Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead, Vol. 1 by Haro Aso, Kōtarō Takata (Illustrations)
After spending years slaving away for a soul-crushing company, Akira’s life has lost its luster. But when a zombie apocalypse ravages his town, it gives him the push he needs to live for himself. Now Akira’s on a mission to complete all 100 items on his bucket list before he…well, kicks the bucket.
In a trash-filled apartment, 24-year-old Akira Tendo watches a zombie movie with lifeless, envious eyes. After spending three hard years at one of Japan’s “black corporations,” his spirit is broken. He can’t even muster the courage to confess his feelings to his beautiful co-worker Ohtori. Then one morning, he stumbles upon his landlord eating lunch—which happens to be another tenant! The whole city’s swarming with zombies, and even though he’s running for his life, Akira’s never felt more free!
Publisher: Thank you VIZ Media LLC for the review copy
Review: I’ve sat on the review for Zom 100 a few weeks because initially I wasn’t sure what I thought of it. 24-year-old Akira Tendo is having his life drained in a cooperate job and when the zombie apocalypse hits it is the best day ever for him, because he doesn’t have to go to work.
You have gore, fan service and humour thrown together and while this manga doesn’t disregard the tried and tested format of these types of stories it different enough to keep you entertained.
Overall, I liked it but also I wasn’t blown away by it. I think as the beginning of the series it works well and there are some amusing moments that had me giggling. I do want to see where this goes before I completely make up my mind.
Expected publication: February 16th 2021 by VIZ Media LLC
The Cat Proposed by Dento Hayane
Matoi Souta is an overworked office worker tired of his life. Then, on his way home from a long day of work one day, he decides to watch a traditional Japanese play. But something strange happens. He could have sworn he saw one of the actors has cat ears.
It turns out that the man is actually a bakeneko — a shapeshifting cat from Japanese folklore. And then, the cat speaks: “From now on, you will be my mate.”
Publisher: Thank you LOVE x LOVE for the review copy
Review: This is a single volume manga telling the story of Souta, who is an overworked office worker. He is mentally and physically exhausted and on the night the story begins is contemplating suicide. I was surprised that what looked like a cute “love story” has such a dark beginning. Souta’s depression and health are dealt with for a good part of the story, not in great depth but it isn’t just side-lined after he meets Kihachi.
The Cat Proposed had more emotional conflict then I anticipated as despite the quick “we’re mates now” proposal in the beginning both men had different reasons for being hesitant about committing. As a single volume it does deliver enough story and character development to feel complete, not rushed.
Expected publication: February 23rd 2021 by LOVE x LOVE
Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan 1 by Gaku Kuze
How did the cynical Uramichi end up hosting a TV show for small children? And how long is the studio going to let him keep teaching the kids the sorrow and exhaustion of life instead of, say, the ABCs? This dark comedy manga started as a webcomic and became a bestseller across Japan — with an anime coming soon!
Uramichi is a 31-year-old host on a kids’ show who leads exercise routines and teaches life lessons colored by one main theme: Adulthood sucks. Alongside mascots played by a couple of bushy-tailed twentysomethings and a singing duo whose music embodies the notion of being kicked while you’re down, Uramichi wades through the misery of working life, one sardonic comment at a time…
Publisher: Thank you Kodansha Comics for the review copy
Review: Ok, so the first chapter was entertaining. The next was ok, the third felt like you’d already read it and then it just continued from there.
The synopsis of Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan intrigued me and I think the idea is fun. The art style is good as well, but the story becomes repetitive quickly.
Uramichi teaches is life lessons deadpan to the kids, they are confused (shocked?) but get over it. It’s a wrap and then next show. The rest of the characters are equally as miserable in their job and everyone seems to loathe the TV Show they work on.
The humour just wasn’t me. Based on other reviews I’ve seen some readers love this series, so I think like comedy it’s very much about what humour works for the audience. I might not have liked it but someone else will.
Alter Ego by Ana C Sanchez
Noel has always been in love with her best friend Elena, but she’s never been able to find the courage to confess her feelings. Then, when her friend starts dating a boy, Noel’s world collapses as she sees her chance at love slipping away.
One night, in a moment of desperation, Noel ends up confessing her feelings for Elena to a complete stranger — but as fate would have it, this stranger turns out to be a girl named June, Elena’s other best friend… and Noel’s rival in love! Worst of all, now June knows Noel’s secret. With everything suddenly going wrong, how can Noel ever win the girl of her dreams?
The heart-pounding romantic drama by breakout Spanish artist Ana C. Sánchez!
Publisher: Thank you LOVE x LOVE for the review copy
Review: As much as Alter Ego has good points this story did not work for me. I think that Noel’s character walked a thin line of irritating, but sympathetic to downright annoying and selfish and all to often swayed dramatical from one to the other. For each moment I felt sympathy for her she would behave horribly in the next scene and ruin any potential reader bond there could have been build.
The story is a good premise but because it happens so quickly it felt a bit “well if you don’t want me, I’ll pick that one”. As a standalone volume Alter Ego does not have a lot of luxury when it comes to developing the story and characters. I think that does it a disservice because there seems to be much more to explore.