Otaku USA Magazine
On The Shelf – May 8, 2013

What a busy week! Free Comic Book Day this past Saturday was as fun as always, and this weekend coming up I’ll be attending the Toronto Comics Art Festival to spend days upon days swooning over how much talent you can fit into one building. On top of that, manga artists Taiyo Matsumoto and Gengoroh Tagame will be there so you can bet I’ll be spending some time in line ensuring I don’t miss the opportunity to meet them.

First, though, it’s new manga time! And there are lots of goodies this week:

First up is an early release of Wandering Son (Vol.04). Originally slated for the end of May, I certainly have no complaints to the early out. In this newest volume, love is in the air but it only further complicates the already confusing period in the lives of a group of young teens learning about their own gender identities. Nitori and Takatsuki are leaving elementary school behind them as they enter junior high school, and need to learn how to adjust to a different playing field of classmates, teachers and social expectations.

Wandering Son (Vol.04), ($19.99/US, $24.99/CAN)

Kids are growing up in different ways in Vertical Inc’s Heroman (Vol.04) as Joey and his partner, Heroman, have successfully saved the Earth from the invading aliens. Everything is finally back to normal! … or not. That wouldn’t be very fun for us readers, now, would it? Joey’s cool-looking sister shows up with some trouble of her own and suddenly it looks like their newest adversaries are all home grown.

Heroman (Vol.04), ($10.95/US, $11.95/CAN)

Seven Seas is launching a new title in a big way today with Zero’s Familiar (Vol.01). This hefty omnibus falls just short of 500 pages and introduces us to Louise Francoise le Blanc de La Valliere – better known simply as Louise the Zero, the clumsiest witch-in-training at the Academy of Magic. When her coming of age ceremony goes awry, her spell to conjure a familiar instead summons a teenage boy and now the two are connected for life. Oops?

Dance in the Vampire Bund (Vol.14), ($13.99/US, $15.99/CAN)
Zero’s Familiar Omnibus (Vol.01), ($19.99/US, $22.99/CAN)

Golden Week in Japan meant there was no new issue of Shonen Jump out on Monday, but Viz Media still slipped out a stack of new shonen manga with two new omnibus editions of Bleach and Naruto. In the fifth 3-in-1 of Bleach, Ichigo and his friends are still furiously fighting their way through the Shinigami Seireitei in order to rescue Rukia. It feels like it was forever ago that I read those chapters! Time has also flown since the events of Naruto 3-in-1 (Vol.05) where the Chûnin Exam is just coming to an end, and Gaara’s mutation threatens to be more than Naruto can handle on his own.

Then, in the shoujo world, it’s been a while since I’ve read Dengeki Daisy but this week’s synopsis for volume twelve has definitely got me itching to go back. What started out as the story of a girl discovering the identity of her secret protector, has now led her to sneaking aboard yachts to save a friend and stop the illegal sale of a dangerous computer virus.

Black Bird (Vol.16), however, surprises me much less with where it’s ended up – Misao is now pregnant with the demonic child of her lover, Kyo, and has left her human life of friends and college behind her to be his wife. Yet secrets still remain, now most importantly understanding the child that is growing in Misao. At long last Kyo has the Senka Roku in his hands, which inside holds the answer… but does he want to know? I sure know we do!

Meanwhile, in Pokémon Adventures (Vol.16), it’s the second volume of the Ruby and Sapphire arc which has already proven one of the most interesting on account of its unique leads – one a wild-child trading in twigs and leaf skirts for Pokéballs and competition, while the other wants little more than to ensure all Pokémon have their true beauty shining through!

And speaking of beauty, in Otomen (Vol.15), Hajime Tonomine takes center-stage after his Father names him successor to his political career. Can Tonomine give up his love of makeup in order to live up to the expectations of his Father?

And then coming to an emotional close is We Were There with its sixteenth volume. This series first began its English publication in 2008 and has made for a long but well-savored journey of a young girl falling in love for the first time while a young man learns to live after the death of his girlfriend.

Bakuman (Vol.19), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
Black Bird (Vol.16), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
Bleach 3-in-1 (Vol.05), ($14.99/US, $16.99/CAN)
Claymore (Vol.22), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
Dengeki Daisy (Vol.12), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
Hunter x Hunter (Vol.30), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
La Corda Doro (Vol.17), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
Naruto 3-in-1 (Vol.05), ($14.99/US, $16.99/CAN)
Naruto (Vol.61), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
Otomen (Vol.15), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
Pokémon Adventures (Vol.16), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
Psyren (Vol.10), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
Strobe Edge (Vol.04), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
Tegami Bachi (Vol.13), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
We Were There (Vol.16), ($9.99/US, $12.99/CAN)

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.