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nathandouglasdavis

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Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji

Feb 16, 2024

I'd seen a handful of references to the Kaiji character in a few other manga (I forget which ones), so I'd been aware of this manga series and the fact that it was something of a meme within the manga world for several years before I finally got around to reading it. And I honestly wasn't expecting much. The artwork is obviously crap and I was expecting the storyline to just be a bland glorification of gambling or somesuch. Though, as should be obvious from my score, I was pleasantly surprised and greatly entertained by this series. The story is very engaging from start to finish... See full review

10/10 story
1/10 art
8/10 characters
9/10 overall

Tanaka-ke, Tensei Suru.

Jan 15, 2024

This is cute and enjoyable, which are the most important things. It's got a wholesome vibe to it and it leans into a lot of tropes with the isekai -> nobility type of route (as opposed to the isekai -> adventurer type of route). Our protagonist is Emma, who is a bit oblivious in some ways. There are some romance elements, though it's pretty minimal and is largely just Emma gathering a harem of boys who like fem. There is also some comedy elements, though this is moreso just an ongoing absurdist undertone throughout the entire series rather than any moments of hearty laughter. I like the... See full review

6/10 story
7/10 art
9/10 characters
8/10 overall

Tsuruko Returns the Favor

Jan 2, 2024

I like humor based on misunderstandings the most, so this manga hits a pretty good spot for me with that aspect. That said, the student/teacher romance-tingles sorta negate some of that enjoyment, 'cause those aspects come across as squeetish rather than cute. This manga is lighthearted and fluffy and leans into some aspects of otaku-adjacent culture (i.e. maid cafes and cat ears and so forth). So if you're an otaku looking for some comfort food and don't mind some student/teacher blush, then this manga might work well for that purpose. [Reviewed at chapter 13]

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3/10 story
7/10 art
5/10 characters
4/10 overall

Ole Golazo

Dec 17, 2023

Right from the get-go, some of the story beats feel forced and contrived, making the reading experience less fluid. There are also really stilted gags thrown in, which interrupt the flow of the story while adding basically zero humorous effect. The characterizations are weak, and the overall story arc isn't very satisfying (since it feels more like Banba slotted into a situation that made the best use of feir abilities rather than going on a journey to figure out how best to make use of feir abilities). There is some nominal struggle and effort put in, but a lot of it happens between the panels and doesn't... See full review

2/10 story
8/10 art
1/10 characters
2/10 overall

The Yakuza's Bias

Dec 13, 2023

The humor comes from the juxtaposition of something which is generally seen as manly (the yakuza) with something which is generally seen as girly (boy bands). In some ways, it's making a progressive statement about how gender expectations are bunk and how anyone can find value in boy bands and idol culture. We see the intensity of the yakuza and the intensity of an otaku overlap in a way that reminds me of AKB49, where the hard work and determination of idols is emphasized in order to emphasize how they can resonate with manly values. Idol fandom is definitely portrayed as unbearably intense... See full review

3/10 story
5/10 art
7/10 characters
5/10 overall

Two on Ice

Dec 10, 2023

This manga is fine, but also feels both lackluster and like it's rushing things. The pairs-doing-dancelike-sports central aspect reminded me a bit of Welcome to the Ballroom, but I generally liked that manga more than this one. The artwork is boxy and sketchy, which can sometimes make the emotions or proportions look a bit off, but it's fine enough overall. Hayuma's character personality can be boiled down to fem being gung-ho. Kisara has a complex about being a girl, and specifically about how fe won't have the manly muscles to be able to do quadruple axel jumps as fe gets older. Looking quickly at... See full review

4/10 story
6/10 art
3/10 characters
4/10 overall

Boroboro no Elf-san wo Shiawase ni Suru Kusuriuri-san

Nov 2, 2023

As should be clear from my score, I did not personally find much within this manga to enjoy. The artwork is good, but that alone never makes something fully worthwhile. They do try to add some backstory and worldbuilding elements to it, but they never clicked quite right with me. Probably because it seemed obvious to me by that point that the author was more interested in creating a monetizable vibe than in telling a story. I'll explain what I mean by that in a second, but first let me set the stage a bit by describing some structural mundanity. The first 49 "chapters" of this manga consist... See full review

3/10 story
8/10 art
2/10 characters
3/10 overall

Boku no Suki na Hito ga Suki na Hito

Oct 9, 2023

Right off the bat, I want to make clear that the artwork is absolutely fabulous. The girls look cute almost all of the time and the guys look cute in some select moments as well. And it does a great job with blushing and showing a range of emotions. The love triangle aspect is also handled decently well, in the sense that it has created several funny and engaging moments for us the readers. The obsessive nature of each of these characters' crushes is definitely over-the-top and a bit ridiculous, though it can partially be seen as a commentary on how people can have crushes on idealized versions of... See full review

7/10 story
10/10 art
8/10 characters
8/10 overall

Nokori Ichinichi de Hametsu Flag Zenbu Heshiorimasu: Zamaa RTA Kiroku 24Hr.

Sep 5, 2023

The narrative structure of this manga works very well to create a sense of tension and cohesion. We know from the get-go that everything will climax in the next 24 hours at the condemnation event, so the vast majority of the manga is just consisting of Alexandra making preparations for that event. Some of feir preparations feel genuinely clever, while others feel a bit less so. And most of the preparations seem to consist of just having most of the various people who were planning on condemning Alexandra not show up or otherwise agree to align themselves with Alexandra instead.  There's also a bit of... See full review

7/10 story
9/10 art
7/10 characters
7/10 overall

My Girlfriend Gives Me Goosebumps!

Jul 30, 2023

I think one of the cutest moments so far has been in chapter 8-9, when Kisaki Tokano (the yandere) started intentionally trying to satisfy the yearnings for life-threatening vibes of Kisaki Tokano (the thrill-seeker). You see, this is a wholesome(?) romance about a yandere and a thrill-seeker trying to find ways to satisfy each other's unique relationship needs, because normal relationships wouldn't work for either of them. It's one of those stories built around two people's traits or personalities fitting together perfectly like puzzle pieces, and those sorts of stories can be sorta nice. The... See full review

4/10 story
5/10 art
7/10 characters
5/10 overall

Surviving the Game as a Barbarian

Jul 30, 2023

This manhwa has been very entertaining so far. Bjorn does have special knowledge about the world and what sort of tactics are ideal for both long-term growth and short-term survival, but the story is still filled with tension and difficulties. And the fact that Bjorn doesn't just coast on feir cheat ability and instead actually struggles and faces near-death experiences is what makes this an interesting read.  Character-wise, the characters are alright, but not the strongest I've ever seen. Other than Bjorn, the biggest characters are Erwin and Aynar--two women who seem to be part of Bjorn's... See full review

8/10 story
9/10 art
7/10 characters
8/10 overall

Boku Yori Medatsu na Ryuugakusei

Jul 27, 2023

A cute story. It plays into a lot of the common school-romance tropes, but the character personalities are quirky enough that it makes it feel unique and fun. Plus Manabu's inventions spice things up. Meria is a tall, introverted girl from a dragonkin species known as zmeu. Both Meria and Manabu are trying to make friends. My major disappointments with the series are that Meria ended up refounding the "Zmei Research Club" instead of joining an already established club and that the ending felt rushed. Related to that, I think it might've been nice to see a bit more interactions with other cliques... See full review

5/10 story
7/10 art
8/10 characters
6/10 overall

Service Wars

Jun 25, 2023

Service Wars is a gag manga. At many points, it seems to be able to pump out a gag at least every page or two. The humor is largely based around absurdism, with superhuman abilities and quirky/non-standard behaviors being the main pillar. There is a recurring theme of workers being overworked and needing to rest. Like a lazy river, the story has already meandered through a few different areas of focus, with a few different shadow organizations taking action. The first few chapters (ch. 1-6) have Nasunosuke dealing with difficult, complainy customers with superhuman abilities. It's revealed that... See full review

3/10 story
2/10 art
6/10 characters
4/10 overall

Debut or Die!

Jun 25, 2023

I've rated the artwork a bit lower primarily because the characters look stiff. Their heads look small on their broad shoulders and at times I suspect that elements are just copy-and-pasted and maybe slightly tweaked. Many of the backgrounds are just simple colors or maybe blurred shapes, which is fine since the characters are supposed to be the main focus of our attention. But, again, the characters look stiff. I will say that they've done an acceptable job of differentiating the characters from one another and the portrayals of emotions are pretty alright, too. As for the story, this is where this manhwa... See full review

8/10 story
5/10 art
7/10 characters
8/10 overall

Jitsu wa Imouto deshita. Saikin dekita Giri no Otouto no Kyorikan ga Yatara Chikai Wake

Jun 25, 2023

[Pre-reading]: Well, well, well, this synopsis has got my pervo genes all aflutter (as genes are wont to do). Lemme give it a little ol' looksee. [Post-reading]: It has some ecchi elements for sure, but they aren't very sexually gratifying. On top of that, the execution of the narrative and artwork leave much to be desired. There's a small amount of humor in the first few chapters stemming from the misunderstandings, but even that's not all that funny. And once the misunderstanding is resolved, the humor basically disappears and it doesn't have much left going for it to make it all that interesting... See full review

2/10 story
2/10 art
3/10 characters
2/10 overall

My Kingdom

May 20, 2023

How should I judge this pornhwa? The sex scenes are really hot--well-drawn and choreographed, with a pretty commendable variety of positions to keep things fresh. If you're just looking for porn, then this might serve your purposes fine. There are some common themes to the sex scenes, which should perhaps be mentioned. More often than not, the sex positions are ones which work well to show off the female bodies to the readers as much as possible. A lot of doggystyle and holding the women from behind. Oh, and way more importantly, the general vibe of the sexual encounters is also quite rapey and misogynistic... See full review

4/10 story
9/10 art
4/10 characters
4/10 overall

To Be an Actor

May 19, 2023

To Be An Actor is a heartwarming and wholesome story. Our protagonist's exceptionalism creates a sense of irony with the reader, because we know that fe isn't actually a child actor and that fe has decades of experience acting in feir past life. We are also groomed to root for the protagonist despite fem coming from a place of privilege because the protagonist's privileged position still feels like it stems from feir hard work (from feir past life), so it still sorta comes across as laudable. And before I harsh the vibes with too many critiques, I just wanna say that this manhwa is quite cute and... See full review

7/10 story
8/10 art
6/10 characters
7/10 overall

Failure Frame: I Became the Strongest and Annihilated Everything With Low-Level Spells

May 13, 2023

The edginess is a bit of a turnoff. All of the aspects involving the goddess and the other classmates are pretty dull, to be completely frank. The relationships between "Hati" and feir various allies aren't all that engaging. The worldbuilding is okay, but not the greatest thing I've ever read. And the overarching quest is fine enough, though I don't prefer stories with revenge as a primary motivator. BUT, the fight scenes can be quite engaging. They are a bit ridiculous and over-the-top with how Hati is able to defeat absurdly powerful monsters and people by combining feir status-affecting... See full review

5/10 story
7/10 art
4/10 characters
6/10 overall

There’s No Way a Side Character Like Me Could Be Popular, Right?

May 2, 2023

There are several aspects to this story which are unsatisfying. Most notably, it hints at a love triangle, but that's never actually fleshed out or explored much within the narrative. And we also don't learn about what actually occurred from Yuuji's perspective during that violent incident which Kai had witnessed. Or put another way, the ending feels like it was rushed and because there were those plot hooks which were introduced but then dropped partway through, I suspect that the manga was cancelled or otherwise dropped. I will also mention that Touka's self-declared motivations differ from when... See full review

4/10 story
5/10 art
3/10 characters
4/10 overall

Bibliomania

Apr 22, 2023

My 1,800th Review! I've read through this story twice now, and both times were quite enjoyable. It's a condensed story with little to no fluff and a very smooth unfolding of the narrative. There are essentially two phases to the story. The first phase (ch. 1-6) is the worldbuilding explanation of how the rooms work within the "manor" (as the synopsis calls it) as well as some examples of the various ways the rooms function as escapist fantasies for their occupants. During this phase, Alice's singleminded drive to get back to the real world comes across like a condemnation of... See full review

9/10 story
10/10 art
8/10 characters
9/10 overall

Fabricant 100

Apr 16, 2023

I'd say that this manga has largely been okay, with some interesting fight scenes and superpowers which are currently all attempting to remain connected to actual human abilities that are just enhanced to extremes (though it's definitely stretching where the boundaries of that lie, like with Ashibi's regenerative powers pulling blood back into feir body). The artwork is pretty good. I also think that No. 100's mannerisms and expressiveness can be somewhat cute, and also creates a bit of dark humor whenever you remember why fe's so maternally protective with Ashibi. There are two... See full review

6/10 story
7/10 art
7/10 characters
7/10 overall

The Invisible Man and His Soon-to-Be Wife

Mar 31, 2023

The artwork is quite cute and mellow. It uses a technique of black-and-white foregrounds with teal backgrounds. This gives a little bit of pop and creates a calming effect. Both Tounome's invisibleness and Yakou's blindness were well portrayed visually. Tounome's body language is shown with the position of feir clothes and sometimes there are also silhouettes or outlines used to help the reader have a better sense of where Tounome is physically. Yakou keeps feir eyes closed. The way Yakou blushes is pretty cute. I appreciated the exposure to a blind character and some of the different ways which Yakou... See full review

3/10 story
7/10 art
6/10 characters
5/10 overall

Souzou Renkinjutsushi wa Jiyuu wo Ouka Suru: Kokyou wo Tsuihou Saretara, Maou no Ohizamoto de Chouzetsu Kouka no Magic Item Zukuri Houdai ni Narimashita

Mar 19, 2023

I will say that I think this story suffers a bit from plot contrivance. Like with how Thor levels up from literally just walking through a forest or how products which seem relevant to whatever problem is going on are found within the product catalog. That said, though, this aspect is largely okay because it contributes to the humor of the series. The humor basically comes from overestimations based on misunderstandings, and the irony that coincides with that. Thor overestimates the technological capabilities of the items from our real world (which are seen within the catalog the summoned... See full review

5/10 story
4/10 art
6/10 characters
6/10 overall

Hunter x Hunter: Hisoka Origin Story

Feb 16, 2023

The artwork is sketched and loose. As such, the backgrounds are almost nonexistent and there are only minimal details within the panels. All that said, I do find it pretty impressive how expressive and well-proportioned all of the characters are, even within the sketches. The plot is fine enough, though the fact that the serial killer John Doe was mentioned a few times before being brought full into the storyline definitely made it so that the plot twist ended up feeling a bit run-of-the-mill and perhaps even somewhat predictable.

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7/10 story
7/10 art
6/10 characters
7/10 overall

Kiss shitai Otoko

Feb 15, 2023

This was pretty entertaining. In addition to dealing with a pretty interesting emotional subject matter, it uses foreshadowing well to create a sense of tension. Broadly speaking, I think I'd categorize this as a slice of life, but with darker undertones. Almost everything is just a series of conversations. At first, it seems like the manga is purely dealing with the idea of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. And it is dealing with that issue, for sure. But more than that, the manga is dealing with the idea of escapism and how a life purpose or a dream to strive towards can sometimes be used as... See full review

4/10 story
7/10 art
8/10 characters
6/10 overall

Houkago Strongberry

Feb 14, 2023

Teaching your students to avoid violence is a good thing to teach them. Largely because younger humans sometimes aren't great at grasping nuance, so it's more important to emphasize nonviolence as a problem-solving tactic as well as empathy in general than to try to explain the nuances of when it might be appropriate or necessary to use violence as a tactic. All that said, I'm not entirely sure if this author femself even understands the nuances the ethical violence, since it seems to be promoting the idea of violence as a way to gain respect from delinquent types. In other words, violence is being... See full review

5/10 story
7/10 art
6/10 characters
6/10 overall

Ichigoki's Under Control!!

Feb 13, 2023

This is a silly little gag manga with a lot of fart jokes. Most of the humor comes from Ichigoki doing weird, inhuman things and the people around fem not reacting in a normal way. It's a weird dynamic because Ichigoki plays both the eccentric role (the boke) and the straight man role (the tsukkomi) simultaneously. As a gag manga, it wouldn't make much sense to judge it on whether it had a cohesive plot or fleshed-out characters (it has neither of those) or any of the other standards which normally create engaging manga. Instead, the primary questions one should ask are: 1) "does it make you... See full review

3/10 story
2/10 art
4/10 characters
4/10 overall

Daga Kotowaru.

Feb 12, 2023

This is a very brief love triangle type of story involving a girl who has difficulty rejecting people when they ask fem out. There are only three characters in the whole manga, and none of them are particularly memorable or anything. And while Kaho sorta has a bit of a character arc, it's not all that compelling of one. The plot itself has some turns to it which I can genuinely say I wasn't expecting, but that doesn't necessarily mean that those aspects made the story stronger. In fact, because of the length, the plot felt pretty forced and the developments felt unjustified.

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3/10 story
2/10 art
2/10 characters
3/10 overall

Lost Lad London

Feb 11, 2023

The characters in this story are quite depressed and low energy, which I think I appreciate. I also found Ellis's injuries to be an interesting addition, suggesting a level of self-disregard of someone who may be pre-suicidal. The manga also did a good job of fleshing out some side characters as well, most notably Rosie and Safa (who feel like distinct, real people but who are only tangentially related to the overarching plotline). It felt like there were actual relationships and an actual world beyond what was shown within the pages of this manga. Each of the three volumes can be seen as a separate phase... See full review

6/10 story
3/10 art
9/10 characters
7/10 overall

Kimi wa Yakamashi Tojite yo Kuchi wo!

Feb 9, 2023

Hiiragi is deaf. Enomoto is Hiiragi's seatmate who has the mindset that "any language barrier can be overcome as long as you have passion," and as such has decided to pretend to understand sign language and is instead purely relying on passion. Obviously, this scenario is kinda dumb (especially the fact that Hiiragi hasn't caught on that Enomoto is misunderstanding fem), but it's fine because it leads to a lot of funny misunderstandings. The humor is the greatest asset of this manga, and it makes the romantic aspects much more engaging and endearing. It does seem to be including some limited... See full review

6/10 story
5/10 art
8/10 characters
7/10 overall