Japanese reading report

13 volumes of manga this week, and will be 14 by the time I actually go to sleep. After last week’s sorry showing I feel pretty good about doubling my baseline pace. I’m now two weeks ahead of schedule, which is good because I’ll probably need some margin in the next month or two. Also finished my 7th novel of the year and watched nine episodes of anime.

Anime first: kept up with my seasonal menu (サマータイムレンダ それあゆ よふかしのうた  組長娘と世話係), all of which are still delightful. The first episode of 最近雇ったメイドが怪しい aired today and I have to say I was underwhelmed. I’ve been liking the manga a lot but I feel like the pacing of the anime is really not doing the humor justice. I also watched シャドーハウス ep. 2-7, which puts me quite a bit past what I’ve read of the manga. It’s a really great adaptation and I’m hoping to catch up soon so I can watch season 2 week to week.

I finished listening to 化物語・上 while on the road yesterday and today, then dove right into 化物語・下…and made it about 20 minutes in before I realized that I was definitely missing something. Turns out I had skipped right over 化物語・中. This series is going to take a while. I liked this second arc (まいまいまよい) a bit more than the first one but I was a bit unclear on some of the details and definitely didn’t catch whatever pun was supposed to be involved in the twist. That aside, still liked it a lot.

For manga, first up was 古見さん vol. 26, which had some good development and some very nice scenes with our main couple. Next I finished 好きとか嫌いとか大好きとか, which I’d been reading a chapter at a time over the last week or so. I don’t generally consider TL manga but this one is by my friend こむぎさん (who I’ve done translation for in the past) so I decided to give it a try. I actually ended up liking it a lot. The stories are mostly standalone but they’re all of the “happily ever after” variety (which is apparently how the genre tends to go?) and there were lots of funny and/or cute moments throughout.

鬼獄の夜 vol. 13 came out one month (to the day!) after vol. 14 and I’m glad I decided to keep reading it because this is the volume where it finally turned into a 5/5 series for me. It’s still kind of campy but I feel like it’s hit its stride with the historical fiction/horror angle and I’m constantly excited to see what will happen next. Apparently vol. 15 is coming out in another month; I don’t know how the artist is doing it but I won’t complain.

Skipping over a few books in order to consolidate mentions: I read スクール人魚 vol. 1-7, with four of those being on the same day. This one has popped up in cmoa’s free section fairly often but I’ve never given it a try before; honestly the only reason that changed is because I made a userscript that allows me to blacklist series from showing up, and I figured “what the heck, I’ll flip through this one before I decide to never see it again”. Am I ever glad I did! I ended up really enjoying it despite being kinda weirded out by the cover. The basic premise is: you come to the school at night and recite a charm that lets you see “mermaids”, and if you can catch one and eat her flesh before morning, you’ll have success in love. Of course, if you fail you become a mermaid yourself, and if two people have their eyes on the same person… It’s a pretty simple premise but I felt it worked really well. Very unsettling and disturbing at times, and I liked how it subverted expectations here and there by introducing new details as new generations of girls learned about the legend and passed on their own experiences.

それでも歩は寄せてくる vol. 2 was a quick read one afternoon when I didn’t have time for anything else. Pretty cute, not a lot to say (it was nice to be able to see it get animated immediately afterwards). I also decided to give デビルズライン a try because I saw it on the front page of cmoa next to サマータイムレンダ and hey, I’m a simple guy. I liked it quite a bit. Kind of reminds me of tokyo ghoul in some ways. The characters are fun and the worldbuilding seems interesting. I almost wish I’d waited just a day or two to try it, since vol. 1-3 are currently free, but at least at this point I can read the next two without having to decide whether it’s worth spending money on.

Another of my vol. 1s this week was 地球の放課後, which I’ve had in my library for a while but decided to read because it’s by the same author as スクール人魚. This one definitely didn’t grab me quite as hard but I still liked it a good deal. For the most part it’s a “comfy apocalypse” style story but I get the feeling that it’ll get a bit more serious in the next volume. Will probably continue this soon but not immediately.

Next was another I’ve had in my library for a while, 火葬場のない町に鐘が鳴る時. I’m on a horror kick it seems. This one doesn’t seem to have great ratings but I enjoyed it well enough. The art is pretty rough at times but it feels like it has soul, and I’m getting 風の古道 vibes (the second story from 夜市) from the setting. Finally, I read 最近雇ったメイドが怪しい vol. 4 while sitting in a hammock on my parents’ property and had a lovely time. Some nice backstory implications and I saw ~ずじまい for the first time in the wild.

Finally finally, I read most of 税金で買った本 vol. 2 (will be finishing it in bed tonight). So many good moments so far. 早瀨丸 is certified 才色兼備 and I liked 白井’s “tragic backstory” of how he became such a menace.