Manga Spice Cafe is a newly launched subscription box service. But unlike your average anime/manga crate, we’re a no-nonsense kind of box that avoids cheap fillers and useless merch and serves you up fresh new manga books (actual physical copies!) plus snacks, and drinks to give that manga cafe feel.
April so far has been our most popular month since launch, being received quite well by both the subscription and online anime community and our lovely subscribers. Many were surprised by the amount of items and content that actually come in the regular monthly box. And if you are one of the ones that missed it, you can grab one for yourself here while quantities last. OR, you can read on and live vicariously through our in depth unboxing! Keep reading…
Upon opening the box, you see this month’s maid mascot, Neko-chan. The ever shy and adorable neko (cat) maid has packed your April box with goodies pertaining to monsters and the occult (spooky!). Black cats are her favorite animal after all! The info card has now gone from a one-paged card stock to a size-able, glossy booklet, containing fun graphics and knowledge about the manga artists and cafe snacks.
There’s fun facts, a link to a Japanese interview with Interview with Monster Girl’s PETOS (which you can find here) and even a showcase section for a particular artist with amazing works. This month, Nagabe has taken the spotlight with her fairy tale styled pen work and her passion for drawing birds, animals, and beasts.
Love and nurturing seems to be a recurring theme in her artwork, so let’s take a look at what her manga, The Girl from the Other Side – Siuil a Run has in store for us.
“In a world split between the Inside and the Outside, those living in both realms are told never to cross over to the other side, lest they be cursed.
A young girl named Shiva lives on the other side, in a vacant village with a demonic guardian known only as “Teacher.” Although the two are forbidden to touch, they seem to share a bond that transcends their disparate appearances.
But when Shiva leaves Teacher’s care to seek out her grandmother, the secret behind her mysterious living arrangement comes to light.”
Seeing this book in the crate was a delightful breath of fresh air. In an overly-saturated world of tropes and cliches, the style and interesting use of black against white reminds us that manga can come in all forms of style and story. Speaking of the story, this is a dark fairytale of sorts, that tackles the idea of discriminating others different from oneself, blindly following what is said to be true of the Others and believing that the two can never touch lest the other be cursed. It’s a bittersweet feeling to have the lighthearted, child protagonist dropped into this dim world. But this story makes for an unique and enjoyable read. Vol. 2 will be out soon and we’re looking forward to it!
We enjoyed snacking on these Kasugai apple gummies as we read. It gave us the feel of strolling through the forest, which there is much of in this manga!
Volume 2 of The Girl from the Other Side – Siuil a Run will be released May 16, 2017!
Following the theme of discrimination and acceptance is the ever adorable Interviews with Monster Girls.
“Vampires, dullahans, succubi, snow women. These are just a few of those beings once known as “demi-humans,” and high school Biology teacher Testsuo Takahashi has always wanted to meet them. He gets his chance when the new term starts, and there are four “demis” in his school! Join the caring, bumbling Tetsuo in his quest to get to know these adorable monster girls, while helping them navigate the highs and lows of high school!”
This is PETOS’s very first serialized work, and it’s amazing how he was published so quickly after discovery. Usually it takes manga artists a couple of attempts to win manga awards and break into the industry, but already, this 30 year old mangaka has a running series and anime created from his work. From the quality of the artwork, you can kind of tell that he may not be a seasoned artist yet, but he still has an amazing ability to tell a funny and sweet story about monster girls tackling the everyday life of high school and school crushes. Outwardly, Monsters has the appearance of seeming harem-y, which it kind of is, as all the girls seem to like their teacher, but it also delves into how the characters cope with their own identities, and with bullies and others who perceive them negatively. The tone is deep at times and light at others which makes for a balanced and enjoyable read.
We loved snacking on these Hi Chew Sours and Chocolate Banana Pocky while reading this!
The anime for Interviews with Monster Girls debuted January 8th!
Lastly, we unboxed the continuation manga for the Naruto series. Except this manga jumps into the perspective of his son, Boruto, as he continues the story of the leaf village ninjas many of us growing up with Naruto have come to love. Let’s take a look at the summary:
“The ninja adventures continue with Naruto’s son, Boruto!
Naruto was a young shinobi with an incorrigible knack for mischief. He achieved his dream to become the greatest ninja in his village, and now his face sits atop the Hokage monument. But this is not his story… A new generation of ninja are ready to take the stage, led by Naruto’s own son, Boruto!
Years have passed since Naruto and Sasuke teamed up to defeat Kaguya, the progenitor of chakra and the greatest threat the ninja world has ever faced. Times are now peaceful and the new generation of shinobi has not experienced the same hardships as its parents. Perhaps that is why Boruto would rather play video games than train. However, one passion does burn deep in this ninja boy’s heart, and that is the desire to defeat his father!”
This book a bit of a touching story, especially to readers who have experienced a busy or absent parent themselves. Boruto is a bit reckless since he has trouble coping with his father’s lack of presence within his family. Naruto can’t seem to help it though since he has achieved his dream of becoming Hokage, or the head of his village, which comes with a price. He must be available to handle work and affairs. Boruto, struggling to find a figure to look up to, chooses Sasuke as his mentor, and learns a bit more about himself, his powers, and his own father. Will Boruto come to accept and respect his father and will he become a great ninja himself? We shall see as the series continues. For the average Naruto fan, it seems Boruto is a story that you will either love or hate. Volume 1 is mostly a rehash of the story from the Boruto movie, but it does contain content that wasn’t in the film. It’s definitely worth taking a look at.
We enjoyed this manga with one of the strangest tasting, yet yummiest instant noodles, we’ve ever had! This Myojo Ippeichan brand has yakisoba noodles (popular at Japanese festivals) that comes with spices, dried veggies, and a spicy mustard mayo sauce to squeeze over it all. What a foreign taste it had! But with every bite, we found ourselves not being able to stop! We also enjoyed the fizzy melon Ramune soda, and finished our meal off with these unique green tea flavored kit kats. Not bitter at all, and delicious!
The Boruto anime debuted April 5th! Watch it streaming now!
Overall, this box was a blast. Neko-chan out-did herself, and this made a surprisingly nice 2nd edition to Manga Spice Cafe’s monthly service. There was a variety of books to enjoy ranging from comedy, to fairly tale, to action, and we literally felt as though we were being transported to a manga cafe! Next month’s maid is Mayumi-chan, bringing her interests of Dragons and Scaly Creatures to the theme of books for May.
If you want to subscribe and experience monthly manga cafe boxes for yourself, please visit mangaspicecafe.com to sign up!