Manga of the Month: Sweetness and Lightning

Sweetness and Lightning (甘々と稲妻) by Gido Amagakure

hisui_icon_4040_round If you have ever talked to anyone who licensed manga you know the holy grail of titles is a series that is getting an anime. Not every manga that gets an anime becomes profitable but any series that has an animated version will be more profitable than it would have been if it has to stand on its own. While manga has a distinct presence and fandom in the English-speaking world it could be argued that manga often acts as an add-on to anime which is the opposite of how it usually works in Japan. If nothing else, that is how I found Sweetness and Lightning.

While I regularly read several series on Crunchyroll manga I have found that I am slow to start new series. I check in every Tuesday to read Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches and The Seven Deadly Sins. When I remember I catch up with GTO: Paradise LostSpace BrothersPrincess Jellyfish, and The Heroic Legend of Arslan. With all of that, it makes it a bit daunting to start a new series. Sweetness and Lightning was a series that I was thinking of starting but I just never mustered the momentum to try it. After watching the anime I went back and have started reading through the archives. I mostly realized I should have started when I first had the chance.

This gives me a new way of reading a series. I often either read the manga before watching the anime or watch the anime and then use the manga to continue the story. This is the first time I am reading the manga alongside the anime. Every time I watch an episode of the anime I then go back and read up to that point in the anime. I am curious to see how this method changes the way I look at both versions.

Continue reading

Manga of the Month: Chocolate Cosmos

Chocolate Cosmos (チョコレートコスモス) by Nana Haruta

narutaki_icon_4040_round I had been hoping for more of Nana Haruta’s romance manga to make it into English. I’m a big fan of her series Cactus’s Secret which was released by VIZ a couple of years ago. Chocolate Cosmos is part of VIZ’s fairly new and small section of digital only releases.

Sayuki is a sharp-eyed and sharp-tongued girl who is really a romantic at heart. While on a trip to the beach with friends, she meets and falls for a guy working at a chocolate banana stand. The feelings seem mutual. But it turns out that guy is actually one of her teachers.

Chocolate Cosmos is pure fantasy in regards to dating your teacher, one in which things can work out pretty OK without any consequences. But the extra touch that makes Chocolate Comsos a little special is actually Sayuki’s exploration of her own feelings and her relationship with a different boy completely.

Sayuki spends a lot of the manga examining what she wants and how to go about it. There is pretty much no question who she has romantic feelings for (and whether he has them for her either), even with her childhood friend Yushi in the mix. But what I found refreshing was the slow reveal of Sayuki’s past feelings for Yushi and how things have changed for her. Their final conversations about those feelings are very satisfying and tread a less familiar path.

The melodrama of the series is very low-key and interspersed with a lot of humor which is why I enjoy Nana Haruta’s stories so much. Chocolate Cosmos is just the type of romance manga one wants to devour in a lazy summer afternoon.

~ kate

Manga of the Month: Fate/Apocrypha

Fate/Apocrypha (フェイト/アポクリファ) by Akira Ishida

hisui_icon_4040_round I would just like to mention that July is the month of my birthday so I would kindly ask that everyone take this Manga of the Month as a bit of a gift to myself.

Continue reading