Category Archives: Manga

Manga review Spy X Family

Starting with some randomness, a while back someone I followed on Twitter wrote that they’d been told they were saying Hunter X Hunter wrong. I commented that I was doing it wrong too, though I didn’t know what the right way was. But maybe a week later, I recalled that in Italian X is shorthand for per, or for. So a sticker written as 2 X 1 is saying it’s a two for one sale. Then I also remembered that X in Japanese is often used as a shorthand for versus. So, this week’s manga review is really called Spy Versus Family. And now you know.

Anywho, I put Spy X Family on my Manga+ favorites list based solely on the overwhelmingly positive reviews for the manga as well as the anime. The premise certainly sounds great, and it’s summed up several times in the opening chapters as, “The husband is a spy. The wife is an assassin. The child is a telepath.” Meaning husband and wife do not know each other’s secrets or secret lives, but the kid knows everything.

The longer premise is that a spy from Westalis code-named Twilight is given a mission to sneak into Ostania, which has a very shaky truce with Westalis. There, he must make up a fake family, enroll a fake child into an elite private school, and use that child to get close to a member of a known war hawk political faction to learn if they have any plans to ruin the truce. So, taking on the identity of Loid Forger (really on the nose with that surname, by the by), Twilight first adopts Anya, who is telepathic, and uses that power to look like the perfect candidate even though she’s too young and definitely not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. He then uses his contacts to find the “perfect wife,” Yor Briar, who is eager to play a wife because as an assassin she’s worried about her cover being blown if she remains single. Continue reading

Manga Review: Mashle – Magic and Muscles by Hajime Kōmoto

Mashle – Magic and Muscles (Henceforth shortened to just Mashle) first hit my public radar with the launch of the collected chapters here in Italy. When I read the premise in Wiki, I wrote it off as a Harry Potter knockoff. That was a mistake because while Mashle is a parody of Harry Potter, Mash Burndead is more closely related to Goku than he is to JK Rowling’s now massively saturated franchise. (Bee tee dubs: I’ll be referencing Dragonball a lot for this review.) What’s more, Mash Burndead proves over and over that while he’s lacking in the brains department, he has so much heart power that even his enemies are eventually swayed by his convictions.

So, let’s set the stage with some minor spoilers from the first chapter. Mash Burndead is a person without magic in a world where everyone has an affinity for it to some degree. This is because people born without magic are killed at birth. But Mash was found abandoned by a magicless hermit in a forest and hidden away from the world. His Pops began training him to be at peak physical condition in case he needed to defend himself, and as the story opens, teenage Mash’s workout routine is…it’s a lot.

After finishing his staggeringly impressive morning workout, Mash decides to go into town to buy cream puffs, where he is identified as someone lacking magic. When a detective shows up at Pops’ cottage to deal with him, Mash simply swats away his spells. Impressed by his level of physical strength, the detective suggests that if Mash wants to keep himself and his Pops safe, he will enter magic school and become the Divine Visionary, an honor bestowed upon one student every year for being the most powerful magic user. The detective’s logic is that if Mash can reach this hallowed peak in the wizard world, everyone will have to accept him. And so hilarious hijinks ensue. Continue reading

Manga review: Claymore by Norihiro Yagi

This is going to start random, but a few months back I was watching a compilation of Japanese commercials. Back in my teens, before anime went legit in the states, folks in Japan would mail tapes of the latest shows overseas, and some import shops would have these shows available to borrow. It was there that I got hooked on the insanity that is Japanese advertising, and now it’s a regular habit of mine to go on YouTube to see collections of the “best” ads in glorious HD.

So, in the middle of one such stream was an ad for a manga app that promised everything was free to read. I wondered if the app was available here in Italy, and it is, under the name MANGA Plus by SHUEISHA. After just a few days of reading, I started thinking that perhaps I should add manga reviews to  the blog. It’s a perfect fit, really. For this first outing, I’ll be reviewing a manga that I collected in paperback form, but I’m now rereading on the app, Claymore.

Created by Norihiro Yagi, Claymore is initially the story of Claire, a warrior fighting the demonic Yoma with a giant sword. Early on, she insists that the name Claymore isn’t a proper title for her people. Rather it is simply the name the humans use for them because of the weapons they wield. This group of hunters are all women who have ingested the blood and flesh of Yoma, granting them super strength and speed. The organization they work for tried to do the same thing with men, but they all died horribly painful deaths. So, this mercenary army of “silver-eyed witches” patrol the country, slaying demons on commission. Continue reading