Blind date May 2011

We have three candidates for this month’s boys’-love blind date, all courtesy of Digital Manga (a publisher I feel kind of owes me one). You can check out last month’s inaugural attempt for the parameters of my taste in this category and some disclaimers. Now, let’s check out the gents!

Sky Link, written and illustrated by Shiro Yamada: Ban Ritsuki was looking forward to his university life. Then, on his very first day, he bumps into a strange man on campus who tells him that he has the sort of face that he likes. Reacting badly, he tells the man he is disgusting. Unfortunately, that was not the end of the matter, as the stranger turns out to be one of his lecturers, Takagi Shoutaro. Ban finds this irritating enough, but Takagi can’t seem to get the message that he wants him to just leave him alone as much as possible. To be honest, Takagi just really pushes Ban’s rage buttons. That is, until one unguarded moment when Ban catches sight of Takagi sky gazing, with a look of intense melancholy upon his face. Finding his heart unexpectedly moved, Ban discovers that sometimes irritation can be a symptom of something besides anger, but what is it?

You get three guesses, Ban, and the first two don’t count. On the plus side, I like manga set in universities. On the down side, I’m getting a “no means yes” vibe from this. Yamada seems to have done a lot of Gin Tama doujinshi, which is a mitigating factor, as it seems like relatively intriguing slash fodder. Sky Link originally ran in Taiyo Tosho’s HertZ.

An Even More Beautiful Lie, written and illustrated by Kei Kanai: When art student Kurosu Keiichiro notices a young man leaving his umbrella on the train, he runs after him to return it. In so doing, he ends up missing his last train home. Feeling responsible, the young man offers his place for the night. Turns out he is a fellow student at Keiichiro’s university, one Yukari Yohito who has already garnered considerable attention for his artwork. Yukari may be a genius with paints and a canvas, but is completely hopeless at everything else as Keiichiro discovers. Striking up a friendship, Keiichiro begins coming by to take care of things for Yukari. The more he involves himself in Yukari’s life, however, the deeper Keiichiro’s feelings begin to run. It’s no longer mere friendship or even admiration that moves him, but just what should he do about it?

Bus stop, wet day, he’s there, I say, “Please share my umbrella.”

You guys, I seriously hate that song, but this comic sounds like it could be pretty good. This is obviously not qualitatively relevant, but it makes me smile that it’s right next to All Nippon Air Line in DMP’s title roster. An Even More Beautiful Lie also ran in HertZ.

Warning! Whispers of Love, written and illustrated by Puku Okuyama: The beginning of high school is a time of dreams, which are all too soon broken. So while one may fall in love at first sight, the other may run. But love and romance are a hard dream to kill off. Running prey simply have to be chased in order to be caught, right? And in the classroom, there is no real escape from whispered words and subtle actions. Comedy ensues when two classmates play cat and mouse, with their hearts at stake!

Since it features high-school boys, it would take some enormously persuasive argument to get me to seriously consider reading this comic. It would have to be really funny and surprising, and I’m already totally picturing the trite stuck-on-cleaning-duty-with-him scene. Warning! Whispers of Love ran in Taiyo Tosho’s Craft.

So, there are our mystery men. Thoughts?


Previews review May 2011

After a couple of months of fairly jam-packed Previews catalogs, I suppose it could seem petty to complain that the current listings seem a little slender. There aren’t even enough debuts to manage a dubious manga poll for the month. Fortunately, there are some highlights worth noting.

Book of Human Insects, written and illustrated by Osamu Tezuka, Vertical, item code MAY 11 1268: How can one complain about a month that offers the English-language debut of crazy Tezuka seinen? This one originally ran in Akita Shoten’s Play Comic and has been published in French by Casterman as La femme insecte. It’s a mystery about an unscrupulous and manipulative woman. Vertical promises “more twists and turns than MW,” which hardly seems possible.

Veronica #208: Veronica Presents Kevin Keller #2: written and illustrated by Dan Parent, colored by Rich Koslowski, Archie Comics, item code MAY 11 0836: Okay, I missed mentioning the first issue of this, but Kevin (Robot 6) Melrose’s preview of part two of the mini-series about Riverdale’s newest resident, who happens to be gay, reminded me to be excited. (And just as a side note, who would have predicted that Archie would have proven to be the nimblest and most risk-friendly of pamphlet publishers? Not me, that’s for sure.)

Until the Full Moon, written and illustrated by Sanami Matoh, Kodansha Comics, item code MAY 11 1129: This isn’t a debut, per se, as the series was previously published by Broccoli Books. I thought the first volume was kind of dull back then, but I’m among the many who hold a special place in my heart for Matoh’s Fake (Tokyopop), so I thought this book’s return was worth mentioning.

That’s pretty much it as far as debuts go. Here are some particularly enticing new volumes of ongoing series.

Little Nothings volume 4: My Shadow in the Distance, written and illustrated by Lewis Trondheim, NBM, item code MAY 11 1142: These are smart, charming, observational-autobiographical comics from an incredibly talented creator, and they’re incredibly easy on the eye. You can check out a bunch of them at Trondheim’s blog for NBM.

And here’s a by-no-means complete list of new volumes of ongoing series that I’m looking forward to reading:

  • 20th Century Boys vol. 16, written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa, Viz Media, item code MAY 11 1241
  • Arisa vol. 3, written and illustrated by Natsumi (Kitchen Princess) Ando, Kodansha Comics, item code MAY 11 1122
  • Black Jack vol. 17, written and illustrated by Osamu Tezuka, Vertical, item code MAY 11 1269
  • Book Girl and the Captive Fool, written by Mizuki Nomura, Yen Press, item code MAY 11 1281

I’ll post another blind date experiment with the current batch of boys’-love candidates tomorrow.


Decisions, decisions

Thanks to everyone for their input on my Previews order for the month. Here’s what most of you voted for in terms of potentially dubious manga:

Animal ears and a bell around her neck… this one isn’t going to be easy, I can feel it.

As for the boys’ love candidates, I really did take all of your feedback into account, though I didn’t go with the title that received the majority of votes:

I just adore that cover. And I figured if I had to order a book with a cover that makes me deeply uneasy, I could at least indulge myself with one that looks really nice.

Here are some other highlights from the current catalog.


Previews review April 2011

Now that the preliminaries are out of the way, let’s check out the choice items in the current Previews catalog, shall we?

Eden: It’s an Endless World! vol. 13, written and illustrated by Hiroki Endo, Dark Horse, item code APR 11 0039: It’s been ages since Dark Horse released a volume of this often excellent science-fiction, as it apparently doesn’t fly off of the shelves. I’m glad to see them sticking with it, at least whenever finances permit. It originally ran in Kodansha’s Afternoon.

A Zoo in Winter, written and illustrated by Jiro Taniguchi, Fanfare/Ponent Mon, item code APR 11 1049: Taniguchi takes an autobiographical look at his early days as a manga-ka. For my tastes, this isn’t the most promising subject for any comic, but I always admire Taniguchi’s work, even if the specific topic triggers a lukewarm reaction. It originally ran in Shogakukan’s Big Comic.

The Quest for the Missing Girl, written and illustrated by Jiro Taniguchi, Fanfare/Ponent Mon, item code APR 11 1050: This is one of Taniguchi’s best pieces of genre work, combining his obsessions with mountaineering and noir, and it’s being offered again for those who missed it the first time around. It originally ran in Big Comic.

Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei vol. 9, written and illustrated by Koji Kumeta, Kodansha Comics, item code APR 11 1084: Of all of the resumptions in this month’s listings from Kodansha, this one fills my heart with the most gladness. It provides often blistering satire of contemporary Japanese culture and has a sprawling cast of insane schoolgirls. It runs in Kodansha’s Weekly Shônen Magazine.

A Treasury of 20th Century Murder vol. 4: The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti, written and illustrated by Rick Geary, NBM, item code APR 11 1110: Gifted cartoon historian Geary takes a look at the highly controversial trial of two accused anarchists.

Chibisan Date vol. 1, written and illustrated by Hidekaz Himaruya, Tokyopop, item code APR 11 1166: I admit to being generally suspect of Tokyopop’s new arrivals, but this one immediately struck me in a positive way: “On the crescent-shaped island of Nantucket lives Seiji, a young Japanese artist pursuing his dreams. This charming, slice-of-life story filled with warmth and pathos follows a cast of fascinating characters on the island.” There are some gorgeous sample pages in the catalog, and the plot sounds right up my alley. It’s running in Gentosha’s Comic Birz. Update: It’s been brought to my attention that Himaruya is also the creator of the very popular Hetalia Axis Powers, also from Tokyopop. I haven’t calculated precisely how this influences my enthusiasm for Chibisan Date, but I suspect it lowers it.

There are new volumes of two great series from Vertical:

  • Chi’s Sweet Home vol. 6, written and illustrated by Konami Kanata, item code APR 11 1205, originally serialized in Kodansha’s Morning.
  • Twin Spica vol. 8, written and illustrated by Kou Yaginuma, item code APR 11 1206, originally serialized in Media Factory’s Comic Flapper.

La Quinta Camera, written and illustrated by Natsume Ono, Viz Media, item code APR 11 1230: I believe I’ve mentioned this one before, and there may have been squeezing involved simply because I’m such a fan of Ono’s work. It’s slice of life about five men that live in an Italian apartment building. It originally ran in Penguin Shobou’s Comic SEED!

In other Viz news, there are new volumes of several series that I love a great deal:

So, those are my picks. What looks good to you? And be sure to help me pick a boys’-love title and vote in this month’s dubious manga poll!

Gods and monsters

It’s time again for you to choose among three dubious debuts in the new Previews catalog! I’m not saying all of these candidates sound awful, but each has enough of a “not for me” vibe emanating off of it to make me suspicious. Let’s begin!

Drifters vol. 1, written and illustrated by Kohta Hirano, Dark Horse: First he pitted the Catholic church against vampires, Nazis, and Great Britain, bathing London in a flood of blood. But Hellsing creator Kohta Hirano still had something crazy up his sleeve when he created his new series, Drifters.

Imagine a world of magic, full of elves and hobbits and dragons and orcs. Inside this world of magic and wonder there is a great war being waged, using warriors from human history as chess pieces in a bloody, endless battle. Hirano’s new concept gathers famous warriors throughout history and puts them on both sides of good and evil, and then turns them loose in a bloody melee of madness.

Okay, I might have been unable to resist a little copy editing in that blurb. For instance, “new concept” sounds like a rather generous turn of phrase for what sounds like a mash-up of at least five existing properties, so maybe “current concept” would be more apt. I’m not a big fan of body-count balderdash, though the series does sound like it could have some amusing distractions. And it’s a nominee for the current round of Manga Taisho awards, reasonable predictors of manga that could be much worse, at the very least. Drifters is running in Shônen Ganosha’s Young King OURs.

Kannagi vol. 1, written and illustrated by Eri Takenashi, Bandai Entertainment: Nagi’s a strange young girl – and not just because she popped out of a tree! She tells Jin (who’s a perfectly normal high school boy) that she’s a goddess. But is she really? As a matter of fact, she is! Normal girls, even strange ones, don’t come from trees, you know. And soon, the odd pair start living under the same roof together. Thus begins the first volume of a bizarre manga tale that wends it way through both the comical and serious! More or less.

I almost dozed off halfway through typing that paragraph, so generic is the description it provides. Also, that’s less of a skirt than it is a flared cummerbund that’s slipped. Kannagi is running in Ichijinsha’s Comic REX, though it’s apparently on hiatus.

The Diary of a Crazed Family vol. 1, written by Akira and illustrated by wEshica, Tokyopop: A thousand years ago, Enka, the god of destruction, died vowing that its “child” would one day destroy the world. in order to prevent this, “Operation Cozy Family” is implemented in which the children who are potentially prophesied as the “Child of Enka” are forced to live together. This impromptu family contains all children, human and otherwise, as well as an official of the bureau and a self proclaimed goddess who act as the parents of the household. The goal of “Operation Cozy Family” is to discern who the prophecy applies to, as well as to teach them all about the love of family in hopes of convincing the “Child of Enka” not to destroy the world. but with all families, there’s bound to be mishaps and adventure – especially when the fate of the world is at hand!

I confess that my objections to this one are pretty arbitrary: I think the character design of the girl on the cover is annoying, and I’m not a fan of dippy pen names. The plot actually sounds like it could be kind of fun. The series is currently running in Enterbrain’s FB Online.

So which of the above would you like me to order and endure? Please vote in the comments!

Blind date

What’s the point of having a blog if you don’t use it to needlessly complicate your life from time to time? The newest edition of Diamond’s Previews catalog has arrived, and while I plan to do my usual “make me suffer” poll later in the week, I’ve decided to add a new wrinkle to the process.

You see, I feel like I should read more boys’ love titles, but I like to do a certain amount of investigation prior to investing, because sometimes something sounds good and ends up embodying everything that makes me uncomfortable about books in the category. So I’m going to ask for your help, and your vote, in winnowing out the listed title that best matches my taste.

For the record, those tastes include: adult characters with interesting lives outside of their romantic relationships; a sprinkling of issues related to sexual identity; and no forced sex, or at least as little as possible. I also tend to prefer a light touch, though high drama is fine if it’s persuasively done. I don’t think that’s asking for too much, and if none of these candidates pass the test, I make no promises that I’ll suffer through one, but if enough of you make the case for a particular work, keeping my preferences in mind, then I’m on board.

So here are the candidates:

Tonight’s Take-Out Night, written and illustrated by Akira Minazuki: Matsumoto was sent from his company’s planning department to assist in the expansion of a fast food restaurant. Little did he expect to encounter sexual harassment from Iwakiri Kiyoshi, the extremely competent manager of this successful shop. How should he respond? And is it all in jest?

Okay, they have jobs, but sexual harassment is right there in the solicitation, so I’m leery. It ran in Taiyo Tosho’s Hertz.

Entangled Circumstances, written and illustrated by Kikuko Kikuya: Himeko and Shibui not only work for the same company, but had also attended university together. Himeko was wildly popular, and nicknamed “The Prince.” But whatever Shibui may be trying not to recall about their shared past, one thing is certain. Their present and future are tangled together, with the past knotting it quite firmly. Seeing Himeko everyday, Shibui finds his feelings ever more swayed. “Whatever it takes to get you…”

I absolutely love the cover art for this one, though I would vote for a moratorium on any character ever being nicknamed “The Prince” again. It also ran in Hertz.

A Liar in Love, written and illustrated by Kiyo Ueda: After receiving an interesting phone call from his brother, Tatsuki Hiroshi decides to go for a visit. There he encounters Miura, and as the two get to know each other, they begin dating. It is not supposed to be for anything but fun with no strings attached. So when did Tatsuki become a fool for love? What is he to do? As he finds out, affairs of the heart are complicated!

My ears perked up at the use of the word “dating.” This is not a word I usually see in BL solicitations. It’s apparently Hertz month.

I Give to You, written and illustrated by Ebishi Maki: Reeling from betrayal at the hands of his lover who left him in incredible debt, Ryouichi finds himself aimlessly wandering in the midst of a storm. Suddenly finding himself standing at the door of a teahouse. He goes in, and soon finds himself indebted to the owner. Helping out around the shop to pay back the owner’s kindness. Ryouichi finds that he’s looking forward to it, and not just to pay back the debt either. Has Ryouichi found where he belongs?

Again, it’s a gorgeous cover, but that blurb is kind of tortured. I know that doesn’t reflect on the book, but it is a little irksome. This one ran in Taiyo Tosho’s Craft.

This Night’s Everything, written and illustrated by Akira Minazuki: A certain politician has his own private security group. In that group is someone special. That man, Aoi, is someone who is extremely capable at his job, handling even dirty work with ease. But in that heart lies not only cold reason, but passion. Can love survive in such circumstances, and light a path out of the darkness?

Drama, drama, drama. I’m leaning backwards, because it’s getting really intense and all up in my face. We’re back to Hertz to wrap things up.

All right, those are the choices. Advice? Insights? Revealing tea leaves or possibly coffee grounds?


Previews review March 2011

The March 2011 edition of the Previews catalog is packed with noteworthy items, so let’s get right down to it.

My pick of the month would be Kaoru (Emma, Shirley) Mori’s A Bride’s Story (Yen Press), page 355:

The newest series from the critically acclaimed creator of Emma, A Bride’s Story tells the tale of a beautiful young bride in nineteenth-century Asia. At the age of twenty, Amir is sent to a neighboring town to be wed. But her surprise at learning her new husband, Karluk, is eight years younger than her is quickly replaced by a deep affection for the boy and his family. Though she hails from just beyond the mountains, Amir’s clan had very different customs, foods, and clothes from what Karluk is used to. As the two of them learn more about each other through their day-to-day lives, the bond of respect and love grows stronger.

Yen Press is proudly publishing Kaori Mori’s beautifully-illustrated tale in a deluxe hardcover edition.

If you’re like me, you would have been sold at “Kaoru Mori.” The series is ongoing in Enterbrain’s fellows!

CLAMP fans will be pleased with the arrival of another handsome omnibus treatment of one of their series, Magic Knight Rayearth, from Dark Horse (page 56). It originally ran in Kodansha’s Nakayoshi and was originally published in English by Tokyopop. Dark Horse’s version will be done-in-one, collecting all three volumes.

DC’s Vertigo imprint offers a new paperback printing of Howard Cruse’s Stuck Rubber Baby, a semi-autobiographical tale of a young gay man coming of age in the turbulent American south of the 1960s (page 130). Monkey See’s Glen Weldon provided a lovely overview of the book.

A new release from Fanfare/Ponent Mon is always worth noting, even if you’ve never heard of the book before. This month, they solicit Farm 54, written by Galit Seliktar and illustrated by Gilad Sliktar:

Farm 54 is a collection of semi-autobiographical stories that address three important periods in the life of the protagonist, Naga, growing up in Israel’s rural periphery… While these Israeli childhood stories take place in the shadow of war an occupation, they also reflect universal feelings, passions, and experiences.

Kodansha Comics lists new volumes of several of the series it picked up from Del Rey (pages 296 and 297):

  • Fairy Tail vol. 13, written and illustrated by Hiro Mashima
  • Rave Master volumes 33-35, written and illustrated by Hiro Mashima
  • Shugo Charai vol. 10, written and illustrated by Peach-Pit
  • Arisa vol. 2, written and illustrated by Natsumi Ando
  • Negima! vol. 29, written and illustrated by Ken Akamatsu
  • Ninja Girls vol. 5, written and illustrated by Hosana Tanaka

Speaking of comebacks, if the recent Manga Moveable Feast piqued your interest in Keiji Nakazawa’s Barefoot Gen, Last Gasp rolls out new printings of the first two volumes (page 297).

If you’re interested in seeing people do amazing things with the form of comics (and don’t care much about story or character), Picturebox unleashes more work by Yuichi (Travel, New Engineering) Yokoyama in the form of Garden (page 308). Being of somewhat more conventional tastes, I think I’ll hold off on this one.

Update: Over at Robot 6, Sean T. Collins interviews Yokoyama and shares several preview pages of Garden.

I may not be able to show suck restraint with Gajo Sakamoto’s Tank Tankuro from Presspop, Inc. (page 308):

The roots of Astro BoyTank Tankuro pioneered robot manga during the pre-World War II period in Japan. First published in 1934, Tank Tankuro was one of the most famous manga characters of the era. Tankuro is said to be the first robot ever to appear in Japanese comics. He and his villain, Kuro Kabuto, famous among Japanese SF fans for his resemblance to Darth Vader, laid the foundations for such manga greats as Tezuka, Sugiura, and Fujiko.

Christopher (Comics212) Butcher is very excited about this, which is almost always a good sign.

And, because someone who is not me but clearly has every right for their dreams to come true demanded it, Viz releases a new edition of Oh!great’s Tenjo Tenge which, they promise, is “Finally UNCENSORED!” It’s about dorks who like to fight, with plenty of fan service to help keep your interest (page 333). I wish I could find a copy of the cover image, because it positively screams “Not for me.”


Blood, brains, or brawn

The new Previews catalog is here, so it’s time once again for me to throw myself at the mercy of you, my readers, to help me pick from three questionable manga prospects. Let’s begin!

Moon and Blood vol. 1, written and illustrated by Nao Yazawa, Digital Manga Publishing, page 281:

When high schooler Sayaka awoke one morning, to her surprise, she found an unexpected guest at the family kitchen table – Kai. A cool, handsome and aloof character, a so-called family friend of Sayaka’s father, his temporary stay in her household and attendance to Sayaka’s school, is more than she’s bargained for. But what secrets does Kai hold and what are his true intentions for his sudden appearance into Sayaka’s life? Why does he excel so well in school but sleep through every class? Here does he disappear every night? Will Sayaka find her answers? Or will her curiosity get her into trouble? And what is up with that black cat?

This generic-sounding title from the creator of Wedding Peach (Viz) originally ran in some magazine from some publisher that I cannot unearth in any of the usual sources. It almost certainly involves vampires. I almost always hate vampires.

A Certain Scientific Railgun vol. 1, written by Kazuma Kamachi and illustrated by Motoi Fuyukawa, Seven Seas, page 314:

Welcome to a world where mysticism and science collide, and supernatural powers are derived from either science or religion. In Academy City, an advanced metropolis populated by scholars, the majority of students are enrolled in the city’s “Power Curriculum Program,” where they must learn to master their latent psychic powers. Out of several million students, only seven are deemed powerful enough to have Level 5 status. Mikoto Misaka, the third most powerful Level 5 esper in Academy City, delves deep into the dark heart of the scientific sprawl she calls home – and uncovers secrets she wishes she hadn’t!

Aside from an awkward title and (again) generic premise, this series came to be in Media Works’ Dengeki Daioh, which has produced some great manga but has an uncomfortable fixation on little girls. Also, use of the word “esper” bugs me.

Kampfer vol. 1, written and illustrated by Yu Tachibana, Tokyopop, page 318:

Senou Natsuru is an everyday school boy, who wakes up one day to discover that he’s been chosen to be a Kampfer (fighters) whose objective is to fight other Kampfer. There’s just one catch: In order to fight others, he must turn into a girl!

Seeing as Tokyopop couldn’t be bothered to spell the name properly in its catalog listing, I don’t know why I should be expected to feign enthusiasm. Kampfer originally ran in Media Factory’s Comic Alive, which foisted Maria Holic on the world.

Those are your choices for the month. I’ll take a much more optimistic look at catalog on Monday. For now, please vote in the comments!


Win some, lose some

My latest experiment in crowd-sourced Previews ordering has come to an unexpected conclusion. I feel compelled to order both of them.

This is primarily because Tsuta Suzuki’s Your Story I’ve Known (DMP) has been revealed to not be the kind of comic I’d like to include in these experiments. Enough people who should know have spoken highly of Suzuki’s work to the point that I actually just want to order it because I’d like to read it. Basically, a known quantity that may have qualities I enjoy a lot has crept into the roster of candidates due to my failure of due diligence. This cannot stand.

So, that means the winner by default is Maid Shokun, written by Nanki Satou and illustrated by Akira Kiduki (Tokyopop). Disqualification aside, I was much moved by Erica (Okazu) Friedman’s eloquent plea, and I was frankly unnerved by Tokyopop editor Lillian Diaz-Przybyl’s favorable comparison of the book to Chica Umino’s Honey and Clover (Viz). In my experience, Lillian is completely reliable and further evidence that Tokyopop should let its editors write its marketing text.

This one’s backfired rather badly on me. Fun, though.

Men or maids?

It’s time again for you to help me choose a title from the current Previews catalog. Here are this month’s candidates:

Your Story I’ve Known, written and illustrated by Tsuta Suzuki, Digital Manga (page 278):

High-school student Matsumoto Haato has fallen in love with his abusive mother’s ex-boyfriend, yakuza Shibusawa, who was nice to him in the past. When he has nowhere left to go he turns to the gruff but kind older man. A three chapter love story that details the changing relationships between the two men over the years.

I admit that I don’t find this description entirely problematic. I do tend to like to investigate yaoi titles fairly thoroughly to see if they meet my rather specific standards (which are very similar to Melinda Beasi’s), and I’m not familiar with this one, its creator, or the magazine from which it springs (Takeshobo’s Reijin).

Maid Shokun, written by Nanki Satou and illustrated by Akira Kiduki, Tokyopop (page 311):

This slice-of-life manga is a lovely exploration of the inner workings of a Maid Cafe, filled with laughter and romance, joy and heartbreak. Maybe you’ve wondered what the ‘maids’ are like before or after work? Or perhaps you’ve wondered how they deal with a job where pleasing the customer is their top priority? Well, let’s introduce you to an adorable, delicate, attractive girl who gets drawn into such a job – and see this unusual story, filled with warmth and pathos, unfold!

I like slice-of-life manga! I like stories set in eateries! I’m utterly indifferent to maid panties. Also, boobies. Also, the Japanese cover to the third volume has to be seen to be believed. Also, Tokyopop’s solicitation text is sometimes singularly useless in evaluating a book’s true nature and the likelihood that I’ll enjoy it. Maid Shokun originally ran in Comic Gum from Wani Books.

So there are your choices. Please vote in the comments, either because you think I’ll be pleasantly surprised or because you want to see me suffer.