Illustrated by Tsukasa Abe
Four adventurers return home after a ten-year journey to fight the Demon King. They take their rewards, enjoy a powerful meteor storm that happens once every fifty years, then go their separate ways. Frieren is an elven mage, and she plans on traveling the world to gather as much magic as she can. Himmel, the human hero, settles down in the capital city and grows old. Fifty years go by and Frieren returns to take her friends to a secluded place to enjoy the meteor shower. Afterwards, Frieren visits Heiter, a priest with an unnatural love of alcohol, who tricks Frieren into taking a young girl as her mage apprentice. Fern becomes exceptional at magic, and the two travel around, continuing to gather odd magical spells and helping people in villages. Frieren and Fern take odd jobs like beautifying statues and cleaning once pristine beaches. Frieren chases some of the memories of her adventure party while desperately trying to understand the meaning behind many of the words and actions of humans.
Illustrated by Yoshi Yoshitani
Starfire’s daughter, Mandy, is trying to live a life outside of the shadow of her famous mother. Mandy has taken on a very dark persona, died her hair black, and wears lots of dark colors, trying desperately to stand out away from her bright, effervescent mother. When Mandy gets paired with the popular Clare for an English assignment, she discovers someone who maybe can be her friend, or even more than that, outside of people seeing her for her famous family and superhero friends. Starfire's past on her home planet catches up with her and makes like more complicated for Mandy, who really wants nothing to do with any of the super-powered politics of Tamaran. Mandy must believe in herself and her own strength to get through this newest challenge.
Part 1: Phantom Blood
The beginning of this series is, in fact, bizarre. We immediately open to a human sacrifice that activates the strange powers of a stone mask crafted by the Aztecs. The narrative jumps forward to the 1800s with a man name Brando on his deathbed. He tells his son, Dio, to go to a man named Joestar who owes him a favor and will take Dio in. He vows not to tell Dio why Joestar owes him this favor, but tells the reader instead. Years ago, Joestar believed Brando was saving him after a carriage crash, rather than noticing Brando was robbing him. Dio swears to surpass his father’s station and beguile the Joestars into giving him their family fortune. The first act in this plan is to usurp the true heir, Jonathan, who everyone calls JoJo. Dio proceeds to make JoJo’s life miserable. After witnessing some of Dio’s worst deeds, we flash forward again, seven years this time. Dio and JoJo are about to graduate college, JoJo with a degree in archaeology. He’s been secretly studying the ancient Aztec mask that now belongs to his father. Dio and JoJo are somehow frienemies, but secretly Dio is still plotting to nap the Joestar fortune, and it’s up to JoJo to get to the bottom of it and thwart Dio’s plans, which also include this mysterious mask.
Makoto and her cat Chito move in with her distant relatives away from Tokyo in Aomori, a small town in the countryside of Japan. There, Makoto hopes to complete her training as a witch. Her family knows about her powers, but Makoto isn’t supposed to talk about it to non-relatives. That doesn’t stop her from telling Nao, a girl at her school she befriends. Makoto often gets lost around Aomori, so occasionally she’ll take Chito with her, who has walked the neighborhood enough to not get lost. Makoto does some basic magic with her young cousin, Chinatsu, who isn't a witch. The two, along with Kei, Chinatsu's older brother, ready an abandoned plot of land to make a garden, as growing plants is part of Makoto's study of magic. Makoto's sister, Akane, also makes a surprise visit to see how Makoto is settling in, and Akane accidentally has Makoto unleash a pretty powerful spell to summon crows.
Mitsuki started at a new high school far away from her middle school in the hopes of starting fresh. She has some social anxieties and desperately wants to make friends, but doesn’t know how. Four best friends on the boy’s basketball team invade the quiet sanctuary of her job at a café, but without their screaming entourage of adoring girl fans, the boys are decent. One of them is in love with Mitsuki's coworker, and he's convinced if he comes around often enough, she'll fall in love with him too. The boys are initially rude to Mitsuki, but they slowly prove they're good people and become Mitsuki's friends. Another girl at Mitsuki’s school, Reina-chan, also becomes her friend, but she has a slightly unhealthy obsession with the basketball boys that we don’t quite get fully explained (preliminary signs point to a boys-love fantasy). Mitsuki and Reina-chan go to the first Basketball game, and Mitsuki leads the crowd of admirers in cheers that help the boys get to their first victory.
Vol 1: Fantasy heartbreaker, illustrated by Stephanie Hans, letted by Clayton Cowles
For Ash's 16th birthday, his best friend Solomon (Sol) creates a new role-playing game that will knock everyone's socks off. Ash's kid sister, Angela, tags along, and the group is rounded out by Chuck, Isabelle, and Matt. The players build their characters, and Sol passes out special dice to each of them, reserving the D20 for himself as the master. They role, and they find themselves inside the game. Two years later, they come back to the real world, unable to speak about what has happened. Angela is missing an arm, and Sol is missing entirely. Twenty five years later, Sol's D20 finds its way back to Ash, who brings the gang back together again to decide what to do. Before anything can be decided, the five are sucked back into the game again. Sol is now the Grandmaster, and he insists they play again to defeat him this time. The group tries to work together to defeat Sol, but they discover their personal motives don't perfectly align this time.
Yuki and Itsuomi get closer as she teaches him more signs and they spend more time together. Rin and her crush go on their first “date” to Costco to pick up supplies for the diner, but Rin is a little too embarrassed to be alone in the car with him for that long. She invites Yuki and Itsuomi to go as a double date, so the four have fun picking out interesting items and necessities that are all oversized. Afterwards, Itsuomi invites Yuki to his place where they eat pizza and she teaches him more signs. They are interrupted by Emma, a former paramour of Itsuomi’s, and Yuki doesn’t know how to feel about the two of them.
Asa runs into a young man at a museum who has a photograph of the monster she saw when the typhoon took her family. He refuses to talk to a “nobody” like her and scuttled off with a ton of research on the monster. Asa and Mr. Kasuga are then conscripted to help identify the creature should it make an appearance during the opening ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Asa makes the acquaintance of The Blue Impulse - some of the best aerial maneuver pilots in the country - as they practice making the Olympic Rings for the Opening Ceremony. The Government is using this display as an important symbol of peace, and, because of this, the Defense Forced won’t be allowed to intercede during the Opening Ceremony should the monster return.
Ragna has now teamed up with Crimson, who for reasons unknown wants to rid the world of dragons. Their next target is Disas Trois, the Tempest Cell, a dragon who harnesses the power of the wind to destroy towns and people. A band of hunters comes across Ragna and Crimson, and Crimson cleverly manipulates information out of them about the Tempest Cell, whom the hunters are all running from. Ragna, after using all of his strength in the last battle at the end of volume one, can't move his muscles from exhaustion. Crimson decides to use non-magical guns and embue them with Ragna's Silverine powers so that the bullets will be deadly to Disas Trois. As the group of Crimson and failed hunters re-enter the destroyed down below the Tempest Cell, they find Disas Trois mutilating the women of the town with his wind power, slowly cutting their limbs until they perish from blood loss or pain. Elsewhere, we meet another dragon monarch who is working against the humans and deploying her dragon soldiers to various human cities.
This volume is a retelling the tale of Persephone and Hades. We start off with Hades, overworked and trying to keep the Underworld in check. Many mortals are coming to him without any idea of how they died, which is a big problem for him in determining where they need to go. He travels to Olympus to figure out why they can't remember and stumbles upon a party, a celebration for Artemis getting her first temple. Zeus convinces Hades into putting the work talk on pause, and goads him into telling who he has a crush on. Hades, who is embarrassed by this line of talk, can't quite tell his brother who she is because he doesn't know her name. Meanwhile, Persephone fights with her mother, Demeter, about going to the party. Demeter is determined to keep working to preserve the perpetual summer the mortals enjoy, but Persephone is tired and wants to blow off some steam -- and potentially see that shy, cute guy. Zeus gets too involved, and Hades and Persephone end up on a stolen carriage in a pretty big pickle, but at least they're getting a chance to talk to each other.
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