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Land of the Lustrous vol. 1 by Haruka Ichikawa (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

August 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If anything, I want to see how this series develops overtime as vol. 1 gave us a taste of the jewel people and the daily dangers they must confront each day. But it will be interesting to see where Haruka Ichiwakawa takes the characters in upcoming stories and adventures. Overall, “Land of the Lustrous” is a manga series worth checking out!

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Image courtesy of © 2013 Haruka Ichikawa. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Land of the Lustrous vol. 1

Story and Art by Haruka Ichikawa

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Kodansha Ltd.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Kodansha Comics

RATED: T for Teen

RELEASE DATE: June 27, 2017


In a world inhabited by crystalline lifeforms called The Lustrous, every unique gem must fight for their way of life against the threat of lunarians who would turn them into decorations. Phosphophyllite, the most fragile and brittle of gems, longs to join the battle. When Phos is instead assigned to complete a natural history of their world, it sounds like a dull and pointless task. But this new job brings Phos into contact with Cinnabar, a gem forced to live in isolation. Can Phos’s seemingly mundane assignment lead both Phos and Cinnabar to the fulfillment they desire?


In 2012, Haruko Ichikawa created her manga series “Houseki no Kuni” (which translates to “Country of Jewels”) and was published by Kodansha for “Monthly Afteroon” Magazine.

With a total of five graphic novel volumes published, the first volume will be released by Kodansha USA under the title “Land of the Lustrous”.

Set in a world where there are people made of jewels (of various different grades of jewels), some who are tough as diamond, some who are not as durable but have great fighting power, protecting their land from the Lunarians, who want to take the jewels and make them into decorations.

The main character is Phos (Phosphophylite) who is a female jewel that is trying to find her path in life.

She wants to find true meaning and each time she encounters the other jewels, they find her to be annoying and clumsy.

Unfortunately for Phos, who wants to fight, she is grade 3.5 and she is the most fragile of all jewels.  So, she is given a job, to complete a natural history of their world.

While she finds the new job dull, she is told to talk to Cinnabar, a jewel who only fights during the nighttime and when Phos goes out to meet her, we learn that Cinnabar is quite bored with her life because she can only fight during the night and there are no Lunarian attacks at night.

But as Phos tries to explore for her studies on natural history, she talks with her fellow Lustrous and learns that they are also trying to find meaning in their lives.

But what happens when a huge slug comes out of nowhere?


Haruka Ichikawa’s manga “Land of the Lustrous” is an interesting concept.  Taking the various types of jewels and making them people, but yet people with abilities and are defending themselves against the Lunarians who want to break them and take their jewels to make jewelry.

The story is somewhat banal that you have one clumsy and bumbling character that tends to annoy everyone (as they think the main character, Phos is useless) but yet somehow, her kind heart opens them up and challenges them to think about their path in life.

The manga series will probably show us how Phos will become stronger, despite being a fragile jewel but I would like to see how Haruka Ichikawa takes this story and make it different from similar storylines.

For the most part, the first volume is no doubt introductory to the various characters in the manga series and it does have issues where certain characters look too close to each other that you get confused who is who.

But the manga series does pickup as we start to see the various jewel people, some who are durable, some who are warriors and some who are not fighters.

The character designs are good and things are looking up for Haruka Ichikawa’s series as it is set for an anime adaptation for debut in October 2017.  If anything, I want to see how this series develops overtime as vol. 1 gave us a taste of the jewel people and the daily dangers they must confront each day.

But it will be interesting to see where Haruka Ichiwakawa takes the characters in upcoming stories and adventures.

Overall, “Land of the Lustrous” is a manga series worth checking out!

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Happiness vol. 1 by Shuzo Oshimi (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

January 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Knowing how Shuzo Oshimi’s manga series tend to have surprises in store for readers, this first volume is merely a setup for big things to come. An enjoyable series thus far and I look forward to reading volume 2!

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Image courtesy of © 2012 by ONE. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Happiness vol. 1

STORY AND ART BY: Shuzo Oshimi

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Kodansha

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Kodansha Comics

RATED: M for Mature Audiences

Available on September 27, 2016


Nothing interesting in happening in Makoto Ozaki’s first year of high school. His life is a series of quiet humiliations: low-grade bullies, unreliable friends, and the constant frustration of his adolescent lust. But one night, a pale, thin girl knocks him to the ground in an alley and offers him a choice.

Now everything is different. Daylight is searingly bright. Food tastes awful. And worse than anything is the terrible, consuming thirst. The tiny shames of his old life have been replaced by two towering horrors: the truth of what will slake his awful craving, and high school itself.


From Shuzo Oshimi, the creator of “Drifting Net Cafe” and “The Flowers of Evil”) comes his latest manga series “Happiness”.

With a total of three graphic novels released in Japan since Feb. 2015, “Happiness” is a supernatural manga series that will surely entertain fans of vampire stories.

“Happiness” begins with a murder with a female vampire targeting a man walking out late at night in the Nakano Ward of Tokyo.

The story then shifts to Hokusei High School and features a year 1 student named Makoto Okazaki, a teenager who is often bullied and is forced to buy other students lunch with his own money.

The only person that sympathizes with him is Nunota, a teenager who was previously bullied and forced to buy others lunch.

That night, as Okazaki goes out at night to return a DVD, he is attacked by the female vampire but as his blood is sucked out of him, the female vampire gives him a choice, to die or to be like her.  Okazaki chooses to live and not die.

When Okazaki awakes, he is in the hospital with his family.  Seeing that he was attacked, as the lights are turned on, he can’t stand the light.

When he returns back to school, people have heard of his attack but one again, his bully Yuki try to cause problem when Okazaki tells them that the person that attacked him was a girl.  Laughing hysterically, Yuki tells everyone that Okazaki’s attacker was a girl

Upset, Okazaki instinctively punches the bully and breaks his nose.  With blood gushing from the bully’s nose, he notices that he can smell the scent of one’s blood and desperately wants to lick it.

Immediately, Yuki becomes the laughing stock at school as other bullies descend on him and Yuki becomes the person being bullied.

Meanwhile, Okazaki notices that he is starting to have problems as his body wants to lick blood and is starting to feel sick.  Okazaki starts to wonder what is happening to him?  And why is he so sick?


With a new manga series by Shuzo Oshimi, we have a vampire story about a teenager named Makoto Okazaki who is attacked at night and his blood sucked by a vampire and being given a choice…die or become a vampire.

Okazaki starts to go through withdrawals after his release from the hospital, trying to prevent his urges from getting the best of him but noticing a big change and others are starting to worry about him.

The first volume is pretty much a standard introductory story to the characters and series and while somewhat banal of a person who was normal but bitten by a vampire and turning into one, the first volume focuses on Okazaki’s struggle to contain his urges.

As Okazaki is often getting bullied, the story also focuses on how his bully (Yuki) becomes the person being bullied, after Okazaki, sick of being bullied, breaks Yuki’s nose. And now Yuki starts to become on the receiving end of feeling the brunt of being bullied by other bullies in school.

The other person introduced in the story is Yukiko Gosho, a blunt student who Okazaki slowly starts to get to know.  As his body craves for her blood, it’s still to early to see where this friendship and potential relationship may go later in the series.

But for the most part, as a first volume and and an introduction-driven story of the characters, Shuzo Oshimi’s “Happiness” begins with the obvious, it’s success depends where the series takes off after this first volume and how it avoids the banal vampire storylines that have been created. But I have no doubt in my mind that Oshimi will take this series into a fascinating direction.

The artwork by Oshimi is well-done and the series does have violence and also a sexual scene, thus giving the series its mature rating.

But knowing how Shuzo Oshimi’s manga series tend to have surprises in store for readers, this first volume is merely a setup for big things to come.  An enjoyable series thus far and I look forward to reading volume 2!

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Attack on Titan: Lost Girls Vol. 1 (Art by Ryosuke Fuji, Story by Hiroshi Seko) (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

September 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Attack on Titan: Lost Girls” is a story meant to be read after one gets farther into the series and after one knows more about Annie Leonhart’s part in the primary series.  But this entertaining one-shot mystery story featuring Annie Leonhart will no doubt appeal to “Attack on Titan” fans.

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Image courtesy of © 2016 Hajime Isayama/Hiroshi Seto/Ryosuke Fuji. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Attack on Titan: Lost Girls Vol. 1

STORY AND ART BY: Art by Ryosuke Fuji, Story by Hiroshi Seko

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Kodansha Ltd.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Kodansha Comics

RATED: T for Teen

Available on August 30, 2016


Annie Leonhart has been training hard for one purpose, one mission: During the 57th Expedition Outside the Walls, she must seize Eren Yeager:  The expedition commences tomorrow.


Back in 2006, Hajime Isayama wrote a 65-page one-shot of “Shingeki no Kyojin”. Inspired during an encounter with an irate customer while working at an internet cafe, the encounter would eventually be the basis of his hit series which is known internationally as “Attack on Titan”.

In 2009, “Shingeki no Kyojin” began serialization in Kodanasha’s “Bessatsu Shonen Magazine” and has spawned a popular manga and anime series, several light novel volumes, multiple video games, manga spin-offs and live-action films.

In 2016, a recent side-story to “Shingeki no Kyojin” (Attack on Titan) titled “Attack on Titan: Lost Girls” was released in Japan and now the the two-part graphic novels (volume one featuring Annie Leonhart and volume two featuring Mikasa Ackerman) will be released in the U.S. courtesy of Kodansha Comics.

NOTE: “Attack on Titan: Lost Girls” is meant to be read if you have read or watched the anime series as this volume has spoilers.

The first volume focuses on Annie Leonhart, a graduate of the 104th Training Corps and member of the Military Police Brigade.

Her specialty is swords and unarmed combat, something she was trained since she was a young girl.

But she has always been a lone wolf and not a sociable person.

She also one of the main antagonists to the “Attack on Titan” series as she harbors a secret…she is a titan.

The story of “Attack on Titan: Lost Girls” takes place on the day before she is to go and capture Eren Yeager (the series main protagonist).

Annie is given an order to find Carly Stratman, the only daughter of the chair of the Marleen Company, Sir Elliot G. Stratmann.

Carly has been missing and the Military Police has been tasked to find her, but the search has been passed around and Annie is the third person to receive the order and she wants to complete this case.

And as Annie investigates alone, she finds out that there is more to the missing Carly Stratman than she has anticipated and the search for her will put her on a dangerous path.


With “Attack on Titan: Lost Girls”, this side-story by Hiroshi Seko and artist Ryosuke Fuji, is a story meant to humanize Annie Leonhart.

One of the primary antagonists of “Attack on Titan”, she is a woman dedicated to her duty and job, but the problem is that she holds a horrible secret.

Having been trained all her life by her father, only doing rigorous training for her mission against humanity, she was taught one thing…to treat the world as her enemy.  And her main mission is to lead a group of titans to capture Eren Yeager.

“Attack on Titan: Lost Girls” is less about Annie as a titan but more about her being on a mystery mission in which she is tasked to find a missing young woman.

We see Annie as not only as a person dedicated to her job, showing her as an excellent fighter but a person that has emotions and is often thinking about her own upbringing, her relationship with her father who made her fight and dreams of coming home to her father, but knows that she can’t unless her mission is over.

You can’t help but feel sympathy for Annie being raised to be a killing machine and to hate the world and she just desires to be normal, to finish her mission so she can gain some sort of normalcy.

“Attack on Titan: Lost Girls” also gives readers a chance to see life in other villages and how drug-use has become rampant and how everything is somewhat connected to the person that Annie is searching for.

While the storyline is predictable earlier on, it’s the development of Annie Leonhart’s character that I found interesting to read and how it connects to Hajime Isayama’s story.  As for the artwork, Ryosuke Fuji has done a solid job with overall character design and showcasing the action in the series.

Overall, “Attack on Titan: Lost Girls” is a story meant to be read after one gets farther into the series and after one knows more about Annie Leonhart’s part in the primary series.  But this entertaining one-shot mystery story featuring Annie Leonhart will no doubt appeal to “Attack on Titan” fans.

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