Japanese reading report

This week: chipped away a little at 探偵はもう、死んでいる, watched a few of my weekly shows (one each of mob psycho, spy family, うる星やつら, and 僕のヒーローアカデミア) as well as the 11 remaining episodes of がんばれ同期ちゃん (probably 20 minutes total of dialogue across the whole thing; it’s really not worth watching vs just reading the webcomic), and finished the audiobook for 裏世界ピクニック 7 (7:44, medium focus). I thought 裏世界ピクニック might be wrapped up with this book but it ended up being left open and another one is coming out in January, so that’ll be fun to look forward to.

First manga of the week was 幼馴染とはラブコメにならない vol. 3. Pretty cute. It flirts pretty hard with the line between satire and straight-play but it’s done pretty well. This volume ended with a tease of yet another 幼馴染 entering the cast and she seems like she could be fun.

The rest of my manga this week (four volumes) were all チェンソーマン vol. 2-5. I read the first volume all the way back in January and simply did not get what all the fuss was about — nothing about it felt all that special or unique and I ultimately couldn’t even muster the motivation to see if it got better. In my report at that time I said “I’ll probably read vol. 2 just because I have it in my library but it would have to see a dramatic improvement for me to go any further with it,” and well…that’s exactly what happened. (Mild spoilers follow).

There were two moments that flipped me from a doubter to a believer, and both in the same way. The big thing that turned me off from reading further originally was hearing about the infamous ゲロ scene, but another thing was how people would say stuff like “Denji is so relatable, he just wants to touch some boobs”, which really is not a very compelling character trait to me. The moment I first started to consider giving the series another chance was when a certain someone showed me a page from after the ゲロ scene, about how “bad first experiences might never fade away, but so many good experiences are still out there waiting for you that you don’t have time to waste dwelling on them”. It’s a really touching scene and it genuinely made me reevaluate my expectations — could it be that the aspects I didn’t like were actually in service of something greater. Reading vol. 2, reaching the scene where Denji does achieve his lifelong dream of touching boobs — and is then left empty and directionless as he realizes it wasn’t all he ever hoped it would be — convinced me that there was actually something more to the series than I saw at first. I don’t think my vibe from vol. 1 was wrong, honestly, and if it had continued on the same track I probably still wouldn’t be a fan. But vol. 2 was really good and after I finished vol. 3 I decided to pull the trigger and buy the rest of the series with the big cmoa coupon this week.

I finished vol. 5 just a few minutes before sitting down to write my report but it’s gone on for long enough so I’ll cut it off here. In short: enjoying myself a lot and have been surprised by how well developed the characters have become in a short amount of time. The humor and action are entertaining but the emotional moments are also executed really well. I’m very glad I gave it a second chance.