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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book Sprites: Natsume, Shugo Chara Chan, Blue Exorcist

Some times, you have time to write a 1,000+ word review of a single book. Some times, you just don't. For those times, we have Book Sprites, compact book reviews for the discerning reader with no time to lose. No major spoilers lie here!

Shugo Chara Chan! volume 2 by Peach-Pit: If you liked the first volume of Shugo Chara Chan! - surprise, it's more of the same! Amu's guardians take a antic-filled trip through the various seasons and their respective holidays, and in their usual fashion, make a mess out of everything. It was cute and fluffy and ultimately forgettable. Thank goodness for the Kodansha Comics' habit of giving us end notes because this volume is swimming in Japanese cultural references, ones that entire jokes hinge upon understanding.

The crossover chapters with various manga titles like Arisa and Hell Girl were entertaining enough. Maybe we'll get lucky and get a crossover with Yuu Watase... Or is she even Kodansha? Hrm.

Blue Exorcist volume 5 by Kazue Kato: I can see where the anime deviated from the manga, because this is a piece of action sorely missing from the animated adaptation. We're seeing the repercussions of revealing Rin's devilish heritage, and the affect of it on his classmates are very palpable in this book. We also see more of the Rin/Yukio brotherly dynamic, as Yukio continues to fight to become a better exorcist and go against his own blood. The hunt for a demonic eye with terrible powers takes Rin and his group to Kyoto and into even more family drama, only with Bon and Shiwa.

Looking forward to how Bon will deal with his personal issues before the fight to regain the eye commences. Also, damn Yukio, you even make an oversized Hazmat suit look good. Ah, Cross Academy, how we love your attractive glasses-wearing instructors.

Natsume's Book of Friends volume 11 by Yuki Midorikawa: This week on Natsume Yuujinchou - YOUR HEART CRYING AND BURSTING INTO A THOUSAND PIECES. So, typical Midorikawa! In this volume, we see Natsume grow as a character as he spends time with his friends and returns to his childhood home, going back into a painful and melancholy past. It's wonderful to see Natsume open up to his friends more and more, although he still has things he must hold back because they hurt too much. Natsume's utter selflessness continues to break my heart. Take care of yourself, Natsume!

Also, it's too cute to see Nyanko-sensei insist that he's only hanging around Natume for the Book of Friends when it's clear that the great spirit has become protective of Natsume and genuinely cares for the boy. Oh, Nyankichi! I can't blame Taki for her initial reaction to seeing Nyanko-sensei; I would want to cuddle him, too!