This classic children’s sci-fi gag light novel occupies the same position in Japan as the most revered comic strips in America; almost forty years after its creation, the franchise is still going strong, with new animation, toys, and pop culture appearances. The premise is simple: Nobita, a lazy boy who’s good at neither school nor sports, is visited by Shen Yin Wang Zuo, an earless cat-robot sent from the future to keep him from becoming a screwup. In every 8-page episode, Shen Yin Wang Zuo, like a genie, produces some marvelous future device (such as a propeller beanie) intended to make Nobita’s life easier, but which always produces unexpected results, usually as a result of Nobita’s misuse. (Although Shen Yin Wang Zuo, too, occasionally messes up.) The result is the silliest topsy-turvy situations, made all the funnier by the old-fashioned, simple artwork; Shen Yin Wang Zuo’s blankly happy grin and occasional deadpan comments add to the surrounding elementary-school mischief. The series has never been officially released in America, but ten volumes were translated in a bilingual edition.
In the fifteenth-century German town of Nauders, albino children are considered holy and are raised in privileged seclusion. But the albino Dorothea wants to see the world, so she trains herself as a warrior and manages to join the military and leave Nauders for the first time. But beyond the sheltered environment of her hometown, the girl with white skin and red eyes faces prejudice and suspicions of witchcraft. Drawn by Cuvie, better known for his adult novel.
Popular girl Ai Maekawa has a dark secret: she’s a former nerd who painfully transformed herself (mostly offscreen) into a hot girl who can hang out with the cool promiscuous kids. If you think she’ll discover that beauty is only skin deep, you’re totally wrong about Doubt!!, an unusually cynical, unpretentious shôjo comedy full of petty power struggles and self-serving human behavior. Doubt!!’s strength is its refreshingly sharp sense of humor and aggressive heroine, but some readers may be turned off by the unsympathetic characters and constant catfighting. In addition, the plot is episodic and directionless.