Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet – Manga Review


Fumi Oono, second-year high-school student. Stuck with the debts of her father, she needs a job—fast. While she did indeed manage to find one as a housekeeper for THE Akatsuki Kibikino, it leaves much to be desired. After all, the novelist has a mean glare and an even worse attitude…And on top of that, she has to live with him?!  —Goodreads


So far I’ve read the first two volumes of this series, and I’ve really enjoyed it. Mika Yamamori is a fantastic storyteller, and artist! I would recommend this series to readers 16 and up as that is the official age rating for the series, but also because of the relationship currently building. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but if this ends up like their last work, Daytime Shooting Star–which I’ll add is a great series, I just hated the main relationship (so many red flags)–then I wouldn’t personally want to recommend it to anyone younger than that.

Age gap relationships in manga are very common, especially in shojo, however as I’ve become an adult myself, I see what’s wrong with it. When I was in high school, I honestly didn’t think twice about series like Me and My Brother’s, or Dengeki Daisy. And although I still enjoyed these stories, the relationships in them and how they’re handled gives me major creep vibes. Especially in Me and My Brother’s…that’s a whole mess of things, that I don’t think I even want to unpack right now. Maybe I’ll reread it for a future blog post?

That aside, I’d rather readers were aware of this with my reviews before going into a series. Often times, especially in older series these types of relationships like a high school student and teacher (Daytime Shooting Star), are glamourized. Thankfully, I can say Daytime Shooting Star kind of flipped that trope on us partway through the series, but if you want to know more, and aren’t worried about spoilers I’ll leave a link to my review here: Daytime Shooting Star Series Review

Now, Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet…it is so cute! The artwork, the unreliable dad trope, the grumpy rival and hyped up best friend. I love that. I’m curious to see where the relationships go in this series, mainly because of how Daytime Shooting Star ended. Our leading lady, slowly starts crushing on her employer in this series by volume two, and I think it will be interesting to watch how this develops. I also just feel sorry for her. Her dad owes so much money, and she’s working to pay it off. It shouldn’t be a kids responsibility. I’d like to see her eventually having time to spend with friends outside of school. She’s a really funny, and engaging character to follow. I love the facial expressions she makes in certain panels!


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Both volumes one and two were rated five stars after I finished reading them! I’m excited to see where this series is headed, and can’t wait until volume three releases over here.

Check out my other manga reviews and recs!

Daytime Shooting Star Series Review

After completing the entire series, I thought I’d do a quick, spoiler free review of my thoughts on Daytime Shooting Star as a whole.

If you’ve read my previous reviews of the series, you’ll know that I was not a big fan of Mr. Shishio. I didn’t like how insecure and vulnerable he made Suzume, nor the positions he put her in. That entire relationship was fairly uncomfortable to read…however, I really enjoyed the series.

Most of my ratings were between 4 and 5 stars for this manga, and since I mentioned that I didn’t want to spoil anything, as I’d like others to be able to go into this series and see events transpire for themselves, I’d say that it was a fun read. It was filled with moments of drama, and some cute moments as well.

Out of all the characters in the story Mamura was one of my favourites. His character really grows on you during the first few volumes, and it continues from there.

I highly recommend checking out this series, if you enjoy shojo romance, however if you’re like me and find say…Ezra and Aria’s relationship in Pretty Little Liars really problematic, you’ll probably feel as I did towards Mr. Shishio. I can say…and this may be considered a bit of a spoiler, that I was very satisfied with how the series ended.

Overall, I would give the series a full 5 star rating.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Happy reading everyone!

Check out my other manga reviews and recs!

Ima Koi Vol. 1 – Manga Review

About Sometimes the greatest romantic adventure isn’t falling in love—it’s what happens after you fall in love! After missing out on love and dating because she…

September Manga Reads

This month I’ve been trying to catch up on my manga TBR…and I actually got through it last night which now means I can order my next handful of books, hooray!

I read a variety of books ranging from thriller to romance, and I have to say I was extremely happy with each of these. Everything I read, I rated a full 5 stars.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Kings Beast Volume 2 & 3

I’m really enjoying this series so far. I’ve had a lot of fun revisiting Rei Toma’s world, especially from the Ajin’s perspective. The artwork is also stunning. I felt this third volume picked up immensely and I can’t wait to read the next. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but one of my favourite things that I noticed in this series is whenever Rangestu’s true self comes through, her eyes are drawn softly. She looks more like she did as a child, and more like her twin in these frames. It’s such a small detail but I absolutely love it.

A School Frozen in Time Volume 1

This first volume had me on the edge of my seat. I wasn’t expecting to have my heart racing, or to be so scared I couldn’t fall asleep! It was a really great read. I finished it in one sitting. It was very fast paced and the events leading up to this volumes climax progressed quickly. I would like to add at trigger warning as this book heavily discusses topics of suicide and self-harm. Please proceed with caution. I was expecting it to be sad like Orange or Your Lie in April, since Your Lie in April is by the same person, however…I had my pants scared off! So it is not at all some sad, high school, friendship manga. It made me care about these characters and then it ripped my heart out…in a good way!

A Sign of Affection Volume 3

This series keeps getting better and better. I really adore the artwork, and I think it’s so cute that many of the artists who work on the shojo romance series are friends. I’ve noticed their artwork being featured in each others manga’s! I think that’s so cool. It’s actually made me miss older series where having characters from other manga’s featured in a short was normal. It’s also lovely to see all of these artists uplifting and encouraging one another.

As I mentioned before in my review of the first volume, when reading A Sign of Affection, you can’t help but like Yuki. She’s such a fantastic character, and all the characters around her are equally likeable despite their flaws. I think that’s what I love most about this series aside from the beautiful artwork and the way the author uses the the silent spaces in the text and panels to show the reader Yuki’s perspective. It’s truly well done, and I appreciate the fact that I’m seeing more positive representation of deaf characters in books and film. I hope that this representation continues…it’s something that’s very close to my heart.

Love Me, Love Me Not Volume 6 – 9

The levels of cuteness in this series are too much! It’s so adorable. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next volume. I love how every manga I’ve read by Io Sakisaka is capable of stirring the many feelings that come with love, especially first loves. It’s incredible how she can do that every single time, with a new set of characters. I never feel like I’m reading the same thing twice, or seeing the same characters pasted into different books.

Daytime Shooting Star Volumes 10 & 11

I really don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read this series yet, so instead of my usual rant about you-know-who (I’ll call them S), I’ll be focusing on how fantastic the character development has been. I can’t express how many emotions I’ve felt reading this series. Following these characters has been a rollercoaster! I highly recommend it but will note that the initial relationship in this series is toxic, and I just hope Suzume regains her self-confidence and finds her happiness.

Blood on the Tracks Volumes 2 & 3

This series is so good, but so creepy. I’m constantly at a loss of words while reading Blood on the Tracks. The way the artwork and the story come together to create this eerie…anxiety is incredible. Some of the images are so haunting, that I found myself focusing in on them. I will give a trigger warning for this series as well, as it deals with mental and physical abuse…and you see it more especially in the 2nd and 3rd volumes. The mother’s behaviour is extremely disturbing. There are so many red flags, I’m honestly so worried for all the other characters around her. I would highly recommend this for people who enjoy thriller and horror genres.

Daytime Shooting Star Vol. 8 Review *spoilers*

I recently completed volume 8 of Daytime Shooting Star, and I have to admit the lack of Mr. Shishio definitely improved my reading experience. I like this series a lot but I find that my ratings flop between 4 and 5 star simply because of his character. It’s the scenes where Suzume is feeling completely vulnerable and insecure that I find both frustrating and upsetting, because she’s a kid in her first relationship and this grown man who is not only her teacher but also friends with her uncle is exploiting that.

This volume was fantastic because he wasn’t as present, and the story focused more on Suzume and her relationship with her friends, mother and uncle.

In the last volume I was thrilled when her uncle was furious with Shishio upon finding out about him and Suzume. I applauded.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Mr. Shishio. I like that he contradicts himself. I like that he’s a flawed character…I just don’t like the toxic relationship he has with Suzume. I know that the author Mika Yamamori has also expressed that many of her readers dislike him and I think it’s possibly because we’re seeing how problematic this relationship is.

I felt the same when rereading a favourite series of mine called Papillon by Miwa Ueda, where the leading protagonist Ageha dates her school guidance counsellor. It’s unsettling.

I understand that these two manga’s do fall under the umbrella of teen drama’s and forbidden love tropes but I can’t help but feel uncomfortable while breaking down these couples relationships. Suzume is completely crushed at this point in the series and had been working so hard to try to seem more grown up while spending time with Shishio outside of school. She felt so much pressure in the relationship, where his own concern was people finding out that he’s dating his student.

Back when I was in high school I didn’t think twice about this trope. I was eating up the drama. I was the same age as these female leads…now I’m the same age as their male love interests and certain scenes make me feel sick to my stomach. I still love the series, and I still enjoy the leading ladies of these books but I just can’t ship these characters. As a teenager I barely questioned it at all.

This must be what Pretty Little Liar’s fans felt like. I know that when I watched the first season of Riverdale I was pretty grossed out by the whole Archie x Grundy thing.

I have a feeling that I probably rant about this series a lot, and some might say, “Well if you don’t like the Student-Teacher trope then why do you still read it?” but honestly, it’s a good series. The story is compelling, the characters are engaging and the artwork is lovely. I was actually relieved when Mr. Shishio was called out for dating Suzume and acknowledged that what he was doing was wrong. I had hoped he would have called off the relationship before allowing things to escalate. I had hoped that in those moments where the reader gets a glance into his thoughts that he would push back, acknowledge how his behaviour and decide that it would be best to keep Suzume at a distance…but even when he did, he ended up pursuing this relationship with her and that was the point where I was like “Bruh. What the heck are you doing?”

Part of me hopes that they wont magically get back together but at the same time I’m doubtful.

The only series that I’ve read where this type of trope was criticized was Mars, which if I highly recommend, but I will give trigger warnings for various topics of abuse, self-harm and suicide.

I’ve noticed these topics in a lot of 90s shojo series…even ones that are considered comedies, so I always like to give a bit of a warning to anyone who may find these topics unsettling.

Going back to Daytime Shooting Star, as I mentioned before I used to read these tropes all the time. One of my favourite series was Dengeki Daisy, but in it Teru doesn’t get with Kurosaki while she’s still in high school. It is heavily implied that he refuses to acknowledge his feelings for her and won’t date her because of this. There are some other things about this that are clearly problematic and I do plan on rereading the series in the near future, since I own every volume…but it was the fact that he acknowledged that she was a teenage girl and decided not to pursue a relationship that I liked at the time. I believe I was like 17 to 20 when I was reading this series so again, my perspective may change like it did with Papillon.

Daytime Shooting Star has so much to offer. I rated volume 8 a full 5 stars! I just can’t review this series without discussing the problematic relationship between Suzume and Mr. Shishio. It caused her so much anxiety, and then upon the end left her depressed. It hurt seeing her that way and watching her friend encourage her to get with this older man who is clearly has an unfair power dynamic in their relationship.

Mamura, the other love interest in this series is protective of Suzume and I hated how in the last volumes this came across as him finally stepping up to be a rival when it in fact he was straight up calling out his teacher for having an extremely inappropriate relationship with a female student. Mamura is a good friend, and I’m glad that in volume 8 Suzume realizes this. I know that putting the spotlight on his character is meant to show him as a potential love interest but it is clear why most readers rooted for him from the beginning.

I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series and keeping my fingers crossed that Suzume’s ending is a good one…but I’m somewhat doubtful that her and Mamura will end up together as the forbidden love trope tends to be one that really draws audiences in, in terms of drama. Perhaps if they had been college students, and Mr. Shishio was her TA I would feel slightly more comfortable with the relationship…but as of now I’m just glad her uncle put him in his place.

Full Review of Daytime Shooting Star, Vol. 5 by Mika Yamamori

Daytime Shooting Star, Vol. 5 by Mika Yamamori

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although I enjoy the series and the artwork, there are some problematic things about the plot that don’t sit well with me, so at the moment the series is 4.5 stars for me…mainly because of some of the content.

I find it odd that this specific shojo trope (student-teacher relationship) is something I’ve been reading since I was like 11 years old, and it’s only now that I’m in my twenties that I find this trope problematic. I think part of the reason is that before I was the same age as the protagonist, and now I’m the same age as their older love interest…and I can see how manipulative and creepy it can be.

I think what’s more shocking is that this series is YA…and her friends like Yuyuka, are encouraging her to pursue their 24 year old teacher. Which, although all the girls are lovely, it is a bit sad that the male leading rival is the only person who can see why this relationship is inappropriate, but this insight is being written as though it’s jealously.

Aside from that, the character development is really well done. I also like how all the characters are named after animals. That’s a really cute little touch. I also liked the little authors corner segment about Mika’s date. It was really funny and she seems like a genuinely sweet person.

I did enjoy this volume, and the additional mini manga short at the end called Cookie Girl and Cream Boy. I love that Mika includes characters of colour in her work. It reminds me of why I adored the Peach Girl series so much by Miwa Ueda.

View all my reviews