Well, I haven’t written about the manga I’m following for a while, so here’s an “update review.” Most of these manga are ecchi to quite ecchi, and may not be safe for work, but the post itself below the fold is OK.
No Bra: I have a sneaking feeling that the manga-ka was told to wrap it up, because problems suddenly started getting solved or disappearing. Sexual predator teacher? Gone, the assistant principal discovers she’s at Masato’s place and forces her to move out. Sexually harassing cousin? Hooked up with Hidepon, the best friend. About one chapter to go, I pretty much gave up on it when the guy left the (naked and willing) good-looking girl in bed and went running off to apologize to the trap. In what world? I ended up reading the last chapter anyway, when I saw a note that it was indeed, the last chapter. It turns out that bit was just a bad way to interject some last-minute tension; everyone gets a happy ending. The protagonist gets the cute girl, the trap gets to continue being a trap, and the girls don’t even mind (approve of, in fact) his using the girls restroom. Like I said, “in what world?” Yay. This was a pretty epic gender-bender along the way, that could have turned into an epic trainwreck or Nice Boat ending. Instead, the ending was just… too rushed and not real. Grade: C-
Dollgun: It comes across almost like a 1960’s sitcom, the premise is so goofy. Unassuming teen boy by the name of Akane Junta (“Don’t call me Akane-chan! It makes me sound like a girl!”) is possessed by the spirit of the world’s greatest supervillian, “Dollman.” Fifteen years ago, he caused havoc from the shadows… Said supervillian can do fantastic things, as long as Junta can see his reflection. Of course, everything’s connected…His girlfriend Hikaru, is the illegitimate daughter of the guy’s Japanese mistress, and he ends up being also chased by three famous teen idols, who are the daughters of his Brazillian, Italian, and French mistresses. Not to mention the evil criminal enterprise that wants to find Dollgun’s fortune and legacy, plus the daughters all want to clear dear daddy’s name. Oh, and the reason for Dollgun’s odd name? He can shoot an invisible beam allowing him to take control of another person, the “doll gun.” Or, he can just take control of his host… which can have amusing results where his daughters or former mistresses are concerned! Quite silly and fun, though thoroughly illogical at times. It turns into a Love Hina school comedy when Junta ends up as the manager of the girls’ dorm at school, and all three of the teen idols enroll! Grade: B, mainly for the fun, sexy girls, and quirky secondary characters/villains, but toss logic to the winds.
Tasogare Otome x Amnesia (Dusk Maiden of Amnesia): High school horror/romance/comedy. Somewhere in the old school building is a mirror; if you find it and see someone behind you in it, don’t turn around; it’s the ghost, and she’ll spirit you away! The school is built on an old graveyard, and years ago, a maiden was sacrificed to satisfy the angry spirits. Which one is true? All told, there are 7 legends around the school, all centering on a girl named Yuuko. Teiichi, a freshman, stumbles on the old mirror, and finds he can now see the ghost of Yuuko, who flirts with him non-stop. She’s an oddly corporeal ghost. Moreover, certain other people can see her too — but the rule seems to be that they see what they expect. If they’re afraid of ghosts, they see horrible shadows with eyes, or some shambling undead. Teiichi is apparently affected by this rule also, which puts a twist on her tendency to appear unclothed whenever she’s feeling vulnerable or insecure. As the mysteries begin to pile up, Teiichi’s unofficial Paranormal Investigations Club begins collecting rumors, legends, evidence… and cute girl members. Each has their motivation for joining; it’s not just random “hey, lets add cute girls!” The ghost is jealous… This series is starting very strong; it’s not trying to explain how things work with a heavy hand, though you can see the rules (and questions). Hopefully, it won’t do the “obscurity for depth” bit. Grade B+ so far, but there’s only 8 chapters translated.
The World God Only Knows: Keima is a dating sim game god, capable of beating every game on the first play through. He even plays in class, to the despair of his teachers. Despite that, he gets perfect grades. Not “straight-A’s” but perfect, even though he hates the real world (and real girls–only 2D girls are perfect), and he’s despised by everyone in his class. One day he answers an odd email, and finds himself contracted with a cute, but clumsy and air-headed devil girl from “New Hell.” Her job, and now his, is to capture evil spirits that are hiding in the hearts of young girls. How is it done? Well, he has to “fill their hearts” i.e. get them to fall in love with him. Hell wipes their memories after each “capture” so he’s free to move on to the next. Unwillingly, he brings his full knowledge and skills from dating sims to bear on his new challenge, because if he doesn’t, he’ll die. New Hell doesn’t accept job resignations! There are some fans that consider this the greatest thing since sliced bread, and want desperately to see the anime. I’m not one of them. It’s ok, but it’s mostly a one trick pony (with a long-term back plot that hasn’t been fully revealed yet), kept semi-fresh by the unique challenges (and characters) of the various girls. Surprisingly, the past girls tend to reappear in the plot, allowing us to see how they’ve gotten on with their lives past whatever heartbreak or trauma that created the spirit’s hiding space. Something about this keeps making me think of Sora no Otishimono(?), though the protagonist is not nearly as reprehensible. Edit: The anime will have to be open ended or create it’s own plot and ending; this is a long way from finished. Grade: C-
Mirai Nikki: There are two ways to go hideously wrong: refusing to sleep with the crazy girl, and sleeping with the crazy girl. Either one can get you killed. Hey, at least Yukiteru chose to sleep with her, which brought some atypical fanservice to the series. We’re a chapter or two away from the end here, and the doublecrosses are coming from both expected and unexpected quarters. Premise, for those who have missed earlier coverage, is that a 12 player deathmatch is underway to determine who will succeed god. The isolated second year Amano Yukiteru is drawn into this as a player, equipped with a cell phone that foretells the future. But his opponents also have such diaries, each with it’s own quirk. Some of the twists are really hard to follow, and some plot devices are just absurd. Crazy girl is hard to take too. Last couple of chapters have had some genuinely surprising reveals, the kind that turn the whole plot on its ear, but in a good way. Still, Grade: C.
Aflame Inferno: Hasn’t been enough posted to be worth a full update; nothing major’s changed. (Except now a cute human psychic girl has been introduced).
Let’s Lagoon: Blue Lagoon crossed with Twilight Zone. Younger viewers compare it to Lost, but I don’t think that’s correct, there’s no moral of “everyone’s in purgatory” going on here. A pair of mysterious accidents at sea; an uninhabited disappearing/reappearing island that’s isolated from the flow of time, two Japanese high-schoolers and the injured teacher marooned with them. Just when you think it’s going to be cliche, the story crosses the reader up. Another strong beginner; we’ll have to hope it can keep up the quality. Jason covered it in more detail here. Grade: B
Negima Up to issue 292 now, and we’re nearing the climax of the Magical World storyline. The crisis of 20 years ago is repeating, and the world’s navies are heading to Old Ostia. Negi’s schoolkids are now all that stand between Magis Mundia and total destruction, as not even the militaries are strong enough. But the bizarre last few pages lost me…
Freezing: The abrupt change in focus away from Bridgette and Aoi has resulted in the introduction of too many new characters too fast; it’s gone from Lord of the Flies to Bleach, in that all the focus is now on fighting the enemy. Definitely losing interest in this. Grade: D
Medaka Box: The weird students continue to pop up as the Flask Plan is exposed. Fighting and a bit of fanservice, combined with science-fiction and mutants-in-all-but-name. It’s not a manga to read for serious entertainment, just for the occasional T&A and of course, “the lulz.” Just to see what crazy and hyper-powered teen shows up next. Sadly, the best source of fanservice, Medaka herself, has been captured and is thus absent from the pages of the last few issues. The other girls just can’t carry it. Grade: C-
Well, that’s all I’ve got this day and time folks. If you see something out there you think I might like, based on the above scores, feel free to drop it in the comments. I tend towards the ecchi stuff, but I do like a good plot and well-realized characters.
Edited for clarity