not afraid to admit when she’s wrong, and despite losing to Endrance time and again she keeps on truckin’.

The art here is chibi-fied a little bit. I’d say it’s mid-chibi. Not small enough or cartoony enough to warrant calling it chibi, but still seems like the characters are shorter and more cartoony than the average art of this franchise. I liked the art, though nothing particularly blew me away.

Bottomline: Alcor is slightly confusing in its place in the franchise as a whole especially since Nanase and her connection to the group is all but forgotten in the games. Sophora never talks about her Nanase days, never states that she used to be someone named Nanase and she never contacts Alkaid or Silabus or anyone else that she used to play with as Nanase. The connection with Sophora still confuses me a bit as I just don’t feel the connection between the three.

However, on its own it’s a fine addition to the Dot Hack world and actually does some things better than this franchise usually does. It even adds more aspects of MMORPG activities. Not as much as Dusk, but still adds to the ambiance.

It’s a good story of a seemingly weak and shy person finding her confidence and strength both in game and in real life, and while I may not feel much for the final ending I feel the ending of Nanase as a character was a good one.

It’s a short, nice story that anyone, even people who aren’t fans of Dot Hack would enjoy. Non-fans might be a little thrown by certain cameos like Pi and Kuhn, though. They don’t even explain Kestral or Endrance very well. Not explaining Kestral well is especially baffling. They keep saying ‘Oh she was a member of Kestral’ and it’s obviously a bad thing yet you’d never know why if you didn’t know the games or .Hack//Roots.

Recommended Audience: Nothing really questionable. We don’t even get any comas or heavy tones outside of some in-game drama. E for everyone!

Amon Volume 4 (Manga) Review

Plot: Satan has gone missing, and while Amon has saved many of the demons, he’s also not making himself known. A new greatly powerful demon named Asura arrives and offers the demons a chance to become as powerful as Amon. All they have to do is merge together over and over. Most of the demons are more than willing to go through with her plan and see her as leader, especially the demon who wishes for nothing more than be beautiful. However, Silene’s not giving into her claims. Asura has more going on behind the scenes than just a lush future filled with demon gods.

Breakdown: Our first chapter title page is a butt shot. Starting out well, Amon.

This whole volume was just very uninteresting. It focuses mostly on Silene, Demiko (still given no name) and a new enemy named Asura, who seems like a half-human, half-demon crazy person who is trying to take over as leader of the demons since Satan mysteriously disappeared. She’s trying to convince all of the demons that they can be like Amon if they agree to merge together over and over. However, her true intentions are to use the demons in their merged state to find Satan and kill him for revenge on how her body looks and acts.

Asura is two beings, Earth and Terra, merged into one. She used to be angelic-like with beautiful white wings, but when Satan fucked up in the last volume, the two were merged into one crazy being with two personalities, a weird body and small black wings that couldn’t handle flight.

In the end, Demiko gets killed by Kaim who kills her after she tries to steal Silene’s wings for Asura, under a semi-brainwashed delusion that she could be made beautiful if she helped Asura.

Silene’s part is almost entirely stagnant through this whole volume. She meanders and mopes, longing for her precious Satan to return. She’s not buying into Asura’s lies, especially in her statement that they can surpass Satan, but she mostly whines and mopes and cries out for Satan.

The very last chapter is where the only thing of interest happens, though it’s a bit confusing. We find out why there seem to be contradictions between Devilman and Amon. The events of Devilman did happen, but they’re also in the future. God, as punishment for the events of Devilman, apparently put Satan in a time loop so he’ll constantly be tormented by losing his love (Amon, or moreso Devilman, though I thought Akira was a bigger part of that) He’s destined for the events long passed, and he’s damned to start all over again when it’s over with no memory of what happened.

It’s still not entirely clear in some respects, but it’s an explanation at least.

Amon’s role is mostly just to escort Silene to Satan as Asura goes to him with her new pile of merged demon goo to take him on, but she’s ironically defeated by the demons she gathered, granted powers or abilities by the sleeping Satan, who all turn into little Saiyaman angel things that range in size from a few inches to a few stories tall. The little ones stab her over and over with a bunch of tiny needles and they mutate her into some glob. She tries to assimilate with Silene, but gets stopped by Amon who’s again mostly just annoyed by everything around him. He rips off Silene’s wing as it’s trying to be merged with Asura and kills her.

Then the weirdest part of the volume…No….weirdest part of the manga happens. A gravely wounded Silene rides on Kaim back to their nest and quickly becomes pregnant. She reveals that silene continue to grow larger and larger in preparation for childbirth. However, if a silene’s life is put in mortal danger before then, they can basically force asexual pregnancy and give birth to one child very quickly before they die. She does indeed give birth to a young child (not a baby) that Kaim names Silene and starts to raise.

So….does that mean the Silene we see in Devilman is actually this Silene?

The very end has some nice action, answers some questions and ends….interestingly, but it didn’t hold my attention very well through the read. It was either boring or confusing. I don’t know what the next volume holds, but hopefully it will at least make more sense and be more interesting.

Oh and fewer butt shots, yeah that would be nice. Seriously, what is with all of the lone panels with pure butt shots? What is the point, Mr. Nagai?

Recommended Audience: Still lots of gross imagery, gore, and damn near full frontal nudity. 16+

AniManga Clash! Boku wa Imouto Ni Koi o Suru Volume 3 (Finale)

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Plot: Iku and Yori arrive at a love hotel and after much preparation, the two have sex. Despite this, Yori still decides to go to the school in another prefecture.

Breakdown: I’d like to start out this part by quoting something on the cover;

“Yori, who can do anything, and Iku, who can’t do anything.”

I know it wasn’t the intention of the writer to interpret that like this, especially seeing as how later on in the synopsis she says that they both feel the same way about each other, but, to me, that line just reinforces everything that I’ve suspected about this relationship. Iku is a dependent and submissive little baby deer and Yori is independent and dominant. Iku “can’t do anything” without her big brother who “can do anything” there to prop her up. Without him, Iku feels like she’d be helpless.

Now onto the story. We’re finally here; the actual sex scene. This scene in the anime was pretty uncomfortable, but not horribly so, mostly because it was done and over with in a fairly short amount of time. Iku was very much scared, uncomfortable and embarrassed in it, but at the very least it didn’t seem too rapey like many of their other encounters.

Manga’s version? It feels like it’s quite a bit longer, and it technically is because there’s more here to go over. In the manga, the two have a bath together after a very very long scene of an incredibly embarrassed and nervous Iku trying to undress. Yori tries to do it for her, but she takes forever and a day to take off her panties and bra by herself, at first letting Yori watch and then forcing him to shut his eyes.

When they’re in the bathtub, a scene not present in the OVA, we get this unbelievably creepy exchange.

Iku: “Yori, when was the last time we ever took a bath together?”

Yori: “Around fifth grade, right?”

Iku: “Ah, really?”

Yori: “Cause that’s when you got your first period.”

Iku: “!!!!! Re-re-re-really?!” “I don’t remember that.”

..Yori remembers when Iku got her first period better than Iku…….ughghghghghghghghghgqqoeooierigqehiodiosdjklldsklpbbbbbbbbbbbttttttttttttt. Ya know, it’s not even so much that he knew that and moreso….considering how creepy we know he is in all things related to Iku…..and the creepy things he tends to do….……the creepy things he could’ve done….with…her….feminine….hygiene…..prod – NopenopenopenopenopenopeNOPENOPENONOPENOPENOPENOPENOPENONOPENOPENOPENOPENOPENONOPENOPENOPENOPENOPENONOPENOPENOPENOPENOPENONOPENOPENOPE NOPE.

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They start making out and as we get into the next chapter, we start off with Iku remembering when she first got her special monthly friend….ya know, the friend who punches you in the gut, eats all your food and passively-aggressively rips at you for a week before leaving. Iku asks her mom why this is happening to her and not Yori and she explains that such a thing can’t happen because she’s a girl and he’s a boy. And immediately after that flashback comes this weird stupidity.

Iku: “For the two of us who always did everything together, this was the first change to happen. I understand. That everything, everything….was for the sake of falling in love. Because Yori is a boy. And I am a girl.”

…………….This manga is giving me a headache. I must be missing something. I have to be missing something. Is she seriously saying that, biologically, her period was the tipping point of their love for each other because it forced her to understand that she and Yori were different? And on top of all of that….is she saying that they were destined to fall in love purely because one of them is a boy and the other is a girl? Boy, it sure is a good thing homosexuality doesn’t exist or no twin pairing or close in age siblings would be able to get through life without porking each other.

So, again, despite Iku asking him to stop a few times, Yori continues on with the kissing and the heavy petting and the other stuff you learned in that 1950’s film reel in health class. The sex goes on and….it’s fairly consensual barring the inner monologue from the two with Yori saying he’s fooling Iku and Iku supposedly saying she’s easily fooled. I think so anyway. They don’t do anything to the font of the inner monologue to know when one or the other is thinking.

Yori: “We committed a taboo.” Since I used up all my sarcasm in the anime version of this line, I’ll just give you a cut and dry ‘Well, no shit.’

As Yori wakes up, he finds Iku’s sleeping face all pure and seemingly oblivious to the weight of what they just did. Yori is struck with intense guilt, determined to beg God for all of the weight to be on his shoulders and for Iku to be free of any of it. He then apologizes for falling in love with her………MmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM…..Mmmmmm No.

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Look, if they had handled this romance A LOT better, this would be a very touching scene. I’m happy that Yori is understanding, at least to some degree, what a huge piece of fecal matter he’s been as of late…..but Yori has been almost nothing but an incredibly creepy sexual predator. This is really too little much too late. Hindsight may be 20/20, but I’m not going to act like him being sexually frustrated, especially when he had an outlet, was his excuse for being like that. Never have I looked at this story so far and thought, “Aw, what a tragic romance.” I have, however, thought, “Yori needs a serious intervention before he rapes his sister.”

Iku wakes up in pain from being de-virginized, and then we get kinda awkwardness because Iku and Yori instantly revert to just acting like brother and sister again.

Some time passes and we get to Yori and Iku’s graduation ceremony where we get the most despicable fact about Yori so far; He SMOKES.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lXdyD2Yzls

After his graduation ceremony, he talks to his friend, Yano, on the roof and explains that he’s in an incestuous relationship with his sister. And, like before, Yano doesn’t really react much at all. He asks him why he told him his secret, though, an–

Yori: “There are times…..When I feel that my wanting to protect everything about me, and my feelings of wanting to destroy everything…have crossed paths.” Well, nice to know yet another insanely creepy red flag line crosses between manga to OVA.

Iku rushes in and we learn that Yori is still planning to go to the fancy boarding school in the other prefecture, despite his new relationship to Iku. After Iku has a temper tantrum at home, Yori gets her to calm down a bit by showing that he convinced their parents to buy her a puppy so she won’t be lonely when he’s gone. I will give him points for that; it’s a very nice gesture.

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As Iku and Yori talk, he explains that he still plans on leaving because he can’t be a couple with Iku where they live now. Too many people know them and recognize them. They can’t do anything couple-related in public for fear of being judged and persecuted. In this new prefecture, however, fewer, if any, people know who they are. They can eventually start over and be a real couple.

That still doesn’t make much sense. So, what, they move to this new place after a few years, become a real couple and somehow no one will ever discover that they’re twins? They’ll never visit their parents or friends? They’ll never get married? Have kids? They’ll change their last names?

He could stay where he is now, keep up this charade, and then when they’re college age they can run away and get new identities and leave everything behind to really be a true couple…Oh yeah, I forgot, he can’t control himself….

Iku suddenly decides that the dog’s name will be Yori. Because what else would it be? As she tries to get the dog to do some tricks, Yori grabs her by the hair and commands her to come see him…..well, that was a record of about eight pages without Yori being a creepy fuck. Congratulations.

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Also, doesn’t her visiting there kinda make this whole move moot? Are you going to introduce her to the people at school as your girlfriend? Are your parents never going to come see you at school?

They make out on the park bench as the puppy watches…..because….yeah, do that in public. It’s a great way to cap off a conversation that was explaining why Yori has to move because they can’t safely do any PDA in the area they currently live in. Make sure you’re under that street light so if anyone you know walks by they can see you clearly.

The next chapter skips ahead to Yori leaving for high school. Iku does her best to keep him from leaving and Yori’s thoughts also state that he lied to her before about the real reason for his leaving; making my previous rant somewhat pointless…..*cough* He brushes her off when she tries to hug his arm because he believes their parents will think there’s something weird about it, something I still don’t understand.

As Yori is about to leave, Iku struggles internally with watching him go, knowing there’s nothing she can do to stop him. Just as she’s about to try and tell Yori to stay, Tomoka comes out of nowhere and runs into his arms begging him to stay, all the while lightly smirking at Iku. As she paws at him trying to get him to stay, Iku starts to suffer greatly over the fact that she can’t say or do the things Tomoka is doing to try and get him to stay since it would be odd coming from her.

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Knowing that Iku is suffering, Yori decides that the only thing he can do to resolve the situation is to push Tomoka away and tell her to not get in the way of his last day with his family. In order to create a cover up, Yori hugs his dad, then gives his mom a hug and a kiss on the cheek and finally he hugs Iku and kisses her on the cheek. Despite Iku’s happiness at being able to hold him one more time, she recoils at the fact that this isn’t enough to really make her happy.

Yori leaves, and Iku sits in her room alone with only Inu-Yori keeping her company. She starts sobbing into her pillow and finds a note from Yori begging her not to cry.

Back with Yori, he slightly laughs at the fact that, despite him telling her not to cry, she probably will anyway. She’ll also probably say she’ll die of loneliness, which she does indeed say. Then he says he’s spoiled Iku a lot……uh….huh. He knows that they will meet again, so he tells himself again and again that he won’t be lonely like Iku. However, he starts crying realizing how much pain Iku must be in to be crying as much as she probably is.

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I don’t have much to note about this chapter, because it’s probably the best chapter so far. Yori’s being a bit bastardly in his telling Iku not to hug his arm and laughing at the thought of her crying and saying she’ll die, but both instances were made up for when Yori went out of his way to finally give her a hug and kiss and cries at the thought of her crying.

This might be too little too late, but this was the first chapter when I legitimately thought that they may actually be in love. I still think Iku’s just a bit confused, but there might be something within both of them that is legitimate love.

Tomoka’s scene was good but just seemed a little….OOC. Well, I have to assume anyway. I’ve never seen Tomoka possessive up until this point and her giving Iku smirks as she cuddled Yori and begged him not to leave, seemingly knowing that Iku was the one he was in love with, was a complete bitch move. I mean, she is a little too preoccupied with Yori, but if you offer yourself up to someone as a replacement for someone they love, how can you really be such a petty and possessive bitch?

What did she expect would happen anyway? Yori broke up with her ages ago and was never romantically interested anyway. Plus, like she knows, Yori already loves someone else. Did she expect him to just start shoving his tongue down her throat and agreeing to stay?

It’s at this point where the OVA ends. It only covers volumes 1-3 and technically it only covers half of three since there are still two chapters left in this volume. I’ll finish off volume three here since, well, might as well. However, the other seven volumes, yes, there are seven more volumes of this to go, will be regular manga reviews.

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At the start of the next chapter, we see that Yori is settling in to his new abode at his new school. Everyone’s clamoring over the new kid, praising him for being the only out-of-prefecture student to make it into their prestigious school. Tons of people are trying to be friendly to him, but Yori being Yori results in him being a dick to everyone, including his new roommate.

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As everyone quickly recoils away from this asshole, Yori gets a call in the lobby. It’s Iku, and she’s jonesin’ for her Yori fix. Not just to hear his voice but also to get a kiss on the lips through the phone, which is really just making kissing faces and pretending they’re kissing. This would be kinda sweet if not for the fact that Yori yells at her that she’s doing it wrong, especially with no way of seeing her.

After they play that stupid ‘I won’t hang up, you hang up’ crap, they finally end the call. However, Iku decides that she wants to keep talking to Yori so she calls him incessantly until Yori tells her to give the phone to their dad. He asks his dad to buy him a cell phone for his birthday since he can’t be running to the lobby every five seconds to answer her calls. Plus, that has to be insanely annoying for the other students to listen to since every call is announced over the PA system. He tells him to buy one for Iku as well and they finally end the call barrage.

As he hangs up, he looks behind him to see his dorm manager teasing him about his phone calls asking if he’s talking to his girlfriend then revising this to knowing he’s talking to his sister since he called her by name and apparently her information is in his file, which also makes this moving thing moot again. I’m not sure if this means he knows that Yori’s dating Iku, but it’s possible.

Later, Yori decides to call Iku despite the dorm manager telling him he’s not allowed to receive anymore calls unless it’s an emergency.

The final chapter of the volume starts Yori and Iku’s birthday. We get some kinda cute flashbacks of Yori being really caring and over protective of his sister, all leading up to a birthday picture where it seems like Yori and Iku started to not get along as well as they used to as children….and the reason why is….oh god.

Iku got her first period on their 11th birthday. And I’m really disturbed that I have to keep talking about Iku’s first departure into the red sea. This prompted their mother to not only announce that Iku’s now a woman, but that she’s ready for marriage. This makes Yori incredibly angry. When Iku walks out of the bathroom after having that special talk of ultimate awkwardness with her mother, Yori blows the fuck up at her asking how she could do such a thing and yelling that he doesn’t like Iku like this.

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After that, Yori started treating her differently, more coldly, picking on her more often and basically seeming to carry a grudge over simple biology that is entirely outside of her control. I guess because she ‘became a woman’ Yori started looking at her differently, though in such a way that made him angry for some reason. Maybe because this may seem like the start of her pursuing romantic relationships with guys that don’t share her DNA? After this, 11 year old Yori internally proclaims that once he turns 16 he’ll be able to ‘take Iku with (him)” whatever that’s supposed to insinuate.

I get that he’s an 11 year old boy who doesn’t understand what’s happening to her, but Iku is clearly freaked the hell out by this event and all Yori can think about is a completely irrational fear or betrayal or whatever is going on in his screwed up brain that feels like Iku is doing this on purpose to hurt his feelings. I’m sure the one thing every girl wants to hear from their close-knit brother when they’re going through the confusing time of getting their first visit from that special friend from hell is “HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN!? HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?! I DON’T LIKE YOU LIKE THIS!” *proceeds to be a putrid dickwad for five years*

Ya know….this might actually be telling. Maybe it was this insane reaction and Yori’s subsequent emotional separation from Iku after this that made her not want to explore anything romantic or sexual, essentially making her ripe for the picking when Yori started to do those things with her. Iku, subconsciously or not, took her ‘becoming a woman’ as a bad event that happened in her life since it caused her to basically lose Yori more or less. Now, with him caught up physically, he actually likes the woman aspect of her and has accepted her with open arms (and more). So she might be using that to her advantage in keeping her brother with her as much as possible since she’s so scared to death of losing him…..

Don’t mind me, just trying to get some mileage out of my psych degree…..

Anyway, Iku is awoken to birthday wishes from her family and they present her with the phone that Yori told them to get. Jeez, he tells them to her a puppy, they do so without question. He tells them to get her and him cell phones for their birthday and they do so without question. Do they just do whatever Yori wants or do they have so much money that they just don’t care?

She’s unable to reach Yori’s cell phone, however, since he probably hasn’t gotten it through the mail yet. Her parents leave for work and she instantly decides to take all of her savings and go to visit Yori, through her paltry piggy bank money….and yes, she used legit piggy bank money. There’s just barely enough to take the long way with Inu-Yori. As she’s on her way, she bumps into Yano who buys her some chocolate to give to Yori as a birthday present since she spent too much of her money to get one herself. He decides that he’s going to tag along to visit Yori as well.

Meanwhile, Yori, after buying his dorm manager cigarettes and teaching him how to smoke (Yori, you’re a big enough douche without creating more smokers in the world) buys a diamond ring with clover designs as Iku’s birthday present since diamonds are the gemstones of Aries and clovers because of that stupid wordplay Yori mentioned in volume two. Though I’m more certain he bought this diamond ring because such rings are, you guessed it, meant for marriage. He buys it and puts it in a special box that reads “Only heart”.

Meanwhile, with Yori and Iku’s dad, his colleagues are clamoring over pictures of the twins stating that they seem nothing alike, which is odd for two people born under the same astrological sign. As our big cliffhanger of the volume, their dad reveals that the reason for their differences is because they don’t share the same astrological sign. They were born on different dates.

Dun….dun….dunn?

Ya know, technically, twins can be born on separate dates. Labor takes a long time. It’s possible for Yori to be born one day and Iku the next, especially if the delivery took place late at night. I know the real reason behind this revelation, but the reader wouldn’t know at this point.

Overall:

ROUND THREE AND OVERALL ANIMANGA CLASH WINNER: ANIME

Yup, the anime managed to knock out the manga in all three rounds. Congrats, OVA! You’re not quite as creepy and “get my rape-whistle”-y as the manga.

In regards to this volume in particular, the sex scene was much less uncomfortable in the OVA. They don’t include the bath scene or the talks about Iku’s bloody Sunday, thank you very much, and the scenes of Iku scared out of her mind while preparing for the act also seem much shorter in the OVA.

This is the tipping point because almost everything else that the OVA included was the same. I will admit that Iku’s inner turmoil at Tomoka’s teasing BS was better in the manga and the comedic reactions to Yori leaving weren’t so far out of left field in the manga since comedic moments have been long since established here when they never were in the anime. However, that doesn’t make up for much.

Final tally:

What the manga does better:

Establishes comedy as a facet of the series instead of chucking it in at the very end.

……Uhhhh….wow, is that it?

I guess the manga also includes more in regards to story and development, but almost all of these scenes should be taken as negatives because they either make Yori look like a creepy as hell near-rapist even more than he already did in the anime, or they simply don’t add anything of worth to the overall story.

What the anime does better:

Yori’s much less creepy and frightening (he still is as such, but not as much).

The uncomfortable scenes feel much shorter than the manga’s.

The arrangement of the timeline is much better (we’re not suddenly thrown into bro on sis tongue battle)

In the art department, the art is damn near identical, and the OVA has many scenes that are basically taken beat by beat from the manga. I guess we can call this a plus for the OVA, though there are some glaring animation errors that nearly cost it this mention.

Boku wa vol 3 clash banner WINNER

In the end, the OVA may still be an awful sewage smoothie, but I’d gladly watch that five times over than read these three volumes of manga ever again. I am just amazed at how horrible of a person Yori is and just how creepy and unhealthy this relationship really is. It’s like it’s nearly impossible for writers to write an incestuous relationship without one or the other being a complete asshole who is obviously toxic.

Then again, I can’t take a sigh of relief. I still have seven volumes of this crap to review.

Next volume, Iku and Yano arrive at Yori’s place. And what is the true impact behind Yori and Iku not sharing the same birthday? Why do their parents pretend like they do?

Amon (Manga) Volume 3 Review

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Plot: Satan is missing, Silene is captured and Amon is on a mission to find Satan and kill him. What is the true story behind the strange man who merged with Amon?

Breakdown: Not gonna lie here, guys. I wasn’t feeling this volume very much.

It starts off in a very odd place, I suppose quite a bit of time after the events of volume two. Silene has been captured, off panel, by a bunch of demons who seem in awe of her beauty, especially an unnamed demon whose body looks strikingly similar to Miko’s. In fact, this demon, who I guess I’ll just refer to as Demiko (demon Miko; I’m so clever) since she’s not given a name, wants to do everything in her power to be as beautiful as Silene since the whole reason she looks the way that she does is because she was merged against her will.

Amon telepathically frees Silene before the angels can purify them, at least I think that’s what’s going on, and while Silene stays behind, Demiko runs off to a different dimension thing where she meets Amon.

Silene, caught again, is about to be purified when the angels merge into one to reveal Satan. With Silene’s call, Amon arrives on site. “Satan” is actually an amalgamation of the demons, taking that form to trick Silene into accepting the merging and purification, but Amon saves her. She states that she called out for Satan, but Amon reveals that he was the only one who received her signal.

Amon starts breaking down the world around them, claiming that he wants to take back the world and make it free again. As he proclaims his goal, he transforms into the full Amon devil form.

Silene has an identity crisis, and is set straight by Amon, but she falters yet again when Satan returns with his army of demons to be with her and save the demon race. But just as she’s about to reunite with Satan, Amon rips one of her wings off. Silene, distraught, starts to battle Amon, only to have him stop her in mid-battle to show her that all of the demons and Satan were illusions created by her heart…because she can do that I guess. Silene’s injury was a fake as well. Silene asks Amon why he forsakes Satan so harshly and he says ‘I don’t know, I just don’t like the guy.’….Welp. That was some kind of motivational reveal.

Satan shows up….again.

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Oh wait, this time he’s totes for real, and he’s gearing up for some tasty backstory. IE, the only interesting part of the volume. We learn that Amon is the first demon god, but his power rivaled God’s so God sealed him away in that sphere. In an effort to ensure that no being like Amon ever existed again, God created the demons a second time…

……Uh….Huh…..

Air tight plan, there G-man. Seal Amon away, fine, but revive demons….for the sake of never having another Amon appear again? Hey, you never want to see another demon god? Don’t make one! Problem solved. Demons can’t make themselves, but they can be created and God is one of few beings with such power. It makes zero sense to revive the demons for this purpose, especially since all demons have the ability to merge with one another making themselves immensely more powerful. Hell, the demons all melding together now and in Devilman keep causing the world to end. Also, this ability is what allowed the man to merge with Amon to begin with, allowing Amon to return to the world. Your plan has more holes in it than the Guinness world record holder for most body piercings.

But that’s not all.

We also learn who the odd man born to the silenes really is. God felt threatened when Satan went to earth so he ripped some of Satan’s power from him. However, it wasn’t destroyed. It was instead made into another living being; that which being the silene man. In essence, the man is Satan’s shadow. I don’t have as much of a problem with this, though I am confused beyond all reason as to why God didn’t destroy this power. Why turn it into a silene-like creature when Satan could realize what he is and find him in the future? God created Satan, he should be able to completely destroy at least some of his power.

Amon punches him in frustration, showing the power that the two of them have when they’re combined as they’re instantly transported into a negative void-like world for a bit. Satan states that he hates God’s world since it’s filled with peace and tranquility, so he wants to fill the world with pain and misery. He wants to experience the fullness of life with all of his power, so he calls Amon back to him. Amon won’t go quietly, though, and stabs him in the forehead with his tail, causing mass destruction around them.

When the dust settles, Amon asks if his true intention is to rule the world as king of the demons, but Satan implies that he’ll kill all demons due to them taking life for granted. Satan sheds his wings and says he forsakes God entirely and wishes to cling to the earth he fell to. This pisses Amon off and they start wrastlin’. Satan claims that the power Amon shows just proves that he’s no demon, but Amon says he doesn’t care because he is himself and that’s all that matters. At this revelation, we get this page.

 

 

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What the hell is this? I was under the impression that these two volumes were prequels, but they’re sequels? How? I thought Satan died. Did he get a reboot? Is this one of those ‘didn’t show it, so don’t blame us for what you believe from implications’ moments? Once God had Satan where he wanted him, he really let him go back to the way he was before and go doing the same crap all over again? Why? I don’t understand this at all; did I miss something between volumes one and two? Is that a memory or a vision? I might be more understanding if it’s a vision, but it really seems like it’s a memory.

Whispering Akira’s name, Satan falls. Amon leaves and Silene flies away with Satan, end volume.

Most of this volume was stuff that I cared little about or was just completely pointless. Hell, Demiko didn’t even do anything. She never even got a name. She’s just kinda there to fill in spectator dialogue. She might be Silen, the first bad guy that Devilman fought, but I assumed that she was…..Silene….wait, I’m even more confused now. Kaim, Silen’s lover/friend from Devilman, is also there. I didn’t mention him because he doesn’t matter outside of kinda mirroring the scene he shared with Silen in Devilman.

It takes until the final two chapters for anything interesting to happen and all of it is confusing as sin (pun not intended) or seemingly stupid. Maybe I am missing something. Maybe all of this will make more sense in the next volume, but I just left this feeling confused and unsatisfied, bordering on bored.

Rating: 5/10

Recommended Audience: I believe the groin area is getting less censored now. Nothing horribly graphic, but you can now see full outlines of genitals instead of shadows all the time. Other than that, same as the other volumes. 16+

Alien Nine Review

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Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: Aliens invaded the earth some time ago and now schools are tasked with selecting three people from each class to be Alien Fighters. The Alien Fighters are given borgs, frog-like aliens with wings and drill-like cables that sit on their heads and act like their protectors. Yuri Otani, the world’s biggest friggin’ crybaby on the face of the planet, is selected as being one of the three Alien Fighters for her class because I guess they just wanted to pawn the job off on her along with Kumi, a strong independent fighter who is seen as the mature one in the group, and Kasumi, who couldn’t be more excited to have the job. While much of their job is seen as busywork, the aliens do pose a threat far greater than what you’d imagine.

Breakdown: This is a short four episode OVA and I gotta say this is one of those shows that starts off rocky but ends up leaving you wanting so much more.

I first thought this series to be some parody of alien apocalypse anime. I mean, come on. Logistically, this makes no sense. Aliens invade and instead of military involvement, police or anything, they assign three kids from various elementary school classes to take care of aliens who roam around the school grounds armed with rollerblades and said borgs.

Also, they’re not allowed to kill the aliens. Well, they are allowed, but they’re strongly urged to merely tranquilize the alien and bring it into some pen at school. The reasoning is that they’re living beings too and they should respect their lives, but when they’re the ones trying to kill you; well, they obviously don’t respect your life so….

However, when a borg senses that their master is getting too scared of the threat and believes that they will die, the borg freaks out and kills the threat. Guess who sets this action off….twice. Just guess.

I suppose that’s as good of a lead-in as ever for the character bios. Yuri is our main character, and I swear to god if you thought Shinji from Evangelion was a whiny twat, you’ve never seen Yuri. She does nothing….and I mean nothing….but whimper and cry and say she’s scared. 99.9% of her screentime is that. I’m not even kidding.

You may see her smile once or twice, but it’s that awkward smile where your brow is still furrowed and it seems like you’re fake smiling to fit in. Even when she’s not on alien duty, even before she got picked, even when she’s just having fun on summer vacation with her friends, she was a whiny little cry baby.

I give Shinji and Yuri some leeway because they’re kids who were thrown into very dangerous situations and told to fight aliens who may very well kill them and their friends. However, there’s only so far I can go with that, and Yuri crosses that line so, so, so much. Considering she was this way before she even got selected, I give her even less leeway.

What’s worse is that, by the end, she’s not much better. She watches one of her friends getting attacked and does jack about it because she’s too busy whimpering. The only reason she does whatever minut thing she does at the very end is because Kumi was quite literally holding her hand.

She’s such a detriment to the team that I really wonder why no one will let her quit or even just purposely kick her off the team. The only times she ever gets anything done is when her borg tries to protect her and sometimes kills the enemy when she gets too freaked. Give Shinji some credit, at least he fought when he had to most of the time.

I loved the crap out of Kumi because she was the only one willing to be completely blunt about how much of a crybaby Yuri is. She’s a little cold, but she lightens up by the end.

Kasumi was pretty okay in the first half, but working my nerves in the second because of how happy-peppy she is and how she constantly says “NYA!”

Miyu, Yuri’s best friend, was also a good character though she had little in terms of personality.

While this show started out seemingly lighthearted, especially considering the artwork, it gets pretty damn dark, particularly the final episode. I was pretty surprised by the sudden turnaround from “being an alien fighter means you get to skip homework!” to sudden alien massacre, psychological warfare and conspiracies.

I won’t spoil the ending, but it is a great advertisement to read the manga. That’s basically what this is – just a sneak peak into the manga because we learn quite literally nothing of what’s actually going on.

We don’t know who’s sending the aliens, why the teacher and principal seem to have something to do with it, why they seem to have borg-hair, why the Yellow Knife was sent, what he meant by “It was your fault” and, I’m going to give two major spoilers here, so fair warning;

but at the very end, we don’t know if the Kasumi we see is actually Kasumi or something the alien made and we see that Kumi, during the end credits no less, suddenly got attacked by something and supposedly murdered in the library. What the hell happened to her? And why was she on alien duty anyway if her borg was out of commission?

End of spoilers.

The reason I took points off was for that ending and for Yuri. She is one of the most annoying anime characters I’ve ever seen. If they made her grow some semblance of a pair near the end, it wouldn’t have been as bad, but nope.

I plan on reading the manga because ‘m really interested to know what happened, so here’s hoping the manga does explain it.

Art and Animation: The art is………good, barring the faces of the people. They have huge eyes, which is usually fine, but they’re even big for anime standards. The eyes themselves also don’t look well-drawn, they’re craggy and awkward. They have small noses when seen from the front, but when you look at them from the side, no noses. Their ears are also friggin’ huge. Barring that, however, the art is pretty good and the animation is very well done.

Music: The ending theme was nice, the OP was forgettable. Nothing much to say about the BGM.

Voice Acting: EnglishEveryone was great in their roles, even whiny Yuri. I will say I was distracted by Rachel Lillis, the voice of Misty from Pokemon, playing Miyu. Veronica Taylor, Ash and May from Pokemon, also plays their teacher, Megumi, but I honestly didn’t catch on that that was her. Miyu was sporting Misty’s voice clearly, however. I really only note this because I found it funny that Rachel Lillis, who plays Misty, was playing in an anime with a character named Kasumi. Kasumi is Misty’s Japanese name.

Bottomline: At four episodes, it’s definitely worth a watch, but Yuri was seriously pushing it with her whining and crying. It does end with a lot of questions left unanswered and even has an actual cliffhanger that basically forces you to read the manga.

Additional Information and Notes: Alien Nine was based on a manga written by Hitoshi Tamizawa, though he doesn’t seem to have anything to do with this OVA. The OVA itself was directed by Yasuhiro Irie, director of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Code:Breaker, and Jiro Fujimoto who directed some episodes of Wagnaria!!3, Samurai 7, Kaze no Stigma and The Familiar of Zero. It was written by Murai Sadayuki, who also wrote the screenplay for Steamboy, the script for Perfect Blue and even some episodes of Cowboy Bebop.

Alien Nine was produced by JC Staff, and is currently licensed in the US by Central Park Media.

Year: 2001-2002

Episodes: 4

Recommended Audience: Some dark themes, blood, blood and gore on the alien’s side (meaning pea-soup green gore and blood) a little nudity, but you don’t see anything, technically. It is full frontal, but they do the Sailor moon thing with it. No nips, no naughty bits. No sex, some swearing here and there, but no f-bombs. 14+

AniManga Clash! Boku Wa Imouto Ni Koi o Suru (Volume 2)

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Plot: Yori and Iku have a falling out after Iku learns that Yori has slept with her friend Tomoka, who was being a stand-in for Iku in order for Yori to have a sexual outlet for his feelings. Iku starts dating a guy that has had a crush on her, Nakamura, in retaliation, but Yori won’t stand for another guy touching Iku. When the tensions come to a boil, Iku forces Yori to a love motel in order to know him in the same way that Tomoka got to, but will they really let this taboo reach a head?

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I obviously ran into some trouble designing this week’s poster. I’m actually a little ashamed of it. See, I figured with clashes that went volume by volume I’d use the starter pic of each volume for the poster and find a matching or similar shot from the anime to go with it. I figured Yori and Iku never go to a summer festival, use fireworks or have this pose in either the manga’s canon or the OVA, but surely I can find a picture of the two of them smiling right next to each other……No. No I can’t.

I know I’ve already gone on and on about how miserable this show/manga is, but I never realized that there is an insane lack of any shots involving Yori and Iku smiling in the OVA, let alone smiling together in the same shot. They laugh once in the train, but I couldn’t use that because it’s a closeup panning shot. That was the only time they ever seemed happy together.

How horribly mismanaged is a romance anime where the main characters are never shown being happy together? Even in tragic romances there are plenty of moments where the main characters are smiling and laughing together. Even in the Star Wars prequels, with the most chemistry-less couple of Anakin and Padme, there were several shots of them smiling and being happy together.

All of the shots of them have their expressions in one of two modes: angry or crying. Or Yori’s default expression – the angry rapist pout.

Because of this, I had to settle for one of the few shots that at least has them in a similar pose. I hope I have better luck in volume three.

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Nice to know that really stupid thing with the ‘Clover=c-lover=She is a lover’ thing is also in the original manga.

 

This volume starts out with Yori and Iku actually deciding to be lovers. Iku can’t stand the thought of losing Yori, so she decides to give into his feelings, which Yori gladly accepts. They’re enjoying the sights of the church that their parents got married in and they decide, hoo boy, what a great spot to have incestuous sex. I know this is in the OVA too, but holy crap is that a stupid decision.

Also nice that the pretentious and overbearing ‘God is watching us through the angel statues’ scene is kept. So, yeah, Iku calls it all off since God is watching them do it and Yori accepts her decision. However, his intense jealousy starts coming out when a long time classmate, Nakamura, expresses interest in Iku.

Hair sniffs: 7

Iku doesn’t pay him much mind, and actually seems to be increasingly lusting after Yori as well when he initiates more foreplay. Their advances continue to get jilted by the presence of their parents, but Yori stays insistent on sealing the deal with Iku and suggests they find a place, even a love hotel, to go to soon. She’s still very shaken by the close call, however, and worries that their parents ever finding out will mean them being separated forever. Tensions are very uneasy between the two the next day, and they come to a head when she discovers that Yori has slept with his girlfriend, Iku’s friend Tomoka. Enraged, she later decides to start dating Nakamura.

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A couple of things to note so far; to a degree, Yori does admit that he’s a terrible person…..but that doesn’t stop him from continuing to be terrible.

Yori is really violent when people even get a little close to Iku or if they make the slightest crude comment in her direction. He is more than adamant about not letting any guy ever be her boyfriend or, worse, having sex with her. They dedicate a whole splash page to him yelling internally that it would be completely unforgivable for such a thing to happen.

We get a flashback of why Yori is dating Tomoka in the first place. She had a crush on Yori for a long time and continuously tried to get him to accept her feelings, but he wouldn’t. When she finally realized that he liked another girl, she decided to offer herself up as a substitute. Yori, filled with sexual tension and no outlet besides his handy dandy hand, decides to accept Tomoka’s offer and they go to a love hotel to have sex. The whole time, Yori is imagining doing everything to Iku and sadly admits that doing it with a substitute isn’t enough nor is trying to love someone else in Iku’s place. But he continued to date her for release and possibly to keep up appearances.

He doesn’t even get through this sex scene without being creepy. He clasps his hand over Tomoka’s mouth to prevent her from making noise since he knows hearing her voice and not Iku’s will ruin the illusion. Tomoka’s doing this of her own free will, so to each his own, but still.

Back to the present, Nakamura and Tomoka decide to have lunch with Iku and start talking about the physical stuff Tomoka and Yori have been doing. Yori interrupts them just as Tomoka starts explaining what Yori’s like in bed. Ya know, even if they weren’t romantically involved, who wants to talk to their lover’s sister about how good their brother is in bed? He tells her to knock it off since he broke up with her and that he has a girl he likes, one that is the only one for him.

He turns his attention to Nakamura, who has done absolutely nothing, and grabs him by the shirt. Nakamura calls Yori ‘Big brother’ I guess because he either sees him that way as a long time classmate or because he’s dating Iku, and Yori tells him if he ever calls him that again, he’ll kill him. I have no doubt he would really keep that promise. Yori grasps Iku’s hand so hard when he’s yelling at Nakamura that he visibly hurts her.

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After this, he drags her into the science room, plops her on the floor with her begging him to stop and he just tells her to shut up and starts forcibly kissing her again.

Possible continued emotional manipulation; Yori says he can’t and won’t stop pursuing her, because if he let her go, he’d die. Like I mentioned before, on an emotional level, Iku’s main role in this relationship is fueled by her fear of losing Yori if she doesn’t respond to his advances. Saying he’ll die if he can’t be with Iku is a really extreme way of instilling that fear even further.

Also, is he even really serious? Because going to a faraway school and planning on likely never seeing Iku again is basically purposely ‘letting go’ of her. Unless he was going off to some fancy school to die.

After Yori and Iku talk some more, they make up and Iku even starts initiating some of the kissing before they nearly get caught and stop.

Oh, by the way, for anyone patting Iku on the back for dating someone else after all this, she was only pretending to date Nakamura for the sake of pissing off Yori as retaliation for him dating Tomoka. She is such a passive sack of useless.

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Yori, I really think you have a problem.

Oh goody, now we’re getting to some Iku creepiness. We see Iku giggling and learn that she’s super excited because Yori said he’d die without her and only her, then she flips because the same can be said of her.

Being reminded of Tomoka, she drags Yori away to a love hotel and begs him to have sex with her, to make him hers, and to allow her to know him in a way that Tomoka knows him. Yori actually doesn’t want to have sex in the love hotel because he wants their first time to be in some place romantic and special…..Pbbbbbbtttttt Yori, what are you smoking? You delusional liar. He’s damn near had sex with her in –

  • a church,
  • their bunk beds
  • the shower
  • their bunk beds again
  • a train
  • the bathroom
  • a science lab.

I’m pretty sure he’d plow her behind a dumpster at a Taco Bell up until this point. NOW he’s all picky and worried about making it special for her?

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To be fair, she is actually the one initiating everything and Yori does ask her many times if she wants him to stop and she keeps saying ‘no.’….However, I am still very uneasy about this scene. She’s still very scared, which I suppose is normal for any soon-to-be-not-virgin, but I still feel like she’s just doing this to stake a claim on Yori. Like she still feels threatened by Tomoka possibly taking Yori away because they’ve had sex and Iku hasn’t done it with Yori yet. She likely sees it as Tomoka having a higher claim on Yori than she does, and she won’t have that. I’m not even reading too much into that either because she basically admits that as the reason. She’s jealous that Tomoka had sex with Yori so she wants to have sex in the same type of location doing the same things they did. That’s not having sex for love, that’s having sex for possessiveness.

In the end:

ROUND TWO WINNER: ANIME

I was really on the fence about this volume’s winner. The only major point of difference is the inclusion of Nakamura. Iku never gave a crap about Nakamura and was purely using him for the sake of making Yori jealous so that went nowhere. The whole thing with Yori and Tomoka and Iku and Nakamura at this point really just seems to be accentuating how frighteningly possessive Yori is, which just makes him look worse.

Yori really was bad enough in the OVA, but he cannot go one chapter without either thinking something incredibly creepy, doing something frightening or forcibly molesting his sister. He only had a couple of these instances in the OVA due to time constraints, so, by all means, the anime wins this round.

Next volume, do Yori and Iku do the do at the love hotel?

AniManga Clash! Boku Wa Imouto Ni Koi o Suru (Volume 1)

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Plot: Yori has been harboring a secret his entire life; he’s desperately in love with his twin sister, Iku. One night, he finds he cannot control himself anymore and kisses her on the lips in her sleep. He starts to go further with his desires and quickly finds her awakening to the shocking and confusing feeling of her brother molesting her body. He declares his love of her and tries time and again to prod her into a physical relationship and falling for him as he has her. Obviously, the taboo and utter confusion is a lot for Iku to bear, but under the threat of losing her brother forever if she doesn’t reciprocate, she decides to slowly start giving into him.

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Geez, why did this manga show up on my radar so soon? For those who haven’t read the anime review yet, let me sum it up; Iku’s a doormat, Yori’s a creepy emotionally manipulative rapist and, spoiler alert, incest is a social and religious taboo.

I can still see the fumes from my anime review. And hoo boy the manga is not anywhere near better so far.

The manga actually starts out with Yori molesting his sister in her sleep, which is a major mistake to me and something the OVA actually has over the manga. In the anime, there was buildup to him eventually giving into his lust. Here, we’re just thrown into it. Also, he basically jumped Iku during an argument when this happened in the OVA, which is bad, but not as bad making out with her and groping her boobs as she sleeps.

Yori sniffs Iku’s used bath water. Just throwing that out there.

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After Yori makes out with Iku in her sleep and she wakes up, he throws his love declarations at her and starts to force her into sex. This is all within chapter ONE.

Well, at least he admits his screwed up feelings to her right off the bat…..not like he could avoid it after she wakes up with bro-tongue in her mouth.

Just like in the anime, Iku is giving in to his romantic advances because she feels lonely without her brother. It’s a fear of losing him not love that is fueling her romantic responses. Made all the worse by the fact that Yori seems to give a vague threat at what he’d do without her. Implications can go anywhere from him simply leaving to him killing himself.

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Yori admits to Iku early on that he’s dating Tomoka and even pushes his and Tomoka’s relationship further to combating Iku’s jealous behaviors and to avoid suspicions of them being together. So, nice, Yori. You force yourself on your sister, basically trap her into a romantic entanglement and then blow up your relationship to another girl to push Iku away and make yourself look better to other people. You truly are an asshole. And a coward.

At this, Iku gets upset and Yori’s only reaction is to smirk in shadow congratulating himself since this is seemingly proof that Iku really likes him now. So is the manga just accepting that Yori is a creepy fuck who is manipulating his sister and being an overall asswipe?

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Yori: *in class afterwards to Iku* “Why are you sulking? Why are you being so much trouble?” Why are you such a vile bag of anus?

*later, at home, right as Iku’s about to get in the bath* *Yori corners her by slamming his arms around her to the wall* Yori: “I can’t forgive you. You don’t have any right to ignore me.” Iku, run the fuck away. Get as far away from this emotionally puppeteering fungus as you can. Please.

More forced kissing….with looming threat of their mom coming in. She even says ‘No’ and he forces her to keep kissing….

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Yori: “I’d rather put a collar on you.” Eh, BDSM stuff is nothing given the subject mat–

“You wouldn’t be able to run anywhere. Nobody would take you anywhere. Definitely stay by my side *sniffs hair*” RUN THE FUCK AWAY, IKU. WHILE HE STILL HASN’T GONE TO PETSMART!

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Iku: “Mom, can’t I help you with something!?”

Mom: “What? You must be feeling bad all of a sudden!”

Dad: “I’ll stop giving you allowance!” Your daughter wants to help you with stuff and you threaten to take away her allowance? What is this household? Why is everyone crazy?

Iku is saying this because Yori freaked her out with that collar talk and hair sniffing, so Yori gets upset that Iku is getting upset and marches off to his room. Oh wow. What a surprise that the sister you just sprung your romantic feelings on and you’ve been playing emotional Jenga with for a few days is having difficulty acting normal about you kissing other girls, forcibly kissing her with your mother mere feet away, and criticizing her kissing technique to boot, threatening to keep her on a literal leash and sniffing her hair on more than one occasion. What a weirdo IKU is.

Okay, I really need to make a ‘Yori sniffing Iku’s hair’ tally, because he does it a disturbing amount of times. I’ll assume it’s up to at least five by now.

Hair sniffs: 5

Yori: *while getting it on with Iku “Because I love you….I can’t make myself stop.” I think that’s one of the official credoes of rapists.

Yori: “This time, I definitely won’t let you run away.” Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

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“If you really say ‘no’ this time, I won’t stay by your side. I don’t want to hurt you.” Proof that Yori is manipulating Iku based on her dependence on him. She can’t stand the thought of not being with Yori to the point where she’ll fake being romantically interested in him to keep him around. Her jealousy with Tomoka earlier was, like I said in the OVA review, moreso her jealousy that Tomoka is threatening to take Yori away not that she’s a romantic rival.

Also, all of this culminating together, he’s basically saying he’s leaving if Iku doesn’t return his feelings, because he’s afraid he’ll rape her. Because “he’s at his limit”. So this is, literally, word for word what I said about him in my anime review. He’s more in lust with Iku than he is in love.

He seriously told Iku to lose some weight? She’s a flimsy shoujo stick. Putting this in the ‘more emotional manipulation’ jar.

There she goes sleeping with Yori for the sake of keeping him from not going to the faraway school. She wasn’t really considering it before the news hit, and the whole time she’s panicking over her fear of being alone.

And, like before, the sex scene is very awkward because she keeps panicking and seeming very scared, even implying in inner monologue that if she didn’t do it with him, he’d leave, insinuating that she’s doing this purely to keep him around. It’s even more uncomfortable that he’s giving her orders while they’re in foreplay.

Admittedly, she does imply in her thoughts that she’s getting hot and sexually responsive, but that really could just be simple biology. An attractive guy is half naked and making out with her. I’m not sure if the Westermarck effect stands firm in tamping down sexual attraction if said person is initiating sexual contact. I’d think, in spite of the blood and emotional/childhood connections, the body would respond to the stimulation either way. Also, keep in mind, Iku seems to be new to all of this. Yori just stole her first kiss and I doubt she’s ever tried self-pleasure methods.

Shall we keep powering through this sex scene? To Yori’s credit, Yori says the sex doesn’t mean anything if Iku doesn’t love him, but also ignores her repeatedly saying ‘no!’ and ‘stop!’ which already turns this into a rape, and he actually says ‘I understand that she’s scared.’ I understand that my sister is scared and completely uncomfortable at my sexual advances, but I’ve waited long enough for this so imma keep going.

Let’s get more uncomfortable; “I can’t stop. I won’t stop. Reason has left me. I’m running on instinct. Even if Iku is crying….I’m probably a really cruel guy. Even though Iku’s face looks like this (scared out of her mind and crying) I think that she looks more and more cute. Iku….are you scared? She’ll definitely say ‘I’m scared’ with that sweet voice. It will make me more passionate. More of that sweet voice. I want to see more of her sweet face. Even if she says ‘I’m scared’ I’ll probably continue.

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WHY DOES ANYONE THINK THIS SERIES IS ROMANTIC OR SWEET? This is CREEPY. This is FRIGHTENING. This is A CREEPY RAPIST RAPING HIS TERRIFIED SISTER.

And you know what else? Iku actually says she’s not afraid and Yori stops because he knows she’s not being sincere. And he’s right. She said it, of her own admission, because it’s what he wanted to hear.

My problem is that he was getting more and more pent up the more scared she looked and the more she cried. The instant she smiled and accepted him that’s when he went soft and stopped altogether. Some people might say that’s because Yori legitimately wants Iku to love him before they do such a thing, and I think even I gave him props for that in the OVA review, but given all of the inner monologue we got in the manga, I’d actually say it seems more like he was disappointed that the situation went from a near rape to consensual. Especially with that line of saying he’ll get more passionate if he her hears her say she’s scared.

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You could argue that he just wanted to hear her voice, but considering he stopped because of her accepting it, that can’t be true. What’s the matter, Yori? Her smiling face with open arms not as sexy as her frightened face with her arms crossed and tears running down her face? Her ‘sweet voice’ saying ‘No, I’m not scared. Do it.’ not as much of a turn on as ‘No! Stop! I’m scared’? You are a seriously creepy son of a bitch, Yori.

Also, this is proof that he can indeed control himself. He just doesn’t want to.

Yori: “Hurry up and love me, idiot.” Hurry up and fall down a flight of stairs, you creeper.

Hair Sniffs; 6

He sticks his finger in Iku’s mouth then licks the spit off it….ughughghghg.

Alright, near the end of the volume, Iku starts acting more like she’s legitimately falling for Yori, but I’m still kinda calling foul because much of her inner monologue seems to focus on how she’s getting turned on by Yori through his scent and whatnot. That coupled with her desire to never leave him might be construed as love, but I’m not really buying it.

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I still believe Iku’s just gotten to a point where she’s confused biological lust and a fear of being separated from her brother with romantic love. In pretty much any other situation, this might be fine. Typical teenager discovering her sexuality and learning about herself, but in this situation, given how forceful and manipulative Yori is and the possible ramifications of their relationship, this can be much more damaging than usual. At least it’s technically more consensual now, but given how the relationship started, I can’t ignore how unhealthy this situation is.

ROUND ONE WINNER: ANIME

Yeah the anime actually wins this round because it had a better start in building up tension, the art is basically identical and somehow I actually think Yori is less creepy in the OVA at this point than manga!Yori is. At least his first sexual advance on Iku was when she was conscious…..

Part 2: Yori and Iku fight, Iku finds herself a boyfriend after finding out Yori has slept with her friend Tomoka and things continue to be creepy.

Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01 Volume 2 (Manga) Review

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Plot: Taichi and Zero are well on their way to collecting all of the tags. They enter a strange castle of nightmares protected by the Perfect Digimon, Vamdemon, who tries to turn Zero against Taichi. Taichi shows off his ability to uplink data collected from previous battles to have a competition with a local Starmon. And Taichi meets an incredibly powerful new foe; a human tamer with two digivices named Neo Saiba, the reigning Digimon champion who is now siding with Demon.

Breakdown: Let’s get the connections to the anime out of the way; Patamon appears, but is really a Bakemon in disguise.

Myotismon is one of the tag protectors.

Starmon appears, obsessed with being famous.

Devimon, Ogremon, Greymon and MetalGreymon are all Neo’s Digimon, with Greymon/MetalGreymon seemingly being his intended partner.

Fusion is introduced here, called Jogress Evolution.

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With that out of the way, let’s go on to the story. We’re getting a bit further out of the whole ‘Taichi meets a guardian, battles him and pulls a win out of his ass over and over’ trope that was growing old in volume one. While Taichi and Zero do defeat Vamdemon fairly easily because, pretty much, the power of friendship, they struggle with him much more than the other two guardians.

Zero and Taichi’s bond really does get a lot of highlight in this volume as it saves their asses on more than one occasion, especially in the very end in their battle against Neo Saiba, but it does seem kinda tropey sometimes like Zero going over his maximum analyzed power level because he wants to protect Taichi.

Neo as a character is hard to compare to any character from the anime. I guess you might say he’s an amalgamation of early-series Ruki and Ken, with a touch of Vegeta and Kaiba from DBZ and YGO respectively. Neo Saiba is the reigning Digimon champ with a 100% win rate like Taichi. He was the winner of the competition that Taichi couldn’t enter in the start of volume one, though Taichi still challenged him because he had a 100% win rate. The match ended up in a tie with both being announced the winner, something supposedly impossible due to how the game works. Despite claiming it’s a mere program error, Neo wants to take his revenge against Taichi and prove himself as the strongest tamer.

Neo has not shown any inkling of deserving sympathy here so far. His desire to beat Taichi is petty, he’s a complete asshole to his Digimon, and he doesn’t care if either the Digital World or the real world get destroyed because of Demon. He just wants to tame the strongest Digimon and be the best tamer in the world. Taichi is a very stark contrast to him on almost every level.

Demon summoned him to the Digital World after Taichi was summoned by Holy Angemon. He is the one who will hatch and tame the Super Ultimate Digimon from the Digiegg Demon has. For the time being, though, he tames an Orgemon and a Devimon. His intended partner Digimon is a Greymon that he deleted because his win rate wasn’t high enough for his expectations. His leftover data decided to become more powerful in order to make Neo happy, so he became MetalGreymon and paired with Neo yet again. Yup, he just decided he wanted more power and was granted it by nothing.

MetalGreymon’s story is very tragic and it’s one of the hinge points in the series so far. As a comparison, if you thought Ken was a jerk for the way he treated Wormmon, you’ll be seeing red when you see how Neo treats MetalGreymon. And, like Wormmon, he stays loyal to his partner through and through no matter how badly he’s treated.

Taichi gets the tag of spirit (Illusions according to this translation) and iron (metal empire in this volume) and only needs one more tag to gain entry into Demon’s castle, where Neo will be waiting as well.

Overall, this volume was a step up from volume one, but I’m still waiting for Taichi to actually lose for once. I know one of his catchphrases is saying he’s a 100% tamer, which would be lost if he did lose, but seeing him always come out on top will make this series pretty boring after a while. I will say that the final battle between Skull Satamon and Zero was the most intense so far, and one that actually had tension given how beat up Zero actually gets.

Rating: 8/10

Recommended Audience: Zero nearly dies and we learn that Digimon actually bleed here with blood flowing from Zero’s nose as he’s basically being crushed. Other than that, though, nothing too bad. 7+

Wanderful Days (Manga) Review

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Plot: Akira is a scary looking kid that everyone takes as a devil or delinquent. He’s earned the nickname of The Rabid Dog Fujishima, though he’s not nearly as bad as everyone makes him out to be. While he is a bit rough around the edges, he has a great love of dogs and is actually quite kind. One day, Akira saves a dog from being hit by a car. Sadly, he dies in the process, but his soul is inserted into the body of the dog he saved. He gets adopted by a kind girl named Hinata who takes him in and names him, coincidentally enough, Akira. As he tries to adapt to life as a dog, he discovers that Hinata is one of the few people who actually shows legitimate caring for him; both before and after he died.

Breakdown: On the surface, this looks like a really silly manga. And, yeah, the premise is a bit of a hurdle to get over, but it’s, surprisingly, a pretty good one-shot. You really feel for Akira’s plight even if they play up all sorts of the obviously awkward aspects of being a dog, even some that are played up pretty much just for awkwardness based on the fact that he’s actually a teenage boy. For instance, she bathes with him and sleeps with him, and even lets him, accidentally, put his face in her naked crotch.

Akira was just born with a really ‘evil’ looking face. Even as a baby he was feared by people, including his parents. Because of this, he didn’t have any real friends and no close relationships. He was challenged by all sorts of thugs and earned a reputation due to his fighting back, and kicking ass at that.

Hinata’s a very kindhearted and slightly airheaded girl. Her parents died and she lives alone, though she doesn’t seem to take care of herself very well since her room’s a pigsty and she constantly forgets to lock the door.

When the people at Akira’s school learn that Akira died, they all either don’t care or rejoice since they viewed him as a devil. The only one to cry or even show any sadness over Akira’s death is Hinata. We learn that Hinata actually knew Akira through one chance meeting when they were a couple years younger. She was crying and injured for some reason and Akira, also visibly wounded, probably due to a fight, stopped and tried to cheer her up and tend to her wounds.

In a pretty touching scene back in the present as Hinata mourns Akira’s death, Akira tries to cheer up Hinata in the way most dogs would – he licks her face. But not in a creepy way. It’s touching because it’s just sad all around. Absolutely no one but Hinata cares that Akira died despite the fact that he wasn’t even a bad guy; he just looked scary and had fights forced upon him. If anyone would need cheering up after that, it would be Akira, but all he cares about is Hinata’s feelings and treasuring that, despite only meeting her for a second, she was able to see him for who he was and mourn his death.

They remain as a happy family until one of Hinata’s creepy classmates comes into Hinata’s apartment uninvited (the door was unlocked – She has a bad habit of doing that). When he believes she liked Akira and not him, he attacks her with a box cutter. Akira protects her and nearly gets stabbed, but Hinata protects him and gets cut in the process. Akira then goes crazy and knocks the boy out of the apartment and into a tree.

With the threat gone, Hinata points out just how similar he is to Akira and proudly enforces the honor of the name of her lost friend Akira. With a bark (wan; the Japanese sound for a dog bark, hence the pun title WANderful Days.) he gladly accepts his ‘new’ moniker and place as Hinata’s loyal dog.

Some people pointed out that it might’ve been better if he turned back into a person in the end or if Hinata died and became a female dog to be with him forever, but I’m actually pretty okay with how this ended. Technically, the first option would’ve been fine because the soul of the original dog is still around. He’s actually the weakest part of the manga because he basically just instructs Akira to act like a dog and do perverted things. If she wanted to keep the dog and have Akira back, it could’ve happened, but time would’ve needed to reverse or something because you can’t just say he’s dead and have him get better……Then again, dying and becoming a dog isn’t any less believable.

The second option just seems terrible to me. It’s a bit predictable and I don’t want Hinata to die just to become a dog and have a dog-mance with Akira. In the end, while romance was a factor a little, all Akira wanted was a true family and someone to really care for him. All Hinata wanted was a family and someone to love. In the end, they both got that. The only thing that really bothers me is that…..Akira’s time on earth is still pretty limited. He’s a dog, and seemingly a somewhat old-ish dog at that. Chihuahuas have decent life spans, but they’re still nothing compared to how long Hinata will probably live.

Then again, I guess we’re not meant to think that far ahead and just live in the now. Akira and Hinata are happy and together, and that’s all that matters.

The art is nothing too special, and it’s done in fairly typical shoujo style, but it’s pretty good.

In the end, this is a pretty good one-shot that I’d gladly suggest to anyone looking for a touching tale of friendship/kinda romance. If you can swallow the slightly off-color premise, then you’re pretty much golden.

Additional Information and Notes: Wanderful Days was written and illustrated by Sakura Roku. It was serialized in Gangan Online.

Year: 2010

Volumes: One shot

Rating: 8/10

Recommended Audience: There are some panty shots and censored genital shots. Moderate violence and scary situations. 10+