There’s a slight chill in the air with early fall manga minis! Check out our newest manga minis column, which features titles from Kodansha, VIZ Media, and Square Enix Manga. We’ve also got an early preview of The Ice Guy and the Cool Girl Volume 1!
Superman Vs. Meshi Volume 1 (Kodansha)
Hey, remember the VIZ Media Marvel joint projects I referenced a while back? Kodansha, not wanting to be left in the dust with superhero licenses, teamed up with DC to create collaborative manga! These series arrived on western shores recently, and I had the chance to check out Superman Vs. Meshi. It’s a strange premise which I feel would work with another character honestly.
Everyone knows Superman, the hero that fights for “Truth, Justice and The American Way” (or “Peace For All Mankind”). Even superheroes get hungry, and Superman sheds Clark Kent persona for a bite to eat. Recently, Superman has been enthralled by Japanese food culture, and Superman Vs. Meshi chronicles his misadventures. From visiting an izakaya to mistaking his food order, Superman navigates with his heart and stomach.
Yes, the premise is as goofy as I described it. Heck, there’s even a chapter where Superman eats at a sushi conveyor belt restaurant… with Aquaman. Didn’t really think of the guy as a fish connoisseur, to be honest. Normally, I would be for this wacky premise, but the main issue I have with Superman Vs. Meshi is how out of character everyone is.
While Superman is the most lighthearted out of the main DC Trinity, here he’s too ditzy in this series. He doesn’t show restraint with his personal desires and feels like a new hero rather than someone who’s been in the game for a while. Additionally, the art style doesn’t quite match the caliber as, say, the VIZ/Marvel collaborations. Still, there is some novelty in watching Batman tear up eating a chicken and vegetable set. Pick this up if you’re curious about Superman eating Japanese food, but otherwise I’d recommend skipping.
Rating: 2 out of 5 UwUs
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – Golden Wind Volume 9 (VIZ Media)
We’re finally at the end of the Golden Wind arc of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure in the west, what an adventure! After the body swap fiasco and death of Narancia, Giorno and his team need to get their bearings. The villainous confrontation is thrilling as everyone tries to process the body swaps, and the art is gorgeous. With Diavolo on hot pursuit of Silver Chariot Requiem’s Stand Arrow, Giorno’s allies devise a way to retrieve it. What will happen in these final chapters, and will Italy succumb to Silver Chariot Requiem’s latent ability?
Honestly, this last battle is amazingly detailed. It highlights the paranoia of not knowing situational information, leading tense sequences of events before the action heats up. I appreciated how each character’s stands were used in innovative ways (especially Trish’s Spicy Lady). I didn’t want this story to end…
…And I think neither did Araki, since he ended up making a flashback arc after the main conflict is finished. While it does provide some greater context to those who perished in this arc, it’s also weirdly placed. The last chapters act as an epilogue, but that story could have been anywhere else in the second half. It doesn’t distract from the final conflict’s perfection but could be seen as odd pacing.
Overall, this is a great conclusion for part 5 and I’m glad to have taken the plunge. Definitely can’t wait for the western releases of Stone Ocean in the future!
Rating: 4 out of 5 UwUs
The Ice Guy and The Cool Girl Volume 1 (Square Enix Manga) – Early Fall Manga Minis Preview!
I’ve been on a slice of life kick recently during these fall days, and it’s refreshing. However, with fall comes winter, so The Ice Guy and The Cool Girl reminds me I’m going to freeze soon. It’s a cute manga that has a solid romance with two nervous adults, with a supernatural twist.
Fuyutsuki has a quirky coworker at her company; a shy type, Himuro is just your everyday salaryman. However, he’s also a descendant of a snow spirit, and as such has the power to control ice and snow. Based on emotions, he can make office life cool… or cold! The series highlights the day-to-day life of Fuyutsuki and Himuro as the two fall in love slowly but surely.
Office romances are nothing new, and The Ice Guy and The Cool Girl feels like more of the same. That said, the magical elements make this story stand out from Square Enix Manga’s other slice-of-life releases. (Basically it’s the character goofiness of The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses mixed with My Happy Marriage’s supernatural elements.) The art is strong enough to support the series, though there aren’t many opportunities for the art to shine. I enjoy the cute internal monologues of Himuro, showing he’s human more than a snow spirit.
All in all, this is a nice slice-of-life if you’re into office romances. I’ll wait for future volumes to cast judgement, but it’s a serviceable manga.
Rating: 3 out of 5 UwUs
Alice in Borderland Volume 7 (VIZ Media)
It’s crazy that we might be getting more Alice in Borderland Netflix stuff soon! In the meantime, now’s a great time to dive into the manga, which is nearing its final games. I noted in the last volume how the series manages to create a compelling story with its side characters. Honestly, with a narrative this great, we don’t need main characters for a while!
This omnibus collects the rest of the Jack of Diamonds and King of Spades games. As the former arc finishes up, the remaining characters are met with some sadistic choices. With the Jack of Diamonds whittling down the player count, it seems that all hope may be lost. Luckily (or unfortunately), there are some sadistically pragmatic players that will do whatever it takes to win. This arc has no clear-cut good guys, though we root for the players to finish the games. It’s a hard arc to pull off narratively, but the mangaka does so deftly.
In the second half of this omnibus, we have the King of Spades game. This one covers the entirety of Borderland, which means players have been destroyed by the host left and right. From the Face Card leaders so far, the King of Spades feels the most human in his reasoning for participating.
What’s interesting about this whole arc is the fact that Arisu or Usagi aren’t present at all. That said, this arc includes three people who we’ve met in previous stories coming together: Aguni (the former second-in-command leader at the beach), Akane (the only survivor of the Seven of Spades game), and Hayato (the kid saved by Arisu in an earlier side story). I was nervous that this arc overstayed its welcome, but it features equal screentime for the three leads. We get character development from all of them, which is something that’s hard to do when the antagonist is shooting at them constantly. I love the found-family dynamic, and the fact that they grow so much makes this a great arc.
Great art mixed with superb storytelling make the seventh omnibus of Alice in Borderland a killer treat!
Rating: 5 out of 5 UwUs
That’s it for our Early Fall Manga Minis! Stay tuned for more manga reviews here on Miso!