I often see people asking about manga on social media. Anything from “Is this manga okay for this age group?” to “What do you recommend?” A lot of the time, especially with recommendations, I see a lot of older titles. And while we all love older titles, I thought it might be fun to highlight some newer manga and give my overall thoughts–both good and bad. Basically, my guidelines for manga I look at is it has to be released in the US in the last year (I said 2017 in general), have at least 3 volumes, and be rated Teen + or lower.
So, here are some of the ones I looked at. (If you missed my earlier rounds of reviews, catch them here.)
Mermaid Boys by Yomi Sarachi
The mermaid prince is super-popular with all the girls lining up to be his bride. But the one he falls in love with…has legs!
Rating: Teen Plus
Volumes Read: 3
My Thoughts: When I first heard about this one I was excited. How fun would a gender-swapping little mermaid be? I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was definitely not what I got. It starts okay with a mermaid prince who loves all things on land and falls head over heels for a girl. He makes a deal with the sea witch; his exchange is not his voice but his good looks. Once on land, he instantly looks like a young boy instead of a good looking man. After that, it quickly goes downhill.
The fanservice and sexual assault in the first two volumes were enough to make me scream. Beyond the typical big boobs that are barely covered, you have things like him lifting up her skirt to see where panties actually go. Also, anytime the mermaids-who-are-humans (yes there is more than one) touch seawater they turn back into a mermaid; once they dry off they go back into a human. This transformation also means they lose their clothing, which leads to a lot of suggestive naked scenes.
The assault/harassment was a little more troubling in my book. There is, of course, the I love you-you have to love me type of thing, but there is also a scene where Nami tells him all his attention/saying he loves her makes her uncomfortable. His response? You’re so cute when you’re uncomfortable.
By volume three, things do tend to calm down a bit more. While there was still a lot of talk about love, it was more aimed at realizing it was unrequited and how to deal with that. The naked mermaid fanservice didn’t ease up much though. It’s hard to tell if the tameness will continue on to volume 4.
As a side note, I was also really tired of all these mermaids being turned into humans. The count by the end of volume 3 was already up to 5; with two of them being the prince’s friends. Basically, it’s been if anyone suspects the sea witch evil plan he turns them into humans and sends them away. I’m hoping the current one will be the last because that storyline is already boring and played out. If you think your teens will really be into this one, it’s not horrible, but I don’t know that your shelves would be lacking if you skipped it.
Sacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts by Yu Tomofuji
A young girl has resigned herself to being the next sacrificial meal for the Beast King…but the king is no mere monster! Love is more than skin-deep in this gorgeous fantasy manga.
Volumes Read: 3
My Thoughts: This one is another fairytale reimagining, but this time Beauty and the Beast. Sariphi, or Sari for sure, has known her whole life she’s to be a sacrifice to the King of Beasts. When the night finally comes she fully accepts her fate only to find that the King has no intention of killing her and in a turn of events decides she’s to be his future Queen.
Most of the story really focuses on Sari and her trying to find a place in the Beast world. She mainly thought of as a vile human, but she has a certain charm that wins over some. I love her journey of understanding her worth and realizing she can be more than just a sacrifice. She has a lot of growing to do, especially when it comes to friends and other relations. While a bit naive, she’s super sweet and it’s hard not to root for her at every turn. There is a nice balance of humor, especially with characters such as Cy and Clops. I also enjoyed the bonus end pages where she turns Sari into a beast and the others into human and retells a few pages of the story.
This does have the younger girl-older man romance thing, but it’s easy to forget since it’s fantasy and he’s mainly a Beast. (There is a twist to that, but I won’t spoil everything!) The physical aspect is pretty low. There is a couple of compromising positions, but the King and Sari only kiss maybe one. However, there is a lot of suggestive talk in the way of concubines and making the King happy. I think most teens would be able to handle it, but still worth mentioning. Several of my teens have already proclaimed their love for this series and I do think it’s a worthy purchase.
Delicious in a Dungeon by Ryoko Kui
When young adventurer Laios and his company are attacked and soundly thrashed by a dragon deep in a dungeon, the party loses all its money and provisions…and a member! They’re eager to go back and save her, but there is just one problem: If they set out with no food or coin to speak of, they’re sure to starve on the way! But Laios comes up with a brilliant idea: “Let’s eat the monsters!” Slimes, basilisks, and even dragons…none are safe from the appetites of these dungeon-crawling gourmands!
Volumes Read: 3
My Thoughts: Oh goodness, this is such a strange series, yet oddly really enjoyable? The beginning is a little “What am I reading?” and the character development is a bit slow, however, by volume 3 I was totally hooked. Basically, the premises is about adventures who are going to save their friend who was eaten by a dragon. Since this is such a pressing issue they don’t have time to go back to town/earn money to buy food. So, instead, they decide to kill monsters and eat them. For Laios, this is a dream come true and he literally has a book on the subject he’s been studying. The other two team members? Not so sold, but then they meet someone who has been living in the dungeons for years and joins their team and shows them how delicious the different monster are. And every time they cook, there’s a recipe with stats included as well. Yes, it’s utterly weird, but it really does have a certain charm and a lot of heart. It may be one you need to handsell (maybe?), but I think the teens will love it!
Here are some manga currently on my pile for future reviews (either TBR or waiting for additional volumes):
- Flying Witch
- Teasing Master Takagi-san
- Chio’s School Road
- Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle
Got a series you’d like me to check out? Leave the name in the comments and I’ll add it to my list!