Manga Challenge – September Update

Howdy friends!

Are you all doing well? Had a good month? It’s been busy on my end, I have to admit. I am going on vacation again and I always underestimate the amount of prep needed for such. That also means I had to keep up the reading this month because there will be a gap in October. My friend won’t appreciate it if I keep us locked up in the hotel so I can read more manga.

Speaking of manga… let’s get to it!

In the mood for some classic, uncomplicated shoujo romance? Then give Awasete Ippon a try! It tells the story of judo prodigy Asuka Tomoe. A fierce lass who, despite her small size, can take on boys several times her weight class.

Asuka has a crush on her club’s president, You Kujou, but something goes awry when she finally decides to confess her feelings. Her love letter is stolen by her school’s newest transfer student, Ryoka Ajiun. Ryoka proposes a wager. If Asuka can beat him in a judo match, he’ll return the letter. If she loses, then she has to become his girlfriend instead. You can probably guess where this becomes a problem.

It’s a classic tale of a girl trapped between two loves, which offers enough twists to not feel too predictable. The judo theme is also neat and provides the story with some genuinely cool action scenes.

Another romance manga that I enjoyed had quite the lengthy title. “When I returned to my Hometown, My Childhood Friend was Broken” is a mouthful to be sure. Fortunately, its a name worth uttering.

Its story follows a young man called Touma, who has just returned to his hometown after studying in the big city. He tries to reconnect with his childhood friend Kyouko, but finds that she has changed considerably. Once an energetic tomboy, Kyouko has now become a sedentary NEET with an unkempt gyaru aesthetic. Something is clearly not alright. Rather than pry into her past though, Touma resolves to make their time together in the present enjoyable instead.

This begins a journey of healing, during which we get to see Kyouko improve both mentally and physically. She becomes visibly more healthy as the two spend time together and she discovers newfound motivation to get her life together. She starts going outside, reconnects with old hobbies, and finds herself a job. Steps that may seem like the bare minimum to some, but clearly take a tremendous effort on her part.

We have discussed author Juugoya’s works here before and this latest one certainly fits their MO. Their stories have a surface lewdness to them, which obscure interesting explorations of mental health and society. It’s not amazingly deep, but it draws you in real quick and hits far above its pay grade.

In the same vein, I also read “Boroboro no Elf-san wo Shiawase ni Suru Kusuriuri-san” by Giba-Chan. In fact, I read these two manga back-to-back. Elf-san is a special case because it’s a “mainstream” sequel to a hentai doujin. One that I admittedly didn’t read because I was in a good mood today and keen on keeping it that way.

This manga takes place in the aftermath of the hentai story’s events. An apothecary from a rural village visits a pawn broker, who sells him a “second-hand” elf. What she has been through can only be guessed at. She is catatonic and blind, with scars and gangrene all over. Her fingernails are ripped out, teeth are missing, and the less said about her lady parts the better. She is in a horrific state. The unnamed apothecary resolves to help her no matter the cost, again setting our protagonist down a road of healing. In this case both mentally as well as physically.

Elf-san shines in its attention to detail. Its short chapters focus on details like crafting dentures or treating a number of ailments that have been left to fester. Our Elven protagonist has to learn to trust people again. Hell, she can’t even speak at the start of the manga. It’s brutal, but in a way that channels a sense of hope. She has fallen farther than we can even imagine, yet recovery is not impossible.

Unavoidably, the manga does feel exploitative at times. It is, after all, a healing story based on hentai book by the very same author. Even so, I found Boroboro no Elf-san to be a captivating story well worth pushing past any moral objections for.

Finally, we have Futari Escape. Its story follows two girls who live together, who are only identified as Kouhai and Senpai. The former being an eccentric manga artist, while Senpai is proudly a layabout freeloader. Refusing to do anything resembling work isn’t so bad though. Whenever her Kouhai is stressed out over her manga, Senpai comes up with a clever scheme to help her briefly escape reality.

The result is a slice-of-life manga with interesting yuri and roadtrip elements to it. The girls go on vacations around Japan to take in the local culture and luxuries. Or they might just stay home and enjoy the simple pleasure of wasting money without sparing it any thought. The writing and characters were super enjoyable. I was hooked on Futari Escape in a way that few other slice-of-life stories capture my attention.

  1. Virginity Boy Rebirth Committee
  2. Awasete Ippon
  3. Necrophilia of Darkside Sister (this is not hentai I swear to God)
  4. Bitch ni Natta Kuro Gal Nee-chan to Irekawari Seikatsu
  5. New Devilman
  6. Gyaru Tensei: Isekai Seikatsu Majidarui
  7. Devilman
  8. Go-Chan Magazine
  9. When I Returned to My Hometown, My Childhood Friend Was Broken
  10. Boroboro no Elf-san wo Shiawase ni Suru Kusuriuri-san
  11. Alcohol Yuri Anthology: Strong!
  12. Hagure Idol Jigoku-hen Gaiden: Princess Sarah
  13. Devilman (Hiruta version)
  14. Neo Devilman
  15. Onee-chan to, Shiyo?
  16. Telework Yotabanashi
  17. Devilman VS. Hades
  18. Devilman Grimoire
  19. My Classmate Mr. Macho
  20. Nagatoro-san wo, Ijiritai!!
  21. Soko Ijirunsuka, Nagatoro-san!
  22. Ijirushikanai! Nagatoro-san
  23. Amaku Kanadete
  24. Maji de Kawaii na Koitsu
  25. Girls und Panzer: Gekitou! Maginot-sen desu!!
  26. Idol no Akahon
  27. Futari Escape
  28. Ikemen Girl to Hakoiri Musume
  29. Yurikamone
  30. School Ningyo
  31. Kurage

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