About Anna N

Anna Neatrour is a librarian with too much manga in her house. She started blogging at TangognaT in 2003 about libraries, books, manga, and comics. She created Manga Report to focus only on manga reviews in 2010. Anna is a member of the writing collective known as The Bureau Chiefs, authors of FakeAPStylebook and the book Write More Good. Anna contributed the Bringing the Drama column to Manga Bookshelf before joining the team in Nov 2012. When not reading, Anna can be found knitting or wrangling small children.

An Incurable Case of Love, Vol 7

An Incurable Case of Love Volume 7 by Maki Enjoji

Especially in these pandemic times, sometimes I just want to read something light and fairly predictable. I don’t want surprise plot twists or social commentary, but seeing a couple work through and resolve all the impediments to their romance and end up with a happy ending is often just the diversion that I’m looking for. The Shojo Beat “stealth josei” titles like An Incurable Case of Love tend to be limited, with only one or two coming out at a time but I really enjoy them.

An Incurable Case of Love Volume 7

This is the final volume of An Incurable Case of Love! I’ve been feeling like the past couple volumes have been stretching out the story a little too much, this would probably have been a very tight 5 volume series as opposed to a slightly meandering 7 volume series, but I very much enjoyed it overall. I’m a sucker for repeated plot tropes and anything in shoujo manga that reminds me of a k-drama, so I was delighted when there was a time skip involved when Dr. Tendo had to study abroad for a number of years only to finally reunite with Nanase at the end. I do not feel like I’m even revealing any major spoilers as all of this has been telegraphed to the reader all along. Still, by the end of the manga the Dark Lord and the Valiant One have become an adorable couple and it is nice to see Nanase win in her steadfast goal of bagging the one doctor that she feel in love with at first sight so many years ago. For fans of predictable workplace romance, An Incurable Case of Love absolutely delivers. I’m hoping to get some more josei titles that are set in places beyond offices, because this series was amusing and the medical setting gave the author plenty of opportunities to explore extra drama.

Call of the Night Vol 1

Call of the Night Volume 1 by Kotoyama

I’m always a little curious about Shonen Sunday titles, as they tend to be a little more sophisticated than Shonen Jump manga so I was intrigued by the idea of a shonen vampire romance like Call of the Night. Ko Yamori starts out by being the typical hapless shonen protagonist but he’s isolated and has just started having terrible insomnia. He’s not attending school regularly and one night he slips out of his house and starts wandering around in the middle of the night while searching up ideas for insomnia cures on his phone. Seeing many people posting about the benefits of alcohol he stands in front of a vending machine contemplating buying a beer when he’s suddenly accosted by a mysterious blond girl in a cloak who says she can help him if he’s having trouble sleeping. She brings Ko back to her place to crash, and he quickly discovers that his new acquaintance is a vampire named Nazuna.

Call of the Night

Ko finds the idea of becoming a vampire immediately intriguing but Nazuna finds the topic incredibly embarrassing because the only way for a human to become a vampire is to fall in love with one and let that vampire drink from them. Ko is determined to make this happen, and while Nazuna likes to joke about sex, the idea of any type of emotional intimacy is something that she shies away from. Ko and Nazuna keep finding each other in the middle of the night and hanging out. There’s an undercurrent of loneliness to this manga that makes it a little more interesting and poignant than I was expecting, as Ko and Nazuna keep seeking each other out. Ko’s not done with the human world though, as he reconnects with an old friend of his who encourages him to go back to school. Kotoyama’s art is stylized and angular, making the world of the night seem more mysterious. I definitely felt intrigued by the end of the first volume and I’m curious to see how this relationship will develop over time.

Penguin Gentlemen

Penguin Gentlemen by Kishi Ueno

The premise of this manga – penguins who happen to run a cafe where they are all very buff men wearing tuxedos – seemed so ridiculous I couldn’t help wanting to check it out. This single volume manga certainly gets the deluxe treatment, with a hardcover edition and plenty of color pages. Now and then I really enjoy a didactic manga, and that’s what Ueno delivers. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more of a storyline focusing on penguin cafe work, because I enjoy a good food manga as well, but for readers who want to dramatically up their knowledge of penguin behavior, species variants, and random facts about penguin habitats this is the book for you!

Penguin Gentlemen

The character designs are one of the most amusing aspects of the book, as Ueno showcases differences in penguin markings and size into the hair styles and tuxedo uniforms of all the waiters. The main boss of the cafe is the King penguin, who is dwarfed in size by the stoic Emperor penguin who looms over everyone. The penguin gentlemen discuss their characteristics in the setting of the cafe, with plenty of comedic bits. The characters switch back and forth often between their anthropomorphic human forms and their natural states as penguins, but Ueno is great at rendering the heightened emotions of the characters even when they are in bird form. I read this book in several sittings, simply because I was not able to absorb all the information about penguin egg hatching, body language, and markings without a break here and there. The last section of the book that focuses on penguin courtship rituals is particularly hilarious. If someone wants to learn many scientific facts about penguins and be entertained along the way, Penguin Gentlemen certainly delivers.

Moriarty the Patriot Vols 1 and 2

Moriarty the Patriot Volume 1 by Ryosuke Takeuchi and Hikaru Miyoshi

I was intrigued by the concept of Moriarty the Patriot, because I was curious how the manga would flip Moriarty from being the antagonist into being the protagonist of his own story. It turns out that Moriarty has an intrinsically sympathetic goal – full scale class warfare! This first volume details how the evil mastermind Moriarty is adopted into a family of nobles, with a slightly sociopathic older brother named Albert who is determined to wage war against the nobility with the benefit of his younger brother’s genius.

The chapters in this first volume often involve an episodic approach to plot, with Moriarty intervening in the lives of people who’ve been taken advantage of by so-called nobility. His focus on revenge is certainly satisfying, and by the end of the volume, he’s surrounded himself with a core group of companions who are similarly bent on striking back against the British class system.

Moriarty the Patriot Volume 2 Ryosuke Takeuchi and Hikaru Miyoshi

I found this second volume a little less interesting because it had more of the expected story beats that I’d assume would show up in a Holmes adaptation. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more Moriarty in this volume. Here the reader sees Takeuchi’s version of Holmes meet Watson and figure out how to deal with his landlady Mrs Hudson. While it was enjoyable, there wasn’t as much dramatic tension because other than his lower class affectation, Holmes is pretty much what one would expect. As Holmes hurdles into his next case, I’m curious to see if he’s going to be at odds with Moriarty once more, and I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen when they start clashing over cases involving spectacularly murdered noblemen.

Yona of the Dawn 28 and Prince Freya 4

I hit a bit of a pandemic wall in my manga reading, so hoping to feel less bad about my backlog by posting some quick takes on my recent reading. Maybe I’ll have more energy next month!

Yona of the Dawn 28 by Misuho Kusanagi

Yona of the Dawn

Yona of the Dawn is such a consistently satisfying fantasy series with a depth and nunace that few authors are able to pull off. This volume was extremely amusing to me because it featured Tae-jun freaking out a bunch. Tae-jun was extremely worried about his not very great covert support of Yona possibly being found out by his older brother and chief of the fire tribe Kyo-ga. Tae-jun also had the best hysterical facial expressions when he yelled about the need for separate rooms for Hak and Yona. All along as Yona has been traveling the country helping people, there have been hints of what might happen if a cult of personality develops around her as the true heir to the Crimson Dragon King and her new Four Dragon Warriors. These undercurrents were brought to the surface by Su-Won’s advisor lurking around being menacing to anyone in his vicinity. There’s clearly more conflict coming with both political maneuvering and with upcoming battles, but this was a great spacer volume with plenty of wonderful character development moments.


Prince Freya 4 by Keiko Ishihara

Prince Freya

I have come to realize that I read this manga much like I would read a Harlequin romance. Are there inexplicable plot twists? Yes! Do I care about really understanding what’s going on? Not so much! While there are no cases of pregnesia in this manga we do get the shocker of Aleksi coming back from the dead in the company of a group of forest people who express just how metal they are by wearing stag skull masks and making vague pronouncements in an odd tone of voice. Meanwhile, Julius continues to develop more feelings for his charge, and Freya as Prince Edward manages to inspire her subjects even more. An additional complication comes up when Freya has to meet the emotionally unstable king and attempt to pull off a much more complicated bit of acting. This is one of those series that I just read, let wash over me, and don’t worry about the plot twists and complications. I’m expecting some love triangle shenanigans with Julius and Aleksi in the next few volumes, along with the swashbuckling battle scenes that have become a fixture in this manga.