In The Night Comes a Girl / Yoru Yoru Soba Ni
I was lured in by the curious artstyle and stayed for the interesting plot. In The Night Comes a Girl tells the story of an insomniac man who one day meets a girl whose blindness is temporarily cured at night. Fascinated, he continues to meet with her and vows to help her complete a childhood wish.
Takehito Moriizumi has a curious style of drawing you don’t see anywhere else and his storytelling is captivating stuff for such short manga. It offers some commentary on the meaning of relationships and the one between our protagonists is certainly an interesting one. The magical influences were a bit curious and maybe warranted some more exploration, but it does guarantee that I’ll read it again just to get a better idea of what it was all about in the end.
Kenichi is the grandson and protegé of a priest who runs a shrine of matrimony. Once renowned for its bunny-eared shrine maidens, the shrine has now become somewhat abandoned safe for Kenichi, his grandfather, and the 4 girls who are the current generation of shrine maidens.
As Kenichi moves in and gets into some harem romcom trouble, he also soon learns that the shrine maidens are more than just pretty faces that need to sell talismans. These girls are actually fighting evil spirits and he is going to be helping them with it.
Inaba Rabbits is inoffensive and fun, IF you are looking for unapologetically simplistic harem manga. 3 of the 4 girls are immediately all over Kenichi, admittedly for less-than-noble reasons, and the 4th one is the tsundere addition. There are a lot of sexy accidents, including an entire shrine festival where the girls, religious representatives that they are, go dressed in bunnygirl costumes to lure in worshippers. It’s stupid, but I respect it for that.
Admittedly, it does fall somewhat short due to its length. The spirit-hunting aspect isn’t given much room to develop and character arcs do feel rushed. Always a shame that the good stories are too short and the terrible ones get like 8 volumes.
This was a bit of a disappointment to me. These anthology collections with a bunch of short stories aren’t always bad (see also Stargazing Dog), but they do leave stories short and underdeveloped. The same applies here.
Incomplete Girl should have been in plural, as it is actually 7 separate stories about young girls who overcome insecurities through interacting with close friends and female lovers. They aren’t bad yuri stories, but with only 10 to 20 pages each, all the stories are awfully short and rushed, with protagonists I already forgot about an hour later.
It’s useful if you need a quick injection of yuri wholesomeness to get through the day. You might want to get that addiction looked into though.
Ino Atama Gargoyle
A tie-in manga for the Great Teacher Onizuka series, focusing on police officer Saejima who used to be quite the thug in his teenage years. Now in his twenties, Saejima is feeling weary of a life without true love, as his one girlfriend abandoned him and his sexual exploits are limited to just brothels and sketchy DVD stores.
The manga is a bit loose with its plot and ends up including several standalone chapters that tell various stories involving Saejima. In one arc he is seduced by a prostitute looking to take out her pimp, in another he is helping an old friend take vengeance on a drug lord. These are interesting stories, but none of them ever stick or get developed enough, eventually concluding with a lackluster resolution and Saejima returning to his post. It has some of the appeal of GTO and a similarly wacky main character that goes through a good arc, but it needed some more chapters and a little more focus.
As it stands, it just feels like a side-project the author wasn’t actually that passionate about.
Inu wo Kau / Raising a Dog
We have a bit of an identity crisis here. Raising a Dog is a manga about a wife and husband who moved to a suburban area where it would be easy for them to take care of a dog. This dog is called Tum, but rather than show us the actual process of Tum growing up and everything that this entails, it skips straight to the last stages of life.
The first part of the manga immediately goes for the feels by making it very clear that Tum is sickly, old, and probably not going to be living for more than a few more weeks. Watching two adults cope with this and what it does to their relationship is interesting subject matter, but I can only imagine how more powerful it would have been if we were given the opportunity to grow fond of Tum and his family first. It still gets the job done, but it feels weirdly paced.
After this first chapter, the manga just goes all over the place and the family adopts a cat, which gets more screentime than Tum ever did. The final chapter is, again, something entirely different and doesn’t even feature the family at all. I found Inu wo Kau touching and an interesting read because I love pets and enjoyed the human characters. I just wish it had more direction to it.
Man, if I did scores in these articles, Inimimi would be a straight 5/10. It is perfect in its mediocrity.
After a long overseas trip, teenager Yuichiro Kinosaki has just returned home, only to learn that his scientist dad has gone away on important business and left the house in control of his three dogs. Dogs that he, to complicate matters, decided to turn into people. And with people, I mean big titty anime girls.
Inumimi is an ecchi harem comedy thing, which mostly leans towards comedy and is actually quite light on fan-service. As a comedy story, it is very meh. It has its appeals and I do like the idea of 3 former dogs having to adjust to being humans, but the writer runs out of material quickly and most chapters beyond the half-way point were just kind of dull. On top of that, the only character with an actual story is Rino, a formerly-abandoned Dobermann with a bad temper and a mistrust for humans. The other 2 girls I couldn’t even keep apart due to their similar personalities and design.
It’s not a bad looking manga and it is okayish if you stick to just the first volume.
Iron Ghost Girl / Iron Ghost no Shoujo
I picked up this manga with no idea what I was getting into, but knew exactly, 100%, what I was going to be reading after just one page. Hell yeah, another Rei Mikamoto manga.
Chimamire Sukeban Chainsaw was a deranged, ultra-violent gorefest with fantastic character design, ludicrous action, and a tone so overly edgy that I came around to wholeheartedly respecting it. It was one of the first manga I reviewed for this site and Iron Ghost Girl is all of that, but in a more concise package.
Mio Amasato has the ability to possess a metal doll whenever she willingly kills herself, a mysterious and demonic art that many a cult experiments with. When a teacher from her school comes to her after witnessing a bizarre ritual, Mio sets out to battle against an evil organization of similar “Iron Ghosts”. It’s a fantastic action story with crazy characters and kick-ass action scenes, which also benefits from a less sexual tone than Mikamoto’s more famous work. It’s also a lot more accessible at 13 chapters, making it much easier to recommend to fans of freaky horror manga.
Is This Girl For Real?!
Narumi Kawase is a 28-year-old, beautiful woman and her life is a complete trainwreck. She has an alcohol problem and has just become homeless after quitting her old job due to being bullied. She is directionless in life and deeply believes that she is a burden to the people around her, but this changes when a friend hooks her up with a job as a manga assistant for a local author.
Narumi moves into the Yoshikawa residence and begins to help out with the sensei’s manga and the housekeeping, during which she befriends the reserved teenager Jun. Jun is the perfect son: friendly, smart, helps out around the house, sociable, and well-liked by his classmates. The two of them start working and living together, during which Jun helps Narumi get her life on track and Narumi, in turn, helps Jun become more expressive and open about his feelings. Turns out, some of those feelings might be directed at her.
Is This Girl For Real?! is overwhelmingly good. It has beautiful character art and the writing is endearingly funny. It’s primarily a comedy series with some lewd humor worked in, but rather than become an ecchi harem, it manages to stay focused on developing its interesting arcs. There are some good twists in there and it’s fun to follow Narumi’s development; I was really interested in seeing how/if she would manage to reclaim control of her life.
Man I had a good time with this one. Ishoujo is a collection of stories about the students at a school who all individually discover a magical app that helps them get closer to the person they love the most. However, the app is run by a cheeky AI “user manual” who has interesting ideas about how to bring people together.
One boy gains an application wherein he can always see the tomboyish girl he fancies and can freely push, pull, and touch her as he pleases. Another couple gets locked into a JRPG together until they defeat the massively overpowered final boss. While featuring a bunch of ecchi comedy, the stories are all very adorable and the characters are so earnest about their romances that it ended up being a favorite of mine within this selection. The stories were all really nice and quick to work through, each one memorable in its own way and offering something unique.
Absolutely check it out if you get the opportunity.
Itoshi no Kana/My Lovely Ghost Kana
Okay, stay with me here. Please don’t judge too soon.
My Lovely Ghost Kana is about a young man called Daikichi Amano who is forced to rent a cheap apartment. The building he is to live in was abandoned 10 years ago after a gruesome suicide took place and locals began to gossip about it being haunted. Daikichi moves in anyway and does indeed find a ghost, namely the spirit of the young girl Kana. A ghost he promptly decides to put his dick into.
Kana and Daikichi begin to live together and enter a very sexually active relationship, even though Kana cautions him that sex with ghosts is said to cause bad luck. As these two lovers spent time together, they also begin to investigate the circumstances surrounding Kana’s death, who she was in life, and what convinced her to end it. There is also an ongoing theme of Kana gaining more power, expanding the range she can be away from the mansion and how physically she is able to manipulate the world.
Sex scenes are certainly plentiful and it can be read as just a hentai, but this manga also offers fun comedy, genuine romance, drama, and mystery. There is an innate tragedy to the love between Daikichi and Kana that had me wondering if she might at one point go to heaven or if Daikichi’s difficult life might spur him on to join her in death. If you can afford to read a manga that can transition from a comedic scene between two lovers to full-on spectrophilia, then it’s a work I can recommend.