Yen Press at Sakura-Con

YenPress_logoEaster weekend was a busy one for conventions. On the east coast was Anime Boston, and on the west coast, Wondercon was held in Southern California and Sakura-Con up north in Washington State. Manga publishers split up to cover the anime cons, with Yen Press taking Sakura-Con.

Yen Press has already been busy this year with the manga and light novel announcements, and their appearance at Sakura-Con was no different. They stuck with just manga licenses this time, announcing a whopping 13 titles to be released in either print of digital.

YowamushiPedalStarting with print manga, one of the biggest announcements and surprise was Yowamushi Pedal. This is not only a sports manga, but also a long running series, currently at 39 volumes, features that tend to make publishers shy away from a title. Yowamushi Pedal though is already fairly well-known among Western readers. The anime was streamed by Crunchyroll, and fujoshi have been obsessing over the manga for a while. The story is about Sakamichi Onoda, an otaku whose passion for figures and anime was so great that he would ride his bicycle 60-miles round trip to Akihabara to shop there. His bicycling skills get him into competitive bike racing. I’ve seen plenty of references to Yowamushi Pedal on my Twitter feed, but I never knew what it was about, nor had much interest in finding out. Now, I think I’d like to check it out. It will be published in 2-in-1 omnibuses.

MonthlyGirlsMonthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun is another manga that fans have been clamoring for. The anime was also streamed by Crunchyroll, and quickly became popular with viewers. It is about high school girl Sakura Chiyo, who confesses her feeling to classmate Nozaki. Nozaki mistakes her as a fan of his shojo manga, and ends up recruiting her to help him with it. The series is at 6 volumes and is just as much about creating manga as it is a rom-com, so there’s little wonder it was popular. This is a title I’ve been waiting and hoping would be licensed, and figured it was just a matter of time.

SakuraNoHimegoto Sakura no Himegoto is a short two-volume shojo. It is about a girl, Aoi, who comes from a prestigious family, and Kei, a boy with a mysterious background. Thanks to a debt Aoi’s grandfather owes to Kei, Aoi is stuck repaying it as she gets pulled into a master-pet relationship with him. While this is a short story, it doesn’t hold a lot of interest for me. I don’t care for the master-pet/rich girl under poor boy’s power plots that seem to pop up in shojo manga lately. I will probably give this one a pass unless some of my fellow bloggers rave about its virtues.

DragonsRiotingDragon Rioting is another titles I think I can do without. It centers around Rintaro, a boy who has been diagnosed with a disease that could kill him if the gets too sexually aroused. So, what happens to him? He gets accidentally enrolled in an all girls school and has to deal with the three “Dragons”, the three girls who control the school. If the cover wasn’t enough to make me back away, the “getting sexually aroused could kill disease” certainly did. There are five volumes out that will be passing up.

AldnoahZeroAldnoah.Zero Season One has a lot more potential. It also has an anime. It is a sci-fi mecha series about a hypergate to Mars being found on the moon. Colonists to Mars discover advanced tech on Mars and form an Empire that declares war on Earth. The Moon is destroyed in the war, creating a debris field around the Earth. Martian fighters set up bases in the debris field and a truce is called, until 15 years later the life of Vers Empire Princess is threatened and the Empire declares war again, intent on taking Earth this time. This title sounds really interesting, and fits historical context really well. It has three volumes out so far that I’m looking forward to reading.

HanadaKunOn the digital side, 8 Square-Enix titles that have not appeared in English previously were announced. Handa-kun is a spin-off of Barakamon, another Yen Press title. It is about Sei Hanada, a second year high school student and calligrapher. His is admired around his school for his cool charisma, but he thinks everyone at school hates him. It is three volumes so far. I want to check out Barakamon before I pass any judgement on this title, but so far it sounds like it has potential.

Today’s Kerberos is a title I’ll give wide berth. It a harem comedy, a genre I rarely find funny. Chiaki is a boy who no longer feels joy or fun after a childhood incident. His traveling father sends him a gift. Inside is a girl who calls herself Cerberus, and has three personalities. She vows to protect Chiaki from all harm. It’s currently three volumes and is ongoing. This will be an easy title to pass up.

Shut-In Shoutarou Kominami Takes on the World is a senien series about shut-in Shoutarou Kominami who, instead of getting the allowance he was expecting from his mother, gets a note telling him he’s been cut off. Shoutarou hasn’t left his place in months, but must now go out into the world and get a job. The series is complete in three volumes and sounds interesting. I’d be willing to read the first volume.

Servant X Service is a 4koma as well as being another senien. This slice of life comedy follows the staff of the Health and Welfare section of a ward in the fictional city of Mitsuba, Hokkaido, and their everyday hijinks in the office. It is complete in 4 volumes. I’m really intrigued by this series. It seems to be aimed at an older working person like me.

UnknownUnknown is a supernatural shonen action series. It follows Ox and Ivan, a pair of “wisemen”, who collect “wisdoms” that are too powerful and too dangerous in the wrong hands. The series is complete in 4 volumes, and is a title that would like to check out.

When a Magician’s Pupil Smiles is about Ouka Namae, a boy devoid of emotions. He must learn what it means to be alive, and to feel. The cover art work and hint of a mystery makes this a title I’d be willing to check out. It is complete in 3 volumes.

The Royal Tutor is about Haine, a newly minted Royal Tutor ready to get to work. But he’s in for more than he expected when his new charges, four princelings are more interested in testing his patience than their knowledge. This series could be interesting, but I don’t know. I’ll have to read the first volume to see. It is ongoing and there are 3 volumes out so far.

ScarletEmpireScarlet Empire is a time-bending historical, martial arts shonen. Souzou Sagara is the leader of the Sekihoutai in the Bakumatsu era. Kotetsu Miyasaka is a kendo student in the modern era aiming to be at the top with his younger brother. These two men are connected by the red string of fate as their struggle to protect and change their prospective worlds transcends time. Key words historical and martial arts are enough to pull me into this series enough to check out the first volume. It is at 3 volumes and going.

While no release dates were given with these announcements, I think we can expect titles to begin coming out in late 4th quarter or early next year. The digital titles could come out even sooner. Hopefully Yen Press will update their site with direct links to the digital titles. The easier they make it for reader to find, the quicker they’ll make the sale.

TodaytsKerberosShoutaroKominamiServantxServiceTheRoyalTutorMagiciansPupil

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.

This Week’s Manga – Evolve

This Week's Manga

Aquarion Evol 1 Due to Diamond shipping Viz’s shonen and shojo titles early last week, this week is looking very bare. Only three titles are coming out this week, one of which is from Viz’s BL line Sublime. One Peace Books is a small boutique publisher that has gotten into manga just recently. They’ve had some good word of mouth with Whispered Words, a yuri title. Their new title to be released this week is much more of a shonen action title, Aquarion Evol. It is the sequel to the anime Genesis of Aquarion which had some elements that could be called problematic. This series might be traversing the same road. We’ll see.

Ajin 4Vertical Comics continues its release of the action-horror title Ajin with Volume 4 this week, but looks close to catching up to the Japanese release. Ajin keeps getting good word of mouth press from readers and critics, so hopefully sales are matching even with Crunchyroll running new chapters digitally. Kei Nagai’s trials continue to intrigue, and with more demi-humans coming out of the woodwork with this volume, the story can just only get more intriguing.

While I don’t fully endorse the Vizmanga app, they do have some good bundle sales going. This week, you can get to shojo titles I recommend for a really good price. Library Wars: Love and War is a fun shojo with entertaining characters, and at $30 for 10 volumes, that over half the digital price, and only $3 a volume. Dengeki Daisy which ended this week also has a bundle of 10 volumes for $30. I’d seriously consider this if I didn’t already have half the titles digitally already. Chibi Vampire is a title I still love and Vizmanga has it on sale for $38. That’s down to around $2.50 ea and includes Airmail for a 15 volume bundle. It’s totally worth it for this rom-com series.

 Full List Per Diamond Distributors:

ONE PEACE BOOKS
Aquarion EVOL Volume 1 GN, $11.95

SUBLIME
World’s Greatest First Love Volume 1 GN, $12.99

VERTICAL
Ajin Volume 4 GN, $12.95

Power Books

No matter what the culture, knowledge has been equated with power. For centuries, this knowledge has been stored as words in books. Whether it’s a list of names or a wizard’s tome, books have been regarded as being magical. It’s no different in manga. There are several titles that feature books and the power of words with the ability to create, transport its readers to other worlds, and even kill.

Fushigi Yugi Big 1Fushigi Yugi and it’s prequel Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden, both feature a magical book, The Universe of the Four Gods, that pulls the main characters, Miaka and Yui in the original, and Takiko in the prequel, into its story. Each of the girls is found to be a Priestess of one of the four gods, and Miaka and Takiko are tasked with finding the celestial warriors after which they can summon their god and make a wish The book itself isn’t used much in the story, but is the catalyst for the girls to start their adventures. Fushigi Yugi is available in 6 omnibus editions and Genbu Kaiden just finished its print run at 12, and both titles are available at Vizmanga.com

rod_vol_1_coverRead or Die and the related Read or Dream, isn’t so much about books themselves having power, but what they are made of, paper as having the power. In Read or Die, Yomiko Readman, a papermaster who can control paper and shape it into anything she wants. Yomiko is a secret agent for the British Library, and uses her powers to keep the peace. She loves books and often spends her money on them rather than food. Read of Dream is a spin-off of read or Die and follows three sister papermasters in Hong Kong, who run a detective agency. The three sisters, Maggie, Michelle and Anita, are very different and control different elements of papermastry. Like Yomiko, Maggie and Michelle are big book lovers, but surprisingly Anita hates books. Both titles are four volumes each and are available in print.

Muhyo and Roji 01 In Muhyo and Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation, Muhyo is an executor, a graduate from the Magical Law School that allows him to be Judge, Jury and Executioner on supernatural beings found to be breaking the law. He does this through his Book of Magic Law, a thick tome that holds all the laws of magic and allows Muhyo to pass judgement on the wrong-doers and summon the envoys that take them to either heaven, hell or the river styx. The Book of Magic Law is Muhyo’s proof of being an executor and no one can use his book but him. The series went 18 volumes and is available in both print and digital.

Kiichi1In the world of Kiichi and the Magic Books, people known as Librarians travel the land bringing books that people can borrow and read. Mototaro, one such librarian is also special. He has the power to make images in books come to life. Part of the reason he travels is to find old books that have become unstable; the pictures come to life on their own. This series was published by CMX and is unfortunately out of print, but a great story if you can find all five volumes.

In Death Note, Death Note 1while the book, the Death Note has power, it’s what’s written inside that makes it work. The Death Note is a book used by Shinigami, Death Gods, to send people to the afterlife. One Death God, Ryuk, drops his death note into the human world to see what happens. It is found by high school boy Light Yagami. With the death note, he can write anyone’s name into and that person will die of a heart attack if no means of death is provided. Light uses the Death Note to go on his own personal killing spree, intent on cleaning the world or criminals, until only people he deems worthy live. Death Note was a big hit when it came out and had anime adaptation, though came under some criticism as kids around the world came up with their own “death notes”, writing names of people they wanted hurt or dead in them. There are 13 volumes in print, digital, box set, or omnibus editions.

Alice 19 1Books aren’t always necessary to hold power, sometimes just a word is all that is needed. Alice 19th is about Alice, a high school girl destined to become a Lotis Master. Lotis Masters use the power of words to reach the inner heart of others and banish the darkness from their hearts. Here, there are no books, just words used to find the darkness in people, and turn that darkness into words to be banished. There are also maram words, dark reflections of lotis words. Alice 19th was written by Yuu Watase, the creator of Fushigi Yugi and Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden. It went for 7 volumes and can be found in both print and digital.

Natsume's Book of Friends 1In Natsume’s Book of Friends, there is a book, but it’s what’s written in it that matters. Takashi Natsume has the ability to see spirits and yokai. He moves in with some relatives and finds his grandmother’s book of friends, a book filled with the names of yokai his grandmother fought and won the names of. With the book, Natsume has power over these spirits. While he doesn’t want this power, there are other spirits who do, and Natsume is hunted by them until he befriends Madara, a power ayakashi, who makes a deal with Natsume to protect him until he dies a natural death, at which point Madara can take the book. Here, names have the power, as it forms a contract between the spirit and the human, and only Natsume’s breath can release the name and end the contract. This series is still ongoing with 17 volumes available in print and digital.

Also available in audio and video.

Vertical Comics Adds Alt Manga

Vertical Comics logoGirl on the ShoreVertical Comics is a publisher that likes to appeal to the more adult manga reader, and their newest license, announced at Genericon a few weeks ago, will do not just that, but will also appeal to the alt comics/manga reader.

A Girl On the Shore is by alt manga creator Inio Asano. Previous works by him have been released by Viz Media (Solanin, What A Wonderful World) and Fantagraphics (Nijigahara Holograph). This two-volume series looks at the themes of love and sex as it follows two teenagers, Koume Sato and Kosuke Isoba. Koume was used and dumped by her crush, and now wants to start a purely sexual relationship with Kosuke. Their attempt at sex with no strings attached leads to unexpected complications  not just between them, but with the people around them.

Vertical will be publishing this series as a single volume omnibus. Because the content is very adult, it will come shrink-wrapped and will be shipping early in 2016. While the title comes from an alt magazine, older fans of Flowers of Evil and Vertical’s josei titles should check it out as well. While I know Vertical always picks excellent titles, they are not always easy reading. With this title being billed as “very, very Vertical,” you can count on it not only being a great read, but also a challenging one.

Weekly Top Ten – April 4, 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 March 28, 2015

  1. Attack on Titan 15Attack on Titan Vol 15     ↔
  2. Big Hero Six Vol 1     ∗
  3. Naruto Vol 69     ↓ 1
  4. Monster Musume Vol 6     ↓ 1
  5. Soul Eater Vol 25     ∗
  6. Sword Art Online Fairy Dance Vol 3     ∗
  7. All You Need Is Kill     ↵ 4
  8. Attack on Titan vol 1     ↓ 3
  9. Seraph of the End Vol 4     ↓ 2
  10. Assassination Classroom Vol 2     ↵ 5

It’s an even 1, 2, 3, 4 for publishers getting titles on the NYT list this week. Seven Seas Entertainment makes it with just one, their big hit, Monster Musume. Kodansha Comics comes up next with two Attack On Titan volumes, including the newest, vol 15 at #1. Yen Press makes three debuts, including the last Soul Eater, Vol 25, and the debut of the adaptation of Big Hero Six vol 1 coming in at #2. Viz Media has four titles, including returnees All You Need Is Kill for its 4th cumulative week, and Assassination Classroom Vol 2 for its 5th. It’s been a while since Viz has dominated on a non-shonen/shojo week. Attack on Titan has slowed down with vol 1 being the only volume being able to keep a foot in, but 91 weeks now is nothing but impressive.

Amazon

 

Amazon.com for the week ending April 4, 2015

  1. Attack on Titan 15Attack on Titan Vol 15     ↔
  2. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↑ 5
  3. Sword Art Online Progressive Vol 1 Novel     ↓ 1
  4. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon Vol 1     ↵
  5. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past     ↓ 1
  6. Sword Art Online Aincrad Vol 1 Novel     ↵
  7. Monster Musume Vol 6     ↓ 4
  8. Naruto Vol 69     ↓ 3
  9. One Piece Vol 74     ∗
  10. Attack on Titan Vol 2     ↵

Light Novels are doing well on Amazon. Yen Press’ Yen On imprint has three titles making it to the top ten, including two returnees, and two being Sword Art Online titles. Attack on Titan gets three volumes on the list, with newest, vol 15 and oldest, vol 1 taking the top two spots. Vol 2 just edges out Big Hero Six vol 1, kicking it from the chart. The preorder of One Piece vol 74 also just squeaks by at #9 while the Legend of Zelda keeps going strong, as it’s down to one month before release. The appearance of preorders continues to be fascinating, especially when they last for such a long time. Legend of Zelda has been charting consecutively since its debut in February, and it still has another month! That’s a title people are determined to get!

∗ = 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)

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