Tag Archives: Kodansha

Kodansha’s First Wondercon

Wondercon LogoWondercon, for those who may not know, is a younger sibling to Comic-Con International’s San Diego Comic Con. For many years it was held up north in San Francisco, but starting in 2012 is moved down to Southern California in the LA area. It’s first four years were spent taking over the Anaheim Convention Center, but this year, the con moved up to the Los Angeles Convention Center. Since its move down to SoCal, its major manga publisher presence has been practically non-existent. Other than a Viz Media booth the first year in 2012, there have been no panels or booths on the exhibition floor. Not even vendors selling manga come to the show. So imagine my excitement when I learned that Kodansha Comics would be coming to Wondercon, and have both a booth AND a panel!

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This Week’s Manga: Vikings, Demons, and Sweepers, oh my!

This Week's Manga

QQSweeper-GN01Diamond Distributors is getting the Viz Shonen and Shojo titles out a week early. There are plenty of old favorites such as Assassination Classroom Vol 6, Library Wars Vol 14 and My Love Story Vol 6, as well as a new debut. QQ Sweeper is by Kyousuke Motomi, the creator of Dengeki Daisy. It was her first series after Dengeki Daisy ended. It’s a supernatural romance about a new girl transfer student who gets involved with a boy who cleans up the school, but physically and metaphysically. I’ve been looking forward to this series and can’t wait to read it.

Continue reading This Week’s Manga: Vikings, Demons, and Sweepers, oh my!

The Week’s Manga: Manga Survivor

This Week's Manga

Devil Survivor 1 There’s a lot of manga coming out this week. Kodansha releases the first volume of Devil Survivor, the adaptation of Shin Megami Tensei, the game that the Persona is a spin-off of.  I’ve been interested in Shin Megami Tensei, as well as Persona, thanks to my older daughter’s obsession, so I’ll be checking this title out. Vertical Comics does the seemingly impossible as it releases the final volume of Mobile Suit Gundam Origin, the series that not even the publisher believed would sell. But Vertical and Western fans proved them wrong, and now the series comes to an end with Vol 11.

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PR: Kodansha Advanced Media Joins J-POP Summit in S.F.

Kodansha Advanced Media, or KAM, is going to be a big deal to those of us who want more of our manga in digital, as they have taken over managing Kodansha Comics’ digital media. This exhibit features several prominent Kodansha manga artists, and is not only free for visitors who are in San Francisco, but online as well for those of us not so fortunate.

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Manga at Anime Expo 2015 Part 2

anime_expo_logoAnime Expo occurred over the Fourth of July weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and there were certainly a lot of fireworks as publisher exploded with new license announcements. Over the four-day holiday weekend, Vertical, Viz, Crunchyroll, Kodansha Comics and Yen Press all announced titles, some of which nearly had fans swooning from shock and excitement.

shuriken-and-pleats-largeThe first manga panel on Saturday was for Viz Media’ Shojo Beat. The imprint is celebrating its 10 year anniversary which included tea with mangaka Julietta Suzuki, the creator of Kamisama Kiss. They announced two licenses, sadly one of which was NOT Suzuki’s Karakuri Odette. It would make a great Viz Select title. Instead, Shuriken and Pleats by Matsuri Hino, the creator of Vampire Knight, was announced. It is about school girl Mikage, who has trained as a ninja to work in her family’s security company, which is a front for her clan’s ninja activities. She worked as bodyguard for an English businessman, who cared about her like a daughter. When he is killed, she learns he has bought her freedom from the clan, and follows his wish to go to school in Japan like a normal girl. The series started in September of 2014 in Hakusensha’s LaLa magazine, and will end in the September issue this year. The series will be two volumes, with the first coming out in Japan this month. Viz will release the first volume in Winter of 2016. I’ve been hit and miss with Hino titles, but for such a short series, I’d be willing to give the first volume a try.

Behind the Scenes -urakata- The second license was also from a well-known mangaka to western readers. Behind the Scenes is by Bisco Hatori, the creator of Ouran High School Host Club and Millenium Snow. It is about Ranmaru, a super negative college student. He runs into a mysterious drama group on campus who end up turning his life into turmoil. There’s only one volume out so far. Viz will release their first volume in the spring of 2016. I’ve only read Millenium Snow by Hatori, and first two volumes were a lot stronger than the final two, so I’m not sure where to stand on this one. I guess I’ll just wait and see.

princess-jellyfish-1-eng Kodansha was the second manga panel of the day, and announced three new titles. They also dropped the second bomb of the con by announcing that they would be releasing the Princess Jellyfish (Kuragehime). This title has been on people’s wish lists for several years now, especially after the anime was released. It is a josei series, and follows Tsukimi, a young woman who lives in a “fangirl-only” dorm. She has come to Tokyo to be an illustrator. She has loved jellyfish from a young age, and sees one in danger at a local pet store. A beautiful woman comes to its rescue, and they go back to the dorm, Amamizukan, together, where Tsukimi discovers the woman is really a man. Kodansha has licensed the first 12 volumes of this title, and will release them as 2-in-1 omnibuses starting in February 2016. Whether or not they pick up the remaining 3 volumes will depend on sales. At least they are being up front about it this time. I’ve heard this title bantered about, but never really looked into it since is seemed so unlikely to be licensed. But now that it has, it sounds really interesting. It’s one I’m definitely going to want to check out.

real-account-1Real Account is another “virtual game becomes deadly in real life” series. This time, it’s a Twitter like game, where members of a social networking site known as Real Account find themselves inside a virtual world. The rules of the game are simple, if you die, all of your followers die too. If you lose all your followers, you die. There are currently 5 volumes, and Kodansha will release the first volume in March 2016. I am not a fan of these virtual reality becomes deadly titles, so it’s not one I’m looking forward to.

magatsuki-1Kodansha’s third license fits with their male gaze titles. Magatsuki is about 15-year-old Yasuke Arahabaki. He wants to ask out his childhood friend and crush Akari Inamori. While rushing to do the chores at his family’s shrine, he accidentally breaks a mirror and is cursed by the goddess it releases, Seoritsuhime, a goddess of misfortune. Now, Yasuke must stay close to Seoritsuhime, or he will die, and the only way to life the curse is to help her achieve happiness, even though she is constantly surrounded by bad luck. The first volume will be published in February of 2016, but if you want to check it out first, Crunchyroll is simu-pubbing the series. I’m gonna pass on it though. It doesn’t sound like it would pass my standards on rom-coms.

Two other tidbits announced at the panel; Noragami will begin publishing monthly starting in October 2015 to catch it up with the Japanese releases, due to “excellent sales.” See? Buying pays off! Fairy Tail will also start to see omnibus editions. The first was announced for September and will collect he first 5 volumes. Build up those hand muscles now. That is going to be a killer book to try to hold.

amamaCrunchyroll Manga had the final panel of the con, and added 5 new titles to their streaming service, one of which will sound familiar. Princess Jellyfish will be streamed starting July 15 with the first 4 volumes. If you can’t wait for Kodansha’s print volumes, then check out the digital, and then go buy the print ones. Also out July 15 is Sweetness and Lightening. It’s another “single dad must cope with raising a child alone” title. This time it’s math teacher Kouhei Inuzuka who has lost his wife and must raise his daughter Tsumugi by himself. He’s not a very good cook, but with the help of one his students, Kotori Iida, cooking becomes a new homemade adventure. There are currently 4 volumes available. It looks like something foodies will enjoy.

takahashiAlready available is Takahashi-san is Listening. This gag-manga is about high school student idol Ena Takahashi. She has a hobby she can’t tell anyone about; she likes to listen in on the ridiculous conversations of class representative Nara-kun and plain-boy Mikage-kun. She wants to retort, but if anyone found out about it, everyone’s trust in her would be destroyed! There are currently five volumes available. This title sounds like shades of My Neighbor Seki, so it might actually be fun, depending on what the conversations she eavesdrops on are about. I think it would be fun to try out at least.

scumCrunchyroll’s description of Scum’s Wish doesn’t do the series justice. The description and cover makes the series sound like something dark and dirty. It’s about a couple, Hanabi and Mugi, who seem perfect for each other but have a secret they are hiding from the rest of the world. They are both in love with other people. They are drawn together by loneliness and a need to share their hopelessness. Crunchyroll only used the first sentence to describe the series, it the remaining two that make this manga appealing. It’s currently at 5 volumes, and sounds like something I like to read. Get it together Crunchyroll! Series descriptions should attract readers, not repel them!

monokeanMorose Mononokean is a title that is definitely up my alley. It follows the a mononokean, the owner of a small tea room that helps to guide yokai that wander into this world, to go to the next. We meet him through Ashiya, a boy who missed the first 5 days of school after a yokai attached itself to him, and he has to go see the Mononokean to ask for help. There are currently 4 volumes. I love yokai, and will always be interested in checking out a new series about them. This title also has the plus of having bishonen as the leads. It’s definitely one I want to check out.

I was hoping to only do two post about the manga licenses at Anime Expo, but after seeing how much Yen Press announced, I’m gonna need a third post just for them to cover it all! And I haven’t forgotten Tokyopop’s announced return. That is another thing that needs its own post. With them reportedly having a panel at SDCC as well, I am very interested to hear if they have anything new to add.

Wish List: Kindaichi Case Files

Kindaichi 1I read some back volumes of Case Closed – Detective Conan recently, and it’s sparked by desire to read more mystery manga. The problem is, of course, is that there just isn’t a lot of other titles available. Seven Seas Entertainment had Young Miss Holmes, and Kodansha had Sherlock Bones, but both are complete. Kodansha does have another mystery series that Western fans are familiar with; Kindaichi Case Files.

Tokyopop originally licensed Kindaichi Case Files, and published the volumes as complete cases, squeezing 22.5 Japanese volumes into 17. While Tokyopop had put the title on “hiatus”, Kodansha pulled the license soon after, killing any fan’s hopes of seeing the series complete. There were only 5.5 Japanese volumes left. That was probably only 2-3 stories!

Now, I know Kodansha doesn’t rescue their older titles, and the 1992 Kindaichi series didn’t sell enough to justify bringing the series back or even completing it, but, there was a second series published in 1998, The New Kindaichi Case Files. This series is only 10 volumes, and continues the adventures of Hajime Kindaichi, his childhood friend Miyuki, and Detective Kenmochi, as they investigate mysteries and murders involving ghosts, monsters, the supernatural and folklore. Tokyopop had originally likened the series to Scooby-Doo, which, with the revelations of the all seemingly supernatural events to be very natural isn’t too far off the mark, also didn’t do much to pull readers in.

Kidaichi Case Files RNow, if even this 10 volume series seems like too much of a risk to Kodansha, I would be happy with any of the sequel titles that have been released since then. Most of these titles are 1-2 volumes long, with one or two actually making it up to 5. Along with these sequel and short stories, there have been a few spin-off titles. Some give other characters the spotlight such as Inspector Akechi and Takatou, an evil puppet master that Kindaichi faced off against. This title as well as the comedy Mini Vacation are/were released in English on the digital app Manga Box. But since you can’t keep the chapters and they are only around for 12 weeks, it would be nice to be able to get full volume copies, in print or digital. Kindaichi is fairly fresh in fan’s minds with the latest anime having been streamed on Crunchyroll. They could have started releasing the newest series, Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo R with it. It would have been the perfect tie-in!

Welp, there you go Kodansha. A whole slue of options for bringing Kindaichi back to US shores. I really wish Kodansha would consider this. Even a digital only release would be welcome. I do so miss my dose of boy detective shenanigans.

Kodansha’s Kinokuniya Event Yields New Licenses


Earlier this month Kodansha held an event at the Kinokuniya Bookstore in New York, a popular venue for East Coast publishers, and announced 7 new titles to be published this year. There are plenty of familiar faces in this bunch, as well as at least on Attack on Titan license. I don’t think it’s possible for Kodansha to make license announcements without at least one from that series.

appleseedaMasamune Shirow’s Appleseed starts the batch with a series that is not written or drawn by Shirow. Appleseed α is a prequel to the original series, and follows Deunan’s and Briareos’ early days searching for the legendary city of Olympus. Iuo Kuroda, the creator of Sexy Voice and Robo, launched the series just this year in July in Kodansha’s Morning Two magazine. Just when you thought they couldn’t do anything more with Appleseed…though this title could be interesting is you liked Deunan and Briareos as a couple. And I seem to recall I did. Kodansha does not have a release date for this series yet.

mariaexhibition Maria the Virgin Witch Exhibition is the sequel to the Kodansha license Maria the Virgin Witch. It started in July of this year in Kodansha’s Good! Afternoon and just ended in December, with its only volume releasing in Japan earlier this month. Creator Masayuki Ishikawa is best known to US readers for the short-lived Del Rey release of Moyashimon. It will be released in August after all of the original series volumes have come out. I couldn’t find any information about what the sequel is about or if it picks up any particular story line from the original. It’s a mystery right now.

fairygirlsFairy Girls is a shonen spin-off of Fairy Tail and is drawn by BOKU. It focuses on the “two strongest girls in the world,” and follows Erza, Lucy, Wendy, and Juvia. The series just started in Kodansha’s Magazine Special, a monthly shonen magazine in November. The first volume will be out in the fall. I like that there is a series that focuses on the women of Fairy Tail, but the fact that it runs in a magazine for teenage boys does have me concerned about how dominating the male gaze element will be, but I’ll just have to wait and see. I will at least check out the first volume.

diewergelderDie Wergelder is another series that features women. Hiroaki Samura of Blade of the Immortal fame started the series in 2011 in Kodansha’s quarterly magazine Nemesis. It is an action story that revolves around battle for money between three women: Nami, the passionate, psychedelic revenger, Je-Mao, the Chinese-dress wearing killing machine, and  Shinobu Aza, a female gang leader. The main story arc of this series ended last year, and Kodansha will release the first volume in the fall. I never got into Blade of the Immortal, so I don’t know if this series will appeal, but readers hungry for more Samura, now that BotI is over, will no doubt pick this one up.

livingstoneLivingstone is a fantasy adventure series written by Tomohiro Maekawa with art by Jinsei Kataoka, the creator of Deadman Wonderland. This supernatural series follows two men, Sakurai and Amano, who try to stop people from dying deaths not decreed by fate, or in failing to do so, collecting the “living-stones,” the soul stone that is created. There are three volumes so far, and the first will be released in the west in the fall. This series sounds really interesting, with supernatural and murder mystery elements. And it features two good-looking guys.

kisshimKiss Him, Not Me is by Junko, a BL creator known here for the series Mr. Mini-Mart. It was first announced by Crunchyroll and is being simulpubed digitally through them. The series follows Kae Serinuma, a fujoshi. She like to imagine boys she likes getting together instead of getting with her. After her favorite anime character dies, and she loses a ton of weight from the trauma, she becomes popular with four good-looking boys at school. But she would rather see them go out with each other than try to court her. There are five volumes so far, and the first volume will be released here in print in the fall. I don’t see the appeal of fujoshi, so I don’t think I’ll find much in this title either.

science-aotFinally, it’s the new Attack on Titan title. It’s not another manga, but a tie-in. The Science of Attack on Titan is filled with facts and illustrations about the Attack on Titan universe such as how hot a 60 meter titan would be, and who would win in a fight between a titan and Ultraman. It’s mostly fun but useless facts that die-hard fans of the series will enjoy. The book will out in June. Also announced was the second Colossal omnibus of the main series, which will collect volumes 6-10. It will be out in September and cost a titanic $49.99

This is an interesting mix of titles that Kodansha has announced. What I like most about them is that they don’t lean heavily on one genre or demographic. There’s shonen and seinen, fantasy, action, and adventure. It it shaping up to be a really good fall for reading manga, but bad for pocket books.

Vinland Saga Courts H-Word

Vinland Saga 11It was recently noticed by readers that online retailers were either pulling or dates were set back for the sixth volume of Kodansha’s deluxe hardback title Vinland Saga. On Monday, Kodansha confirmed the title was on “temporary suspension.” No reason was given for the suspension, but many people jumped straight to poor sales. Vinland Saga is a seinen title, with a higher price point due to it being a premium edition. This isn’t necessarily the reason, but it isn’t too far-fetched to believe either. It is more expensive than most manga, and a genre that has been typically a hard sell, even though there have been nothing by rave reviews about it.

While the H-Word (hiatus) hasn’t been uttered yet, it seems readers are ready to assume the worse. On at least one forum, one poster was ready to dive by into scanlations, assuming the series was already gone for good. Of course, if poor sales is the issue, this kind of thinking just exasperates the problem and creates a vicious circle of people reading scans, not buying a series, and justifying their reading of scans because no one is buying the series. I don’t know that I can completely take fault with people jumping to this conclusion. Too many times, Western readers have been told a series has been “put on hiatus”, or “suspended,” and it turns out the series has been cancelled or relegated to hiatus-hell. But I do think it’s a little early to be crying that the sky is falling. Vinland Saga was close to catching up to the Japanese releases. There are two more volumes, counting this one before we are caught up, and with the series being monthly, it’s going to be a while before there is a volume 8 anyway.

For now, I want to believe that Kodansha is considering more than just sales in dealing with this series. Perhaps they are weighing the idea of spreading the releases out further, and have to discuss it with Kodansha Japan and/or the mangaka first. I find this thought much more appealing that seeing this powerful and well-written title go down the hiatus black hole.

Kodansha Announces One Last License for 2014

Your Lie in AprilJust in time for year-end, Kodansha announced one last title on its Tumblr account. Your Lie In April is by Naoshi Arakawa, a relative unknown to Western readers, and currently has an anime airing in Japan that is also streaming on Aniplex Channel, Hulu, and Crunchyroll.

Your Lie in April is about Kosei Arima, a piano prodigy until his cruel taskmaster of a mother dies suddenly. His life forever changed, he abandons piano, and resigns to live in a colorless, monotonous world. His bland world is shaken when he meets Kaori Miyazono, a violinist with an unorthodox style, and possibly the only one who can teach him not only to play, but to live again.

This series is currently at 10 volumes, with the 11th due out in May 2015. Kodansha plans to publish the first volume here in Spring 2015. This series looks really cute, and it features music, so it’s got my attention. It also won the Best Shonen Category at Kodansha’s 37th Annual Manga Awards last year. With the anime preceding it, it will at least have some name recognition when it comes out to draw people in and good writing to keep them. I’m looking forward to it.

This Week’s Manga: No Regrets

This Week's MangaAttack on Titan no regrets 2Yen Press has the lion share of releases this Halloween week, but they don’t have the one title that will make me squee with joy. It’s Kodansha and their release of the second and final volume of Attack On Titan: No Regrets that has me ready to whip open my wallet. I REALLY loved the first volume, and can’t wait to see what is in store for Levi and his friends and see how Levi becomes so loyal to a man he is determined to kill.

Barakamon 1As I said previously, this is the big Yen Press release week, and there are a few titles from them I look forward to reading. A Bride’s Story vol 6, Inu X Boku SS Vol 5, Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Different Story Vol 3, and Umineko When They Cry Episode 4 Vol 2: Alliance of the Golden Witch are all regular reads for me. New this week is Barakamon, a title Yen pushed heavily at NYCC. The story combines the “fish out of water” story element with a Yotsuba&! as it tells of a young calligrapher from the city who moves to a rural island and learns the ways of the island from a first grader. The story looks to have a lot of potential, so it’s one I’ll check out the first volume.

The full list per Diamond Distribution:

Blade Of The Immortal Volume 30 Vigilance TP, $19.99

Attack On Titan No Regrets Volume 2 GN, $10.99
Fairy Tail Volume 43 GN, $10.99

Whispered Words Volume 2 GN, $16.95

Alice In The Country Of Joker Circus And The Liar’s Game Volume 6 GN, $12.99

Garden Of Words GN, $12.95

Case Closed Volume 52 GN, $9.99

Alice In The Country Of Diamonds Wonderful Wonder World Official Visual Fan Book SC, $25.00
Barakamon Volume 1 GN, $15.00
Black Butler Volume 18 TP, $13.00
Bloody Brat Volume 2 GN, $13.00
Bride’s Story Volume 6 HC, $17.00
Celebration Of Haruhi Suzumiya Short Story Omnibus TP, $26.00
No Matter How I Look At It It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular Volume 5 GN, $13.00
Inu X Boku SS Volume 5 TP, $11.99
Judge Volume 5 GN, $12.99
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Volume 4 GN, $12.00
Melancholy Of Suzumiya-Haruhi Chan Volume 8 GN, $13.00
Oninagi Volume 4 GN, $17.00
Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Different Story Volume 3 GN, $13.00
Ubel Blatt Volume 0 GN, $20.00
Umineko When They Cry Episode 4 Volume 2 Alliance Of The Golden Witch GN, $22.00

Sailor Moon Short Stories Volume 2

This second collection of short stories is really one long story and two ones. First Luna, Usagi’s cat falls head over feet for a human astrophysicist whose discovery of a new comet also heralds new doom from an old enemy for the Earth. Then some of Rei’s backstory is revealed is a tale of reflection and revenge, and finally in an undisclosed future, the children of Usagi and the other Sailor Scouts prove they don’t fall very far from the tree.

Sailor Moon Short Stories 2
Buy this Book

By Naoko Takeuchi
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Romance
Price: $10.99
Rating: ★★★½☆

I have limited experience with Sailor Moon, but I know just enough to know who everyone is and what is going on. The stories in this volume, while not all short, are still fairly entertaining, even if all them don’t quite hit their intended mark.

There are three stories in this volume, “Princess Kaguya’s Lover”, “Casa Blanca Memory”, and “Parallel Sailor Moon.” Of these three, “Princess Kaguya’s Lover” is the longest, and features the strange love triangle of Luna the cat, Kakeru Ohzora, an astrophysicist, and his childhood friend Himeko Nayotake. There were a lot of things I liked about this story. Luna getting to be the center of attention was a nice change, but I really loved the villain, Princess Snow Kaguya. She was supposed to rule over the solar system but was banished 4.5 Billion years ago, but has returned to reclaim reign. I liked that she wasn’t after any of the sailor scouts, or to take the Earth specifically, but to rule over the whole solar system. It wasn’t people that banished her, but the spirits of the planets, and that just appealed to me. The love triangle didn’t so much, since it was obvious that Luna didn’t have a chance as a cat, but the Christmas gift the other give her was very sweet.

I liked “Casa Blanca Memory” much more. It has a more traditional villain, but I liked that the weapon was memories and sentimentality. It’s so easy for people to fall under the spell of these things, including the rather unromantic Rei. It makes a good vehicle to explore Rei’s past and possible love interest without feeling forced. The seemingly never-ending rain adds to the atmosphere, drawing the reader into the melancholy mood of the story. Rei breaks out of the spell of course, because of her vow to never reflect on the past or fall in love. If anything, this episode only reinforces Rei’s personal beliefs, which is rather refreshing.

The last story, “Parallel Sailor Moon” takes place several years in the future, where the sailor scouts are married and have children. The kids run off for their own adventure, with Usagi’s youngest daughter Ko-Usagi stepping into her mother’s shoes, cat and all. I didn’t care for this story as much as the other two. It was supposed to be more humorous, but most of it fell flat for me. I just didn’t care for the other girls trying to lose Ko-Usagi for most of the story, though I can see that happening in real life. The threat they have to defeat is a herd of rabbits which was cute, but overall, it didn’t appeal to me.

What I really enjoyed about these stories, especially the first two, is the way Takeuchi incorporated antiques into the stories. Princess Kaguya was based on an Art Deco piece called Salome and her Snow Dancers were based on a porcelain piece called the Dancer. She wove these two pieces beautifully into the story and really gave those characters a unique appearance. I also loved the Art Deco lamp that became the basis of the Rain Tree. It looked like water cascading and made for a wonderful effect.

Overall, Sailor Moon Short Stories Volume 2 has some good stories with some solid moments. Takeuchi incorporates the holidays of Christmas and Chinese New Year without it being overt and creates some fun stories from objects you wouldn’t normally expect to be used as models for a manga. Even through this is called a volume 2 the stories stand alone, and only basic knowledge of Sailor Moon is needed to enjoy them.

Manga Wrap Up Week Fourteen: The Wallflower Volume 1-10

I’ve had The Wallflower sitting on my bookshelf unread for 3-4 years now. I didn’t know anything about the manga until the anime was announced. Having watched and enjoyed the anime, I started to pick up the manga. I mistakenly picked up volume 7 first, and finding the first 6 took a little longer, so I put off reading it for while. Of course, after that, it was easy to continue to put it off. Even after collecting up to volume 15, I continued to put it off. But now, with space becoming a premium, a title that had 15 volumes of that I hadn’t even read the first volume of became an easy target for culling. Since I was also preparing for the MMF this week, I only got through the first 5 volumes.

The Wallflower is about 4 incredibly handsome boys, and their quest to live rent free in the mansion of an eccentric woman who is constantly traveling, and always with a new male companion. To reach this goal, all they have to do get their landlady’s niece to look an act like a proper lady. This is easier said than done, since said niece, Sunako looks like Sadako from The Ring, and wants to be by herself, in a dark room watching horror movies and talking to her anatomical dolls and skull, all of who she’s named. Repulsed at first, the boys learn that Sunako could be beautiful if she just tried. But after an incident with a boy she liked in middle school, Sunako rejects all things beautiful and doesn’t believe she can live in the with the other “creatures of light.” The manga follows the boys attempts to make Sunako a normal girl, or hide the fact that they have failed so far from the landlady.

I really didn’t care for the first 5 volumes of this series. I think part of it is because the anime was based on them. I’d already seen all of the stories before, so there was nothing new in them. Also, the stories focused mostly on how scary Sunako was, and what new scheme the boys had come up with to try to make her a lady. The anime took a much more comedic tack with this, I was expecting the manga to be like that. I liked volumes 6-10 a lot more. Not only were the stories not familiar, but they also started to focus on more of the characters. It wasn’t just “Sunako vs the Creatures of Light.” The other characters started to get some actual depth. Kyohei’s troubled past is investigated. Oda and Noi’s relationship gets to take a step forward. Ranmaru might have found love. Yuki’s powers of cuteness are further revealed. The characters started to be more than just cardboard cutouts, and I’m actually interested to read more about them.

One thing I’ve enjoyed throughout all 10 volumes is Sunako and Kyohei’s relationship. It’s the kind of advesarial relationship that I enjoy. Sunako is determined to live in darkness, and Kyohei is determined to live rent free. This put the two constantly at odds, sometimes with them coming to blows. These are some of the scenes I like the most, partly because it’s also most often when Sunako will be show as a person and not a chibi. I really got tired of her chibi form in the first 5 chapters, but it wasn’t so bad in the next 5. And for all their fighting, they do seem to care for each other. Kyohei is trying to help Sunako through his harsh words. And Sunako won’t let anyone else but her harm Kyohei, so that is something, right? I keep rooting for these them to get together. They are like two sides of the same coin. They are yin and yang; darkness and light.

I have mixed feelings about this title now. After the first 5 I was ready to chuck it. After the second 5, now I’m not so sure. The next 5, 11-15 will be the deciding factor I guess. I wish this series was available digitally. It would be a much easier decision then. At 15 volumes, I’m still only half way through the series, and 30 volumes is far too much space for a series I like, but don’t love. Kodansha, please put this on Jmanaga, so I at least have some hope of reading it.

I’ll finish up The Wallflower this week. I was going to start on Spiral: Bonds of Reasoning after, as it’s another 15 volumes, but I need to make a dent in my TBR pile. I’m running out of room on my desk as well. And I think I’ll start with some of the omnibuses I have; Black Gate, and the infamous Sasameke volume 2. Really, how bad can it be? I also have to catch up with the April issue of Yen Plus, since May starts Tuesday.

  • The Wallflower volumes 1-10
  • Dorohedoro volume 1
  • Bokurano Ours volume 1
  • Biomega volume 5