Japanese reading report

This week I I read three and a half more volumes of manga, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can’t be trusted with anything. First was トニカクカワイイ vol. 4, which finally sold me on the series (I was already enjoying it but it moved to my “actively following” list). Next was ヨコハマ買い出し紀行 vol. 4, which I’ve wanted to keep reading for a while. Last was 怪物事変 vol. 1, which I got for free a while ago and pulled out now that the anime is running. I enjoyed it quite a bit and will probably start watching the anime at some point. I also read about half of 午後3次雨宮教授のお茶の時間 vol. 2 here and there while falling asleep.

January is almost over and I still haven’t finished any novels, so I’m feeling rather behind — once I finish 雨宮教授, I’m going on a diet until I either fall behind schedule or finish a novel, whichever comes first. In pursuit of that, I did get back to 本好きの下剋上 vol. 3, reading two chapters over the last two days. I also stayed somewhat up to date with 大図書館の羊飼い — they introduced a new character whose entire personality is that she tries to leave and is not allowed to leave. I feel kinda bad for her.

Last thing of the week: I also started watching トニカクカワイイ this morning. Just two episodes so far, and a lot of it was familiar since I’ve already read almost everything that the first season covers, but it was enjoyable and I need more listening practice anyway. There were definitely some words which I didn’t recognize when I heard them despite definitely knowing them in text, so those re-connections are good to get.

Japanese reading report

This week I just read one volume of manga, おいしいコーヒーのいれ方 vol. 1. I picked it up based on the idea that I would be learning good coffee making tips, but it seems to have been a bamboozle. So far it seems to be a romantic drama where coffee is only barely involved. I enjoyed it well enough but won’t be rushing out to continue it.

The rest of the week I spent on 大図書館の羊飼い. I’ve been pretty busy the last few days so I feel like I’m slacking a little, but I did manage to fit in at least half an hour per day. They introduced a couple of new characters and set up a means by which we can theoretically figure out who’s been sending the 羊飼い emails. Nothing major in terms of plot development but some of the scenarios have been hilarious. I’ve finally come around to 高峰 (he didn’t impress me at first) and everyone feels like they have good chemistry at this point.

Japanese reading report

This week I read actually kind of a lot of manga without meaning to, though not because of any quota; there was just a bunch of stuff I wanted to read. First up was Spy Family vol. 6, which I bought and read on the day it came out. This one was a ton of fun and ended with a pretty good cliffhanger so I’ll be looking forward to the next volume.

I also picked up 僕の心のヤバイやつ vol. 1, which I’ve had my eye on for a while after discovering the artist on Twitter. I gotta say it’s…not at all what I had expected? I guess it gets kind of wholesome as it goes along but at least here at the beginning it’s pretty messed up. The main boy has wild mood swings where he’s literally on the brink of whipping out a box cutter on his classmates, and the main girl is pretty unpleasant. I enjoyed pieces of it and I’m curious to see how it develops but I doubt I’ll be jumping back into it.

Next up was むとうとさとう vol. 2, which I read through pretty quickly. Not a lot to say here, basically more of the same awkward romantic comedy stuff as before. It’s a fairly young series so I might try to catch up pretty soon.

Last one this week was すいとーと vol. 3, which is actually suddenly the last one in the series. I’ve been reading it since day 1 so it’s kind of neat to reach the end. Just like before it’s got me desirous of a trip to 福岡, and this time felt like it had a lot more dialect than the previous ones. It was kind of weirdly paced and I think the restaurant-per-chapter format kind of worked against it at the very end, but not a huge deal.

Throughout the week I read a decent amount of 大図書館の羊飼い. I’m only at 3% of the total completion but it seems I’m on a decent pace through the first route? Kana is still a real treasure but the other characters are getting some good development as well. Surprisingly not needing to look up too many words lately, which is nice.

Japanese reading report

At the beginning of the week, I read two more volumes of manga (かたなかける vol. 4 and 5) to finish out my (doubled) goal for the year at 104. This also means I’m caught up with what I have of this series; I got some for free ages ago and have just been slowly picking through it one book at a time. I went ahead and grabbed the next volume so I’ll probably be moving on to it pretty soon.

Until the end of the year, I wanted to spend time on something else so as to not go over my goal number, so I went back to 真3 for a little bit and just…I don’t think I’m going to keep playing it. I don’t have a clear idea of where to go or what to do, and the friction introduced by the random battles makes it frustrating to try and figure it out. I might go back to it in a while but for now it’s going on the shelf.

After this I tried out a couple of demos on the Switch eShop (Daemon X Machina and Bravely Default 2) until I remembered that I had a stalled playthrough of 大図書館の羊飼い, so I went back to that. I was doing alright last time I tried it, but it feels like it’s going even more smoothly this time. I’m going to stick with it for a while, hopefully until I finish one route at least. Visual novels are part of my reading goal for this year, so I figured it would be good to start early since it’s still largely uncharted territory.

Book review: 本好きの下剋上 vol. 2 (Ascendance of a Bookworm)

My last review of the year is also naturally for my last book of the year. After finishing 本好き vol. 1 with the WaniKani book club, we immediately moved on to vol. 2 with the idea of finishing before the end of the year, which I achieved a day or two after Christmas.

The end of the first book left Mayne and Lutz in a good position to get started making “non-parchment paper”, and book two wastes no time getting right into the dirty details. One early chapter contains a very comprehensive overview of the process of making 和紙 (Japanese paper), which was a bit of a slog due to all the new domain-specific vocabulary but I found it totally fascinating.

Much of the rest of the book deals with introducing us to the economics of this world, which further reinforced my belief that the reason 狼と香辛料 didn’t capture me was entirely to do with the writing style. The political dance with the powers that be is very evident here and I can imagine some good drama coming out of it.

The bookclub is continuing at least until the end of this arc (one more book), but from here on out I’ll be reading the series on my own pace — good timing too, since vol. 2 ended on a pretty big cliffhanger. I already have vol. 3 on my shelf and vol. 4 was free on Kindle a little while ago, so I’m looking forward to diving in.

Japanese reading report

This week I mainly focused on catching up with 本好きの下剋上 vol. 2, which (moments ago) I’ve just completed. I read about a hundred pages over the last four days, which worked out to quite a lot of reading since the pages are big and don’t have many line breaks. The Wanikani book club is continuing the series, but I’m planning to start the next volume on my own schedule so we’ll see how my pace fares from here on out. It’s gotten to the point where I can read this series very smoothly, which is hugely gratifying.

I also read two more volumes of manga; Persona 5 Mementos Mission 2 and 3, which finishes up the series (it was a pretty small, focused arc). I really really enjoyed this and think I might actually get the physical set at some point just to have it on my shelf. It does a great job of weaving together a few unrelated sidequests from the actual game, adding in a completely new storyline, and expanding on the characters in a way that feels totally seamless with the way they were originally portrayed. I like short runs but I do actually wish there was more of this; will definitely have to check out some of the mangaka’s other work.

Book review: 片羽の蝶 (One-winged butterfly)

With the end of the year approaching and my manga goal close to doubled, I decided on a whim to throw myself into the next 鬼滅の刃 spinoff novel and finish it up over the next few weeks. My initial plan was to read a certain number of pages per day and finish just in time, but I happened to notice that there were only six chapters, the goal suddenly became “one chapter per day”. It seemed like an insane pace at first but I actually managed it, bringing my new record to six days; a big improvement over my previous record (11 days) and more than twice as fast as the previous book in this series (14).

Unfortunately, I didn’t really find that 片羽の蝶 lived up to my expectations based on しあわせの花. It had its moments — the chapter about Mitsuri did a good job of capturing her character and relationship with Iguro — but most of the stories were basically just fluff. Even the first (titular) chapter, which features Shinobu and Kanae as children immediately after the events which lead them to join the slayer corps, does practically nothing in terms of fleshing out characters or events, which is terribly disappointing since I would love to hear more about Kanae (and since she obviously won’t show up in the main series, there’s no chance of stepping on the main author’s toes).

I enjoyed this book but probably wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it. With the main manga series now fully complete, hopefully any further spinoff material will be a little less restrictive.

Japanese reading report

This week I didn’t read any manga or stay caught up on 本好きの下剋上. Instead, I got totally consumed in an accidental challenge to read a whole novel in one week.

I originally planned to read 片羽の蝶 (the second 鬼滅の刃 spinoff light-novel) over the course of the rest of the year, at a pace of about 12 pages per day, in balance with my other goals. The first day I read through my quota really quickly and decided to finish the chapter — and then I realized there were only six chapters and couldn’t help keeping up the pace. Finding enough time every day was tough and I ended up staying up way too late on Friday to finish the last chapter, but in the end I succeeded! This absolutely smashes my previous record of 11 days and I doubt I’ll be doing better in the near future.

Japanese reading report

This week I had kind of a slump in the middle. There were two days where I was super busy and barely managed to check off my 30m bare minimum reading goal. I somehow still managed to read four new volumes of manga though, so I’m now ahead of my new schedule to read 104 volumes before the end of the year.

First up was 古見さん vol. 18 (I stocked up and bought the rest of the currently-released volumes). The chapter where they got stuck in Otori’s house was probably my favorite even though I utterly failed to figure out any of the puzzles.

Next I read 鬼滅の刃・外伝, which was really great, definitely my highlight of the week. It’s a lot darker than the main series and the art style is markedly different but it does a great job of capturing the tone. It didn’t seem like it was numbered but I hope they make more.

A few weeks ago I read chapter 1 of おとなりに銀河 at the end of another manga volume by the same author, so I grabbed the full version this time and finished it up. It’s basically a cute awkward romance story about writing manga (the main character is an alien who left her people after learning about what love could really be like from shoujo manga). Will definitely be reading along as it releases.

This week’s two chapters of 本好きの下剋上 took me 2:31:30 to finish, which (just like last week) gives me an average of ~4 minutes per page (best time 2:23). Like usual, it went pretty smoothly. I’ve decided to start reading at my own pace once this book is finished so I’m looking forward to that.

Finally, I read 古見さん vol. 19. Time to anxiously await the next volume I guess (being caught up is suffering).