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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

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The Dark Victorian: Risen Volume One
Elizabeth Watasin
Progress: 35/97 pages
Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel
Dylan Marron, Jeffrey Cranor, Cecil Baldwin, Retta Andresen, Joseph Fink, Harper Audio, Dan Bittner, Therese Plummer
Progress: 154/722 minutes
Death Note: Another Note
NisiOisiN
Progress: 54/176 pages
Jane Jensen: Gabriel Knight, Adventure Games, Hidden Objects (Influential Video Game Designers)
Jennifer deWinter, Carly A. Kocurek, Anastasia Salter
The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't
Robert I. Sutton
Progress: 140/210 pages
The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality
Julie Sondra Decker
The Mystic Marriage
Heather Rose Jones
Progress: 302/426 pages
Ichi-F: A Worker's Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant
Kazuto Tatsuta
Progress: 448/553 pages
The Naked Sun
Isaac Asimov
Progress: 20/187 pages
Fluency
Jennifer Foehner Wells
Progress: 58/367 pages
Wild Ones, Vol. 1 - Kiyo Fujiwara I enjoyed this first volume, but there are already signs that the series probably won't be able to sustain itself very well for the 10 volumes I think it lasts. If Sachie weren't so blind, and if Rakuto weren't so averse to speaking about his true feelings, this series could have easily ended in one or two volumes. From what I could tell, Sachie's grandfather probably wouldn't mind if Sachie and Rakuto started dating – in fact, my current theory is that Sachie's grandfather is hoping they'll start dating. The other yakuza members would throw a fit, but they'd eventually be okay with it, too, as long as Sachie made it clear that Rakuto made her happy. There doesn't seem to be any obstacles keeping Rakuto and Sachie apart that they don't create themselves.Even so, I found this volume appealing. There's not much here that lovers of shoujo romance haven't seen a million times before, except possibly the yakuza stuff that acts as background for everything, but then again the “criminals with hearts of gold” thing has been done before, too. “More of the same” isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as you enjoy it and don't expect too much. This first volume hit some of the same notes I tend to enjoy in a lot of other shoujo manga.There are the usual storylines in which the characters demonstrate that they have feelings for each other, even though they may not always be completely aware of those feelings. The bit with the girl who tried to steal Rakuto away, after essentially giving a guy friend of hers permission to do whatever he wanted to Sachie, is not unusual in shoujo manga – something similar popped up in [a:Yuu Watase|732829|Yuu Watase|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1301610819p2/732829.jpg]'s Absolute Boyfriend. The “hero and heroine met and first fell in love when they were children, even though one of them no longer remembers this” storyline also pops up in manga a lot – [a:Natsuki Takaya|26306|Natsuki Takaya|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1241597760p2/26306.jpg]'s Fruits Basket is a good example. Not everything that happens is something I can remember seeing in another manga, but the overall tone of this series feels, so far, like a lot of other stuff out there.Rakuto is, of course, hot. He's also an outrageous flirt, who uses that as a mask for his true feelings. Sachie is the nice, ordinary girl who, at first, feels like she's completely out of her depth with her yakuza family, but there are plenty of signs that she's going to get along with them just fine. The only reason this works at all is because the dangerous side of yakuza life is either minimized or used to humorous effect. Anytime Sachie screams, the guys think there's a raid. The guys break a few of Rakuto's ribs as punishment for entering Sachie's mother's former room, but the beating isn't shown, and the only effect broken ribs seems to have on Rakuto is to make him collapse (after he intimidates the guy who was bothering her, of course). If anything, being wounded only makes him sexier, because it emphasizes just how much self-control he has and shows that he's willing to do what he has to for Sachie's sake.At least, that's the reaction I think Fujiwara was going for. I couldn't help but think that it was unnecessary for Rakuto to take that beating. Did he really believe that Sachie's grandfather would punish her for making an honest mistake? Or that, if he punished her, it would be something worse than maybe being grounded? Sachie's grandfather's household is generally presented as a happy, family-like sort of place, but then there are things that make me wonder, like Sachie remembering her mother saying that her father (Sachie's grandfather) scared her, or the possibility that Rakuto believed that Sachie might be physically punished for accidentally entering her mother's old room.Overall, as long as I just took this as a light romantic comedy, I liked this manga. I don't know that it'll have the staying power for 10 volumes, but I guess I'm going to find out, because I own several more volumes of this. Here's hoping that Fujiwara brings in some actual romantic obstacles. And also, here's hoping that she eventually starts drawing Sachie consistently. I'm a sucker for clean lines and good use of screentone, both of which this manga has, but Fujiwara doesn't always seem to be able to get Sachie's proportions right. In some panels, she looks like the 15-year-old she's supposed to be, and in other panels she looks like a child with a bobble head and scrawny body. Then there's the first time Sachie and Rakuto met in this volume – in that scene, both Sachie and Rakuto have enormous right hands.If I were to give this a grade, I'd probably give it a C. It's definitely not bad, and those who are newbies to the world of shoujo manga may enjoy it, but if you read as much shoujo manga as I do it's not really anything spectacular.Extras:Author sidebars, which actually include a bit of information relating the manga but still manage not to be terribly memorable; 2 pages of cultural notes (not much info, but still helpful); a few short, funny little comics starring the Wild Ones characters.(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)