Tag Archives: Manga

Dark Horse at Anime Central


Comics and manga publisher Dark Horse made a surprise appearance at Anime Central, a Mid-west con held in Chicago, IL. They had an even bigger surprise for attendees as they announced four new titles to ship in 2016.

giganto-maxia Giganto Maxima is a one shot volume by Kentaro Miura, who is best known in the west for the series Berserk, which is also published by Dark Horse. The series takes place 100 million years in the future, and is about the war between the forces led by Zeus, and the Nether forces led by the giant Alcyoneus. The series is the first original work from Miura in 24 years, since the start of Berserk, and fans will either be happy or disappointed that this volume will be more light-hearted and idealistic. Dark Horse will publish this series in February 2016.

danganronpa-the-animationDanganronpa: The Animation is the manga adaptation of the TV series which is based on a video game. The series follows a group of high school students, each of whom possess a different exceptional talent. They are all locked in at school, and told that the only way to escape is to kill a fellow student without getting caught. After a student is murdered, they hold a trial to find out who is responsible while their own lives are on the line. My oldest daughter was obsessed with this series for a while, so I’m familiar with it somewhat, which just makes me more interested in reading the manga. Or at least I can say I’m getting it for her and then just read it myself. The series is complete in four volumes with the first volume set to be released in March 2016.

i-am-a-hero I Am A Hero is a bit of a coup for Dark Horse. The series is published by Shogakukan, whose titles are almost exclusively published by Viz Media. It is the company’s first Shogakukan title since they published Godzilla back in 1988. I Am A Hero is about Hideo Suzuki, a struggling manga artist who might also be mentally unstable. One night, he sees the victim of an auto collision with a twisted leg and broken neck, get up and walk away. As more of Tokyo’s dead start to rise, there are two things that allow a crazy man like Suzuki to survive; the belief that he is destined to be a hero, and something that is a rarity in Japan, a gun. The series has quite a pedigree as it was nominated for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Manga Taisho Awards, and won the 58th Shogakukan Manga Award in the General Category in 2013. I’m on the fence about this one. I’m not excited about more zombie manga unless there’s a good twist, and I don’t know if Suzuki will be enough of one to make it interesting. But all those award nominations make me think there might be more here. I might check it out. There are currently 16 volumes out, and Dark Horse will publish the series in a 2-in-1 omnibus format starting in April 2016.

rg-vedaThe final series is a CLAMP title rescue. RG Veda was CLAMP’s debut title. It was originally published here by Tokyopop ten years ago, so needless to say, it is very out of print. The story is about Yasha-o, the Guardian Warrior of the North who discovers the last child of the Ashura-o clan, Ashura. The pair go on a quest to find the Six Stars and defeat the tyrantical King of Heaven, Taishakuten. The series features elements of Vedic mythology, and takes its name from one of the four Vedas. This series was the first CLAMP manga I read that I liked enough to read to the end. It was originally published in 10 volumes, but Dark Horse is basing its release on the 5 volume omnibus version released by Kadokawa. They are further condensing the series down to 3 omnibus volumes of around 600 pages each like their editions of Cardcaptor Sakura and Tokyo Babylon. These will be killer books. The first volume will be out in August 2016.

PR: Viz Media Releases New Shonen Sampler Pack

One of the advantages to digital manga is exactly this; being able to quickly and easily sample titles. Sampler packs were one of the things I really looked forward to picking up at SDCC. All the manga publishers would have them, though supplies could be limited, so it was best to get them on the first or second day. Even my kids, who really are manga readers would grab one for the ride on the shuttle back to the car or hotel. This new pack from Viz only features shonen titles, but not only do they offer the first chapters of some of their most popular titles, it previews the next big chapters in the stories, such as after time jumps in One Piece and Naruto, and a new story arc in Bleach. While I do like this sampler pack, I hope Viz will do one for Shojo as well.

Continue reading PR: Viz Media Releases New Shonen Sampler Pack

Weekly Top Ten – May 23, 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.



New York Times Bestseller List for the week ending May 16, 2015

  1. LegendOfZelda-LinkToThePast-3DLegend of Zelda A Link to the Past     ↔
  2. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Book 1: Phantom Blood Vol 2     ↔
  3. Big Hero Six Vol 1     ↑ 2
  4. Rosario + Vampire: Season II Vol 14     ↓ 1
  5. Akame ga Kill Vol 2     ↓ 1
  6. Nisekoi: False Love Vol 9     ∗
  7. Dragonar Academy Vol 6     ∗
  8. Assassination Classroom Vol 1     ↓ 1
  9. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↓ 1
  10. Naruto Vol 69     ↵ 8

The top two titles remain unchanged this week, proving that Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past still has plenty of leg to stand on. Big Hero 6 Vol 1 makes a move back up as it proves it has some staying power after 8 weeks on the list now. Assassination Classroom Vol 1 is making a good showing as well as it hits 11 weeks. Only two new titles debuted; Nisekoi Vol 9 and Dragonar Academy Vol 6. It weird to see Naruto struggling as Vol 69 has only had 8 weeks total since its release back in March.



Amazon.com for the week ending May 23, 2015

  1. LegendOfZelda-LinkToThePast-3DLegend of Zelda A Link to the Past     ↔
  2. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↔
  3. Naruto Vol 70     ↑ 3
  4. Attack on Titan Vol 15     ↔
  5. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Book 1: Phantom Blood Vol 2     ↔
  6. Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1     ↑ 1
  7. Trinity Seven Vol 1     ∗
  8. Legend of Zelda Box Set     ↵
  9. Uzumaki 3-in-1     ↵
  10. High School DxD Vol 5     ∗

Much like the NYT list, the top two titles remain the same with Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past on top. The bottom half of Amazon’s top five remains the same as well, with the only change being the preorder for the next Naruto Vol, 70, moving up to #3. Only two new titles debuted here as well; Trinity Seven Vol 1 and High School DxD Vol 5. Male-gaze readers seem to prefer Amazon for their manga. The Legend of Zelda Box Set returns, with little surprise, at such a good price. The Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1  preorder has moved up again too with its release date now only a week away. Or was it the digital only release of Vol 2 over at Vizmanga?

∗ = 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)

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.


This Week’s Manga: A Certain Dream Fossil

This Week's Manga

Dream FossilThere a good selection of titles from publishers this week. One publisher that sort of faded away is back; Netcomics. The manhwa heavy publisher was among the first to offer titles digitally, and rented chapters as well as selling volumes. Their first title back was Give to the Heart, which has volume 3  coming out this week. Joining it is Sweet Blood, a gender-bender/BL vampire title, and a license rescue, Chiro Volume 1 Star Project. This title was originally published by Udon Entertainment under their short-lived manga line. Hopefully it will do better this second time around. Vertical Comics has a hefty title this week with Dream Fossil The Complete Stories of Satoshi Kon. The collection of short stories by the manga creator and anime director has been highly anticipated by fans. Vertical has proven time and again they know how to not only pick great content but present it in a way that makes it worth the price.

Goong 18It’s a Yen Press heavy week, with the publisher releasing the majority of its titles. This week debuts the manga versions of two popular light novels, A Certain Magical Index and Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon. If you’ve been wondering about the titles, but not willing to commit to prose, now’s your chance. I will admit some curiosity over A Certain Magical Index so I’ll probably check it out. Also out this week from Yen is the final volume of Goong The Royal Palace. This complicated, and quite frankly soapy tale of a regular girl marrying into the Korean Royal Family can be frustratingly addicting. You want to know how things are going to turn out, but more often than not want to yell at the characters for their poor decision-making. I got sucked in, and now I have to find out how things end, so this title is a must.

Full List per Diamond Distributors

Chiro Volume 1 Star Project GN, $11.99
Give To The Heart Volume 3 GN, $11.99
Sweet Blood Volume 1 GN, $11.99

Alice In The Country Of Clover Twin Lovers GN, $13.99
World War Blue Volume 8 GN, $12.99

Dream Fossil The Complete Stories Of Satoshi Kon GN, $24.95

Gangsta Volume 6 GN, $12.99
Resident Evil The Marhawa Desire Volume 4 GN, $12.99
Terra Formars Volume 6 GN, $12.99

Ani-Imo Volume 3 GN, $13.00
Blood Lad Omnibus Volume 6 GN, $20.00
BTOOOM Volume 10 GN, $14.00
Certain Magical Index Volume 1 GN, $13.00
Certain Magical Index Volume 3 Light Novel SC, $14.00
Emma Volume 1 HC, $35.00
Goong Volume 18 GN, $25.00
Gou-Dere Sora Nagihara Volume 3 GN, $15.00
High School DxD Volume 5 GN, $13.00
Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon Volume 1 GN, $13.00
No Matter How I Look At It It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular Volume 7 GN, $13.00
Sword Art Online Girls’ Ops Volume 1 GN, $13.00
Trinity Seven Volume 1 GN, $13.00
Ubel Blatt Volume 2 GN, $20.00
Umineko When They Cry Episode 5 End Of The Golden Witch Volume 1 GN, $20.00
Until Death Do Us Part Volume 9 GN, $25.00

Seven Seas License Roundup


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.



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.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

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

Heroic Legend Of Arslan Volume 3 GN, $10.99

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

Love Stage Volume 1 GN, $12.99

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.