Tag Archives: Chika

Book Review: Zombie-Loan, Vol 1 by Peach-Pit

Zombie-Loan, Vol 1        

Author: Peach-pit

Publisher: Yen Press

American release date: October 17, 2007

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Horror/Fantasy Manga/208 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Michiru Kita is the kind of girl who never speaks up for herself, and does what others tell her to do without question. As evidenced by the way the group of girls she eats lunch with every day make her buy all their food, and she has to go and get it herself! She’s on the way back one day when she accidentally runs into two male students, knocking off her glasses. To her alarm, she sees black rings around their necks. Apologizing, she hurries to the cafeteria to deliver the lunch order.  There she discovers that the two boys she ran into are known as Boy A and Boy B, because they were the sole survivors of a horrible accident. Kita finds the rings disturbing because in her experience, people who have them tend to die. Worse than that, though, did she really see what she thought she saw? She awakens in the school infirmary, having fainted. She really wishes the Sister had wakened her instead of allowing her to sleep.

It’s dark and it’s late as she hurries across the empty school grounds, headed home lest her aunt worry about her. But she is stopped by Boy B, real name Chika, who demands she pay him 500 yen for what happened earlier. Seriously? They are joined by Boy A, Shito, who proposes they kill her, presumably for what she witnessed. What to do, what to do? She tells them she just wanted to warn them about danger, about the rings on their necks, and then she manages to sprint to safety.

The next day Shito and Chika face Kita’s bullies and tell them that Kita is their go-fer now, not theirs. Things are going from bad to worse, so she stays home after that but they find her anyway, and even charm her aunt into giving them tea. They claim they are debt collectors.  Kita tries to pay them the 500 yen they demanded but they tell her the debt is now 50 million yen. Wth? They then spirit Kita away to a shady looking business that gives loans. They were very surprised at her ability to see their rings, and they have a definite use for such an ability. See, they work for a special branch of the loan company – the zombie-loan arm – and they owe a huge debt themselves. With her help, they can more easily make the money they need to pay off their debt. Why aren’t they dead, though, when their rings are so dark? In Kita’s experience, the darker the ring, the more imminent death. Oh well, that’s easily explained. They are dead… kinda sorta. They introduce her to the Ferryman, who is an odd sort. And thus a strange business relationship begins.

There is something about Shito and Chika that reminds me of the Boondock Saints, maybe it’s the crosses they wear, not sure. Or maybe it’s just the way they work in tandem. This was a very interesting volume and a great introduction to the series. I anticipate great hijinks ahead and interesting adventures. The Ferryman isn’t what you might expect, being rather quirky and nerdy, kind of like Undertaker in Black Butler but not quite as flamboyant. I suspect there will be character development in this series as it’s already begun. I look forward to seeing Kita grow as a person, and Shito and Chika too. There is already evidence that they are not as heartless as they would have people believe.

Good first volume, looking forward to more.

Book Review: Boys Run the Riot, Vol 1 by Keito Gaku

Boys Run the Riot, Vol 1     

Author: Keito Gaku

Publisher: Kodansha Comics

American release date: May 25, 2021

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/LGBTQ+/240 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Ryo feels as if he is living a lie, just because he appears to be a girl when he knows, inside, that he is a boy. But it’s not as easy as telling everyone the truth, because that just isn’t going to happen, and he knows no one will accept him if he does. So he does what he can. Each morning when he leaves the house, he stops in the train station bathroom to change into more comfortable boys’ clothing and put on a binder. Chika is his good friend, but he hasn’t even told her how he feels.

A new student arrives in Ryo’s class. His name is Jin and he should be a third year but was gone for a while and is repeating second year. The teacher directs him to the seat behind Ryo, who wonders how this guy can want to draw attention to himself the way he does. Ryo is seen by most people as weird, but how can he help that when he isn’t even allowed to be the person he is inside? And when he is with Chika, he can’t help but wish he was born a boy.

After school, Ryo goes to a new pop-up clothing store for a brand he really likes, but just as he reaches for a T-shirt, another hand reaches for it at the same time. Turns out the hand belongs to Jin! Jin thinks it’s great that they have the same taste, and he wants Ryo to make a brand with him, sell T-shirts online. But Ryo runs away.

Later, Ryo and Jin begin to talk, and Ryo starts to think maybe they should do the brand thing. But he is more afraid of what people think than Jin is. Jin thinks Ryo is more creative, so he can design the shirts, while Jin will take care of the business aspect. They make their first shirt and go to the Photography Club to see if they can borrow a camera to take pictures for promotion. That is where they meet Itsuka, the sole member of the club. He loves taking photos and uses a vintage camera his father gave him before giving up on his own photography career. But Itsuka is himself suffering from peer pressure and isn’t sure what to make of Ryo and Jin at first.

Just started reading this today and I already love this series! You don’t see a lot of transgender main characters in manga, especially not trans boys. You have to feel for Ryo, having to hide who he is because of society’s assumptions about him. I like both him and Jin and think they have the makings of good friends. Ryo’s revelation regarding how he feels didn’t bother Jin one bit. He tends to embrace the truth and isn’t afraid to show it. I look forward to reading more about them in the future.