Mutually Assured Seduction – ‘Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War’ Volume 1 Manga Review

Mutually Assured Seduction – A 20 Question Manga Review of ‘Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War’ Volume 1

What’s the manga? Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War, Volume One.

Okay, and what’s it about? It’s a ~romantic comedy~.

*gasp* but don’t you mildly dislike those? I do. ‘Grats on remembering.

So why are you reading something like that, I thought you only bought manga that fits into your narrow demographic of interests—the unholy triad of cute girls, ecchi and harem? Also true, but there was a lot of talk around this manga, lot of interesting ‘buzz phrases’ like it was the “romantic-comedy version of Death Note”—which is about as weird a phrase as seeing something called the ‘Nightmare on Elm Street version of Sleepless in Seattle’… actually that’s not half a bad idea…

I was too lazy to get images from my physical copy of the manga so enjoy much better quality scans for this review! Also this isn’t the main couple this is just the intro to establish the manga’s concept.

Focus, focus! So surely it’s got to be more than a ‘marketing gimmick’ that got you interested? Eh? The main girl kinda looked a bit emo and I’m still a sucker for that emo aesthetic at heart. Unfortunately that’s more artistic license than anything specifically character derived—other than her being a stuck-up, high maintenance snob like a lot of the emo girls I knew in high-school…

Uh-oh… already falling out of love with this manga, are we? Let’s be real for a second I was never “in-love” with it to begin with, my experience with this manga is a legitimate roller coaster of emotions. First of all, starting off by saying your female protagonist belongs to one of the wealthiest families in Japan is going to endear me to them precisely ~zero~ percent—nobody likes wealthy people.

I’m sure some people like wealthy people…Yeah other wealthy people!

Moving on…And she’s smart to boot! What am I supposed to do with this information? Just sit in awe as she goes about and excels in everything that I ever failed at?

Power couple… or they would be if one bothered to confess to the other!

Okay, okay we get it; she’s out of your league! But what about the male protagonist? Miyuki? Eh, he’s okay I guess…

That’s all you have to say? I mean, I guess so… kudos where kudos is due, he may be boring but at least he’s not a blank slate. I thoroughly enjoyed his near constant neurosis at being outshone by Kaguya.

So I’m still not sure what your opinion on this manga is… seems like it’s pushing all the wrong buttons with you? Yup. And yet… I kinda love this damn thing!

Uh… wow, okay that’s unexpected! You’re telling me! I did say this was a roller coaster of emotions and that wasn’t some facile buzz phrase, all throughout I felt like I was combatting expectations and preconceptions only to pretty much completely and utterly fall in love with Kaguya and Miyuki’s childish courting ritual.

Mind games! Relationship edition!

Even the titular Kaguya? Her breasts aren’t that big.

What… wait, no, ‘titular’ as in she features in the title! I know I was just trying to make a dirty joke at your expense.

Grrr…Yes! Even Kaguya! While she’s got ample forehead real estate to rival the likes of Takagi-san—there’s something adorably endearing about seeing a thoroughly well-put-together otherwise flawlessly meticulous individual succumb to relationship related anxiousness and insecurities and anxieties… she’s all the more human for her inexperience in the ways of the heart, which to me is far more interesting than the intellectual mind games they put each other through. But then again maybe I’m just not smart enough to keep up with their intellectual antics!

So the whole “romantic comedy version of Death Note”-thing is the least of your interests here? Okay, while I see the appeal of that as a concept, it doesn’t make for the most approachable protagonists—ultimately I found myself enthralled by the mistakes more than the masterpiece, if that makes sense.

I loved the way he always imagined her being way more sadistic than she actually is. Expectations versus reality – the manga.

Sounds like you’re just wanting to make a quotable quote…We all want to seem smarter to our peers, don’t we? That’s just the human way of doing things?

Probably… so anything else you want to add before we wrap up this review? This will make an amazing anime…

Uh… okay? What makes you say that? Somany moments in this manga feel like reading a highly detailed storyboard of an anime, it’s quite uncanny! Reading this manga felt like somehow I’d already seen the show—at least in some parts—and that I was reading an adaption rather than the other way round. And as luck would have it an anime adaption was recently announced! So I won’t have to wait long to see this manga come to life!

Sweet moment.

Great, so final score and recommendation for Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Volume 1? I think—regardless of your feelings on romance as a genre—there’s probably something to be enjoyed about this manga, it’s just a solidly produced piece of literature (do we call manga literature?) that sort of both meets, exceeds and defies expectations. It’s not perfect, in fact there were times where I was actively annoyed at the thing, but likewise there were times where I was entranced—dare I say ~falling~ for this combative romance tale. War is hell, and this is one hell of a manga; 87 out of 100.

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Nameless Asterism Volume One – 20 Question Manga Review

A 20 Question Manga Review for Nameless Asterism, Volume One

What’s the manga? Nameless Asterism, Volume One.

Huh? Sounds pretentious… I know, I had to look it up. ‘Asterism’ means a prominent group or pattern of stars not quite as big as a constellation.

Okay, and what’s it about? It’s a big ol’ lesbian love triangle, well kinda…

Uh-huh. What do you mean by “kinda” who are the characters, what’s going on? Well, there’s three middle-school girls; best-friends Tsukasa, Nadeshiko and Mikage. Tsukasa’s a sporty but somewhat shy girl, and she’s secretly in love with Nadeshiko. Nadeshiko’s a tall, stoic beauty and she’s secretly in love with Mikage! And Mikage’s a popular, friendly but kind of opinionated girl, and she’s not-so secretly into any guy who asks her out.

Introducing the band.

Oh, so only two of the girls are gay? Well, at the moment. And although the manga—in typical Japan style—doesn’t really acknowledge bisexuality, and argument could be that Tsukasa might be bisexual…

Wait, but isn’t Tsukasa the one who’s in love with a girl? Yes, but she gets asked out by a super handsome boy from another school, and while being very wary about the whole thing since she’s never really dated anyone, she still goes out with him. Though it’s more peer pressure to do so than anything else so I could be wrong, I just didn’t want to discount bisexuality as a possibility!

Dating is hard. Especially if you’re not into the gender of your date.

“Normal”? Yeah once again—in typical Japan style—anything that’s not heteronormative is instantly labelled as being “not normal”, there’s the usual ‘but I can’t love her, we’re both girls’ shtick that’s as tiresome as it is problematic. But these are genuine thoughts that girls and boys have while growing up in any country, not just Japan, so they’re not invalid it’s just a shame teenagers (and adults even) have to even have this conflicted internal dialogue about their sexuality.

*sad face*


So there’s a boy involved too now? Not really a love ‘triangle’ now is it? I guess not. Also protagonist Tsukasa has an identical twin brother named Subara who likes to cross dress in Tsukasa’s clothes and wear a wig and when he does so looks exactly like her.

That awkward moment when your twin brother wears it better.

Uh… okay. And he tries to break up Tsukasa and Kyousuke (the new handsome boy), which I don’t know if I’m just projecting here but seems to me like he might have a bit of a sister complex going on here…

Oh dear. As I said, I’m just ~reading between the lines~ again, I could be wrong! I hope not though.


So what actually happens in the first volume? Uh, not a lot actually! It’s predominantly a slice of life format manga, just with the romance put on top. The 3 girls do ‘best friend’ things like talk in class and goof around and go out places, you know the usual. All the while occasionally cutting to inner-monologues form either Tsukasa about how much she loves Nadeshiko and wishes she could say something to her and Nadeshiko thinking about how much she loves Mikage.

Sounds a bit dull. I wouldn’t say it’s dull, it’s a bit repetitive but they mix it up a bit because Nadeshiko has actually admitted to Tsukasa that she loves Mikage and so there’s the added drama/anguish of poor Nadeshiko having to listen to the girl she loves talking about how much she’s in love with someone else (and a girl at that)!

So complicated!

Well that at least carries a bit of dramatic weight. Plus Tsukasa’s mostly afraid of telling Nadeshiko how she feels because she values the friendship the three of them have and is worried any kind of love confession will destroy that.

All right, I can see how this is a bit more interesting than you previous led on. Hey! Are you criticising my ability to plot summarise!

A sweet moment. I hope they end up together…

More or less. What are the characters like? really like Tsukasa, I’m so glad they’ve written her and drawn her the way she is. Like she’s obviously a pretty girl, but they aren’t afraid to make her look borderline Tomoko from Watamote on occasion. And while it is a total cliche to make a lesbian character tomboy-ish and into sports, I don’t think it’s too obnoxious here. Nadeshiko has some interesting character traits, and she’s very tall, but otherwise not much to go on. Mikage’s ~enthusiasm~ wears a bit thin but I do like how blunt she can be when talking to Tsukasa about her love life—or lack thereof.

Introducing yourself to strangers on a karaoke group date is hard.

Wait! Did you say these were “middle-schoolers”?! Um… yeah, like 12 questions ago, bit slow on the up-take there aren’t you?

So a lesbian manga about “middle-school” girls? Are we going to have a repeat of our Yuru Yuri argument? Listen, there’s nothing the least bit sexualised about this manga, there’s not as much as a single kiss the entire volume. And there’s absolutely nothing fetishistic about young women trying to work out their complicated feelings at an emotionally and hormonally charged time in their lives.

But are middle-school girls really thinking about this kind of stuff? I don’t know! I’m not a Japanese middle-school girl questioning her sexuality, and neither are you! You can’t compare yourself at this age to how people are now, kids grow up a lot quicker and experience things a lot sooner than we were in school!

That’s how middle schoolers talk right?

And why exactly is it called ‘Nameless Asterism’? I mean you told me what an Asterism was but I still don’t get it. I guess one way to look at it is these girls are a small constellation of bright and shining stars in their own right, but amongst a sky full of likewise asterism’s they’re not particularly important, hence the nameless part.

Hmm, kinda poetic when you put it like that. Final score and recommendation? There’s nothing especially remarkable about this series, but that’s kind of why it’s so endearing. Sure there’s secrets being kept and emotions being wrought and complications to be had, but I don’t get the feeling this manga thinks it’s anything deep or profound regardless of its pretentious title. It’s just telling a story about teenagers that’s packed with angst and humour and pointlessness like a lot of early teenage years. I’m not fervently waiting for Volume 2 but I’m still curious where the story will go and will gladly spend time with these characters again. Not the brightest star in the sky, but pretty nonetheless; 77 out of 100.

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Though You May Burn To Ash Volume One – 20 Question Manga Review

A 20 Question Manga Review for Though You May Burn To Ash, Volume 1.

Warning: This review contains graphic violent/gory imagery, reader discretion is advised.

What’s the manga? 
Though You May Burn To Ash, Volume One.

And what’s it about? D’you ever buy a manga based solely on it’s cover without nary a glance at it’s plot synopsis?

I’ve never even read a manga, let alone bought one… Alright, fine, you ever watch a movie or read a book based on the cover image alone?

Err, I imagine so, I mean that’s what covers are there for to entice the reader/watcher? Why? Is that what happened here? Yes. Yes it is.

And was that a bad decision on your part? Yes. Yes it was.

Oh dear… well let’s go through this step-by-step, what exactly went wrong here? Well I saw a cute girl with a stupidly suggestive and revealing maid-costume cum angel get up and my fucking neanderthal brain added the manga to my cart and bought it before I could barely read a word of the synopsis.

It’s a nice behind.

And where’s the problem (aside from the obvious)? This manga isn’t sexy at all! It’s deeply ~problematic~ and it makes me want to throw it in the bin.

Yikes! Care to elaborate? Well not really, but since I’ve already gone this far I might as well commit. So this manga at least has an interesting premise, it’s about a doting brother trying to raise enough money to save his terminally ill sister from a certain death. See she needs a super expensive experimental overseas operation to save her life except he’s kind of a screw up and they have no other family than each other so it’s literally down to him to save her. One day, while returning from the hospital the brother is visited by a mysterious being who asks how far he would be willing to go to get a shit-ton of money to which his grief addled mind replies he’d not only kill someone, he’d sacrifice his own life and soul to get what he needs to save his sister.

Seems legit!

Next minute? Next minute he’s dead and in a sort of limbo-esque existence except now instead of being a plain 20-something year old dude he’s a cute high-school girl surrounded by a bunch of other cute high-school aged girls and they’ve all been brought together by a sadistic “angel” who’s offering them billions of Yen as a prize to winning her twisted game.

Uh-huh… And what’s the game? Basically it’s a dice-style ‘odd or even’ betting game with an element of bluffing and calling out other people’s bluffs in order to win more money. It’s a pretty interesting concept and it’s well-executed, but did I mention this manga is problematic as all heck and I kinda hate it?!

Yes, you did mention that… Why? If you’re not familiar with the term ‘ero guro’ or simply ‘guro’ allow me to ~educate~ you, it’s violent/gory content that’s coupled with erotic content.

Oh… I see “problematic” indeed. Listen, I’m not trying to kink-shame anyone here, this is—after all—just pictures, but I am so not having a good time with this. Like gore on it’s own I can generally deal with, I mean I read Murcielago and loved it and that had people being torn in half and entrails being ripped out and what not. So it’s not the gore itself I have a problem with, it’s that the gore is being coupled with ~erotic~ content that makes me feel especially uncomfortable.

Let’s not even mention what part of her is disintegrating between her legs…

So is there a lot of it then? No and that’s what makes me so unsure of whether this even is a ‘guro’ manga, I mean obviously the only thing I have to compare it to is erotic doujin’s I’ve unfortunately stumbled across in my times and it’s not anywhere near as sexual as those, but that stuff was explicitly porn. Where as this is more “mainstream”, this is a manga produced by a publishing company, they can’t go as far with the sexual content, but I do feel like the intent is still there.

“Intent”? To show high-school girls being brutally tortured and murdered while also leaning heavily into the sexualised nature of the characters for the purposes of arousing those are inclined to this sort of thing.

Don’t worry there’s only 4 more pages of her losing each of her fingers, just in case you didn’t catch it the first time.

Isn’t that just an assumption? Yeah of course, but I mean there is literally no reason given for all the characters suddenly being high-school aged girls in cute uniforms so I have to draw that conclusion.

Right. So imagine instead the characters aren’t all sexualised anime high-school girls, does that make it better? Maybe, I don’t know. There’s a lot of a compelling story-telling here, the sadistic angel character is pretty funny and crazy at times plus there’s some genuine depth and emotion to the protagonist and his relationship with his sister. It’s very dark but it’s very well written.

Must. Protect.

Can’t you just skip the violent and gory bits and enjoy the story and characters? I mean, possibly. I just don’t know if I want to support a product like this though, it is interesting enough to keep reading but I can only assume it gets more graphic and more sexualised from here on out, that’s generally how these type of things go. Unless…

Unless what? Well I mean maybe I’m completely wrong and this isn’t ‘guro’ at all! I’m not an expert after all! But even if this is only ~softcore~ guro it’s still pretty unappealing to me. And this isn’t even a ‘cute girl being killed’ issue or a ‘pointless death’ issue it’s that this is someone’s fetish and I don’t get it at all.

There’s actually a lot of interesting strategy to this game.

#notkinkshaming Yes, #notkinkshaming.

So final score and recommendation? *sigh* This is a tough one to give a score to, on the one hand there’s a perfectly competent story going on here, it’s well-written for the most part, is populated with interesting and flawed characters and the ‘odd or even’ style dice game is well implemented, thoroughly explained and pretty easy to follow. But, the fact that ALL the characters look like cute high-school girls even if they weren’t cute high-school girls (or even girls) in their previous life is an ‘interesting’ choice—or it would have been if the only reason they were all turned into cute high-school girls wasn’t just to make their gory deaths and violent tortures all the more appealing to people who like that! As it is, the highest score I can give it is a 62 out of 100, even if the story and characters are deserving of a much higher score.

Why? Because that’s what sells more books.

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World’s End Harem Volume One – 20 Question Manga Review

A 20 Question Manga Review for World’s End Harem Volume One.

What’s the manga? World’s End Harem, Volume One.

Oh dear… What?

I can already tell what this is going to be about, it’s exactly what it sounds like, isn’t it? Uh… um, well yes. It is.

Right, fine, let’s get this over with, what’s it about in more detail? The year is 2040 and our protagonist Reito Mizuhara has a (currently) incurable illness and will die within a year, but because it’s the future and everything is all super advanced, they put him in a cryogenic sleep with the intent to wake him up in 5 or so years when the medical AI systems of the world have come up with a cure for his illness. The day before he goes under he confesses his love to his childhood sweetheart and asks her to wait for him. Kind of a dick-move because he’s had 10+ years to confess his feelings but better late then never right? He awakens in the year 2045 to find a virus—dubbed “The Man Killer Virus”—has wiped out 99.9% of the male population, and now he’s in high demand!

The future, maybe.

Ugh, what a predictable male fantasy. It is very fanciful of an idea, but I at least give the manga credit for having him not be into this idea, but also give him good reason to not be into the idea.

What do you mean? Well a lot of the time in harem manga/anime the protagonist is all uncomfortable and not wanting of all the female attention suddenly foisted upon him and often it’s not really given a good enough explanation as to why. Here the characters are immediately “please have sex with thousands of women and impregnate them to continue the human race” and he’s understandably like “I just woke up and found out all the men in the world are dead including my friends and teachers, also I just confessed to the girl of my dreams yesterday, could you give me a bit of time to process!”

I won’t go down the rabbit hole of what happened to transgender people, etc.

Fair point. But why do they need him to have sex with all the women, what about the other methods of reproduction that don’t involve intercourse. Thankfully they address that issue early on, unfortunately it’s about as contrived as it gets. First, male baby’s born from artificially inseminated sperm still died from the MK virus after being born. Because of Reito’s previously incurable disease he and the others who were frozen with the disease are somehow completely immune to it. Subsequently artificial insemination from immune males resulted in no successful embryos, the only one time that a successful impregnation has occurred so far was the result of sexy times.

Uh-huh, so in other words ‘because the plot says so’. Pretty much. And these women, or specifically his new ‘personal caretaker’ Mira is insanely committed for him to start doing the deed, which we later find out is mostly because the UW are pressuring her for results.


And who or what is the UW? It’s the ‘United Women’ basically the new government of Earth made up from the most powerful women on the planet.

Interesting. It could be, but as it stands now they’re just some powerful and shadowy organisation for Mira to occasionally report to.

So when you say 99.9% of the men died out, how many are there left exactly? Men who are actively able to breed in the entire world: 5.

“Nice receive” I swear I can’t see the word ‘receive’ without making a Haikyuu reference.

Just 5! In the whole damn world! Well bare in mind that’s 5 men who happened to have the incurable disease and who also happened to be cryogenically frozen at the time the epidemic happened. We later learn that there are actually 1 million+ men cryogenically frozen around the world, it’s just none of them are currently immune, and if they were unfrozen they would all die in a matter of days not to mention only produce male offspring who would die too.

Well they certainly got all their bases covered with backing the protagonist into a corner, a sex corner as it were. Plus they emotionally blackmail Reito into getting busy~ by saying most of the women of the world live in poverty since the virus and that he’d be helping them out by getting them pregnant as the women he impregnates would be rewarded by a life of luxury for them and their families.

Well when you make it sounds so romantic, how’s a guy to refuse?

Kinda some problematic plot elements there? Yes, ~problematic~ is a word that was floating around my head a lot while reading this and it’s difficult because the writing is surprisingly sensitive towards some topics, like more so than I expected. They explicitly say, every woman is there by choice, they were asked which man they would want to have a child with from a selection of men’s profiles and they even included fake profiles of non-existent specimens to make sure the women were especially, specifically interested in Reito.

Organic, free-range ethical harem manga? Something like that. But something didn’t sit right with me. See, previous to the virus outbreak the world was pretty much a utopian society, like they say at the start of the manga that machines do everything and provide everything and nobody has to work. Yet as soon as all the men die it all suddenly goes to hell!

100? Pfft, amateur.

I imagine half the world suddenly dropping dead from a virus would have a sizeable impact. Also the fact that no more children are being born would make things pretty dire for the women left behind. Oh I don’t doubt that, I’ve seen ‘Children of Men’ (if you all haven’t seen the movie you should too, it’s not an anime but it’s still great). I’m aware it would have a massive impact on the world, no children being able to be born basically means the end of the human race, but I don’t think society would have de-evolved as much as it seems to without the presence of men. I just think it’s a very narrow-minded view of the world to infer that without men, women would fall into anarchy.

Agree to disagree I suppose. So who are the other characters? There’s Reito’s younger sister Mahiru, who’s probably in love with him (let’s face it, it’s a harem manga so it’s bound to come up as a plot point). There’s Akane his busty personal nurse and Sui his loli bodyguard, they’re tasked to sleep in the same bed as him in case of emergencies, or in case he feels like banging them and helping out the cause. Their words, not mine.

Where can I get a personal nurse like this?

*rolls eyes* There’s also Reito’s older brother Ryu, who, much to Reito’s surprise is cryogenically frozen and therefore not one of the billions that perished.

And what about that childhood friend/women he confessed his love to? Elisa. Well as he’s being frozen she says “I promise I’ll wait for you” in a pretty heartfelt scene, but once he awakens she’s nowhere to be seen, turns out she’s been missing for 3 years! And she was apparently working on research about the virus when she disappeared! Do I smell a conspiracy?! Also did I forget to mention both Reito and Elisa are medical researchers? Pretty noble professions for a utopian society where nobody has to work!


Right, lots to take in… also please don’t turn that into a dirty joke! So final score and recommendation? I had very low expectations going into this manga and so I was pleasantly surprised with the finished product! It’s immature and a blatant male fantasy but it’s also well-written at times with decent characterisation and a thankfully pleasant and intelligent harem protagonist. I’d like to know a lot more about what happened in the world in the intervening years between the virus being released and the present-day as well as where it came from/who was responsible and why? Hopefully future volumes have more plot developments. It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel my trousers tightening; 81 out of 100.

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How To Build A Dungeon: Book of the Demon King Volume One – 20 Question Manga Review

A 20 Question Manga Review for How To Build A Dungeon: Book of the Demon King, Volume 1.

Warning: This review may contain content and imagery that may offend.

What’s the manga? How To Build A Dungeon: Book of the Demon King, Volume One.

I’m guessing this isn’t an instructional manual on how to actually build a dungeon? Well, I mean it certainly goes into a lot of detail, but unless you actually possess magical powers, no it will not be of any practical use on how to build a dungeon.

Lots of helpful text!

Right. What it might help you with is show an example of how to write a character who is unambiguously a ‘bad guy’ but imbue him with enough positive traits that despite some of his actions—which range from questionable to downright dastardly—you still are able to root for him in a way that you might a ‘hero’ in another story.

So he’s an anti-hero, then? I’d say that’s fairly accurate, the only thing that’s difficult to qualify is whether an anti-hero can exist in this kind of story.

Don’t mess with him!

What do you mean? What kind of story is it? Well, it’s almost like one of those building simulation/management video games where you have to build something, whether it be a theme park or a hospital or even more specifically an actual dungeon like in ‘Dungeon Keeper’ or ‘War for the Overworld’ (neither of which I’ve personally played but have seen played).

Right, so how’s that work in manga format? Well the protagonist, Aur, wants a dungeon to call his own, fill it with powerful monsters and raiders, and deadly traps and spells. So he summons a Succubus to be his right hand woman, basically she’s his construction manager and he delegates tasks to her, who she in turn delegates to lower life forms to help build the dungeon.

He’s no ordinary human.

I’m still kind of confused what kind of manga this… I hasten to call it this, but I’m having trouble picking a better descriptor, it’s basically a slice of life, except rather than light-hearted and cute, it’s sinister, brutal and very erotic.

I beg your pardon? Oh did I fail to mention this is an erotic manga?

It’s hard to find sex scenes in this manga that don’t have nudity.

Um… yeah! You did manage to let that little tidbit of information slip! So this is porn, we’re reviewing porn now? No, no, no… well not exactly. It’s not like an erotic doujin, it’s… softcore? I suppose you’d call it, there’s no genitals on display, but having said that it’s pretty much only a couple a couple of additional lines from being full fledged hardcore material.

This isn’t going to devolve into another low-brow review is it? I promise not to talk about boobs for too long! Besides, there’s far more at play here than a litany of pointless titillation.

Mmhmm… Quit judging me!

Fine, who are the characters? Well as previously mentioned there’s the titular would-be demon king Aur, he’s cocky and kinda arrogant but he’s also intelligent and cunning. And maybe attractive? I don’t usually go in for his type but I could see why some people might be attracted to him. He’s also got a wealth of mana which is like magical currency, so that’s something that makes him alluring to certain people, such as Lilu—the succubus he summons. He’s only known her all of 15 minutes before they’re having sex so I mean at least this isn’t some long-winded ‘will they won’t they’ harem manga with a protagonist who’s sexually inert.

Holding hands is fun and all but…

I guess that’s good… if you’re into that kind of thing… Ain’t nothing wrong with a bit of sexy times!

And the others? Some time later an adventurer named Yunis comes wandering into the dungeon to defeat Aur, but she is outmatched by his abilities. Her induction into his burgeoning dungeon harem is decidedly ~problematic~ if only because her consent to his sexual advances only comes after Lilu has used her succubus wiles on her and there’s an element of coercion to the whole thing. But, not only does it fit with the whole anti-hero thing he’s got going on but she later saves her from her own village who goes full ‘angry mob’ on her. So she’s got at least some element of respect for him and isn’t completely without free-will.

Find a partner who can make you “Squelch” and “Slursh” too.

Uh-huh. What?

No, nothing. Do go on… Hmm, okay. And the final (for Volume 1) addition to his harem comes from an interesting side-plot. One of the neighbouring villages, who have pledged their fealty to Aur; in exchange for protection and a supply of mana to help the crops grow has to offer a female virgin to him. The only “acceptable” virgin they have however, is 5 year old Mary, now Aur might be a bad-guy but he’s not a lolicon. He insists on someone older and the only other one in the village who fits this description is a young woman with an unsightly disfigurement. See she disfigured herself with hot oil in order to protect herself from rapists who were invading the village some years ago.

Her backstory is the most tragic thus far.

Yikes, that’s dark. Indeed. So Aur meets with her and sees enormous potential in her and so takes her and the 5 year old, and says the village doesn’t have to provide another human offering for 10 more years.

Okay, so what’s his angle? Well he sees a darkness in her that’s even intimidating to him and he wants to help cultivate this dark potential and so gives her the choice to remain a disfigured human with no future, or to becomes his unholy apprentice and grow powerful in order to smite all those who’ve wronged her since. She gladly accepts and comes to be known as Spina henceforth. Also, conveniently for everyone the ritual to make her his apprentice gets rid of all disfigurements and leaves her with a trendy piece of face jewellery instead.

Extreme Makeover: Dungeon Edition.

Right, so I haven’t really gotten a solid idea about Aur’s character and what makes him as you early said: “unambiguously a ‘bad guy’,” and also “able to root for him”. Good question, so obviously his actions are self-motivated, he is thoroughly aligned to a side of darkness in this fantasy universe, but he’s never needlessly cruel, he’s strict and unforgiving if pushed but he never punishes anyone undeserving and is willing to listen to reason. He’s got a kind side, he doesn’t disrespect women or mistreat children and while he is very sexual active with I think as many as ten different women throughout this one volume, he never leads them on or hurts them in any way.

The gentlemen demon lord, sure why not. So final score and recommendation? I loved this book, I liked that it was so different from a lot of other harem style manga out there and not just because of how sexually active the protagonist was. It’s also darkly comical and occasionally just plain goofy, which is a much needed change of pace from some of the more serious subject matter. For fans of erotic-oriented manga and protagonists of questionable moral alignment; 87 out of 100.

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The Elder Sister Like One Volume 1 – 20 Question Manga Review

A 20 Question Manga Review for The Elder Sister Like One Volume 1.

What’s the manga? The Elder Sister Like One, Volume 1.

Oh no, ‘sister’? Are we in siscon territory again? Eehh~ not exactly.

What do you mean by “not exactly”? Well, if you’d have asked me what it was about instead of going straight into judgmental mode maybe you’d have found out by now!

Fine… what’s it about? It’s about an introverted 14-year-old orphan boy by the name of Yuu, who after being bounced from various unreceptive and plain cruel relatives ends up with a distant uncle who only has one rule, ‘don’t go into my studio’. After his uncle is hospitalised with a heart-attack, Yuu ventures into the studio to look for his insurance information and discovers a gorgeous and voluptuous woman who he quickly discovers is actually the Eldritch deity Shub-Niggurath or ‘The Black Goat of the Woods with A Thousand Young’!

O…kay. That’s… unexpected… Indeed!

So what kind of manga is it? I was going to ask if it’s horror, given the Eldritch connection, but seeing as it’s you and you mentioned a ‘gorgeous and voluptuous woman’ I’m guessing it’s something perverted. Unfortunately not! Well not as much as I was hoping…

*sigh* Listen, I’m not saying I wanted to read a super perverted story about a 14 year old boy and an eldritch god in the form of big breasted woman, but I was expecting it, so it just meant I had to adjust my expectations.

Then what is it then? Well, young Yuu only wants one thing in life, and that’s a real family, after his own died in a tragic accident. Specifically he wants a big sister, and because Yuu is the first person to ever treat ‘her’ with any measure of kindness and openness he grants his “wish” and decides to be his big sister.

Well that’s nice of her, I mean considering she’s an Eldritch deity, I’m not too well versed in my Lovecraftian lore but I didn’t think they were traditionally so kind and accomodating. I kinda get it, it’s like here’s a creature that’s probably been alive for centuries if not since the dawn of time itself, time probably doesn’t even mean anything to a creature like this so being a human’s ‘big sister’ for a couple of decades would be nothing for a creature that’s been alive so long.

True, I guess, but is that said in the text or are you just assuming? There’s a passing mention to her “having been alive for so long” but it’s not really explicit. And that’s my biggest problem with this manga is that there’s such a wealth of weird and wonderful things they could have done with this premise and with Eldritch lore in general but they don’t really do anything with it, aside from have her tentacle like feelers (which can shrink down to the width of a hair) clean the boy’s earwax and massage his brain so he can have a very odd brain-gasm.

I thought you said it wasn’t perverted! For the most part it’s not, I mean she is unaware of a lot of social norms and so there’s the usual “a big sister shouldn’t do that!” type stuff when she walks around naked or has him grope her chest to feel her heartbeat but you get that kind of stuff a lot in these kinds of stories. But yeah the whole ear cleaning thing was like, so the opposite of anything I find erotic that I was just left uncomfortable for that part of the chapter.

Uh-huh… Hey, I didn’t write it!

But you’re reading it! Well someone has to.

True, but still, I have to react to what you tell me. She’s really damn sexy though. I mean I know why he “wished” for to be his sister, but he really missed a beat not “wishing” for her to be his girlfriend…

Why didn’t he? I guess because that’s what he wanted in his heart of hearts, he is quite a ‘pure’ young boy. Though, by the end of the first volume I feel like even he is questioning his decision to make her his sister and not something more.

Are there any other characters aside from the ones you’ve mentioned? No, not really. And that’s something that feels quite different about this manga, in other shows I feel like they’d be at least teasing other girls by now, even if it wasn’t a harem (and I don’t even know if this one ends up being one) but there would be at least be like a childhood friend or some other female interest in the main character by now, but here it’s an entire manga of just Yuu and Chiyo.

Her name’s Chiyo? Yes, she names herself when learning his name is Yuu.

You’re going to have to explain this to me because I have no idea? His name is derived from Yuugure which means “Dusk” so she names herself Chiyo which means “a thousand endless nights”.

Poetic. Yeah, and that’s something I think that could easily be overlooked when giving this manga a cursory look it is legitimately poetic at times and very well written (at least in regards to some of the dialogue and internal monologues) and there’s some very cool ideas it’s just it falls into a lot of predictable traps early on that I worry it’s not going to be as challenging and interesting as it could be!

Fair enough, so final score and recommendation? It’s hard because I wanted this to be so much better than it was, but if you compare it to a lot of the mediocre trash that is out there then it is better! It’s just I was expecting more from a premise that invoked something as dark and twisted as Eldritch and Lovecraftian lore. But what’s here is by no means a slouch, it’s occasionally dark and original, it’s got a good bit of character depth and it’s pretty sexy from time to time. I need to see where it goes in Volume 2 before I’m willing to make a definitive decision but I will continue with it for now as it’s at least more original than a lot of the school based harems I’ve been reading. This volume scores; 79 out of 100.

Mononoke Sharing Volume One – 20 Question Manga Review

A 20 Question Manga Review for Mononoke Sharing Volume One.

***WARNING – the following review contains sexual references that may offend***

What’s the manga? Mononoke Sharing – Volume One.

And what’s it about? Boobs! Just boobs, just great big boobs all up in your face—

Okay stop. What?

If you’re not going to take this seriously, I’ll leave. No more mentioning of “boobs”, okay? Guh, fine…

Back cover, succinct synopsis.

So who’s this manga written by, someone famous in the manga world if my notes are correct? You have notes?! Oh and yes, it’s written by Coolkyousinnjya (Coolkyoushinja/Cool-Kyou Shinsha??).

That rings a bell… Indeed! It’s the man responsible for the very popular series Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid!

Uh-huh. And it won a bunch of ‘Anime Awards’ too didn’t it? Yes, but nobody cares about that—

Fine then! With that all out of the way, what’s the manga actually about? Breasts, anime tiddies, sweater melons, nice oppai.

What did I say?! You said “no more mentioning boobs,” I didn’t mention “boobs”.

Why are you like this? I’m just trying to contribute to an accurate review of this manga… As am I, if you don’t believe me then just read the author’s afterword at the end of volume one!

Part of the afterword; very illuminating look into the mind of this man.

Too many panels to read! Summarise it for me! Inundated with work offers after the runaway success of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, author and artist Coolkyoushinja turns down many high profile but potentially high stress offers to do ‘legitimate’ work with large publishers until he’s offered a niche pitch about ‘big breasted monster girls just hanging out in lounge wear with a flat chested human roommate’ and suddenly he’s inspired to write again!

Ugh, he sounds like more of a pervert than you… Now now, let’s not say things we can’t take back!

There’s a pool chapter and a bath chapter, for those wondering.

So what am I supposed to do with this information? I’m still trying to figure out what this manga is about? Here’s the deal, I could have just copy/pasted the ‘official’ synopsis from the web, spun some creative licence with regard to the content, but I wanted to be as honest with this as possible because, even though I know it’s unlikely someone would go out and buy something just because I said something positive about it I wanted to make sure that those who were inclined to do so knew exactly what they were getting into when it came to this manga. The publisher’s can write ‘From the creator of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid’ all they like; it doesn’t change the fact that is for a different audience then the wide(r) appeal of that aforementioned title.

In what way exactly? Well in case it wasn’t abundantly obvious this is a much more adult title than you might be expecting, this isn’t “cute and wholesome with a touch of naughtiness” like Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, this is the author’s fetishes put to paper, within the first half dozen pages we’re introduced to one of the main character’s monster roommates, a promiscuous fox girl whose idea of ‘cleaning up after herself’ is licking the semen out from condoms from her having sex with men.

For reference they are discussing issues with trash, the condoms were visible inside the trash bags which in Japan are left in clear bags on street corners the night before collection, hence the “problem”.

Wh—what?! And I’m all for it! Fucking get bawdy and lewd and liberated up in here please, too often Japanese manga falls into the same tired tropes to the point you can pretty much guess what’s coming before it comes (no pun intended) but at least here it’s the kind of unfiltered debauchery that’s usually reserved for fan fiction!

That still doesn’t sound like a good thing. And that’s why I’m warning you, for some—nay—for a lot of people this will be “disgusting” and “perverse” and “unnecessary” but for some of us, this is exactly the kind of subversive and honest content we’re wanting, even if it is just the author airing his fetishes to the world.

I’m almost afraid to ask, but what other fetishes are we talking about? Breast milk.

This was the only mildly SFW scene involving breast milk. Also, these ‘Just Because Monster Awards’ seperate the chapters and feature a panel from the previous chapter.

O-kay! So um, is it too late to ask about the characters? Well technically yes, we’re nearly at the end of this review, but since you’ve put up with this I’ll entertain the notion. So first there’s our protagonist, Yata, a normal human high-school girl whose main hang-ups are her ‘angry eyes’ and flat chest. Then there’s Momi an Oni (horned ogre) with massive oppai who’s a bit of a shut-in. There’s Mizuchi who’s a Kappa (still not sure even after Googling) and kind of the mother of the house, if only for her cleaning and how scary she can be. There’s Youko, the previous mentioned promiscuous fox spirit. And Kuro who is a Rokurokubi (I think that’s like a Yokai, she seems similar to the main girl in Yokai Girls) whose main ‘feature’ is her ability to stretch her neck, also she fancies herself as a bit of a comedian. And last but not least is Yuki, a snow woman (yes like from Interviews With Monster Girls) who falls madly in love with our protagonist and is also very forgetful about her powers.

There’s a summer festival chapter too.

Seems like there’s a lot to this book when you lay it out like that! Yeah… except it’s kinda just all about boobs and fetishes and being lewd in a familiar slice of life format.

Right, got it, so final score and recommendation? This is simple; if you’re a fan of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, don’t read this manga. But, if you’re a fan of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and are also a huge goddamn pervert then do I have the book for you! 85 out of 100.

Some good reaction faces there.

Yokai Girls Volume 1 – 20 Question Manga Review

A 20 Question Manga Review for Yokai Girls Volume 1.

***WARNING – the following review contains sexual images and references that may offend***

What’s the manga? Yokai Girls Volume 1.

Why does that sound familiar? –It’s not Yokai Watch, it’s got nothing to do with Yokai Watch, this isn’t a kids series, it’s very much adult.

I wouldn’t expect anything less from you at this point… Well, I’ll take that as a compliment then.

It really wasn’t one. Grrr—

—So what’s it about? Yatsuki (or Yukki), is a “normal” guy, 20 year old, lives with his younger sister, has a part time job, has never had a girlfriend, etc. Oh and also he can see Yokai spirits walking amongst the living. Generally he ignores them until one day he meets a young woman called Rokka, who gets him mixed up in all sort of supernatural and sexy shenanigans, whether he likes it or not!

Gives a new meaning to ‘getting head’.

What genre are we going for here? A bit of everything really! I mean the thing I love about this manga is just how unshackled by conventions it is, yes it shares tropes with various dependable genres, but it always plays to the beat of its own unique drum. It’s greatest strength is how funny it is, but it isn’t afraid to bring up serious topics and delve into complex character backstories or reference a lot of Japanese mythology, not to mention be subversive as fuck.

So is this going to be another one that’s difficult to recommend? Like Murcielago? No, they’re not really similar, yes they are both mature manga, but Yokai Girls is firmly comedic and nowhere near as dark or violent or gory as Murcielago.

It’s the question every big brother fears…

So where’s this “subversive as fuck” element come into it? Well aside from the usual ecchi tropes, there’s one certain side character who’s mere presence probably pushed it from an ‘Older Teen 16+’ rating to a ‘Mature 18+’ rating.

He must work out a lot.

Oh, and who is that?! Well he’s a yokai who hails from Sendai in the Miyagi prefecture and well as the legend goes, if you leave a ripe persimmon on a tree too long, a red faced man will appear request that you plunge a skewer up his ass and then tell you taste, upon which you will find that it tastes sweet.

WHAT?! I don’t know, like a lot of folk tales from Japan there’s some pretty strange ones out there, but hey, who am I to judge?

And so here he takes the form of a? A BDSM loving yokai pervert, yes, of course. Not to kink shame of course, that’s just this particular character.

He’s enjoying this in the next panel.

O…kay then, can we talk about the other characters? Like you’ve mentioned the protagonist, what about the little sister and the female yokai, who I assume takes the role of a love interest? Well we’ll be going into volume 1 spoilers here, so skip to the end if you don’t want any spoilers, but it’s more character spoilers than plot.

Fair enough, spoilers from here on out! So his sister, Nanao is a bright, bubbly and excitable girl, who for the most part is ignored by her older brother. As we find out, it’s because she’s a ‘ghost’ though not in the traditional sense, see Nanao went into a coma when she was 8 years old and has stayed that way for the past 6 years, her soul has separated from her body and pesters Yatsuki at some very personal moments. And so getting her soul back into her body becomes one of Yatsuki’s goal after he meets…

Having a ghost for a sister can be difficult for growing boys.

Female protagonist? Yes, Rokka! She’s a yokai with the power to stretch her neck to incredible lengths, she basically uses to tangle enemies or hold people in place. Also she likes to scare Yatsuki and eat his ‘shock energy’ that manifests out of his body in phallic shapes.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any lewder… It can always get lewder. But back to Rokka, she falls in love with Yatsuki pretty quickly, but it’s not without a decent reason, he helps her out of a tricky situation, buys her a nice dinner with the last of his money for the month and then when she collapses in the street from postprandial hypertension (yes I had to look that up), he determinedly carries her home.


So he’s a typical ‘nice guy harem protagonist’? Where’d you learn these words!? Oh right from me, but yes, also add otaku and pervert in there too. Though not the ‘creeping on girls/spying on them’ kind of pervert, just the ‘gets into sexually provocative situations for comedic effect reason’ and is totally into it kind of pervert.

Important distinction, huh? It is, nobody likes the creepy dude who hides in lockers or orchestrates elaborate plans for peeping. But if he’s chasing after a bad guy and suddenly runs into a friend of his who works at a maid café and ends with his nose pushed against her panties, then that’s just a case of bad(good) luck!

I do wonder if that caption actually does say ‘muff dive’. Also, NSFW?

Uh-huh… and what’s this about maid cafes now? Oh did I forget to mention, the manga’s set in my favourite place on Earth, Akihabara! I loved being able to spot locations I’d been to while reading it, even small side streets are lovingly recreated! And because I’m such an Akiba nerd I do enjoy that they got permission to use actual store names for a lot of the anime shops!

*yawn* Yeah, yeah… I know this is very niche, but I just really love this silly manga! It’s probably my favourite first volume of a manga series I’ve ever read!

I like the fact they actually addressed this! So many shows or books never go into the nitty gritty when it comes to people being ‘out cold for days after a battle’.

Final recommendation and score, then? With an emphasis squarely on comedy, and some pretty adult comedy at that, it’s hard not to recommend for people who their funny served with a heaping side of ecchi. The harem elements seem light so far and all the characters are interesting and surprisingly well developed, even the usually ‘bland for the sake of being able to easily relate to’ protagonist has an interesting back-story that’s hinted at and a bit of world weariness that is refreshing for this genre. 93 out of 100.

Oh and the S&M yokai guy ends up working at the Maid Cafe our protagonist frequents, did I forgot to mention that?

Murcielago Volume 1 – 20 Question Manga Review

A 20 Question Manga Review for Murcielago Volume 1.

What’s the manga? Murcielago – Volume 1.

Oh? Sounds exotic. You’re a straight white dude; everything remotely foreign sounds exotic to you.

Quiet you! What’s it about? Well first of all, let’s get a big ol’ TRIGGER WARNING up there, because I know it’s bound to trigger someone, cause it sure as heck did me! (Note: For the sake of a more pleasant reading experience for all, images of extreme gore or sexuality are not imbedded in this post.) 

She… has some issues to work through…

You? Triggered by something? Wait, don’t tell me, was it sport? No! Trigger Warnings are about content not genres.

‘Kay, so what is it about?! So Kuroko is a serial killer, she’s got 715 names to her belt to date, so what’s a girl on death row to do? Why join the Japanese Police Force as a ruthless hired assassin, to clean up the worst filth on the streets, yes worse than herself! She’s partnered with bright and bubbly Hinako, a driver who gets where she needs to go by any means necessary.

She’ll get where she needs to be no matter what it takes or how improbable!

Serial killer who kills serial killers, huh? Sounds a bit ‘Dexter’, yeah? I don’t know what that is.

Well anyway this certainly seems like a change of pace from the things you’re usually into. Don’t you hate violence in anime and manga? I don’t hate violence, I just don’t really care for it. And this manga is no exception to that, well except…

I cut this panel short for a good reason, you don’t want to see the state of the dude she’s talking to…

Except what? Kuroko is just so f**king cool! Like I know its in our stupid f**king DNA as a species to idolise serial killers for some dumb reason, but seriously Kuroko is one of my favourite main characters in anything ever.

Elaborate. Well, she’s a deranged serial killer but she has a sense of right and wrong, she’s got a twisted sense of humour, she’s unconventionally attractive like a Tim Burton heroine on steroids and she’s smart and savvy to boot. Oh, and did I forget to mention she’s a perverted, horny lesbian who’s super into cute girls?!

Even in the middle of high speed pursuits of ‘bad guys’ she still takes the time to chat up cute girls!

So basically she’s you except not a serial killer and also not a girl. This manga made me want to be a fictional cute girl just so I’d get the chance to be in the same room as her.

In the same room and doing? *blush* a lady never tells!

Okay that’s weird, even for you. Judge all you want! Your words are but scuffs in my armor!

Hinako provides an accurate incident report to her superiors.

Right, so enough of this creepy hero-worship. What’s the manga like? What kind of things happen in the first volume. Have you ever seen the movie ‘Crank: High Voltage’?

Uh, I don’t know, probably not, more importantly—why—have you?! The why’s not important, but basically take that film in all its cartoonish, gory violence, its rampant libido, its fast-paced story and its off-kilter humour and supplant Jason Statham for a Kuroko, a lesbian, sex-obsessed, serial killer!

Just casually discussing what to do after work while chasing down a subway carriage. No biggie!

O…kay then? So what about that trigger warning you gave to yourself and others like you? I take it’s not related to the sexual content of this manga. As much as I love this manga, some of the violence and gore is just relentlessly confronting. Maybe I’ve just got too much empathy but even seeing a nameless background character torn in half with their intestines spooling out behind them was enough for me to need to take a breather occasionally.

That bad, huh? It’s graphic and unforgiving, but I kinda get what they were going for, it’s the whole ‘it takes a monster to defeat a monster’ kind of thing.

Her facial expressions are gold.

So how do you go about recommending something like this? It seems dependent on the individual’s tastes a lot. Yeah, I mean there will be those who are the opposite of me, for whom the gore is no problem but the sexual content is too confronting, there’s all sorts out there, but I think in this particular instance the setting and situations and especially the characters make it an easy sell, as long as you’re in the mood for something very subversive. In fact, just so you know what you’re getting into I’ve prepared some super NSFW images from the manga below, click at your own risk!



Should we be worried about conflating sex and violence like this? There’s already so many troubles in the world. Disclaimer: This is a product intended for adult audiences only; if you are young and impressionable do not read Murcielago.

Yeah… that’ll work… Well what do you expect me to say, this a review for entertainment purposes, I’m not responsible for what susceptible individuals make of someone else’s content.

Meeting girls online is tough. If you clicked the ‘sex’ link above this was about 2 pages before they did the deed.

Fair ‘nuff, so final score and recommendation? If graphic, disturbing and explicit violent and sexual content is not your thing, then this isn’t the manga for you. If, however you like things a little more wild, a little more dangerous and yes, a little more perverse, then Murcielago may be just the book for you! Personally, despite being “triggered” a couple of times due to the violent content, I was enraptured by this world, this story and especially the protagonist Kuroko who is the perfect anti-hero. 91 out of 100.