From School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Hakata Soy, the space hero with dangerously spiky hair, is glad to be back at Astronaut Academy after a semester break. Trouble emerges when a creature that feeds on human emotion infiltrates the school. The resulting drama, including a ban on love, threatens to keep Hakata's Fireball team out of the championship. This mix of science fiction and humor has high appeal, deftly referencing manga, anime, and gaming conventions. There are adorable chibis, a bunny teacher, and a panda undercover agent, and Fireball games are depicted as video-game battles, the players in full, mecha-like armor. Bold cartoon-style illustrations nod to manga's spiky, stylized look while remaining unique. Full of action, humor, and engaging characters, this is a solid purchase.-Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Roman reenrolls his readers in Astronaut Academy, where the favorite equation is shojo plus Harry Potter equals clever, postmodern humor and surprisingly affecting romance. While the likes of Maribelle Mellonbelly, Tak Offsky, and Miyumi San can play MonChiChiMon cards with a rabbit space-ninja and a Spanish-speaking panda bear, the lovelorn Hakata Soy is recruited onto the academy’s Fireball team as they strive to finally win the championship. At the same time, however, a shape-shifting monster has stowed away and is eating everyone’s hearts, which proves pretty easy with everyone showing their affection by giving away one of their nine possible hearts left and right. Gags are packed into just about every panel, which makes for a fast-paced read. The zany tone works so well that the undercurrent of sincere longing and occasional romantic tragedy can sneak up on you. Roman’s art, meanwhile, has an undeniable manga style but with the soft lines and easy charm of old-fashioned comic strips. Sure to delight returning readers, though newcomers can come aboard with no trouble. Grades 4-6. --Jesse Karp