“Licking Wounds” – Bungo Stray Dogs Vol. 3

Purpose gives a work direction, it gives it confidence and identity, and so is essential, but it’s no replacement for quality execution.

A dark haired man looks to the left, his hair tipped in white. A fair haired boy looks to the right, his nose leading off the page. Behind them is a spat of red, and they are illustrated in a Japanese manga style. This is the cover of Bungo Stray Dogs volume 9.

“Isolation” – The Girl from the Other Side, Vol. 2

The Girl from the Other Side is a story about people desperate to connect but incapable of doing so.

Back cover for Volume 2 of the Girl from the Other Side, Volume 2. It is scratchy black and white illustrations, vaguely woodland-like.

“Gundam as a Bag of Hammers” – Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt Vol. 3

Because the author does not understand the feelings he’s presenting to us and so relies on a language cobbled together from cliches, trite imagery and banal symbols he’s aped from a million disparate influences he never bothered to understand to convey feelings he’s does not understand.

A blue grey robot rising up through shattered white elements. This is the cover from Mobile Suit Gundam

“Eternal Youths” – Happiness Vol. 4

For three volumes, artist and author Shuzo Oshimi has made it clear that the cast of Happiness struggle with growth; with the fourth, he shows how easily these impulses lead us to seek out paths of regression we mistake, in our confusion, for progression. In Gosho’s case this means befriending vampire hunter Sakurane, a man who, like her, has never been able to make peace with the death of a younger sibling. He may seem like a positive role-model for the doubting teen – constructive, motivated, wise – but anyone with perspective can see that his crusade against Nora and her

In vibrant colored pencils, a womans eyes stare out towards off camera to the left. This is the cover for Happiness Volume 4

“Any Witch Way But Loose” – Flying Witch Vol. 1

Flying Witch is like a warm bath full of fizzing bubbles just waiting to receive us after another miserable day spent trudging through a miserable world.

Lax Sabbath – Maria the Virgin Witch

Despite its many flaws, there is something inviting about Maria, something familiar and friendly that captures easy friendships and family chemistry.