It’s that time again to unbox another amazing box from Manga Spice Cafe, the newest subscription service for manga fans. Each month’s box offers up a lovely array of sweet and savory Asian snacks, plus 1 delicious drink, alongside 3 brand new, unique and highly anticipated manga titles! Each box’s contents follows a special theme and also contains an info sheet highlighting the artists and writers who worked on each manga you receive. It also features cool tidbits such as links to interviews and reviews, a particular artist’s works and art style, fun facts, and even describes your boxed snacks and drink. Every time this box arrives on our doorstep, we get a chance to step into what feels like a Japanese manga cafe! Join us now as we make our next visit into Manga Spice Cafe! (And if you’d like to watch a live video of this, check out AnimeSomeNow’s unboxing review here.)
As the days start to get chillier, our hearts are warmed by this month’s colorful and fun box. Upon opening the box, you see the info sheet with this month’s maid mascot on the cover!
Underneath that and the vibrant tissue paper, we’re meet with a perfectly packed array of primary colors!
September’s mascot is Maid Suki-chan, who has a Japanese name representing love. It’s very appropriate as Suki-chan reveals this month’s themes of LOVE and LAUGHTER.
As usual, the info sheet is packed with information! The snacks look super fun and youthful as well, with what looks to be a cute candy maker kit included. Also, we see the bios of each manga artist, plus some links to special content, and a featured artist showcase section with Musawo’s works, creator of the manga Love & Lies. We got a chance to see Musawo’s lovely and delicate style which the mangaka uses to stylize their bright-eyed characters.
Love & Lies is the first manga we’ll take a look at:
“Love is forbidden. When you turn 16, the government will assign your marriage partner.”
Yukari is dull. He doesn’t even stand out enough to be bullied – he’s just a generally lower-middle-class kid. He’s in love with Misaki, the most popular girl in school. There’s just one problem: He’s 15, one year away from receiving his government-assigned marriage partner. He normally wouldn’t have the courage to defy the law, but his sickly classmate Ririna still believes in love, and won’t stop goading him into confessing his feelings!
Love & Lies may not have a unique story of forbidden love being against the law, yet the story draws us in with ease. Not only does Musawo (Musao Tsumugi) bring a beautiful, sexy, and raw quality to his artwork with each panel, but the story has great pacing. Just when you think the tale has reached it’s peak, the plot thickens and adds an extra layer of complexity to an already risky situation. The book may have it’s sensual moments, but in addition, is has a story with deeper potential. All the characters you can feel for. All of them you can sympathize with. We’ve already bought Volume 2, that’s how good it is!
We enjoyed this manga with a refreshing Ramune. Depending on which ever box you ended up with, you either got to try the popular Blueberry flavored Ramune or the rare Cotton Candy flavored Ramune. Both were delicious! We also paired it up with a creamy Orion soft custard cake. Yum!
Manga Spice Cafe does it again, bringing us interesting titles to build up our personal libraries. Next up is Waiting for Spring:
“Mizuki is a shy girl who’s about to enter high school, and vows to open herself up to new friendships. Of course, the four stars of the boys’ basketball team weren’t exactly the friends she had in mind! Yet, when they drop by the café where she works, the five quickly hit it off. Soon she’s been accidentally thrust into the spotlight, targeted by jealous girls. And will she expand her mission to include…love?”
Waiting for Spring is everything you’d expect from a shojo about romance, a beautiful main female character surrounded by beautiful male characters. Anashin’s style is flawless despite anything she may have said about being self-critical of her art. The mangaka has created a simply sweet story. Having said that, the story does have it’s slow moments. It’s more digestible to not sit and read it all at once, (it is a thick manga after all!) but read it chapters at a time. The best moment in the book is when Mizuki helps a little girl who also seems lonely and friendless. One can really connect with a main character that actually takes the focus off herself and onto others. This and her personality also earns her a special impression on a certain someone on the basketball team. Will love blossom between them? Sweet and endearing, we give this book a B+!
With this book, we indulged in some smooth and creamy Morinaga caramel. It’s super rich and super tasty! We also tried the strawberry Yan Yan which is like a cheese snack with biscuits, except the cheese is sweet strawberry creme. Yummy!
What’s next? Well this box isn’t only about love, but laughter! And the last book we received, Aho-Girl: A Clueless Girl, happens to be hilarious:
“Equal parts cute, silly, and subversive, the four-panel comedy manga Ahogaru was a surprise hit in Japan. Fans of anarchic slice-of-life gag manga like Azumanga Daioh – these are the new laughs you’ve been waiting for!
Yoshiko is a hopefully clueless high school girl. Her rock-paper-scissors strategy is “rock.” She somehow gets zeroes on multiple-choice tests. And she has an often-nearly-fatal weakness for bananas. Her devoted friends have no choice but to hang around and make sure nobody takes advantage of her. (Of course, the entertainment value might have something to do with it, too.) Cute characters, weird gags, and lots and lots of bananas!”
You know how manga art can often get scratchy, with rough pen strokes and sketchy lines? This manga is the complete opposite, it is especially clean! It could be due to the fact that it started as a 4-koma web manga. 4-koma means the comic usually consist of 4 vertical panels at a time for each new instance. This manga has about 8 panels per page consistently, and it is the first 4-koma manga we’ve seen appear in a Manga Spice Cafe crate. And the best part? It is wickedly funny. Be prepared to see a girl character, Yoshiko, get smacked around often by her male counterpart and others. Sounds harsh right? But this is a slapstick, gag of a manga. Nothing is taken seriously and the characters are (usually) unharmed. Well, harmed, but unharmed.. You get what we mean! This is a fun comic, and the fact that it also deals with unrequited love at times makes it a perfect addition to this month’s theme.
Yoshiko is like a grown up child, thus we chose to enjoy this with our Kracie Okosama Lunch DIY Candy Kit! Okosama lunch is commonly served at family restaurants for children under 10 years old. The kit makes mini candy versions of a gelatin mold, an omelette with peas and a ketchup face, meat balls, a fried, breaded shrimp, and fries.
So how can we sum up this amazing box? Youthful, fun, and vibrant. Energetic, silly, cute, and sweet. Quite frankly, this was an entertaining collection of manga, snacks, and drinks. Manga Spice Cafe hits it out of the ballpark again!
Subscribe to get your own box at mangaspicecafe.com!