Leaper, by Isaki Uta (Review)

Doujinshi are magical. There's a breadth of things that can happen in the span of however many pages in a book, and the nature of being self-published means that an author can just let their mind soar. Isaki Uta's Leaper is a one-shot story that premiered ten years ago in Monthly Afternoon Magazine, jump-starting their career as a professional mangaka after winning an honorable mention. Previously, I was fortunate enough to cover Uta-sensei's Mine-kun is Asexual, and Mermaid in the Bottle--both being much more recent works that display their refined sense of storyboarding and art. Going back to any artist's roots means being able to notice details and purposeful actions or habits that turn into quirks and hallmarks of their style. I'm happy to report that plenty of things I really appreciated from Uta-sensei's other work is also present in their first published work!

Ascendance of a Bookworm, Part 2: Apprentice Shrine Maiden Vol. 2 Review

Ascendance of a Bookworm Part 2: Apprentice Shrine Maiden Volume 2 has to have been the most satisfying entry I've read of this series thus far. There is a level of emotional catharsis drawn from multiple events in the story that up to this point we've only gotten maybe glimpses of beneath the surface. Spoilers ahead for folks who have yet to read this volume or have only watched the anime.