Back when I used to write for another site, I had a fun little column called Manga Minis. This was where I reviewed the latest and greatest (or not so great) manga from different publishers. While I hung my hat tgere last August, today I’ve decided to revive the column for Miso! Without further ado, here’s some recently released manga titles you should check out! I’m also introducing my popular 5 UwU rating scale at the forefront! (More UwUs = Better)
Kirby Manga Mania Volume 3 (VIZ Media)
I have to admit, I’ve grown to like the Kirby Manga Mania series. It’s not the best game-related manga release, but I enjoy the all-ages fun that’s in these pages. As said in the final pages of this volume, this best-of anthology has fewer “greatest hits” and moves to recent titles like Kirby and the Crystal Shards up to Kirby Star Allies.
Each of these stories features our favorite pink puffball as he devours everything onscreen in a humorously sociopathic manner. It almost makes you feel bad for King Dedede, but as it’s a gag manga nothing really changes for long. My favorite stories revolve around the minor enemy characters, with one standout chapter revolving around a Waddle Dee. Here, it tries to differentiate itself from the others since it’s so generic.
If you’re expecting deep, Lovecraftian endgame lore you’re going to be disappointed; if you think Kirby is a pure soul that can do no wrong, then you’ll also hate this manga. However, if you want some cheeky Saturday morning cartoon gags that you can show to your younger cousins, Kirby Manga Mania is a surefire hit.
Rating: 3 out of 5 UwUs
Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Volume 1 (VIZ Media)
I’m approaching my 30s, and it’s a perfect time to have an existential crisis! Just kidding. I always wonder how I’m going to view my friendships and achievements as I get older. Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End has a wonderful premise that I haven’t seen much in manga. Its slow-paced and thoughtful journey sets the tone for a delightful series.
The hero Himmel and his three teammates have finally slayed the Demon King, and the land is at peace. However, as an elf, the mage Frieren ages slowly and even after decades have passed, she still remains youthful. This is a problem when trying to connecting with humans. The next time she sees her adventurer’s party, her teammates have aged considerably. So much so that Himmel passes away soon after they reunite.
Frieren regrets how she never got to connect with her former team. To atone, she decides to make the most of her time and continue to learn about humans. The priest Heiter entrusts to Frieren the budding mage Fern to join her, and the story begins proper. What follows is a delightfully entertaining look at an explorer’s journey in the age of peace.
What I enjoy about Frieren is how the world advances after the original party slayed the demon king. Also, I liked how elderly random villagers still recognize Frieren. For example, a demon, sealed for 80 years, runs rampant with deadly magic. In the interim, the people made advancements that nullified these powerful spells. It’s a surprisingly realistic look at a fantasy world’s progress, and it’s cool to see Frieren develop ass a main protagonist. It’s an excellent debut that I can’t wait to continue.
Rating: 5 out of 5 UwUs
My Isekai Life Volume 1 (Square Enix Books)
Isekai is a genre that isn’t too interesting to me these days. While I do appreciate some of the better titles, it takes a lot to impress me here. My Isekai Life: I Gained a Second Character Class and Became the Strongest Sage in the World is a mouthful to say, and unfortunately doesn’t live up to its moniker.
Salaryman Yuji Sano mysteriously ignores a pop-up while working at his computer and is suddenly transported to a strange world. When he arrives, he instantly connects with the first slime he sees and becomes a tamer. However, he also becomes a sage due to a series of events involving the creatures. The manga follows Yuji as he becomes an adventurer. He also becomes instantly competent with the job, combining his magic powers with tamer abilities in order to succeed.
The thing that separates My Isekai Life from the competition comes from its sentient slimes. These cuddly creatures add personality to the otherwise aloof Yuji. These cute critters are adorable when they speak, and are a good contrast to Yuji’s brooding and nonchalant character. The art style is fine too, but other than that, the manga is simply competent. Yuji is instantly capable of doing many strenuous tasks, impressing the townsfolk wherever he goes. This debut volume is worth a read if you’re into Isekai. However, it doesn’t bring anything new to the table.
Rating: 2 out of 5 UwUs
A Man & His Cat Volume 4 (Square Enix Books)
Rounding out this edition of my manga minis is a series I’ve been following since day 1 in the west. Even after four volumes, it’s an adorable tale indeed. This fourth installment of A Man & His Cat continues the slice-of-life series as it deals with Fuyuki Kanda’s trauma from last volume. He suffers a panic attack at a concert hall when he is with a friend. While his rival Kanada Hibino detests the presence of Kanda, his outlook is changed as the two bump into each other at the pet store. The rivalry gets muddled as Fukumaru ends up reuniting with his older sister cat, Marin.
The slice-of-life aspects are starting to wear a bit thin with this manga. However, I’m pleasantly surprised with how serious the overarching storyline is. Exploring and dealing with Kanda’s anxiety regarding his late wife is in nice contrast to the antics of the 4-koma. I love the balance of playfulness and seriousness that A Man & His Cat introduces in this volume. And with new characters to explore, this is one series I still wholeheartedly recommend.
Rating: 4 out of 5 UwUs
What did you think of our first rebooted Manga Minis column? Comment below, and stay tuned for more anime and manga reviews here at Miso!