October was so scary that I totally forgot to write a Manga Minis column last month! Not to worry, I’m thankful that we have the best readers out there! Without further ado, here’s this month’s batch of amazing manga reviews! Very thankful manga minis, here we come!
Missed out on our last manga minis column? Check it out here!
Rooster Fighter Volume 2 (VIZ Media)
Rooster Fighter is one of those series that hit me by surprise and won’t let me go. This new volume adds a lot more to the package, with a new protagonist to help Keiji as well as some great battle scenes and a surprisingly heartfelt story arc.
While Keiji the superpowered rooster is powerful… he’s still a rooster. After succumbing to injuries, the little chick he rescued in the first volume runs to his aid, trying to nurse him back to help. However, an old flame reappears, initially wanting her revenge. While Elizabeth is a hen scorned, it seems her history with the womanizer (hen-izer?) Keiji has brought them back together. With an electric baton and sassy attitude, she’s a great foil to Keiji’s stoic character.
Honestly, I love this volume more than the first due to how the three main characters interact with each other. They’re basically a family brought together by tragedy, and it’s a genuine treat to see how the characters fight back against the demons. The battle scenes are amazingly drawn, and even as a parody, Rooster Fighter shines as an action manga. This is one rooster you don’t wanna cluck with.
Rating: 5 out of 5 UwUs
Ramen Wolf and Curry Tiger Volume 1 (Seven Seas Entertainment)
I’ve noticed that I’ve been using “I’m not a furry, but…” a little more frequently these days. Honestly, with the amount of… unsavory anthro media, I can see why people are hesitant consuming furry works. Ramen Wolf and Curry Tiger is a delightfully refreshing take on the friendship of two food-loving anthros. It’s something that can be enjoyed by older manga readers and avid furries alike.
Mita Jiro and Yanagi Kagetora are two buddies that happen to share a love of food. After a chance meeting in a restaurant, the two friends go out and explore the town with others. Jiro is a bubbly naïve wolf that can get passionate about his food. On the flipside, you have the grizzled and tough Kagetora that has a hidden sensitive side to him too. The storylines are regular slice-of-life fare, with the focus being on ramen and curry dishes being served. All in all, it’s a nice little series about the friendship of two foodies, and I haven’t read much like it.
That said, the manga art doesn’t skimp on the detailed art. There’s one multi-part tale about the gang at the beach, with Jiro in an udon eating contest. This one deals more with furry fanservice (though nothing explicit), with muscular (and chubby) body types standard for this setting. It’s nothing too extreme, and I’m still confused at the Older Teen rating on this one. Admittedly, this manga caters towards those who like bigger-bodied male anthropomorphic figures. However, there are actual humans in this setting too, which I found surprising. Some shipping goes on here too, which is more of a gag rather than a serious matter.
During my read of Ramen Wolf and Curry Tiger, I enjoyed how it handled platonic friendship with some emotional moments. The scenes with Kagetora and his doctor brother are a nice touch, and I would love to see them reconcile. It’s a great slice-of-life title that exudes some furry charm.
Rating: 4 out of 5 UwUs
Beauty and the Feast Volume 3 (Square Enix Manga)
Beauty and the Feast is a manga that I like to recommend to older audiences. While there isn’t anything inherently wrong here, there are some aspects that one can misinterpret when bringing the series here. This volume delves into a little more uncomfortable fanservice on both ends, which feels a little uneven compared to the last one.
The third volume of Beauty and the Beast introduces a couple more characters into the mix. We’ve got Sakura Yamato, Shohei’s younger sister and Shuko’s childhood friend Yuri Inagawa. Both of them bring different dynamics into play for both protagonists, and is a nice look into each of their lives.
I actually just wish it just focused on these two rather than Rui and her obsession with Shohei. This volume contains a few weird moments focused on Rui. For example, her imagine spot of Shohei getting Shuko pregnant. I understand her high school crush on Shohei, but it comes off way more uncomfortable in this volume. It’s still a decently functional read, it just has more hiccups than the last volume.
Rating: 3 out of 5 UwUs
Tokyo Aliens Volume 1 (Square Enix Manga)
Akira Gunji is your typical otaku high schooler whose life is changed forever when he encounters an alien. His high school acquaintance Sho Tenkubashi is part of the Alien Management Organization, which assist with extraterrestrial matters. A scuffle with the aforementioned alien lands Akira onto the sights of Reiji Amamiya, who enlists him into the AMO. While initially intimidated, Akira desires to participate in order to find out the mysterious alien who killed his father. What will happen between Akira and Sho as they reluctantly team up to fight unruly out-of-this-world creatures?
Honestly, there isn’t anything separating this manga from the countless other shonen out there. That said, the Men in Black-esque premise does hold some intrigue. I appreciate how this initial volume isn’t dominated solely by action sequences (there are only a few here). The main characters are serviceably relatable (if a tad unoriginal). The art style carries this volume with stylized sequences and some cool environmental destruction shots. Tokyo Aliens isn’t a remarkable manga, but still a very solid action series that I want to check out further.
Rating: 3 out of 5 UwUs
My Dad’s the Queen of All VTubers?! Volume 1 (Kaiten Books)
Takashi is your typical otaku high school (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) that discovers a life-changing secret. Unlike aliens however, he finds out that his father is none other than VTuber idol Kizuke Ai. As this is a popular virtual idol that he is infatuated with, he’s dismayed to find out.
However, what’s even more shocking is that his mom wants to be a VTuber as well. It’s just… She’s can’t achieve the same level of greatness. What transpires is a comedy of errors as Takashi reluctantly trains under his dad to help his mom. However, neither of his parents know about the other, and Takashi wants to keep it that way. It’s basically Spy X Family but with otaku overtones.
My Dad’s the Queen of All VTubers?! is a manga that shouldn’t work, but magically does. The cringe-inducing moments shine in a heartfelt way, and it’s a refreshing family dynamic. Takashi’s dad cares for his family (even if he’s doing so in an unorthodox way). The art style is a bit disjointed, but the wackiness of the premise means that off-model panels are hilarious. I also appreciate the fun bonding sequences the family has with each other, even if it’s sometimes under false pretenses.
If you’re look for a simultaneously heartfelt and cringeworthy comedy, this is one VTuber you should follow.
Rating: 4 out of 5 UwUs
A Man & His Cat Volume 7 (Square Enix Manga)
I’m going to say it: A Man & His Cat is one of my all-time favorite manga. It’s got a mix of great art, a rounded set of characters, and it nails the slice-of-life and emotional beats. This volume is no different, tugging at the heartstrings with a new character arc and more adorable kittens.
Geoffroy Lambert is trying to learn Fuyuki Kanda’s methods to get his father to notice him. A jaded individual with a grudge to bear, he’s sidetracked by a litter of abandoned kittens. What transpires in this volume is the defrosting of one serious man as he learns how to heal with cats. Meanwhile, Fukumaru and Marin try to deal with their owner’s newfound friends and try to establish their territory.
Honestly, this manga surprises me with how much it explores the relationship between its characters. While the focus is still on Mr. Kanda, he’s now acting as a supporting member to new characters. In this case, Kanda is helping Geoffroy learn to love others to love himself. In a way, Kanda acts as a surrogate father Geoffroy never had, and the result is genuine and tearjerking. (Seriously, I was tearing up at the café I was reading the volume.) The characters feel unique with their own quirks and personality differences. Additionally, the lesser focus on four-panel gag comics means the emotional weight is much more pronounced.
Funnily enough, this volume is also an advertisement of the (currently Japan-only) live-action-drama adaptation. Fukumaru looks a little… strange in that, but it gives the author a few pages to talk about the show. I legitimately can’t wait for someone to license that, by the way. It’s another perfect volume in a nearly perfect series!
Rating: 5 out of 5 UwUs