I received a call on the 5th of June 2020 (the day I’m writing this opening sentence) and I’m finally going to be able to leave this quarantine lifestyle behind…partially.
The call on the 5th said I was going to restart voluneering on the 17th of that month. So just to commemorate being out of quarantine, I just want to see how much stuff I managed to read through the COVID-19 free reading loophole, so take a gander at it (in roughly the order I read them and not counting things I dropped after 1 chapter):
Sidebar: It goes without saying there are spoilers for the relevant series, especially for the oneshots.
Boku no Hero Academia (Provisional Licence Exam arc)
Viz released the Overhaul arc to hype up the anime’s release of said arc, so I could cut that from my reading list. If you’ve compared the BnHA manga and the anime at any point and watched the anime for the arc in question, you know what to expect by this point, although to my memory the anime goes slightly beyond the Overhaul arc to segue into the arc after it, because I never once saw the school festival, Gentle or Endeavour bits (the former two I thought were a bit of a let-down and the latter being a “saving throw” for them which came far too late).
Combat Baker and the Automaton Waitress (LN 1)
After stumbling upon a loot box badge with the LN’s cover art in the charity store, I had to read this series. The characters were a bit cookie-cutter (stoic but beautiful girl who’s violent in her expressions of love and even more stoic guy recovering from war, possibly with PTSD), but you just want to cheer them on anyway. The fact the waitress is actually a Hunter Unit-turned-human learning to express feelings adds a mystery element to it, although whether that’s a necessary element is debatable since the “slice of life with occasional action spike” works well enough.
Yuugen’s All-Ghouls Homeroom (oneshot)
An ecchi one-shot, piping hot when I read it several weeks back, by the creators of Food Wars. Surprisingly, aside from the ecchi, it’s basically like the obscure series Hell Teacher Nube or Hokenshitsu no Shinigami – that is, it’s a teacher who’s also an exorcist surrounded by students and trying to help said students with their problems. In this case, though, the students are the “ghouls” and their original teacher is the exorcist/new teacher’s assistant (not in any official sense). It’s quite obviously a pilot for a larger series, so hopefully this gets a whole series, tones down the ecchi and has some proper longevity to it, because normally full series with a premise like this one are fairly aimless.
Sidebar 2: The pun in the title is that the rei in yuurei (ghost) matches the rei in Jorei in the Japanese title (Yuugen to Jorei Gakkyuu) and Yuugen’s name, although written in katakana, is a pun on yuurei and the word for “phantom” (the gen bit). Luckily, English had a pun that worked just as well as that one…
Promised Neverland (vol. 3)
I’d read the 1st 2 volumes in physical before quarantine, so I finished this in a night. I didn’t quite “get” the hype at first, but the further I get into the manga, the more I start to get it. Most of this was planning and starting the great escape they’ve been intending to do. I’m still interested in whether William Minerva is a demon or not, since it’s implied he could be.
Seraph of the End (chs. 1 – 19/vols. 1 – 3)
I’ve forgotten how dense the chapters are…they’re like 60 pages each! (Apparently I’d read a chapter just to check it out and I remember having a screenshot of the chapter 1 splash pages, but I don’t remember if it was in Japanese or English…it was probably the former, considering it would be 3 sample chapters in English at most.) These chapters, or 5 volumes, comprise an extended introduction of sorts to the main characters, the political/familial infighting and the world at large and drop off while Yuichiro is still unconscious and, although they can’t really show it visually (to up the suspense), mentally fighting with Asuramaru. The romance aspect seems a tad shoehorned just to prove Mika isn’t gay (or just a really piny sort of character for “family”), though, and Yu is an idiot through and through while Kimitsuki is a carbon copy of that one guy from Haikyuu.
AssClass (chs. 1 – 36)
Another series I’d sampled in the past, but left behind because I wanted to finish it later. I love the premise of this manga (and I think I have ever since I first set eyes on it!) – it’s simple enough to pitch in a few pages or a sentence, but it’s quirky enough to stand out where it shows up. Koro-sensei being easy to draw is good for the artist and the English name having assonance (so you can shorten it to AssClass) only makes it better! The art’s a bit basic at first, but it obviously got better by the time it came to making the anime. I love how exams are portrayed as monsters.
I assume the mascot (a chestnut) is a pun on kuri (chestnut) and nugu (to take off clothes), although reading around reveals the school is named after the sawtooth acorn. Similarly, the fact dogs bark at Karasuma is pretty funny, considering he’s a crow in name (Karasuma).
For non-manga/LN reads, I finished Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li (mostly finished when lockdown began), Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber and Charmcaster by Sebastien de Castell, which were all borrowed before the lockdown period, plus rereading a Nancy Drew graphic novel and two Pokemon manga volumes from a library sale. I’ve also made some small progress on Black Jack and rereading a different Pokemon manga volume I got from that same library sale…however, this post is fairly long as it is and this isn’t the place to talk about most of them. I also passed on the Futekiya COVID-19 deal because I didn’t quite know how that worked.
So, for you manga readers out there, have you caught up on your backlog? Did you buy new stuff over the internet and have too much to read during quarantine?