Do you remember? The 21st night of September is approaching us quickly! As the days get shorter and the weather gets chillier, now’s the perfect time to read some manga! We’ve got four great picks for you for our September Manga Minis, featuring one new-to-this-column publisher! Check out our reviews below!
Missed out on a previous column? Check out our most recent Miso Manga Minis today!
My Wonderful World Volume 1 (Kodansha)
It’s refreshing to see manga tackling social stigma and different issues, neurodivergence being one of them. My Wonderful World stars a pair of protagonists that improve themselves even with dyslexia, and does it sensitively. It’s a heartwarming story for those wanting to understand the inner workings of someone with this learning disorder.
Asakura Shinobu knows that he can’t keep a job, as he has trouble reading and understanding information. Meeting barista Haruka at a café makes Shinobu understand that he has dyslexia (Haruka also has it as well). While hesitant to admit his neurodivergence, Shinobu wishes to change in order to help his ailing grandmother. Throughout the volume, Shinobu and Haruka manage the café as well as a startup theater troupe.
My Wonderful World is a lighthearted look at someone figuring out who they are mentally, and at first it’s heartbreaking. However, with the guidance of someone with a greater understanding of their neurodivergence, it becomes a great learning experience. I appreciated the realistic reactions of both Shinobu and his grandmother initially (of denial and ignorance) before they understood. It’s a lifechanging thing to learn about disabilities, but it takes a strong person to want to improve their circumstances.
My one criticism is that the story didn’t need to introduce the theater troupe aspect in this volume. I was fine with Shinobu and Haruka still managing the café, and this could have been the focus. That said, the pacing for the rest of the volume was fine, and I hope that the next volume can balance both settings equally. It’s a truly remarkable series that touches on an issue that isn’t explored much in recent manga.
Rating: 4 out of 5 UwUs
The Way of the Househusband Volume 8 (VIZ Media)
The Way of the Househusband is a tricky series for me to review. While I love the premise and eat up every volume, the “Yakuza being normal” plotline is starting to wear thin. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a solid manga and I always recommend it. However, it feels like there isn’t any progression on the way.
This volume of zany ex-Yakuza antics includes scenarios like crepes vs. donuts, adopting hamsters, and the game of golf. All the while keeping the gritty Yakuza-like settings for these situations. Tatsu remains a dedicated man of his craft, with his wife Miku keeping him grounded. I found the chapters of the gang finding bamboo shoots and a elderly citizen protection class the highlights.
What’s apparent after reading eight volumes of this manga is that the joke is still a solid one. However, I would love to see more continuity or plot threads appear in future chapters. Heck, I wouldn’t mind an actual serious arc, as two of the mini chapters had a zombie apocalypse.
The best part of this volume was a spinoff chapter depicting the show-within-a-show Crime-Catch Policure. This one-shot comes with all the campy magical girl tropes you can imagine, and it’s a refreshing respite. The art style is relatively simplified, and it’s long enough to be memorable and a meaty part of the volume. This other worldbuilding is where I want to see The Way of the Househusband go next. As it stands, it’s still a fun comedic slice-of-life; I just know it can be better.
Rating: 3 out of 5 UwUs
The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting Volume 1 (Kaiten Books)
Speaking of Yakuza in inappropriate situations, I wanted to check out a new series that recently received an anime adaptation. Publisher Kaiten Books let me review its slate of manga titles, and I’m excited to see more from them soon! The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting follows a slightly similar premise, but is an adorable series that features some great characters.
Kirishima Tooru is the right-hand man of the Sakuragi crime family, nicknamed “The Demon of Sakuragi”. A highly efficient master of torture and crime, he protects his boss with his life. That dedication is necessary when he gets a peculiar mission: Kirishima must babysit his boss’s daughter! While Yaeka is reserved and reluctant to talk initially, it’s up to Kirishima and his sidekick Sugihara to help her. Otherwise, their next mission might just be their last!
The main difference between this and The Way of the Househusband is that Kirishima is currently in the Yakuza. This means he needs to juggle his responsibilities while catering to the sensibilities of a young child. I enjoyed this balance, as there’s still an air of seriousness within the series. Sure, a member of the Yakuza does crazy things in society, but above all he’s still actively in the Yakuza. This has the potential for higher stakes later, but I’m glad that the series hasn’t revealed its entire hand yet.
Additionally, the series hits most of its emotional beats quite well. Admittedly, the first few chapters are inconsistent with the dynamic of Kirishima and his boss. Later in the volume, we get fleshed out versions of each character. A surrogate father in Kirishima and a literal one in the boss are known to Yaeka in time. The whole thing is cute, and I’m amazed a series about practicing Yakuza can make me shed a happy tear.
Kaiten Books is an up-and-coming recent manga publisher, but if this is the stuff they publish in the west, then I’m excited to see what they come up with next. Keep this series and company in your sights down the line!
Rating: 4 out of 5 UwUs
My Happy Marriage Volume 1 (Square Enix Books)
I’m not super into Shojo manga, but I still read some when I can. Most series try to mix up genres together, and that’s the case with My Happy Marriage. Touted as historical-fiction Cinderella meets supernatural romance, this is a strangely relaxing series to sit down and read.
Miyo Saimori is betrothed to Kiyoka Kudo in a move to create a politically strong alliance. In this world, some families have gifts inherited by their bloodline. The Saimori family has the gift of Spirit-Sight, but unfortunately Miyo did not receive it. As such, her step-mother and family abused her and she was forced to clean up after her younger sister.
However, while Kiyoka is initially a tough man, he eventually warms up to Miyo as the two begin to open up to each other. Soon, a budding romance forms; however, is their love strong enough to tackle the spiritual differences of their families?
Overall, I had a nice time reading My Happy Marriage. It has a great historical 1920s environment with a cute premise. It’s a slow and thoughtful series that carries mostly low stakes. However, the supernatural gift aspect of the series doesn’t quite gel with the Taisho-era setting. The bloodline gift elements take a while to setup to the detriment of the pacing. Suddenly, everything goes quickly in place, which makes the pacing very inconsistent.
Once the series finds its footing, I can see My Happy Marriage being a solid shojo series for historical-fiction fans. It’s definitely worth a read, but keep your pacing expectations in check.
Rating: 3 out of 5 UwUs