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The Way of the Househusband

My Thoughts

I didn’t know I needed this manga until I chanced upon it. The Way of the Househusband is a laugh out loud funny manga about a former Yakuza legend adjusting to his new life as a dedicated house husband. The manga follows Tatsu as he tackles every day tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and shopping. He faces judgment from other gang members that run into him but doesn’t let things phase him.

The relationship between Tatsu and his wife Miku is also adorable. He is completely devoted to her and they make such a silly and sweet pair. There is no swoon worthy romance, just the every day antics of a married couple. Right at the start I was giggling and had to send this manga to my husband, we read the manga together and had a great time. Tatsu and Miku reminded me a lot of my husband and I in terms of our personalities, so it made me extra happy.

“You think bargain hunting’s some kiddy shit? This is a war-zone for a house husband.”

This manga was just great and I’m honestly waiting for more, I read all the available chapters that I could and it is still being serialized. I would love to see an anime adaptation of this manga, I think that it would translate well and be an enjoyable series for many. This is a great manga with commentary not just on the role of women as homemakers, but also how a former delinquent can reintegrate into regular society.

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Suicide Club

My Thoughts

Based off of the cult film, Suicide Club, the distressing nature of this manga hits the reader hard and fast. A stunning thriller that is difficult to put down, I ended up reading it in one sitting. The story follows Kyoko as she watches the descent of her childhood best friend, Saya, the only survivor of mass suicide. Kyoko finds herself pulled deeper into the mysteries of a suicide cult as she attempts to save Saya.

“How do you relate to yourself?”

The scary part of this manga isn’t the gore, though it is very gory. No, the real horror here is psychological. Saya and the other girls of the suicide circle are suffering from depression, feeling that they have no one that they can talk to. It is this feeling of isolation that pulls them into a terrifying sisterhood where they can share each other’s pain. The group quickly becomes a mob driven insane with devotion to each other, like a hive.

I think that the concept for this manga was good, and it deals very directly with the dangers of apathy. It’s easy to become tangled up in our own lives and neglect the people closest to us that need help. It’s clear from the beginning that Saya was severely depressed. Kyoko witnesses it but becomes too busy with her personal life to address Saya’s issues until she is already too far gone.

Despite my praise, I do feel that this manga is lacking in some aspects. While the story is about Saya, it is told from the point of view of Kyoko, limiting the narrative. Saya acts out and starts doing terrible things because she is depressed which in turn makes her life worse, but why or what caused the depression isn’t clear. There is a gap between the normal Saya that Kyoko remembers from childhood and the outright psychotic Saya of the present, and the lack of steady development in between is disjointing and doesn’t feel consistent. I would have liked for more time to be taken to develop the two main characters.

Overall though, I had a hard time deciding how to feel about this manga. I initially didn’t care for it due to the poor character development, but after letting the story settle in my mind for a few hours, I ended up liking it more for the sheer insanity of the cult which makes this manga really stand out. I watched a little bit of the movie and I’m not sure if I want to watch all of it since it felt a little campy, but I feel that the manga is a good adaptation and a solid entry into the horror genre.

Warnings: violence, death, bullying

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Also by this author: A Girl on the Shore, Goodnight Punpun, What a Wonderful World!

My Thoughts

Meiko is a college graduate that has been feeling unsatisfied with her life. She has an office job that she doesn’t care for and a live-in boyfriend that works part-time and regrets never being successful with his music career. Meiko struggles with the feeling that she has stagnated, at that point between college and adulthood, having nothing that she feels passionate about. Solanin is the story of discontented youth that is painfully relatable for many young people in the modern age.

“The way I look at it, adults are just a bunch of people who go ‘whatever’ to everything.”

This manga was incisive in the way that it explores what it means to grow up and the tragedy of letting go of one’s teenage dreams. The main cast of characters feels like they are simply drifting along with their circumstances, aching to be ‘free’ but conceding to the necessities of work. Meiko feels bored, but no matter what decision she makes to try and free herself, she finds that she’s no freer of boredom. The characters grapple with what it means to be anti-establishment and desperately hold onto their college days.

The first volume of this manga was really great, and I like the way that it talks about contentment, regret, and settling down. The second volume became a bit cheesy to me, focusing more on a heartfelt musical underdog story that I got a bit bored with. The epilogue chapter, which was published a decade after the completion of the series provided some closure that I could feel satisfied with. The epilogue takes place a decade after the events of the manga and shows where the characters ended up, and it continues the narrative of growing up and settling down, it was the missing piece of the puzzle that was needed in the original series.

Also notable is that when I was reading I kept thinking about Asian Kung-Fu Generation and hearing their music in my head when I imagined Rotti playing music. I was surprised to find after finishing that there was a live-action movie, and guess who performed the theme song?

Solanin is a great story for young adults that perhaps find themselves in the same rut, struggling with the prospect of settling down and leaving their wild youth behind. Asano writes these themes in a way that is intuitive and fun, with a level of understanding that can only come from someone that has felt that same discontent and yearning for freedom.

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My Thoughts

Ah, what a convoluted nightmare this manga is, but engaging at the same time. Nozoki Ana, which literally translates to peephole, is an erotic romance manga about an unwitting college student that finds himself blackmailed into playing a perverse game around a peephole with his neighbor. Kido, who is a pretty average guy, finds himself with an absurd amount of good luck with women. Like most guys, he just wants a happy relationship but ends up trapped in a psychological nightmare with the mysterious Emiru.

“In reality, relationships where you can’t show your true self – make you feel like even trivial matters might cause them to suddenly break. It’s scary…”

Nozoki Ana follows the duo through their friend group, their relationships with other people, and ultimately their strange friendship that is forged by their peeping on each other’s lives. It is a strange and questionable manga, drawing readers in with a wild premise that ends up developing into something more as the reader finds out more about the standoffish Emiru. Kido goes from various relationships, hookups, and other dangerous scenarios under the watchful eye of Emiru, as she orchestrates scenarios that force him into troublesome sexual encounters.

You want to root for Kido to get his act together and build a genuine relationship, or at least give in and get together with Emiru. The amount of cheating that happens in this manga is a serious turnoff and many readers end up understandably frustrated with the main character. Kido is a pushover for a majority of the series and seems to have a serious inability to say no when a girl comes onto him. The few times he does try to resist, he ends up attacked and placed into a situation where he can’t fight back in a few instances of attempted rape. Don’t worry though, Kido isn’t the only character that betrays others; betrayal is everywhere in this manga.

In a way, this manga was like an overly dramatized version of what dating life is like for college students, particularly in the current hookup culture that we live in. There were some surprisingly good takeaways about relationships and the horrible way that people treat each other that speak to true experiences. The story also took a bold turn with commentary about trauma and the ways in which a victim can own their trauma and learn to heal through the very thing that caused so much tragedy in their lives. I had very mixed feelings about this last part in particular; on one hand, it feels like a cheap and easy way to explain the peephole. On the other hand, it also gave me something to think about the ways in which victims of trauma interact with and come to terms with their issues.

I ended up enjoying this manga, despite the abundance of issues and frustrations with its plot and characters. Most of the characters had distinct personalities that I enjoyed, good and bad, and there are times where I found myself laughing and feeling heartbroken while reading. This manga won’t be for everyone, but it’s definitely an experience and I can see why this manga was so popular while it was still being serialized. I have to add also that I absolutely adore Emiru, she is one of my favorite characters from any manga series, so there’s that!

Warnings: explicit sex, violence, sexual assault