June manga minis are here just in time for summer’s sweltering heat! We’ve got reviews from releases hot off the presses, as well as a first look at July’s new A Man & His Cat volume! Check out our picks below.
My Clueless First Friend Volume 2 (Square Enix Manga)
My previous review for My Clueless First Friend’s first volume surprised me. I loved the refreshingly simple yet genuine relationship the main protagonists had. It’s a unique slice-of-life that I love, and this second volume contains much more fun interactions with the cast. It’s definitely a great way to start our June manga minis!
With the fall semester comes more childlike hijinks for cluelessly optimistic Takada and the wallflower Nishimura. While the rival Kasahara and bully Kitagawa try to embarrass Nishimura, their attempts get thwarted by the well-meaning Takada. In addition to the four (plus buddy Hino), a new character, Adachi, enters the scene. She has a crush on Hino and supports Nishimura when Takada is away, which adds another support to the group dynamic. The four friends spend more time in the second half of the volume, which is nice.
The main events in this volume are the school trip and sports festival. Both things have longer chapter-wide arcs that explore the relationship between the cast. I enjoyed how the mangaka fleshes out the supporting cast, as everyone deals with Takada’s time away with a broken arm. While Kitagawa remains a flat bully character, Kasahara reveals herself to be more than Nishimura’s (unknowing) rival. While she still harbors a grudge against the so-called Grim Reaper, Kasahara still agrees to work with Nishimura. Whether they’re class representatives or participants in the school festival, these two are starting to tolerate each other. Additionally, I enjoy how Takada’s mom carries his optimism and helps Nishimura learn a life lesson even in the hospital.
All in all, I’m glad this series has a stateside release. I’d also recommend checking out the anime, which is currently streaming now.
Rating: 4 out of 5 UwUs
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – Golden Wind Volume 8 (VIZ Media)
As someone who picked up JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure as the series was re-released in the west, it’s been a ride. I’ve enjoyed Diamond is Unbreakable for its sheer happiness of the cast and wacky situations. In contrast, Golden Wind is grimly entertaining, with every battle feeling high stakes. This penultimate release to end this arc contains a decent buildup to a climactic closer.
Volume 8 continues with the fight between Secco and Bucciarati as Giorno’s team frantically heads to the Colosseum. To meet the mysterious contact who holds the key to defeating the group’s former boss, Bucciarati contends one final enemy. Here, we’re shown the extent of the secondary protagonist’s wounds; he’s dead, but still walking to fulfill one more goal.
The fight with Secco is nice, but pales into comparison with Cioccolata’s defeat last volume. For comparison, Cioccolata’s defeat marks one of the best action sequences of the series. It doesn’t help that most of Secco’s fight takes place underground, which makes the backgrounds and flow confusing to follow. Secco’s Sanctuary isn’t as deadly thanks to Green Tea out of the picture. However, the main tension comes from Bucciarati’s waning strength as his injuries catch up to him.
Honestly, this volume feels like a buildup to the final confrontation rather than a good standalone 2-in-1. The chapters could be condensed in half, and we could get the same gist of the story. It’s still a tense collection of chapters (and no one is safe from death here), but I’d rather binge read the last volume with this one.
Rating: 3 out of 5 UwUs
Beast Complex Volume 3 (VIZ Media)
I never want to leave the world of Beastars. While the main story wrapped up a while back, Paru Itagaki proves there’s still life left in this setting. Beast Complex’s second volume introduced the characters of the Legoshi’s apartment building, while this installment introduces a new series of one-shots.
The third volume of Beast Complex follows the previous ones, with a pair of animals in the spotlight each chapter. While most of the stories have new characters, there are two that revisit established pairs. We have a chapter featuring Ako and Eado, a rabbit/lion couple from the middle of Beastars’ run. Additionally, we have another story with Legoshi (this time pairing up with Sagwan). These stories do a great job of advancing their characters’ respective arcs, with the marine world getting some spotlight.
I loved this batch of one-shots, my favorite being of Luke and Rosé, a leopard and deer who are actors. The two navigate Luke’s confession of eating a crew member, with repercussions suffered from both sides if found out. These scenarios brought out a lot of lore in Beastars’ world, and I would love to see more in the future. Thankfully, new chapters are published, though it’ll be a while before we can get a whole volume’s worth.
Rating: 4 out of 5 UwUs
The Yakuza’s Bias Volume 1 (Kodansha)
Like parodies of Isekai, I wonder if there’s a subgenre of “yakuza doing non-yakuza things” in manga. Two of my favorite recent reads have fallen firmly into that territory, and Kodansha adds to this pile. The Yakuza’s Bias is a delightfully charming look at a gangster’s exposure to stan culture, with hilarious results.
Second-in-command of the Washio clan Ken Kanashiro has one thing on his mind: Running the crime family efficiently. However, that all changes when Megumi (the boss’s daughter) introduces him to MNW, a K-pop group performing in Japan. Suddenly, Kanashiro finds a new passion in life: being obsessed with the MNW singer Jun! As Kanashiro balances work and play, he decides to head into the seedy world of K-pop. Well, it might not be as seedy as the Japanese crime underworld, but who knows.
What I appreciate about this and The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting is that the protagonists are still a part of the yakuza. Kanashiro’s newest obsession acts as a detriment to his crime dealings, but there are plenty of times that it helps him in a bind. (Who knew trading a rare photo card would avert death?) The scenario is goofy, and the gritty art style contrasts with the main narrative in a pleasing way.
I can see the premise wearing thin in future volumes, but for now, The Yakuza’s Bias is a chart topper!
Rating: 4 out of 5 UwUs
A Man & His Cat Volume 8 (Square Enix Manga)
Here’s a June manga minis preview for some manga coming next month! A Man & His Cat is a manga that never fails to surprise me. Its constantly expanding cast with deeper looks at some serious issues in a wonderful blend of slice-of-life and family drama. It’s an all-ages treat that never fails to surprise me. In fact, this new installment adds some more excitement to the mix.
Volume 8 introduces two new characters to the fold, both Kanda’s children: insect enthusiast daughter Sorako and reclusive son Hoshinari. As Geoffrey, Kobayashi, and Hibino return, Sorako mistakenly identifies them as intruders, and it takes a while to quell misunderstandings. While Sorako is brash but bubbly, Hoshinari is the opposite. He initially doesn’t like Fukumaru and the other cats, and thinks Moriyama is merely using his dad to succeed. In short, he’s the next character to get development over the course of the future.
I loved the contrast between Sorako and Hoshinari, as the two react to their current situation differently. Seeing their father coming out of his shell is a shocking development, which Sorako accepts but Hoshinari denies. And while Fukumaru, Marin, and Geoffrey’s kitties want to welcome Hoshinari home, it takes some time for this to happen. The conflict between Hoshinari and Moriyama adds a parallel level of conflict to Kanda’s previous rivals. The series ushers a new generation of characters, and the additions are organic and breathe life into the narrative.
The only thing I’d love to see more is Sorako’s development too. The way the chapters are set up, she’s more of a flat character while Hoshinari takes the lion’s share of development in the next volume. Other than that, this is another near flawless collection of cute and poignant story beats!
Rating: 4 out of 5 UwUs
Thanks for checking out our June manga minis! Want more like our June manga minis and missed out on our last column? Check it out here! Stay tuned for more manga reviews here on Miso!