Eat for Your Life vol. 1


Eat for Your Life Volume 1 by Shigeru Tsuchiyama

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I do enjoy food manga now and then, and since unfortunately this is a genre that we only get a small sampling of here I’m always interested in a new title. While there are plenty of manga that I’ve read devoted to particular dishes or types of food, eating with friends, or in the case of Toriko eating incredibly weird things, this is the first eating competition manga that I’ve read. I found the combination of sports manga plot structure and endless drawings of bowls of katsudon compelling.

Ohara is a salaryman with a reputation as a gourmet. Perpetually broke due to his habit of going on food tours, he stumbles across an eating competition and decides to try his luck. Ohara fails, but he catches the eye of a professional food competitor named George. I could tell at a glance that George was going to be Ohara’s eccentric mentor because he was wearing a fringed leather jacket, sunglasses, and a ponytail. George appreciates Ohara’s ability to savor what he is eating as well as his rudimentary but sound eating technique.

Ohara begins to be pulled into the world of competative eating, but with some informal coaching from George, he might be ready to take his love of eating to the next level. The situations and characters in Eat For Your Life follow the “try your best” theme of most sports manga, except here one tries to conquer insane serving amounts of food as opposed to facing an opponent on the sports field. Eat For Your Life was amusing. The art was well executed, but not particularly distinctive, and there wwas a decent amount of humor as Ohara reacts with a rookie’s amazement to the world of competitive eating. I recommended this title for foodie manga fans.

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Weekly Astro Boy Magazine Vol. 1

Weekly Astro Boy Magazine Vol. 1

I was intrigued when announced that they would be releasing an Astro Boy magazine. I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for manga magazines at this point, with the demise of print anthologies. I’ve read some Tezuka, but I’m definitely not familiar with all of his works. The magazine format for Tezuka works very well, because his art and storytelling style varies so much with the titles presented in the magazine, it is interesting to compare and contrast the differences between his different titles in this format.

I haven’t read much Astro Boy before, but the storyline for inclusion in the first issue of this manga magazine is a strong one, as it is “The Greatest Robot on Earth,” where the robot Pluto created to battle all the other great robots that exist, until he is hailed as the supreme robot. This storyline is what Naoki Urasawa used for his manga series Pluto. Astro Boy tangles with Pluto for a little bit, but his creator calls him off. Astro Boy responds to the existence of the new robot by requesting an upgrade of his own power. Astro Boy really displays the virtue of simplicity. The robot designs are so distinct, and the action in Astro Boy is so clear and easy to follow, it makes me think that some of the detail and opaque action in modern manga has really missed the mark.

Phoenix is the next title featured in this magazine, and this is a real treat because I believe some of the print volumes released by Viz are now out of print. The story comes from the fourth volume of Phoenix, called Karma. It is easy to see why Phoenix is often called Tezuka’s masterwork. This chapter featured the story of a boy who was injured just after being born, becoming a monster due to the harsh treatment from his fellow villagers. He encounters a sculptor in the woods and damages one of his arms. The sculptor finds refuge in a temple and begins to reach a different stage of consciousness as he attempts to take up art again. Reading Phoenix itself is a bit of a philosophical experience, as the characters encounter each other in this fable-like story, with stylized depictions of nature inter cut with both action and personal reflection.

The rest of the book is rounded out by shorter chapters for Dororo and Black Jack. It was a bit difficult for me to get a handle on Dororo just due to the small page count. Black Jack, I automatically read with feelings of affection, because the two-fisted surgeon is one of my favorite Tezuka characters. Overall, I really enjoyed the opportunity to read different Tezuka works back to back. It is a bit different than diving into a full volume of manga, but it really gives the reader an appreciation for the variations in art and theme that is expressed in Tezuka’s manga. This is definitely worth checking out if you don’t have an extensive Astro Boy collection and especially if you want an accessible way of reading Phoenix.

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Two from Yuriko Matsukawa: Not for a Student and Hush A Bye Baby

I previously reviewed Matsukawa’s two volume series Late Advent, so I was interested in checking out some of her one-shot works that are now available on Not for a Student and Hush a Bye Baby are both collections of stories, with one long anchor story for each volume followed by a few shorter stories.

Not For A Studentavailable on

Miki is a photographer who abruptly decides to become a teacher when losing a competition scuttles her chances of a professional career. Before her student teaching stint she has an odd encounter with a waiter at a nightclub who is so compelling that she has to photograph him. Imagine her surprise when she finds out that he’s Takase Misaki, one of the worst students in the class she’s been assigned to student teach. Takase is constantly skipping school, only showing up when he feels like it, and the rest of the students in the class seem to be in a bit of a conspiracy to help him get away with whatever he wants to do. Miki has the desire to prove what a great teacher she can be by trying to help him, but her efforts are met with a surprising degree of intimidation and blackmail from Takase. As she discovers the secret he’s protecting, she begins to act in a very un-teacher-like manner.

This volume was an enjoyable collection of shojo short stories. In addition to Not for a Teacher, it included a story “Aim for Acclaim My Beautiful Hostess!” about the trials and tribulations of a traditional inn owner in Tokyo and her unexpected romance and another story, “Put Your Right Foot Forward” about a girl pursuing her passion for dance only to get caught up in a rivalry between to potential partners. Matsukawa’s art still has that old-school style that I enjoy, and this collection was a pleasant diversion. Not For A Student‘s more dramatic story was balanced out by the slice-of-life stories in the rest of the volume.

Hush A Bye Babyavailable on

I found Hush A Bye Baby: Midnight’s Rebel Army a bit more entertaining than Not For A Student, just because the premise for the main story was more crazy, as convenience store worker Sakaya finds herself accidentally handcuffed to cute, yet tragically haunted biker Reiji (just like the 39 Steps, but not!) who has a mysterious past. Don’t all tragically haunted bikers have mysterious pasts!? Sakaya ends up helping Reiji investigate the truth of an accident he was framed for, and they grow closer in the process even though they have to endure being shackled together for a couple days. My only complaint with the art for this story is that the chain connecting the handcuffs seemed to randomly expand and contract at various points of the story, but on the whole it was still very entertaining. I always enjoy linked short stories and restaurant settings, so the other half of the volume was a treat. “No Saint of Soupe” deals with a French Restaurant in Japan, and a romance between the owner’s daughter and a gifted chef named Rene who only specializes in soups much to his brother’s dismay. “Professional Passion” turns the focus on Rene’s older brother as he deals with an inexperienced reporter who is assigned to cover him for her first big professional story.

If I had to pick between these volumes and only recommend one, I’d go with “Hush A Bye Baby” since the combination of manacled bikers and foodie manga is pretty irresistible. Both volumes were entertaining though and would provide a quick entertaining read for any shojo fans looking for single volumes of manga.

Late Advent Volumes 1 and 2 by Yuriko Matsukawa from emanga

I was excited to see that some shoujo titles are starting to pop up on, because it seems as though most of the titles released through the DMG program are yaoi, and a little yaoi generally goes a long way with me. I often enjoy two volume series like Late Advent. Sometimes manga that’s complete in one volume doesn’t really follow through on character and plot development, but two volumes is often enough space to experience a short series without feeling rushed. I think this manga originally came out in Japan in 2000, but I thought it had a bit of an older 90s shoujo fantasy vibe.

Late Advent Volume 1

Reira Bandou is going through her normal everyday life, going to her college classes and learning about eight classic statues that depict Buddhist deities. Reira is exausted because she’s been having strange dreams, and as she’s sitting in class a strange blobby demon starts crawling up her desk. Reira starts having encounters with odd people who claim that they knew her in a past life, and that she’s descended from Ashura, the Buddhist god of War. She meets Kubanda, a feral-looking hipster who introduces himself as her lover in a past life. She also meets the gentle Kinnara, a boy with a visible third eye, a talking myna bird who is Karua, and Shagara, whose human form is that of a cynical professor. As Reira starts to adjust to her changed circumstances and struggles to control her new supernatural powers, she’s aided by the deity Gobujo, who only seems to appear as a voice or spirt but hasn’t yet manifested in human form. With the eight deities gathered together, they have to face down the new invasion of demons that might have been triggered by their presence.

Late Advent Volume 2

Matsukawa’s art is smooth and assured, with her deities shown as garbed in fantasy armor with fangs when they channel their godly powers. The adaptation here seemed smooth. I spotted one obvious error, but overall Late Advent was very readable. I found myself having a bit of difficulty following the sequence and reasoning behind all the demonic battles, and Reira seemed to gain new confidence with her powers between volumes. I was also a bit sleepy when I was reading Late Advent, so
some of my difficulties in following the plot were probably due to fatigue. One of the aspects of the series I enjoyed was the contrast between Reira’s occasional flashbacks or dreams and the current incarnations of the various deities. Elements of the past inform the present, and in some cases the current lives the characters are living provide a way for them to work through the trauma of their past lives. I did enjoy Late Advent overall. The Buddhist deities with super-powers but was a nice change of pace from some of the other fantasy series that I’ve read, and I enjoyed the old-school feeling of the art. This is a good series for shoujo fantasy fans to check out. As a shoujo fan, I want to see a good variety of publishers coming out with new titles, so I’m happy to see new shoujo on the emanga platform and hope that this series is a sign of more shoujo to come from emanga.

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Harlequin Manga: Acting on Impulse and Vengeful Seduction

Acting on Impulse by Natsue Ogoshi and Vicki Lewis Thompson
Available on

I always enjoy Harlequin manga when they exhibit a strong sense of humor. Acting on Impulse is plenty funny as it details the adventures of a naive farmgirl who moves to New York City, determined to live a “metropolitan” lifestyle. Unfortunately Trudy’s expectations of New York are entirely drawn from popular entertainment, which results in occasional hilarity. Trudy’s landed a job as a lowly office worker at a PR firm. She’s friends with a couple in the city who decide that her arrival is a perfect opportunity to fix her up with confirmed bachelor Linc. They ask Linc to be Trudy’s tour guide and look out for her as she gets adjusted to life in the big city. When Trudy meets Linc she pronounces him almost as handsome as her favorite actor and asks him to intone the lines “Admit you want me. I’ll give you ecstasy like you’ve never had before.” They promptly enter into a relationship where they are dating but proclaiming that they aren’t dating, because she wants to experience the freedom of the city and he is afraid of commitment. Trudy’s excess of enthusiasm and bizarre expectations of city life give her more personality than I’ve come to expect from a Harlequin heroine. The art is a little rushed at times, but the characters are attractive and the funny dialog goes a long way to make Acting on Impulse fun to read.

Vengeful Seduction by Cathy Williams and Yukako Midori
Available on

Vengeful Seduction is the story of a woman forced to betray her true love when an evil man blackmails her into marriage, only to be dramatically confronted by her past when her drunk husband kills himself and her father in a car accident. Shortly after dealing with her father and horrible husband’s deaths, Isobel is confronted with her ex-boyfriend Lorenzo. Now a successful businessman, he appears again in her life to buy and turn around her family’s failing business. He intends to get Isobel back too, but she’s determined not to be treated like a possession again. As Isobel and Lorenzo are forced to spend more time together, details about her evil husband and her father’s potentially shady business dealings emerge. This harlequin manga had a general feeling of doom and sadness, without the touches of humor that I tend to enjoy. If I’m reading something silly I’d rather have something to laugh about, as opposed to a story that while somewhat goofy takes itself too seriously. So, I am not a fan of Vengeful Seduction, but Acting on Impulse was fun enough to make up for it.

Online access provided by the publisher.