Tag Archives: Kodansha Comics

Attack on Titan Junior High Volume 1

For five years, Eren Yeager has nursed a grudge against the Titans. Now he’s about to enter junior high with these massive creatures as classmates, and he won’t let his chance for revenge go to waste! Watch as your favorite trainees take on the Titans…in class, music club and dodgeball!

Attack on Titan Junior High Volume 1
Attack on Titan Junior High 1By Saki Nakagawa
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Comedy
Price: $16.99

Attack on Titan has had a lot of spin-off titles. Some have been serious, like No Regrets and Before the Fall, adding to the mythos of the world. Junior High is not that kind of spin-off. Following a trend that seems to have become popular, it takes the characters from the main series and drops them into a high school setting so the hilarity can ensue. It is an irreverent take that is meant to be funny, but is more hit and miss with its humor.

Continue reading Attack on Titan Junior High Volume 1

This Week’s Manga: A Silent Chi

This Week's Manga

A Silent Voice 2It’s a fairly quiet release list for this week, but there are some strong titles to liven it up. If you haven’t read A Silent Voice Vol 1 from Kodansha Comics, go read it, right now. I’ll wait. If you haven’t heard of A Silent Voice, have you been living under a rock? The first volume has had tremendous word of mouth that’s pushed it’s sales up to Fairy Tail levels. The story sneaks up on you and then crushes your with so much emotion. But it’s a story that needs to be told, and read. I put off reading it for a while, for fear of all those emotions, but once I did, I was glad. I can’t wait now to see what happens in vol 2. Seven Seas Entertainment made a score when they picked up Haven’t You Heard I’m Sakamoto. The series was nominated for several awards, including the Manga Taisho. It’s one of the several Seven Seas’ titles I’ve been looking forward to reading.

Chi’s Sweet Home is a title I have been reading and loving, even though as the series has gone on, it’s gotten a little darker. But going back to the “good old days” of volumes 1-3 just fills you with so much fun and hope. Vertical Comics has made that easy for the last few readers out there who haven’t managed to pick it up with their new Complete Chi’s Sweet Home Vol 1. It collects the first three volumes of the series that tells Chi’s adventures with the Yamadas and Blackie the “bearcat.” If you already have these volumes, don’t worry, Vertical has found a way to make you want to buy it again. There are bonus comics included from creator Konami Kanata’s previous series Fuku Fuku, about an adult cat who lives with an older woman. Fuku Fuku was funny and charming and just another reason to pick up this volume.

Full List per Diamond Distributors:

KODANSHA COMICS
Fairy Tail Volume 49 GN, $10.99
Silent Voice Volume 2 GN, $10.99
Yamada-Kun And The Seven Witches Volume 3 GN, $10.99

SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT
Dragonar Academy Volume 7 GN, $12.99
Haven’t You Heard I’m Sakamoto Volume 1 GN, $12.99

VERTICAL COMICS
Complete Chi’s Sweet Home Volume 1 TP, $24.95

This Week’s Manga: 2×4

This Week's Manga

PandoraHeartsCauscusRaceIt’s like Noah’s Ark this week, as publishers march out their new releases 2×2 just before Anime Expo. Kodansha Comics releases the final volume of Maria The Virgin Witch. I’ve seen mixed reviews on this series, so it’s hard to tell whether this is good or bad. Fans will know either way this week. Also out from Kodansha is their Science of Attack On Titan reference book. This one might be interesting for new information about the world of Attack on Titan. Seven Seas debuts a new series, Non Non Biyori, a slice of life comedy about city girl Hotaru Ichijo and her having to readjust to a slower, rural life style. This series looks like it would fit in with the likes of Yotsuba& and Barakamon.

Just in time for Anime Expo, Veritcal Comics releases the art book of creator Makoto Shinkai, Sky Longing For Memories. He is both a film director and manga artist. Vertical released his manga 5 CM Per Second, which also has an anime adaptation. The series has done extraordinarily well for Vertical. Other anime of his include Voices of a Distant Star, The Place Promised in Our Early Days, and Garden of Words, which Vertical also released the manga adaptation of last year. Yen Press has another highly anticipated life novel out this week. Pandora Heart Caucus Race is a short story collection that delves deeper into the four great houses, and features not only new facts about the world, but also manga shorts by Jun Mochizuki, the title’s creator. I liked Pandora Hearts well enough that I’m looking forward to this novel.

Full List per Diamond Distributors:

KODANSHA COMICS
Maria The Virgin Witch Volume 3 GN, $10.99
Science Of Attack On Titan MMPB, $10.99

SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT
Centaur’s Life Volume 6 GN, $12.99
Non Non Biyori Volume 1 GN, $12.99

VERTICAL COMICS
Sky Longing For Memories The Art Of Makoto Shinkai SC, $34.95
Witchcraft Works Volume 5 GN, $12.95

YEN PRESS
Pandora Hearts Caucus Race Novel Volume 1 SC, $14.00
Sword Art Online Novel Progressive Volume 2 SC, $14.00

This Week’s Manga: Impossible to Choose

This Week's Manga Let's Dance A Waltz 2For the last week of the month, this is quite a haul from manga publishers! Fans of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service can rejoice as they get their yearly volume with Vol 14 out from Dark Horse. Seven Seas Entertainment has a new volume for Toradora fans who have been waiting quite a while, though not as long as KCDS fans. Vertical Comics is one more step closer to the end of their surprisingly successful (to just about everyone) edition of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, with Vol 10 out this week. Only two more volumes after this.

If I had to choose just one of Kodansha’s releases this week it would be really hard. I really enjoyed Let’s Dance a Waltz and can’t wait to find out what happens in volume 2. The same with Your Lie In April. The characters were so fun and refreshing in that one, I can’t wait to see how the recital goes. I binge read vols 2-4 of Noragami Stray God and am now hooked on the title. I really want to see Yato start to get somewhere. I really just have to have all of them.

Alice in Murder Land 1This week is Yen Press’ big week, and they’ve got a couple of debut titles. Alice in Murderland is Kaori Yuki jumping on the “Alice in Wonderland” bandwagon with her own peculiar take on the story. Chaika The Coffin Princess is the adaptation of the action, fantasy light novel series of the same name, and looks interesting. Isolator is a new light novel series by the writer of Sword Art Online and Accel World. It has a sci-fi premise that also seems to have potential. Other regular titles I want to check out include Love at Fourteen vol 3, Demon From Afar vol 3, Barakamon vol 5, Secret vol 2, and Void’s Enigmatic Mansion vol 2.

Full List per Diamond Distributors:

DARK HORSE COMICS
Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Volume 14 TP, $12.99

KODANSHA COMICS
Let’s Dance A Waltz Volume 2 GN, $10.99
Noragami Stray God Volume 5 GN, $10.99
Your Lie In April Volume 2 GN, $10.99

SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT
Alice In The Country Of Hearts Junk Box GN, $13.99
Toradora Volume 7 GN, $12.99

VERTICAL COMICS
Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin Volume 10 HC, $29.95

YEN PRESS
Alice In Murderland Volume 1 GN, $17.00
Are You Alice Volume 9 GN, $13.00
Barakamon Volume 5 GN, $15.00
Bloody Cross Volume 7 GN, $11.99
Chaika The Coffin Princess Volume 1 GN, $13.00
Demon From Afar Volume 3 GN, $18.00
He’s My Only Vampire Volume 3 GN, $13.00
Isolator Volume 1 HC, $20.00
Love At Fourteen Volume 3 GN, $15.00
Secret Volume 2 GN, $13.00
Void’s Enigmatic Mansion Volume 2 GN, $18.00

Manga Dogs Volume 3

Teenage manga artist Kanna Tezuka’s series about a high school for Buddhist statues is facing cancellation! Meanwhile, the manga course that’s given her so much free time to draw at school is under threat from a principal taken with the next big thing: light novels! Their teacher’s solution to this existential crisis is an inspiring field trip, but will it be enough to get these dogs to start drawing at last?!

Manga Dogs Volume 3
Manga Dogs 3By Ema Toyama
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Comedy
Price: $10.99
Rating: ★★½☆☆

I didn’t really care for the first volume of Manga Dogs. The characters weren’t interesting and the stories weren’t funny. But I was given the opportunity to read the final volume, so I decided to give it a try to see if anything had improved. I can safely say, the series didn’t get any worse, but neither did it get any better.

Kanna continues to struggle to keep her series from being canceled. She gets a new editor who believes in her talent, but doesn’t actually do anything to help her improve the story. The boys continue to be delusional, and be more of a hindrance than help to Kanna, until they are given an ultimatum. Produce a manga that will be published or the program will be shut down in favor of a light novel program.

Not much has changed from the first volume, something I shouldn’t be too surprised by after reading Missions of Love a few volumes later. The boys are still lazy and assuming they will be great without doing any work, and are still annoying as all get-out. Kanna at least has grown slightly as a character, and it shows by the end. After a year with the boys, they have grown on her some, and she doesn’t object to spending some time with them.

Most of the chapters didn’t appeal to me again, as they were more of the same, the boys messing things up for Kanna more than helping. They chase away a potential new student while trying to act cool, and answer some interview questions that were for Kanna. I did like the cultural festival chapter, where they do a version of a haunted house, but instead do what it’s like to be a mangaka. Their version is more scary than a haunted house. I also like the pilgrimage their teacher takes them on to all the places where the gods of manga stayed and worked to give the kids inspiration, and also so she could pray to the gods of manga to help save the program.

Overall, I did like this volume a little more than the previous. Kanna’s growth, and some of the humor did work for me, but those things were too few or far between to really make this volume work better. I still spent more time shaking my head than smiling, though I did feel a bit of vindication when it truly sank in how much work the boys would have to do get a story ready for a contest.

As a satire, Manga Dogs does lampoon much of the industry. Editorial gets hit the hardest with Kanna’s editors being ineffectual at best and harmful at worst. The boys are shown to be what most hardworking artists hate most in fans; those who think they can do just as well or better without the work. Even Kanna represents what artists shouldn’t be like by just going along with what other people say than craft a story herself. It might have worked too, if Kanna had been in any way appealing as a character. Manga Dogs had its moments, but there are better manga-about-creating-manga that deserve your money more.

This Week’s Manga: Regency Romance

This Week's Manga

EmmaAnd we go from feast to famine as this week’s list is tiny in comparison to last week. I love that we’re getting all these new licenses, but I really wish the release schedule was a little more even. It makes buying (and writing) about them much easier. Only three publishers have anything coming out, and Udon Entertainment’s title is only tangentially related. Of course I’m going to recommend Say I Love You Volume 8. This is an auto-response in my brain. I can’t not. Viz also releases their Shonen Sunday titles with a dash of Jump added for good measure. I would recommend Magi vol 12 and One Piece 3-In-1 Vol 12 which moves the series into one of the best (and longest) arc of the series, “Waters Seven.”

I’m gonna give Udon Entertainment a shout out for their Manga Classics series. I’ve been enjoying them a lot, as well as finally reading the classic literature I never got to when I was in school. This time it’s Emma, another Regency romantic comedy by Jane Austin. I really enjoyed Pride and Prejudice, the first Jane Austin novel they adapted, so I expect to feel the same about Emma.

Full List per Diamond Distributors:

KODANSHA COMICS
Say I Love You Volume 8 GN, $10.99

UDON ENTERTAINMENT
Manga Classics Emma SC, $19.99

VIZ MEDIA
Arata The Legend Volume 22 GN, $9.99
Deadman Wonderland Volume 9 GN, $9.99
Magi Volume 12 GN, $9.99
One Piece 3-In-1 Volume 12 TP, $14.99
Seraph Of The End Vampire Reign Volume 5 GN, $9.99

Time to Say Good-bye

As much as you love a title, at some point it’s got to come to an end, usually. There are the few exceptions that got 10, 20, 45 years, but they are not the rule. Most manga titles do (and should) have an end. Lately, the end for some titles released here have been announced to be ending serialization in Japan.

Chi's Sweet Home 11Chi’s Sweet Home is a cute, heartwarming series about a family who find and adopt a grey and white tabby kitten. Each short chapter shows the family and kitten, Chi, interacting as well as Chi’s adventures with other pets in their apartment complex and neighborhood. The series recently when on a year hiatus and only just returned. It has now been announced that the next volume to be released, Volume 12, would be its final. The series was being released by Vertical Comics, and has been a big hit for the company, with fans of all ages picking it up. The series has been fun, heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking, but always a great read. I will certainly miss it when it’s gone. Vertical will release the final volume in August, and will follow-up with a re-release of the series in omnibus editions.

Missions of Love 1Mission of Love is a romantic comedy from Kodansha Comics. The series is about a high school girl named Yukina who has the reputation of being an ice queen at school, but is also the author of a very popular cell phone novel. To help her writing, she blackmails popular fellow student Shigure into helping her complete “missions of love” to improve her writing. Kodansha’s Nakayoshi magazine has announced the series will end in the issue out in June. There have been 17 volumes released so far, with the series most likely ending at 18. Kodansha USA has only released 10 so far. Frankly, I’m surprised the series went for so long. The last volume I read, vol 9, felt very stale and repetitive. It’s not a series I’m going to miss.

qq-sweeper 2Most recently announced was the that the final chapter of QQ Sweeper would be released in Shogakukan’s Betsucomi magazine out May 13. It is a supernatural romance about Kyutaro Horikita, the tall, dark and handsome cleaning expert of Kurokado High School. He soon meets transfer student Fumi Nishioka. With Kyutaro’s help, Fumi will learn how to cleanse the spirits from the school and maybe from her heart as well. The newest series by mangaka Kyousuke Motomi, creator of the recently ended Degenki Daisy, just started last March, and Viz only just announced its license in February. Also included with the announced ending, was that a sequel series would in the August issue out in July. It seems kind of odd to me to end one series just to continue it a few months later. I don’t have an opinion on QQ Sweeper yet. The first volume isn’t scheduled to be released until October. But, I’ve like her titles I’ve read so far, so I think I will probably like this one as well.

 

Missions of Love Volume 9

After coming to the realization that Kirishima-sensei was her first love, Yukina goes to face him on her own to finally know the love that she’s been seeking all this time. Meanwhile, Shigure hears a rumor that reveals Kirishima-sensei’s dark past and rushes off to tell Yukina, but before he can catch up with her, Yukina is whisked away by Kirishima-sensei in his car. Can Shigure reach them in time before Kirishima-sensei repeats an action from his sordid past?

Missions of Love Volume 9
Missions of Love 9By Ema Toyama
Publisher: Kodansha
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Romance
Price: $10.99
Rating: ★★★☆☆

I liked the first two volumes of Missions of Love that I read, so when I was given the opportunity to read more, I couldn’t wait. But after two volumes, it seemed that little had changed, and I was bored with seeing Yukina still being completely clueless, Shigure still as cagey about his feelings for her, Akira is still plotting against Shigure and Mami is still holding out hope that Shigure would love her back.

Honestly, I don’t know what exactly I was hoping for, but this volume wasn’t it. I just felt frustrated at the complete lack of movement with the characters. Everything felt the same as it had back in volume 6. I guess I had hoped for something to have changed in those two intervening volumes, but it really felt like nothing had. What frustrated me most was Yukina. She’s had all these “missions” with Shigure and it seems like she hasn’t learned a thing. After eight volumes you would think something would have sunk in, but she’s still as oblivious to feelings of love as she was at the beginning. She makes big proclamations, but when she finally gets some true feelings she still can’t figure it out? Seriously? I also didn’t care for the cheap shot of using her teacher to set up a seduction when all he really wanted was to find out if she was being bullied or abused by Shigure. The set up was too obvious.

Fortunately there was some character development, but it seemed to be all reserved for Shigure. I liked that he was against Yukina going off with Kirishima to learn “what love really is.” Considering his feelings for her, it’s natural that he wanted to be the one to show her that. Akira agreeing to let Yukina go felt fake, like he was trying to rack up points with her. Shigure also took several steps forward in admitting his feelings for her. He told Mami that he could see her as a friend, not a girlfriend, and he told Yukina that for her, he would stop acting fake. It was a relief to see someone in this series acknowledge their changing feelings and actually act on them.

It’s also about time the story looped back around the cell phone novel plot that the whole “missions” are supposed to be helping her with. She’s supposed to be applying what she’s learned to her novels to make them better. Considering her rankings, she hasn’t been doing that, or even writing at all. Hopefully contact from her rival will change that, and that by applying what she’s learned in her novel it will finally get through to her as well.

I started out liking Missions of Love, but too much of the same can really kill the fun. There has to be some development in the characters, otherwise, what’s the point in reading about them? Unless Yukina is revealed to be a robot, I’m having a hard time buying her continued inability to understand the emotion love, especially now that Shigure is stepping up his game. Toyama needs to step her game too, otherwise this title will really stagnate. I’m not looking for the proverbial lightbulb, just a few connecting the dots.

Review copy provided by publisher.

This Week’s Manga: A Silent Week Before the Fall

This Week's Manga

A Silent Voice 1Last week of the month means a short list, but publishers sometimes save the best for last. Kodansha has a new series debuting this week. A Silent Voice started as a streaming title on Crunchyroll, so while readers asked, not many believed it would get a print edition from Kodansha. We were all pleasantly surprised when we got just that. The story of a deaf girl and her tormentor from elementary school that wants to reconnect has gotten a lot of praise from readers and critics as being powerful and a great read. It’s probably why it got the license. I know I want to read it too, but am hesitant after hearing other talk about how brutal the bullying seemed. But I will read it.

Kuklo UnboundVertical has the second volume of the Attack on Titan Before the Fall novel series, Kuklo Unbound. The volume is an omnibus of the two remaining volumes and is the basis for Kodansha’s manga series Attack on Titan Before the Fall. This series is also unrelated to the first Before the Fall novel. I wish the first novel had gotten a manga adaptation. I really liked it and the main character Angel. But if you’ve been enjoying the Kodansha manga, you can now read the source material. Vertical also has the next volume in their Cardfight! Vanguard series. This is a fun series with a Yu-Gi-Oh-esque feel, but really stands on its own. It’s a great all ages title.

Emma dlx 1Because it’s a slow week, I’m gonna pop in a mention of a title that I can’t believe I missed last week! Yen Press finally released their hard cover deluxe edition of Emma, the Victorian romance by Kaoru Mori. The series went out of print with CMX, but Yen Press has rescued the title and printed up beautiful hardcovers to match their other Kaoru Mori hardcover series, A Bride’s Story. I was able to pick up the first volume of the CMX series and loved it, so I’ve been waiting with bated breath for this new release. That’s why I can’t believe I missed featuring it last week! Luck was on my side that with a short week this week and I could sneak it. The presentation and story make it well worth the price. Don’t pass this one up.

Full List per Diamond Distributors

KODANSHA COMICS
Air Gear Omnibus Volume 5 GN, $19.99
Seven Deadly Sins Volume 8 GN, $10.99
Silent Voice Volume 1 GN, $10.99

ONE PEACE BOOKS
Aquarion Evol Volume 2 GN, $11.95

VERTICAL COMICS
Attack On Titan Before The Fall Kyklo Novel SC, $14.95
Cardfight Vanguard Volume 6 GN, $10.95

YEN PRESS
Yotsuba & ! Volume 1 GN (New Printing), $13.00

Your Lie in April Volume 1

Kosei Arima was a piano prodigy until his cruel taskmaster of a mother died suddenly, changing his life forever. Driven by his pain to abandon piano, Kosei now lives in a monotonous, colorless world. Having resigned himself to a bland life, he is surprised when he meets Kaori Miyazono, a violinist with an unorthodox style. Can she bring Kosei back to music, and back to life?

Your Lie in April Volume 1
Your Lie in April 1By Naoshi Arakawa
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Drama
Price: $10.99
Rating: ★★★★½

I knew nothing about Your Lie in April when it was first announced other than it was a musical title that was often compared to Nodame Cantible, a musical title that featured a straight-laced violist/pianist as the male lead, and a highly unorthodox pianist as the female lead. Having now read Your Lie in April, the fact that the two leads are a violist and pianist with one being straight-laced and the other unorthodox, the two stories really have nothing to do with each other.

Playing the piano was everything to Kosei Arima. He lived and breathed playing to please his mother, who was determined he would become the great pianist she was. But when she died, in a way, so did Kosei. Her dream was his dream. Without her, he had no reason to live. No dream of his own. He has been stuck, marking time, unable to move forward. Kosei is haunted by the piano. He can no long hear himself playing, but he also can’t move on from it. His life is the same, day in and day out.

Then he meets Kaori Miyazono. She is the classmate of his childhood friend Tsubaki. Kaori wants to meet their mutual friend Watari, and Tsubaki gets Kosei to tag along. Kaori is the opposite of Kosei in many ways. She is full of life, always smiling and energetic. She performs in much the same way. She participates in a competition, but plays the assigned piece her own way, ignoring the tempo and even her own accompanist. She isn’t playing to impress the judges, but to entertain the audience and have fun all at the same time.

I really liked both Kosei and Kaori. They don’t get off on the best foot at first, but Kaori ends up making a big impression on Kosei. Her performance is the opposite of everything his mother told him it should be like, and he has a hard time processing it. Kaori becomes kind of obsessed with Kosei, determined to make him her accompanist for the next round of the competition. I really liked that she didn’t feel sorry for Kosei when he told her about how he can no longer hear the piano. Her reaction was great, and pretty much the same as mine. I also liked that Kosei didn’t automatically assume the feelings he was starting to have for Kaori was love, but instead thought there were inspiration.

Tsubaki and Watari, their friends, make good supporting characters. They both support Kosei in their own ways. Tsubaki cares for Kosei like a little brother, and just wants to help him move on with his life, in whatever direction it takes him. I loved the way she plotted with Kaori to try to convince him to be her accompanist. Watari, despite being a bit of a playboy, has some insightful things to say to Kosei about life and specifically girls. His words have a surprising impact on Kosei.

Your Lie in April vol 1 was a really fun read. The art is well done. The characters were all portrayed very playfully. Kaori was always playful. I loved when she knocked Kosei away from the cat he was feeding so she could pet it. Tsubaki had some good moments with trying to get Kosei to lighten up and Watari was funny when he got a text from another girl. The final scene of the manga, with the four friends rushing off to the competition was another wonderful scene, filled with exuberance. It was a strong ending to a strong first volume. I can’t wait to read more.