I hope that everyone is having a good week, and managing to get through the monotony of the daily grind.
Things have been going fairly well here, especially considering how things have slowed down a bit, and I can still do the things that I enjoy doing.
Recently, I ordered quite a few books from Amazon, and even though I do not have all eight them right now, I got three of the eight and two more remain, both of which come from the same series.
Today, I will be reviewing one of those titles, which is called Girls' Last Tour Volume 1 By Tsukumizu.
The world has come to an end and very few humans still remain on the planet, but it is not too lonely, as two girls, Chito and Yurok, travel the land in search of necessary supplies and to continue surviving to the next day.
When I first heard about this, I kind of wanted to check it out through its anime first, just like how I first got exposed to School-Live!, but, unfortunately, unlike the aforementioned School-Live!, this series was picked up by Amazon's Anime Strike, which took it out of reach, and I decided to just give up on, since Anime Strike costs way too much money.
However, I recently learned that the manga had been licensed via Yen Press, and I decided to give it a chance, to see if it could impress me by getting three volumes of the series, the last of which has yet to be released here.
And after reading this volume, I find myself rather unimpressed.
As many should know by now, I would prefer to talk about what I liked and hated about a work, as that would allow me to give a fair judgement to each series, as to whether or not it is good, bad, or okay, but there are times where I forced to jump right into what I hated, and this almost made me want to do just that.
Fortunately, things were not so bad that I could not find something that I did like, so I do not need to jump right into things that really bothered me just yet.
The one, and possibly only thing, that I liked was how I was able to get some sort of chuckle.
From the moment I took a gander at what the series was, I could tell that this was a slice of life series through and through, so I was kind of expecting things to be a little dull, but hearing about a few things that occur in this volume, I did think that I might get a laugh and improved my initial impression of it to at least give the series a try, though I was still not expecting to laugh as much as I did when reading or watching Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid.
And When I finally got to read this volume, I noticed how there were quite a few things that were found with in it that did indeed make me chuckle, though, as expected, it was not quite as funny as many of the other manga and anime out there.
The funniest of which occurs near the beginning.
After getting out of whatever hole they were in, Chito and Yuuri come across some rations that taste like chocolate and discover that there was more than they thought, but Yuuri points a gun at Chito, saying that they are at war.
While I did see this coming, and would have seen it regardless of whether I had gone into this series blindly or not, as the two girls were talking about war before it happened, it really helped me, it was the first moment where I found myself chuckling and thought that this series might not be so bad, after all, as it might be able to serve as a good manga to read for relaxation purposes, and helped in making me consider this series to be complete and utter garbage, even if it was not enough to truly able to improve my impression of the series.
Regardless of whether an anime or a manga are good or bad, readers and viewers want to have themselves feel entertained, and Tsukumizu gave it a good try by putting in this moment that did make me feel like chuckling, though I would not say that it is executed well enough to be considered good humor.
If Tsukumizu had worked on things a bit more, I would have been able to find a bit more joy in this series, and actually been happy to read through all three of the volumes I had purchased, as I am sure that there are people around that might berating me for not seeing how great this series is, and I truly wanted to like it.
However, with what is presented here, all I can see is just something that has met the very bare minimum for good humor, and let Tsukumizu know that it was a nice try, since I was able to get at least chuckle.
Hopefully, the comedic moments will improve in the other volumes, because I do not want to be shown that I wasted my money by deciding to give this a chance, but, considering how the small moments of humor were the only thing that I liked, there is going to be a huge uphill battle for Tsukumizu to show that it is worth people's time.
Sadly, I cannot think of anything else, even now, that I particularly liked, and will have to move on to doing what I truly hate to do, though I must do it.
Because there was only one thing to really like about this, I am not too sure I should have given this series the time of day.
Although I did manage to find something that I liked, there are some issues.
And, unfortunately, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, there were a few things I did not like.
From the moment that I opened up this volume and started to read it, I felt like I only ever got reasons to set the book down and walk away from the series entirely, even though I was initially willing to try reading each of the first three volumes, just like I gave Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid a chance to impress.
Readers read in order to escape into other worlds, so that they can relax, and in order to do that the writers and manga creators need to create some kind of hook that makes them engrossed, which is usually done by slowly easing the reader into the world of the series into the work, seeing as we are talking about the first installment of a series.
Of course, the way to create that hook is a little different, depending on genre, and seeing as this is a slice of life series, the best way to do that is by showing an ordinary day in the lives of the characters, so the audience can get to know the characters and see what they have to struggle with.
When this volume began, I thought something like this would occur, so that things would be off to good start, even if all of the things that are common issues in the first volume were present, and I would be glad to have have given this a try.
However, instead of seeing what the daily life of Chito and Yuuri were like, it starts with them traveling through something like a cavern, which takes up most of the chapter, as they sleep in that dark area, and nothing seems to happen, even up to the point where they make it out and sit under the night sky a bit, before they once again fall asleep and the chapter ends.
Now, this kind of start was not completely terrible, as I can at least think of some way to make things seem more interesting, without changing things too much, but it is still awful, because the characters did not seem to have any hidden depth and it felt like the creator expected me to know who these girls were and what their situation was already.
The first volume of a series is supposed to lay these things out and give us a reason to want to continue on with the series, Tsukumizu completely and utterly fails to deliver in this regard.
If Tsukumizu had taken the time to have them start thinking about things while they were staring out at the night sky, there would have at least been some suggestion that these characters have depth, even if it would end up being a little cliché.
However, instead of making these characters seem interesting enough to follow, Tsukumizu decided to have them be simple characters, which gave it the feel that these girls were only having fun, instead of trying to survive.
Yes, my summary of the series may not seem to great, just like the official summary on Amazon does not seem that impressive, though maybe worded better, but I was definitely expecting more from this series that is supposed to be set in a post apocalyptic world.
Unfortunately, this series comes off as just a generic series where the reader is supposed to enjoy seeing girls do stuff, even though it is targeted towards the same age group as Boku Dake ga Inai Machi.
Seriously, it seems like Tsukumizu though that adult men everywhere would just flock to a series that shows cute girls doing things just because they are girls in a supposed tough situation, instead of realizing that some of us may actually want characters that are not as one-dimensional as the stories our mothers, elder sisters, or grandmothers read to us, or even those found in the Bible.
This is probably why the slice of life genre is hated so much, and if the people at Shinchosha, the people responsible for serializing this series, think that work like this deserves to be published, then I might as well kick them to the curb for being complete idiots, as even the worst books published where I live do a better job at getting readers invested in a work, though I still do not see how they even get the time of day from publishing houses.
Hopefully, things improve dramatically in the next two installments, because I would much rather be singing the praises of a work, and that would make this series more worth my time.
However, with as bad of an impression I got from this volume alone, I am almost certain that my expectations will not met, thus reaffirming my decision to not continue past volume 3.
Another thing that I really hated was how quickly new characters were introduced.
Even though this series is just starting up, and we, the audience, do not have any idea of what the world is like, the official summary found on Amazon, which I almost decided to use instead of my own because I could not really get a good grasp on what I was reading and it sounded better, suggests that Chito and Yuuri are the last people left on the planet and the way the series was going did not even hint that there were others.
However, after going through more than half the volume, there is suddenly a sign that there are other people out there, via an explosion, and a new characters suddenly appears on the scene.
What the heck, Tsukumizu? We barely know our protagonists, beyond the usual one dimensional anime and characters many are familiar with, and decide to introduce another character?
This might have worked well for an ending to the volume, as there would be a mystery as to what their motivation and intentions are, but in ends up happening around the antepenultimate chapter and this character ends up being friendly.
Six chapters is too soon to introduce a new character, after spending the first five focusing only on two, and by introducing characters already, it seems to feel like Tsukumizu does not even have confidence in the characters he or she created.
Readers expect some kind of buildup to things like this, as a reader should be excited to see new characters, regardless of whether they become a main character or not.
However, the only buildup to this moment occurs at the beginning of chapter 6, after having the mood feel like it was just another day for Chito and Yuuri.
Honestly, is the editor that is working with Tsukumizu even doing their job?
If they were, and were competent, they would not have allow a manga chapter to start off this way, as something like this seems to work best right at the end of a chapter than it does at where it occurs.
Unfortunately, they did not do that, and it made the appearance of this new character to be very boring.
Of course, Tsukumizu and his or her editor are not the only ones at fault for causing this problem, as the big reason that this is an issue is that it occurs in the antepenultimate chapter of the volume, so Shinchosha or whoever they had compile these chapters into volumes made a big mistake in not ending this volume sooner.
If there were only four or five chapters, I could have at least been able find a way to relax myself while reading this, but because there are eight chapters, it ends up being much more problematic.
Hopefully, this will improve as things progress, as I do think writers and people who create manga should be given a chance to show improvement, but, for now, I only see a series that is just as dumb as John Grisham's The Whistler.
The thing that I hated the most though was this volume felt like it only one chapter long.
The job of a first volume is to introduce a reader to the series, and in the case of manga, help them decide whether or not they like it by giving them more than one or two chapters to sample, and this volume did contain eight chapters, as the table of contents had promised, it did really seem like it had eight chapters.
Now some might say that it should be a good thing that eight chapters flew right on by, as that would signify that it was so good that I did not even notice that I was reading a new chapter, but that can only be said if something happens and transitions to the next chapter so smoothly that the change is unnoticeable.
Here, however, hardly anything happened in each chapter to the point where I was wondering if I really was reading a new chapter, or if I was still in chapter 1.
Really, guys? Is this a sign of a great book? Readers want to be entertained, as well as be able to leave and pick up right where they left off, which should be feat that is easier to do with things like manga, but if they cannot remember what chapter they left off on, then there is no way that they can do that when necessary.
Yes, readers can use bookmarks if they read a book in print and many digital reading devices and apps would automatically save where the person left off, but being able to remember exactly what had occurred is also important, because of all the things that can happen, regardless of how one reads, and if they cannot find out where a chapters begins or ends, aside from things that notify the reader that they are in a new chapter, they would have to start over, not to mention it would be difficult for the reader to determine if they got what they were promised.
Unfortunately, there was no ending like that until the very last page of chapter 8, and it ends up making the reader feelings disappointed about how quickly it ended, instead of excited to read more, and it really brings the volume down to a new low.
Thankfully, that was all that bothered me, so I can stop berating the people involved for the terrible job job they did.
Because there was quite a bit to hate, such as nothing to pull the reader into the world of the book, new characters were introduced too soon, and the fact that the chapters were so uneventful that it felt like there was only one chapter, instead of 8, this was one of the worst books I have ever read.
Considering that there was quite a bit to hate about this book, and not enough to like, this book ended up being a complete waste of time.
I recommend everyone avoid this like the plague, because there is nothing to be found that could really redeem it, no matter what kind of stories you like, though you are free to check it out if you wish.
If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or, if you really wish to see whether I am right or not, buy a copy of the reviewed title from Book Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so I can find some worthwhile reads for you guys, and do whatever you do when you find somethings that impresses you.
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