Tag Archives: Manga

Weekly Top Ten – April 25, 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 April 18, 2015

  1. Big Hero Six 1Big Hero Six Vol 1     ↑ 1
  2. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↑ 7
  3. Attack on Titan Vol 15     ↔
  4. Black Butler Vol 1     ↵ 45
  5. Monster Musume Vol 6     ↵ 5
  6. Assassination Classroom Vol 3     ↑ 1
  7. Citrus Vol 2     ∗
  8. One Piece Vol 74     ↓ 7
  9. Naruto Vol 69     ↵ 6
  10. Akame ga Kill Vol 1     ↵ 9

One Piece Vol 74 tumbles down from the top spot, finally giving Big Hero Six Vol 1 the chance its been waiting for to take it. The Attack on Titan volumes huddle as Vol 1 rises back up to #2 while Vol 15 holds steady at #3. A lot of titles return this week as well. Black Butler Vol 1 is a perennial, now having hit the list for 45 weeks total. I think that’s the longest after Attack on Titan vol 1. Monster Musume Vol 6 makes a return as another Seven Seas title, Citrus Vol 2 debuts. The newest Naruto, Vol 69 hasn’t been doing as well as its predecessors, having fallen off last week. It returns this week along with Akame ga Kill Vol 1.

Amazon

 

Amazon.com for the week ending April 25, 2015

  1. LegendOfZelda-LinkToThePast-3DLegend of Zelda A Link to the Past     ↑ 3
  2. Attack on Titan Vol 15     ↓ 1
  3. Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon Novel Vol 1     ↓ 1
  4. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↓ 1
  5. Log Horizon Novel Vol 1     ↑ 1
  6. Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin Vol 9     ∗
  7. Akame ga Kill! Vol 2     ↑ 1
  8. Sword Art Online Progressive Novel Vol 1     ↵
  9. Berserk Vol 1     ↓ 7
  10. Attack on Titan Vol 10     ↵

Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past retakes the top spot as its release date is only a little over a week away. Vertical Comics’ Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin Vol 9 is set to be released this Tuesday and preorders have sent it up into the top ten. Yen Press’ Yen On light novel line continues to do well, as its got three different titles on list. Akame ga Kill Vol 2 continues to do better here as it inches up a spot. I still don’t get the resurgence of Berserk, but Volume 1 took the biggest tumble of 7 spots.

∗ = 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)

 

Orange Junk Volume 1

When Louise’s wealthy family loses everything, she has to pull herself up by her bootstraps and start over in a new high school – where the smartest boy is the meanest, and the hottest boy is the weirdest. But Louise needs tutoring, so the three become a team…and it’s heaven, hell, and everything in-between.

Orange Junk Volume 1
orangejunk_vol1_ebookcoverBy Heldrad
Publisher: Chromatic Press
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Price: $6.00/eBook – Free to read at Sparkler Monthly
Rating: ★★★★☆

In general, I don’t care for the riches-to-rags stories. I don’t find financial hardship to be funny no matter who is writing it, so I had my doubts about Orange Junk when it was announced as a new addition to Sparkler Monthly. But I have a terrible case of curiosity and decided to check the series out on my lunch break at work. I ended up reading all 7 available chapters over lunch and break. Orange Junk spins an engrossing story filled with appealing characters and a story that balances the humor and drama just right.

The protagonist of Orange Junk is Louise Barton. Her family used to be wealthy, but her father’s company went bankrupt and they lost everything. They move into a regular neighborhood where Louise has to go to the local public high school. It’s like a whole new world for her, but she does adjust and makes friends. Bruce Daniels starts out as Louise’s nemesis. He is quick to anger and is always getting into fights. He also hates rich people, so sees nothing good in her. Andrew Grey is the third member of the trio. He is a new student like Louise. He lost his parents and now lives with his Grandmother who spends a lot of time traveling. He is good-looking and a bit clumsy. The trio become friends when Bruce is forced to tutor Louise in math to keep their teacher Jack from telling his mother about his fighting and Drew lets the use his house when rumors start to fly at school.

I really like all three of these characters. I wasn’t sure I would like Bruce at first. He was so quick to judge and jump to conclusions about Louise. He is hyper-sensitive about his family’s financial situation, while Louise isn’t. She seems to have accepted the change in her lifestyle, though she does hold a bit of a grudge against her father’s partner who was responsible for the family’s downfall. For most of the first volume they spend a lot of time bickering. I loved that Louise called Bruce and hedgehog, and imagined him as a pineapple when his mother described him as tough on the outside but sweet on the inside. They do finally come to an understanding, mostly with the help of Drew. He starts to hang out with Louise and Bruce during their tutoring, and the reason why is not one you would expect. I thought is was a good twist.

The humor is strong emphasized in this first volume, but dramatic elements still get dropped in. The trios’ back story is revealed as well as glimpses into their family lives are shown. Bruce is tricked into revealing his when Louise opens up to him first. All three have very different homes to go to. Bruce’s is lively and happy. Louise’s is still filled with anger and resentment. You can’t see the bonds in Louise’s that you can in Bruce’s. Drew’s family quickly becomes Bruce and Louise since he is essentially alone, but he always has an upbeat attitude and smile.

The art of Orange Junk is charming. It has a shojo feel to it, while having a life of its own. Both Bruce and Drew are good-looking in their own way. Louise is comely, though I like her better with her hair down. I also really like Bruce’s hedgehog spikes. The characters also have their own fashion styles, and I enjoyed seeing them in different outfits.

Orange Junk is a fun series that delighted me, all the more since I wasn’t expecting it to. It has a lot of shojo manga tropes, but handles them in a way that they don’t feel old or tired. I was riveted as I torn through the pages, the story and characters growing on my with every chapter. If you are a fan of shojo manga or just good stories, check this series out.

Become a member and get Sparkler Monthly every month with a $5 monthly subscription, pay for a year at $50 and save $10, or become a VIP for $125 and get back downloads of serialized titles as well as Cherry Bomb adult stories.

This Week’s Manga: April Showers

This Week's Manga

Clay Lord 1 Lots of titles debuting this week. Kodansha starts out with two new titles. Let’s Dance A Waltz is by Natsumi Ando, the mangaka of Kitchen Princess, and the recently ended Arisa. I have yet to read an Ando title, though Kitchen Princess is on my “someday” list, but I’ll definitely give the first volume of this series a try. Your Lie In April was Kodansha’s last announced license of 2014. It’s a music title that has been compared to Nodame Cantabile, which was only partially published by Del Rey back in the day. I’m looking forward to giving this volume a try as well. Seven Seas has two debuts as well. 12 Beast is another monster girl title, and is by the same mangaka as their runaway hit Monster Musume.  I expect this title to do just as well, I just won’t be experiencing it first hand. Clay Lord: Masters of Golems is much more my type. It’s a fantasy with plenty of adventure and competition.

DevilIsAPartTimerV1_Prose_TPYen Press is the serious player this week with four new light novels and 2 new manga debuting. Yen On gets a big push with Devil is a Part-Timer, Kagerou Daze, No Game, No Life, and Log Horizon all debuting their first volumes this week. No Game No Life and Log Horizon has seem a bit of hype from fans, but Devil is a Part-Timer is the one I’m most interested in. I don’t know why but the thought of a demon lord working in fast food just sounds really funny to me. Of the new manga, the title I’m looking forward to the most is of course Puella Magi Tart Magica. This time it’s a magical girl from the past, so I’m looking forward to how the historical setting works. Also out this week is the final volume of Tena on S-String. I never thought this title would ever be finished. Before its return in December, the last volume was released in 2010. That volume finished well enough that it could have been the end, but there is a proper ending now, which I’m looking forward to reading.

Full List per Diamond Distributors

KODANSHA COMICS
Let’s Dance A Waltz Volume 1 GN, $10.99
Your Lie In April Volume 1 GN, $10.99

SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT
12 Beast Volume 1 GN, $12.99
Clay Lord Masters Of Golems Volume 1 GN, $12.99

VERTICAL
Witchcraft Works Volume 4 GN, $12.95

VIZ MEDIA
Vagabond Volume 37 GN, $9.95

YEN PRESS
Akame Ga Kill Volume 2 GN, $13.00
Barakamon Volume 4 GN, $15.00
Devil Is Part-Timer Light Novel Volume 1 SC, $14.00
Inu X Boku SS Volume 7 TP, $11.99
Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon Novel Volume 2 SC, $14.00
Kagerou Daze Volume 1 GN, $13.00
Log Horizon The Beginning Of Another World Light Novel Volume 1 SC, $14.00
No Game No Life Light Novel Volume 1 SC, $14.00
Puella Magi Tart Magica The Legend Of Jeanne D’Arc Volume 1 GN, $13.00
So I Can’t Play H Volume 1 GN, $13.00
Spice And Wolf Novel Volume 14 SC, $13.00
Sword Art Online Progressive Volume 2 GN, $13.00
Tena On S-String Volume 7 GN, $30.00

Banned From My App

Viz DigitalI have really grown to like digital manga. Considering the lack of space I currently have, and the difficulty I have in letting things go, being able to stack digital files is a lot easier than physical books. And they’re a lot easier to carry. I can carry several different titles to suit what ever my mood is in just my tablet, and it’s a lot easier to eat and read on a tablet that can stand on its own and doesn’t need one of my hands to hold it open.

The Vizmanga app has been one of these platforms that I’ve been buying my manga on, though reluctantly lately. One of my problems with it is that there is no way to back up the titles I purchase. They can only be downloaded and viewed through the app. This isn’t so much a problem if something happens to my device. I can just download them again on the new one. But what if something happens to Viz and their servers go down? They say everything will still be available and working through the app.

happy marriageWell, that’s not entirely true. Viz’s mature titles are not available to download and read through the app. They can only be read online through a PC/Mac with flash. This is actually very limiting. The whole purpose of digital manga is to be able to read it anytime, anywhere, just like the print, but more conveniently. Limiting the ability to read manga I supposedly own is not convenient. I am more often in an environment where I can’t get online with my device and the available PC is not flash enabled. Yes, I can read something else, but that isn’t really the point. I love digital manga because it’s supposed to give more freedom in what I read and when. Viz banning their own titles from their own app is actually ludicrous to me. If you are going to sell Mature manga on your site that is supposed to be available through your app than make ALL OF IT available. Don’t say “You can read all of these titles you’ve bought anytime, anywhere, but don’t even think about those titles.”

I’ve partially solved this problem by not buying anymore Mature manga through the Vizmanga app or website. I should be able to read any title I’ve bought anytime I want, and should not be limited by whatever hangups a publisher has about their own titles. But this now means I have my digital manga divided up between apps, and even some series. I shouldn’t have to have multiple apps to get titles from the same publisher, but to make digital manga work for me, I just have to, and I really think that’s wrong.

Weekly Top Ten – April 18, 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 April 11, 2015.

  1. One Piece 74 One Piece Vol 74     ∗
  2. Big Hero Six Vol 1     ↔
  3. Attack on Titan Vol 15     ↓ 2
  4. Fairy Tail Vol 47     ↑ 2
  5. Soul Eater Vol 25     ↓ 2
  6. Food Wars! Vol 5     ∗
  7. Assassination Classroom Vol 3     ∗
  8. Attack on Titan Before The Fall Vol 4     ↓ 4
  9. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↓ 4
  10. Sword Art Online Fairy Dance Vol 3     ↓ 1

The mighty titans are unseated by a bunch of pirates! One Piece Vol 74 debuts in the top spot this week. Big Hero Six Vol 1 keeps itself at #2 for its third week. While Attack on Titan Vol 15 falls two, it is met by the wizards of Fairy Tail Volume 47 moving up the same amount. Soul Eater‘s final volume, 25, also falls two, but it still has hope of moving back up. The other titan titles Vol 1 and Before The Fall Vol 4 lose some of the sail Vol 15 gave them, but after 93 weeks on the list, I don’t see Vol 1 falling off any time soon or for very long.

Amazon

 

Amazon.com for the week ending April 18, 2015.

  1. Attack on Titan 15Attack on Titan Vol 15     ↔
  2. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls In a Dungeon Novel Vol 1     ↑ 4
  3. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↔
  4. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past     ↔
  5. Berserk Vol 1     ↓ 4
  6. Log Horizon Novel Vol 1     ∗
  7. 12 Beast Vol 1     ∗
  8. Akame ga Kill! Vol 2     ∗
  9. Deadman Wonderland Vol 8     ∗
  10. Sword Art Online Aincrad Novel Vol 2     ↵

Amazon.com’s list shows some static volumes, while there is a majority turn over. Both Attack on Titan volumes and Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past hold the ground. Yen Press gets two new volumes up with the first light novel of Log Horizon and the second volume of Akame ga Kill!. Seven Seas introduces their newest cast of monster girls with 12 Beast Vol 1, and Viz Media’s Deadman Wonderland just squeaks by at #9. Berserk‘s odd resurgence continues with only Vol 1 hanging on, but Vols 2-3 still made the top 20.

Viz Digital

 

Vizmanga for the week of April 6, 2015.

  1. Assassination Classroom 3Assassination Classroom Vol 3
  2. One Piece Vol 74
  3. World Trigger Vol 5
  4. Dengeki Daisy Vol 16
  5. Toriko Vol 27
  6. My Love Story Vol 4
  7. Library Wars Vol 13
  8. Skip Beat! Vol 34
  9. Toriko Vol 1
  10. Toriko Vol 6

Vizmanga makes a rare appearance with a top ten list this week. Assassination Classroom Vol 3 beats out One Piece Vol 74 in the digital realm. Toriko got three volumes on the list, but with three different bundles running, it’s not surprising, though I would have expected Vol 1 to be higher. Dengeki Daisy‘s final volume, 16,  charted respectably, coming in at #4, with fellow shojo titles My Love Story, Library Wars and Skip Beat! not so far behind.

nielsen-bookscan-logo

 

Nielson Bookscan for the month of March 2015.

1. Naruto 69Naruto Vol 69     ∗
5. Attack on Titan Vol 15     ∗
6. Monster Musume Vol 6     ∗
14. Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds Vol 7     ∗
17. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↓ 4

It’s a whole new list, almost, on the Nielson Bookscan for March. The total titles almost double with the latest Naruto takes its place at the top with the next closest title being the newest Attack on Titan coming in at #5. It’s followed closely by the monster girls of Monster Musume. Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds is the strongest Yu-Gi-Oh! titles since the original with volume 7 coming in at #14, and Attack on Titan vol 1 holds on at the bottom of the list after falling four from February.

∗ = 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)

Kodansha at Anime Boston

KodanshaComics_logo

While Yen Press was kicking it up in Seattle at Sakura-Con, Kodansha was staying cool at Anime Boston. They had announcements for 5 new titles as well as news about current titles.

ninja-slayer-kills  Starting with the new titles, Kodansha picked up Ninja Slayer Kills. This is another adaptation of the novel series Ninja Slayer, about salary man Kenji Fujikido, who is possessed by the Ninja spirit Naraku. Kenji’s wife and child was killed in a ninja turf war, and his thirst for vengeance matches Naraku’s lust for killing. Together they become Ninja Slayer. Veritcal Comics already announced another adaptation, Machine of Vengeance. It’s not surprising Kodansha picked up one as well, especially with an anime set to run this year. This series has two volumes out so far and is ongoing. I will probably pass on this one, since ultra violence just isn’t my thing.

Cat DiaryA title I am excited about is Cat Diary: Yon and Mu by horror manga creator Junji Ito. A semi-autobiographical comedy, it is about a horror manga artist and his fiance’s cats. I’ve been interested in this title since I heard about it in 2009. Ito’s creepy art combined with the mysteries of cats who are probably planning our demise anyway, just seems to be the perfect combination. I will definitely be picking this one up. It’s about cats, you shouldn’t be surprised. It is complete in one volume.

Persona Q P3Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth P3/P4 are adaptations of the Nintendo 3DS game. Each title features the protagonist from Persona 3 and Persona 4 and their friends attending a school cultural festival when a mysterious bell rings out. Each title starts out as their own story line, but they begin to merge as the story progresses. I’ve been learning a lot about Persona Q, as my oldest daughter as been obsessed with it, and has played it through twice now. It will be interesting to see how the manga handles the merging of the storylines. Kodansha has pretty much guaranteed sales for both these titles. The titles just began at the beginning of this year, so there is no volume count or release date, but for those who can’t wait, Crunchyroll has both titles available for streaming. I’ll be happy to wait for the print books.

devil-survivorRelated to Persona Q indirectly is Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor. This title is also the adaptation of a Nintendo 3DS game. The Persona series is also a spin-off from the Shin Megami Tensei series. The Comp is a popular portable game system that doubles as a smart phone. It has also become a portal for demons to come to our world. Protag Kazuya receives three Comps from his genius programmer cousin, and he and his friends must learn to use them to fight and capture the demons before they take over Japan. I’m game to check this title out as well. I was interested in the Shin Megami Tensei that Tokyopop had licensed back in the day, but only one volume was released. There are currently 5 volumes out of the ongoing series.

Kodansha also had two bits of news. First, Vinland Saga, which had gone on a sort of hiatus was given release dates for Volumes 6 and 7. Volume 6 will be out in September and Volume 7 will be out in December. They also warned these would be the last two volumes in English if sales didn’t improve. When the original release date for Volume 6 was pulled, there were lots of thoughts that is was because of low sales. Kodansha has now confirmed that, but the series hasn’t been abandoned as was also thought. It is now in the fans’ hands if this title lives or dies. Pre-order if you want Vinland Saga in English to continue.

The second bit of news was a new limited edition of Attack on Titan Vol 16. It will be released in August on the same day as the regular edition, and will include a set of playing cards printed by US Playing Card Company. Each card will have different full color art. There will also be a variant dust cover by an American Artist that is yet to be announced. All of this, and it will only cost $19.99 MSRP. Attack on Titan fanatics will definitely want this.

Here We Go Again

Clockwork Apple KickstarterOn Thursday, Digital Manga Publishing announced their next Tezuka-in-Print kickstarter. They are being modest again, with a single series anthology, Clockwork Apple. It features 8 short stories of speculative fiction that were written between 1968 – 1973.  DMP describes the volume as such:

In this collection of speculative fiction a man finds a wonder drug, a robot has a baby, a town is subjected to control by substance, a robber runs away from murder, a man searches for his mysterious love, American school kids are kidnapped, an activist takes part in political intrigue, and space hippies defy peace conventions.

It is recommended to fans of the TV show The Twilight Zone and the comics Creepy and Eerie, due to similar tone and themes. Considering what a classic those titles are, that is high praise for this volume.

DMP is looking for $13,500 to publish the book with the digital tier hitting at $15, and the print tier at $20. The book will be a little thicker than most manga volumes, coming in at 284 pages, and DMP is saying they will use heavier stock paper, which is what probably puts the print book at the near MSRP of $19.99. There are of course plenty of rewards, including a digital companion, bookmarks, wooden coins, a cabby hat, moleskin journal, tote bag, and pins. They have also brought back their Library tier, were 5 volumes of the book will be sent to the library of your choice.

There are also stretch goals planned, with the first hitting at $18,200, what will put the currently digital only title Brave Dan into print. This is a good strategy for DMP to take. The work for Brave Dan has already been done. It was translated as a DMG title and is available on eManga. Kickstarting every Tezuka is untenable, but making them stretch goals for already available digital titles will put them much more into reach. There are five other titles available; Age of Adventure, Crime and Punishment, Mr. Cactus, New Treasure Island, and The Castle at Dawn.

As of this writing, the Kickstarter is at $12,096 with 328 backers with 25 days to go. It is nearly funded after 5 days with only $1404 left to go. Hitting that first stretch goal is very doable, and I rather hope it does make it. I would love to see the stretch goals include printing digital only titles. I think DMP’s goal to get Tezuka library in print is a good one and this is may be the way they were looking for to do it.

This Week’s Manga – Buy It

This Week's Manga

Captain Ken 1 It’s another short week, but with some variety at least. Digital Manga Publishing’s last Tezuka kickstarter before officially starting the “Tezuka World” kickstarters, Captain Ken is released to the general public this week. Backers have already received their books and rewards, so now it’s everyone else’s turn to pick up this space western. Set on Mars, the new frontier, a mysterious gunslinger, Ken, and his sidekick-gadget-horse Arrow, arrive on the red planet and they end up getting caught between the Earthling settlers and the Martian natives. If you missed the kickstarter, now is your chance pick up vol 1. Dark Horse has a new series starting this week as well. Oreimo Kuroneko is a spin-off of the original Oreimo, also published by Dark Horse, and features Ruri “Kuroneko” Goro as the protagonist; a big otaku who prefers action/fantasy and dresses in Goth Lolita. While the series title sounds off-putting, the actual plot seems interesting.

My Neighbor Seki 2Vertical Comics makes the week though with the release of the second volume of their all ages comedy My Neighbor Seki. I loved the first volume and can not wait to get the second and see what new misadventures await Seki and Yokoi. Seriously, this series is too funny to pass up, and it’s great for kids too. So much of the comedy is visual, so young kids and beginning readers can enjoy it, and the jokes are more inclusive so everyone will get them. Buy this volume. Buy them all! Seven Seas completes their yuri series Gakuen Polizi with volume 2. The first volume got a lot of push, and was a best seller on Amazon and even made a week on the New York Times Bestseller List. At two volumes it isn’t a big investment, and the between this and other yuri titles do, the more likely Seven Seas is to put out more.

Full List per Diamond Distributors

DARK HORSE COMICS
Oreimo Kuroneko Volume 1 TP, $10.99

DIGITAL MANGA PUBLISHING
Captain Ken Volume 1 GN, $13.95

SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT
Gakuen Polizi Volume 2 GN, $12.99
Magical Girl Apocalypse Volume 3 GN, $12.99

VERTICAL
My Neighbor Seki Volume 2 GN, $10.95

VIZ MEDIA
Monster The Perfect Edition Volume 4 GN, $19.99

More Yen Press Manga Licenses

Yen Press-On LogoAt the beginning of March, Yen Press announced three new manga via their Twitter feed. They had teased the announcements in February and finally ended the suspense with the official announcement on March 1.

rgd1The first title they whipped out was Rose Gun Days Season One. This is another series by Ryukishi07, the creator of the visual novel games Higurashi When They Cry and Umineko When They Cry, both of which Yen Press has licensed and published the manga adaptations. Rose Gun Days is another visual novel game adaptation. This time, the story takes place just after the end of World War II. Devastated and defeated, the Japanese government accepts the allies’ reconstruction plan. Japan begins to recover, but the United States and China taken control through the local governments. Chinese and American immigrants flood in, making the Japanese a minority in their own country. Rose Haibara works at Club Primavera, helping out her countrymen. Leo Shishigami is an repatriated soldier with a reputation with the ladies. Everything begins to change when Rose and Leo meet in the spring of 1947. This series is different from Ryukishi07’s other works, as it is more of an action romance. The first season is 4 volumes long, and the first is scheduled to ship in the fall. I like the sound of this series. It looks like it will be a nice change from the mystery and horror of Higurashi and Umineko.

Fina FantasyThe second volume picked up was Final Fantasy Type 0 Side Story: The Reaper of the Icy Blade. This is a prequel to the video game Final Fantasy Type 0 for Playstation Portable. The story takes place nine years before the events of Final Fantasy Type 0. It follows Kurasame Susaya and his time as a student at the magic academy Peristylium Suzaku and as a member of the “Four Heavenly Kings of Suzaku.” The series is five volumes with the first volume scheduled to ship in July. The release of the remastered game coming out this month, hype for the series should build up to a nice launch in the summer, where fans hungry for more will want to pick it up. I don’t know if I’ll be one of them. I’ve never had much interest in the Final Fantasy franchise.

horimiya1 The third series was a confirmation, no doubt from an early solicitation by Amazon. Horimiya is a spin-off of the 4koma manga Hori-san to Miyamura-kun. This manga follows the same basic premise of the original. Hori is a pretty and popular girl at school. Miyamura is a glass-wearing, introverted boy. But both have another side to themselves that they don’t want to get out. Hori is actually a laid-back, family oriented girl, while Miyamura is a handsome boy with pierces and tattoos. When they discover each other’s secrets, an unexpected friendship develops. The series is currently at 6 volumes and ongoing. The first volume is slated for release in October. I haven’t found a shonen rom-com that I like as of yet, but this series looks like it might have potential. It’s at least worth checking out.

Just over a week later, Yen Press is back with two more titles to announce, a light novel and manga. This has become a norm for Yen Press, to get both the light novel and manga adaptation. Well, almost in this case.

mahoukaIrregular at Magic High School is a light novel series that started in 2008. It takes place in a world where magic is recognized as a technology rather than the occult or lore. The story follows Tatsuya Shiba, an underachieving student, as he tries to navigate school life at the National Magic University First Affiliate High School where he is looked down upon by the higher performing students except for his sister Miyuki, who might more than sibling love for him. The series is still ongoing and the 16th volume will be published in Japan in May. There is also a 2014 anime series which was licensed by Aniplex America. Yen Press will release the first volume in October.

honorThere are a few manga adaptations of this series, but the one that Yen Press licensed isn’t the usual retelling of the main story. Mahoka Koko no Yutosei is a side story that focuses on Miyuki’s viewpoint and experiences of the events that take place in the main story. This is an interesting choice for Yen Press. Instead of having the two titles compete against each other, the manga and light novel compliment each other, giving two different perspectives of the same events. This can actually be pretty cool. The Gundam Seed Astray manga did this with the main Gundam Seed story and it worked out really well. The manga is at 5 volumes and ongoing. No date was announced for the manga, but it will probably be in October as well. I don’t know if I’ll be picking up either of these titles. I’m not a fan of the “more than sibling love,” but I might check out the manga. If I like it, it might be worth checking out the light novel.

Viz Media Makes Fish Scary Again

Gyo is one of those titles, that just one look inside stays with you forever. The story of nature gone horribly wrong features some the most disturbing images, such as fish running around on crab/lobster/spider legs, as well as some of the most absurd, like a man being stalked by a shark. A shark head peering around a corner is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Together, you get a title that is quite frankly unforgettable, and well deserving of the hardcover deluxe omnibus Viz is giving it.

Continue reading Viz Media Makes Fish Scary Again

Weekly Top Ten – April 11, 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 April 4, 2015.

  1. Attack on Titan 15Attack on Titan Vol 15     ↔ 2
  2. Big Hero Six Vol 1     ↔ 2
  3. Soul Eater Vol 25     ↑ 2
  4. Attack on Titan Before the Fall Vol 4     ∗
  5. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↑ 3
  6. Fairy Tail Vol 47     ∗
  7. Attack on Titan No Regrets Vol 1     ↵ 18
  8. Naruto Vol 69     ↓ 5
  9. Sword Art Online Fairy Dance Vol 3     ↓ 3
  10. All You Need Is Kill     ↓ 3

Another new Attack on Titan title seems to bring they all out of the woodwork. Attack on Titan Vol 15 keeps control of the top spot while Attack on Titan Before the Fall Vol 4 debuts, bringing Attack on Titan Vol 1 up, and No Regrets  Vol 1 back. Yen Press’ Big Hero Six adaptation is doing well by hanging on to #2, but it just can’t quite topple the Titans. The final Soul Eater, Vol 25 takes the third spot. On any other week it would probably have taken the top spot. Viz’s titan, Naruto takes the biggest tumble, with Vol 69 falling 5 spots, but All You Need Is Kill is sticking it out, and has racked up 5 weeks on the list.

Amazon

 

Amazon.com for the week ending April 11, 2015.

  1. Attack on Titan 15Attack on Titan Vol 15     ↔ 2
  2. Berserk Vol 1     ∗
  3. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↓ 1
  4. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past     ↑ 1
  5. Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In a Dungeon Vol 1     ↓ 1
  6. Monster Musume Vol 6     ↑ 1
  7. Berserk Vol 2     ∗
  8. Sword Art Online Progressive Vol 1 Novel     ↓ 5
  9. One Piece Vol 74     ↔
  10. Berserk Vol 3     ∗

Attack on Titan Vol 15 rules the roost here too, but an odd trend has appeared this week. For some reason the first three volumes of Berserk, a title Dark Horse first started publishing in 2003, has hit the top ten, with Vol 1 reaching #2. I wonder what happened to push it up so far. One Piece Vol 74 is unmoved as it gets to be the lone representative of Viz Media, while Monster Musume Vol 6 takes a step up one. Yen Press’ strongest titles on Amazon seems to be their light novels. Is It Wrong and SAO have been hanging on to the top ten more the most of their manga.

∗ = 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)

The Garden of Words

Words are powerful. Insults and rumors can derail a career; a bit of encouragement can give someone the strength to pursue their dreams. When a high school boy skipping class to sketch shoe designs and a taciturn woman drinking a morning beer meet in a Tokyo park, they say little, but the woman bids farewell with an ancient tanka poem. Will the boy figure out the poem’s meaning-and its corresponding response-before it’s too late?

The Garden of Words
Garden of WordsWritten by Makoto Shinkai; Art by Midori Motohashi
Publisher: Vertical Comics
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Drama
Price: $12.95
Rating: ★★★★½

The Garden of Words is based on an anime movie that was released in 2013. It takes place over a short period of time, just a few months in the summer, during Japan’s rainy season. But in that short period, two people find enough to say to give flight to the hopes and dreams for both of them.

This story focuses on two people, Akizuki, a high school boy who dreams of being a shoe maker, and Yukino, a young woman who seems lost and without purpose. These two meet one rainy day under a gazebo in a Tokyo park, and continue to do so on rainy mornings where they begin to talk and open up to each other, but never introduce themselves. Things become complicated once their true identities are revealed, and feelings are confessed.

I liked Akizuki and Yukino. They are both sympathetic and likable leads. Akizuki’s determination to follow his dream no matter how silly it seems to others is cool. His hesitation to tell anyone his dream is reasonable for a teen who expects ridicule from his peers and discouragement from adults. He still works hard toward his goal, constantly drawing shoe designs and practicing working with leather. He spends his summer break working to earn money for tuition and supplies for a trade school. Yukino is just the opposite. She has an experience that turns her dream job into a nightmare, and worse, is practically bullied by those who should respect her for something she had no control over. It’s really sad what Yukino goes through, but Akizuki’s kindness is just what she needs to escape the mire she’s been trapped in.

The Garden of Words is the story of recovery and self-reliance. Akizuki and Yukino were drifting in their lives, knowing their dreams but having their doubts. Meeting each other in the garden, where they would support each other with just kindness and friendship, they both found their paths and could take them, even if they weren’t necessarily together. It is a beautiful story filled with emotion. Midori Motohashi’s art is delicate and expressive, displaying the characters feelings perfectly. In one volume, a sensitive story of life and love is cultivated to illustrate the redemptive side of the human condition.