Tag: Manga

Manga Review – Futaribeya: A Room for Two – Volume One

Manga Review – Futaribeya: A Room for Two – Volume One

High school is the moment in everybody’s life where they start to learn about themselves and what kind of person they want to be. From meeting new friends and forming long-lasting bonds, to having to struggle with balancing academics and a personal life, those last few teenage years can be quite stressful. At least most don’t have to deal with the awkward situation of sharing a boarding room with a complete stranger.

In Futaribeya, that’s how it all begins: awkward.

An original story and art from Yukiko (@aoiyukiko) and published by TOKYOPOP, Futaribeya: A Room for Two is a simple, light-hearted, slice of life comedy that follows the life of two girls entering high school. When the sensible, level-headed Sakurako Kawawa eagerly begins unpacking her stuff in her assigned boarding room, her roommate enters, and is thrown for a loop. The stunning, attractive Kasumi Yamabuki strolls in without a care and changes out from her pretty street clothes into nothing but a t-shirt and underwear, and starts lounging around the house. To anybody, this would be a strange first meeting, especially when you realize that you’ll be sharing a room with this person.

On the surface, the story follows a common plot found in your typical yuri comedy: two girls entering high school are forced into circumstances where they’re always near each other, both inside and outside the classroom. Having opposite personalities would cause some kind of conflict between them, eventually opening the door to similarities and leading to developing romantic feelings for one another. With Futaribeya, it has this plot, but on a much more simple level—and that’s totally fine. Sakurako is the responsible one of the pair, always making sure that the room is well-kept and organized, cooking for the both of them. Adorable, bubbly, and friendly, she’s the complete opposite of her roommate. Often complimented for her beauty, Kasumi is the lazy food glutton. Usually seen with some kind of food or snack in hand, she’s always taking it easy, whether it’s wrapped in a blanket, sleeping on her desk, or hiding under a kotatsu. Early in the plot, you learn about the main reason why she has a part-time job: to buy more food.

Futaribeya_Vol1_Cover
(Source: TOKYOPOP)

Seeing as how this is the first volume in the series, most of the volume is used to set up the overall feel and vibe of the story, giving insight into the backstory between each of our protagonists, fleshing out their usual school life with friends and grades, and the various kind of interactions that occur when they’re home. Yukiko uses a nice, cute art style to portray everything, switching between the detailed, well-done shading seen in most manga, and changing to the big head, solid-black eye comedic use of chibi style. Even though the art style switches fairly often, it doesn’t diminish from the overall enjoyment and story; it’s actually a nice touch to the simple comedy manga. However, between chapters we are gifted with additional illustrations and drawings of the pair, depicting them in various situations. At the end of the volume is an afterward from Yukiko, thanking the reader for picking up the manga and doing a small Q&A.

Overall, Futaribeya is on the lighter side of the yuri spectrum, not pairing the protagonists in explicit and suggestive moments. It’s more focused on the comedic side of two high school girls rooming together. Taking that into consideration, this review is focused on volume one, so it is possible that those kinds of moments could pop up as the story continues. If you’re looking for a nice comedy, this would be a good read to pass the time.

Futaribeya: A Room for Two is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Right Stuf Anime, and other book retailers.


Copyright © 2019 by Luka Tatsujo

Follow Luka on Facebook and Twitter for more content and a look into Luka’s life!

Manga Review – Machimaho: I Messed Up and Made the Wrong Person Into a Magical Girl! – Volume One

Manga Review – Machimaho: I Messed Up and Made the Wrong Person Into a Magical Girl! – Volume One

Magical powers, bow-filled outfits and hair, and a small, flying creature to overlook the protagonist—all common things found in your usual magical girl series. Destructive punches and kicks, chain-smoking pack after pack, and rage-filled attitudes with the dirty language—things usually seen in a gritty action series. Ever seen what it’s like when there’s a magical girl who loves punching things through walls, doesn’t like going to class, and can burn out a cigarette with a single pull?

That’s what Machimaho does.

Following the life of Kayo Majiba, an obvious delinquent who constantly needs a smoke, Machimaho blends the two different genres together. After a random encounter with a mythical creature, who’s job is to monitor the appearance of the Atasunmo, evil creatures who love to feast on the negative energy of others, Kayo must now take up role of protecting the universe from these evil beings. However, being the delinquent that she is, Kayo doesn’t care about any of this.

Both the art and story were done by Souryu, and publishing by Seven Seas Entertainment. Through the use of dynamic angles, detailed expressions and constant action to keep the reader’s attention, Souryu gave a great first volume. Across the first few chapters, we are introduced to a small cast of characters who each have a unique personality that either provides comedic relief, helps establish the overall story, or even helps add to the dramatic and over-the-top fight scenes. We’re given a small glimpse into Kayo’s schooling and her home life, which is anything but the ordinary life a high school student should want or have.

machimaho1-cover
(Source: Seven Seas Entertainment)

The art style is also a very good strong point. In casual scenes there are moments when a character loses their temper, and the detail, and sometimes over-exaggerated expression that are use are either scary or hilarious, based on the emotion being shown—Kayo’s face can get pretty terrifying. But when the fight scenes happen, that’s when the art is at its best. There’s extra emphasis when Kayo sends her fist flying into an enemy, forcing them to go through the walls of a building. Seeing the crater left behind in an enemy’s head and the destructive power of what they’re capable of is very well detailed; of course, that if they manage to live through Kayo’s fists and heel kicks.

Besides having a powerful art style, the dialogues and interactions between characters are actually well thought out. Although it may seem like everything just has some kind of rage or anger behind it, there are parts where we learn more about each character’s thought process instead of just seeing what they do. Well, aside from the use of panty shots after Kayo kicks or gets caught in an explosion, which I personally don’t mind, as some of the poses she’s in are pretty funny. Aside from the main story, there are single page little side stories after each chapter, focusing more on Kayo’s off time, a nice little touch in between fight scenes.

On the surface of the story, Machimaho will come across as a renegade magical girl story, which is totally fine. But do keep in mind, it’s not Sailor Moon or Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica; right of the back, that’s noticeable. Souryu took a popular theme and put a new spin on it, and it’s pretty solid. And after reading it all the way through, to the introduction of Kayo’s potential rival, I can’t wait to see how much more ass she’ll be  kicking.

Want to read it for yourself? Machimaho is currently out in print and digital copies on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other major book retailers.


Follow Luka on Facebook and Twitter for more content and a look into Luka’s life!