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Author Archive for Marsha Reid

Review: Aron’s Absurd Armada (Vol. 01)

Aron’s Absurd Armada (Vol. 01)

Manhwa-ga: MiSun Kim
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: November 2012

Synopsis: “On a whim, Aron Cornwall decides he wants to live a pirate’s life of thrills, sailing on the high seas in search of distant lands and buried treasure. And when you are the son of a duke, you generally get what you want. Accompanied by his reluctant manservant, Robin, Aron scrounges up a crew—including a cook who cannot cook, a transvestite assassin, and a boy (girl?) genius—and sets off on the craziest pirate adventure you’ve ever seen!”

I’m not overly familiar with the works of MiSun Kim, and if this series is an example of their work I don’t want to be. Ugh. Aron’s Absurd Armada is a yon-koma (4-panel) gag style comic series where the jokes are frequent and the story is virtually nonexistent. Most of the gags were weak or in poor taste and it felt overall like I was reading really bad roleplay logs from when I was in junior high school.

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Review: K-ON! (Vol. 01)

Reviewer: Marsha Reid
K-ON! (Vol. 01)

Manga-ka: Kakifly
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: December 2010

Synopsis: “When their high school’s pop-music club is about to be disbanded due to lack of interest, four girls step up to fill the membership quota. Unfortunately, lead guitarist Yui Hirasawa has never played an instrument in her life. Ever. And although she likes the idea of being in a band, standing in front of the mirror posing with her guitar is a lot easier than actually playing it. It’s gonna be a while before this motley crew is rocking out, but with their spunk and determination cranked to 11, anything is possible!”

It’s not easy to write and draw about music. Adding in little music notes and speed lines just doesn’t cut it when you can’t physically hear the music. Luckily K-On isn’t really about the music, it’s about the girls who play the music, so the complete and utter failure to explain what they sound like is both forgivable and understandable. They’re cute, they’re excited, they’re in high school and they’re building a friendship that will definitely last a life time.

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Review: Sunshine Sketch (Vol. 04)

Reviewer: Marsha Reid

Manga-ka: Ume Aoki
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: January 2010

Synopsis: “Nothing much has changed at the Hidamari Apartments for some time: Miyako’s her usual, wacky self; Sae’s still writing novels; Hiro’s worrying about her weight; and Yuno’s still as thoughtful and adorable as ever! But believe it or not, time has been passing, and Yuno starts thinking about what the future holds for her, her friends, and her art as graduation looms ever closer. The immediate future of the Hidamari residents, however, involves two new first-year neighbors — the shy, polite Nazuna, and outspoken computer whiz Nori!”

When the cuteness of every day life reaches volume four, it falls from simple laughs to being simply repetitive. The character personalities which before were cute and humourous are exactly what they were in volume one and oddly enough this is in no way a good thing. Tossing in new characters who you feel you’ve met before fails to spice things up and Yuno’s worrying about what happens after graduation brings the whole story down.

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Review: One Fine Day (Vol. 02)

Reviewer: Marsha Reid

Manga-ka: Sirial
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: All Ages
Release Date: May 2010

Synopsis: “With No-Ah’s childhood friend/tormenter added to the mix, all sorts of new adventures are brewing at the green-roofed house. Nanai the dog, Guru the cat, and Rang the mouse have cooked up even more fun this time around: visiting the library, searching for treasure—and tailing Rang on her first date?!”

If you think of volume one of One Fine Day as a test pilot, then issue two is the smoothed out first episode. There is more time spent on showing us the world these characters live in than episodic cuteness, which is fantastic. Sirial really got it together in this second instalment starring animal cuteness beyond comprehension.

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Review: One Fine Day (Vol. 01)

Reviewer: Marsha Reid

Manga-ka: Sirial
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: All Ages
Release Date: January 2010

Synopsis: “Take one fussy dog, a rain-loving cat, and a little mouse with a big sweet tooth, mix in a sprinkle of sunshine and a dash of magic, and you’ve got a recipe for adventure! Whether they’re baking cookies, cleaning up, or helping out a friend, this trio always manages to stir up a healthy helping of mischief and fun.”

On the surface One Fine Day appears to be about some sort of magic user and his three animal familiars. Below the surface that’s still what it’s about so far. The familiars call their master (No-Ah) a wizard in training most of the time, monster wizard some of the time and treat him like a father all of the time. In turn he feeds the little mouse, cat, and dog as well as takes them out for walks and picnics and other very mundane things. One Fine Day is a pretty slow story – it’s cute, it’s kinda messy and it doesn’t make a lot of sense if you try to think about it too much.

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Review: Ichiroh! (Vol. 02)

Reviewer: Marsha Reid

Manga-ka: Mikage
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: November 2009

Synopsis: “Nanako has been pouring all her effort into her exam prep class, however she still isn’t meeting her high expectations. But never say die! With the help of her friends, Nanako struggles through procrastination and distraction, determined to reach her goal. Unfortunately, that goal comes with a hefty price tag, and as the cost of study guides, enrollment, and dorm fees climbs, the penny-pinching Nanako jumps on the chance to make some extra cash with a part-time job… at a maid café?! Now with even more work on her plate, will Nanako ever be able to pull up her grades and make it into the college of her dreams?”

The penny pinching Nanako is still at it, out to get the best deal on everything without realizing she’s shorting herself on life’s little pleasures. Best friend and roommate, Akane is still on hand but the madly in love (with Nanako) Shino is too busy with college life to hang around as much as she used to. Like in all cute, fluffy and girly manga, crazy hijinks ensue on this adventure through life as the all discover more about themselves and each other.

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Review: Time and Again (Vol. 01)

Reviewer: Marsha Reid

Manhwa-ga: JiUn Yun
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: December 2009

Synopsis: “Baek-On and Ho-Yeon are exorcists-for-hire, traveling throughout the country in search of grudges and ghosts. Each encounter reveals a story of tragedy and loss, sentiments they are all too familiar with themselves. But sometimes the violence of the most murderous spirits is nothing compared to the cruelty of the living.”

A new story from the mind of JiUn Yun, the author and artist for Cynical Orange, Time and Again is a collection of ghost stories she’s based off poems and tales from primarily Chinese literature. There are five stories in total and they’re all strung together by either the presence or mention of one Yoo Ju – a young and talented, though also arrogant and lazy, exorcist.

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Review: Ichiroh! (Vol. 01)

Reviewer: Marsha Reid


Manga-ka: Mikage
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: May (16+)
Release Date: July 2009

Synopsis: “Nanako and her two best friends, Akane and Shino, have been in the same class since elementary school. Now with the entrance exam just around the corner, the girls have big plans for spending their college years together as well. Unfortunately, those big plans hinged on all three of them passing their exams…Now Nanako and Akane are ichiroh, first-year students at the local prep school. Nanako is determined to do better next year, but it’s going to be a real challenge — the bossy dorm/shrine manager puts the pair to work as miko, Akane can’t kick her video game addiction, and the neighbor’s pranks are getting out of hand! With all this nonsense, Nanako will be lucky to get any studying done!”

Nanako is a young girl with big dreams of going to college. Unfortunately, it becomes apparent that there are several forces working against her; mainly her friends, family, and life in general, but nothing holds her back like her penny pinching ways. Poor Nanako finds herself in more trouble by trying to save a dime than her lecherous brother or Akane’s video game addiction could ever get her in.

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Review: Goong (Vol. 04)

Reviewer: Marsha Reid


Manhwa-ga: Park SoHee
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: February 2009

Synopsis: “After the king grants his late brother a posthumous coronation, the status quo shifts dramatically as his widow, Yul’s mother, gains power in the palace. And she definitely has it out for Shin and Chae-Kyung! When the newlyweds are invited to go abroad, it seems like they might be on the road to romance… but with Yul’s mammy dearest determined to make the couple miserable, will they even get off the ground?”

With drama around every turn, Shin and Chae are still finding the time to fall in love (though Shin will be hard pressed to ever admit it). His royal mood swings and possessive personality cause tension between them as he begins to suspect she’s falling for his cousin, Yul. Little does he know, she’s far to much in love with him to even consider it.

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Review: Hissing (Vol. 06)


Manhwa-ga: Eun-Young Kang
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: March 2009

Synopsis: “With Da-Hwa in the hospital, Da-Eh’s wracked by built about the way she’s treated her kind little brother all these years. Though her romance with Sun-Nam gets shelved as a result, the two are drawn closer by their affection for Da-Hwa. Does putting family first spell the end of their relationship? And is there no room enough in Da-Eh’s heart for Ta-Jun to squeeze in? Find out in this heart-tugging conclusion to EunYoung Kang’s Hissing!”

Little Da-Hwa is pulling his broken family closer and closer together by doing what he does best: being a child. His bright smiles and cheerful attitude both warm hearts and break them as the whole family watches him on his slow road to recovery. Despite the pain he’s in, Da-Hwa continues to look fondly on the face of his big sister, glad that she is showing how much she cares after all these years.

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