It’s the 4th of July next week, so that means just one thing; it’s time for Anime Expo! I’ve never been to Anime Expo, with my diverse interests and limitation of one convention a year being taken up by Wondercon, but it seems I’ll have plenty of time to plan to possibly attend since it’s been announced AX will be staying in LA for the next 5 years. Viz Media likes to come down for the con, and they’ve got plenty of things planned, including pre-street manga, exclusive Yu-Gi-Oh cards, raffle for Shojo Beat’s 10th Anniversary, panel and autograph session with mangaka Julietta Suzuki and a day just for Sailor Moon! Start making your plans now if you intend on attending.
Despite my growing finickiness with shonen titles, this one sounds like it might be fun. I naturally gravitate toward supernatural titles, and with both action and romantic elements, it sounds like it might not be too bad. I do enjoy titles where the couples are competitive, so I hope these two get strung along for a while, but please don’t let it turn into a harem like Nisekoi.
I’d heard about this series when the anime came out, and was curious, until I read about how graphic it was, and was about the flesh-eating undead. Not my cup of tea. But fans of the series have been pre-ordering this series like gangbusters, even with releasing the digital version early, so Viz has another potential hit on their hands. This is one series I’ll have to watch from the sidelines, but readers with no qualms about characters that don’t eat just brains, but the rest as well should check this series out.
Viz has raided the old Tokyopop vaults to come up with three new titles to debut under their Select digital imprint. Welcome to the N.H.K. was one of the first light novel manga adaptations to come to the states, and arrived shortly after the anime, giving the title a lot of name recognition. Aion is by Yuna Kagesaki, the creator of Chibi Vampire. This follow-up didn’t do as well as Chibi Vampire, a sentiment I agree with. I didn’t find the first volume all that great. Metamo Kiss is by a mangaka not previously published here, and is a gender/body switching shojo, if you’re into that sort of thing.
They’ve got some good bundles this month too. Saint Seiya, Knights of the Zodiac, is an awesome series that didn’t get the love it deserved in print. That can be corrected with one of the two bundles they have available: vol 1-14, or the whole thing, 1-28. Also available is the older teen historical, time travel series Red River, filled with action and romance. A very addictive series. I recommend both!
Gender-Bender titles aren’t usually my thing, but because it’s twins switching places rather than some science/magic causing it, it might not be too bad. We’ve seen lots of titles of a girl passing off as a boy in an all-boys school plenty of times. Seeing how a boy deals with pretending to be a high school girl would be much more interesting. Hopefully it won’t hurt to read.
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 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 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 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.
The 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.
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.
Viz’s Select line adds 2 former Tokyopop titles that I’m familiar with, but met with two different ends. Grenadier is a five-volume series I picked up because a friend has seen the anime, and told us about the most intriguing element of the story. The lead, a buxom blond, kept her bullets in said bosom and would reload her gun with some jiggling. Not joking. I picked up Red Hot Chili Samurai because it was a historical detective series. In the end, I gave Grenadier to said friend, and chased down the last two volumes of Red Hot Chili Samurai I could find. Tokyopop published 5 of the 8 volumes, but only four were easily found. I guess I’ll be finishing up the series with Viz.
I have been waiting for this series since is was announced in Japan. I’ve always had a fascination with the War of the Roses, and with Richard III being in the news lately, my interest in the much maligned monarch has grown. I’m really interested in seeing this mangaka’s take on the character and the time period.
I already gave my two cents on these two titles over the weekend, so check out that post. Otherwise, here’s the official announcement.
Ultraman has been in a bit of a revival with the many incarnations of the TV series coming to DVD and streaming on Crunchyroll. This manga is a sequel to the first TV series, and just started in 2011, effectively updating the 1960s series for a 21st century audience. I’m really looking forward to seeing it later this summer.
My Hero Academia was already announced to have joined the Weeky Shonen Jump line up, but this new announcement makes the series available to more readers beyond the WSJ base. But with the simultaneous chapter releases, fans will have to wait until August to actually read what happens in between the first chapter and chapter 24, when it starts. Recaps are okay, but just not as good as the actual chapters.