School is almost here, so why not prepare with some August Manga Minis? (Hey, technically manga counts as summer reading, look it up.) We’ve got some killer reviews for five new releases, including Spider-Man: Fake Red and Tokyo Aliens Volume 4! Check them out below!
Spider-Man: Fake Red (VIZ Media)
VIZ Media is killing it with its recent Marvel collaborations. I enjoyed Marvel’s Secret Reverse and Deadpool Samurai, even if they had some undercooked stories. The art was magnificent however, and I always saw myself coming back to it. Spider-Man: Fake Red is no different, offering some spectacular art and visual pizzaz with an underwhelming story.
Yu Onomae is your normal Japanese high school student, a rock-climbing enthusiast that has issues with self-esteem. While he works up the courage to interact with fellow classmate Emma Pearson, his life suddenly changes. Yu encounters a Spider-Man suit in the garbage. With its owner mysteriously absent, Yu wonders how it would feel to wear the suit. Thinking fast, he wears the suit and is thrust into a tale that tests his beliefs. With great power comes great responsibility indeed.
I appreciate that Peter Parker is still in the story, albeit as a symbiote-struggling supporting character. Yu also goes toe-to-toe with some classic Spider-Man villains like Scorpion, Mysterio (and technically the rest of the Sinister Six). He also has a small fight with Screwball (who is a relatively modern minor villain in the main Spider-Man franchise). The story beats are expected and feel like something out of the early MCU Spider-Man films. Not a bad thing, but it’s not going to be in a Top 10 list of best Spider-Man stories.
If there’s one thing Spider-Man: Fake Red excels in, it’s the art. This manga style works perfectly with Spider-Man, and I can see how much effort Yusuke Osawa puts into this work. The black-and-white art contrasts perfectly with colored pages sprinkled within the story. This reminds me of Secret Reverse’s art, and I wish we could have more American releases in a manga style.
While the story may be basic, Spider-Man: Fake Red is a great manga adaptation of classic Spider-Man characters. I would consider picking this one up for manga fans getting into American comics.
Rating: 3 out of 5 UwUs
The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses Volume 3 (Square Enix Manga)
Continuing with our August Manga Minis, we’ve got the third volume of The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses. With the anime currently on Crunchyroll, now’s a great time to hop into this series.
Volume 3 of the manga chronicles the third-year adventures of Komura and Mie, which also include a few more characters in the mix. As with the previous volumes, most of the conflict stems from Komura’s timid nature and Mie’s forgetfulness. It’s still a cute bundle of chapters, and the interactions between the two are as adorable as ever. It seems the two of them open themselves up to each other more this time around.
However, other than a few charming scenes, you’re getting the same slice-of-life tales as you have beforehand. It’s strange that Mie acts a little ditzy compared to the past volumes, such as her thinking she’s a hagfish. What follows is an odd excuse for going close to Komura, which is cute but admittedly random.
Rating: 3 out of 5 UwUs
The Way of the Househusband Volume 10 (VIZ Media)
Now in its tenth volume, The Way of the Househusband continues the zany antics of Tatsu and his Yakuza ways. This one has more focus on the boss’s granddaughter (who has a variety of weird faces ala Me & Roboco). From a birthday with a slightly inappropriate gift to making food fit for a child, the girl is surprisingly mature. When Tatsu isn’t trying to appease his boss’s granddaughter, he’s busy tracking shoplifters and helping his wife recover on Christmas. He’s also trying to kick the smoking habit (and evangelizing the power of not smoking)!
Like I said in my last review, there isn’t anything remarkably great or terrible about the current serialization. This one has more depth with its supporting characters, but not much in terms of narrative payoff. I did enjoy the chapters featuring the boss’s granddaughter, as the series cements her as a hard-to-please customer. It’s also interesting to see how Tatsu is starting to improve for the better with his dedication to local volunteerism.
This volume won’t win over new fans, but it’s still a solid read if you’ve stuck to this series so far. The episodic nature, while not great in the long-term, is fun to enjoy in short bursts. Even if you haven’t read a single volume, this is a good place to start.
Rating: 3 out of 5 UwUs
Tokyo Aliens Volume 4 (Square Enix Manga)
Tokyo Aliens personally is a solid “3 out of 5” manga looking back. With each subsequent volume the story ups itself with grander stages, and the character interactions are solid. The relationships between Akira Gunji, Sho Tenkubashi, and the rest of the cast are getting fleshed out too. I’m still having some issues with the pacing and contrast, but it’s getting better for sure.
Akira struggles from the events of the previous volume, witnessing the “death” of Sho and meeting a mysterious stranger. What transpires, oddly enough, are some quaint high school antics with new cast members at school. From rebellious aliens to earthling informants, this volume packs a ton of introductions in a few short chapters. This blazing fast pace is refreshing, but I’m starting to lose track of who to care about. I know we’ll see more of Yuen and Meimei in the future (the two being featured on the cover). I like their “alien and earthling” dynamic they bring to the table.
Speaking of dynamics, we get to see the developing friendship (or is it more than that?) of Akira and Sho. Both characters are awkward as friends and teammates, but it’s nice that they care for each other. We also get some more backstory on Akira’s late father and menacing threat of Hakugin. These intertwining tales create a great payoff for those who have been checking out the series since chapter one.
I think volume four is a great jumping on point for new characters and dynamics, but it also feels rushed. There are way too many new people here, villains and heroes, for me to get invested. I think it would be much better to spread them out a few more chapters. However, I think this will help the future of Tokyo Aliens, since we can do more with the cast now. While I still think it’s deserving of our middle rating, this series is inching towards something much better.
Rating: 3 out of 5 UwUs
Rooster Fighter Volume 4 (VIZ Media)
I’m surprised at how quick the turnaround for Rooster Fighter is. We’re nearly all caught up from the Japanese releases, and I really hope this manga gets an animated adaptation in the future. Running on its fourth volume, this series is still a gold standard for my recent shonen faves.
This volume ties up the end of the previous arc, with Keiji, Elizabeth, and Chicken Little saving the day. The story takes a breather with a humorous chapter where Keiji goes on a date with a group of pigeons. Turns out the womanizing rooster has met his match with the ladies! This brief respite also coincides with Chicken Little’s impostor syndrome, as the character personally feels weak and unneeded.
However, this moment of introspection gets cut short with the introduction of Keiji’s half-brother Keisuke. Keiji’s sibling requests for help as their father is currently kidnapped. Here, the group finds out that there are creatures far more dangerous than demons: devils! What follows is some backstory about Keiji’s past and worldbuilding regarding the team’s newest adversaries.
This volume does a great job of expanding the cast and giving our heroes a new type of foe. Basically, we’re headed into another great arc. The story is comparatively slower this time around because of the first half’s antics, but it’s still a treat. It’s interesting to see Keiji losing both romantically AND physically, and our hero isn’t as invincible as we think. The art is amazing as always, and the action scenes are well choreographed (considering the combatants are roosters). I also enjoyed how Keiji’s father is like him, putting the characters in a humorous light.
If you haven’t picked Rooster Fighter up yet, you need to cluckin’ now!
Rating: 4 out of 5 UwUs
And there you have it! Our August Manga Minis are all wrapped up! Stay tuned for more manga reviews, including some special early ones here on Miso!