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Catching up on my reviews, here are some one-shots I've read recently. None of these have official US releases, but they have all been fully scanlated by Kotonoha (I translated Kokoro no Kanashimi myself, can't speak for the quality of the other two).

Title: Kokoro no Kanashimi
Author: Nishioka Kyoudai
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 4/5

Summary: A collection of bizarre, dreamlike short stories.

Review: I really disliked Kami no Kodomo, the first manga I read by this brother/sister mangaka team, but I enjoyed these short stories a lot more. The art is unique and interesting and goes very well with the decidedly odd, often dreamlike tone of the stories.

Sadness of the Heart on Kotonoha

Title: Love My Life
Author: Yamaji Ebine
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 4/5

Summary: Ichiko nervously introduces her girlfriend to her father, only to find out that her dad is gay, too, as was her (now deceased) mom. The revelation unsettles her, making her wonder if she (or her girlfriend) would ever choose a traditional life over what they have, as well as whether or not her parents really loved each other.

Review: Ichiko's questions are answered fairly early on, and the manga turns into more of just a slice-of-life story about her and her girlfriend and their day-to-day problems (not all or even mostly relationship problems, though there is that; there's also Ichiko taking steps towards realising her dream of becoming a translator like her dad, and her girlfriend figuring out what she wants to do in life). I enjoyed it overall, especially as a nice change from typical yuri manga with its gay-for-you-ness and general isolation of the couple from any other queer characters (between Ichiko, her girlfriend, her best friend & his boyfriend(s), her dad and his boyfriend, her mom, her mom's former lover & her new partner, there are far, far more queer characters in this story than there are straight (the only straight characters I can think of are the girlfriend's father and a girl at Ichiko's university who has a crush on Ichiko's best friend)). This was also made into a movie, which is available in English (region 1). I saw the movie quite a while ago and enjoyed it, too.

Love My Life on Kotonoha


Title: Omoide Emanon
Author: Tsuruta Kenji & Kajio Shinji
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 3/5

Summary: Onboard a ship in 1967, a college student meets a mysterious girl, Emanon ("no name" backwards) who, after seeing him reading a novel in which memories can be passed from one person to another, confides to him that she is three billion years old mentally. Physically she's seventeen, but she has memories dating back to the beginning of life on Earth.

Review: This has lovely art and is intriguing, but I find it annoying that it's not actually about Emanon, but about this guy who meets her and how that affects him. Her story is much more interesting to me and I wish we'd actually gotten more of that. It's based on a novel (which turned into a series) and at first I wondered if the novel(s) might actually be about her, but the summary of one of the other ones on Amazon is the same sort of thing (boy meets Emanon and his life is changed by her). :-/

Memories of Emanon on Kotonoha
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Title: Garden
Author: Furuya Usamaru
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 2.5/5

Title: Kami no Kodomo
Author: Nishioka Kyoudai
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 1.5/5

I'm reviewing these two together because I don't really have that much to say about them individually and what I do have to say applies to them both. While I like the art in both of them (Kami no Kodomo has a really unique and interesting style and I like Furuya's art in general), the stories were not that great. They both are full of rape and gore and trying to be oh-so-edgy, but that's really not that appealing.

Garden is a collection of short stories, and there's only one I really liked a lot, which was The Book of the Moon. The rest are just shocking for the sake of being shocking and overall kind of gross and misogynistic and rapey.

Kami no Kodomo is about a serial killer and really doesn't have much story to it at all. It's ~edgy~ because the killer is sort of compared to Jesus, with his thirteen disciples (one of whom betrays him) and chapter titles like Judas and Holy Communion (where he makes his disciples eat bits of someone he raped and killed). But like the stories in Garden, it's just trying to be edgy for edgy's sake, and was really not that interesting.

I also really disliked how the story used homosexuality (or homosexual sex, rather) as a sign of their perversion, and the one disciple who wants to leave, is leaving because he's found a girlfriend. Meh.

Anyway, they are interesting reading if you want to see some non-mainstream manga, but I really can't recommend them aside from that. I translated both for Kotonoha. Kami no Kodomo has been fully scanlated and all of Garden has been posted except for the final chapter.

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