Upcoming 11/30/2011

There’s really only one item of interest to me on this week’s ComicList, but it makes the trip to the local comic shop worthwhile.

It’s the second volume of Nicolas de Crécy’s Salvatore, An Eventful Crossing, from NBM. Kate (The Manga Critic) Dacey and I discussed the first volume at some length and found it intriguing if a little bit unnerving. I’m looking forward to this one, even if it puts me a bit on edge in ways I can’t quite describe.

You can check out what my Manga Bookshelf colleagues are eagerly anticipating this week, and you can read our thoughts on some recent releases in a heaping helping of Bookshelf Briefs.


Upcoming 11/23/2011

Okay, so clearly this is not going to be a hugely productive week for me, blogging-wise. But I can still muster a look at the current ComicList.

It’s pretty easy, since there isn’t a lot of new material. The highlight is Natsume Ono’s Tesoro (Viz). Here’s a bit of what I had to say about it in my review:

I can see why Viz saved Tesoro for last. It’s charming, but it benefits from having a larger view of Ono’s body of work. It contains some of her earlier short works for magazines like IKKI and some self-published stories, and I can see it gaining a non-manga audience. It’s very much in an indie-comics vein, especially if we’re talking about recent indie comics where the creators seem to feel freer to indulge in some genial whimsy.

You can find links to several other reviews at the post repository for the recently concluded Manga Moveable Feast on Ono’s work, hosted by Manga Widget.

Other than that, it’s pretty much all Sailors, all the time, which is the focus of the current Manga Bookshelf Pick of the Week.


Upcoming 11/16/2011

I feel vaguely like Tom Sawyer, sitting back and watching other people do my work for me, at least in terms of an evaluation of this week’s ComicList. Instead of hacking out my own rundown of the new arrivals, I’ll simply point out this week’s Manga Bookshelf Pick of the Week post. By now, you all know how I feel about Manga Moveable Feast star Natsume Ono’s Tesoro (Viz), and you’re only a click away from seeing why Melinda Beasi and Kate Dacey share my enthusiasm for new volumes of Takehiko Inoue’s Real and Hisae Iwaoka’s Saturn Apartments.

You’re also only a click away from this week’s round of Bookshelf Briefs. This week’s theme, at least for me, is finding that I quite enjoyed two books in spite of their clear intent to pander to specific audiences that don’t generally include me. (Those would be the second volume of A Certain Scientific Railgun from Seven Seas and the first volume of Mr. Tiger and Mr. Wolf from Digital Manga.)

But wait! There’s more! The Manga Bookshelf Battle Robot also assembled for a new installment of Going Digital, in which I beg iPad users to give Oishinbo a chance.


MMF: On Ono

Alexander Hoffman has launched the latest Manga Moveable Feast over at Manga Widget, an examination of the fetching and varied comics of Natsume Ono. I’ve got a few pieces in the pipeline for this week, but I thought I’d point to a few things I’ve already written:

Can’t wait to see what everyone has to say about this versatile, very distinct creator!



Thanks to everyone who voted in this month’s Previews poll. A Devil and Her Love Song (Viz) and Durarara!! (Yen Press) pretty much tied, and plenty of people suggested that Devil is something I should read even without the prompting of democracy, so I’ll just go for both. I love it when a plan comes together, and when a plan falls apart in interesting and useful ways.

Speaking of plans, Alexander (Manga Widget) Hoffman is gearing up for the next Manga Moveable Feast. This installment focuses on the work of Natsume Ono. I believe I may have expressed a fondness for her work once or twice. I’ll have to check my files.

And, on the subject of Manga Moveable Feasts, I like it when the events cast a spotlight on a specific creator like Rumiko Takahashi and Fumi Yoshinaga. So, for this week’s random question, I’ll ask which mangaka you’d like to see at the center of a future feast?

Osamu Tezuka seems like an ideal candidate, because so much of his work has been licensed and translated and lots of it comes in affordable, one-volume chunks. I kind of suspect that his individual works are so different and dense that it might take a month-long feast to cover everything. Yuu Watase would offer a reasonable amount of variety, but some of her series are so very, very long that it might pose a barrier to participation. I’d actually really enjoy a Junko Mizuno feast, since she’s such a distinctive artist, and it might poke Last Gasp into publishing another volume of Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu, because I loved the first volume like I would my own emotionally disturbed child.



Upcoming 11/9/2011

Even if there was only one thing on this week’s Comic List, it would still be one of the best ever. Here’s why:

You know how something you anticipate for a really long time can end up being something of an anticlimax? The first volume of Osamu Tezuka’s Princess Knight (Vertical) is emphatically not one of those things. I read it over the weekend, and, if anything, it made me even happier than I thought it would. I’m going to review it on Friday, so I won’t go into too much detail now, but it’s pure Tezuka: entertaining as you could possibly wish, a little insane, a little sad, and incredibly fresh, even though it was created 65 years ago.

It’s hard for anything to hold up to that, but I’m also happy to see the tenth volume of Kou Yaginuma’s Twin Spica (Vertical). I like the characters a lot, and I love the fragile aesthetic Yaginuma creates to tell their stories.

I’m really hoping I’ll enjoy the first volume of Kai Asou’s Only Serious About You (Digital Manga), a boys’-love title that sounds like it matches a lot of my tastes in this category. It’s about a single father who works at a restaurant who becomes close to a flirty, seemingly frivolous customer.

You can see the Manga Bookshelf crew’s Pick of the Week here, and we formed the mighty battle robot to bust out a whole bunch of Bookshelf Briefs.


Previews poll for November 2011

It’s been a while since a new edition of the Previews comics catalog has offered enough dubious manga debuts for me to run a poll, but the latest has three! Here they are:

GTO: 14 Days in Shonan, written and illustrated by Tohru Fujisawa, Vertical:

The sequel to the groundbreaking manga Great Teacher Onizuka takes its titular lead back home to the rough and tough surfing heaven of Shonan. One of the most important manga in American history returns with a brand new mini-series.

I know a lot of people enjoy this franchise, but it’s consistently failed to interest me enough to ever read a page of it. This series is currently running in Kodansha’s Weekly Shônen Magazine.

A Devil and Her Love Song, written and illustrated by Miyoshi Tomori, Viz:

Meet Maria Kawai—she’s gorgeous and whip-smart, a girl who seems to have it all. But when she unleashes her sharp tongue, it’s no wonder some consider her to be the very devil! Maria’s difficult ways even get her kicked out of an elite school, but this particular fall may actually turn out to be her saving grace…

Maria’s frank nature gains her more enemies at her new school, but her angelic singing voice inadvertently catches the attention of Yusuke Kanda and Shin Meguro. Can these boys mend her hardened heart, or will they just end up getting scorched?

This actually sounds like I’d enjoy it a lot, so I might track it down even if it doesn’t win the poll. It ran for 13 volumes in Shueisha’s Margaret.

Durarara!!, written by Ryohgo Narita, characters by Suzuhito Yasuda, and art by Akiyo Satorigi, Yen Press:

At the invitation of an old school friend, introverted high school student Mikado Ryuugamine, yearning for a life less ordinary, makes his way to Tokyo. His destination: Ikebukuro, a hotbed of madmen living most unusual lives. On his first day there, Mikado encounters a cast of characters so colorful, the rich hues of his rural hometown pale in comparison! And as if the naïve stalker chick, the high school senior obsessed with the rather creepy object of his affections, the hikikomori genius doctor, the hedonistic information dealer, the strongest man in all of Ikebukuro weren’t enough…Mikado also chances upon a sight that leaves him rubbing his eyes and scratching his head — the Black Biker, who is black as night from bodysuit to license plate, soundlessly weaving through the streets like a figure out of an urban legend. Who is this “Headless Rider” on the jet-black metal steed!? And why does it seem like Mikado’s already gotten himself neck-deep in the insanity that is the norm in his new home!?

The cover’s really appealing, but the plot sounds like junior hipster hogwash to me. It’s running in Square Enix’s GFantasy.

So which do you think I should pre-order? You can use any standard you prefer, whether it’s to connect me to something I might enjoy or to drive me to the brink of madness. Cast your vote by the end of the day Friday.


Upcoming 11/2/2011

Like that house in the neighborhood that always offers the best haul on Halloween, the ComicList has lots of appealing choices this week. I’ll focus on three.

I doubt it will be a barrel of laughs, but I’m eager to read No Longer Human (Vertical), Usumaru Furuya’s adaptation of Osamu Dazai’s acclaimed, apparently depressing novel. I haven’t read it, but the book was heavily featured in Mizuki Nomura’s Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime (Yen Press), which was awesome. Furuya’s work is always interesting to me, even if I don’t particularly like it, if that makes sense.

I was pleasantly surprised by the first volume of Bloody Monday (Kodansha Comics), which overcame the total familiarity of its teen-hacker plot with rock-solid execution. Volume two is due tomorrow.

And oh, mighty Isis, is that the fifth volume of The Story of Saiunkoku (Viz) I see? It is! Okay, so I already bought this at the bookstore over the weekend. I’m still excited for the seven people who buy it through their local comic shop.

Over at the partially snow-bound Manga Bookshelf, a weather-reduced Battle Robot offers its Pick of the Week and some Bookshelf Briefs. We’ll take a week off from The Favorites Alphabet this week and devote all of our energy to hoping that our afflicted members get their power back soon.


Random weekend question: costume drama

Okay, here’s the obligatory Halloween-themed random weekend question: if resources and logistics were no object, what manga character would you emulate for your costume? While it seems fairly easy, I’d probably go with Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack. Now, I know you’re probably thinking that’s fairly simple — a trench coat, a wig, a few scars drawn on with an eyebrow pencil, and you’re finished. But that coat would take some wicked tailoring, and I’d want the whole armory of surgical tools in the lining, just for the effect.


Upcoming 10/26/2011

Thank goodness Viz is taking the week off on the ComicList, because a couple of other publishers are really bringing it.

The first volume of Drops of God, written by Tadashi Agi and illustrated by Shu Okimoto, arrives courtesy of Vertical. This series has the interesting distinction of having been covered by dozens of newspapers prior to ever being licensed. (And those articles were subsequently picked up via service by hundreds of other newspapers.) This phenomenon occurred because the manga has boosted the wine industry wherever it’s been published. Will that occur here? Will Wine Spectator feature it in the next issue? Hard to say, but I’m really looking forward to reading this tale of a race to find a roster of legendary vintages. (I’ll probably stick with Three-Buck Chuck myself, but at least I’ll know what I’m missing.)

Vertical also unleashes the seventh volume of Kanata Konami’s Chi’s Sweet Home, so you can balance rare wine with adorable pets.

Not to be outdone in the cute and funny department, Yen Press delivers the tenth volume of Kiyohiko Azuma’s Yotsuba&! I predict low-key, identifiable antics will ensue, and that I will probably giggle.

I also predict that my jaw will drop at the quantity and quality of pretty contained within the second volume of Kaoru Mori’s A Bride’s Story. I discussed this in more detail last week at Manga Bookshelf, though I couldn’t muster a Midtown-dependent pick this week. I did manage to provide a couple of Bookshelf Briefs.

Kodansha isn’t quite as impressive in its generosity, but it does offer the 11th volume of Koji Kumeta’s very funny Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, which is not to be overlooked. (In other Kodansha news, I thought the first volume of Mardock Scramble was fairly promising, and I barely escaped the first volume of the unbearably shrill Animal Land with my sanity intact, but more on that later.)

So, what looks good to you?