Otaku USA Magazine
On The Shelf – October 19, 2011

Phew—what a crazy weekend! I just arrived back home after a trip down to New York for New York Comic Con. There was plenty of manga news to cap off a great convention season—new licenses, some title rescues and an assortment of exciting digital manga news. We’ve got a little wait until we see all these new treats hit bookstore shelves but that doesn’t mean we can’t head to the store and enjoy what we’ve got this week.

A new CLAMP manga hits the English market on Wednesday with the first volume of Gate 7 out from Dark Horse. This title’s been a long time coming. It was originally announced as a series of ‘mangettes’ published simultaneously with Japan’s but that didn’t exactly pan out. It’s still being released only months after the original, though, and just from the preview Dark Horse offers, I can say it looks well worth checking out so far. Plus, how can you ignore that gorgeous cover? The story is about a young man named Chikahito Takamoto who visits a shrine in Kyoto only to be taken in by a group of demon-battling individuals confounded by his immunity to their powers.

Gantz (Vol.19),
($12.99/US, $14.50/CAN)
• Gate 7 (Vol.01),
($10.99/US, $11.99/CAN)

It’s the week of volume twos for Kodansha Comics with four second installments. Cage of Eden continues the story of a group of plane crash survivors who try to stay alive on a mysterious island inhabited by dinosaurs and other extinct animals. In true Lord of the Flies fashion, it didn’t take long to become apparent that they could be their own worst enemies.

If you’re looking for more prehistoric animals after that, Gon has plenty. Well, it does until Gon the dinosaur eats them or scares them off anyway. Even if you haven’t read the first one, you can still jump right into Gon (Vol.02) without any issues. The chapters are predominantly standalone stories and they’re told with high detail, textless panels. You’ll laugh at one and possibly cringe at another but it doesn’t change how entertaining and unexpected every page is. Gon looks all cute and happy on that cover now, yet moments later he could very well be punting a bear into the sea using a tree trunk crunched between his teeth.

• Animal Land (Vol.02), ($10.99/US, $11.99/CAN)
• Bloody Monday (Vol.02), ($10.99/US, $11.99/CAN)
• Cage of Eden (Vol.02), ($10.99/US, $11.99/CAN)
• Gon (Vol.02), ($10.99/US, $11.99/CAN)

Gandhi is the third in a series of manga-style biographies published by Penguin Books. As the name would suggest, this one-shot is about Mahatma Gandhi. From the publisher: “Through his quietly powerful leadership and influential use of nonviolent resistance in India’s struggle against the British Raj, Mahatma Gandhi became one of the most revered figures of the modern era. … Kazuki Ebine (artist) combines a gripping narrative with stunning illustrations to share Gandhi’s inspiring and deeply human story with a whole new generation of readers.”

• Gandhi: A Manga Biography,
($15.00/US, $17.50/CAN)

Out from Vertical this week is one of my personal favourites, Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack. This is the second to last volume of the series and contains another collection of stories about the illegal, freelancing surgeon with unmatched skills and a morality that still remains a mystery. The last chapter in this book is a special treat, clocking in at 70 pages all on its own. That’s triple the length of the usual Black Jack story!

• Black Jack (Vol. 16), ($16.95/US, $18.95/CAN)

Viz Signature is the trend with Viz Media’s titles this week, meaning a collection of great manga sporting large trim sizes and added production values. It’s hard to choose a favourite of the three but my first manga-reader instinct is to go with Afterschool Charisma. The last volume ended with one heck of a cliffhanger—clones are popping up all over the place and now they’re being pitted against each other in a war that few saw coming like this. I’m so curious to find out who’s behind everything and what will become of the clones we’ve followed, along with those newly introduced. For those not familiar with the series, it’s about a school where clones of famous historical figures and prodigies are raised to be sold to corporations or put to work for the betterment of mankind today. It’s of no surprise that such a controversial act has its share of nay-sayers, including some of the clones themselves.

• Afterschool Charisma (Vol.04),
($12.99/US, $14.99/CAN)
• Kingyo Used Books (Vol.04), ($12.99/US, $14.99/CAN)
• Tenjo Tenge (Vol.03), ($17.99/US, $21.00/CAN)

Last up this week is Yen Press with the second, and final, volume of their adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s first Twilight novel. It’s drawn by Korean artist, Young Kim. Whether the love story of Bella and her sparkly vampire boyfriend is your thing or not, there’s still something to be said for the effort put into this release. The book is hardcover with a slick slip-on cover that includes artwork that combines with that of the first volume. If you’ve read the book and seen the movie, it’s time to combine two of your favourite things and read Twilight manhwa-style!

• Twilight the Graphic Novel (Vol.02),
($19.99/US, $21.99/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 be ship prior to or after the date listed above varying by location and availability.