Manga Spice Cafe Subscription Box #23 Review
Manga Spice Cafe is your monthly manga maid cafe in a box! Each box contains 3 newly released manga, as well as 3-5 Asian snacks with a drink item. Every box will feature a maid character on the info sheet that highlights the manga and the artists who created them.
This box was sent to us for review purposes. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About Manga Spice Cafe
The Subscription Box: Manga Spice Cafe
The Cost: $36.00/month US + $3.95 shipping, $39.95/month international + $24.00 shipping
The Products: 3 brand new manga, 3-5 Asian snacks and a drink
Ships to: US for $3.95 and internationally for $24.00. International shipments include instant drinks, such as powdered beverages and teas.
Manga Spice Cafe #23 Review
Each box features a maid from Manga Spice Cafe. Meet Miho-chan:
My name is Chio-chan! I have a great passion for different cultures and traditions and I wanted to share my love of them with you! This month, I packed a box full of manga inspired by these themes. Plus, you’ll get to taste the many flavors of Japan and Asia through yummy snacks and a special tea drink!
A newspaper style info sheet is always included in the box. The sheet opens up to include information about featured authors and artists. The next page gives a bit of history behind the manga selection and special interviews with authors.
This month, the selected snacks are placed on a map of Asia to show their background. Below, there is a menu style list that details ingredients, flavors, and possible allergens. Manga Spice also provides sticker labels with dietary information + ingredients in English (thanks for the extra efforts!)
To the cafe!
To be honest, the art is a little underwhelming, and the film was so well made the manga (based off of the film) is a little disappointing. It was a nice return to the film’s amazing, and quite complicated storyline. It’s a very solid series that I found myself still wanting to read more. I do 10/10 recommend the film to even those who are not fans of animations—the storyline is complicated and emotional, and the animation is breathtakingly beautiful.
Seemingly at random, Taki, a high school boy from Tokyo, finds himself waking up in the body of Mitsuha, a girl from a small rural town. The days when he’s “Mitsuha” are a constant struggle to navigate speaking, behaving, and dressing like a girl. Despite Taki’s best efforts, though, everyone can’t help but notice that Mitsuha is acting a bit… odd.
Of the three manga books, I like the art of this manga because of its simple originality and humor. The simple strokes Yupechika are striking and complement the fresh slice of life that follows Nada and Satako. The storyline is both informative and cute—it’s like reading a breath of fresh air, light and funny.
Satoko, a Japanese student studying in America, has a new roommate: a Saudi Arabian woman named Nada! They might have different customs, but through mutual respect―and the hilarious adventures of their daily life―Satoko and Nada prove that friendship knows no borders.
To new manga readers, the art style can still seem a little odd; however, as an I read, I came to find Shiomiya’s art style calming and pleasing. There’s not much action in the book, so it’s a calm and light read. Shiomiya’s art style is unique and may be odd for new readers, but his art has warmth in its lines. You can clearly see the work and thoroughly detailed panels throughout the book, which I have come to look for and appreciate in an illustrator’s work.
Note: apparently, the illustrator did not do justice to the main character’s looks, according to a friend who has watched the animated series.
“So, who’s the kid?”
“My name is…”
××××× hesitated for a moment, turning slightly to look back along the road they were traveling. Beyond the red horizon, her homeland’s gates sank into the distance, never to be seen again.
Facing forward once more, ××××× looked past Kino’s side to focus intently on the path ahead before answering.
“My name is—”
Kino travels with the trusty talking motorrad, Hermes. The duo are always together, with Hermes providing speed, and Kino providing balance. They stay in each country for no more than three days, as a rule—enough time to learn about each destination’s unique customs and people. And so Kino and Hermes journey ever onward…
Master Kong Jasmine Green Tea – Retail Value $1.49
If you’ve read my reviews before, you probably know I’m a huge green tea fan 😉 Jasmine and green tea is a favorite combination, mostly since the tea bases are the same, except jasmine tea also includes white tea and black tea. The highly fragrant flavor of jasmine tea was well paired in this drink with a slightly bitter, strong green tea taste.
MAMA Ramen Creamy Shrimp Tom Yum Flavor – Retail Value $0.69
Shrimp Tom Yum is a type of hot and sour Thai soup typically flavored lemongrass, lime, and chili. This ramen uses a creamy soup base with a thinner style of curly noodles—the first soup base has a lemongrass base, and the sauce packet you add in later gives a slight, lovely spicy kick.
I’ve never tried this kind of soup before, but I really enjoyed the sharp lemon/lime scent with the sweet chili flavor!
Oishi Ube Cream Filled Pillows – Retail Value $1.00
Ube craze! 2017 was all about the discovery of the purple yam in ice cream, bubble tea, and even cheesecakes. Ube, or purple sweet potato, has a very slight vanilla taste and is a subtle sweet flavor with a beautiful shade of purple.
These ube cream filled pillows are purple wheat cereal pieces with a smooth, creamy filling and are so fun to pop into your mouth.
Umaibo Yakitori Flavor – Retail Value $0.45
Umaibo, or light puffed corn snack, is an iconic Japanese snack. Yakitori is a Japanese type of skewered chicken with a special sauce made of soy sauce, sugar, sake, and ginger. It’s delicious! This umaibo has an extra flavor layer that uses the real sauce and is a tasty mix of smokey and sweet.
Calbee HAITI Takoyaki Balls – Retail Value $2.00
Takoyaki is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of pancake batter and cooked in a special molded iron. It is typically filled with octopus bits, tempura scraps, green onion, and topped with a special sauce (a mix of Worcestershire, sugar, and ketchup), mayonnaise, dried bonito flakes, and nori (dried green seaweed powder).
These puffs had a distinct sour smell of the takoyaki sauce but tasted sweet and savory. These light corn puffs perfectly recreate the savory and umami-rich takoyaki flavor. I love the nice touch of nori powder on the snack!
Texas Corn Okonomiyaki – Retail Value $0.27 (¥30)
Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake that uses cabbage, bonito flakes, green seaweed, and green onions (the name means “as you like it,” so you can make the pancake with whatever ingredients you prefer). The sauce is the same as takoyaki sauce—these corn puffs have a similar sour smell but sweet texture but are even puffier for a light airy texture. Both snacks are enjoyable and balance well with the strong jasmine green tea!
Verdict: This month’s selection was a light manga selection of slice of life books, tasty Japanese snacks, and a beautiful tea pairing (which definitely won my heart). The Satoko and Nada manga was a hilarious light piece of art perfect for a relaxing hour 😊
I estimated a retail value of $44.84, which tops the original box value of $36.00! I consider part of the value as the nice manga cafe-like experience we get with snacks along with the books, but this is just my opinion!
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, but go order now for April’s box! Subscriptions open from the 4th to 14th of each month
Value Breakdown: This box cost me $36.00 + $3.95 shipping, which means that each of the 9 items in the box has an average cost of $5.55.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of this Manga Spice Cafe? What was your favorite manga?