So... hot outside... but I'm guessing most of you knew that already! It hasn't felt much like summer up in the North until the past couple of days, but now that Mother Nature has her heaters in full swing, it's hard to deny the siren call of an air conditioned room and a good book. I'll get my fill of the sun and sweat lugging this week's awesome selection home with me.
Kodansha Comics' release this week is Air Gear (Vol.24). It sports a crowded but colorful cover this month. It's great seeing the cast being a bit goofy and lighthearted as the series' content keeps getting darker and more confusing. The amount of detail in Oh!Great's artwork is stunning, though, especially the backgrounds and character outfits within the story. Air Gear's artwork was always something I've liked about it since the beginning but now I'd easily say it's the series' strongest feature. Granted, that might be because the story is rather lacking... Still fun, though!
• Air Gear (Vol.24), ($10.99/US, $11.99/CAN)
Vertical Inc has a one-shot out this week, 5 Centimeters Per Second. This originally two-volume series is based off the movie of the same name. I haven't seen the movie myself but I've heard a lot of good things about it – what better way for a manga-maniac such as myself to experience it than via a beautiful omnibus collection by Vertical?
Taking us back to the not so distant past, where everyday e-mail and cell phones were simply a thing of the future, 5 Centimeters Per Second is a story of romance, growing up and moving on. The book begins with a young boy and girl who meet each other in elementary school and become really close. When the two are separated by a move, letters continue to connect them until the distance between slowly grows too great, but never so much as to combat the memories they hold of each other. Sounds sweeter than my ice cream cone!
• 5 Centimeters Per Second,
As the first shipping day of the month, Viz Media holds nothing back on the quantity front. Need something to do while you're escaping that blistering heat? Whatever your preferred manga passion is, Viz Media should have you covered!
Along with the second speed-up set of Bleach volumes, Viz Media takes some other story leaps with the third volumes of the Hana Kimi and Skip Beat! omnibus editions. Shoujo series make for fantastic marathon material and, after reading the two new volumes of Bleach back to back last month, I can say with certainty that Tite Kubo's tale of warring Shinigami and Arracanar works especially well in bigger chunks as well.
It feels like only yesterday I read the last volume of Bakuman and yet here is another to educate and entertain already. I love manga that comes out monthly! In this twelfth volume of Bakuman, Akito and Moritaka remain hard at work on their newest series, Perfect Crime Party. They're putting all they've got into a multi-issue story arc that could either secure or sabotage their place in Shonen Jump. There's a fun irony in the fact their struggles to keep published in Jump is the very fuel that kept Bakuman so compelling within that very same magazine.
It's been a bit of a wait for this newest volume of D. Gray Man but here it is at last, and it packs a punch. Allen meets someone known as The Cardinal – someone who Allen not only realizes has a defining connection to his past, but who has a very great interest in Allen himself. Creepy time... Elsewhere, in Naruto (Vol.57), it's all about hurting for the sake of helping as Naruto finds himself fighting the Cloud Village leader, an individual whose very goal it is to keep Naruto alive. Some priorities seem a little skewed here in ninja-land.
Viz Media debuts a new series as well this week with Jiu Jiu (Vol.01). The series is about a young girl named Takamichi who is born into a long line of demon hunters. Her world grinds to an agonizing halt when her twin brother is killed (not a happy story start!). There by her side from then on are two young wolf pups – two young wolf pups who also happen to transform into attractive young men whose only purpose is to protect Takamichi. Toss this supernatural dynamic into a high school and you're bound to have trouble. Granted, I very much look forward to seeing what that trouble is when this arrives in my local comic shop!
When I'm feeling up for something old, though, I'll go to the newest volume of Rumiko Takahashi's Rin-Ne (Vol.09). The series isn't actually old at all but it reads so much like her series' past that it oozes nostalgia. This is a good and bad thing – yay for consistency but boo on a lack of something original to her work – but I still enjoy each book. With the first story listed in this volume as being about a haunting ice skating rink, Rin-Ne might be just the thing I need to feel a little cooler in this summer heat.
• Bakuman (Vol.12), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
• Bleach (Vol.42), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
• Bleach (Vol.43), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
• Claymore (Vol.20), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
• D. Gray Man (Vol.22), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
• Dengeki Daisy (Vol.10), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
• Hana Kimi 3-in-1 (Vol.03), ($14.99/US, $16.99/CAN)
• Jiu Jiu (Vol.01), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
• Naruto (Vol.57), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
• Natsume's Book of Friends (Vol.12), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
• One Piece (Vol.63), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
• Oresama Teacher (Vol.09),
• Pokémon Black & White (Vol.08), ($7.99/US, $9.99/CAN)
• Psyren (Vol.05), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
• Rin-Ne (Vol.09), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
• Rosario Vampire Season II (Vol.09),
• Skip Beat 3-in-1 (Vol.03),
• Skip Beat (Vol.28), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
• Vampire Knight (Vol.14),
That does it for this week's On The Shelf – what on the list are you most eager to buy? Any must-have recommendations? Share your thoughts in our handy comment area for all our readers to see!
* All dates are based on distributor listings and may not necessarily reflect exact release dates. Some books may ship prior to or after the date listed above varying by location and availability.