Getting Some Strange – ‘Interspecies Reviewers’ Volume 1 Manga Review

A QandA Manga Review for ‘Interspecies Reviewers’ Volume 1

Interspecies Reviewers Manga Review

What’s the manga? Interspecies Reviewers, Volume 1.

Hmm, okay, and what’s it about? Guess.

Sorry, what? You want me to “guess” what this manga is about? I mean, this is you we’re talking about so something perverted no doubt… is it about reviewing the attractiveness of monster girls? Good guess, and pretty close to the correct answer. Specifically its a fantasy series about a group of guys who go around to the various red-light districts in this fantasy world and partake in the pleasures of the flesh and then post their ‘reviews’ of the unique girls they sleep with on a bulletin board. Basically, its trip advisor for a fantasy brothels with an emphasis on the particulars of the girls employed in said brothels.


That’s somehow more perverted than I could have imagined. You musn’t have much of an imagination then…

Wait, isn’t “reviewing” women kinda, pretty sexist? I mean that’s a surface level interpretation. All the women who get “reviewed” are prostitutes who are providing a service, are being paid for it and benefit from being “reviewed” not only by exposure but by getting a more tailored clientele as the result of said reviews. It’s not like this is scummy classroom ranking list of the ‘hottest girls in class’, our reviewers take their job seriously!

Gives a new spin on “tentacle play”.

Right. So what’s the appeal of this manga then? Is it just a smorgasbord of fan-service related to non-human looking women? You’d think so but visually this series is pretty tame, all things considered. I mean sure it’s got a smattering of nudity (mostly towards the end of the volume) but the majority of the ‘erotic’ content comes in the form of the dialogue and situations. Our protagonists aren’t afraid to talk about sex and the various physical differences between humanoids and the various fantasy inspired women (and sometimes men) they sleep with. Truth be told this series is a lot denser than I expected both in the sheer volume of content per manga volume and the elaborate detail and world-building it employs. I’ve read full-blown Isekai that don’t commit this much time to character building and that in-of-itself is impressive.

One eyed people do it differently, apparently.

I… I’ve got so many questions, I don’t know where to begin… Well try because I’m willing to answer any and all.

Okay. So what about the protagonists then? We have a sort of rotating roster of male protagonists who journey together to one particular establishment per chapter usually four at a time. Though the three prominent figures in the series are the human Stunk, the elf, Zel and the angel Crimvael. Stunk being the human acts as the audience analogue to terrific comedic effect, especially early on as we see him exit an elf brothel having slept with a cute and spritely elf girl, only for his friend Zel to admonish him for sleeping with “an old hag”. It’s at this point we learn the differences between priorities when it comes to desirability in a sexual partner. Stunk (and the audience) sees a cute elf girl as a cute girl and therefore desirable but Zel, a fellow elf sees that she’s actually 500 years old and therefore stinks of “rotten mana” and instead preferences a 50 year old human woman, remarking how “humans are the best because you’re never going to find one over a hundred [years old]”.

An example of the review format. Lots of these in the first volume, lots of reading.

So it’s a comedy then? Didn’t I make that clear? It’s absolutely a comedy first and an ecchi (or whatever) second. I’m not the first to make this comparison but it’s got more than a little bit in common with the anime ‘Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt’ in that its main characters are perverted and crude and obsessed with sex. The only difference is that ‘Interspecies Reviewers’ 100% commits to format and contains pages and pages of detailed descriptions that almost makes it feel like overkill.

I wanna meet these Limim.

Do I sense a negative incoming? Not a “negative” but rather an ‘unexpected’–in that I didn’t expect to be reading so much in a sex-comedy series. It’s all good stuff, it’s all interesting and entertaining but there’s a lot of it so just prepare yourself for it. That’s all i’m saying…

Anything else you wanted to add? For me the most interesting character is Crimvael the angel–not just because of the idea of a fallen angel frequenting fantasy brothels is inherently funny to me–but because this character actually possess both genders (something the other two protagonists don’t know about) and so his experience with sex is very different to the almost painfully heterosexual Stunk and Zel. There’s a great scene where the three of them go to a brothel that has a spell that turns its customers into the opposite gender and while Stunk and Zel decide to go for purey lesbian experiences, Crimvael picks a hyena woman who we later learn are a species who have penises (and ones larger than hyena men for that matter!)

Who knew “chub” could be a sound effect!

Right, so a bisexual trap character? I mean, sure, if you want to put it that way.

What? What’s wrong with that I said? Probably a lot, but what I mean is that this series highlights just how ridiculous the fact that gender and sexuality is something some people consider to be absolutely binary. It’s not, and the sooner people realise that gender and sexuality is fluid the sooner we can get rid of pointless labels that are used to persecute and minimise those who are perceived as “different”.

Some women have dicks, deal with it!

Well this review took a turn… Yeah, they tend to when I’m involved…

Anyway, final review and recommendation for ‘Interspecies Reviewers’ Volume 1? While almost entirely focused on sex, its presented in such a cartoon-y and “rounded” visual style that I think even people who aren’t traditionally “into” ecchi manga could enjoy this. Yes it’s still sexy but it’s also silly and funny but with an exhaustive attention to detail that draws the reader into the world. Certainly not for prudes, as there’s discussions of genitals and orgasms and sexual fluids aplenty but likewise it’s never truly gross–it’s just honest. But then maybe I’ve spent a bit too much time reading actual hentai doujins so this just seems quaint by comparison…

I want to learn more about this ragtag trio of snake person, fairy and sentient lobster who all enjoy orgies.

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Top 10 Manga I Want Adapted Into Anime (And The Odds Of That Happening)

A list of the Top 10 Manga I personally Want Adapted Into Anime (and the speculative odds of that happening for each)


For every manga that gets brought to life on our screens through an anime adaptation there’s thousands–nay–tens of thousands of manga that will probably never see their beautiful black and white pages brought to life through animation. For some manga, the reason is obvious for others not so much. In this post I’ll be counting down my personal picks for manga I desperately want adapted into anime and my speculative ‘odds’ on whether they’d get the anime treatment. This list is ranked, not by the percentage odds chance of anime happening but rather my personal preference for which manga I want the most to be adapted.

Warning: This post contains some sexual imagery/nudity.

  1. 12 Beast

It’s a pretty standard isekai harem kinda deal, except all the girls are monster girls. Oh and did I mention it’s from Oyakado the mangaka of ‘Monster Musume’? Naturally this would be the perfect fit for an anime, as it combines the shonen-action style tropes with that popular isekai flavour and adds in the fan-service shenanigans expected of the author. Do I think this manga will get an anime anytime soon? Probably not, it doesn’t seem like it’s a popular title in Japan–in fact it’s more likely we get a second season of ‘Monster Musume’ before anything from this series eventuates in the animated form!

  1. The Elder Sister Like One

Originally based on a hardcore shota doujinishi about an orphan who wishes for an older sister and ends up summoning a Lovecratfian elder-god, ‘The Elder Sister Like One’ and more specifically the main character was so popular that not only did the series spawn a safe for work and surprisingly wholesome manga adaptation but it’s also had so much merch produced (from figurines, tapestries, desk-art and keychains) that it’s absolutely a given that this series will become an anime at some point. If you’re a betting kind of person this above all other picks on this list has the greatest likelihood of becoming an anime sometime in the near future.

  1. How To Build A Dungeon: Book Of The Demon King

What about this manga series has anime potential? A dark, layered and compelling world filled with complex, problematic and charismatic characters and a unique approach to storytelling. What’s stopping it from being adapted to an anime already? Lots and lots of sex, like every chapter a plot-intrinsic sex scene happens. Personally I think this is an amazing series that’d give the likes of ‘Goblin Slayer’ and ‘The Rising Of The Shield Hero’ a run for its money (in terms of being controversial) but I think it’s unlikely we’ll see an adaptation of it any time soon–if at all.

  1. Ureshon!

Okay so I put this in the list mostly for the lulz but there’s no way this series would ever get an anime adaptation. If you don’t know what it’s about, well let me put it succinctly, it’s a romantic comedy about a guy who falls in love with a girl after seeing her piss in public. Much pissing ensues.

  1. Nurse Hitomi’s Monster Infirmary

Out of all the manga on this list this is the one series I’m most surprised hasn’t been adapted yet. It’s a slightly ecchi, but mostly wholesome slice of life comedy series dealing with a one-eyed high-school nurse who treats (both physically and mentally) the students of her high school who have all manner of ‘monstrous’ conditions and qualities. It’s a very body-positive, affirming series and is also pretty damn funny. We’re already 8 volumes into the manga and no news of an adaptation yet, but I’m still mildly confident we’ll see an anime version of this series someday!

  1. From Today On, I’m Mooching Off A Loli! (Kyou kara Ore wa Loli no Himo

Long story short; this is basically just wish-fulfilment escapism for otaku lolicons. I’ll probably review the manga in full at some point but all you need to know is: aspiring teenage mangaka catches the eye of millionaire fifth grader who works/is a large stakeholder in a publishing house and decides to become his patron. He moves in with her and all manner of inappropriate shenanigans ensue. The reason I’ve put the percentage chance of this (of all things) receiving an anime adaptation is twofold. Firstly the art is by a “famous” doujin artist (if you want to remain off FBI watch lists I advise you don’t Google his works) and secondly this kind of series has been popular in recent seasons (UzaMaid!, Wataten, etc) so it fits with the current trend.

  1. World’s End Harem

Story-wise, ‘World’s End Harem’ is a little bit dull–sure there are interesting moments but they are mere stepping stones midst the rampant torrent of fan-service and nudity that made this series a best seller. I think it’s safe to assume an anime version of this will come sooner or later–it’s just a matter of finding a studio that’s suited to the task…

  1. Murcielago

‘Murcielago’ is badass. It’s about a lesbian serial killer (by which I mean a serial killer who is a lesbian not a serial killer of lesbians) who is saved on death row by the Japanese government and begins to work as a contract killer dispatching of (arguably) worse villains than her who are posing a threat to society. This series is dark and gory but also very darkly comic–if you’ve ever seen the movie ‘Super’ it’s kind of like that–only with more ridiculous action and cunnilingus. Personally I think this’d be an amazing anime but the fact we’re 14(!) volumes into the manga and without word of any possible adaptation makes me think this has been put in the ‘too hard’ basket. I hope to be proven wrong though!

  1. Mononoke Sharing

I love this manga, and no surprise as it’s by by favourite mangaka; Coolkyoushinja who is responsible for ‘Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid’. And while there are similarities between the two series’ (busty monster girls, comedic slice of life focused) where I prefer ‘Mononoke Sharing’ is its sexually liberated attitude. I talked more about it in my review for volume 1 of the manga but basically it’s a bawdy and inappropriate sex comedy. And while everyone’s hyped for a second season of the aforementioned ‘Dragon Maid’ I’d happily take a season of this instead. Will it happen? If ‘Kobayashi’s’ 2nd season breaks sales records in Japan then it absolutely could, but otherwise its a bit of a long shot.

Honourable Mention: Darling In The FranXX

What’s this you say? ‘Darling In The FranXX’ is already an anime? Not Kentarou Yabuki’s version! Commissioned concurrently with the anime and still running now, the manga version is a mostly faithful retelling of the events of the anime with one substantial (for me) difference–hardcore nudity! Now I know what you’re thinking, is “hardcore nudity” alone enough of a reason to remake a series? Well, when it’s from artist Kentarou Yabuki it is! If you don’t know who he is by his name alone he is responsible for the ‘To Love-Ru’ series, a.k.a mankind’s greatest work of art and seeing Zero Two and Ichigo and the rest all lovingly drawn by his masterful hands is a delight. If not a full remake then I’d settle for a couple of OVA episodes with just the nude scenes. It’s unlikely to happen, but then again the manga sells extremely well so anything is possible.

  1. Yokai Girls

Apologies in advance but this will be a kind of underwhelming Number 1 pick. Basically this is just an excellent ecchi harem manga with action-y elements set in Akihabara with compelling characters and ridiculous villains. It’s basically like ‘Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs’ just with a lot more subversive elements and random irreverent comedy. It’d make an amazing anime but I’m doubtful it ever will due to one simple fact–the manga has ended (after 14 volumes) and it’s rare a manga gets an anime adaptation after its completed.

And that’s my 10 manga I want adapted into an anime (and the percentage chances of each happening) let me know what manga you want made into an anime! Thanks for reading!

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Elf Help Guide – ‘Plus-Sized Elf’ Volume One Manga Review

An Anime QandA Review for ‘Plus-Sized Elf’ Volume One.

What’s the manga? Plus-Sized Elf, Volume One.

And what’s it about… I mean I could probably guess from the title but tell me anyway? It’s about Naoe-kun an unassuming massage therapist for the ‘Smiley Boar’ health clinic in Tokyo, he works there not just as a massage therapist but also helping his clients live healthier lives. One day an unusual looking woman shows up, covered head-to-toe with sunglasses and a beanie–she’s clearly hiding something… turns out she’s an elf named Elfuda from another world and she has a ~big~ problem, she loves french fries so much so that she’s gained a bit of weight and is now too self-conscious to return home to her elven kingdom. So Naoe decides to help Elfuda with a diet and exercise plan so she can live a happier, healthier life.

Thicc elf problems.

…Okay that’s kind of unexpected, I thought this was going to be some perverted manga with fetishistic tendencies. First of all, no kink-shaming, secondly it still kinda is… like while this manga spends a decent chunk of its time explaining various exercise routines and healthy living habits it also indulges in it’s fair share of ~THICC~ fan service. I don’t know if I’d go as far as to call it ecchi, but it does have ecchi shots, also unexpected nipples. I don’t know why I didn’t expect it but they are at least in the context of a hot springs.

She just wants to wear her magical items without them getting shredded by the ~thiccness~.

Wow, first volume and there’s already a hot springs scene, huh? This manga wastes no time introducing us to its colourful cast of female characters, there’s so many I might have to list them just to make sure I don’t forget any:

Elfuda the titular ‘Plus-Sized Elf’.
Naoe’s curvaceous boss, Ino–and the only other human character so far (who’s also happens to be in her forties–you go manga having attractive older women!)
Kuroeda a dark elf who is experiencing a loss in magical powers due to her long hours standing in retail work–she also is having trouble “equipping” magical garments as ‘da booty too thicc’.
Mero a fishmonger and mermaid concerned with her flabby arms.
Kusa a mandragora (plant woman) with sore back and shoulders because of the flower that blooms on her head.
Olga an ogre who’s love for booze has given her a potbelly in stark contrast with the rest of her muscular frame.
Laika a husky lycanthrope who in canine form gets given lots of high-calorie treats from human which results in her human form being chubby too.

She was just a regular dog he was petting before she transformed!

I’ll admit that is a lot of characters to keep track of from the get-go! Yes, but they’re all rather distinct enough that it’s never really confusing. Also, I do wonder if this is going to be a bit more ~anthology~ with regards to its characters, rather than having them stick around for every volume. It might end up like Nurse Hitomi’s Monster Infirmary (which this sort of reminded me of) and just have a core cast of a few recurring characters while having a few new “cases” and therefore different characters each volume.

Racism in the elven world too. How sad.

Fair enough? So what’s the manga like? What’s its tone? Etc. It’s a light-hearted comedy, but its focus on healthy living and exercise almost gears it towards an adult audience, which makes sense since every new character in the manga are working age adults. It’s weird in a sense because so many manga (and by extension anime) focus on much younger casts of characters that having characters who ostensibly have to take responsibility for their actions and have to deal with realistic ailments (albeit in fantasy creatures) makes this a unique experience–at least for me. I guess I’m so used to stories set in high-schools that characters with lives more close to mine made for an interesting read!

Apparently this is the secret for Mermaids being able to have temporary legs on land.

Then would you say you’re the target audience, for a change? Well I don’t appreciate your wording, anyone can read anything regardless of age or target audience and still appreciate it, but yes as someone who doesn’t have the best diet, drinks too much alcohol and works a (sometimes) physically demanding retail job this felt very targeted to me. But that didn’t make me like it more or less.

The more you know!

I guess the big question is did you like it? I really did, I was dubious of the premise but I’d read anything monster girl or monster girl adjacent. But I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Funnily enough the character I liked the most was the dude Naoe, he genuinely wants to help these girls, even if it’s not someone who’s enlisted his help in a professional capacity and is just someone he happens to see in his day-to-day life. Also, despite the title it’s not all about Elfuda, which I’m kind of thankful for as she is a ~bit~ immature for my liking–though I can’t fault her love for all things potato, that’s a love we share.


She loves her fries!

Anything else you wanted to add? Calling Elfuda “Plus-Sized” seems a tad questionable. I mean I know Japanese perceptions on what is ‘larger’ are different to the west but she’s hardly that much larger than Shera from How Not To Summon A Demon Lord and I don’t recall anyone calling her too fat for an elf (well maybe Rem). But I think it’s more the Western publishers wanting a more ‘clickbait’ title for lack of a better term. In Japanese the translation of ‘Elf-san wa Yaserarenai’ is ‘Elf Can Not Lose Weight’ which ~feels~ more accurate to her struggle because she can’t stop eating french fries which results in continual diet failures–but that’s a minor quibble I suppose. Also I really like the fact that Naoe even tells Elfuda that she’s not actually problematically “overweight” and says that he prefers chubby girls, though I’m guessing that’s the author speaking through his protagonist more than anything. Still, body positivity for the win!

Olga the Ogre has some unwanted ‘love handles’.

Final recommendation and score for ‘Plus-Sized Elf’ Volume One? If a slice of life comedy with thicc monster girls and a heavy sprinkling of vaguely helpful exercise techniques sounds like an odd combination–it’s because it is, but it works surprisingly well. It’s a well meaning endeavour but never takes itself or its subject matter too serious so remains in the fun “shenanigans” side of the genre. I’ll gladly have seconds of this treat, 83 out of 100.


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Anime VS Manga – Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

Anime VS Manga – A comparison review between the anime and manga of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

This is a blog series comparing a manga and its relevant anime adaptation, discerning which version is ‘better’. These posts will be spoiler-free comparisons helping to inform people on which version is better—in my opinion of course. 

What’s the important information? Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is an ongoing manga series by Coolkyoushinja that has been running since May 2013 as of September 2018 it has spanned 7 volumes and 2 spin-off manga series’. In Winter 2017 it received an anime adaptation of 13 episodes + 1 OVA.

What’s it about? Kobayashi, a hard working office worker one day finds herself with an unlikely companion, Tohru a giant dragon who at will can transform herself into a human maid. With no other place to stay and indebted to Kobayashi, Tohru becomes her live-in maid—despite having little-to-no knowledge on how to be one. As time passes more and more dragons and mythical beings find themselves wrapped up in Kobayashi’s life, turning her once ordinary life into something decidedly more hectic!

Dragon maintenance.

Which has the better art? Never before has the term ‘art’ felt more subjective than when dealing with Coolkyoushinja’s manga artwork—he has a very particular style that’s immediately recognisable and polarising to say the least. Personally I find is art style to be singular and alluring, to the point where I would gladly buy anything he produces. The anime adaptation is not by any means a faithful recreation of his art style, it is however very pleasing to the eye and captures the spirit of the original at least in terms of character designs. At the end of the day, it’s the manga’s art I’ll always find myself drawn to (pun intended).

That low-key ‘yay~’ gives me life. 

Which has the better comedy? The comedy feels like it was the anime’s priority, which is probably an indicator as to why the show was more successful abroad than in Japan. That’s not to say the manga isn’t funny it just feels a lot more integrated into the narrative and characters. The anime wins this round but only for consistency rather than content.

There’s some things a manga just can’t do….

Which has the better characterisation? Ordinarily the manga would win hands down, as it has often in these comparisons as the written form allows more time for character development but there’s something more readily appealing about the character interactions in the anime that puts it ahead of the manga—some online commenters have said it’s because the anime is more direct with the characters intentions (read: more gay) that the anime comes out on top and that’s kind of a hard thing to dispute!

I think she loves Miss Kobayashi, and so do I!

Which has the better pacing? One of the biggest changes between the anime and the manga is the order in which the chapters are presented, a small change but one that speaks volume of each finished product. The anime positions scenes it thinks are more important toward the end to give the (currently) one season anime a sense of escalation and conclusion. Kobayashi’s confrontation with Tohru’s dragon Emperor father comes at the end of the season in the anime whereas it occurs roughly half way through the second volume of the manga (equivalently episode 7 or 8 if it were a 1:1 adaptation). Personally the manga way of doing things feels more natural as it seems like Tohru’s father would get involved sooner than later, plus on the whole the manga just seems to flow a lot better than the anime.

P.S. That’s not Tohru’s father on the right, that’s Elma.

Which is more perverted? I know what you’re thinking, “why is this even a question?” and “what’s this got to do with the quality of which one is better?” And you’re absolutely right this qualifies as a preference question as opposed to being one that has a winner or a loser at the end of the paragraph. As mentioned above the anime is slightly more ‘gay’ and while there’s nothing perverse about homosexuality (don’t @ me if you think otherwise) if your preference is for something on the ‘yuri’ end of the spectrum then the anime is the better choice, whereas if regular ol’ big-boobed fan service with nothing but hints of something ~else~ is more your thing than the manga delivers that with clear intent.

Standard summoning procedure.

What is specifically better about the anime? It’s kind of cheating to even mention things that make an adaption inherently better because of the medium but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the voice actress Maria Naganawa who voices fan favourite Kanna Kamui—she steals absolutely every scene she’s in and more-or-less makes the series worth watching for her alone. Also another thing that’s weird to say is that the show is as colourful as the manga seems, that is to say Coolkyoushinja’s artwork infers a lot of vibrancy and the colour palette of the anime matches it.

Kanna is to be protected, okay? OKAY?!

What is specifically better about the manga? Its repetitive of me to say but the artwork is such a huge selling point of the manga that it informs almost all my opinions regarding the series. Plus the fact that such an engaging cast of characters is ongoing in the manga whereas the anime is more or less finished means the manga has plenty more to offer while the anime feels unfortunately over.

There’s no denying the detail, also that focus blur, so cool!

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, Anime VS Manga—which version is better? I’ve never been closer to considering a draw then I was with this series. I came to the manga after watching the excellent anime which ranks among my Top 20 Anime of All Time and was nevertheless surprised to feel myself enraptured all over again with this series, just in a different way. My personal preferences leans in favour of the manga, it just pushes all my buttons—that said the anime is the populist choice for a reason as it is remarkably well made and more approachable. You know what, screw it, it’s a tie—watch the anime then read the manga, or vice versa, either way I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Too cute!

More Anime VS Manga Comparisons:

Shomin Sample
Watamote: No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular!
Monster Musume

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Kaiju Just Wanna Be High School Girls – ‘Ultra Kaiju Humanization Project’ Volume One Manga Review

A 20 Question Manga Review of ‘Ultra Kaiju Humanization Project’ Volume One

What’s the manga? Ultra Kaiju Humanization Project, Volume One.

Okay… and what’s it about? Are you familiar at all with the 1966-1967 Japanese live-action television program ‘Ultraman’?

…I don’t think so, no? Then do I have the manga for you!

I said I wasn’t familiar with the series? Why bring it up? What’s going on? Calm down. So I brought it up because this manga is a spin-off of the aforementioned 1960’s television program—I was sort of familiar with it, in that I’d heard of it and undoubtedly had seen images of the titular Ultraman. If you’re not at all familiar with the show, it’s not dissimilar to shows like Power Rangers or the old Godzilla films—what with heroes defeating giant monsters and the fights being performed by people in monster costumes stomping around miniature cities.

Funny how this alien Kaiju looks like a man in a cheaply made costume… *cough cough*

Right, I think I know what you mean… but why are you reviewing a spin-off from a series that old that you’ve never watched? Isn’t that kind of a tough entry bar? This manga’s greatest strength, especially considering its lineage is that no prior information about the Ultraman series is necessary to enjoy this spin-off!

That seems… unlikely… I’m serious. All you’d need to know is what I said above, everything else is dished out surreptitiously throughout the text. Basically, while reading this one volume I went from ‘complete noob’, to ‘relatively informed’ about the Ultraman universe and never did I feel like I was being hammered over the head by dense lore or paragraphs of backstory.

I wish I were a high school girl… wait what?

That’s quite the feat—if true. Why are you so sceptical?

I can see the pictures, it’s all cute girls—this is a cute girl doing cute things manga isn’t it? I can’t take your opinions seriously when you’ve under the influence of cute girls. Listen, I’ll gladly admit that I bought this because I liked the character designs—but genuinely this is kind of a unique series (at least for me) that has a lot of things that elevate it above the usual CGDCT fare.

I love their costumes!

Uh-huh, like what? Well first of all there’s the premise, which is that after Kaiju (the big battle monsters) are defeated by Ultraman they’re sent to the Kaiju graveyard and reincarnated as High School Girls! And so right away we’re dealing with these monstrous creatures suddenly taken the form of cute girls and not only that, all of the Kaiju (at least the one’s introduced so far) were male so there’s the added complication of them having changed gender too!

So does it deal with the emotional consequences of a person—or rather Monster’s identity suddenly changed? Well, ah… not to a great degree, to be honest most of the Kaiju make the adjustment to being high school girls’ pretty quickly, which in of itself is pretty amusing. Added to that they also have all the powers in-tact that they had as monsters and it makes for a pretty unique CGDCT series!

These cute girls can be scary too!

What I’m hearing is that it’s just a CGDCT series with some minor tweaks, not that it’s reinventing the wheel? Did I say it was “reinventing the wheel”? No, if you’re a fan of CGDCT this’ll probably be right up your alley, and if not—well unless you’re a ~massive~ Ultraman fan there’s probably not going to be anything for you.

Fair enough. So who are our protagonists? The series mostly follows Mefilas, a “Malicious Alien” class Kaiju with a 10,000 point IQ who used to be able to grow into a 60m high, 20,000 ton Kaiju but is now stuck as a petite high-schooler. The majority of her interactions come in the form of her fellow Kaiju turned school friends, such as Eleking an electric Kaiju, Red King a volcanic Kaiju, Metron a hallucination inducing Kaiju and Temperor a beam weapon Kaiju.

Every character gets one of these bio pages shortly after they’re introduced in the series, fun and informative! Also I love seeing what the character looked like in the TV original.

Right… and they’re all ~so~ cute! And it’s not just their character designs, right from the very first few pages Mefilas proves to have such an adorable personality—which I mean feels kinda strange to say because she’s actually a male Kaiju inside but it’s 2018 a male Kaiju can be a cute girl too!

You’re a weird one, but whatever. So what kind of things happen in the first volume? What makes it worth reading— CUTE GIRLS!

Such a cute blush!

—Aside from cute girls, you maniac… The thing that I found most endearing about this particular CGDCT premise is the characters who, despite embracing their newfound lives of eating sweet treats and drinking tea and studying are still villains intent on defeating Ultraman and taking over the world, and it’s that contrast between their cute appearances and villainous ways that’s so much fun!

I feel like you need to say something negative about the manga. This review has been far too positive if you ask me. I’d say they introduce too many characters in the first volume, I think 8 girls get a formal introduction (complete with a bio page that’s so useful and even shows what they looked like in the original live-action series—it’s so cool!)

Idols; secretly aliens sent to enslave humanity, it all makes sense now!

Hey! We were supposed to be talking the negatives! Oh right. So the problem with introducing so many characters should be obvious, it makes things a little confusing—but then again the character designs are so interesting and unique that I never ~really~ felt all that confused!

Wait. Did you just turn the only negative into a positive? Oops. Okay, I’ll try and take this seriously. As far as CGDCT manga go, it’s very cute and very fun but it isn’t as funny as it could have been—it’s mildly amusing but I think there were some missed opportunities for more ~obvious~ jokes, a lot of the humour comes from the situation rather than actual jokes. Also, while I know they were trying to make the manga is friendly to newcomers as possible I think I would have liked more references to the old series, at least in the form of more still imagery from the original live-action series, perhaps incorporated into flashbacks. If this ever becomes an anime that would be an absolute delight to see flashbacks of these live-action lumbering costumed monsters then back to the animated antics.

What minimal action there is is well drawn and easy to follow which is a bonus!

Well, I guess you ~tried~, still didn’t seem particularly negative. What can I say, it didn’t do much wrong.

Final thoughts and score for Ultra Kaiju Humanization Project Volume One? I didn’t expect to like this manga as much as I did, when I finished it I thought it was enjoyable enough that I needed to write a review straight away (which I did) but as I wrote the review I realised it was even better than my initial verdict. The fact that this manga is so approachable for newcomers to the franchise, seamlessly blends the obviously rich lore and does so in a light and entertaining way without being pandering is something to behold. Some people might look down upon the ‘CGDCT’ genre as “twee” or “simple” and while that might be true—it’s also reductive of a genre that has real value. This is clearly the beginning of a cute, fun and light-hearted franchise but one that carries the potential of being a lot more satisfying given the wealth of material that exists in its narrative universe. Final score: 85 out of 100.

Also the protagonist is attracted to the other Kaiju (in their human high-school girl forms of course), does that make this a yuri?

Other Manga Reviews:

Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War – Volume 1 Review
Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs – Volume 1 Review
Nameless Asterism – Volume 1 Review
Though You May Burn To Ash – Volume 1 Review
World’s End Harem – Volume 1 Review
How To Build A Dungeon: Book Of The Demon King – Volume 1 Review
The Elder Sister Like One – Volume 1 Review
Mononoke Sharing – Volume 1 Review
Yokai Girls – Volume 1 Review
Murcielago – Volume 1 Review
Nurse Hitomi’s Monster Infirmary – Volume 1 Review

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Anime VS Manga – Monster Musume

Anime VS Manga – A comparison review between the anime and manga of Monster Musume

This is a blog series comparing a manga and its relevant anime adaptation, discerning which version is ‘better’. These posts will be spoiler-free comparisons helping to inform people on which version is better—in my opinion of course. Also, this post contains NSFW imagery.

What’s the important information? Monster Musume is an ongoing manga series that has been running since March 2012 and as of August 2018 is currently in its 14th volume. In Summer 2015 it received an anime adaptation of 12 episodes + 2 OVAs.

What’s it about? The series is a harem/comedy about Kimihito Kurusu, a man whose life is thrown into utter disarray as he unwittingly becomes involved in the “Interspecies Cultural Exchange” program which basically means a bunch of sexy monster girls start living with him and he has to deal with all their various quirks and proclivities—while offering a safe and happy home life for them all. I reviewed the anime series in full here if you want a more detailed review.


Which has the better art? Author Okayado’s artwork is something of a contentious point with me. While he sure as heck knows how to draw the female body (and all the monstrous permutations of) there’s always been something lacking about the way he draws action, added to that the fact that Lerche is responsible for the anime it’s no wonder that the adaptation looks as good as it does. While the girls always look good, the same can’t often be said of the surrounds. The anime wins here, if only because it’s more wholly consistent between the characters and the world they inhabit.


Which has the better comedy? This is a tough one to pick because the comedy always seems secondary to the ‘harem shenanigans’—which are plentiful. Since this is such a faithful adaptation, I’m going to call this one a draw, as neither one strikes me as funnier than the other.


Which has the better characterisation? Time makes fools of us all, but sometimes the best characterisation comes from biding one’s time—to see how a person would react against different stimuli in the grand scheme of things. With this in mind there’s far more room for characterisation and development against an unending backdrops of manga’s past, present and future than there is in a limited run of 12 episodes. The manga wins this battle.


Which has the better pacing? There’s something about a ‘one episode equals one new character in the harem’ approach to constructing a series that seems so inherently appealing on a fundamental level than anything the manga could have concocted. Indeed, giving each new character a definitive beginning in the form of an introductory episode serves to have you focus—and thusly connect with them on a more intimate level than simply dividing a chapter or two across however many books would do. The anime wins, but only out of the virtue of episodic hindsight.


Which has the better fan service? Oh gosh, don’t make me choose! One of the fundamental cornerstones this series was built upon was fan service, monster girl fan service—as if that really makes a difference. While the manga is impeccably drawn with specific attention to detail, there’s no denying how far—above and beyond the call of duty—did the anime animators go to make such a wholly satisfying and far more motion-filled adaptation of the bountiful ‘service that the manga first represented—the anime wins but only because I live to see ‘dat bounce.


What specifically is better about the anime? With the exception of a few scenes the anime feels more alive than the manga ever did and that’s hard for me to say because I love the manga this is based on but ultimately the adaptive process has done all the favours to this series. And, while it may seem unfair to mention there’s no denying the seductive quality of having what was once mere words on a page be voice acted in such flawless fashion.


What specifically is better about the manga? Monster Musume can feel busy at times, what with all the monster girls living under the one roof—the manga affords the reader the time to take in everything that’s happening on a given page and thus never feels as frantic as the series does which is both a good and bad thing depending on your inclinations. Also, while the anime has the benefit of seductive voice acting the manga too benefits from allowing your imagination to run wild—indeed the eroticism feels greater in the manga, undoubtedly elevated by the attention to detail in the mangaka’s artwork.


Monster Musume, Anime VS Manga—which version is better? It should be overwhelmingly obvious that the anime is the superior version—at least as far as the adapted volumes are concerned, the adaptation just does everything right and stays faithful to the source material while adding all the necessary flair to make it more kinetic on-screen. Don’t think this means that the manga isn’t worth your time however as without the manga this anime would be nothing and the manga has such worth on its own. If you’ve never watched or read the series the anime is my version of choice, however it’s worth noting that the sheer wealth of material that comes in the volumes not yet adapted makes the manga especially worthwhile for those wanting more out of this series.


More Anime VS Manga Comparisons:

Shomin Sample
Watamote: No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular!

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Anime VS Manga – Watamote: No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular!

Anime VS Manga – A comparison review between the anime and manga of No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular! a.ka. Watamote

This is a blog series comparing a manga and its relevant anime adaptation, discerning which version is ‘better’. These posts will be spoiler-free comparisons helping to inform people on which version is better—in my opinion of course.

What’s the important information? No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular! or ‘Watamote’ for short is an ongoing manga series that has been running since August 2011 and as of August 2018 has 13 published volumes. A 12 episode anime series adapting the first four volumes aired during the Summer 2013 anime season.

Achievement unlocked!

What’s it about? Tomoko Kuroki is a high-school girl who’s pretty much as socially awkward as they come, this slice of life cringe comedy series explores her high-school experience as she finds herself increasingly isolated due to her social anxieties and finding out that life isn’t at all like it is in the otome games she’s so fond of. Her awkward interactions with other students, teachers, family and the general public are always a source of cringe-inducing comedy throughout the series.

Well I think so but I’ve got odd taste so…

Which has the better art? The manga’s artwork is simplistic but conveys the various shades of embarrassment on Tomoko’s face perfectly, which is a large part of the success of this type of story. The anime captures this same visual style but feels like it has a greater attention to detail—in this respect the anime does it better, but it’s a close call.

A convenience store clerk, but sure, baby steps and all that.

Which has the better comedy? One of the most important things in comedy is timing, something that is often difficult to come across accurately with text and images alone—sometimes a joke is only as good as the person delivering it or the pacing provided with what’s not said being just as important as what’s said. And for a series that thrives off awkward pauses and odd line-deliveries the anime excels where the manga can only do so much. Don’t get me wrong the manga is still very funny but the comedy in the anime is pretty much perfect.

You ain’t foolin’ anyone!


Which has the better characterisation? While oftentimes the manga version is far and away the better at characterisation as there’s less of a need to keep up the pacing and more time to allow character moments to breath the very nature of this series means nearly everything our protagonist does is character-building. However the manga just edges out the anime in this instance simply due to the fact that there’s more surrounding content.

Life goals.

Which has the better pacing? The structure of the manga is more traditional, with even some 4-panel segments interspersed between the larger chapters. Whereas the anime almost feels like a Western sitcom in similar vein to shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm. However I think the pacing works ~slightly~ better and feels more naturalistic in the manga—only just though.

Thank goodness I didn’t have the internet on my phone when I was at school…

Which has the better ‘cringe’-factor? If we’re going strictly off what both original and adaptations provides and we’re judging on it accordingly not only do we have to talk about the ‘comedy’ we have to talk about the ‘cringe’. Some people love it, some people hate it—personally I think it can go either-way depending on the character and Tomoko delivers just the right amount of cringe to make it enjoyably tense and comedically uncomfortable but never distasteful or annoying. The anime strikes the balance a lot better simply due to the more deliberate and apparent comedic timing, making the ‘cringe-factor’ superior in the anime.

*otome moaning sounds*

What specifically is better about the anime? Aside from the obvious and already mentioned positives of anime adaptations in general the anime feels simultaneously more and less hopeless. While the anime is arguably more comedic and therefore lighter in tone just by the addition of musical cues it also relies more heavily on the aforementioned sitcom structure which makes it feel like forward character progression ~sometimes~ gets stymied in favour of having “everything back the way it was at the start of the episode” and that makes for a more rounded and enjoyable surface-level experience.

What did you just call me?!

What specifically is better about the manga? The aforementioned “surface level enjoyment” of the anime makes it a more shallow experience compared to the manga. Whether it’s true or not it at least feels like the manga is a lot more intimate with the character. For example, Tomoko’s thoughts as she interacts with people are present alongside the dialogue rather than being something that’s cut to for comedic effect. This is simply a virtue of manga since text bubbles for both speech and thought are present at the same time but where it might feel overloaded or even confusing in an anime (especially if it’s the sub) in the manga it feels almost like a diary. Being able to read this deeply troubled and sometimes deeply sad individuals more private thoughts as she tries to navigate social encounters makes for a richer and more rewarding experience. Also, while the anime still has plenty of references to otaku culture, the sheer density, complexity and specificity of the references are so much more satisfying (and explained at the back of each volume) in the manga that there’s an added layer of joy to almost every scene.

These are the just the ‘translator notes’ from just the first 47 pages of Volume 1 (which has 180 pages)! References to Gantz and Parasyte alongside AKB48 and Hatoful Boyfriend! So much!

No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular! Anime VS Manga—which version is better? From a purely entertainment level (assuming you’re a fan of cringe comedy) the anime nails that genre from the get-go and doesn’t let up for the whole season. But that said the manga feels like a more rounded experience, even if it’s lacking in some respects such as aesthetics and comedic pacing. I personally prefer the more consistent and prominent comedic edge of the anime and so will ultimately recommend that but only by the slightest of margins—the manga definitely has a lot of unique selling factors and is well worth reading alongside or after watching the series in order to get a more complete experience.

More Anime VS Manga Comparisons:

Shomin Sample

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Anime VS Manga – Shomin Sample

Anime VS Manga – A comparison review between the anime and manga of Shomin Sample

This is a new series for this blog comparing a manga and its relevant anime adaptation, discerning which version is ‘better’. These posts will be spoiler-free comparisons helping to inform people on which version is better—in my opinion of course. Also, this post contains some NSFW imagery.

What’s the important information? Shomin Sample (full title: Shomin Sample: I Was Abducted by an Elite All-Girls School as a Sample Commoner) is a series originally based of a Light Novel series that ran 11 volumes from November 2011 to July 2016 however we’re strictly talking about the adaptation from manga to anime here. The manga is ongoing, starting in July 2012 and as of August 2018 has 14 volumes. The anime adaptation aired in the Fall 2015 anime season and ran 12 episodes.

What’s it about? Shomin Sample is a harem/romantic-comedy series about a high-school boy Kimito Kagurakaza who is abducted by the faculty of an elite and secretive private girl’s boarding school in order to be their ‘sample commoner’. This school is filled privileged girls who’ve spent their life isolated from the outside world in order to preserve their “innocence”, however this isolation often leads the girls to become inundated and over-stimulated by the ‘real world’ once they graduate. Kimito’s influence is intended to prepare the girls for the ‘real world’ as a “common man” but seen of no actual threat to the girls as the faculty is under the false impression that he has a ‘muscle man fetish’—hence why he was chosen.

Not sure if that qualifies as “unique” but whatever.

Which has the better art? The character designs of the anime feels a bit looser than the manga, obviously the vibrant colours help to offset any deficit in the line-work but overall I feel the manga has the edge strictly from a detail perspective however it’s very close. My vote however will go to the manga in this instance.

He’s a thigh man. P.S. the ‘translator’ notes in this manga are just great.

Which has the better comedy? Some of the best jokes in this series almost completely miss their mark in the manga, whether it’s because of difficulties translating a very specific reference or running gags going under the radar the anime has the advantage as the blatant ‘jokes’ have more attention pulled to them in the anime. Something like “gets” a very Japanese reference that feels almost lost in the manga is brought to the forefront in the anime and becomes one of the funniest and most quotable parts of the later half of the season. The anime wins this category.

Has me laughing every time.

Which has the better characterisation? With regard to characters neither show nor manga feels short-changed, with the exception of some minor adaptation changes the characters more or less feel the same in the anime as they did in the manga. I’m calling this one a draw.

Definite ‘Food Wars’ vibes here.

Which has the better pacing? In any adaptation pacing can significantly change the overall ~feeling~ of a piece of work. While the manga has a certain charm about it’s deliberately slow pacing the anime accelerates what could be seen as ‘plodding’ and transforms it into ‘energetic’. The manga is never boring but often longwinded whereas the anime is occasionally repetitive but never dull. The anime edges out the manga in this instance.

For some reason this scene was gorgeously animated, more so than the rest of the series.

Which has the better fan service? If fan service is what you’re here for—and let’s face it, it’s a harem series so it’s going to be a part of many people’s reasons for reading/watching then you’re best to stick with the manga. While it’s nice to see these girls in action, there is zero full-frontal nudity in the anime with the majority of the fan service relying on underwear shots and suggestive outlines. The manga on the other hand contains frequent (in context) nipple sightings as well as detailed artwork, the manga is therefore superior in this category.

I mean he’s the only boy at the school it was bound to happen eventually! (It happens in Vol. 1)

What specifically is better about the anime? In a word, performances, as much as the manga tries it’s best to give unique personalities to all the female characters in Kimito’s new world—there’s nothing quite like perfectly picked voice actors to bridge the gap from paper to screen. Among the best are main girl Aika—whose vulnerable performance is among the best tsundere’s I’ve seen in an anime and Hakua, whose cute, minimalist line deliveries are almost the rival to Kanna from Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid. These two performances alone are worthy of watching the series through.


What specifically is better about the manga? The manga isn’t beholden to run-time or budgetary restraints and thus paints a world far grander and can spend more time with things that might be considered superfluous in an adaptation. Likewise the attention to detail is increased in the manga as are the references to other manga, which for an otaku such as myself is a real plus. The protagonist is a fan of Yuriyuri and seeing pages dedicated to talking about that series in this one was a real joyous experience whereas in the anime its relegated to a brief passing mention.

It goes on for a few more pages, I was loving every minute of it.

Shomin Sample, Anime vs Manga—which is better? The anime captures the spirit of this manga very well which is something not to be ignored it is absolutely a worthwhile adaptation of the core things that made the manga so enjoyable. However it is by no means a perfect adaptation, several clever jokes and references are dumbed down for the anime to make for more broadly “enjoyable” sequences (changing the interesting all-female Street Fighter arcade game into a simple DDR game is a particularly goading example). Also, while it’s an entirely subjective alteration—the lack of any real nudity in the anime robs the series of a certain ~salacious~ quality that the manga had throughout. You can watch the anime and not miss too much of importance and that’s definitely a selling feature in favour of the adaptation but personally I prefer the manga as it feels just a bit more authentic to the general aesthetic of the series.

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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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