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Weekly Manga Reading List – November 30, 2010

Mini-Reviews of What I Read This Week in Manga, Graphic Novels and Books

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After a lot of feasting, I still had an appetite for reading about food as I dove into two foodie-worthy reads, several comedies, a supernatural romance and a somewhat creepy horror story set in a small town. It's quite a mixed plate, so let's dig in and see what I read this week.

Want more quickie manga reviews as I write 'em? Follow me on Twitter for this, and other bits of manga (and sometimes non-manga) nonsense.

Not Love But Delicious Foods (Make Me So Happy)

Not Love But Delicious Foods
© Fumi Yoshinaga 2005 / Ohta Publishing Co.

Author / Artist: Fumi Yoshinaga
Original Title: Ai ga Nakute mo Kutte Yukemasu
Publisher: Yen Press
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Manga artist Fumi Yoshinaga (Ooku, Antique Bakery) has made no secret about her love of cooking and good food. In Not Love But Delicious Foods, she reveals some of her favorite places to eat in Tokyo, and tells some hilarious stories about her real-life friends, colleagues and would-be dates who share her gastronomic adventures.

With loads of self-deprecating wit and a lots of mouth-watering details, Yoshinaga gives readers a glimpse into her life as a manga creator and a taste of some of favorite dishes. A fun comic fit for foodies that will leave you hungry for more.

Higurashi When They Cry: Beyond Midnight Arc Volumes 1 & 2

Higurashi When They Cry: Beyond Midnight Arc Vol. 1
© Ryukishi07/07th Expansion © Mimori / SQUARE ENIX

Author: Ryukishi07
Artist: Mimori
Original Title: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Yoigoshihen
Publisher: Yen Press
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It's 20 years after a horrible disaster has turned the village of Hanamizawa into a ghost town. Despite warnings about its demonic aura, five strangers venture into town and start to fear for their lives and their sanity.

Unlike other parts of the Higurashi saga, The Beyond Midnight Arc has much less moé cutesy-ness mixed in with its creepiness. You don't need to read the other volumes of Higurashi to get into this stand-alone suspense story, but Higurashi fans will also appreciate seeing a different side of the Sonozaki twins Mion and Shion.

The Witch of Artemis Volume 1

The Witch of Artemis Vol. 1
© Yui Hara 2006 / MAG GARDEN

Author / Artist: Yui Hara
Original Title: Hoshi no Witch
Publisher: TokyoPop
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As a child, Kazuki was mesmerized by his father's descriptions of a magical world called Artemis. Now grown, Kazuki daydreams of a day when he can see this world for himself. His wish comes true when he encounters two young women and gets transported light years away to Artemis.

Why is Kazuki on Artemis? What is he supposed to do there, and why is the Witch of Artemis so crabby? Why should I keep reading this series? If you're looking for the answers to these questions, you won't find the answers in this first volume. A generally bland, meandering fantasy story that seems to be going nowhere fast.

Endless Comfort

Endless Comfort
© Sakura Sakuya / Taiyou Tosho

Author / Artist: Sakura Sakuya
Original Title: Koukyuu no Arika
Publisher: Juné Manga / Digital Manga
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Two years after the death of his mother, businessman Masaki Kuzumi returns to the stately home where he grew up. It's there that he meets Yuu, a young man who is now tending to his family's dogs. Yuu and Masaki are attracted to each other, but must first overcome a dark secret from Yuu's past.

Endless Comfort is an elegantly drawn one-shot about grown-up men who must overcome some very real emotional baggage before they can be together. Endless Comfort never ramps up the drama or the smut to the cracktastic levels that you'll see in some yaoi, but it's still a pleasantly romantic read.

One Piece Volume 55

One Piece Vol. 55
© 1997 by Eiichiro Oda/SHUEISHA Inc.

Author / Artist: Eiichiro Oda
Publisher: Shonen Jump / VIZ Media
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With his older brother Ace scheduled for execution in the hellish prison Impel Down, Luffy does what any self-respecting pirate would do: he breaks into jail. Separated from most of his crew, Luffy faces almost impossible odds in his quest. But when he's near death and all seems lost, he meets an unlikely ally who has an even stranger Devil Fruit power than he does.

With 54 volumes of One Piece under his belt, Oda ramps up the drama and action to new heights as he delves deeper into Luffy's family history. He also ups the weirdness level with a hormone-tweaking transvestite pirate. You gotta read it to believe it.

Yotsuba Volume 9

Yotsuba Volume 9
© Kiyohiko Azuma / YOTUBA SUTAZIO

Author / Artist: Kiyohiko Azuma
Publisher: Yen Press
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Rain or shine, every day's a fun day when Yotsuba's around. In the latest volume of this all-ages charmer, Yotsuba has fun with a giant exercise ball, gets her own teddy bear, tries coffee for the first time, grills some yakiniku and checks out a hot-air balloon race.

If you've already read the other eight volumes of Yotsuba&!, you don't need me to tell you to pick up this latest volume. It's full of just as much (if not more) genuinely funny moments that will make you laugh out loud no matter how many times you read it. Yotsuba&! is pure happiness in a 224-page package.

Detroit Metal City Volume 7

Detroit Metal City Vol. 7
© Kiminori Wakasugi 2009 / HAKUSENSHA, Inc.

Author / Artist: Kiminori Wakasugi
Publisher: VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
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While a band led by a Krauser lookalike named Krauser I is tearing up the Tokyo death metal scene, DMC tries to hold on with a Krauser II stand-in who's not very demonic. Where's Soichi? He's trying to hang with the cool kids at an art collective, but will the metal demon within drag him back to hell (or the stage) again? Meanwhile, scat-metal band Deathism gets a poo-eating producer and discovers that even they can get grossed out.

After seven volumes, Wakasugi's draftsmanship hasn't improved a bit, but DMC is still as demented and disgusting as ever. It'll make you laugh, when it's not ruining your appetite.

Butterflies, Flowers Volume 5

Butterflies, Flowers Vol. 5
CHOUYO HANAYO © 2006 Yuki YOSHIHARA/Shogakukan

Author / Artist: Yuki Yoshihara
Original Title: Chou yo Hana yo
Publisher: Shojo Beat / VIZ Media
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Now that former-rich-girl-turned-office-worker Choko and her once-servant-now-manager Masayuki are officially a couple, moving in together seems like the next logical step in their relationship. But things never go smoothly with these two, as Choko's family faces a crisis and Masayuki's manhood.... doesn't rise to the occasion when it's supposed to.

Saucier than shojo manga and way sillier than other grown-up romances, Butterflies, Flowers continues to deliver screwball bedroom humor with a distinctly Japanese twist. Quirky, semi-naughty fun for grown-up shojo manga readers.

Rasetsu Volume 7

Rasetsu Vol. 7
Rasetsu No Hana © Chika Shiomi 2006/HAKUSENSHA, Inc.

Author / Artist: Chika Shiomi
Original Title: Rasetsu no Hana
Publisher: Shojo Beat / VIZ Media
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Rasetsu is a young woman with powerful spiritual powers. She'll need them, because on her 20th birthday, a demon has promised to claim her as his bride. In the meantime, Rasetsu works at an agency that specializes in exorcisms, alongside three men with psychic powers, including two who have fallen in love with her.

While Rasetsu and Yako try to figure out their feelings for each other, more is revealed about Kuryu and agency head Hiichiro. In the process, Shiomi throws in a few twists that will leave readers guessing. It's not very spooky, but Rasetsu is an likeable supernatural shojo series.

Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture Volume 2

Moyasimon Vol. 2
© Masayuki Ishikawa / KODANSHA

Author / Artist: Masayuki Ishikawa
Publisher: Del Rey Manga
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Agricultural college freshman Tadayasu Sawaki has a unique talent: he can see and talk to germs and microbes. Now that he's under the wing of the university's foremost expert on fermentation, Tadayasu's college days are getting more interesting as he meets some unlikely sake and beer experts, tries to outsmart upperclassmen in a demented school festival and some aphrodisiacs cause some havoc amongst his friends.

Possibly one of the quirkiest, best-drawn and oddly educational manga around, Moyasimon deserves more readers, but has suffered from an irregular release schedule. Here's hoping we'll eventually see Moyasimon Volume 3.

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