Japanese reading report

This week I decided to go through my library and read a bunch of random volume-ones from my backlog. I also watched double my current anime goal and got ahead of pace on my novel.

First manga was しましま日誌, about a teacher who goes off to live on a tiny island. I didn’t end up liking this one very much. It’s ostensibly 4koma but sometimes there’s no joke at all, and a lot of the crucial text is done in scribbly handwriting that’s really hard to read. The island setting is basically just a plot device and so far nobody has let slip even a word of dialect. There seemed to be some kind of actual story ramping up about bullying and cliques but it just put more strain on the format. Won’t be continuing this one.

Next was Infection, one of two zombie series I ended up trying this week. It felt a little all-over-the-place but it was decent. Guy gets locked in a shed with the girl he likes by his meddlesome friends — but they got the wrong girl and on top of it nobody comes to let them out because the zombie apocalypse happens to start at that exact moment. Tonally I don’t really think this one works in a lot of ways. There’s a girl whose character design is literally that she lost her skirt in a zombie attack and refuses to wear anything that doesn’t match her outfit, so she’s just running around in her underwear the whole time — but then she gets placed in a dramatic scene where someone has just been bitten saving her life and only has hours left to live. I have two more volumes of this so I’ll see how it goes.

Next was EniDevi, which I bought a while ago and never got around to reading. It’s by the same mangaka as とんがり帽子のアトリエ so the art is a real treat. Unfortunately I didn’t really care for most of it. There were some great gags and the two main characters are fun but for some reason I found it hard to stay engaged…could be something to do with the variety format.

Kingdom of the Z was the other zombie manga I tried and I liked it quite a bit. This one really nails the dark humor and the whiplash is entirely intentional in service of the jokes. The main character gets rescued from zombies by two hot girls and is initially excited at the possibility of being in a “last man on earth” situation, but he finds out pretty quickly that they’re both insane and have plans to harness zombies to generate infinite electricity and serve as a a defense force against other “kingdoms” that will be sprouting up in the wake of civilization’s collapse. It has great energy and I definitely want to read more.

The other highlight of the week was Crazy Food Truck. Guy runs a food truck in the climate apocalypse where most of the water is gone and fish have adapted to live on (and under) land. Needless to say he doesn’t get many customers. He falls in with a perpetually-ravenous girl who’s on the run from some mysterious badguys and each chapter covers some new adventures and a new recipe of some kind. The writing and presentation is really good and I definitely want to read more of it. Apparently this is a really short series, just three volumes, so I’ll probably pick it up this coming week and finish it off.

Next up was Girl Crush, which I found out partway through is about trying to become a K-pop idol. Absolutely zero interest in this topic so I definitely won’t be continuing past vol. 1. The art was really great though, so I might try one of the mangaka’s other series.

My last volume-one of the week was 出会って5秒でバトル, which I picked more out mild curiosity after realizing that it has the same artist as Kingdom of the Z. I’ve never been too interested in battle royale premises and I don’t know that this series is going to convince me otherwise, but it was decent enough. The main character predictably has a special power but at first glance it seems like one that will take some smart thinking in order to be any good at all. I have a few more volumes piled up so maybe I’ll see where this one goes.

For anime, I finished うらみちお兄さん and watched the latter half of re:zero season 2.1 and the first half of re:zero season 2.2. A bunch of it went over my head honestly but there were some nice bits. I’ve been thinking lately about how Subaru is basically the anti-isekai protagonist in a lot of ways and it makes the whole affair much more enjoyable than it might have been otherwise.

Lastly, I got ahead of schedule in 本好きの下剋上 thanks to a long drive this weekend, and will probably be finishing it early this coming week. Potential new developments in the sector of diminishing the church’s stranglehold on poor people with the 身食い disease? I like where things seem to be going.