December 16, 2019

OtakuAThon, Round 2 Wrap-Up

This really cute Sailor Moon background was purchased from BeatPaperDesigns, who has a lovely Etsy shop!
It's been six months since the second round of OtakuAThon happened in early June, but I still wanted to finally share a wrap-up of all the things I read. I was sick and quarantined during this particular round, which meant that while I did end up devouring a lot of manga, I wasn't as active online. But I'm still so honored that so many people joined Kristin & myself in indulging in a weekend spent watching anime or reading manga! Without further ado, here are all the things I ended up consuming during the last round.

The Water Dragon’s Bride, Vol. 1 by Rei Toma | This centers around Asahi, who finds herself in another world where she befriends a little boy and is taken back to his village… only to be sacrificed to the water dragon that the village reveres. The illustration style is adorable, and Asahi does make for a strong (if occasionally frustrating) lead. However, while the trope of a girl being sacrificed to the gods is familiar to me as a consumer, but it didn’t have the same effect on me as some of my other favorite stories that bear it because Asahi is just young enough to make me feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough to hook me, and I will not be continuing the series.

Komomo Confiserie, Vol. 1 by Maki Minami | This is about a rich girl named Komomo who was friends with Natsu, the son of the chef who worked for her family and the only one who could bake things that would stop her crying, until he and his father leave the employment of Komomo’s family. Years pass before the two find their paths crossing again, as Natsu ends up owning his own cafe and Komomo winds up being his employee. It’s an outlandish premise, and both Natsu and Komomo behave terribly towards one another many a time. But you just know that there is more to come with this delicious antagonistic-but-not-really dynamic they share, and that, my friends, is what reeled me in. It’s also got a cute art style, and plenty of mentions of delicious food for those of us who like those things. I liked this one a lot and will continue this series!

Happy Marriage?!?, Vol. 2 by Maki Enjoji | This picks right up after the events of the first volume, after Chiwa and Hokuto have gotten married and are navigating the new status of their relationship. This second volume is pretty much the kind of soap opera romance drama you’d expect, since as a reader, you are thoroughly aware of the mixed signals and the miscommunication that is going on between these two (and, in my case, would just like it to stop). Even though it frustrated me to no end and made me want to give both these characters a good ol’ shakedown, I still flew through this manga and found myself completely entertained (no matter how over-the-top this situation continues to get). I’ll definitely continue this series as well!

Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 2 by Kiiro Yumi | This focuses on Iku training with her new team, as well as uncovering a conspiracy within the Library Forces. It’s so delightful to see Iku finding her footing and dynamic with each of her new teammates, as well as her coming to terms even more clearly with what it means to be a part of this group in real life. I really think the storytelling and character development in this second installment is done well, and I was really engaged from start to finish. Plus, you know I’m a sucker for a good ship in my manga (canon or not, though canon is preferable), so there’s also the delightful hints of one in this volume. Once again, I was swept up into this manga and I will definitely continue the series!

Kiss of the Rose Princess, Vol. 1 by Aya Shouoto | This chronicles the story of Anise, who was given a rose choker for protection by her father and told never to take it off and what happens when she loses the choker in question. She ends up summoning four Rose Knights, all of whom she knows (or knows of) from real life. Even though this is obviously an outlandish premise, I still really enjoyed the idea of it. Who wouldn’t want to imagine having four knights at your beck and call? (I know I would!) But honestly, the reason I didn’t love this first volume as other series starters I’ve read is because I felt like there were holes in the lore. I didn’t get a strong understanding as to why Anise was given the ability to summon these knights, or why it was even necessary, and that definitely made it seem like a superfluous addition to the story. I’m still mildly curious, but unsure if I’ll keep reading the series.

Dreamin’ Sun, Vol. 1-2 by Ichigo Takano | This series reminds me a little bit of Fruits Basket (which you’ll like understand in a second). Shimana feels displaced in her own home after the death of her mother, remarriage of her father and the birth of her stepbrother and decides that she’s going to run away. She ends up having a random encounter with a drunk guy in the park, who offers her the chance to live in the house he shares with others if she completes a task for him… and she does. The house situation is what reminds me of Fruits Basket, mostly, as the rest of this story is solely contemporary. Shimana is encouraged to face the things she’s running from, even as she continues developing deeper ties to the people she now lives with – and this makes for a great read. The secondary characters are also excellently done, the art style is adorable and I’m really looking forward to continuing the series.

Fruits Basket: Another, Vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya | This is a delightful addition to the Fruits Basket universe that takes place years after the first series and features an entirely new set of characters. Readers will recognize the hallmarks of the original series, particularly since the story mirrors the plot down to a tee – but the main character Sawa is as different from Tohru as night is from day. Her personality is a lot more withdrawn due to a lot of rejection, and unlike the natural charm you immediately sense from Tohru, it takes a while to warm up to Sawa. But things change for her when she encounters the two Sohmas at her school, and it’s a delightful beginning to what is sure to be a charming addition to this world. And, plus, if you squint, you’ll see references that point towards familiar characters and those brought me so much joy! I really liked this one, and I can definitely see myself loving the rest of the series too.

Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight, Vol. 1-8 by Rin Mikimoto | This series has a premise right out of a fan fic that teen Alexa would have written as it basically is all about Hinana, model student who is a secret romantic dying to experience on true love, and how her life changes when a movie is shot at her school and she crosses paths with celebrity Kaede Ayase and they end up developing a romantic relationship. The series follows the ups and downs of their rromance, and how their real life commitments and other relationships in their lives affect it, and it is delightful and also dramatic, as any celebrity-centric story generally winds up being. Kristin recommended this series to me, and I’m glad she pushed it so hard because I just love it so much. Not only does it bring me back to the good ol’ days of when I wrote stories with similar tropes, but it also just entertains me so dang much. I really love this series, and I cannot wait to read the last two volumes before the year ends!

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, Vol. 2-3 by Fujita | These volumes continue the story of four friends Narumi, Hirotaka, Hanako and Taro, who act like typical office coworkers but are secretly hiding the fact that they are all otaku. It chronicles their relationships and their lives, as affected by their otaku obsessions, and it’s honestly the most fun and most relatable manga series I’ve read in ages. I enjoy the shenanigans that ensue, the references to popular otaku culture thrown in (and detailed by the mangaka at the end of the volume), and the illustration style. It basically is a story about awkward couch potatoes loving their fandoms so hard and learning to navigate life and relationships, and I am totally here for all of it. I can’t wait for the next volume to be released and you can bet I will be picking it up as soon as it does!

I also binge watched more episodes of Snow White with the Red Hair during this round. I finished the first season and about half of the second season and loved it! The only reason I haven't completed the second season is because the characters I love are in a very good place and I don't want anything terrible to happen...

Those are all my thoughts on the the things I consumed during the second round of OtakuAThon. Once again, I had a great time (even though I was sick), and I love that so many of you still joined us! Don't worry - we're definitely planning to host more rounds in 2020, so we hope you'll consider joining us again.


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