Friday, 19 January 2018

Light Novel: SAO 12

Sword Art Online 12: Alicization Rising 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Eugeo has finally met Alice again, but she's no longer the same girl he once knew, now calling herself an Integrity Knight. Even worse, the reason for Alice's unexpected return is to capture Kirito and Eugeo!

As we start the volume, we pick up right where we left off last volume and we learn aaaaallll about the Underworld. Cardinal gives us the lowdown on everything, including Quinella and what's to come and generally fills in the blanks and answers the questions we've been asking! Everything or mostly everything is revealed, I would say, and Kirito and Eugeo must set out to retrieve their swords, get Alice and put the Cardinals plan in to action. 

The first part of the book is quite stodgy, I won't lie to you. It's heavy with explanations and details but I kind of didn't mind it because we got so many answers and learned how the world operates and how it became like it is, which is something I've been curious about for a while.  

Once things get going there's plenty of action and battles as Kirito and Eugeo head up towards the big bad, fighting various knights along the way before being brought up short by Alice. This volume perfectly illustrated why I don't like children and why they can't be trusted in these kinds of books. They're all creepy and lowkey evil. 

At this stage, I can't help but feel sorry for the Integrity Knights, having their heads messed with and so on. Fanatio was even relatable to an extent. I'm not going to lie, this volume ends on quite the cliffhanger and it's a lot shorter than last volume! There's no dipping out of the Underworld to check on Asuna and the others either, we stay with Kirito the entire time. Things are really heating up and we're getting to the climax of the story, and this volume paves the way for what I'm assuming is the final part of the arc! 

Manga: Love and Lies Vol 3

Love and Lies Vol 3
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy Courtesy of the publisher! 

Yukari is dull. He doesn't even stand out enough to be bullied ? he's just a generally lower-middle-class kid. He's in love with Misaki, the most popular girl in school. There's just one problem: He's 15, one year away from receiving his government-assigned marriage partner. He normally wouldn't have the courage to defy the law, but his sickly classmate Ririna still believes in love, and won't stop goading him into confessing his feelings!

Sanada has a new friend in Arisa this volume, which is probably good seeing as she appears to have caught feelings or is starting to, anyway, for Yukari. She definitely needs someone to talk things out with! Agent Yajima provides us with an interesting tidbit after the worlds most awkward sex ed talk, whether or not it's true. The scene with the talk and what he implies really shows how screwed up the whole system is. 

The love triangle is definitely developing as feelings have started to grow and change and various characters are starting to decide what they want. We still don't have answers about the mystery with Nisaka and Takasaki though and I'm getting quite impatient. I do feel like it's being dragged out a bit too much now, especially as I'm still waiting for things to really kick off with this series! 

Friday, 12 January 2018

Manga: Kigurumi Guardians Vol 3

Kigurumi Guardians Vol 3
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Hakka's second year of middle school was dull as it could be, until a suspicious cow mascot ("kigurumi") shows up in her room, holding a sign that reads, "My Name Is Ginger." But this isn't (just?) a stalker, it's a magical being that's come to convince Hakka (and her friends) to become Guardians, and save the world! Hakka is understandably confused, until she's suddenly attacked, and a beautiful young man leaps in to save her. Can this handsome knight and the weird kigurumi be... one and the same?

The volume opens straight up with action as the choral competition begins and is soon gate crashed by the bad guys. Comfrey shows up with Lavender and he's actually kind of hilarious for a bad guy and I'm actually hoping to see more of him in future volumes! He could be a fun opponent for the gang! 

It's nice to see our trio have bonded and are acting like a team...and friends as they all hang out with Nobara in an effort to make her feel better. It's heartwarming and entertaining at the same time, thanks to all the banter and interactions. This volume shows how close they've become and how well they know each other and I love the friendship between all of them so much! 

There's a lot of focus on Nobara as the volume opens up, and Basilico gets a chance to let loose and go full badass. It's the most serious I've seen him so far and it's such a contrast to his usual personality! 

Chigaya hints at something to do with Hakka, something Ginger is keeping a secret and I'm trying to work out what it is, but I genuinely have no clue. It's a little thread of mystery running through the plot and then the reveal at the end left me shook!  

In actual fact it seems Ginger, Basilico and Fennel are all keeping something from Hakka, Nobara and Satsuki. So there's plenty more mysteries to be untangled in the upcoming volumes and I'm intrigued to see what bearing it'll have on the plot!

We get a glimpse of Satsuki's home life which provided some interesting insight in to his character, as well as showing us some of the relationship he has with Fennel...and more of Fennel in general. He's been the most mysterious so far of the three and I actually felt quite sad for the poor guy. I could really empathise with him and see where he was coming from. His life and character in general just really broke my heart this volume.

The volume starts with action and ends with action as our characters (except for Nobara and Basilico) are in a dire situation, and then we get left on an epic cliffhanger that Hakka?! What happened?! I can't even right now! 

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Manga: Waiting For Spring Vol 3

Waiting For Spring Vol 3
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Mizuki is a shy girl who's about to enter high school, and vows to open herself up to new friendships. Of course, the four stars of the boys' basketball team weren't exactly the friends she had in mind! Yet, when they drop by the cafe where she works, the five quickly hit it off. Soon she's been accidentally thrust into the spotlight, targeted by jealous girls. And will she expand her mission to include... love?

Things are hotting up in the romance department! Kyosuke confronts Mitsuki about she and Aya after spotting them, like not really confronts but more like teases her a little bit! Although he does fully throw her under the bus later in the volume like the brilliant friend he is! I can't quite figure Towa out, but he does appear to be quite jealous, and he's definitely making his move....finally! Aya is kind of bugging me, possibly because I don't ship he and Mitsuki and I'm like 'yes okay...go away now!'. 

Mitsuki makes another friend this volume in Maki! Although she doesn't seem to realise that Maki is a love rival for her! Maki seems nice enough to be fair, and she and Mitsuki are quite fun together! They plan to do their best and keep trying which was sweet. I'm wondering how much of a misunderstanding she's going to cause and how much it's going to screw everything up though! 

Reina continues to be completely hilarious to me. Bless her. I wish I had the money for a camera lens like hers, I'm not going to lie. That's some heavy duty telescopic stuff right there! But she's exactly the kind of friend Mitsuki needs and she's helping her to be better and I live for their friendship! 

Ryuji bless him, tries to thank Mitsuki in his own gruff way which was kind of hilarious and I really need more of him and the two of them interacting! I love how all the boys act like her squad and are kind of like annoying older brothers at points, it's sweet! 

There's some cute and fluffy scenes between Mitsuki and Towa and it seems like we might be getting somewhere with this romance fiiinally! Like there's definitely developments but there's a misunderstanding possibly about to cause a snag, and then there's Aya. Aya is the ever present thorn in my ships side. Or should I say iceberg? Either way, there's incoming drama to offset the sweetness of the story!

The volume once again leaves me wanting more, I've yet to be disappointed by a volume. We get some basketball games in this volume, and they're drawn brilliantly! The volume and story in general are moving at a nice pace too, and there's always something happening. This is such a lighthearted, sweet series! 

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Manga: Wake Up Sleeping Beauty

Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

High schooler Tetsu Misato is hardworking, frugal, and easily scared, but he commits to a part-time job at the mansion on the hill—the one that’s rumored to be haunted. As he toils away, he notices a building separate from the estate, and the mysterious girl who lives within it: Shizu Karasawa. Tetsu slowly becomes enchanted by Shizu’s lonely smile, but by their second encounter, he quickly finds himself in over his head. There’s an unsettling feeling he can’t quite shake, but there’s love there, too.

The bright colour pages draw you in, the art is well drawn too! Particularly the buildings and backgrounds. The characters are beautiful too! 

Tetsu is kind of relatable, at least for me, in a couple of different ways and you have to admire his work ethic and determination. He's all about the money which makes him seem kind of superficial until you realise there's a deeper meaning behind it and a purpose to it! I ended up quite admiring him by the end of the volume, and I want to know more about him! 

Shizu/ Harumichi is an interesting contrast as she's more laid back and kind of messes around and he doesn't so much. Well Harumichi is anyway! Actual Shizu we haven't seen much of yet, she seems quite shy and it's kind of adorable. I did enjoy the plot twist with her and her dual personalities! I didn't see it coming and I wasn't really sure what to expect to be honest! But then it turns out that it's not a personality disorder at all, but a really cool supernatural twist! 

This volume lays the groundwork for what's going to be an interesting and entertaining series. Tetsu is such a scaredy cat of all things supernatural, yet he finds himself in an unusual supernatural situation. Shizu and her personalities as it where, all contrast against each other interestingly. So far I really like Haru as well as Shizu and I'm intrigued to see if there's any other personalities to be met aside from her Grandfather. There's also some mystery thrown in about Tetsu's mother, and there's the heartwarming friendship blossoming between Tetsu and Shizu that could lead towards romance and probably will! It's certainly a fresh and interesting story so far! 

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Manga: Sword Art Online Calibur

Sword Art Online Calibur
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The goddess Urd is in danger, and only Kirito and friends can save her! The evil frost giants have invaded her homeland of Jotunheim, bringing death and destruction in their wake. The linchpin of it all is the giant king's sword-the legendary weapon Excalibur! If Kirito's crew can make it to the end of the dungeon and pull the sword from the stone, peace will be brought to the land once more...!

As you may or may not be able to tell from the title of this volume, this is the manga version of the Excalibur arc of the anime, that was literally maybe two episodes! We get to explore more of ALO and there's plenty of Norse mythology scattered throughout, so for me, it was a winning combination!

The whole gang aside from Agil and a couple of the others set out on the quest for Excalibur! I'm a big fan of any story arc that lets us see some of the other characters in action and Klein cracks me up! Plus Sinon gets to be a total badass too! They all work so well together as a team. It was nice to see the story focus on all of them collectively working together and each getting their own moments rather than just focusing on one or two like usual. 

The story is well drawn, I really do love the art, and the battles where drawn cleanly. The volume is fast paced and there's lots of action, and fighting packed in, along with a lot of information. It may only be a quick side quest but it's well fleshed out and created and really drew me in to the plot and what was going on! I loved all of the little details thrown in, the mythology and the intricacy of the quest. I'd love to see more side quests like this in the story! 
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