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Manga Spice Cafe
$39.95 Per Mo
Ships Worldwide (Increased Fee)
It has been a hot minute since I got to do a review myself, so when Manga Spice Cafe asked me to review their box I was like “Okay, school is ending, I’m gonna have some free time, let’s get back to our roots and read some manga and eat some snacks.” Unfortunately due to my thesis I had this box sitting a lot longer than I’d normally like (IM SORRY D: ). School took it out of me I tell ya, but here I am, with a shiny new Master’s degree.
Anyway Manga Spice Cafe is a subscription box that focuses on sending out 3 manga volumes each month, along with a drink and some snacks. Manga normally costs 10$+ where I’m from (which is literally middle-of-no-where-west-by-god-virginia HYPENS ALL THE HYPENS), so considering you get 3 plus snacks seems pretty standard, value wise. Manga, for those unaware, is an art form; a Japanese visual novel. It normally spans many volumes and there are several genres. I have a lot of manga myself, my favorite being my Suikoden III manga, modeled after my favorite game series.
Each box comes with a heavily detailed booklet about the mangaka (author/artist), snacks, drinks, and some fun lore. It’s a heaaaaaaailly detailed booklet, honestly one of the most well done ones I’ve seen in a sub box. They really take pride in the artist whose manga they feature.
Let’s start with the snacks!
Morinaga Milk Caramels
These were honestly some of my favorite snacks from Japan; the caramels are really soft and chewy with a good flavor. They’re almost like caramel flavored tootsie rolls.
Orion Custard Soft Cup Cupcake
The cake is very spongey with a soft texture, and quite moist. The filling inside is mostly nondescript.
Kracie DIY Kit
I’m just… okay I’m still REALLY AWFUL at these so I donated it to a young cousin of mine to play with. I just have no penchant for DIY kits at all, but I like that Manga Spice Cafe included one as a complement to the box :D
Cotton Candy Ramune
I LOVE RAMUNE! :D It’s a fizzy soda drink that isn’t too overly sugary or strong, and comes in a huge variety of flavors. Honestly one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about sub boxes is their movement to include drinks. Here in the US we have fruity drinks, sure, but Japan is where you get the better, more interesting flavors (hi, Japanese kitkats vs US kitkats?). Anyway, ramune is almost like a flavored club soda. It has a ball and a plunger which you use to push said ball into the drink, causing the fizz. I remember the first time I tried to open ramune, I tried in vain to twist off the blue top, unfortunately breaking the bottle in the process. Reee.
Strawberry Creme Yan Yan
Yan Yan is basically cracker/cookie sticks that you dip in a flavored creme. The creme is sort of like, a strawberry nutella. It’s really creamy and flavorful. Yan Yan is another classic snack food making its way into US stores pretty regularly.
Annnnd onward to the manga!
Waiting for Spring Vol 1
“A sweet romantic story of a soft-spoken high school freshman and her quest to make friends, Waiting for Spring will delight fans of earnest, fun, and dramatic shojo like Kimi ni Todoke and Say I Love You. 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?”
Love and Lies Vol 1
“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!”
Aho-Girl Vol 1
“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!”
So the manga they sent is in a variety of genres, not to mention that the Aho-Girl is a 4koma, which is essentially 4 comic panels in a single strip. Two love themed mangas and one quirky, plus all the pink themed foods make this a really cute, well curated box. Love and Lies especially is really interesting to me, given the obstacle of a “state promised marriage,” since he’s in love with another girl and all that. That is a manga I will most likely buy more volumes off, the story is just really well done and the art is really beautiful.
Overall I felt the box was really well done, really beautiful and the manga was high quality. The manga arrives wrapped too, brand new, nothing used or resold. The snacks were complimentary and well chosen for the theme.
Honestly if you’re looking for some new manga to read, I’d strongly suggest these guys. It’s really well done!
PR Sample. No affiliate links. Lots of snacks.
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