WWACommendations: Devil Number 4, Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Witch Hat Atelier, and More

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What comics have you been reading lately? Every month, WWAC contributors share some of our favorite comics we’ve read recently. I love this month’s picks which include manga, indie comics, and webtoons! Let us know on Twitter what you’re reading, and check back every month for more recommended comics!

Emily Lauer: I just read An Embarrassment of Witches for the Comix Experience Graphic Novel of the Month Club! I am extremely glad I signed on for them to send me a new book every month in 2020 since I definitely need that now and I’m also extra glad to give them the business. An Embarrassment of Witches was a really pleasant evening in a rough time. The book, by Jenn Jordan and Sophie Goldstein, takes place in a world much like our own, with malls and colleges and internships and bad boyfriends, but also, with magic. The protagonists are recent college grads who have been best friends their whole lives, and now must navigate what that means as adults. And also there’s magic, and puns. The art and gentle puns are great, and the coming of age story poignant, but not maudlin. I liked basically all the characters, and wished them well, and hoped their magical internships and trips through portals went well. It’s an enjoyably imperfect but fun-seeming alternate universe.

Masha Zhdanova: I think The Quintessential Quintuplets by Negi Haruba is really underrated. The protagonist, Fuutarou Uesugi, is hired to tutor five identical quintuplets with very different personalities but equally terrible grades. The reader knows he gets married to one of them in the future, but not which quint. Quintuplets stands out from other harem manga because the girls have a very genuine bond with each other as sisters, and everyone’s dynamic with the protagonist is balanced and interesting. The girls all have their own goals and motivations, and part of their character development is figuring out where their crush fits into that, making this a really solid coming of age story on top of the harem premise. Uesugi himself is very unlike a typical romance manga protagonist — he doesn’t get flustered by the girls at all and usually acts as the straight man to the comedy around him. Also the art is very consistent and appealing and the girls are very cute!

The Quintessential Quintuplets Vol. 1 cover, published by Kodansha Comics, 2017
The Quintessential Quintuplets Vol. 1 cover, published by Kodansha Comics, 2017

Paulina Przystupa: The Kodansha sale came, saw my wallet, and now I have no money. I wrote about some of the things I purchased in a longer article and definitely recommend those books. However, before the sale I had bought Tokyo Tarareba Girls (TTG is also a Kodansha book) and Ouran High School Host Club (OHSHC) from a local bookstore (support your local book and comic shops!). TTG is josei and OHSHC is shojo and reading them around the same time is giving me some interesting feels. TTG is all about the experience of being an adult woman (aka folx in my age range) while OHSHC is in the infinite loop of high school antics. Also as josei TTG talks about the ways that adult women continue to see their lives as Shojo manga. So it’s sort of like OHS exists within the world of TTG. Continuing my manga theme, I finished Revolutionary Girl Utena. I have thoughts. It’s good, definitely would have inspired a young me but also problems, many many problems. Also I’m about to start reading the Cowboy Bebop manga. I’ve had it for years, never read it nor seen the anime or movie, so it’s going to be a wild ride.

Draven Katayama: Speaking of Tokyo Tarareba Girls, I’m currently watching its live-action drama adaptation and it’s excellent! Two of the three main cast members were also leads in one of my favorite dramas, The Reason I Can’t Find My Love, which is thematically similar if you’re looking for more stories like Tokyo Tarareba Girls.

Rosie Knight: I read Witch Hat Atelier again and I just can’t shut up about it. It’s honestly one of the most beautiful, thoughtful, sweet, and inventive manga I’ve ever read. Kamome Shirahama is best known in North America for her awesome big two comics covers, so it should come as no surprise that her magical manga series feels like the amalgamation of both Japanese and American sequential storytelling traditions. The wonderful story centers on Coco, a seamstress’s daughter who wants nothing more than to be a witch. When the young girl sneaks a peek at a spell she uncovers the secret behind magic — which is one of the book’s most charming reveals — and gets swept up into a world of enchantment. This series is nothing short of splendid and Shirahama consistently delights with art that feels both familiar and entirely new. There’s a touch of Art Adams to the delicate yet powerful line work and there’s now nothing I want more than a Shirahama X-Men title! Until then I’ll keep devouring these beautiful volumes and the beautiful, immersive, and hopeful world Shirahama crafts.

Latonya Pennington: Since it’s National Poetry Month, I decided to reread the graphic novel Window Horses by Ann Marie Fleming. It’s about a Chinese Persian poet named Rosie Ming who gets invited to a poetry festival in Iran. In the process, she learns more about poetry and her estranged Iranian father. The vivid artwork really brings out the emotions of the poetry featured, and the poetry itself is varied and exquisite. Also, the overall storyline was beautiful and inspiring to me as a poet.

Draven: Midnight Rain by Pani is a cute, dramatic story about Noemi, Soren, and Blade Valstrom, and it’s free to read on Webtoon. Noemi grew up as the daughter of parents who worked for a wealthy family on a vast estate. Blade Valstrom was the son in that wealthy family. After a prologue told in the present time, the perspective shifts to flashback of their childhood. One day when the three main characters were still kids, Blade Valstrom’s life was disrupted by the entrance of a half-brother he didn’t know he had: Soren.

Blade quickly became jealous at their father’s love and favoritism for Soren. We know from the prologue that Noemi’s life would become inextricably and romantically tied to Soren and Blade. If you like stories about family drama, class differences, and love triangles, Midnight Rain is easy to get addicted to. I really love Pani’s art style with vibrant, glossy colors and emotive facial expressions.

Devil Number 4 by jangjin and woombeee is another comic I’m enjoying; it’s also free to read on Webtoon. Devil Number 4 stars Hannah Yoon, a self-described poor college student who always feels alone because she works part-time nights and can’t hang out with friends. She meets a handsome stranger who introduces himself as “the devil that has come to save you.” He offers her a wish granted if she pledges her life to him. It turns out that devils are a little bit like salespeople: they’re trying to secure contracts with clients in exchange for souls, and Devil No. 4 is an elite devil who shouldn’t have trouble closing the deal with Hannah.

Hannah turns him down because she doesn’t have any wishes, but agrees to work part-time at his cafe (yes, this devil owns a cafe) because she needs a job. We meet other funny characters like Devil No. 313, the director of devils in the area who always wears a Hawaiian shirt, and Joon Lee, a tall handsome hunky classmate who really likes Hannah. I love the premise of this comic and Hannah is a very relatable forlorn character. The art of the characters is really fun, especially Hannah’s surprise when other characters talk to her; Joon’s earnestness; and the interactions between No. 4 and No. 313.

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Draven Katayama

Draven Katayama

Writer at Sidequest and WWAC; past executive editor of Kollaboration and writer at Newsarama and Comicosity. I'm a huge fan of Life is Strange, The Last of Us, TWICE, Blackpink, and ITZY. My MyDramaList: https://mydramalist.com/profile/loudlysilent Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/loudlysilent Tell me about the fandoms you love! @loudlysilent