My Week in Manga: November 13-November 19, 2017

My News and Reviews

Last week was a very quiet one here at Experiments in Manga with nothing posted other than the usual My Week in Manga feature. However, I did manage to make some progress with my next in-depth review, so that should (hopefully!) be posted later this week. While not much was happening here at the blog, the North American manga publishers were all keeping pretty busy last week with a variety of license announcements, made either online or while at Anime NYC.

Starting with the online licensing spree from Seven Seas: The Bride & the Exorcist Knight manga by Keiko Ishihara; The Bride Was a Boy manga by Chii (an autobio comic by a transwoman–I’ll definitely be picking this up!); the Claudine manga by Riyoko Ikeda (I am absolutely thrilled by this license); teh Fairy Tale Battle Royale manga by Soraho Ina; the Harukana Receive manga by Nyoijizai; the How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom light novels by Dojyomaru and Fuyuyuki (previously released digitally by J-Novel Club); the My Solo Exchange Diary manga by Nagata Kabi (a follow-up to My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness); the Ojojojo manga by coolkyousinnjya; the Plus-Sized Elf manga by Synecdoche; the Space Battleship Yamato manga by Leiji Matsumoto (I’m so happy more influential classic manga is being translated); the True Tenchi Muyo! light novels is written by Masaki Kajishima and Yousuke Kuroda; the Versailles of the Dead manga by Kumiko Suekane; and the Wonderland manga by Yugo Ishikawa.

At Anime NYC, Kodansha Comics announced that it would be releasing Yasushi Baba’s Golosseum manga and Vertical Comics revealed that it would be publishing Tsutomu Nihei’s Aposimz. As for Viz Media, the publisher announced that it would be releasing a print edition of Hideyuki Furuhashi and Betten Court’s My Hero Academia: Vigilantes manga (currently being released digitally) in addition to a brand new license, Okura and Coma Hashii’s That Blue Sky Feeling manga (I’m really looking forward to this one).

Yen Press has picked up quite a few things as well: Sanzo’s Caterpillar Girl and Bad Texter Boy manga; Tsukikage and Bob’s Defeating the Demon Lord’s a Cinch (If You Have a Ringer) light novels; Kazushige Nojima’s Final Fantasy VII short story collection; Natsuki Takaya’s Fruits Basket Another manga; Yoh Yoshinari’s Little Witch Academia manga; Hiroumi Aoi’s Shibuya Goldfish manga; Yusaku Komiyama’s Star Wars: Lost Stars manga; Gao Yuzuki’s The Strange Creature at Kuroyuri Apartments manga; Keiichi Sigsawa’s Sword Art Online: Alternative Gun Gale Online light novels; Soichiro Yamamoto’s Teasing Master Takagi-san manga; Mito Aoi’s Tsuno no Gakuen manga; and Akira Kareno’s WorldEnd light novels.

 Quick Takes

Land of the Lustrous, Volume 2Land of the Lustrous, Volumes 2-3 by Haruko Ichikawa. I found the first volume of Land of the Lustrous to be pretty, but perplexing; Ichikawa’s artwork can be absolutely stunning even while the plot remains somewhat impenetrable. Even so, I was and remain intrigued by Land of the Lustrous and its peculiar charm. The second and third volumes continue to explore the world that Ichikawa has created. Largely following Phos, who has been charged with writing a natural history (providing an excellent excuse to show readers around), more is slowly revealed about the Lustrous, the Lunarians with whom they battle, and the larger environment in which they live. The manga still seems to be primarily concerned about finding opportunities to display exquisite visuals–and there are certainly plenty of those–but the series’ underlying symbolism, themes, and mythologies are starting to coalesce and crystallize as well. Land of the Lustrous can be surprisingly philosophical even while being strange and surreal. I may not always understand exactly what’s going on, but I am captivated by the manga’s allure.

Void's Enigmatic Mansion, Volume 1Void’s Enigmatic Mansion, Volumes 1-2 by HeeEun Kim. It seems as though there are fewer manhwa being translated into English these days, but Yen Press still publishes some. The fifth and final volume of Void’s Enigmatic Mansion was released earlier this year which made me realize that I hadn’t actually gotten around to reading any of the series yet. JiEun Ha is credited as the creator of the original, but I haven’t been able to determine if that means there’s another version of the story out there in a different medium or if Ha simply developed the basic manhwa’s premise. In either case, Kim is the series’ adapter and artist. The titular mansion is a seven-story building, most of which the owner rents out. The mysterious Mr. Void hasn’t been seen yet (as far as readers know), but a number of his tenants have, none of whom live particularly happy lives. Void’s Enigmatic Mansion tends to be fairly episodic although there are also threads tying all of the characters and their unsettling stories together. Kim’s full-color illustrations can be quite beautiful, but they are also punctuated by shocking moments of blood and gore befitting the series’ horror.

Uncomfortably Happily

Uncomfortably HappilyCreator: Yeon-sik Hong
Translator: Hellen Jo
U.S. publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
ISBN: 9781770462601
Released: June 2017
Original release: 2012
Awards: Manhwa Today Award

Lately it seems as though there has been something of a renaissance or Korean literature in English translation. Korean comics haven’t yet experienced quite the same kind of resurgence, but they do continue to be licensed and translated. One of the most recent and notable manhwa releases in English is Yeon-sik Hong’s aptly named Uncomfortably Happily. Previously published in France in 2013 under the title Historie d’un Couple (History of a Couple), Uncomfortably Happily was originally released in Korea in two volumes in 2012 where it won the Manhwa Today Award. Drawn and Quarterly’s English-language edition of the work collects the entirety of Uncomfortably Happily in a single volume and features a translation by Hellen Jo, an accomplished comics creator and illustrator in her own right. The volume also includes a personal essay by Jo. Uncomfortably Happily is Hong’s first major personal work, a memoir of the short time he and his wife lived in the Korean countryside. Prior to its release, Hong was predominantly involved in commercial creative projects.

Yeon-sik Hong and Sohmi Lee are recently married and looking for a new home; their current apartment is on loan to Yeon-sik from one of his previous publishers and it’s past time that they move on. Since they’ll need to leave anyway, the couple decides to take the opportunity to find a place that’s more suited to their needs. Somewhere quiet and less complicated, congested, and expensive than city life in Seoul; somewhere they can both focus on their creative work. Eventually the two become enamored with a house and a bit of land for rent on the top of a mountain in rural Pocheon. With the clean air, beautiful countryside, and calm environment it seems like the perfect place for them–at least at first. Yeon-sik, Sohmi, and their three cats make the move only to discover that living in the country brings along with it its own sorts of challenges. But despite the isolation, inadequate public transportation, confrontations with hostile hikers, inclement weather, and encroaching development, they slowly build a home for themselves. It can be difficult at times, though, and some things never really change–financial hardship, personal anxieties, and looming deadlines don’t simply disappear and it’s just as easy to find distractions in the countryside as it is in the city.

Uncomfortably Happily, page 131Though I currently live in a more urban environment, I grew up and have spent most of my life in a very rural area. In Uncomfortably Happily, Hong captures beautifully what it is like to live in the country, both the good and the bad, the satisfaction and the stress. The volume’s chapters are divided by season, the narrative perfectly conveying the rhythms of the natural world and the lifestyle that is so closely dependent upon those rhythms, including the winters that seem to last forever with no relief in sight. Hong’s style of illustration is relatively simple but the attention given to the detail of the land- and cityscapes establish a real sense of place. In addition to the external world, the visuals in Uncomfortably Happily also reveal Hong’s internal mindscapes and imaginative fantasies. Though the subject matter can often be quite serious, Hong takes a charming and lighthearted approach. The small family (animals included) frequently break into musical numbers and Hong’s psyche manifests on the page in both amusing and affecting ways. But while humor is generally present in Uncomfortably Happily, the manhwa is also a sincere and honest work.

Uncomfortably Happily is a straightforward yet layered story of the day-to-day life of a newlywed couple going through a major transition in their life. There is the move to the countryside itself and all that entails, but Uncomfortably Happily is also the story about Hong’s emotional and mental turmoil as he struggles with professional and personal insecurities. At the beginning of Uncomfortably Happily Hong is already approaching burnout and the potential for a breakdown doesn’t seem to be very far behind; meanwhile Lee is making tremendous progress in her career as a picture book illustrator. It was bound to happen eventually regardless of location, but Hong having to confront and come to terms with his own abilities and limitations, wants and needs while living on a secluded mountaintop has a certain poetic appropriateness to it. While Hong’s particular situation and psychological journey are certainly unique, the themes explored in the manhwa are universal; Uncomfortably Happily is an engrossing and immensely relatable work.

Thank you to Drawn & Quarterly for providing a copy of Uncomfortably Happily for review.

My Week in Manga: December 5-December 11, 2016

My News and Reviews

Last week at Experiments in Manga I announced the winner of the Kodansha Comics Collection manga giveaway. The post also includes a list of Kodansha Comics’ 2016 print debuts, the variety of which quite impressed me. I’ve made a little more progress on my Orange feature, but not as much as I originally intended as I found myself working on a job application instead (which is greatly stressing out my current supervisor).

Anyway! There were a few things that caught my attention online last week: Manga translator Jenny McKeon was interviewed for Forbes. Sally Ito, one of the translators of the marvelous Are You an Echo?: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko, was interviewed over at Tofugu. In licensing news, Kodansha Comics recently announced the acquisition of the anthology Otomo: A Tribute to the Mind Behind Akira, which sounds like it should be fantastic, and Haruko Kumota’s Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, which I am extremely excited about. (I’ve actually known about the licenses for a while now, but I didn’t want to say anything until the official announcement was made.)

Quick Takes

Gate: Where the JSDF Fought, Volume 1Gate: Where the JSDF Fought, Volume 1 written by Takumi Yanai and illustrated by Satoru Sao. Sekai Project primarily localizes visual novels and video games but has very recently expanded its catalog to include manga. Gate is Sekai Project’s first manga publication. The Gate manga is based on an ongoing series of light novels by Yanai. After a gate to another world opens up in Ginza, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces successfully fights off an invasion of knights and dragons and establishes a base on the other side. What I especially liked about Gate is that it addresses the real-world politics and implications of the gate alongside those encountered in the fantasy-like environment. Japan obviously wants to maintain control of the gate and the resources to which it can provide access, but the United States (supposedly Japan’s ally) and China are both preparing to leverage their weight, too. On the other side of the gate, the standing empire is using some less-than-ethical tactics as it struggles to maintain its power and control after such a tremendous defeat. Despite some peculiar name choices (the princess Piña Co Lada, for one), so far the setting and culture clashes of Gate are interesting. It’s also really nice to see so many competent female characters in prominent roles.

Intense, Volume 2Intense, Volumes 2-4 by Kyungha Yi. The first volume of Yi’s boys’ love manhwa Intense was, well, intense. The rest of the series continues to be psychologically and emotionally heavy and at times is outright bleak. However, it is beautifully drawn. The second and third volumes of Intense aren’t quite as compelling as the first–though necessary and important to the story, I didn’t find the temporary focus on the political dynamics of organized crime to be especially engaging–but the fourth volume more than makes up for that. Overall, Intense was a very satisfying series. Jiwoon and Soohan’s happy ending does not come easily. (Honestly, I was afraid they wouldn’t get one at all and was steeling myself for the tragedy that I hoped wouldn’t come.) Even after they are able to extricate themselves from the crime syndicate that more or less owned Jiwoon, things do not go well. Though they deal with them in vastly different ways, both Jiwoon and Soohan struggle with abandonment issues. Soohan is surprisingly controlling and overbearing, desperate to be indispensable, while Jiwoon hasn’t yet developed a sense of self-worth or the ability to stand up for himself. This combination of traits is devastating and heartbreaking. They both care tremendously for the other, but initially neither of them are in a healthy enough place to make the relationship work.

Kuroko's Basketball, Omnibus 1Kuroko’s Basketball, Omnibus 1 (equivalent to Volumes 1-2) by Tadatoshi Fujimaki. In Japan, Kuroko’s Basketball has been hugely successful. English-reading fans have been clamoring for the series to be licensed for years, but it was only picked up relatively recently. There has been something of a renaissance when it comes to sports manga in translation, and Kuroko’s Basketball is one of the major series to usher in that trend. However, while I did enjoy the first omnibus a great deal, so far I’m not quite as enamored with it as I am with some of the other leading sports manga, namely Haikyu!! and Yowamushi Pedal. Still, Kuroko’s Basketball has quite a few things going for it and even turns a few well-worn tropes on their heads. Rather than being overly realistic, Kuroko’s Basketball takes a more fantastic approach–the abilities of the highly-skilled players and coaches are almost supernatural. Kuroko, the lead, is deliberately one of the most nondescript and unassuming  characters in the series, but he is able to use this to his a team’s advantage on the court. Kuroko’s Basketball can actually be quite clever and entertaining. I was also absolutely delighted to discover that instead of having an attractive young woman as its manager (which is fairly standard for a sports manga), Kuroko’s team has an attractive young woman as its coach. I hope that remains the case as the series progresses.

Yona of the Dawn, Volume 2Yona of the Dawn, Volumes 2-3 by Mizuho Kusanagi. I enjoy epic fantasies and seem to have a particular proclivity for epic shoujo fantasies specifically, so reading Yona of the Dawn was an obvious choice. While the first volume did an excellent job of setting the stage for the unfolding drama, Yona herself spent much of it in shock and barely functioning. Fortunately, although she is still devastated by her father’s death and the betrayal of her cousin Su-won, Yona recovers in the second volume and by the third she begins to show her mettle by actively taking control of her life and destiny. These couple of volumes also expand on the series’ worldbuilding, introducing myths, legends, and prophecies that will have a direct impact on the story. Seeking a way not only to protect herself but also the people she cares about and those who are doing all that they can to keep her safe, Yona sets off on a quest to secure the help of the descendants of the four dragons who aided the country’s first king. Yona’s close friend and bodyguard Hak continues to accompany her but others begin to join them on their journey as well–Yona is proving to be a leader worth following. No longer the sheltered and naive girl she once was at the palace, Yona is working to improve and strengthen herself in addition to making an effort to learn more about her country and its people.



My Week in Manga: November 21-November 27, 2016

My News and Reviews

With American Thanksgiving, traveling, and visiting family, last week was once again a quiet one at Experiments in Manga. However, I am at least still reliably posting the My Week in Manga feature. Yen Press, though, was a little busier than I was last week and announced three new licenses: Asari Endō’s Magical Girl Raising Project light novel, Mutsumi Okubashi’s Grimgar of Fantasy & Ash manga, and the first Sound! Euphonium novel by Ayano Takeda. Of the three, Sound! Euphonium is definitely the one that I’m most interested in and am looking forward to. Even if I wasn’t a brass player (fun fact: I actually have a degree in horn performance), that would probably still be the case.

Quick Takes

Attack on Titan: Lost Girls, Volume 1Attack on Titan: Lost Girls, Volume 1 written by Koji Seko and illustrated by Ryosuke Fuji. Considering how well Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan has been doing in North America, it’s not too surprising that most of the various spinoff series have been licensed as well. I actually didn’t know much about Lost Girls before reading it except that the series focuses on some of the more prominent female characters of Attack on Titan. The first volume of Lost Girls is a complete story in and of itself featuring Annie during the time she served as part of the Military Police Brigade. (Interestingly, it’s one of the few spinoff stories to take place within the context and timeline of the original series.) What I didn’t anticipate was that the first volume of Lost Girls is basically a murder mystery, or at least that’s what it turns into after Annie agrees to investigate the disappearance of a young woman. I’ll admit, I was pleasantly surprised by the first Lost Girls; it’s actually pretty great. The manga follows Annie as she searches for clues, uncovering some of the seedier aspects of the city and kicking ass as necessary. It also delves into her backstory. After reading the first volume of Lost Girls, I’ve come to appreciate even more how interesting a character Annie is.

Fire Force, Volume 1Fire Force, Volume 1 by Atsushi Ohkubo. Although Fire Force isn’t the first manga by Ohkubo (who is probably best known as the creator of Soul Eater) to be released in English, it is the first one that I’ve actually read. I really like the basic premise of Fire Force. In order to fight back against something akin to demonic possession combined with spontaneous human combustion, brigades of Fire Soldiers have been formed. These teams are essentially exorcism units with unique firefighting capabilities, including pyrokinetic members who can control and create fire. The series’ main character is Shinra, a young fire user with a tragic past who has recently joined one of these brigades and who has the unfortunate habit of grinning maniacally whenever he’s nervous. Fire Force has the potential to be a fun and exciting manga with some great action sequences, but the first volume managed to extinguish most of my enthusiasm for the series. Ohkubo’s exposition is incredibly heavy-handed, frequently stating the obvious and relying on forced conversations to tediously explain everything that is going on rather than using more natural methods of worldbuilding or allowing the artwork to convey the action on its own.

His House, Volume 1His House, Volumes 1-3 by Hajin Yoo. If I recall correctly, the first manhwa that I ever read was Yoo’s boys’ love series Totally Captivated and it remains a series of which I am quite fond. And so, when I learned that Netcomics was releasing His House, one of Yoo’s most recent full-color manhwa, I was immediately interested. The series follows Gangyoo, an orphan trying to finish college while struggling to make ends meet. In order to earn enough money for room, board, books, and tuition, he’s been renting himself out to women who for one reason or another temporarily need a fake boyfriend. Fortunately, his most recent gig pays so well that he won’t have to worry about his finances for a long time, however it’s a challenging and strange situation–not only is his client Soohyun a man, he doesn’t seem to actually like Gangyoo or even be interested in his services. The strongest points of Yoo’s manhwa tend to be the lead characters and their well-developed personalities. The stories, while engaging with excellent pacing, can sometimes run a little wild and end up somewhat convoluted. This is true of His House, too, but I still enjoyed the series. The manhwa is a page-turner as Gangyoo and Soohyun’s relationship evolves and their hidden pasts and true motivations are slowly revealed.

My Love Story!!, Volume 7My Love Story!!, Volume 7-10 written by Kazune Kawahara and illustrated by Aruko. I absolutely love My Love Story!! and yet I still somehow manage to forget just how much I enjoy the series between readings. This, of course, means that I get to rediscover my love for the manga on a fairly regular basis which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. My Love Story!! is one of those series that just makes me incredibly happy to read it and sometimes that’s just exactly what I need in a manga. It’s a funny, charming, and upbeat series with loveable and endearing characters which, incredibly, doesn’t come across as being overly sweet or idealistic. Takeo and Yamato’s earnest and pure romance is marvelously refreshing. But while I have no doubt that their relationship will continue there is still some uncertainty in it and it still takes communication and work on both of their parts. They have moments when they feel insecure or lack confidence, often because they love each other so much and want the absolute best for the other. Takeo and Yamato’s friendships with the other characters in My Love Story!! are likewise wonderful. I especially appreciate Sunakawa’s presence in the series and the closeness that exists between him and Takeo. I continue to adore My Love Story!!.

My Week in Manga: October 17-October 23, 2016

My News and Reviews

Last week was yet another week during which I wasn’t online much, though this time it was because I was on a short family vacation in Ohio to visit my folks. I did however still manage to post my review of the absolutely wonderful children’s book Are You an Echo?: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko. The book, fully illustrated by Toshikado Hajiri, combines a biographical narrative of Kaneko’s work and life written by David Jacobson along with a selection of Kaneko’s poems presented in both the original Japanese and in English translation. Are You an Echo? is a beautiful book that adults will be able to appreciate, too; I wasn’t previously familiar with Kaneko’s poetry and am incredibly glad to have been introduced to it.

Although I was busy with family last week, a few things did catch my eye online: Vertical’s Fall 2016 manga licensing survey is now live for those interested in suggesting titles that they’d like to see the company publish in English; The Mystery Writers of Japan have released a very useful website in English which includes great information such as an outline of the group’s history and a list of recent English translations of the members’ works; As for cool queer comics Kickstarters, there is a newly launched campaign to collect Tab Kimpton’s delightful Minority Monsters comics in a single volume along with additional bonus content.

Quick Takes

Fairy Tail, Volume 55Fairy Tail, Volume 55 by Hiro Mashima. With all of the recent developments in Fairy Tail it seems like the series might in fact be reaching its final story arcs. Granted, Mashima could just as easily stretch things out for quite a bit longer as he has repeatedly done in the past. Often Fairy Tail feels rather directionless to me, as though the creator is making things up as he goes (which he has admitted to) or isn’t sure exactly what he wants to do with the series. That being said, when Mashima actually manages to bring together disparate storylines and plot developments together in a way that makes sense and seems planned from the beginning (even if it actually wasn’t) the results can be thrilling. The fifty-fifth volume of Fairy Tail opens with one of the biggest game-changing reveals in the series as Natsu and Zeref face each other down. It’s a dramatic encounter and works tremendously well. Sadly, the rest of the volume isn’t quite as strong as its opening and many of the other plot twists and backstories feel forced at best. Still, this most recent story arc is probably my favorite out of those that I’ve so far read. (I started reading Fairy Tail part way through, so there are several arcs that I’ve missed.) I especially appreciate how it gives the tournament arc, which grew increasingly tedious, a greater purpose in the series as a whole. The action sequences and battles continue to be an exciting part of the manga as well, and there are plenty of those to be found in this volume.

intense1Intense, Volume 1: Night on the Red Road by Kyungha Yi. I’ve deliberately been keeping a lookout for new print releases from Netcomics, but even if I wasn’t Yi’s Intense would have caught my attention. The series’ cover artwork is stunning and the manhwa’s production values and quality is some of the best that I’ve seen from Netcomics. Intense was originally released in six digital volumes, but the print edition has been collected into four. The interior artwork, though it’s not in color, is just as beautiful, striking, and moody as Yi’s cover illustrations. The story is likewise very moody and at times can be extremely dark and violent. The series follows Jiwoon, an assassin and bodyguard for a crime syndicate who has been temporarily assigned to a red-light district. There he encounters and is drawn to the mysterious Soohan who works there as a sort of handyman. With their melancholic, slightly detached personalities, it seems as though the two young men likely share a fair amount in common, so much so that the tragic backstory revealed in the flashbacks interspersed throughout the first volume could easily belong to either of them. If nothing else, Intense is certainly well named. The manhwa is heavy and intense both emotionally and psychologically, moreso than many other boys’ love stories I’ve read. I definitely plan on reading the rest of the series and I’m very curious to see how the relationship between Jiwoon and Soohan develops.

Paradise Residence, Volume 3Paradise Residence, Volume 3 by Kosuke Fujishima. Admittedly, it has been quite some time since I’ve read the first two volumes of Paradise Residence, but I really don’t remember the characters being especially infatuated with motorbikes and motorcycles which is something that is quite prominent in the third and final volume. Maybe I just completely missed it before and that’s why it seemed to suddenly come out of nowhere, but the resulting story is nice. However, it’s another sudden development that becomes the dramatic focus of the rest of the volume–due to some unfortunate circumstances, the dorm is scheduled for demolition rather than renovation and the young women living there must do all that they can to save their beloved home. They come up with a rather creative solution to their problem that, while it strains believability, is impressively audacious and clever. Paradise Residence is a series that I enjoyed much more than I thought or expected I would. It doesn’t really have a lot of substance or depth to it, but it’s a pleasant slice-of-life manga set in an all-girls high school. Though not particularly nuanced, most of the characters are generally likeable. Even with the occasional bit of drama, Paradise Residence tends to be a fairly quiet and low-key series. The artwork is attractive, too, although Fujishima seems fond of drawing characters with one eye closed; I’m not sure if they’re supposed to be winking or what.

Spoof on Titan, Volume 1Spoof on Titan, Volume 1 by Hounori. In general the manga spinoffs of Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan depend on readers having at least some familiarity with the original series, although to varying degrees. Spoof on Titan perhaps requires a little more than many of the others as the humor relies heavily on knowledge of the characters and their personalities. Unlike Attack on Titan: Junior High, the other Attack on Titan comedy series, Spoof on Titan is firmly set in the world of the original manga. Granted, it’s a much more friendly version of that world–the Titans, though mentioned frequently, barely make an appearance and the death, destruction, and violence has been greatly toned down. The gore and darkness of Attack on Titan aren’t really to be found in Spoof on Titan. Hounori’s illustrations and character redesigns are pretty cute, too. Spoof on Titan is a four-panel comedy manga which is a format that I tend to really like when it’s done well, but the comics in Spoof on Titan tended to be fairly hit-or-miss for me. Some of them legitimately made me laugh while I barely cracked a smile at others. Overall, though, I am largely enjoying the series and find it amusing. I’m not sure that I would necessarily want to binge-read Spoof on Titan, but the series can be fun in small doses. The first volume reads like a collection of comedic Attack on Titan bonus manga, which is essentially what it is even if Isayama himself isn’t directly working on the series.