Welcome to another update on the Manga Challenge. Where I share the latest progress on my self-imposed challenge to read a full manga for every day of the year. 3 months have passed and it looks like this may end up being easier than I was anticipating. At least. so far.
The first manga I read this month was actually a recommended to me. Pseudo Harem is a charming romcom manga about two goofballs who are part of their school’s drama club. Because her senpai jokingly mentioned that he’d like to have a harem, Rin Nanakura begins using her acting chops to play out various different versions of herself. All of them in their own way expressing their love for senpai.
It’s fun to see how instantly Rin shifts between her different personas, which also keeps the comedy surprising. You never quite know what archetype will suddenly emerge. You’re halfway into a typical tsundere skit, only for a different personality to suddenly take over. There is a problem, however. With so many alternate versions of Rin all fawning over him, senpai is failing to notice that the real Rin has real feelings for him. Feelings that she struggles to express whenever she has to be herself for once.
Next up, I decided to commit to a longer manga. Since I was still in the mood for something with lots of gore, I ended up reading some of Rei Mikamoto’s works. Most notably, Reiko the Zombie Shop. Mikamoto’s work is unique, in that it is so blatantly trash that it somehow becomes charming. His plots are nonsensical edgelord bullshit and his art is so extremely violent as to be utterly deranged. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Reiko the Zombie Shop follows the exploits of Reiko; a necromancer-for-hire. She revives the recently-deceased so that families can say their goodbyes or so that the dead can accuse their killers. Except zombies have a bit of a violent streak, so her work usually just ends up multiplying the number of casualties.
In true Mikamoto fashion, the storylines are absurdly grim. There is a lot of child murder and animal abuse, and everything is always as tragic as possible. It’s not a manga you should read if there any moral boundaries that you need fiction to abide by. Also, while I did get a kick out of the gore-tastic violence, it does run on for way too long.
Several chapters end up feeling repetitive and the lore constantly has to change to facilitate new story arcs. There is this whole storyline where suddenly Reiko becomes part of a necromancer war and the lore is changed so that now necromancers only have 1 zombie, which is kind of like a Pokémon. And if you lose that one zombie you’re basically out of a job. It blatantly ignores that Reiko was casually summoning zombies as she pleased before and, afterwards, she goes right back to doing more of that. Until yet another new story arc kicks off and the rules are changed again.
It’s fine, but I’d sooner recommend A Girl of the Iron Ghost to anyone looking to experience Mikamoto’s style.
Next up is one of the series that I own physically. Again, part of the challenge is that I need to finish every series that I have on my shelves. This month, I committed to finishing the fantasy isekai series A Witch’s Printing Office.
The story follows Mika Kamiya. She’s your typical nerdy girl with a love for manga, who is one day whisked away to a fantasy world of magic and wonder. A world of adventure, political intrigue, and magical warfare, all of which is way too scary for Mika. Instead, she decides to start a business.
Inspired by her real-world passion for Comiket, Mika organizes Magiket. A market where all this world’s brightest can come together to sell their magical tomes and trinkets. And where do they get enough tomes to sell at this market? At Mika’s brand new printing office, of course. Where she and her staff work perpetual overtime to keep up with the vast demand created by their own event. It’s a clever scheme she’s got going on there.
The manga deals with a lot of the organizational challenges and business shenanigans that Mika gets up to. Her competition with the world’s established factions, the rise of new competitors looking to steal away her monopoly. Not to mention the many sleepless nights and miracles required to make their deadlines. A Witch’s Printing Office gets a golden recommendation. Especially if you like to spot references to other series.
The final manga that I wanted to discuss today is Acony. It’s a supernatural comedy manga, which reminded me a lot of the Gregory Horror Show.
Its story follows Motomi Utsuki. He’s a teenager whose mother is always away on long trips for her work, so he moves in with his grandfather instead. Except, grandpa lives in an ancient apartment complex. A place that time has seemingly forgotten about. Not only is it decrepit and unmaintained, it is also home to many peculiar residents. Haunted dolls, clones, werewolves, reverse-werewolves, samurai, it’s a delightful freak show.
It’s mainly a comedy manga with a slice-of-life touch to it. Motomi ends up befriending the self-styled undead girl Acony, and together they deal with the daily weirdness of the apartment complex. It’s a very atypical manga, in more ways than you’d probably expect. I had a great time with it.
- Pseudo Harem
- Tyra to Cera
- Codename: Sailor V
- Das Kapital
- The Word of Buddha
- King of Wolves
- Giganto Maxia
- Asobare Dear Sex Friend
- The Loitering Snowmaiden
- Reiko the Zombie Shop
- A pervert in love is a demon
- SCP Zaidan Comic Anthology: Ki
- SCP Zaidan Comic Anthology: Kai (yes these are separate works)
- A Witch’s Printing Office
- Aragae! Dark Elf-chan
- Hiyumi no Inaka Michi
- Drip Drip
- The Voynich Hotel
- Yuri Mekuru Hibi
- Yuri Mekuru Oshigoto
- Osaka Banpaku
- Suicide Parabellum
- How Many Light-Years to Babylon?
- Shiro Gal to Kuro Gal no Yuuwaku
- EG Maker
- TSF Monogatari
- Unrefined Happy Hour
- The Pink Album
- Girls Talk