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Peach Boy Riverside: Vol. 1.illus. by Johanne. 192p. Kodansha. Jun. 2021. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781646513390. Gr 10 Up–Princess Saltherine has always dreamed of a life where she’s not cooped up in a palace. However, with monsters running amok, her father will not have any of it. It’s only when a vagabond traveler named Mikoto comes to town that Saltherine decides to learn more about what’s beyond her kingdom. Abandoning her princess title to finally go on her much-dreamed-about journey, this is Saltherine’s chance to write her own story. While based on the ancient Japanese tale Momotaro, this work will be accessible to readers unfamiliar with its folklore source, though it wouldn’t hurt to have prior knowledge heading in. This shonen adventure isn’t very ambitious and doesn’t offer much to distinguish it from others like it. However, protagonist Saltherine finds her true self early on and leaves behind a sheltered existence in a quick display of character progression. Enough action sequences and interestingly drawn creatures provide a fascinating world for readers to explore. VERDICT Saltherine’s exploits are worth a follow, but overall the story doesn’t provide enough fresh material when measured up against other titles in its genre to label it anything more than a so-so start to a series. The anime concluded September 2021.Haruba, Negi. The Quintessential Quintuplets: Vol. 1. illus. by Negi Haruba. 192p. Kodansha. Dec. 2018. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781632367747. Gr 10 Up–Futaro’s not the most popular kid in his high school class, nor is his family the richest. However, Futaro excels with his schoolwork: Nobody can touch him academically. When the wealthy father of identical quintuplet girls hires Futaro to tutor his slacker daughters, Futaro accepts out of financial desperation. It’s clear from the start that these sisters have no intention of listening to anything Futaro says. The book’s opening pages offer a glimpse of the future—not only is Futaro not quitting, he’s going to marry one of the quints! But which one? The opening revelation is an early plot twist that will keep folks guessing. Futaro is also an uncommon male lead in a series like this; he’s not your typical Casanova in a romance yarn. Though he’s deadly serious and the quintuplets all enjoy goofing off, the chemistry is undeniable and the dialogue is funny. However, there are some fan service moments in the art, like emphasis on breasts and post-shower/towel shots, that could raise eyebrows. VERDICT This is an adequate setup for a romantic comedy. There is plenty to be curious about in this opening volume, including which girl Futaro’s destined to marry and just how he’ll get the sisters to improve their dismally low GPAs. The anime’s latest entry will debut in May 2022.Hata, Kenjiro. Fly Me to the Moon: Vol. 8. ­illus. by Kenjiro Hata. 200p. (Fly Me to the Moon). Viz Media. Nov. 2021. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781974723546. Gr 9 Up–Married at a super young age, Nasa (18) and Tsukasa (a supernatural being who looks approximately 16) are still trying to navigate the tricky waters of love, particularly when it comes to displays of affection. The cute couple find themselves in new situations, including sharing a bath while on a getaway to a resort and settling on a temperature they can both agree on for their air conditioner. The series’s slice-of-life formula remains the same into this eighth volume, but our two protagonists are so likable that it continues to be a joy to peer into their still-developing married life. The artwork is solid but the lack of backgrounds in particular panels can be frustrating; when they are present, they are pleasing to look at. There is a bit of fan service in this specific volume such as a bathing suit–focused chapter that feels somewhat random. VERDICT A charming entry to the series. In a world where people in new relationships can feel pressure to have sex before they’re ready, it’s nice to see a couple not give in to societal expectations and figure things out at their own pace. The second season of the anime was recently announced

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