[PR] Viz Media Announces Happy Marriage?! Manga Debut

{Ed. And here’s their other new series, Happy Marriage?!  I think it will appeal to older romance readers, so if you’re interested in manga and haven’t read any yet, hop over to Viz’s website and read the free sample}

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES HAPPY MARRIAGE?! MANGA DEBUT

Will Two Strangers Living In Matrimony Find Their Way To A Happy Marriage?! A New Romantic Comedy From Manga Creator Maki Enjoji

San Francisco, CA, August 19, 2013 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, presents a new take on domestic bliss as releases Maki Enjoji’s shojo manga (graphic novel) series, HAPPY MARRIAGE?! The first volume is available now from the Shojo Beat imprint, is rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers, and carries an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

HAPPY MARRIAGE?! is also available digitally for $4.99 (U.S / CAN) from VIZManga.com and for digital download through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones, and also for NOOK tablets and devices.

In order to help her father, Chiwa Takanashi agrees to an arranged marriage with the company president, Hokuto Mamiya – a man she doesn’t know – at the request of Hokuto’s grandfather. Chiwa believes the arrangement isn’t binding, but her new partner seems to think otherwise.

“HAPPY MARRIAGE has been eagerly anticipated by many of our readers,” says Nancy Thistlethwaite, Editor. “This series is our next offering in manga for adult women, following Yuki Yoshihara’s BUTTERFLIES, FLOWERS, which was serialized in the same Japanese magazine, Petit Comics. Fans of modern romance will find HAPPY MARRIAGE?! delightful and endearing.

Maki Enjo made her debut with the manga series Fu•Junai (Wicked Pure Love). She is currently published with Petit Comics magazine. HAPPY MARRIAGE?! is her fourth series.

For more information on HAPPY MARRIAGE?!, or other popular shojo manga titles from VIZ Media, please visit http://www.viz.com/manga/print/shojo-beat.

About VIZ Media, LLC

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, VIZ Media distributes, markets and licenses the best anime and manga titles direct from Japan.  Owned by three of Japan’s largest manga and animation companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media has the most extensive library of anime and manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. With its popular digital manga anthology WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, BLEACH and INUYASHA, VIZ Media offers cutting-edge action, romance and family friendly properties for anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy fans of all ages.  VIZ Media properties are available as graphic novels, DVDs, animated television series, feature films, downloadable and streaming video and a variety of consumer products.  Learn more about VIZ Media, anime and manga at www.VIZ.com.

[PR] VIZ MEDIA LAUNCHES END OF SUMMER DIGITAL MANGA SALE

{ED. – Lots of great manga on sale over at Viz.com.  I recommend Red River, Skip*Beat!, Beauty Pop, and Boys Over Flowers}

VIZ MEDIA LAUNCHES END OF SUMMER

DIGITAL MANGA SALE

Sale Offers 20% Off All Manga Available On Barnes & Noble NOOK© Tablets and VIZ Manga Platform

VIZ Media has announced a special “End of Summer” digital manga sale on ALL titles currently featured on VIZManga.com and available for digital download through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones, and also for NOOK tablets and devices.

Beginning today and running until Thursday, September 5th, the VIZ Media “End of Summer” sale will offer fans a prime opportunity to catch up on favorite series and dive into new ones with up to 20% off the MSRP on over 1,500 digital manga volumes across more than 100 different series (Reg. MSRP starts at $4.99).

Also don’t miss the North American digital debut of 8 additional new manga series this month including AISHITERUZE BABY, BEET THE VANDAL BUSTER, BOYS OVER FLOWERS, HANA KIMI (Single and 3-in-1 Editions), LA CORDA D’ORO, SKIP BEAT, VIDEO GIRL AI and YUYU HAKUSHO.

New Titles Debuting Today Include:

A DEVIL AND HER LOVE SONG Vol. 10 · Rated ‘T’ for Teens

BAKUMAN? Vol. 20 (Final volume!) · Rated ‘T’ for Teens

HAPPY MARRIAGE Vol. 1 · Rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers

NARUTO Vol. 62 · Rated ‘T’ for Teens

RED RIVER Vol. 19 · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens

YU-GI-OH! DUELIST Vol. 1 · Rated ‘T’ for Teens

YU-GI-OH! Vol. 7 (Final volume!) · Rated ‘T’ for Teens

New Titles Debuting August 13th Include:

CACTUS’S SECRET Vol. 1 · Rated ‘T’ for Teens

KARE FIRST LOVE Vol. 10 (Final volume!) · Rated ‘T’ for Teens

MAGI Vol. 1 · Rated ‘T’ for Teens

RAL ? GRAD Vol. 1 · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens

NEON GENESIS EVANGELION 3-in-1 Vol. 4 · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens

WAQWAQ Vols. 3-4 (Final Volumes!) · Rated ‘T’ for Teens

Additional August Series Debuts:

AISHITERUZE BABY Vol. 1

BEET THE VANDEL BUSTER Vol. 1

YUYU HAKUSHO Vol. 1

HANA KIMI Vol. 1 in regular and 3-in-1 editions

BOYS OVER FLOWERS Vol. 1

SKIP BEAT Vol. 1

LA CORDA D’ORO Vol. 1

VIDEO GIRL AI Vol. 1

The free VIZ Manga App continues to be the top application for reading digital manga and features a massive library of the most popular series in the world. Through the innovative VIZ Manga digital platform, registered users are able to use one account to view their purchased manga across more devices than ever.

The platform features a massive library of the most popular manga series in the world, with over 1,500 volumes across more than 130 different series, and new series and volumes added every Tuesday. All manga volumes are generally available for purchase and download in the U.S. and Canada within the application starting from $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) each, and readers can also explore all titles with free Chapter 1 previews of every series. For more information, please visit VIZManga.com or www.VIZ.com/apps.

Download the free VIZ Manga App for your Android and iOS devices at www.VIZ.com/apps.

To learn more about VIZ Manga, please visit www.vizmanga.com.

Weekly Shonen Jump–January 28th Edition

This issue clocks in at 171 pages.

First up is Toriko Chapter 219- I guess there is nothing as intimidating as group of pissed off chefs.  As the Gourmet Corp launches a fearsome attack during the cooking competition, Toriko and his buddies counter with some powerful, yet ultimately useless attacks.  Oh, my!  Komatsu is in trouble!  I don’t think all the cooking skills in the world are going to help him save himself from the freaks attacking him.  It’s a good thing the other chefs seem more competent at defending themselves.  Plus they will probably get pissed if their carefully prepared dishes are ruined.  This series is still not one of my favorites, but at least there were lots of speed lines and attacks to keep me somewhat entertained.

One Piece – chapter 696 – Lots of eating and celebrating their escape from the island.  The rescued kids are going to go with the Navy, and Luffy has big plans! He’s going to crush all four emperors! Hopefully this wraps up all involvement of Caesar, because I thought he was obnoxious and I’m not going to miss him much.

Naruto – Chapter 617 – Naruto hands out chakra like it’s candy.  The ninjas get ready for an all out attack.  Naruto’s shoulder is dislocated!  But wait! Now it’s not!  Can Naruto’s buddies keep Neji’s death from being a tragic waste?  Maybe we’ll find out next issue!  Nah, probably not, but maybe the fighting will start again?

Nisekoi - Chapter 59 – Christmas chapter! Chitoge’s mom is coming home for the holiday!  She’s a terror, too.  Everyone is terrified of her, despite her less than imposing appearance.  When her secretary collapses, she quickly lassoes Raku in to handle the job until Christmas Eve.  Poor guy!  She wants to see what he’s made of, and I think his work experience with her won’t be pleasant.  I am curious to see just how bad Chitoge’s mom can be!  If he can stick it out, she’ll reward him with a stay for two in a penthouse suite at a deluxe hotel.  Can he make it that long?

One-Punch Man – Chapter 2 – Another short chapter, giving more background on Saitama.  He became One-Punch Man after taking on a crab dude, and then trained like a fiend, losing his hair (as well as his good looks) in the process.  I am a bit disappointed with the length of the chapters so far, and the lack of a story.  Maybe we’ll get a story next issue?

Bleach – Chapter 524 – Oh MY!  The battle between Unohana and Zaraki rocks!  That is all.

Cross Manage – Chapter 18 – Soccer team manager Chiumi drops by to watch the lacrosse teams’ second game, and she has a crush on Sakurai!  She’s studied up on lacrosse, and she’s all ready to wow him with her knowledge of the game and  the team.  She knows Sakurai has some problems communicating with girls, and she’s going to help him with that, and earn some brownie points at the same time.  This chapter was bogged down with lacrosse rules, and it didn’t hold my attention like previous chapters. 

Kintoki One-shot – Cute color splash page!  Though I enjoyed this one-shot, it’s more a throw away chapter than anything else.  Great art but not much substance.  It did get a few chuckles from me, and that’s saying a lot since I am sick as a dog today.

Oh, they will start running a colorized DBZ starting next issue!  And there will be new series announcements next week, too!

Weekly Shonen Jump–January 21st Issue

Last week I was dealing with a house full of sick people (including me!) so I didn’t get a chance to read the January 14 issue of WSJA until today, so I’m just going to skip a recap of it and jump right into the January 21 issue.  This is the first issue of the simulations release with the Japanese magazine, and the magazine has been renamed Weekly Shonen Jump.  Good-bye Alpha and good-bye waiting for an English translation! 

This week’s issue is 185 pages, and introduced One-Punch Man to the line-up.  I have also discovered, much to my chagrin, that my by beloved Kenshin will only appear monthly as it is actually published in Jump Square.  Boo hoo!  But let’s put that disappointment behind us, and dive into this week’s issue of WSJ!

Naruto Chapter 616 – Nice color spread this issue and a congratulatory message from creator Masashi Kishimoto for going simultaneous!  After getting a pep talk about not letting Neji’s death be in vain, Naruto gets a second wind (or probably 4th or 5th with as long as this battle has been going on).  His chakra recharges and he quickly shares his renewed energy with the other ninja.  Yay!  We also get brave, determined declarations that he will never give up trying to save his comrades, and that despite loss and heartbreak, ninja will endure!  Very motivating!  These last two chapters have been my favorite since I have been reading the magazine, and the plot is starting to make more sense.  All of these quick battle chapters can get confusing when you just get dumped into them, and they last for, what, over 2 months now?

One-Punch Man Chapter One – New series!  Uhhhh.  Short chapter.  Saitama is a hero for fun, and he’s looking for an opponent who he can’t beat in one punch.  Uhhh…  Not sure about this one.  I like the art, but I don’t like Saitama’s character design.  He looks like a dork with an egg for a head.  This chapter was so short that I don’t think it was a good intro to the series.  Maybe next week’s chapter will knock my socks off?

One Piece Chapter 695 – Finally!  Luffy and the gang has escaped from the lab!  They are out in the fresh air and they won’t be victims of the poison gas!  Buffalo and Baby 5 scoop up Caesar and try to make a break for it, but no-uh-uh!  Usopp isn’t having any of that!  This is a quick, fun chapter with lots of great art and great poses.  I was getting bored of the lab drama, so I am looking forward to their next adventure!

Nisekoi Chapter 58 – Miyamoto has lost her glasses!  Ichijo and Onodera help her look for them, and Ruri, frustrated that they like each other, but won’t confess their feelings, tries to get them together.  Since Ichijo is so dense, her efforts don’t pay off.  Not a very original chapter, but the expressive art and the clueless Ichijo made it a fun read.

Bleach Chapter 523 -  Very cool color page get things kicked off.  Ichigo and Renji get to play with Oh-Etsu Nimaiya, the creator of Zanpaku-to!  More accurately, he gets to play with them.  He throws them in the middle of a horde of angry Asauchi, which are the ultimate Zanpaku-tos that can become anything.  They are pissed at how Ichigo and Renji have been using their Zanpaku-tos.  Quick shift to  Yachiru and Zaraki, who are facing off in the Soul Society’s underground prison.  These guys are so serious!  Someone is going to get hurt!  And then – the chapter ends!  This is a great setup for next week, and has  me re-engaged in the story.  I love Ichigo, but I am intrigued by Yachiru and want to see her and Zaraki cross swords.  I am sure it will be an epic confrontation!

Cross Manage Chapter 17 – I love this one.  The team is playing their first match, and after a motivating (more accurately, embarrassing) pep talk from Sakurai, the girls have been given the confidence to play all out!  This is a feel good series, and I have enjoyed it every week.  I keep gushing about it, but I love sports manga and wish there were more series available for me to read.  When are we going to get more Crimson Hero? 

Toriko Chapter 218 – Gourmet Corp is invading!  Their giraffe birds and other weird creatures are out for blood!  Starjun tries to make a grab for Komatsu, but Toriko is there to save him!  While this hasn’t been my favorite manga, this week’s was pretty good, probably because I wasn’t inundated with a billion new chef’s and their specialties.  The constant character intros has been driving me nuts!  Wow, I might not cringe next week when I come to the next chapter.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Chapter 26 – I just don’t get this one.  It is boring and I can’t force myself to get interested in the plot.  I like the art and the character designs, but the story itself – yawn.  I don’t get the rules of the game, and so I find myself just skimming this one every week. 

And that’s it for this week!  Next week there’s a one-shot by Akira Toriyama!

Review: Strobe Edge Vol 1 by Io Sakisaka

 

Title:  Strobe Edge Vol 1

Author: Io Sakisaka

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Being in love can light up your life… A sweet love story that will warm your heart!


Review: 

When I first read the book blurb above, I thought it was pretty lame.  After reading Strobe Edge, though, I think it very accurately and very succinctly describes this high school romance.  Ninako is shy and reserved, and everyone thinks she and her childhood friend, Daiki will eventually get together.  Daiki makes no secret of his feelings, but he has never voiced them, leaving Ninako, who is kind of clueless, thinking that they are just friends.  After circumstances have her and school heartthrob Ren cross paths several times, Ninako discovers how kind and thoughtful he is, and she falls in love with him.

Strobe Edge captures all of the awkwardness and exhilaration of falling in love for the first time.  Ninako falls head over heels for Ren, and who can blame her? He’s gorgeous, and better yet, he is nice.  What a combo!  As her feelings for Ren grow, so does her guilt over them.  She has finally picked up on Daiki’s feelings, and she feels awful about her lack of feelings for him.  She blames herself for leading him on, and though she doesn’t want to hurt his feelings, she knows that she has to level with him.  So along with the giddy rush she experiences whenever she sees Ren,  she realizes that her feelings are going to hurt one of her closest friends.

I don’t want to spoil any other plot points, so instead I’ll urge you to give Strobe Edge a try if you enjoy series like High School Debut and Kimi ni Todoke.  This introductory volume will leave you smiling as Ninako slowly begins to blossom, shedding her reservations and allowing herself to come out of her shell.  She knows that her heart will more than likely get broken, but for the time being, she is enjoying how she feels about Ren.  Because she is so sweet, and because she is taking this huge risk, you can’t help but cheer her on.  Will things work out between her and Ren, or is Ninako doomed to heartbreak?  I don’t know, but I can hardly wait to find out!

Grade:  wavering between a B+ and an A-

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Stepping on Roses Vol 8 by Ueda Rinko

 

Title: Stepping on Roses V 8

Author:  Ueda Rinko

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Poor Sumi Kitamura… Her irresponsible older brother Eisuke keeps bringing home orphans for her to take care of even though they can barely afford their own basic needs! Just when Sumi’s financial problems become dire, wealthy Soichiro Ashida enters her life with a bizarre proposition: he’ll provide her with the money she so desperately needs if she agrees to marry him. But can Sumi fool high society into thinking she’s a proper lady? Moreover, is it worth giving up everything for this sham of a marriage?

Sumi asks Nozomu to stop buying the land where she and Soichiro currently reside, and he agrees on one condition—Sumi has to leave Soichiro and become his wife instead! Faced with the possibility of eviction, Sumi must decide whether she’ll live in poverty with Soichiro or take Nozomu up on his offer…


Review:

Every volume of Stepping on Roses just gets better and better!  Each one leaves me dismayed when I reach the last page because I have to wait for the next release.  Rinko Ueda knows how to build  the suspense and the drama so that by the time you reach the last page, you are a quivering mass of emotions.  Some volumes that means being upset by the injustices Sumi has to overcome, and some leave you with an adrenaline rush, cheering Sumi on as she manages to stay true to herself and deal with adversity.  This volume left me pumped for Sumi – she’s finally had enough, and she is going to try to turn the tables on Nozomu.  You go, girl!  I only hope she can wage a battle against the crafty, unscrupulous Nozomu without compromising who she is.

Just when it seems as though things can’t get any worse for Sumi and her family, things do.  They get monumentally worse.  After being thrown out of their home by Nozomu, they are without shelter, have no money, and even less food.  They have lost everything.  Nozomu has poisoned the ears of most of Soichiro’s acquaintances, and nobody will hire him for fear of Ashida Product’s reprisals.  When Soichiro becomes ill and the doctor refuses to treat him because they have no money,   Sumi knows that she must give in to Nozomu’s demands.  She sells herself to him in order to help her family.  Poor Sumi!  Her desperation is palpable.  She will do whatever is required to keep her loved ones safe, and it’s not going to be easy for her.

What I enjoyed most about this volume is how Sumi begins to subtly exert her will against Nozomu.  She is passive on the surface, but underneath, she is learning the fine art of subterfuge  from her new fiancé.  He doesn’t care about anything but getting the best of Soichiro, and his single-mindedness is actually making it easier for Sumi to stage quiet rebellions.  With her reputation in tatters and her family’s well-being on the line, she doesn’t have much to lose.  I loved seeing her plans begin to bear fruit, and finished the last page with a feeling of elation.  I finally started to believe that things will work for her in the end, and I haven’t felt that positive about Sumi’s future in a while.   

One person  I would like to see more of is Komai, who I always liked, even when he turned traitor.  What is his deal?  Is he a traitorous scum?  Or does he somehow think he is doing what’s best for Soichiro?  Because there is no way that Nozomu, who is clearly psychotic,  could be a better employer than spoiled and over-indulged Soichiro.  I think?  Unless he really is evil?  Maybe we’ll find out in February, when the next volume is released!

Grade: A-/B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha–January 7th Edition

Let’s take a peek through the pages of this week’s WSJA!  I had a crazy busy week so I didn’t get a chance to read it until today!  This week’s issue clocks in at 153 pages, and once again, my favorite manga, Kenshin, is not included.  Boo hoo! Maybe next week?  There’s an announcement at the beginning of this issue that previous issues of the magazine will no longer expire.  Previously, WSJA was subject to a one year rental.  Now, your issues will never expire!

One Piece Ch 693 – Luffy and the gang are still in deadly danger!  They are still trying to escape the lab with the kids.  Baby 5 and Buffalo are performing weird morphosis to try to retrieve Caesar.  Just let him go!   I have only been reading WSJA for a few issues, and I am already sick of Caesar!  He is gloating with his weird wavy hair, delighted to have Smoker’s heart.  Shu ho ho!!!  Stop stealing page time and just go away!  If Luffy could take you out with one punch, you are unworthy of so many weekly panels!  But since Luffy was supposed to capture him, not punt him into next week’s issue, I fear that we will have to put up with his clowny face for several more chapters!  And, oh, yeah, Luffy, you had better run, because someone is planning on blowing up the lab and the island!!

Naruto Ch 614 – The battle has gotten grim!  Naruto and the ninja forces can’t catch a break! Ten Tails is obliterating the good guys!  Obito and Madara are sniping at each other, and it appears that Obito has the upper hand for the time being.  As Naruto’s allies fall all around him, he finally gets the “look’”!  That look that promises defeat to all of his enemies!  Just wait, Obito and Madara! You will soon be toast!!  Well, okay, probably not for another handful of chapters, but your downfall is now only a matter of time, because you have royally pissed on Naruto’s Wheaties!

Nisekoi Ch 56 – It’s that dreaded time in the lives of Japanese school kids – class grade point rankings have been revealed!  Tachibana has done terribly, and she recruits Raku to help her study.  Chitoge tags along, not happy with the thought of Raku and Marika having an all nighter together without supervision.  This chapter was a disappointment.  I feel like I have read it a hundred times before, and there was nothing new added to keep it from being stale.  Hoping for better next time.

Toriko Ch 26 – Phooey.  After sitting through the endless character intros for the cooking battle, the preliminaries are covered in just a page.  One page!  Instead of seeing how Komatsu rises to the challenge of his first cooking festival, we are told that he made it to the finals.  Ugh!

Cross Manage Ch 15 – The bet with Ryo wraps up, and Sakurai finally discovers Misora’s strong point!  Just in time, too, because the tournament starts in one week.  I love this series so far.  Clean, expressive art, fun characters, and plenty of sports angst!  I didn’t even mind the explanation of the tournament rankings and rules.  The tension is cranked up for the lacrosse team’s first game, which kicks off in the next chapter!  Yay!!

Bleach Ch 521 – Okay, so Ichigo and Renji eat in this chapter.  Yes, yes, they do.  They eat a lot.  They stuff their faces with tons of delicious, though weird looking, food, to prepare for their next phase of training!  So, yup, that’s about it for this one.  Sigh.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal  Ch 25 – This series, unfortunately, doesn’t interest me at all.  Reading about  kids playing a dueling card game just doesn’t do it for me.  Some of the illustrations are cool, but the whole concept bores me.  The rules make no sense, the stats don’t impress, and I usually flip through these pages as quickly as possible to reach the end of the chapter.  The numbers game as begun!  Kaito is dueling a numbers hunter brought by Kyoji, so he’s after both Kaito and Yuma!  Cards are destroyed!  There are lots of special effects!  We are on the last page!  Maybe it will make more sense next time around?

One more week until the simultaneous release with the Japanese version of WSJA!

Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha December 31st Edition

So after last week’s epic 220+ page issue, this week’s weighs in at – 118 pages.  Kind of a let down for the New Year.  Anyway, let’s see what’s in this issue of Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha!

One Piece Chapter 692 – The fight between Luffy and Caesar Clown was a bit of a let down.  One punch and it was over.  Sigh.  All that build up, and one punch sends the guy flying into the stratosphere.  There’s plenty of commotion around the New World with the news of Caesar’s defeat, and Luffy and his gang are still trying to escape from the deadly poison gas, so I’m sure that they won’t get much rest, but still.  I wanted more.  Not a Naruto length fight, but a couple pages at least?  Hopefully the next set of villains will give Luffy a little more trouble.

Bleach Ch 520 – I had a little trouble following this chapter, due to my Bleach reading gap.  Shunsui Kyuraku has been appointed Captain General and  Squad One captain, and for his first task, he wants to teach Kenpachi Zaraki zanjutsu.  That doesn’t go over well, but Shunsui argues that with so many headed to Reiokyu, the Soul Society is practically defenseless.  To keep this somewhat spoiler free, he wants the “first” Kenpachi to teach him.  Argh!  I know that this must be an epic moment in the story, but because I haven’t been following it for – uh about a billion chapters, I have no idea the significance of this revelation.  The thought of jumping backward and trying to catch up is too daunting to consider.  And, oh, yeah, Ichigo didn’t rot, corrode, or combust in Tenjiro’s magic ponds, so he’s good to go for his next adventure! 

Naruto Ch 613 – Oh. My! The battle with Obito and Madara continues!  Ten Tails proves more problematic than the combined ninja force anticipated.  Things are looking grim!  Ten Tails is fighting back, and Naruto and his allies are helpless against the assault.  No! Injures are mounting, deaths are escalating, and the battle seems hopeless!  Just the way I like it!  How will the forces of good ever defeat the forces of evil?!  It might take another 10 chapters to find out, but I’m there all the way.

Toriko Ch 215 – This is the first chapter of Toriko that I found somewhat engaging.  I guess sparkling food always does the trick for me.  Brunch is spitting fire after a heated confrontation with Zebra, and he’s determined to beat Komatsu’s butt.  Komatsu’s hero worship takes some of the wind out of his sails, and when he sees how happy the remaining ingredients are and that Komatsu can hear their voices, he develops a new admiration of the runty little chef.  I still find the art bizarre, but Brunch’s sudden change of heart about Komatsu has me intrigued.  Will he just use the trusting little Komatsu to elevate his own position in the competition, or will they form a friendship that lasts beyond the cooking battle?  For a change, I ‘m invested enough in the story to look forward to next week’s chapter.

Nisekoi Ch 55 – The steal a kiss from Raku contest wrapped up in this chapter, and I hate to admit it, but it was pretty fun.  Tsugumi is unbelievably flustered at the thought of kissing Raku, and not just because he’s Chitoge’s boyfriend.  Paula is pulling out the stops to prove that she is every bit as skilled as Tsugumi, and because Tsugumi is so freaked out at the thought of kissing Raku, Paula quickly gains the upper hand.  Until Paula makes off with Raku, and Tsugumi begins to process her feelings for him.  Then – KABOOM!! She snaps.  I loved her solution to the whole kissing thing, and her reaction to Paula after the contest ended.  The art is generic, but I like the clean lines.  I just wish that Raku and Tsugumi didn’t look so much alike to me.

Cross Manage Ch 14 – I like this series a lot.  The non-date that might be a teeny weeny bit like a date continues!  Toyoguchi and Sakurai arrive at the sporting goods store, where Toyoguchi introduces Sakurai to Ryu.  Ryu is a jerk.  He plays lacrosse on a college team and is also a member of the national team. While he adores Toyoguchi, he thinks that Sakurai is being cruel by encouraging her to try to improve her lacrosse skills.  Ryu totally rubbed me the wrong way, and I so badly want to see him eat a huge serving of humble pie.  He is so dismissive of Toyoguchi’s ambitions to become a better player, and he comes across as a giant schmuck.  He wants Sakurai to quit as the team manager, and to ensure that he does, he challenges him to a lacrosse contest.  Because all disagreements and confrontations are settled by a contest in manga.  Usually an extremely one-sided contest, where the hero has zero prospects of winning.  Could you imagine what would happen if this was a trend in real life?  Obama could challenge Boehner to a one on one basketball match (or any athletic competition, for that matter), and that fiscal cliff impasse non-sense would be over!

No Kenshin this week *sob*