Looks like I spoke too soon about NYCC being the news-ending event of 2011. Yaoi Con was held this past weekend and, whether you enjoy BL or not, the news they announced is pretty exciting. While I stick to print releases myself, I love seeing a company as big as Viz Media not only opening up to a new market but also offering these new digital releases worldwide. More legal manga in more people’s hands around the world is a step towards a manga-ful future!
Speaking of more manga in people’s hands…
It feels like I’ve been reading Blade of the Immortal forever, and then I see that we’re only at volume 24. Dark Horse has definitely been making us savor the experience since the first volume came out in 1997. It certainly feels extra special whenever a new book comes out though and we’ve only got another three to go after this. In this volume it’s a race to Edo Castle to prevent (or pioneer?) a massacre, and what Anotsu is up to remains a mystery to everyone but himself.
Another title we’ve been following from Dark Horse for many a year is Oh My Goddess. Confused seeing Oh My Goddess (Vol. 19) on the list when volume 39 was released just last month? This (R-to-L) volume is actually part of a re-release of earlier volumes that presents the story ‘unflipped’ for readers who want to own the series in its original orientation.
• Blade of the Immortal (Vol. 24): Massacre
• Bride of the Water God (Vol. 09)
• Oh My Goddess (R-to-L) (Vol. 19)
This week Digital Manga is releasing their second mini-volume of Moon & Blood. This “supernatural romance” (which roughly translates today to ‘vampire story’) shoujo series is by Nao Yazawa, the manga artist behind Wedding Peach. It’s being released in short 72-page books as part of their exclusivity deal. It goes up digitally to read on Digital Manga’s eManga website before it’s available to read anywhere else in the world! Wait a couple months and you get to read it in print also.
If you’re looking for something a bit more out of the ordinary plot-wise, About Love is a boys’ love story about a wedding planner who spends so much time helping other people’s love lives flourish that he never has time for his own. I love reading stories about people and professions that you don’t normally see and a professional wedding planner falls into that category for me.
• Kabuki (Vol. 04)
• About Love
• Moon & Blood (Vol. 02)
• Mr. Convenience
Kodansha Comics treats us this week with Mardock Scramble (Vol. 02). I picked up volume one out of curiosity and I really liked it. A dark, intriguing story and a technologically charged super-powered prostitute made it a read I couldn’t put down. The addition of a robotic mouse named Oeufcoque who is the sweetest little gentlemen didn’t hurt either. And he turns into nearly indestructible armor and guns, which is just handy to have when you’re on the run from a murdering gambler. Volume one got most of the introductory stuff out of the way so I’m eager to see where the plot starts going now that it’s free to fly in volume two.
• Air Gear (Vol. 20), ($10.99/US, $11.99/CAN)
• Mardock Scramble (Vol.02), ($10.99/US, $11.99/CAN)
• Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (Vol.11),
Vertical has something for the young, old, and everyone in between who enjoys a good story this week with their two new releases: Drops of God (Vol. 01) and Chi’s Sweet Home (Vol. 07). Drops of Gods is cited as “Arguably the most influential wine publication for the past 20 years.” Even if wine’s not an interest of yours, it may very well become one once you start reading this story about a young man’s journey into the world of wine after his late Father’s will sets in motion a quest to find twelve “heaven-sent” wines. And Chi’s Sweet Home? It’s adorable! (and this is coming from someone who doesn’t even like cats). It helps too that Vertical’s full color release of a young cat’s adventures is as cute as its contents.
• Chi’s Sweet Home (Vol. 07),
• Drops of God (Vol. 01), ($14.95/US, $17.95/CAN)
Yen Press takes home the gold for title quantity this week and they make it really hard to pick a couple titles to showcase. The fan-girl in me will be running to the store for Black Butler (Vol. 07), the horror fan in me is eager to see how Higurashi When They Cry (Vol.15) surprises me next and the curious reader is eager to see how the students in Soul Eater (Vol. 07) can possibly go back to living a ‘normal’ school-life after recent events.
But there still manages to be those titles that stand above the rest, and this week’s top pick is definitely A Bride’s Story (Vol. 02). The artwork in this series is phenomenal—almost every page is frame-worthy as a standalone illustration. The first volume was a little slow as it set up the characters but this second volume really starts showing a depth of storytelling that sticks with you long after you were finally willing to put this hardcover masterpiece down.
If there’s one manga title out there I’d recommend to just about everyone, though, it’s Yotsuba&!. This series is a masterpiece in its own right—it’s a cute, hilarious and brilliantly paced story about a curious little girl interacting with the world around her. Never have I laughed so much reading (or even watching) anything than I do while reading Yotsuba&!. Each new volume hasn’t let me down and knowing I’ve got something I can completely count on to brighten my day is worth every penny and then some. Here in Yotsuba&! (Vol. 10), Yotsuba takes a go at making the perfect pancake, has the lying bug scared out of her and makes her television debut!
• Black Butler (Vol.07), ($11.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
• Black God (Vol.14), ($11.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
• A Bride’s Story (Vol.02), ($16.99/US, $18.50/CAN)
• Hero Tales (Vol.05), ($11.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
• High School Of The Dead (Vol.04),
• Higurashi When They Cry (Vol.15):
Atonement Arc, ($11.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
• Pandora Hearts (Vol.07), ($11.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
• Soul Eater (Vol.07), ($11.99/US, $12.99/CAN)
• Spice And Wolf (Vol.05), ($12.99/US, $13.99/CAN)
• Yotsuba&! (Vol.10), ($11.99/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 be ship prior to or after the date listed above varying by location and availability.