Saturday, September 26, 2020

REVIEW: The Way of the Househusband (manga, vol. 3) by Kousuke Oono, translated by Amanda Haley

The Way of the Househusband is a comedy series licensed by Viz. I bought this volume brand new.


In this volume, Tatsu attempts to deal with a cockroach, volunteers to be Santa, tries to help his wife relax after a long day at work, takes on a part-time job, bakes bread, and more. He meets a few other people from his yakuza past, including a yakuza boss's widow who's trying to live a normal life but having trouble adjusting her behavior and mindset (so, basically the female version of Tatsu).

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

REVIEW: The Way of the Househusband (manga, vol. 2) by Kousuke Oono, translated by Sheldon Drzka

The Way of the Househusband is a comedy series licensed by Viz. I bought this volume brand new.

I mention most of the basic chapter topics in this review, which might count as spoilers in a series like this.


Once again, former yakuza boss Tatsu (aka Tacchan) pursues the way of the househusband. This time around, he attempts to get a little more fit via yoga and volleyball, tries to sell some stuff at a flea market, helps Masa with his laundry, goes car shopping, and spends some time with his in-laws.

REVIEW: The Way of the Househusband (manga, vol. 1) by Kousuke Oono, translated by Sheldon Drzka

The Way of the Househusband is a comedy series. It's licensed by Viz. I bought my copy brand new.


Tacchan, a former yakuza boss who was known as the "Immortal Dragon," is now a househusband who supports his wife in her career as a designer. He takes being a househusband just as seriously as he took being a yakuza boss, but he hasn't been able to change his demeanor to fit his new life. His tough guy behavior never falters, whether he's taking a cooking class, berating a Roomba for not doing its job properly, or going grocery shopping.

I've wanted to give this series a try for a while, but the reviews I looked at were mixed enough to give me pause. Then Right Stuf had a sale (I'm depressingly weak towards sales), and I decided to grab a bundle that included the first three volumes of this series. 

The danger of all gag manga is that the author won't be able to figure out how to keep the gag fresh, and that may turn out to be a problem here. I suppose I'll figure out whether that's the case soon enough. This first volume was okay, but it did have a few problems.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Long day, no package (*updated!)

A few months ago, Right Stuf had some particularly good sales, and I decided to splurge, even though I knew it might take a while to get everything. A lot of their items have been listed as out of stock for weeks due to the current issues with the US postal service.

I'd been waiting about three months for my super-cheap Kaguya-sama: Love Is War bundle (the first four volumes) to ship, and I was finally notified that they were on their way. They were originally supposed to arrive on Wednesday, but for some reason mail service in my area has been working fine, so the delivery date moved up to Monday, today. It was a busy day at work, so I didn't have time to check my texts, and I didn't see until the end of the day that the package had been delivered to my porch at a little before 2 PM. It always makes me nervous when packages are delivered to my porch instead of the apartment postal lockers, but I've never actually had a package disappear before. Until today.

I got home and no package. No package on any of my neighbors' porches either - I checked, just in case it had been delivered to the wrong apartment. So either it was delivered to entirely the wrong building, or someone stole it. I'd hoped that I'd open my door sometime this evening to find that someone had dropped off the package that was mistakenly put on their porch, but so far no such luck.

I don't think there's anything that can be done about it, and the thought of re-ordering something I've already paid for is upsetting, so I might end up never reading this series, or doing it via ILL one very slow volume at a time sometime in the far future. Tomorrow I'll call up the post office and ask why they haven't been using the postal lockers as much lately, and I guess when future packages arrive I'll be watching my texts like a hawk and hoping that my schedule has room for 20 minutes or so to dash home and back. I guess I should consider myself lucky that this package didn't contain anything really expensive or now out of print.

Update: On Friday I came home to find that the package had been delivered to a postal locker, with no note of explanation. I'm thinking it was either lost at the post office after mistakenly being scanned as delivered, or delivered to the wrong place and the person was kind enough to give it back to the post office to be correctly delivered. Either way, I now I have Kaguya-sama volumes. Yay!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

REVIEW: Bungo Stray Dogs, Season One (anime TV series)

Bungo Stray Dogs
is a supernatural action series. It's licensed by Funimation.


Atsushi is an orphan who has lived his entire life as an outcast for reasons he has only recently come to understand. As the newest member of the Armed Detective Agency, he's awed by the supernatural abilities many of his coworkers are able to use, and worried that he won't be able to measure up. Not to mention, one of the area's most dangerous groups, the Port Mafia, will stop at nothing in order to capture him. What he and his new coworkers don't realize is that there's someone else beyond the Port Mafia who's interested in capturing him as well.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

REVIEW: Mononoke (anime TV series)

Mononoke is a supernatural mystery/horror series. I bought my copy brand new. For some reason Amazon (US) only sells the streaming version, although DVD copies are available in the Amazon Marketplace. Either this is out-of-print or there's some kind of agreement that's keeping it off Amazon. At any rate, Right Stuf has it for cheap, so I recommend getting it there (and unfortunately you'll need to resign yourself to waiting, due to the current presidential administration's efforts to kill the USPS).


Mononoke is composed of five self-contained stories. In "Zashiki Warashi," a pregnant woman is trying to escape an assassin and convinces an innkeeper to allow her to stay for the night. "Sea Bishop (Sea Bonze)" follows a group of people traveling on a merchant ship, which somehow ends up in the Dragon's Triangle, a part of the sea that's full of ayakashi (supernatural monsters). "The Faceless Monster" focuses on a woman scheduled to be put to death for killing her husband and his entire family. In "Nue - The Japanese Chimera," several suitors vie for the hand of Princess Ruri by participating in an incense identification game. And finally, in "The Goblin Cat" several seemingly unrelated people find themselves trapped in a subway car together, sometime after the supposed suicide of a particular female journalist. The one thing tying all of these stories together is the mysterious Medicine Seller, who finds and vanquishes (or purifies?) mononoke, vengeful spirits, using a special sword he can only draw once he has discovered the mononoke's Form, Truth, and Reason.

Monday, September 7, 2020

REVIEW: Bamboo Blade, Part 2 (anime TV series)

Bamboo Blade is a combination sports, comedy, and slice-of-life series. I own the series in two parts and opted to review them separately. My review of Part 1 is available here.

This review contains spoilers.


This is the second half of the season, episodes 14 to 26. Now that the team has five female members, they can finally properly compete. They take part in a training camp, and then a tournament in which Tamaki must face off against a cheating opponent, and Miya-miya finds her willpower tested when a girl from another school expresses an interest in winning Dan-kun as her boyfriend via a kendo match. As the series comes to a close, several team members struggle to stay motivated and committed to kendo, and the team's very existence is put into jeopardy.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

REVIEW: Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!, Vol. 1 (book) by FUNA, illustrated by Itsuki Akata, translated by Diana Taylor

Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! is yet another isekai fantasy series. This one is licensed by Seven Seas Entertainment. I bought my copy brand new.


In Japan, Kurihara Misato was a prodigy, good at everything she tried...except making friends. Although she was never bullied, she could never seem to get close to anyone. Then, when she was 18, she was killed saving a child from being hit by a car. After her death, she appeared before a young man who called himself "God," who wished to thank her for saving the child by having her reborn in a new world with whatever abilities she desired. Misato's wish surprises him: she wants her abilities to be average. 

And so she is reborn as Adele von Ascham, daughter of Viscount Ascham, her station in life exactly halfway between the lowest and highest possible. It seems that God misunderstood her request to be "average." His definition of "average" with respect to her magical and physical abilities turns out to be similarly skewed. This puts Adele in a bit of a bind. How is she supposed to come across as average if she's actually ridiculously powerful? This particular volume covers her new life from age 10 to 12, beginning at Eckland Academy, a school for lesser nobles and talented commoners, and continuing on to her work as a newbie hunter (basically, an adventurer).

Saturday, September 5, 2020

REVIEW: The Haunted Monastery: A Judge Dee Mystery (book) by Robert van Gulik

From what I can tell, The Haunted Monastery was Robert van Gulik's sixth Judge Dee historical mystery, although there was technically one Judge Dee novel before all of those, van Gulik's translation of Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee.

This review contains slight spoilers.


Judge Dee is traveling with his three wives when the weather takes a sudden turn for the worse, forcing him to seek shelter at a Taoist monastery. When a gust of wind blows open the window in his room, Dee witnesses a possible crime: a man in a helmet attacking a naked one-armed woman. However, when he asks to see the part of the monastery where the crime occurred, not only is there no trace of the man and woman, there's also no window. The only window it could have been was bricked up long ago.

The weather has given Judge Dee the beginnings of a terrible cold, so he wonders whether the scene he saw was an hallucination, or possibly even ghosts. However, as he meets the Abbot and the other visitors at the monastery, he strongly suspects that his vision might be connected to the three relatively recent deaths that occurred at this same monastery, all involving young women.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

REVIEW: In Another World With My Smartphone, Vol. 1 (book) by Patora Fuyuhara, illustrations by Eiji Usatsuka, translated by Andrew Hodgson

In Another World With My Smartphone is yet another isekai series (similar to portal fantasy). It's licensed by J-Novel Club.


When God apologizes to Mochizuki Touya for accidentally killing him with a lightning bolt, Touya takes it very well. After all, he doesn't remember dying, and stuff happens. Still, God wants to make it up to him as much as possible, so he offers to give him a new life in a different world. He even agrees to grant Touya a favor, setting things up so that he can continue to use his smartphone in that new world. It will be powered by the magical abilities God has granted him. In addition to all of that, God also gives all of Touya's basic abilities a boost (strength, memory, etc.).

So begins Touya's life in a new world. He meets twin sisters who become his traveling and adventuring companions, as well as a young woman from a country very much like Japan, a duke and his daughter, and a princess, and gradually learns what sorts of things his magic and magically-powered smartphone can do.