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Reviews in Project: Translation (197)

Bon Appetit

Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits, book 1

By Waco Ioka & Midori Yuma  

16 Jan, 2020



2016’s Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits, Vol. 1 (Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi) collects the first five issues of Waco1 Ioka’s manga adaptation of Midori Yūma’s light fantasy series of novels. 

Aoi Tsubaki’s grandfather Shiro had a bad reputation. But to Aoi he was the man who rescued her from childhood misery after her mother abandoned her. Still, she must admit to herself that the reason his funeral was well attended may have been that many people wanted to assure themselves that their exploiter was actually dead. 

Though she is not yet aware of this, Aoi was one of Shiro’s victims.

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Comfortably Numb

Shimeji Simulation

By Tsukumizu  

24 Dec, 2019


1 comment

Tsukumizu’s 2019 Shimeji Simulation is an on-going surrealist slice-of-life manga.

Orphan Shimeji Tsukishima was unhappy at middle school and to avoid it, locked herself away in a small closet for two years. As high school approached, she reluctantly left her refuge. To her surprise, she discovers two small mushrooms — shimeji — sprouting from her head.

Shimeji has come to believe that effort is futile and hope is doomed to disappointment, She intends to pass through high school like a ghost, eschewing social contact and accepting whatever dismal fate life has in store for her. But her visualization of the all proves… inadequate.

Majime Yamashita may have been born with a fried egg on her head, but she’s not going to let that stop her from being the happiest, most outgoing person she can be. Thus far her ambitions have not yielded the social acceptance she craves, but she remains determined to make friends and have fun.

Intrigued by sullen, quiet Shimeji, Majime declares herself Shimeji’s friend. When Shimeji remains aloof, Majime decides the only proper solution is to declare to Shimeji that she is Shimeji’s girlfriend. Shimeji doesn’t have the energy to protest. It might be that she even likes madcap Majime a little. Not that she would say so. 

The schoolgirl with no will to strive is swept along in the wake of the schoolgirl with too much drive. Shimeji grudgingly joins the hole-digging club and slowly, reluctantly, starts to come out of her shell. 

Complications ensue. Shimeji’s older sister is something of a mad scientist. She recruits Majime and Shimeji as minions; they’ll help her construct an arcane device with which to reclaim the world from God. Whatever that means….


You are doubtless wondering why did the sister let Shimeji hide in the closet for two years? The sister is devoted to her work and seems content to let Shimeji find her own way. Indeed, most of the adults in this manga are far too focused on their own issues to offer help or guidance to the teenagers. 

People looking for a hormone-driven yuri manga should look elsewhere. Majime and Shimeji may be girlfriends but what that means is that sometimes Shimeji will permit Majime to hold her hand … briefly. While avoiding direct eye contact. Given that Shimeji spent enough time alone in the dark to sprout mushrooms, even that’s a big step.

Girls Last Tour protagonists Chito and Yuuri play minor supporting roles in this manga. How that’s possible is not clear. It’s just one of many odd bits about which one should not think too deeply. This is not a manga in which things make a lot of sense. Stuff happens. Causality is unclear. Detached acceptance is a valid coping skill. So is making friends. None of it means anything but at least if one has friends one isn’t alone, growing mushrooms on one’s head. 

I don’t know if this manga is going anywhere but it doesn’t really matter. It’s pleasant in its odd way. 

If Shimeji Simulation is available in North America, this is a well-kept secret.

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I Get By

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, book 1

By Shinobu Ohtaka  

5 Dec, 2019



Shinobu Ohtaka’s Arabian-Knights-themed Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Sunday from June 2009 to October 2017. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, Vol. 1 collects the first seven issues (or Nights) of the manga series.

Tween Aladdin seems an easy target, being tiny and half-starved. As one unlucky bandit clan discovers, appearances can be deceiving. Aladdin may be small, but Udo, the djinn who lives in his flute, is large and powerful indeed. 

If only Udo’s head were not still trapped in some other (unknown) container, the djinn would be even more impressive. Aladdin is determined to find and free his friend’s head.

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You’re the One


By Clamp  

6 Nov, 2019


1 comment

The manga collective Clamp’s SF manga Chobits(ちょびっツ Chobittsu) was published by Kodansha in Weekly Young Magazine from 2000 to 2002.

Hideki Motosuwa is a cram student by day, a worker by night, and poor all the time. He is far too poor to afford most of the luxuries and vices he sees others enjoy.

High on his wish list: a humanoid persocom, a highly advanced android that wealthier Japanese use for many tasks, online and otherwise. Hideki will never be able to afford his own persocom.

How fortunate for Hideki that what he at first mistook for a murdered woman is in fact a perfectly good persocom discarded like trash. Waste not, want not. The young man drags the attractive android back to his room and manages to turn it on.

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The Beast in Me

Samurai Deeper Kyo, book 1

By Akimine Kamijyo  

30 Oct, 2019



Akimine Kamijyo’s Samurai Deeper Kyo (Samurai Dīpā Kyō) was serialized in Kodansha’s Weekly Shōnen Magazine from October 15, 1999 to May 10, 2006. Volume one includes the first five issues. It’s the first volume of thirty-eight.

The Battle of Sekigahara ended with a decisive victory for Tokugawa Ieyasu’s army. Good news for Tokugawa Ieyasu and the Shogunate. Bad news for the losing side under Ishida Mitsunari. The survivors are all wanted criminals.

None are more wanted than the crimson-eyed Demon Eyes Kyo, a samurai of unparalleled ferocity who single-handedly killed a thousand opponents at Sekigahara alone. The bounty on Demon Eyes could buy a prefecture.

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Holding Out For a Hero

A Hero Born  (Legends of the Condor Heroes, book 1)

By Jin Yong  

16 Oct, 2019



1957’s Shediao Yingxiong Zhuan is a wuxia novel by Jin Yong (Louis Cha). 2019’s A Hero Born is Anna Holmwood’s English translation of the first part of the work, collectively known in English as Legends of the Condor Heroes. 

Everything is going swimmingly in Southern Song era China, provided one is not a Southern Song era Han Chinese. In the north, Jin is slowly encroaching on the remnant of China left after the Jin crushed the Northern Song in the previous century. To the west, the Mongols, long divided into contending tribes, have a leader ready to unite his nation into one unparalleled force. 

In the South, the Han Chinese have to prevail against foreign raids and flamboyantly corrupt officials. It is up to heroes like Ironheart Yang and his best friend Skyfury Guo to defend the Chinese against the Jin, the Mongols and most importantly, the Chinese. 

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