Links & Things

Want just the manga reviews?  Head over to The Manga Test Drive!

Want more writing from me?  Check out my previous articles at Anime Feminist!

Want to hear me talking with friends about manga?  Check out my takes on Wandering Son, Tropic of the Sea, X-Day, Sweet Rein, Legal Drug, and Clover on the (sadly defunct) Rainy Day Reading podcast and on The Key to the Kingdom at Shojo And Tell!

Want to hear me talking with friends about (mostly bad) anime?  Check out my takes on Diabolik Lovers, Miracle Train, Perfect Blue, Another, Vividred Operation, High School DxD, Lance 'n' Masques, and Upotte!  at the Heavy Storms podcast!

Want to give me money for what I do?  You can do so either through Patreon or buy me a Ko-Fi!

Want to commission a review?  The details are here!


The story of Anime Strike is a short and frustrating one.  Started on New Year's Day of 2017, it was meant to be a way for Amazon to tap into the growing market for anime streaming.  Within a short time, they managed to piss off anime fans by locking their shows behind a double paywall, using poor quality subtitles (when they remembered to subtitle their shows at all), frequent and inexplicable delays in their uploads, and little in the way of promotion for themselves and their shows.  The service quietly shut down after a year, mourned by no one in particular and leaving little in the way of impact.

Anime Strike was a bad idea for many reasons, but its greatest disservice was to the shows they licensed.  While some shows such as Made In Abyss or Land of the Lustrous were able to rise above Anime Strike's limitations, the rest were largely ignored by the service and anime fans alike.  It's only now that some of them are starting to be rediscovered as they make their way to…

Disaster Report: First Love Monster

It’s hard to come up with a new twist on shoujo romance. We have over half a century’s worth of manga and anime on the subject, and often it feels like virtually every twist and concept possible has been explored at least once. Good creators can overcome this sense of fatigue through thoughtful writing and new perspectives. Bad creators overcome it by adding sensationalist elements to grab the public’s notice, and more often than not this trick is turned until the sensationalist part becomes normalized. We’ve seen this happen before with lolicon. We saw it happen more recently with incest, particularly where little sisters are concerned. In the case of First Love Monster, based on the manga by Akira Hiyoshimaru, we saw it attempted yet again with one of the few taboos left in the world of anime and manga: shotacon.

Shotacon, like lolicon before it, is a Japanese slang term for the sexualized portrayal of pre-pubescent children. In this case it’s focused on boys, but unlike lolicon it’s…

Black Rose Alice (GN 1-3)

There are a lot of vampires in shoujo manga.This is just a simple fact.Poke around your local Barnes & Noble or Books-a-Million and you’re bound to find titles like Vampire KnightHe’s My Only VampireHoney BloodMillennium Snow, and so many more.They all tend to be populated by  beautiful and tormented young men who are all simply waiting for some lovely young thing to come wandering into their undead life to bring them the love and redemption they all seem to be seeking in various degrees.It’s incredibly predictable, incredibly derivative, and it’s enough to make any seasoned manga reader cynical about vampires in manga in general.Every once in a while, though, we get a manga series that manages to take an old idea like vampire romance and do something new and interesting with the idea. Amongst those select few titles is Black Rose Alice, the latest series from Afterschool Nightmare and X-Day creator Setona Mizushiro.

We start out in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century, whe…

The Man of Tango

It’s kind of shocking that it took Viz so long to start a yaoi imprint of their own, SuBLime. Over the years it seems that most of the major publishers have at least dabbled with the genre, if they didn’t have a dedicated imprint or were themselves dedicated to the genre.SuBLime certainly has been far more wise in their title selection than most, and by being more selective about what goes to print, they can afford to explore more unconventional titles.Amongst the most unconventional of the lot is The Man of Tango by Tetuzoh Okadaya.

The titular man is Angel, a renowned tango dancer who himself has never experienced the sort of passion that tango is renowned for.He’s become something of a heartbreaker over the years, and one of the few constants in his life is his fellow dance teacher/best friend/roommate Bene.A performance at a local bar leads to the two of them meeting Hiro.Hiro is half Japanese and half Latino, and he’s dealing with both a cheating girlfriend and the death of his ab…

Commissions Are Open!

So as teased in the intro post, I'm opening myself up for commissioned reviews!  Here are the guidelines:

$20 A manga review of a single volume of your choosing
$30 One feature-length anime film OROne OVA series of your choosing up to six episodes$50 One manga or light novel review featuring up to three volumes of any given series OROne cour (up to 12 episodes) of any given anime series OROne OVA series of your choosing up to 12 episodes$75 One manga or light novel review featuring 4-6 volumes of any given seriesTwo cours (up to 24 episodes) of any given anime seriesADDITIONAL NOTES:
Any requests for media that is currently out of print and/or not available digitally through legal means may be subject to a surcharge determined at the writer's discretion.I will not accept any requests for media which has not been licensed in EnglishPayment can be made through either Paypal or Ko-FiWant to make a request?  Have further questions?  Contact me via Twitter (@brainchild129) and we'll s…


Osamu Tezuka created many, many manga over the course of his career. Some were long-spanning and ambitious, exploring philosophical, even experimental ideas. Other were short and strange ideas seemingly done on a lark. Personally, though, I find that his best works were those that were simple, straightforward, with universal appeal. This is true for works like Princess Knight, Astro Boy, and the subject of today's review: Unico.

Unico is the story of a lovely little unicorn who belonged to Psyche, an ancient Greek princess renowned for her beauty and gentleness. The love goddess Venus envies her and does her best to foil Psyche, but not even her son Cupid is immune to Pysche's charms. Thus, Venus decides that if she can't get rid of Psyche, she will get rid of her unicorn with a curse. She commands the west winds to steal him away and spirit him through time and space, far from where he could be loved. Regardless of where and when Unico lands, he always ends up finding some…

Top 10 DMP Manga That Should Be Rescued

Once again, the rumor mill is churning about Digital Manga Publishing's future as one Kickstarter is all but confirmed to be dead and others face an uncertain fate.  While it may be a little too early to start writing the eulogies, it's not too early to look back upon the many works they've licensed and wish for some of them to see print again.  With over a decade's worth of books scattered over a handful of imprints, there's more than enough to make a Top 10 list's worth.

Naturally, there are a few caveats.  These are my choice and my choices alone; your choices may (and likely do) differ.  They are listed in alphabetical order because trying to rank these numerically would be too arbitrary even for me.  There's no Project H titles included because I don't read hentai manga, so I leave it to others to determine what titles there are worth saving.  Finally, his list is far from a complete one, but it's one that I feel represents a reasonable slice o…