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Late Valentine’s Manga Minis!

Yeah, I know; it’s February 15 and it’s about that time again. Now that candy’s half off and the flowers wilted, it’s time to check out our Late Valentine’s Manga Minis! In keeping with the love theme, we’ve got three series with some romantic overtones (as well as one pure action). Would we recommend them? Read on and find out!

The Ice Guy and The Cool Girl Volume 2 (Square Enix Manga)

The Ice Guy and the Cool Girl is a fun series, and as I said in the last volume, I’ll wait to cast judgment. This second installment includes more characters into the mix, but unfortunately does so at the expense of thinning out the main narrative.

In this part, we have snow spirit descendant Himuro trying to get closer to his officemate, Fuyutsuki. Throughout the bite-sized chapters, we get to see cute interactions between the pair. From Himuro shrinking into a little boy as the days get hotter to him nursing Fuyutsuki with a cold, the slice-of-life contents are a treat.

If you liked the last volume, you’ll find more to like here. However, I think there’s just too much this time around, with four new characters crammed into the story. You have the fox and phoenix descendants Komori and Katori alongside potential love interests Saejima and Otonashi.

Komori and Saejima’s dynamic are a foil to Himuro and Fuyutsuki, with Komori being the bubbly one. But it seems that Katori’s phoenix-like personality can wear thin, and he’s only in the volume for one short chapter. It’s a strange move to waste two characters, and I think introducing them later in the story would have been better.

While I do like half of the new cast, there isn’t much time to enjoy their antics. Longer stories of the cast going to the movies and an amusement park interrupt the short main chapters. These are the highlight of the volume, as the pacing and page count make these tales fleshed out. The main chapters are forgettable, and I hope the story can pivot into longer vignettes rather than throwaway scenes.

Rating: 2 out of 5 UwUs

Marriagetoxin Volume 1 (VIZ Media)

Hikaru Gero is the Master of the Poison Clan, a powerful group proficient in deadly venom. However, the line ends with him unless he or his sister can produce an heir. Not wanting to subject his sister to a loveless marriage, Gero vows to find someone to marry and continue the clan’s legacy.

Unfortunately, while he’s proficient with poison, he’s not a hit with the ladies. After rescuing the sly Kinosaki, Gero thinks he’s got it all settled… except Kinosaki is not the person Gero thinks. That said, Kinosaki provides Gero with some prime dating advice as the two decide to go on missions together.

The premise is unique, and for something that could be very misconstrued, I think it handles the overall plot adequately. The initial romantic overtones with Genso and Kinosaki can make some uncomfortable, but I know it’ll develop in future volumes. I would argue that the first half of this volume unevenly establishes the premise, and the characterization is inconsistent with the series afterwards.

The art here is superb and highlights how sinister the seedy underbelly can be. However, it’s not so dreary, and there are times when the characters can get a little zany. This is a series I’ll keep my eye out on, if only to see the goofy antics of a wannabe Casanova.

Rating: 3 out of 5 UwUs

Smoking Behind the Supermarket With You Volume 1 (Square Enix Manga)

I’m not a smoker by any means, but I find the social aspect of it intriguing. I love slice-of-life romantic series with older characters, so Smoking Behind the Supermarket With You is a perfect fit.

Sasaki is an overworked, middle-aged man stuck in an office job. His one respite is interacting with Yamada, a young and peppy supermarket worker. Sasaki loves to smoke, and one day he finds the brooding Tayama, a no-nonsense woman who shares his penchant for a drag.

Of course, they’re the same person, but Sasaki is too dense to figure that out.

What follows is a series of cute slice-of-life antics as the duo smoke together and learn to accept their flaws, with Sasaki falling in love more with Yamada. Will he finally figure out who his smoking buddy truly is?

This manga reminds me of Beauty and the Feast, but with a different dynamic (since they’re both adults with the same vice). It’s interesting to see how this story can make something like the back of a supermarket entertaining. It isn’t visually excessive (you can’t be bombastic with low-key conversations, after all), but it doesn’t have to be.

If anything, the biggest flaw is Sasaki’s airheaded nature when interacting with Yamada and Tayama. (Come on, a middle-aged dude doesn’t realize he’s talking to the same person?) However, Yamada/Tayama grows simultaneously, and the antics are wholesome, which is strange considering the subject matter.

If you like older-skewing romance dynamics in a modern setting, Smoking Behind the Supermarket With You is sure to perk you up.

Rating: 4 out of 5 UwUs

Rocopon Volume 1 (Kodansha)

Closing our Late Valentine’s Manga Minis, sometimes with all this love talk, you just want some pure, John Wick-esque action. Rocopon is a mix of Sakamoto Days and Assassination Classroom, and it’s a bloody blast.

The titular Rocopon is a goofy alien who crash lands on earth. Initially, the novelty garners attention, but after it wears off, the public learns that he’s just a lazy being. Trying to be relevant (and after a string of PR mishaps), Rocopon is transferred to the Department of Murder. This branch of defense gets to dispatch the irredeemable bad guys fatally. Turns out, a super powerful alien is the best person for the job!

Needing a partner to help him, the Department of Murder also hires Mei, a disillusioned cop hardened by past failure. Together, the duo gets embroiled in some deadly conflicts as Rocopon unearths a despicable crime syndicate.

What I enjoy about this series is how it doesn’t pull any punches. Sure, Rocopon (like Korosensei) acts like a silly little alien, but he can efficiently kill if needed. His opponents are ready to drop him like a bad habit too, so these battles are always high-stakes. He isn’t opposed to cutting up his adversaries like minced meat, which cements the contrast of his innocent demeanor.

I enjoyed the buddy comedy elements with Mei and Rocopon. However, the first few chapters take some time to get used to everything. Rocopon himself can feel like a nuisance, which thankfully lessens as the volume continues. Once the story proper starts up however, it becomes an adrenaline rush.

If you’re looking for a stylish and gory action series, check out Rocopon right away.

Rating: 4 out of 5 UwUs

Thanks for reading!

And there you have it for our Late Valentine’s Manga Minis! (Sorry we were late, we had some stuff to work on, and it wasn’t a date unfortunately!) Stay tuned for more manga reviews here on Miso!

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During the day, Elisha is an aspiring businessman, but at night, he's a wacky freelance writer. Born into the world with a fleeting knowledge of rhythm games, he loves shonen manga and still wants Pushing Daisies to have some closure. For any manga/anime/video game inquiries, please contact him at edeograc (at)
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