Given the vagaries of comic distribution timing, I’ve already read two of the titles I’m most eagerly anticipating off of the current ComicList. So I guess I’m not eagerly anticipating them so much as fondly remembering them. Anyway, you might still be undecided, so…
First up was the fourth volume of The Story of Saiunkoku (Viz), Kairi Yura’s lovely adaptation of Sai Yukino’s light novels. It’s entirely possible that I love this series so much that I can no longer see its flaws, but I think it equally likely that there are no meaningful flaws to be seen. This arrival was particularly welcome during the debate over the debt ceiling, as it suggested a world where people go into governance for the right reasons, and the best and brightest are rewarded with responsibility and authority. So, yes, clearly it’s a fantasy, but it’s a lovely and reassuring one, and the creators reinforce its ultimately feminist message by moving their heroine closer to her dream, even if it damages the romantic prospects of the man who loves her. That’s not the kind of conundrum you see every day in entertainment, which makes this series just about priceless.
Less rewarding was the fourth volume of Julietta Suzuki’s Kamisama Kiss (Viz). I generally like this series very much for the evenhanded approach Suzuki takes with her male and female protagonists. She treats them with equal respect, and she gives each specific strengths which make their relationship much more interesting than some victim-rescuer dynamic would be. That balance slips a bit this time around, which is disappointing, though hardly fatal. I still like the characters a lot, but certain complications screw up their dynamic and make it depressingly… conventional. (Misunderstanding! Secrecy! Alienation!) I count on Suzuki’s quirky good sense to reassert itself next time around.
In other Viz news, this week sees the delivery of the third volume of Kazue Kato’s very promising Blue Exorcist, the eighth volume of Yuki Midorikawa’s lovely Natsume’s Book of Friends, and the second volume of Mayu Shinjo’s sure-to-be-repulsive Ai Ore!
Oh, and in the category of things I’m still eagerly anticipating, there’s the second volume of CLAMP’s Cardcaptor Sakura (Dark Horse). I can’t believe I’ve yet to see this series in a Barnes & Noble.
What looks good to you?