All posts by Lori Henderson

Lori Henderson is the writer and reviewer for the manga blog, Manga Xanadu. She also keeps a personal blog at Fangirl Xanadu, and a writing blog at Muse of Xanadu. She contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. As the mother of two teen daughters, she needs all the escape she can get, which reading and writing about manga gives her.

Seven Seas License Roundup

sevenseaslogo

For the past two weeks Seven Seas Entertainment has been raining down manga license announcements. Four titles have been announced. Some were surprising not just for Seven Seas to get, but just to plain see in print in the US. The collection does have a little something for everyone.

Franken FranThe first title announced was Franken Fran. This dark parody series is about Fran Madaraki, the “daughter” of a highly skilled surgeon who has disappeared. Fran, takes up the family profession by performing surgeries in her secluded gothic home with her “sister” Veronica and a monstrous entourage. If you are willing to pay her price, Fran will perform any operation, including bringing back the dead. Her creed, “Lives must be saved, no matter the cost,” means the end justifies the means when fulfilling her duties. The title will be released in 4 2-in-1 omnibuses and will include color inserts. This title has gotten a lot of good word of mouth recommendations, so I’m looking forward to checking out the first volume at least. It will be coming out February 16, 2016.

Not Lives Their next pickup was Not Lives, a “virtual gender-bender” manga. It is about game designer genius and high school student Mikami whose next big project is a romance game. Among the materials he received for research was a game he didn’t remember getting. Curiosity gets the better of him and his plays it, only to find himself thrust into a survival game and transformed into a girl. And in this game, it isn’t just his character on the line, but also his own life. This series sounds a like BTOOOM! meets Sword Art Online meets any generic gender-bender series. None of these titles really interest me so this looks like a series will pass up on. There are currently 7 volumes and the series is ongoing. The first volume will be released with color inserts on March 29, 2016.

OrangeThe third license announced was Orange, a time-travel shojo. In this series, 16-year-old Naho Takamiya receives a letter from herself 10 years in the future. In the letter, she tells of an incoming transfer student named Kakeru Naruse, and that her biggest regret was that Kakeru was no long with them. She asks her past self to look after him. Naho didn’t believe the letter at first, but as things in the letter start to come true, including Kakeru’s transfer, she has to decide what the letter means for herself and Kakeru’s future. The series will be printed as 2 omnibus volumes with wraparound covers and color inserts. They will each be 380 pages long, or the equivalent of 2.5 Japanese manga, confirming the length of the series at 5 volumes. There are currently 4 in print. I was intrigued by this series when Crunchyroll announced it would stream it digitally. But now that it’s coming out in print, I will definitely be checking it out. The first volume will be released January 26 and the second in May, 2016.

hourofthezombieThe final series announced was Hour of the Zombie. Guess what genre this title is from. The story is about Akira, a typical high school student who has dreams and aspirations like everyone else, an unrequited crush on his childhood friend Kurumi, who seems to be more interesting in his best friend Umezawa. Their love triangle is trival in comparison to the drama that hits their school. Students start to turn into zombie, eating their friends and fellow students alike, and just as quickly, stop. Soon the school is divided between the turned and the unbitten, with unanswered question looming; how long will this peace last, and why did the students turn in the first place? I’m not normally interested in Zombie manga. Much like vampires, I feel they’ve run their course, but this series has some intriguing aspects that I might just want to check out. There are two volumes out and it is ongoing. The first volume will be released with color inserts April 5, 2016.

PR: Viz Media Offers New Select and Bundle Titles For May

Of the new titles Viz is adding this month, two were already published by them in print: Cheeky Angel and Honey Blood Tale Zero. Flower of the Deep Sleep and Glass Wings are license rescues from the Tokyopop days while Eureka Seven is a Bandai Manga rescue. We haven’t seen one of those in a while. The bundles this month are a continuation of their big Shonen titles, with the Shaman King bundle completing the series while the One Piece bundle covers the “Baroque Works” and “Alabasta” arcs, both good arcs. I’d also recommend the Yu-Gi-Oh! bundle. I thought the first arc was the best of the series.

Continue reading PR: Viz Media Offers New Select and Bundle Titles For May

Weekly Top Ten – May 16, 2015

Weekly Top Ten Manga

Every week, the New York Times and Amazon posts the top ten bestselling books. The New York Times gets their numbers from print sales from retailers, while Amazon and Vizmanga.com calculates their own numbers. Once a month the Nielsen Bookscan posts their top twenty graphic novels of which manga is included. Offered here is a listing of these books with their status this week compared with the previous week, and some way-off analysis of the activity.

NYTBS

 

New York Times Bestseller List for the week ending May 9, 2015

  1. LegendOfZelda-LinkToThePast-3DLegend of Zelda A Link to the Past     ∗
  2. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Book 1: Phantom Blood Vol 2     ∗
  3. Rosario + Vampire: Season II Vol 14     ∗
  4. Akame ga Kill Vol 2     ↓ 2
  5. Big Hero Six Vol 1     ↑ 1
  6. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↓ 1
  7. Assassination Classroom Vol 1     ↑ 2
  8. Attack on Titan Vol 2     ↵ 44
  9. Noragami Vol 4     ↓ 6
  10. Attack on Titan Vol 15     ↓ 2

The top three titles this week are all debut titles and they all come from Viz Media. Legend of Zelda has been topping Amazon.com’s top ten manga for months, so it’s no surprise when it’s actually released, it starts at #1 here. Big Hero Six vol 1 continues to do well for Yen Press as does Akame ga Kill Vol 2.  It’s a return to the good old days, as Attack on Titan gets three volumes back on the list. Noragami, another title that doing well for Kodansha, sees its vol 4 drop the most, but continues to hang on.

Amazon

 

Amazon.com for the week ending May 16, 2015

  1. LegendOfZelda-LinkToThePast-3DLegend of Zelda A Link to the Past     ↔
  2. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↑ 8
  3. Rosario + Vampire: Season II Vol 14     ↔
  4. Attack on Titan Vol 15     ↑ 1
  5. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Book 1: Phantom Blood Vol 2     ↓ 3
  6. Naruto Vol 70     ∗
  7. Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1     ↵
  8. Sword Art Online: Progressive Novel Vol 1     ↑ 1
  9. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Book 1: Phantom Blood Vol 1     ↵
  10. Legend of Zelda Vol 3: Majora’s Mask     ↵

The top title here remains unchanged again this week. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past holds the top spot and is joined this week by another Legend of Zelda volume, Majora’s Mask. Attack on Titan gets a shot in the arm as it shots back up to #2 overtaking the current vol, 15. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Vol 2 drops, but Vol 1 moves back up onto the list. The next Naruto, vol 70, joins the list as people start preordering it for its June release as does Tokyo Ghoul. June isn’t really so far away though. It’s kind of scary.

∗ = New Release
↑ = Title moved up specified # of spots
↓ = Title moved down specified # of spots
↔ = Title didn’t moved from previous week
↵ = Title returned after dropping off list with total # of weeks (when available)

 

Let’s Dance a Waltz Volume 1

Homely and shy, Himé is burdened by the name her mother gave her, “Princess.” Wanting nothing more than to be unnoticed and live a modest life, Himé gets a jolt of inspiration when she tries a dance class where she meets Tango. her teacher/dance partner, Tango happens to also be her classmate at school. Unfortunately, Tango is desperate to keep his ballroom dancing a secret, believing it will ruin his cool image if anyone at school finds out. Will Tango quit teaching Himé in order to keep his secret or will he be the partner Himé believe he is destined to be?

Let’s Dance a Waltz Volume 1
Let's Dance a Waltz 1By Natsumi Ando
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Romance/Dance
Price: $10.99
Rating: ★★★★☆

I haven’t read a Natsumi Ando series before. It’s not like I haven’t had the chance. I’ve had her series Zodiac P.I. in a to-read pile for ages, but have always had some reason to pass it up. The start of this new series is the perfect opportunity for me to stop procrastinating and finally read one. Let’s Dance a Waltz is about competitive ballroom dancing, a subject you wouldn’t think would be all that interesting, but Ando makes it so with engaging characters and an almost shonen take on dance.

Four characters make up the core of this first volume. Himé Makimura is the protagonist. She is shy and rather mousey in looks and personality. She comes to the Minami Dance School to try out dancing after the owner encourages her by telling her she could become a princess. Tango Minami is the son of said owner, who used to ballroom dance competitively, but has since given up. He works at the dance studio to make extra money. He prefers dancing on his own, and is considered good-looking and cool at school. Yusei and Sumiré are the star dance couple at the studio. They are also Tango’s childhood friends. They both want Tango to start dancing competitively again, and see Himé as the chance they’ve been waiting for.

I really liked this first volume. I wasn’t too thrilled by the emphasis on body image and conforming to societal expectations, but Himé’s hangup about her looks and living up to what she thinks is her mother’s expectation is completely believable. I actually liked Himé with her round face, and fuller figure. I also liked that other than one jerk boy, no one criticized Himé’s size or appearance. Even Tango was more worried about his reputation being ruined than Himé’s appearance when he first dances with her. Sumiré admired Himé’s muscle structure and both Yusei and Sumiré were supportive of Himé’s abilities with little concern for her weight. This made the reveal at the end more believable and easier to take.

The relationships were handled very well. I especially liked Tango’s and Himé’s up-and-down relationship. Himé just wants to dance with Tango, but he ignores her, for fear their schoolmates will find out, but when she starts avoiding him to keep her practices with Yusei a secret, Tango is suddenly bothered by the loss of her attention. Sumiré was a bit of a trap too. Just when it seems like she might be jealous of Himé, she turns out to actually be very supportive of her wanting to dance, and dance with Tango.

I also liked how Ando portrayed the ballroom dancing. Instead of just showing the couple dancing around a dance floor, she likened Himé’s partners to a different experience. When she first dances with Tango, she feels like she is a princess, but when she dances with Yusei, it is like she at a fancy 8-course dinner. These scenes reminded me a lot of The Drops of God, where wines are described in wild and far out ways. While it’s exciting to see to talented dancer at work, the addition of these other sensations adds to the experience.

Let’s Dance a Waltz Volume 1 was a really fun read. The characters are very engaging and the story has sparked my interest. Ando’s art is superb. The characters are varied in appearance and dress. The dancing was well done as well, with some of the ballroom gowns looking gorgeous. I can’t wait to see what a dance competition will be like, and what new experiences Himé will have on the dance floor.

 

This Week’s Manga: Heroic Panty

This Week's Manga

Panty and Stocking with Garter BeltDark Horse Comics debuts a new manga this week that has had tongues a-waggin’! Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt is a manga adaptation of the anime by the same name. The mix of mature language and situations with cute and cartoony art will hit readers with right about of shock and humor and appeal to Dark Horse’s main demographic. To appeal to a different type of reader they are also releasing Drug and Drop Vol 2 this week. A continuation of Legal Drug, it features two hot guys solving supernatural problems. Another must for CLAMP fans, and a different kind of gaze for others.

Heroic Legend of Arslan 3The title I’m most interested in this week is Heroic Legend of Arslan Vol 3. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this series initially, but I should never have doubted Hiromu Arakawa. I loved the series right from the start and torn through the first two volumes. Waiting for the next one has been difficult, but it great to have more Arakawa art to love. I would really like to get the new Ranma 1/2 2-in-1 Editions, but space has really become a concern for me. Even 2-in-1s, which don’t take up as much space are still pretty hefty when it comes to bookshelf space, especially for a 36 volume series. I really wish Rumiko Takahashi would let her titles be released digitally legally. They are already out there, being read digitally with questionable quality and translation. Wouldn’t it be better to have more control with a legal release?

Full List per Diamond Distributors

DARK HORSE COMICS
Drug And Drop Volume 2 TP, $10.99
Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt TP, $9.99

KODANSHA COMICS
Heroic Legend Of Arslan Volume 3 GN, $10.99

SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT
Dance In The Vampire Bund Part 2 Scarlet Order Volume 2 GN, $12.99
Lucifer And The Biscuit Hammer Volume 3 TP, $18.99

SUBLIME
Love Stage Volume 1 GN, $12.99

VIZ MEDIA
07-Ghost Volume 16 GN, $9.99
Ranma 1/2 2-In-1 Edition Volume 8 TP, $14.99

New License and Rescue Roundup

With Con Season is full swing, the license announcement are coming at a fairly steady rate. Whether in between cons, or publishers not planning on panels, the word of new licenses and rescues still make the steady rounds of news sites, and especially social media like Twitter and Tumblr.

Shield HeroOne Peace Books is a boutique publisher that has been dabbling in manga with such titles as Whispered Words, Aquarion Evol, and Crayon Shin Chan. This time, the publisher picked up a light novel series and its manga companion. The Rising of the Shield Hero is a light novel series that is currently at 10 volumes and ongoing. It is about Naofumi Iwatani, an otaku who is whisked away to a parallel dimension where he discovers is he one of four heroes equipped with a legendary weapon and tasked with saving the world from its prophesied destruction. Naofumi starts out as the Shield Hero, the weakest of the four, and soon finds himself alone, penniless and betrayed. He must now start his journey to become the legendary Shield Hero the world needs. The first volume will be out September 15 with the second being released October 20. The first volume of the manga, which is at 3 volumes and ongoing, will be out in November. This plot is very standard for fantasy novels, so unless it does something really interesting, I will probably skip it. I would be more inclined to check out the manga first, since I wouldn’t be as much as a time suck for me.

planetesDark Horse isn’t know for making license rescues, until it’s a CLAMP title. So their announcement that they picked up Planetes came as a bit of a surprise. Planetes was originally published by Tokyopop back in 2004, and even back that it was a difficult title to collect. It’s by Makoto Yukimura who is also the mangaka of Vinland Saga, which Kodansha is currently publishing in 2-in-1 deluxe hardback editions. Dark Horse will publish Planetes as 2 omnibus editions complete with bonus color pages. The story centers around Hachimaki, a member of a space-garbage crew, who collects everything from satellites to screws, anything that could damage a spacecraft when traveling at high speeds. Hachimaki dreams of owning his own spaceship, and decides there’s better money in joining the first manned mission to Jupiter. It’s been a long time since I last read Planetes, but it was a fun short series and very good sci-fi. The first omnibus will be out in December, just in time to put under the Christmas tree.

School LiveYen Press just popped up with two new licenses on their Twitter feed, both of which fit right into the publisher’s catalog. School-Live! is a horror/slice of life series. It follows four girls, Yuki Takeya, Kurumi Ebisuzawa, Yuri “Riisan” Wakasa, and Miki “Miikun” Naoki, who camp out at their school and end up the only survives of a zombie attack. They decide to stay at the school and make it their home. Yen has really embraced the zombie/school survival titles, starting back with Highschool of the Dead. This series appears to feature cute little girls, but the premise may have a darker edge to it. There are currently five volumes and the series is ongoing. It might be interesting to check out the first volume, which will be released in November.

The second series is Of the Red, the Light and the Ayakashi. It’s basedOf the Red. on a doujin game released in Japan back in 2011. The manga adaptation started in 2012. It is about Yue, a boy born and raised in a certain shrine on the outskirts of Utsuwa City. His close childhood friend, Kurogitsune takes him to the winter festival, where he experiences the outside world for the first time, and meets a mysterious boy. Seven volumes have been released so far. Yen Press also loves their visual novel stories, from Higurashi and Umineko. This series is a must read. I had it on my wish list at Baka-Updates Manga for who knows how long, but I enjoy titles with spiriting away themes and supernatural mysteries. This first volume will debut in December.

 

 

Weekly Shonen Jump Gets Another Jump Start

jumpstart Dance ClubWith titles leaving Weekly Shonen Jump, it’s time for a new round of Jump Start! titles to run and see if they can make the cut here and as well as in Japan. Viz is starting out with just two titles so far. Welcome to Shika High Competitive Dance Club will start on May 11, while the second series, Devily Man will start two Mondays after, May 25. These titles are being simulpubed with the Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump, so there is precious little information about them.

Devily manWelcome to Shika High’s Competitive Dance Club is obviously about competitive dancing. This seems like a surprising subject to put into a shonen magazine. It seems more like a shojo title like Kodansha’s Let’s Dance a Waltz. But knowing what I do know about the serialization meetings at WSJ (thanks to Bakuman), this series must have something interesting about it to make it into the magazine. I’m curious to hear what it’s about. Devily Man has an old school/retro feel to it, based only on the glimpse of the art from Weekly Shonen Jump. Like a Toriyama and/or comedic feel to it. I can’t even begin to guess that this title is about, but the alien/demon looking guy looks rather happy, hence the comedic vibe.

I’ve got my hopes up that Welcome to Shika High’s Competitive Dance Club with be something good and clever. Dance manga can certainly use a boost. I’ll have to wait and see on Devily Man. The field of possibilities are just too wide for it. The issues will be available for $.99 if you don’t have a subscription but still want to read them.

Weekly Top Ten – May 9, 2015

Weekly Top Ten Manga

Every week, the New York Times and Amazon posts the top ten bestselling books. The New York Times gets their numbers from print sales from retailers, while Amazon and Vizmanga.com calculates their own numbers. Once a month the Nielsen Bookscan posts their top twenty graphic novels of which manga is included. Offered here is a listing of these books with their status this week compared with the previous week, and some way-off analysis of the activity.

NYTBS

 

New York Times Bestseller List for the week ending May 2, 2015

  1. Mobile Suit Gundam 9Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin Vol 9     ∗
  2. Akame ga Kill! Vol 2     ↓ 1
  3. Noragami Vol 4     ∗
  4. Naruto Vol 69     ↵ 7
  5. Attack on Titan Vol 1     96
  6. Big Hero Six Vol 1     ↓ 3
  7. Death Note Vol 1     ↵ 3
  8. Attack on Titan Vol 15     ↓ 2
  9. Assassination Classroom Vol 1     ↓ 4
  10. Akame ga Kill! Vol 1     ↓

Forget about Titans, it’s the attack of the vol 1s! Half of the list this week is composed of vol 1s. Death Note, Assassination Classroom, and Akame ga Kill! join Attack on Titan and Big Hero Six in holding spots on the list. The top title goes not to a vol 1, but vol 9 as Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin gets closer to its end. Noragami Vol 4 is the only other debut manga to make the list this week. Naruto Vol 69 seems to has lost its sheen as it nears its finale. It doesn’t seem to have the same staying power it used to. Maybe losing the drama between Naruto and Sasuke has made fans lose interest as well.

Amazon

 

Amazon.com for the week ending May 9, 2015

  1. LegendOfZelda-LinkToThePast-3DLegend of Zelda: A Link to the Past     ↔
  2. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1 Phantom Blood Vol 2     ↵
  3. Rosario+Vampire Season II Vol 14     ↓ 1
  4. The Devil is a Part-Timer Novel Vol 1     ∗
  5. Attack on Titan Vol 15     ↑ 1
  6. Berserk Vol 1     ↵
  7. Uzumaki 3-in-1 Deluxe Edition     ↵
  8. Sword Art Online Aincrad Novel Vol 2     ↓ 1
  9. Sword Art Online Progressive Novel Vol 1     ↵
  10. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↓ 7

With the release of the actual volume, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past not only takes the top manga spot at Amazon, it also overtakes Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, an art book that has held #1 for months. So Legend of Zelda takes over from Legend of Zelda. It’s kind of like howAttack on Titan used to be. Yen Press’ new light novel The Devil is a Part-Timer debuts respectably, charting in the top 5. Viz’s re-release of Uzumaki is getting more love, possibly in anticipation of the new Junji Ito manga, Fragments of Horror, set to come out in June.

nielsen-bookscan-logo

 

Nielsen Book Scan Top 20 for the month of April 2015

Attack on Titan 156. Attack on Titan Vol 15
11. Big Hero Six Vol 1
12. Naruto Vol 69

Manga loses a couple of spots from last month as comic readers prepare for the big summer releases from Marvel mostly. Attack on Titan and Naruto are the titles you would expect to see, but Big Hero Six might slip under people’s radar. The movie did okay here, but fans love it a lot. Wondercon was filled with Big Hero Six cosplay, and being a Disney property gives it a lot of marketing behind it. I expect it hold out next month too.

∗ = New Release
↑ = Title moved up specified # of spots
↓ = Title moved down specified # of spots
↔ = Title didn’t moved from previous week
↵ = Title returned after dropping off list with total # of weeks (when available)

Pandora Hearts Volume 12-20

The truth behind the tragedy of Sablier, and the identities of Jack Vessalius, Glen Baskerville, Oz, and Alice are all finally revealed in these 9 volumes. But the path to these truths is filled with twists and turns, and danger hides around every corner where friends become foes, allies fall, and hope seems completely lost at times.

Pandora Hearts Volume 12-20
PandoraHeartsV12_TPBy Jun Mochizuki
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Fantasy
Price: $13.00
Rating: ★★★★☆

Reading these nine volumes of Pandora Hearts was a lot like eating potato chips; you can’t read just one. I had let this series pile up, which in retrospect was probably a good thing. I ended up binge reading these volumes. So much was revealed in each volume, that I had to keep going. Things start with the calm before the storm; a tea party for Oz and his friends, and Oz’s society debut at the mysterious Isla Yura’s residence in a neighboring state. Things pretty much go down hill from there, rolling like a snowball, growing in size and showing no sign of stopping.

Pandora13_FINAL I loved all of the revelations that were made in these volumes. The truth of so many things is finally uncovered when Oz is able to see Jack’s memories. It all starts when Jack first meets Lacie as a young homeless boy. She gives him the encouragement he needs make something of himself, but he becomes obsessed with her, and that starts Jack down the path of destruction that leads straight to the Tragedy of Sablier. The memories also show the truth about the Baskervilles and their connection to the Abyss, as well as the origins of the B-Rabbit chain, and how Alice really died. Gilbert and Alice both gets their memories back as well, filling in a few more pieces. Finally seeing the whole picture of what lead of the tragedy of Sablier was the highlight of these volumes. Having only seen fragments so far, it was fascinating to finally see everything in order, as well as the twisted logic that led to it.

Pandora14_FINAL As I read these volumes, I started wondering if Mochizuki was a fan of either Joss Whedon or George R.R. Martin, with the way characters, some I really liked, were being taken out. Yes, people die in these volumes. Some death are only of personality, others are mortally wounded. Some aren’t any real big loss, like Yura. Others fall to the mysterious head hunter. A few make you go “Noooo!!!” at their passing. The first big “no” moment is very well-built up. A second has had the previous 19 volumes that not only drives the knife in, but it twists it hard.

Pandora15_FINAL-198x300 The truth about Jack turns the world upside for a lot of people, with some who were one considered allies becoming foes, and Pandora turning on Oz/Jack. But while supposed allies turn, the true power of these volumes is in showing how important it is to connect with people. Every important choice made by many of the characters ends up being based on the importance of the others to them. Elliot is able to do what he must because of Leo. Oscar helps Oz because Oz, Gil, and Ada all saved him from his grief. Gil is able to reject his past role and embrace his new life because of Oz. Oz is able to accept who and what he is and choose to live because Elliot, Leo, Gil, Ada, Oscar and Alice all accepted him. It also give Oz the power to resist Jack, and maybe even defeat him.

These nine volumes of Pandora Hearts were a thrilling, gripping, heart wrenching ride. So many things make sense now, with most of the pieces of the puzzle put together, forming the true picture, but there is still more to learn. The Abyss and it’s center, The Intention are pieces yet to be fit in, and they are the most fascinating parts. The endgame is so close now, with only two volumes left to round things up. I will definitely be there to see the last pieces put into place.

Pandora16_TPPandora17_FINALPandora18_FINALPandoraV19_FINALPandora20_FINAL

 

 

 

 

 

Review copies provided by publisher.

This Week’s Manga: Ancient Magus Legend

This Week's Manga

LegendOfZelda-LinkToThePast-3DMost of the manga that comes out is rated Teen and up, but there are still some titles that are rated for all ages. Perfect Square is Viz Media’s imprint for all such titles, and this week sees the release of one of the most anticipated of the year. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past is an adaptation of the Nintendo Game Boy Advance game of the same name. It was serialized in Nintendo Power magazine, and has seen print since 1993. It’s been on Amazon’s best-selling manga list since it first announced in February as a pre-order. How will it do as an official release? Also from Viz is the deluxe edition of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1 Phantom Blood Vol 2 which follows the adventures of the first Joseph Jostar. It’s pretty amazing the third part of this series, thought to be the best, barely sold 10 years ago, but the first part is not only selling incredibly well, it’s doing it as a hardcover at twice the price!

Ancient Magus Bride 1Two of Seven Seas Entertainment’s new titles are coming out this week. Ancient Magus’ Bride is one that a lot of fans have been looking forward to, including me. It’s a supernatural shonen romance and was nominated for the Manga Taisho award this year. The first has me interested, but the second has me excited to read it! Evergreen is by the creator of Tora Dora, also published by Seven Seas. It’s another shonen rom-com. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a plug to What Did You Eat Yesterday Vol 8 from Vertical Comics. This series is filled with such a sweet, honest relationship, it’s hard to not want to pick up the newest volume. Don’t let all the food porn scare you off.

Full List per Diamond Distributors

KODANSHA COMICS
Tsubasa Omnibus Volume 4 GN, $19.99
Yamada Kun And The Seven Witches Volume 2 GN, $10.99

PERFECT SQUARE
LBX Little Battlers Experience Volume 5 New Hope GN, $9.99
Legend Of Zelda A Link To The Past GN, $19.99
Pokemon Adventures Volume 28 GN, $9.99

SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT
Ancient Magus’ Bride Volume 1 GN, $12.99
Evergreen Volume 1 GN, $12.99

VERTICAL COMICS
What Did You Eat Yesterday Volume 8 GN, $12.95

VIZ MEDIA
Black Rose Alice Volume 4 GN, $9.99
Bleach 3-In-1 Edition Volume 11 TP, $14.99
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1 Phantom Blood Volume 2 HC, $19.99
Kiss Of The Rose Princess Volume 4 GN, $9.99
Millennium Snow 2-In-1 Edition Volume 2 TP, $14.99
Naruto 3-In-1 Edition Volume 11 TP, $14.99
Nisekoi False Love Volume 9 GN, $9.99
Rosario+Vampire Season II Volume 14 GN, $9.99
Spell Of Desire Volume 4 GN, $9.99
Yu-Gi-Oh 3-In-1 Edition Volume 2 TP, $14.99

8th Annual Manga Taisho Award Winner

kakuBack in March, the winner of the 8th annual Manga Taisho award was announced. Of the 14 titles nominated, Kakukaku Shikajika by Akiko Higashimura was chosen to take the prize this year. Higashimura is mostly a josei artist, so her work isn’t widely known in the US, but she does have one that his constantly being requested in publisher surveys; the josei KuragehimeJellyfish Princess.

Kakukaku Shikajika, which can be translated as Such and Such, is a semi-autobiographical series about Higashimura when she was in her third year in high school. Through a friend, she starts going to an art class where the art teacher, Kenzo Hidaka, who intimidates his students by yelling at them and using a bamboo sword to force them to focus on their art work. The series is complete in 5 volumes, and was published in Shueisha’s women’s magazine, Chorus.

Manga about manga titles have been doing pretty well in the west, so I think this one would too. It’s a short series, only 5 volumes, and since Viz Media has been experimenting with josei-as-shojo titles, I think this series would really do well. The subject is something both men and women would be interested in reading, and the setting makes it more fitting for the 16+ shojo age range. I hope Viz Media takes a serious look at this series, especially now that it has won an award. Maybe if it does well enough, we could be one step closer to Jellyfish Princess.

 

Changes for Shonen Jump

Viz Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump has been seeing plenty of changes, just as the Japanese magazine does with titles coming and going. Lately, Viz’s WSJ has added two new regular titles to their line-up; Black Clover and the Naruto spin-off Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring.

blackclover Black Clover is about a boy named Astra. He and another boy named Yuna were abandoned at the same time at the same place as babies and have since become best friends both with the same goal; to become the next Wizard King. The only problem with their plan is while Yuna his highly skilled at using magic, Astra can’t. Astra isn’t discouraged, even at a coming-of-age ceremony, where Yuna receives a magic book with the legendary four leaf clover while Astra receives nothing. Sometime later, when Yuna is nearly defeated in battle, Astra’s true power is revealed as he is able to call on a book with a black five-leaved clover and wield powerful anti-magic. Astra never sees the book, but the pair head out into the world together to continue to compete for their goal.

Black Clover started as a three chapter preview for Viz’s Jump Start program back in February and became a regular at the end of March. It’s not too surprising with the superficial similarities to Naruto. A boy who can’t use the power everyone else can who wants to be the strongest, and a best friend who is better than him who is also his rival. Yeah, doesn’t sound like the setup for Naruto at all. /sarcasm. I haven’t read any of Black Clover yet, but it does sound like it has the makings of a hit for Viz.

Naruto spinoff Naruto recently ended its serialization after 15 years, but it seems you can’t keep an orange ninja down. The new spin-off, Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring picks up where the original manga left off. Naruto is now Hokage, with his image on the mountain side like he always dreamed. But in a karmic twist, he has a son, Boruto, who is just as bratty and stubborn as he was. The series features not just Naruto’s son, but all the other children of the heroes of Konoha.

Naruto was one of Viz’s biggest hits, so it’s no surprise that it would continue the franchise along with the Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump. Long time Naruto fans can stave off withdrawal for a little while longer, at least until summer, according to an interview with Kishimoto back in November.

Gakkyu HoteiBut with these additions, at least one title will be leaving. Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgement, the court drama set in an elementary school, is ending serialization in the issue out May 11. The series started as a Jump Start! series last summer and was added to the magazine in December. It was about Abaku Inugami, a student defense lawyer at his elementary school where students can take their fellow students court in the government sanctioned School Judgement System. The series is drawn by Takeshi Obata, and written by Nobuaki Enoki. I really enjoyed the chapters I was able read in the free issues Shonen Jump made available in January for their anniversary. I’m definitely going to be picking up the collected volumes no matter what format they are released in.

If you liked the Jump Start! of Cyborg Roggy, don’t hold your breath for it to join the magazine. It is ending in the same issue as Gakkyu Hotei. The Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump is debuting three new titles with these endings, so we will have to see if there will be another round of Jump Start! for them.