JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has had a difficult time in the west. The first print run of Part 3 didn’t do so well back in the aughts. The release of the series in digital along with an anime simulcast on Crunchyroll propelled the series into the fan spotlight. While Part 1 has been available in digital for a while, anticipation for this deluxe hardcover has been stewing for a while, as a check of Amazon.com’s top ten list will show.
Viz Media gets a huge selection of titles onto Comixology from publisher Shogakukan which includes Shonen Sunday titles as well as some shojo and josei. Comixology readers can now enjoy the likes of Case Closed and Happy Marriage?! as well as the classic Drifting Classroom. Many of these titles are also complete, so there’s no waiting for the next volume to come out.
If you’re like me and have never read the first series, then you should check out the specially priced bundle Viz is running for the first 10 volumes of Boys Over Flowers. I’m interested in reading this new series. I was intrigued by the first chapter of the original, so hopefully this second series will be just as enticing.
Shogakukan’s Monthly Flowers magazine announced in its March issue that Yuu Watase will be launching a new manga in the Fushigi Yugi universe. Fushigi Yugi: Byakko Ibun, or Fushigi Yugi: The Curious Tales of Byakko, will start in the next issue due out at the end of February. It will have a color first page and will be featured on the cover.
Little is known about the story, other than it is about the Priestess of Byakko, the White Tiger of the West, and the only Priestess whose story hasn’t been told. While the announcement said the chapter in February would “begin” a new series, Yuu Watase said on her blog that the manga wasn’t going to be a full story. This implies that it will either be a one-shot or a short story containing several chapters. I hope it’s the latter, for two reasons; 1) A one shot will only tell a sliver of the Priestess of Byakko’s story, and 2) several chapters can become a volume and more likely to get licensed and released. I don’t want to see a one-shot end up in a volume of Arata, assuming it starts up again. I don’t need one volume of a series just for the one-shot. I’ve been lucky so for that most of the one-shots I’ve wanted have been in volumes of titles I collected anyway.
In any event, this is a series I’m interested in reading, and with Watase’s continued popularity here in the West, I’m sure Viz Media will figure out a way to get it out for fans to read.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Viz Media has announced several licenses, with a bit of “something old, something new” to them. Three of the titles are Tokyopop rescues for the Viz Select line, and two are brand new licenses from mangaka who have already had titles released in the West to quite a bit of success.
From Tokyopop, Viz Media continues their CLAMP releases with two of their titles returning; The One I Love and Wish. The One I Love is a one-volume collection of 12 short stories that tell stories about the many sides of love. All of the stories are told from a woman’s perspective, and deal with the doubts, insecurities and ultimately the joy of love. It sounds like a fun series, though perhaps best taken in smaller doses. The romance may get monotonous, even for romance lovers. It will be released February 10th.
Wish is a four volume series that follows Shuichiro, who after saving an angel, Kohaku, from a tree one moonlight night, is offered a wish as a reward. Shuichiro refuses the wish, saying he can get what he wants on his own. But he and the angel soon find out there are some wishes that can not be granted on their own. This series is a typical bitter-sweet romance that has a happy ending of sorts, but the kind that Western readers are used to. The first volume will be released February 17th.
Someday Dreamers is a two-volume series, and is not done by CLAMP. It is about Yume, a girl who wants to follow in the footsteps of her mother, and become a magic user. She practices her magic by helping people she finds in need; a struggling soccer player, the wrongly accused, and a student who wants to share a lunar eclipse with his teacher on cloudy night. While the story is about Yume working to be a full mage, there is a current of romance that is left unresolved. The art is as gentle as the story, and is one I’ve considered picking up several times. The first volume will be released February 24th.
The two brand new titles have not gone completely unnoticed. The first title, QQ Sweeper, is by Kyousuke Motomi, the creator of Dengeki Daisy. It was almost exactly a year ago when this new title was announced in Shogakukan’s Betsucomi magazine. The cleaning and sweeping of the series’ title seems to have a supernatural bend. Kyutaro Horikita is the cleaning expert of Kurokado High. The tall, dark, and handsome cleaner meets transfer student Fumi Nishioka, where he shows her how to clean the spirits from the school and also maybe her heart. I was already interested in this series because it was from Motomi, but the addition of a supernatural element only makes it more appealing to me. The first volume will be released in October.
Idol Dreams is by Arina Tanemura, a very popular shojo artist. Viz Media has already published at least 7 of her titles. This series turns the premise of some old school magical girls on their ear. Chikage Deguchi is a 31-year-old office worker who feels she’s missed out on her chances for love and success. She wishes she could go back to a time when she was young and popular, and is given that chance when she takes an experimental drug that changes her appearance to that of a 15-year-old. She takes the opportunity to re-do things in her life, including becoming and idol. Besides changing up the old school magical girl formula, Idol Dreams appears to borrow from Case Closed, though that series doesn’t hold the license on getting younger, it’s just the first thing that comes to mind. I’ll check out this first volume if I get a chance when it comes out in November.
These were some good titles for Viz to pick up. I’m happy to see the new Motomi title. I was really hoping it would get picked up. Idol Dreams is new to me, and has my attention by starting the series with a mature woman as the lead. It will be interesting to see how her older self deals with the younger problems of a new generation. I’m looking forward to this round.
February is the month to celebrate your relationship or singleness, which ever you embrace. Viz Media is sharing in that celebration with lot of new titles and offers from their Vizmanga digital site. What is especially enticing are the Shojo bundles. Three titles of 10 volumes each for $40.00. And they are really good titles too. Honey & Clover, Sand Chronicles and Strobe Edge. All three are amazing titles in their own way. If you haven’t read any of them, this is the perfect opportunity to get them all at a great price.
Super Sleuth Jimmy Kudo, who was physically transformed into a first-grader, continues to solve crimes as Conan Edogawa while living with family friend Richard Moore and his daughter Rachel. In these four volumes, Jimmy must solve cases such as a missing cell phone, a bomber at the Koshien baseball finals, the murderer of the head of a toy company, and stop the Kaito Kid from stealing the legendary gem The Blue Wonder, all while trying to find the men who changed him, and keep Rachel from finding out Conan and Jimmy are the same person.
It’s been a while since I read a volume of Case Closed. I had the first twelve volumes, but sold them awhile ago, and apparently never reviewed them. Bad me. Since it’s been so long since I’ve read any volumes, I forgot how much I enjoy reading a good mystery manga. These four volumes have the added bonus of touching on Jimmy’s ongoing search to find the “Men in Black” who changed him, Rachel’s suspicions about Conan and Jimmy being the same person, and a good old-fashioned treasure hunt.
Case Closed, or Detective Conan as it’s known in Japan, is very much a formulaic series. Every volume has 2-3 cases, most of which carry over to the next volume. They are all several chapters long, and deal with some sort of mysteries, many of which involve a murder. But, I am perfectly fine with this. It’s not the formula that’s important, but seeing the characters in action and the mysteries they must solve.
Case Closed has an extensive cast. After going for 20 years, it’s hard not to have expanded it, but Aoyama does a good job of balancing who gets featured where. Hattori and Kahuza pop in for a couple of cases, police detective love birds Sato and Takagi as well as Inspector Meguire work on some cases, Serena gets to help out in a case versus Kaito Kid, and of course, the Detective Boys and Rachel and Richard are all one hand to help Conan solve the cases, in one capacity or the other.
I enjoyed all the cases in these volumes, I really enjoyed the ones where Conan could take the credit for himself. Thwarting Kaito Kid, the Koshien bomber, and solving the toy company president’s and magician’s murder were all his own, even if he had to share some of that with Hattori. My favorite case was the treasure hunt for Kichiemon’s treasure, a diamond. It involved finding clues that related to the past or historical references, my favorite kind of treasure hunts.
Case Closed is all about the mysteries. Conan has personal issues to deal with, that are related in a way, but are also at the heart of the series. He doesn’t want to go through growing up again. He needs to find the “Men in Black” who gave him the poison that shrunk him down to a first grader. He’s made some headway in previous volumes, but in this one, he finally figures out a clue; the email of the boss of the gang. I liked that he was cautious with it, debating whether or not to send to it and see what the response would be.
But while the gang may be dangerous, Conan has more to fear closer to home. This whole time, he has been fooling Rachel that he and Jimmy were two different people. But Rachel isn’t stupid, and one careless clue too many puts her on Conan trail. The looks of fear he gets when he realizes Rachel may be one to him were just priceless. The relationship between Jimmy and Rachael is a central one to the series, so I really wonder how it will be resolved, assuming the series ever ends, that is. I do want Jimmy to regain his body. The stories when he does are my favorites, but he’s got a lot to answer for with Rachel when he finally does.
Case Closed is a great murder mystery series, that any lover of cozy mysteries, or mysteries in general would love. The title is rated Older Teen, but I think tweens could easily handle it. The murders aren’t gory, and far from the only types of mysteries Conan and company must solve. For good old fashion mystery lovers like me, this is the only option we have in manga, which is a great shame. But I’m glad we have it.
All good things must come to an end, and several of the titles on this week’s list are doing just that. Viz Media has a huge catalog of titles, and most of those titles have an end. This week, we see four of them. Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan has been following third generation Yokai Yakuza Rikuo, and with volume 25, we see his story come to an end. It took a while for me to get into Nura, but I really started to enjoy the story at around volume 8. I’ll have to get back to finish it some day. High School Debut gets to end a second time, as the 3-in-1 omnibus editions roll out with Volume 5 which includes volumes 13-15. This series had its moments, but was never a favorite for me.
Viz is also one of the few publishers taking a chance on josei titles, and two of them end this week as well. Honey Blood is a short-lived vampire romance series, but this volume, Tale Zero is filled with short stories that may (or may not) help the abrupt ending of the original two volumes. Happy Marriage!? finally comes to an end at volume 10. It’s a series I’m following, albeit slowly, and really need to do the long overdue review of the first two volumes I read ages ago. Maybe I’ll try for Valentine’s Day. This year.
Also worth checking out is the first 3-in-1 of the original Yu-Gi-Oh! I was a naysayer for the anime series, but really enjoyed the first 7 volume arc. This volume is the first three, and covers more than just the Duel Monsters card game that became the focus of the second arc. It was the variety and really the shadow games that made this first arc so much fun.
Full list per Diamond Distributors:
DARK HORSE COMICS
Gantz Volume 34 TP, $13.99
Heroic Legend Of Arslan Volume 2 GN, $10.99
Pokemon Black And White Volume 20 GN, $4.99
SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT
Centaur’s Life Volume 5 GN, $12.99
Haganai I Don’t Have Many Friends Volume 10 GN, $12.99
Assassination Classroom Volume 2 GN, $9.99
Black Rose Alice Volume 3 GN, $9.99
Bleach Volume 63 GN, $9.99
Deadman Wonderland Volume 7 GN, $9.99
Dendera SC, $15.99
Food Wars Shokugeki No Soma Volume 4 GN, $9.99
Happy Marriage Volume 10 GN, $9.99
Hayate The Combat Butler Volume 25 GN, $9.99
High School Debut 3-In-1 Edition Volume 5 TP, $14.99
Honey Blood Tale Zero GN, $9.99
Magi Volume 10 GN, $9.99
Nura Rise Of The Yokai Clan Volume 25 GN, $9.99
One Piece 3-In-1 Edition Volume 11 TP, $14.99
Spell Of Desire Volume 3 GN, $9.99
Tiger And Bunny Volume 6 GN, $9.99
Toriko Volume 26 GN, $9.99
Voice Over Seiyu Academy Volume 9 GN, $9.99
World Trigger Volume 4 GN, $9.99
Yu-Gi-Oh 3-In-1 Edition Volume 1 TP, $14.99
Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal Volume 6 GN, $9.99
Weekly Shonen Jump, both the US digital and the Japanese print magazines have announced titles to begin and end in their respective magazines in the coming weeks. Starting in the US, Viz’s Weekly Shonen Jump will debut My Hero Academy by Kohei Horikoshi, the creator of the short-lived series Barrage. My Hero Academy follows Izuku Midoriya, a boy with no powers in a modern-day world where people with super powers have become common place. The series started in July of 2014, and Viz will run the first chapter in the February 2 issue, and begin simultaneous release in the next issue out February 9. Both of these issues will be free to read as part of Viz’s Weekly Shonen Jump Third Anniversary.
Over in Japan, the sports medical manga Sporting Salt ends in the first issue of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump out in February. It will end at three volumes. The story follows Hiroyuki Shioya, a high school student who decided to become the best sports doctor in Japan, and starts out by helping athletes in trouble with their issues and improving their performance. Sporting Salt was the first series run in the Viz’s “Jump Start” initiative, but didn’t make the cut as a regular series.
While one series ends, another four begins. Starting in the issue out February 9, four new titles will debut over the next four weeks. Kagamigami, Mirror God, is by Toshiaki Iwashiro, the creator of Psyren. His detective story will debut that week. Black Clover by Yuki Tabata will debut February 16. Kaizo Ningen Rogy, Cyborg Rogy by Yuu Miki will start in the issue out February 23, and Ultra Battle Satellite by Yusuke Utsumi will debut last on March 3. There’s been no announcement, but hopefully some of these titles will be previewed in Viz’s Weekly Shonen Jump as part of their “Jump Start” initiative. Kagamigami is the title I’m most interested it. We can’t have enough detective manga.
Viz Media continues its omnibus re-releases with another oldie-but-goodie. I was never impressed with the Yu-Gi-Oh anime, but when Viz started serializing it in Shonen Jump, I found I enjoyed the series. At least the first arc of the first seven volumes. As 3-in-1’s you won’t be able to get the arcs cleanly, but after reading one or two, you may decide to get them all anyway. The only obstacle for these are space!
Shokakugan’s Monthly Cheese! is announcing in their March issue out today that mangaka Rei Toma is starting a new manga titled Suijin no Hanayome, Bride of the Water God. This new title has the same name and basic premise as the Korean manhwa being published by Dark Horse here in the US. A young girl is chosen as a sacrifice to the water god by her village to appease him.
I’m intrigued by this announcement. There are often titles that follow the same basic premise, and Bride of the Water God really is pretty basic, but it’s rare that you get them also using the same name. Of course Toma’s title may be completely different, especially with the characters and plot beyond the premise. But the similarities are far too close to avoid comparison. I wonder if this series does well, if Viz will consider bringing it over. Viz just finished Toma’s other series, Dawn of the Arcana in September, and it certainly got a lot of buzz among fans and critics online. I don’t think Bride of the Water God has done well for Dark Horse, but that could be because of demographic, and not necessarily the title. I’ll give them credit for continuing to release it even if it is on a glacial schedule.
But I wonder if Viz did decide to pick it up, would it keep the original name? I’m sure they wouldn’t want their title to be confused with the Dark Horse title. I know this is all purely speculation, since the first chapter won’t be out until next month, but with such a similarity, I can’t help myself!
Viz Media’s Jump Start! has been busy lately. Several titles that have debuted in the Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump are getting their first three chapters published in the US digital magazine. Readers then get a chance to vote which ones they’d like to see serialized in the digital edition. One title has already gone through the process. Hi-Fi Cluster was previewed in September, and joined the magazine at the end of October, along with Food Wars. Hi-Fi Cluster is a sci-fi crime series. People can now download skills they don’t have to a patch. A black market has sprung up that deal in buying and selling of said abilities. The series follows Kosaku Kandera as he leads Special Unit Six of the Metropolitan Police Department to stop these crimes by any means necessary.
The next title to jump start was éIDLIVE, by Akira Amano, the creator of Hitman Reborn. It follows Chuta Kokonose, a boy who hears a voice in his head that gets him into a lot of trouble. He’s already thought to be an oddball, but when he meets a little blue alien, things start to get really weird. This series was originally serialized on Shueshia’s digital app Jump Live, and has already completed two “seasons”. The Jump Start will begin at with season 1. It ran back in September.
November saw three new titles get the Jump Start treatment. Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha is a “high tension, ping-pong manga. It’s the second sports manga to get the Jump Start treatment. The series started as a one-shot that ran in Weekly Shonen Jump back in June. E-Robot also started as a one-shot that ran back in January. It follows the adventures of a sexy and powerful robot girl.
Gakkyu Hotei (School Investigation Court) started on the Jump Live digital app and is relaunching in print. This “shocking court mystery” follows the court trials of offenders in an elementary school. With increasing problems plaguing the elementary school system, a new solution is enacted; the School Judgement System. Students must stand trial and be defended by their peers in this new court system. Gakkyu Hotel is written by Enoki and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. It has joined the digital Weekly Shonen Jump lineup this month.
While not a Jump Start series, RKD-EK9 is another title illustrated by Takeshi Obata. It is written by NishiOisen, writer of the Shonen Jump title Medaka Box. The one-shot originally ran in Jump Square back in November, and is running the US digital Weekly Shonen Jump as a special issue while all the regular titles take the week off for the holidays.
So, out of seven Jump Start! titles, we have two confirmed serializations. Both of these titles sound like things I’d like to read. Hi-Fi Cluster has some of the good elements from the Matrix and sounds like it’s full of action and some procedural elements, two things I like. Gakkyu Hotei is a mystery and court procedural series that I just don’t think we have enough of, so I gladly welcome it to the Shonen Jump ranks. Though, with Obata being the artist on the series, it’s of little surprise that it topped any fan polls.
Of the titles that didn’t make it, I’m not too surprised that Takujo no Ageha didn’t make the cut. Sports manga, even ping-pong it seems, just doesn’t appeal to WSJ readers. I’m glad E-Robot didn’t, not with a description that includes “Erotic Robot”, “advanced features”, and “full power”. I’m sure it’s meant to be a comedy, but I doubt it was very funny. éIDLIVE may just be too far on the weird side.