Btooom! vol. 1

coverFeb 2013 | Yen Press

Tyranus Japan is the creator of a team-based TPS called Btooom where players utilise explosive in order to kill opponents. Ryota happens to be a top player of the game and aims to take the #1 spot. Things don’t go too well for him when he wakes up in the wilderness hanging by his parachute which caught on a tree. There, he finds himself playing the game for real with 30 other people. In order to get out, he must collect 7 chips from opponents. Of course, they can only be collected from the dead.

So we have another murder game type of thing going on and I happen to really like them. While they have a certain predictability to them since all of them have a goal that must be achieved, you never quite know how things will turn out, and already it surprised me. I didn’t expect him to team up with the old man, and I didn’t expect the girl going for the ration drop to have fallen into a trap. In retrospect, I should have. I’ve seen things like that before.

I had wondered if he would assemble a team, since it is a team game. I’m wondering if he’ll end up with the first girl he saw and who else he’ll collect. He seemed to be a bit of a jerk in the beginning, so I wonder if he’ll pull a double-cross. Whatever the case, I really need more of this. I’m really enjoying it.


A Centaur’s Life vol. 1


Nov 2013 |Seven Seas Entertainment

Story & Art: Kei Murayama

If you take the world as it is now, but instead of humans, inhabit it with various supernatural creatures, you’ve got the setting of this very strange modern-fantasy slice-of-life school manga.

Himeno is a centaur and the centre of the story which follows her life’s adventures with her school friends.

I don’t even know where to begin. The content of the first chapter had me fearing things were gonna go the graphical ecchi route and I’m so glad it didn’t. When you have a centaur afraid to date because she’s worried what her… bits… might look like, it should be understandable. If not, it should be when her friends offer to show her theirs. I was SO WTF, I nearly couldn’t continue. If I had gotten this for myself, I would have stopped right there, but it was a get well gift, so guilt started setting in with my contemplations of quitting. Fortunately, subject matter improved with the rest of the volume.

I must say, though, there doesn’t seem to be any continuous plot going on. Chapter-to-chapter feels very all-over-the-place and I didn’t like any of them. The chapter about the school play with the almost shoujo-ai content nearly changed things, but it probably won’t go that way, so I won’t be sticking with it. Again, this type of stuff isn’t my thing. I hope she doesn’t get me any more of this…

Bokurano: Ours vol. 1

CoverFeb 2010 | Viz Media

By: Mohiro Kitoh

During summer break at a beach, 15 kids explore a local seaside cave to find a strange man developing a game. Agree to be playtesters, the 15 friends soon find themselves mixed up in something very real, and very dangerous.

Fifteen enemies will attack the Earth

Something about that gave me chills. Granted, I knew what to expect having seen a few episodes of the anime, it still didn’t prepare me to read this. That was a long time ago and it’s mostly a fuzzy memory. The tone of the book is much more serious and depressing than what I can remember of the anime. The exposition revealing characters thoughts and pasts just further adds to gravity of what’s going on.

I can’t remember what happened to Kokopelli in the show. In the book, he just disappeared with only his glasses remaining. I have this suspicion he’s dead. With what happened to Waku Takashi, I think it’s true and I think it’s going to be a pattern. The police investigation surrounding his death is probably not going to go over well, either.

This was good. This is how I like my manga. I don’t like bubbly, crazy junk. I like disturbing, thoughtful stuff like this. I really should have picked up several volumes, but that’s okay. I will have more of this.

Drifting Classroom vol. 1


Aug 2006 | Viz

By: Kazuo Umezu

After a terrible fight with his mother, Sho goes to school only to find himself and the entire school the only thing standing in a surreal desert landscape after a mysterious earthquake. 

This book is intense. Once the earthquake happens and the school ends up somewhere weird, the entire school breaks down. Teachers have to take extremes to keep control, violence even breaks out, and you’re swept up all along with it wondering WTF.

What shocked me were the emotions and the behaviors of the children and adults. They were all very believable to me, regardless of how crazy some of them were. With what has happened this far, and the cliffhanger at the end, it’s pretty obvious things will only get worse, go darker, and I have no idea just how things could get any worse, or even better for that matter. It all seems hopeless for everyone and I wonder what even happened to them, where they even are, and what end this is spiraling towards.

I must get more of this next week.


Gantz vol. 1

CoverJun 2008 | Dark Horse

By: Oku Hiroya

Kei and Masaru were once childhood friends, but their lives went separate ways. Reunited at a subway station, their lives reconnect trying to save a drunk who fell onto the tracks. Killed by the train, they find themselves in a room with others who’ve recently died.

This is how I like my manga- dark, graphic and violent. If it has an interesting and compelling story, I consider myself lucky. I didn’t know what to expect reading this. When Kei and Masaru’s heads flew off so early in the book, I smiled and wondered where things were going. The room with stuff they couldn’t manipulate, the weird message in the ball, let’s not forget the weird person inside the thing, and the weird killing game; the onions were particularly vile creatures, disgusting, awful things; I really liked it. I want to know how they even still exist. They died, but all the evidence disappeared and they have weird stuff in their brains. I gotta know.

The detail of the gore in this volume is clean and crisp. It’s not that messy sketchy stuff where you aren’t entirely sure what you’re looking at all the time unless certain easily identifiable parts are included. With the compelling story, it’s almost too good to be true and I’m really looking forward to the next volume while hoping it doesn’t flake out on me into typical bubbly stupid crap. It’s what usually happens and why I don’t bother with any of it. I will keep my fingers crossed, but won’t hold my breath. I’ve been disappointed too many times in the past.

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