Author: Tia Kalla

I Died and Was Reborn as a Mary Sue: The Isekai Trend

So, you’re a mediocre guy who got hit by a truck, stabbed multiple times, or maybe just had a bookshelf fall on you. Unless your name is Yuusuke Urameshi, the story of your near-immediate death is probably not that exciting. Have no fear, the author has decided to throw you into Middle Earth instead! Now you get to be a nerd, but with dragons! Problem solved. Isekai (異世界, “different world”) is the latest trend to spring out of the Japanese manga market in the last several years, starting with a boom during the late 2000s/early 2010s in the light...

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Hipster Manga: Sengoku Youko

You probably haven’t heard of it. Being a person who loves reading, but also has struggles with time, depression and ADHD, manga hits a sweet spot for me. Since I can read a graphic novel in about ten minutes, it’s a good way to fill my narrative appetite without having to commit for hours, because you know that novel ain’t gettin’ put down. So, I read manga, like, a lot. I buy manga at the bookstores. I buy it online. I borrow copies from friends and the mobile manga library. When I get done with those and don’t see...

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Sleepless #1: a Fairytale

Sleepless #1 Sarah Vaughn (Writer), Leila del Duca (Artist), Alissa Sallah (Colorist), Deron Bennett (Letterer) Image Comics December 6, 2017 The living daughter of a dead king. The knight who seems to be neither living nor dead. The plot to send them all to the sarcophagi housed below. Sleepless #1 follows Pyppenia, the princess, and Cyrenic, the titular sleepless knight, as they navigate royal courts, shadowed assassins, and an unclear relationship with each other. Also, there’s a cute fennec fox. With comics, my tastes in graphical style has usually leaned more toward the clean, thin-lined, cartoon-esque manga more than the...

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One-eyed Butterfly: The Lone Queer Man of Basara

Disclaimer: This contains spoilers, so read at your own risk! Also, although Basara in general isn’t especially triggering, Ageha’s backstory, “Loquat” in volume 25, has instances of rape and child abuse. Ah, Basara, my love, my most favored manga. You are lovely and perfect. And yet, I wish you had better queer representation. What Basara does well, it does very well. It’s very good at making the story about characters and motivation, not about good or evil. It has a huge cast that nonetheless make you care about all of them. And it offers a nuanced look at gender...

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Hipster Manga: Sekai Oni

You probably haven’t heard of it. Disclaimer: Sekai Oni is not nice or fluffy. Content at the core of its story includes rape, incest, child abuse, drug usage, suicide, sexually explicit material, and a great ol’ heaping of death. Also, spoilers. Alice in Mirrorland syndrome: a disease where the afflicted not only see the monsters and demons lurking behind mirrors, but can interact with them. For seven residents of Japan, this disease seems to bring nothing but unhappiness and disaster. However, it is also a necessary tool that allows them to fight the “world devils” threatening to destroy the...

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