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3×3

3x3_mangaRepresentative mainly of my taste rather than absolute favorites.

General manga podcast info.
I also have a tumblr, which I do almost nothing with.

I’m discussing manga here, typically in essayist fashion, but the front page and archives can be difficult to navigate. Therefore, here is a simple set of lists to make things easier. I only review manga I like so if it’s listed here it has my recommendation. Some notes: if you’re in a review, you can click on these little faded arrows on the sides to see the next or previous article. Also, many of the category and tag links to the side have alt text when you hover your mouse over them, explaining some things a little better (like what “4-koma” means). All the list items below, including the list titles, have alt text as well.

My youtube channel, which is on hiatus, featured visual podcasts on manga I read throughout the week (plus one highlight manga I either had been meaning to read, or hadn’t heard of). The “visual” aspect is that I showed off manga pages and other images while I spoke, with some (IMO) pleasant transitions. Also, lots of relaxing music. Speaking of…

An introduction to Touhou: [Touhou Project Primer]
Interested in Touhou? Read it.
Otherwise, you ought to read this before reading any Touhou manga reviews.

Don’t want to go through a list? Have a “random manga” link!
random reimuqtoc

Key:

key-favdkey-list-exclusive

**All the way down, past the images, click CONTINUE READING → for titles only.**
*Or you can just click that link ^^^ to go there immediately.*

Manga I highly recommend:

hitoribocchi-no-oo-seikatsuf     hitoribocchi-no-oo-seikatsu-addendumf     chimoguri-ringo-to-kingyobachi-otokof     helckf     anko-san-of-the-deep-sea-fishf
the-end-of-goldfish-kingdomf     jigokuren-love-in-hellf     amaama-to-inazuma     nickelodeon     the-voynich-hotelf
oddman-11
     youkai-shoujo-monsuga     world-triggerf     邨る崕繧ォ繝舌・_CMYK_蛻晄。謌サ縺誉荳f     amari-mawarif
alyoshaf     teppuf     dr-hitomis-infirmaryf     hinamatsurif     sekine-kun-no-koitaiyou-no-ief     1-11f     dungeon-meshif     inertia-67f     touhou-suzunaan-forbidden-scrolleryf
touhou-sangetsusei-three-fairiesf     touhou-ibarakasen-wild-and-horned-hermitf     shinryaku-ika-musumef     hoshi-no-ponko-to-toufuya-reiko     spirit-circlef
sen-to-manf     joou-sama-no-eshif     tsugumomof     kodomo-no-jikanf     mitsuboshi-colorsf
criminalef     birdmenf     honto-no-kanojof     sora-ga-haiiro-dakaraf     bakuonf
kamisama-ga-uso-o-tsukuf     high-score-girlf     takuan-and-batsus-daily-demon-diaryf     kaguya-wants-to-be-confessed-tof     golden-kamuyf
ib-instant-bullet-f     chio-chan-no-tsuugakurof     yokohama-kaidashi-kikou-ykkf     out-of-the-bluef_     is-my-hobby-weirdf
o-af     tsurezure-childrenf     grand-bluef     danberu-nan-kiro-moteruf     sesuji-wo-pin-tof
gakkou-gurashif     unsoundedf     4-cut-herof     murenase-shiiton-gakuen     daidai-wa-hantoumei-ni-nidonesuruf komi-san-wa-komyushou-desuf     murcic3a9lagof     kemono-friendsf     yuzumori-sanf     kimetsu-no-yaibaf
maou-jou-de-oyasumif     shimanami-tasogaref     march-comes-in-like-a-lion     to-you-the-immortalf

Favorite manga:

citrusf     gekkan-shoujo-nozaki-kunf     keijof_     himitsu-no-akuma-chanf     wizards-soul-holy-war-of-lovef
denki-gai-no-honya-sanf     yuusha-ga-shindaf     ookami-shounen-wa-kyou-mo-uso-o-kasaneruf     blue-friend-2nd-seasonf

Award-winning manga:

taiyou-no-ie     dungeon-meshi     golden-kamuy     yokohama-kaidashi-kikou-ykk     sesuji-wo-pin-to
march-comes-in-like-a-lion

Yuri manga:

anko-san-of-the-deep-sea-fish     citrus     oddman-11     keijo_     sasameki-koto
joou-sama-no-eshi     honto-no-kanojo     yokohama-kaidashi-kikou-ykk     out-of-the-blue_     is-my-hobby-weird a-room-for-two     blue-friend-2nd-season     daidai-wa-hantoumei-ni-nidonesuru     nanashi-no-asterism     murcic3a9lago
yuzumori-san
     shimanami-tasogare

Comfy manga:

helck     anko-san-of-the-deep-sea-fish     amaama-to-inazuma     amari-mawari     jyoshikausei
inertia-67     touhou-sangetsusei-three-fairies     touhou-ibarakasen-wild-and-horned-hermit     shinryaku-ika-musume     sen-to-man
mitsuboshi-colors     honto-no-kanojo     neko-musume-michikusa-nikki     bakuon     high-score-girl
yokohama-kaidashi-kikou-ykk     a-room-for-two     ookami-shounen-wa-kyou-mo-uso-o-kasaneru     tsurezure-children     grand-blue
danberu-nan-kiro-moteru     sesuji-wo-pin-to     kemono-friends     kimetsu-no-yaiba     maou-jou-de-oyasumi
shimanami-tasogare     yuuyake-rocket-pencil

Unique / Weird manga:

chimoguri-ringo-to-kingyobachi-otoko     helck     anko-san-of-the-deep-sea-fish     the-end-of-goldfish-kingdom     jigokuren-love-in-hell
nickelodeon     the-voynich-hotel     oddman-11     keijo_     dr-hitomis-infirmary
hinamatsuri     boku-ni-koisuru-mechanical     dungeon-meshi     inertia-67     hoshi-no-ponko-to-toufuya-reiko
spirit-circle     joou-sama-no-eshi     tsugumomo     kodomo-no-jikan     mitsuboshi-colors
criminale     birdmen     honto-no-kanojo     himitsu-no-akuma-chan     sora-ga-haiiro-dakara
neko-musume-michikusa-nikki     bakuon     high-score-girl     takuan-and-batsus-daily-demon-diary     kaguya-wants-to-be-confessed-to
golden-kamuy     wizards-soul-holy-war-of-love     denki-gai-no-honya-san     ib-instant-bullet     chio-chan-no-tsuugakuro
yokohama-kaidashi-kikou-ykk     is-my-hobby-weird     yuusha-ga-shinda     a room-for-two     o-a
ookami-shounen-wa-kyou-mo-uso-o-kasaneru     tsurezure-children     grand-blue     danberu-nan-kiro-moteru     blue-friend-2nd-season
sesuji-wo-pin-to     gakkou-gurashi     unsounded     4-cut-hero1     murenase-shiiton-gakuen
daidai-wa-hantoumei-ni-nidonesuru
     nanashi-no-asterism     komi-san-wa-komyushou-desu     murcic3a9lago     kemono-friends
yuzumori-san
     kimetsu-no-yaiba     maou-jou-de-oyasumi     shimanami-tasogare     march-comes-in-like-a-lion
yuuyake-rocket-pencil     kine-san-no-1-ri-de-cinema     to-you-the-immortal

Everything I’ve reviewed:

hitoribocchi-no-oo-seikatsu     hitoribocchi-no-oo-seikatsu-addendum     chimoguri-ringo-to-kingyobachi-otoko     helck     anko-san-of-the-deep-sea-fish
citrus     the-end-of-goldfish-kingdom     jigokuren-love-in-hell     gekkan-shoujo-nozaki-kun     amaama-to-inazuma
nickelodeon     the-voynich-hotel     oddman-11     miman-renai     youkai-shoujo-monsuga
world-trigger     邨る崕繧ォ繝舌・_CMYK_蛻晄。謌サ縺誉荳     amari-mawari     alyosha     keijo_
teppu     sasameki-koto     dr-hitomis-infirmary     jyoshikausei     hinamatsuri
sekine-kun-no-koi     taiyou-no-ie     boku-ni-koisuru-mechanical     1-11     dungeon-meshi
inertia-67     touhou-suzunaan-forbidden-scrollery     touhou-sangetsusei-three-fairies     touhou-ibarakasen-wild-and-horned-hermit     shinryaku-ika-musume
hoshi-no-ponko-to-toufuya-reiko     spirit-circle     sen-to-man     joou-sama-no-eshi     tsugumomo
kodomo-no-jikan     mitsuboshi-colors     criminale     birdmen     honto-no-kanojo
himitsu-no-akuma-chan     sora-ga-haiiro-dakara     neko-musume-michikusa-nikki     bakuon     kamisama-ga-uso-o-tsuku
high-score-girl     takuan-and-batsus-daily-demon-diary     kaguya-wants-to-be-confessed-to     golden-kamuy     wizards-soul-holy-war-of-love
denki-gai-no-honya-san     ib-instant-bullet     chio-chan-no-tsuugakuro     yokohama-kaidashi-kikou-ykk     out-of-the-blue_
is-my-hobby-weird     yuusha-ga-shinda     a-room-for-two     o-a     ookami-shounen-wa-kyou-mo-uso-o-kasaneru
tsurezure-children     grand-blue     danberu-nan-kiro-moteru     blue-friend-2nd-season     sesuji-wo-pin-to
gakkou-gurashi     unsounded     4-cut-hero1     murenase-shiiton-gakuen     daidai-wa-hantoumei-ni-nidonesuru
nanashi-no-asterism
     komi-san-wa-komyushou-desu     murcic3a9lago     kemono-friends     yuzumori-san
kimetsu-no-yaiba     maou-jou-de-oyasumi     shimanami-tasogare     march-comes-in-like-a-lion     yuuyake-rocket-pencil
kine-san-no-1-ri-de-cinema     to-you-the-immortal

Continue reading

To You, The Immortal

to you, the immortal -01[Music]
to you, the immortal -02to you, the immortal -04to you, the immortal -03
to you, the immortal -05to you, the immortal -13to you, the immortal -07

不滅のあなたへ

To You, The Immortal (不滅のあなたへ, Fumetsu no Anata e) is a relatively new manga (as of this writing, July of 2017) by author Ooima Yoshitoki (大今良時). Ooima-sensei is best known for her previous manga, Koe no Katachi, which for a while I considered to be one of my top 10 favorite manga. I did not like the final part of the series, however, nor did I like the ending. Nonetheless, it was definitely an amazing thing for a long time, being a mostly realistic, socially critical manga about Japanese treatment of the disabled (in this case, the deaf) and of those with ruined reputations. To You, The Immortal is pretty much nothing like Koe no Katachi.

To You, The Immortal is officially titled To Your Eternity in English, which makes no sense at all to me but whatever (the TL is good, and I paid for this in English, but that title is baffling). This is an action adventure fantasy/supernatural series about an immortal being that was created for some mysterious purpose and tossed to the earth. It can take the shape of other things around it, and can heal extremely well. However, it lacks knowledge, and needs to learn from the people on earth how to even function. We quickly learn that it can take the shape of living beings too, but it seems as though it can only transform into those who have died. The final category for this manga is definitely “tragedy”.

To You, The Immortal is very good at what it does, and what it does is present us readers with miserable lives and miserable situations where people manage to grow because of those bad things, but still succumb to untimely death in the end, after which our immortal protagonist takes their image into itself and carries that with it for the rest of its endless journey. Interestingly, like in Koe no Katachi, many characters in To You, The Immortal have very bad and sometimes even damning flaws; even the very cute little girl we begin to follow in chapter 2. This makes reading the series often feel very horrible. There are a lot of very silly moments of levity in this series, actually, but ultimately it will probably leave you feeling sad. I read all of what was available at the time while I took my plane flights into Japan and I probably looked rather silly crying in public. No regrets, though. I quite love this manga, at least so far.

to you, the immortal -17

To You, The Immortal begins in a snowscape, which is entirely my cup of tea. Our protagonist turns from an orb into a rock for a while, until it spots a wounded wolf. The wolf dies, and the immortal takes his form.

to you, the immortal -18

Not soon after, but for anything that could have been a few days to two months, the immortal stumbles onto a person: the person from the first pages of this article. Apparently that wolf, Joan, was his. I don’t think we ever get the guy’s name, but he teaches the immortal how to chew, how to eat, and even how to speak (though he doesn’t seem to grasp that his pet is speaking). The first chapter is about how this boy is all alone, but he wasn’t always. He determines eventually to seek out his people who had left long ago to find a better place of living. He also talks a lot. He doesn’t shut up, which is depressing. It’s clear that the boy is incredibly lonely.

to you, the immortal -14

But the journey doesn’t go well, the boy dies, and the immortal takes his place. The boy’s last words are a plea for the immortal to remember him forever, and so he will.

From here, the series takes somewhat of a surprising turn. I at first thought the boy might be one of the last humans alive period and the world a wasteland judging from the things he was saying, but that turned out to be not the case at all.

After a brief period where we learn that the immortal has been wandering around pissing and soiling itself, not eating, and dying from cold, starvation, and eventually a bear repeatedly (reviving because, hey, it’s an immortal), we switch to a very little girl from a village in a vibrant and very much alive forest. This is March, the new focus of the series along with Parona, a cool chick. The setting is, of course, much different now. March and Parona’s village lives under the thumb of a powerful and militaristic religious city from a ways away, which exerts control over these villages by sacrificing children to appease a fake god (and of course, the children don’t know that they’re being chosen for sacrifice until after some ceremony, while the adults don’t know the god is fake). Wouldn’t you know it? March gets chosen as the next sacrifice.

to you, the immortal -21

It’s handled with a strange amount of innocence since we’re mostly following March through this ordeal, but as silly as things can get during this storyline the grim reality of it definitely affects March despite her being very young. She doesn’t want to die, but goes through with it because if she doesn’t die someone else will die in her place.

to you, the immortal -22

That would be March’s BABY sister. As in literal baby sacrifice. By the way? This girl with the short hair is an evil bitch. Like hooooly SHIT she is the worst.

Parona, who is incredibly fond of March for…complicated reasons involving matters of “family”, is not cool with this plan. She initiates a distraction on the day of the sacrifice, giving March the opportunity to run. And here’s the kinda fucked up thing —
March does.

to you, the immortal -23

That’s dark.

Here is where March meets the immortal and the manga really begins.

to you, the immortal -24

So from hereon I’ll call the protagonist “Immo”. Most readers of this series know him instead as “Fushi” and some think the official translation is terrible because it doesn’t, but the point of the “Fushi” name is that it’s derived from the Japanese term for immortal — “Fumetsu no”, which would get lost in translation. But whatever, gotta go with the Japanese all the time yeah?

What follows is a lot of stuff really. The series shows why it can be categorized as an action manga for instance, as Immo must fight off giant creatures and aggressive people, transforming between known forms as he does so (always with whatever wounds that body had for a little bit before regenerating) and fighting in some strange-looking ways. I like it a lot, but this isn’t a “fighting manga” exactly. While fights happen, they’re pretty rare. Instead of fighting, most of the manga is about the people Immo meets, and the sense of dread in knowing that inevitably, one of these people is going to die like what happened in chapter 1.

to you, the immortal -25to you, the immortal -26

In this case, it’s clearly either going to be March, who sort of becomes Immo’s mother, or Parona who helps protect the two of them through the perils they will face and has a clear need to keep them all together no matter what. Of course I won’t say who dies, nor exactly how I felt when I found out. All I’ll say is that there are twists and turns, the villain is seriously supremely awful, there are many tense moments, the arc goes on longer than I expected, and I had a sense of “satisfaction” by the end of it. Then, Immo moved on.

to you, the immortal -27

There is a lot more to this series than that, but as my policy is spoiler avoidance I won’t say what. Here’s a link to a link that will tell you a few “spoilers” about the premise, and the “action” aspect of the series that you may want to see if you’re still on the fence about this manga: [link].

But sadly that leaves me unable to say much more about the series. Overall, I like the art, I like the weird story with its focus on preservation and memory, I like the characters, and I like how it makes you feel for them so hard before taking them away. If I had to criticize something, it’s the worry that Ooima-sensei will be predictable with the “premise”. Like, people Immo gets close to will always die. The latest arc, when Immo finds a “home”, might subvert it but if it doesn’t…well then, you lose some tension. If you think, “okay, someone’s always going to die” it’s tougher to risk caring about them. That said, Ooima-sensei is definitely very good at making you care, so I can’t be sure about that.

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Really, this is an incredibly powerful work and is shaping up to be a fantastic story consisting of many smaller stories. While I was disappointed with how things petered out in Koe no Katachi, I’m not apprehensive about this, Ooima-sensei’s latest work, because it’s so severely different from that manga. I’m eager to see where this manga goes, even if the path is paved with tears. Highly recommended, let it become a favorite of yours as well.

to you, the immortal -30x

And so ends the review. A bit late, and not THAT long, but it’s done! Hopefully I can write again soon. For now, thank you for reading. See you next time.

To You, The Immortal
CDJapan
Bookwalker (guide)
honto (guide)
ebookjapan

English version:
Amazon
Comixology