Book review: 青春ブタ野郎はロジカルウィッチの夢を見ない (Rascal does not dream of logical witch)

The 青春ブタ野郎 series really is my sweet spot, I feel. I was looking for something easy to try out a new experiment with, and I probably couldn’t have picked a better book.

As the anime covers the first four books in the series and this is only number three, this was still review to a certain extent. As usual though, there were some things the show skipped over, such as expanding on the reasons why Futaba (or anyone) might be compelled to post risque photos on social media. I find the social commentary in this series to be handled very well, and I always like the moments where Sakuta suddenly shifts out of his normal jokester persona when it’s obvious that the time has come for him to be serious and supportive. The other thing I was struck by is how the book makes it very obvious that Kunimi is aware of Futaba’s feelings for him. It seemed kind of ambiguous in the anime and I wonder why they made that choice. While it’s possible that they felt it was too difficult to convey in action as opposed to narration, the anime demonstrates on multiple occasions that it’s capable of portraying subtle character acting.

The aforementioned “experiment” that I tried with this book was to listen to an audiobook while reading along. My Japanese reading speed has been slowly improving lately (as evidenced by the fact that I’m ahead of pace to read one volume of manga per day), but I still have a ways to go if I want to even get close to my English reading speed. The plan here was to force myself to read more quickly by introducing a pace-making element (the narrator of the book) which I would have to stay on track with or risk getting left behind. This worked amazingly well and I’ll have to write a dedicated post about it once I’ve tried it on a few more books. The actress (藤野 彩水) did an excellent job and I was shocked and disappointed to see that she hasn’t done any other audiobook work.

Still very much enjoying this series and will be reading more (especially considering how much fun the readalong method is) in the near future.

Japanese reading report

I’ve been slacking on my anime goal recently, and since I’m still comfortably ahead of pace with manga, I decided to shift priorities a bit.

First up, I watched all of かぐや様は告らせたい season 2, plus the two episodes of season 3 that have aired so far. I’ll be following this one week-to-week from here on. I’m really glad this one is on Crunchyroll finally; the only reason I hadn’t watched it already is because Funimation is a hassle. There are still bits that get away from me but compared to season 1 (which I felt was pretty well above my level at the time) it feels much more within my grasp.

I kept up with my current shows (Spy Family ep. 2 and 阿波連さんははかれない ep. 3) and they were both just as good as ever. Gave 可愛いだけじゃない式守さん ep. 1 a try and it was…fine. Production value is good and fortunately the annoying repetition from the manga is gone, but it’s not all that interesting and understanding it is effortless so I might drop it if the 妹 isn’t feeling like continuing. Also watched ep. 1 of であいもん which, I’d watch just for the 京都弁 if that was the only thing it had going for it (it’s not).

My long-awaited サマータイムレンダ started airing this week and of course thanks to Disney it’s not available anywhere but Japan. I managed to get my hands on ep. 1 anyway and spent a few hours making my own (english) subtitles so I could watch it with my sister. Usually I wouldn’t count subtitled anime but I think an exception can be made when you literally make them yourself. It’s a really good adaptation so far. The actress playing Mio is 和歌山出身 and her performance is great; I’ve been looking forward to hearing the dialect spoken and I’m very happy with the result.

Lastly, I picked up ダンベル何キロ持てる? on a whim and have watched two episodes now. I wasn’t expecting much from it but it’s pretty funny and seems to have some decent advice about strength training so I’ll be keeping at it. I’ve been meaning to get back in shape lately anyway.

For manga, I read 怪物事変 vol. 4, which finished out an arc about Shiki’s childhood and gave him some nice character development. He’s been kind of the boring Bakugo character from the beginning but I think we’re past that now (nice!). Also read からかい上手の高木さん vol. 5 one night when I’d been busy all day and just needed to speed through something to check in for the day.

I’ve had Orange (the whole series) on my backlog for actually years at this point and I decided to finally get to it. I read this really slowly and I wish I could figure out why. Part of it might be that I combined all six volumes into one ebook and it’s discouraging to see the slow progress through the whole thing, but even when I’m not paying attention to that I find myself taking a long time to make much progress.

Lastly, 東京卍リベンジャーズ vol. 27 came out this week so naturally I snapped it up and read it in like an hour. Time for more waiting.

Finally, I finished 愚者のエンドロール (reading along to the audiobook). While my initial impression of this one was not very good I have to say I ended up enjoying it more than 氷菓 so maybe I will pick up the next book in the near future. Compared to 青春ブタ野郎 there was definitely a lot more that I didn’t catch, and I got lost much more often (mostly when I would see an unfamiliar word and get distracted). Regardless, I think the narration was the key factor in my increased enjoyment level this time around. In particular, the author’s writing style leads to a lot of sentences that I would have had to do a double-take on in order to get the right meaning, but being able to hear the intonation eliminated that problem. Another success for the readalong method.

Japanese reading report

Another big record for me this week. Seventeen volumes of manga, up two from last week, plus a light novel and a bunch of anime.

I finished ヨコハマ買い出し紀行 vol. 14 and I have to say it wasn’t the greatest sendoff ever. I still liked it quite a bit; a few small timeskips showed off some nice growth in some of the characters and also did some setup to make it easy to imagine where things could go. I feel like the ending arc started a bit too late and didn’t really give everything enough time to breathe but ultimately it’s a mild complaint. Very good series, glad I read it through to the end.

Next up was an uninterrupted blitz through 東京卍リベンジャーズ vol. 11-26. It’s now my longest series so far (beating 古見さん by one) and I was held in rapt attention the whole way through. There were multiple nights this week where I found myself thinking I would just read another chapter or two as I fell asleep and then found myself at the end of the book. The next one comes out this week and I’m champing at the bit to get my hands on it. Some new vocab that stuck out to me: 六波羅 梵 口裏合わせ 世も末 弔い合戦, not to mention our old favorite 鎮魂.

Anime this week was the Spy Family ep. 1 and 阿波連さんははかれない ep. 2, which were both really good, and the last three episodes of 東京24区, which was stupid. My sister and I both burst out laughing at what was supposed to be an emotional scene in the last episode and just ended up trashing it until the end credits. It had its moments and the very beginning was pretty strong but I guess it couldn’t stick the landing.

I finally signed up for Audible because I’ve been trying to find something to fill my time with when I have to take the occasional long drives out of town, and as the first book in my new subscription I picked 青春ブタ野郎はロジカルウィッチの夢を見ない (book 3 in the series). I also wanted to try reading along with with the audiobook to see if I could force myself to read more quickly, and it was a pretty interesting experience. I only ended up doing pure listening for about 40 pages worth (in the car) but found both modes to be equally enjoyable. I think I’ve said it before but this series really is right at the perfect level I think. I was able to follow along no problem both reading along at 1.25x speed, and purely listening at 1x speed.

And finally, immediately after finishing my first readalong book, I jumped right into the next one. It took me a little bit to settle but I ended up going with 愚者のエンドロール, book two of the 古典部 series. As I’ve mentioned before I really disliked 氷菓 (the book) despite the anime being one of my favorites, and I’ve always wanted to “fix” that because the prospect of reading past the end of the anime is very appealing to me. I’m about 25% through this one and…I dunno, maybe it’s too early to say but I don’t think my feelings have changed all that much. In any case, I’m still planning to stick it out to the end if only to give the process some more testing.

Japanese reading report

Fifteen volumes of manga this week! Another new record, holy smokes. I also watched some anime I think. Finished off ヴァニタスの手記, which apparently covers the entire manga up to this point; very vexing since I’d like some more. Also watched the first episode of 阿波連さんははかれない which does a really good job of adapting the manga’s comedic timing. Random vocab acquisition: 練習台, which showed up the same day in a manga I was reading.

I read vol. 2 and 3 of 大きくなったら、結婚する! and it was fine. I more or less just used them if I needed to read something quickly to keep my streak, since they’re pretty short. The premise is cute but the implementation is ultimately nothing special. The series is over now but I could see myself checking out more of the author’s work in the future.

The heavy hitter this week was 東京卍リベンジャーズ. I read vol. 3-10, so I guess I can officially say I’m into the series now. If I have one real complaint about it, it would be that I occasionally get distracted thinking “most of these problems could be avoided if all of these middleschoolers weren’t so stupid”. Aside from that, the characters are fun and the story is a real wild ride, with every volume ending in a solid hook for the next one. I’ll definitely be reading a bunch of this over the next couple of weeks.

I had planned to finish ヨコハマ買い出し紀行 and read vol. 10-13, but I ended up having one left. I’ll probably read the last one tonight as I fall asleep. The vibes are very strong and it’s been pretty interesting seeing how the story has started to focus more explicitly on both the passing of the old and the birth of the new. I’m not really sure how the series will wrap up but I guess I’ll find out soon.

Last but not least, I read a really nice little oneshot called きみが、すき. It’s a collection of little romance vignettes, each anywhere from 2-20 pages long. At times I was almost getting a “徒然チルドレン but without the frustration” vibe. Random vocab acquisition: 猛 being used as an intensifier (like 超 I guess).

Japanese reading report

Another seven-volume week. Trying to catch up to average one per day this month so I’ll have to do better next week. Still, definitely not bad.

I continued reading ヨコハマ買い出し紀行, volumes 8 and 9. These are always pretty smooth but I remember being pretty happy that I could figure out the kanji for 柿 just based on context (since it’s not too common and there was no furigana) and noticing a specific nuance where a character implied that she had firsthand knowledge of something by using あんな instead of そんな. Kind of a minor thing and I don’t think I would have picked up on it if the other character hadn’t pointed it out, but pretty interesting.

見える子ちゃん vol. 7 came out this week so naturally I read that as soon as I got my hands on it. The previous arc has been wrapped up pretty nicely and the next one seems quite interesting so far — there’s a new transfer student who has some kind of monster obscuring her face and she doesn’t even seem to be aware of it despite the fact that it’s apparently reacting to her suppressed emotions. It seems like a cool premise so naturally I’ll be excited to read on.

I had picked up 東京卍リベンジャーズ vol. 2 a while ago and kept forgetting to read it. I wasn’t impressed by the first episode of the anime but the manga left me curious and this next volume was a further improvement, so I’ll probably keep reading it at some point soon. Noteworthy moment: figuring out the word モメる just based on context (it seems like such a small thing but beggars can’t be choosers; I feel like my ratio of new discoveries has really plummeted lately).

This week also saw a new volume of 着せ恋 (vol. 9), completely unexpected but very welcome. This one seemed to mostly revolve around Marin realizing she had put on some weight and then learning about her new camera, and then the volume ended with some weird unresolved tension with a new character. Overall kind of unsatisfying? Hopefully the next one comes out soon.

Watched a couple more episodes of re:zero. Not really too much to report I guess. Rosewald is a stinker and Petra is a cutie.

Finally, I’ve gotten back to 怪物事変 with vol. 3. I’m not sure why I’ve let this one sit for so long, it’s so good and this volume even has best girl 紺 on the cover!!! Cool mosquito vampire women and a cute date chapter where 晶 and 織 were tailing 夏羽 and loudly giving “subtle” hints about what he should do to be more romantic. I’ll be finishing this one as I fall asleep but I’m totally beat and just want to get my report in before I head to bed.

Japanese reading report

This week I really wanted to get back in the groove and set an non-negotiable goal of seven volumes of manga. Ended up having to read two in a row tonight after getting home and it’s after midnight, but hey, it counts as the same day as long as you don’t go to bed first.

So first up I read vol. 4-7 of ホリミヤ. Was planning to finish the series before I read anything else but ultimately had to take a break. There’s a lot I like about this series but also some really exhausting stuff. Hori in particular is just kind of awful a lot of the time? She’s selfish and controlling and there were times where I felt actually kind of uncomfortable with the way she was behaving. I don’t really remember much about the anime so hopefully she’ll get over it. In contrast I feel like Remi is surprisingly mature despite her first impression. I hope she gets some more focus in the near future (plus best girl Sakura; the cooking class chapter was great).

Next I read ヨコハマ買い出し紀行 vol. 6 and 7. These always go by so fast if I don’t slow myself down and let the art soak in. I’ve started noticing that the younger characters have gotten noticeably older recently and I really like how it portrays the passage of time. The famed もののあわれ has started to ramp up and it’s hard to describe exactly how it makes me feel. Definitely need to finish this one off soon.

I watched some anime throughout the week; one more episode of re:zero s2, three episodes of ヴァニタスの手記, two episodes of 東京24区. Re:zero was a wild toal rollercoaster but it ended up being quite touching in the end. I literally have never once thought about Subaru’s pre-isekai days but they managed to fit a lot of character development into just one episode. 東京24区 is still kind of all over the place. ヴァニタスの手記 is still great but they’re running out of manga and episodes so we’re getting into nail-biting territory on three different fronts.

Tonight, for my last manga of the week, I read 光が死んだ夏 vol. 1. The cover caught my eye and I knew I had to read it after flipping through the first few pages. Now that I’ve finished it, I would strongly recommend anyone reading this to give it a try. It’s hard to describe it without giving away what makes it interesting but there were many moments that really messed with me and it really play to the strengths of its medium. Anxiously awaiting the next volume (it just came out this month so I’m sure I’ll be waiting for a while.

Japanese reading report

Another light week, only four volumes of manga yikes! It’s still way more than my initial pace but I do feel like I’m slacking. According to Moyase I just hit the point where I could read one volume every ten days and still hit my initial goal of 100 for the year which is kind of funny.

First thing I did this week was catch up with トニカクカワイイ. I read volumes 18 and 19 with most of the story happening in vol. 18. The backstory arc wrapped up nicely and it’s cool to see all the hints that have been dropping throughout get tied together. It turns out that the “artist and his sister” bit from last time was was actually two characters from ハヤテのごとく (which I’ve never read but apparently it was by the same guy). I know this because the last 20-30 pages of the book this time were dedicated to this weird little omake nonsense which I did not really appreciate. Hoping for further development of some recent hints in the next volume.

Next at my sister’s recommendation I read ゆびさきと恋々, a cute little romance story starring a deaf girl. It does some really interesting things with typography, like using grey text for cases where 雪 is able to read peoples’ lips, but then sometimes flipping or rotating certain characters to show that she didn’t quite catch it. It’s really cute and I particularly enjoy the narration, which I can only describe as “lyrical”. Definitely going to be reading more soon.

Finally I read あせとせっけん vol. 2. It’s been a while since I read vol. 1 for some reason, not sure why I took so long to get back to it. I really like this series despite the weirdness of the first few chapters; this volume was pretty light on the eyebrow-raising stuff and was pretty much just comfy relationship development. This last volume took me way longer to read than I expected, not sure if it’s something about the text or just the fact that there’s so much of it. I have one more volume of this and then I’ll probably get the rest of it pretty soon.

Japanese reading report

As expected, the arrival of Elden Ring put a cramp on my reading time. My soft goal for this week was to get caught up on トニカクカワイイ, which I ultimately didn’t succeed at; I read volumes 13-17 and will finish 18 tonight as I fall asleep for a total of six volumes this week, but I had completely forgotten that vol. 19 came out just recently so I didn’t include it in my plans at all. Oh well.

So the story has finally picked up and all the mysteries that they’ve been dropping hints about have been brought to the forefront. It’s actually pretty funny how much of a tonal shift there was around vol. 17 (there’s even an おまけ that features an author insert getting berated by his sister for including such a serious arc in his “sickeningly sweet romantic comedy”) but all things considered I think it was done well. The storytelling in this part was quite gripping and the twist on 竹取物語 was neat. There are still some threads that need pulling together so I’m hoping that’ll come soon.

I finally started watching re:zero season 2 and I’m only three episodes in but it’s pretty wild so far. All I knew about this season ahead of time was that there was a character named Echidna, which I thought was a pretty stupid name, but when she actually showed up I realized it was in reference to the the Grecian monster (エキドナ) and not the animal (針もぐら). A clear-cut case where the original language version is superior.

Japanese reading report

Pretty lightweight week for me, at least compared to my recent pace. Not looking forward to how next week will be once I finally get my copy of Elden Ring. This will also be a pretty light report since I stayed up late to squeeze in some reading today and I don’t want to be up too much later.

First was 夜ふかしの詩 vol. 1. Didn’t really like it at first, the main kid is kind of a bummer. It got better as it went on but I gotta be honest, I’m not really sure what the premise is going to be. I’ll read vol. 2 before passing judgement since I have it anyway. Learned some useful (?) sex words. The art is nice.

Read 珈琲をしづかに vol. 4 and 5, which brought the series to a close. Around the middle of vol. 5 I started feeling like it was getting close to a nice conclusion and was curious how the story would continue past that point, but it ended up ending there instead (I had missed the 完結 badge on the store page and didn’t realize it was over). I’m happy with the way it turned out though. Five volumes felt just right.

I also read 阿波連さんははかれない vol. 6 and wow, the sudden plot development! As funny as ever but I’d actually forgotten how long it had been since anything changed in the status quo so that was a nice surprise.

Tonight I read half of トニカクカワイイ vol. 13 and there has also been some interesting plot development here, though it pretty quickly went back to the standard formula. Haven’t finished this one yet though, so maybe there’s more in store before the end of the volume.

Throughout the week I finally finished watching 赤髪の白雪姫 S2and just…never figured out why it’s supposed to be good. I wanted to give it a good shot since my sister loves it so much but it has a bad habit of introducing a new trial and then resolving it in the very same episode. I think part of the problem is that the きゅん moments in this show just do nothing for me personally. Feels kinda bad. Apparently the manga is better than the book and I have a few volumes of it so maybe I’ll give it a try sometime.

Japanese reading report

This week I read vol. 3 of 舞妓さんちのまかないさん and enjoyed it enough to buy the next one, which I’ll be reading soon. It’s surprising to me how long this series is actually. Favorite bit in this volume was seeing how Christmas is observed in the 花街 (which is to say, not at all) and how the girls have their own little celebrations during and after the holidays.

I decided to read 可愛いだけじゃない式守さん vol. 2 despite not liking the first volume very much and fortunately this one was a big improvement. The repetitive chapter formula is gone and there are enough new characters now that it’s possible to get some good variety (in particular the way Shikimori interacts with the main character’s mom is funny and wholesome). I still don’t see myself running out to buy more but I could see myself reading it in the future. Maybe I’ll watch the anime first.

I read vol. 2 and 3 of 珈琲をしづかに and decided to catch up with it this coming week. It’s kind of interesting; a lot of “hobby manga” are first and foremost about the hobby and often relegate the story to the sidelines, but this series flips the script. It’s character-driven by default and only as the characters open up and get to know each other does the “hobby” stuff start to play a bigger role. These two volumes touched on cupping and turkish coffee preparation, both of which I already knew about but it’s nice to learn some lingo. The story is going in a nice direction too. Looking forward to what comes next.

戦隊大失格 vol. 4 came out this week so I grabbed that right away. They’re pulling some shenanigans by occasionally switching perspective to follow the supporting cast and then cutting away without giving away all the details. Reading week to week is a pain but whenever a new volume of this series comes out I always reconsider whether I should give it a try.

Throughout the week, a chapter or two at a time, I read 方言って素晴らしいっていう漫画 vol. 1, which is another “dialect manga” except this one prominently features everyone’s favorite 津軽弁. There’s no line-by-line translation this time around and half the time I have no idea what the main guy is saying but neither does the main girl so it’s fine I guess. I’m pretty much just feeling my way through everything and occasionally making connections but it’s still a big mystery (and as a result, it’s kind of exhausting to read). I’ll be finishing this off as I fall asleep tonight, just wanted to get my report done so I can turn in early.

Caught up on 着せ恋 and ヴァニタスの手記, and watched ep. 9-10 of 赤髪の白雪姫. 東京24区 was delayed this week so no new episode unfortunately. I should probably pick up some other current-season shows so my week can be a little more populated.