Japanese reading report

Started off slow this week but pulled it out in the end. Nine volumes of manga, fourteen episodes of anime. With my last manga volume this week I’ve now reached my goal from last year (52). Pretty crazy how quickly I’ve ramped up recently.

For anime, throughout the week in no particular order: caught up on 着せ恋, ヴァニタスの手記, and 東京24区. Pretty random distribution of comprehension here as usual; the first two are pretty much perfect but I struggle with the last one. 着せ恋 still has worse pacing and more fanservice than the manga but not in a way that makes it bad per se, more that it just highlights how good the manga is. ヴァニタス is always great but it seems like they’re going to run out of material pretty soon so I might have to start reading the manga since there probably won’t be another season for a long time. Also watched one ep. each of 赤髪の白雪姫 (hit or miss as usual; this time was a miss) and 少女革命ウテナ (definitely the oldest show I’ve watched to date; too early to make a call on how I feel about it).

The first manga I read this week was ココロのプログラム vol. 1, which I think came out the same day I bought it. It had an extended 立ち読み so I decided to flip through it and I ended up impulse-buying it and reading it the same day. It’s a nice little coming of age story about a robot girl learning what it means to have a human heart. I liked it quite a bit, it’s very sweet but also seems like it has potential for some good drama.

Next: 可愛いだけじゃない式守さん vol. 1. Nice art and a funny premise (guy is extremely unlucky, his cute girlfriend is constantly snapping into “cool” mode to protect him), but the gag got old REALLY quickly, like maybe a third of the way through the volume. I have vol. 2 so I’ll probably read it at some point just to see if it gets better but it was kinda rough.

Next up was であいもん vol. 1. Funny story: this was actually part of MAL’s manga translation battle contest way back in 2017, and I (as a complete beginner to learning Japanese) thought I would try my hand at it. Needless to say I barely made it three pages in before totally giving up and then never touching it until this week. It’s pretty interesting revisiting it after all that time; back then I didn’t even know enough to be able to identify that the entire book is written in 京都弁. I got through it pretty quickly and liked it reasonably well. Reminded me of 甘々と稲妻 if the little girl was sassy and mean.

Read through トニカクカワイイ vol. 11 and 12 back-to-back. The very end of vol. 12 finally seems like it’s going to start making some movements in the story area, which is exciting. In the meantime it’s good lovey-dovey comedy and that was the initial appeal of the series anyway so either way is a win.

Finished 呪術廻戦 vol. 14 (it’s been stuck at 2/3 complete for a little while now while I waited for my sister). Now that it’s over I have an enormous need to read the next one but of course I can’t until the english version comes out for her. Life is pain.

Read vol. 1 and 2 of 舞妓さんちのまかないさん, and will definitely be reading vol. 3 this coming week since it’s free currently. Really cute series that follows the cook/handywoman at a maiko house. The art has all these super detailed, beautiful drawings of the scenery and the girls in their attire, and it’s been really interesting to learn about what goes on behind the scenes. Some points that caught my interest in particular: though they can wear normal clothing during meals and downtime, a maiko will keep her hair arranged 24/7, with a shampoo and re-style once a week; you get a new name once you make your debut; and there are restrictions on what kind of food can be prepared in the house — not only because of adherance to Japanese aesthetics, but because you want to avoid reminding the clientele of home. Everyone speaks in the classy old-style variant of 京都弁 and the main character is the cutest. Will likely be catching up with this in the near future.

Finally! at long last! 無能なナナ vol. 9 came out at a hefty 327 pages. I was sitting there looking at it last night, knowing if I tried reading myself to sleep I would not, in fact, sleep. Eventually gave in and read almost the entire thing in one go. Very good and satisfying end to this arc, and of course not without the last-minute reversal. It seems like we’re due for yet another paradigm shift next chapter (or are we?) so I’d really appreciate if we could get to summer sooner vs later.