Super Hero Viz Manga League

Viz Media has been expanding its line of titles recently, reaching into the superhero genre that is usually reserved for American comics. While much of shonen manga features characters that could be seen as super-heroes, they aren’t quite like the superheroes Americans grew up with. With the growing popularity of superheroes in American mainstream media, it’s not too surprising that we’re seeing more superhero manga coming over.

Tiger and Bunny 1Tiger and Bunny – This series began as an anime which spawned the manga series. It follows the veteran hero Wild Tiger as he take on newbie partner Barnaby Brooks Jr. Both men are NEXTs, people born with super powers. They protect the city of Stern Bild and compete on the TV show HERO TV with several other heroes and have corporate sponsors. Wild Tiger takes being a hero seriously, including the secret identity and fight for Justice. Barnaby seems to be in it for her fame and fortune. These two very different personalities with the same power constantly clash, but not all masks are obvious. The first two volumes of this series were included on the YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teen list for 2014. There are six volumes out, and it is available in print only.

One Punch Man 01One-Punch Man – This series is a digital only exclusive for Viz Media and is serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump. Saitama has trained for years to become a superhero.  He trained so much that he lost all his hair. But his hard work paid off and he became so powerful that he could defeat any villain with a single punch. But it seems he’s too good, as there is no villain out there to challenge him and give his live meaning. The series follows his search for an arch-villain as takes on all kinds of monsters, joins the Hero’s Association and becomes involved in the battle to save the Earth! Just like any good superhero would. This series began as a web comic where it went viral and jumped to print in Japan, but not here yet. There are six volumes available.

MyHeroAcademia-Vol01-KeyArtMy Hero Academia – This series just started in Weekly Shonen Jump. It is a simultaneous release with the first chapter running during Weekly Shonen Jump‘s anniversary month. The series follows Izuku Midoriya an ordinary human in a world of the extraordinary. He is a rare mutation that has no superpowers, but wishes nothing more than to be a superhero. One day he meets All Might, the world’s most famous superhero. He ends up helping All Might, showing he has the most important quality for being a hero; heart. All Might decides to help Izuku and gets him into Yuhei High School, where heroes are cultivated. The mangaka of this series, Kohei Horikoshi, had another series serialized in WSJA. Barrage gained a following here, but only ran for 2 volumes. There are two volumes of My Hero Academia out in Japan, but it looks to have a much brighter future. Viz will release the first volume in print and digital in August.

Ultraman_2011Ultraman – This series is based on a Japanese TV superhero that originally ran in the 1960s. Ultraman is an alien from the Land of Light. He comes to Earth and takes over the body of a human pilot before he dies, giving him a second chance on life as well as a secret identity for Ultraman. Giant monsters called Kaiju have been attacking Earth, and Ultraman lends his strength to stop them. This manga is written as a direct sequel to the first TV series. Shinjiro is the son of Shin Hayata, the Scientific Special Search Party pilot that first joined with the Giant of Light. Many years have passed since there, and the world is at peace, but the darkness is growing again. Shinjiro, now a teenager, learns he has inherited the “Ultraman factor” from his father, and must take up the mantle of Ultraman to stop this new menace. The series is currently serialized in the online magazine Monthly Hero, and there are 5 volumes out so far. It will be published under the Viz Signature imprint and the first volume will be released in August.

Ratman1_500Ratman – This series was originally published by Tokyopop who only released 4 volumes. Viz has picked it up for their Viz Select line. It is about Shuto Kasuragi, a teenage boy who dreams of being a hero. He is kidnapped and tricked by the Jackal Society into using a watch that gives him super powers but also makes him a villain. Instead of giving in or giving up, Shuto uses his new-found powers to become Ratman, an anti-hero who will still fight on the side of justice. You can see a lot of elements from this earlier series in some of the newer ones. Corporate-sponsored heroes, a boys who wants nothing more than to become a hero, and a Hero Association to validate all heroic deeds. The series ended in 2013 and went for 12 volumes. Viz released the first digital volume on March 24th.

Ultimo 1Ultimo – This series isn’t a superhero series per say, but it originated from one of the fathers of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee. In collaboration with Hiroyuki Takei, the creator of Shaman King, the story has a lot of Stan Lee’s touches. Teenager Yamato has both money and girl problems, but his life is turned upside down when he finds Ultimo, a peculiar looking puppet. He awakens Ultimo and is drawn into the fight between him and his arch rival Vice, who are battling to see if good or evil is more powerful. The series not only has over-the-top battles, but also delves into reincarnation and time travel. There are currently 12 volumes available in Japan, while the US has 10. The series will reach its climax this July in the new Shonen Jump magazine spin-off. It is available in both print and digital.

This Week’s Manga – Yamada-kun’s Log

This Week's Manga

Yamada Kun 1Look at all this manga this week, and it’s no April Fool’s joke! Kodansha has a bunch of their heavy hitters with two Attack on Titan volumes and the latest Fairy Tail. But the series that’s gotten quite a bit of talk-up is Yamada-Kun and the Seven Witches. It is available on Crunchyroll digitally with the newest chapters, but Kodansha is also releasing it in print. It’s a shonen harem comedy, so that’s not too surprising. It’s rare when that kind of series doesn’t sell. The first volume debuts today. Seven Seas has a couple of titles that do not involve monsters, and they involve girls. Citrus is one of their yuri titles, and volume 1 did well, so it will be interesting to see if volume 2 does just as well. Volume 4 of Arpeggio of Blue Steel is also out, the sub warfare series that still manages to get in cute girls.

Log Horizon 1Some series are finishing up this week as well. Vertical Comic’s social media thriller, Prophecy ends it’s run this week with volume 3. The first two volumes are fantastic, so I can’t wait for this volume to see how it all ends. Diamond ships the huge pack of Viz Media shonen and shojo titles out early this week, and a couple of shojo are wrapping up. Meteor Prince was a short, two-volume series that seems like it just premiered, and already we need to wish it good-bye. While it’s run was short and sweet, another longer running series also signs off. Dengeki Daisy Volume 16 wraps up the love story of Teru and Kurosaki, though it seems the story will end with a bit of a bang! I grew to like Dengeki Daisy because of the prickly pairing of Teru and Kurosaki, and look forward to seeing how they end. Also hitting a week late for Diamond customers is Log Horizon from Yen Press. It’s a title like Sword Art Online, with gamers caught in the virtual world they are playing in, but word of mouth has it sounding more than a derivative work. It might be interesting if you like that genre.

Full list per Diamond Distributors:

DARK HORSE COMICS
Lone Wolf And Cub Omnibus Volume 8 TP, $19.99

KODANSHA COMICS
Attack On Titan Before The Fall Volume 4 GN, $10.99
Attack On Titan Volume 15 GN, $10.99
Fairy Tail Volume 47 GN, $10.99
Yamada-Kun And The Seven Witches Volume 1 GN, $10.99

PERFECT SQUARE
Pokemon Adventures Black And White Volume 7 GN, $9.99

SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT
Arpeggio Of Blue Steel Volume 4 GN, $12.99
Citrus Volume 2 GN, $13.99

VERTICAL
Prophecy Volume 3 GN, $12.95
What Did You Eat Yesterday Volume 7 GN, $12.95
Wolfsmund Volume 6 GN, $12.95

VIZ MEDIA
Assassination Classroom Volume 3 GN, $9.99
Black Lagoon Volume 10 GN, $12.99
Case Closed Volume 54 GN, $9.99
Deadman Wonderland Volume 8 GN, $9.99
Dengeki Daisy Volume 16 GN, $9.99
Food Wars Shokugeki No Soma GN Vol. 05, $9.99
GYO 2-In-1 Deluxe Edition HC, $22.99
Itsuwaribito Volume 14 GN, $9.99
Library Wars Love And War Volume 13 GN, $9.99
Magi The Labyrinth Of Magic Volume 11 GN, $9.99
Meteor Prince Volume 2 GN, $9.99
My Love Story Volume 4 GN, $9.99
One Piece Volume 74 GN, $9.99
Skip Beat Volume 34 GN, $9.99
Toriko Volume 27 GN, $9.99
Vagabond VIZBIG Edition Volume 12 TP, $19.99
Voice Over Seiyu Academy Volume 10 GN, $9.99
World Trigger Volume 5 GN, $9.99
Yukarism Volume 2 GN, $9.99

YEN PRESS
Log Horizon Volume 1 GN, $13.00

Bring Em Back: Stolen Hearts

Over the years, a lot of titles have been licensed and started, but never finished due to various circumstances, mostly because the company that released them went out of business. One of these companies was CMX, an imprint of DC Comics. The imprint was dropped suddenly after a leadership change at DC. One of the titles cut off midstream was Stolen Hearts, a very cute rom-com.

Stolen Hearts v1Stolen Hearts is about high school student Shinobu Okuma, a girl small for her age and Miharu Koguma, the biggest, most intimidating boy at school. Okuma accidentally spills milk on an antique kimono Koguma is carrying for his grandmother, and he has her come to his grandmother’s kimono shop to make up for ruining it. Okuma is put to work wearing kimonos and walking around town handing out flyers about the shop. Not only does she have fun wearing all the cute, coordinated outfits, but she finds out that Koguma isn’t as scary as he seems.

I loved this series from the first volume. Koguma and Okuma make a cute if mismatched couple. Both are rather shy, and Koguma, with his unruly hair and love for small, cute things is a great male lead. Okuma is small and cute, can be rather blunt, but is always upbeat. After she learns how kind Koguma is, she tries to get her friends and classmates to see it too. Once they do though, she finds she might have competition for his affections.

But the character that steals this series is Fujiko Koguma, Koguma’s grandmother. She is the feisty, 76 year-old owner of the kimono shop. She loves money and has no problem smacking her grandson when she thinks he needs it. Even the local yakuza are intimidated by her. She steals practically every scene she’s in, and has no end of money-making schemes to put Koguma and Okuma through.

Stolen Hearts 2The second volume introduces the rest of Koguma’s family; his three older brothers and parents. Koguma’s brothers are as big and handsome as he is. His mother is funny, as she makes mountains of food to feed the big-appetited family, but also wants to treat Okuma as a surrogate daughter and dress her in kimonos. They are a tight family who love kimonos as much as the matriarch Fujiko. Oldest brother Miki even makes custom kimonos, and becomes part of another of Fujiko’s schemes to make made-to-order kimonos at her shop for taller women.

But it can’t be a rom-com without situations to get into. Okuma and Koguma get into plenty on their own between misunderstandings and Koguma’s reputation and shy personality. The introduction of the brothers brings in a rivalry between Koguma and Miki, who decides to tease his younger brother but takes it too far. The situations never get too serious, but provide enough drama to balance against the comedy.

This is a title that so deserves a license rescue. It’s six volumes total, though only two volumes made it to print in the US. This title falls into all the guideline most publishers have for manga licenses. It post 2000, and it’s short. It’s complete in 6 volumes. It didn’t get very far in publishing here, with both volumes out of print and difficult to find. It was published by Hakusensha in Japan, so it doesn’t have any associated publishers in the US, so it’s open to anyone. This series would be a good addition to Viz Media’s Viz Select line. It would fit in well with their other sweet Shojo Beat titles, if they wanted to go with print.

Also available in audio and video.

 

PR: Viz Media Brings A Link to the Past Back to Life

I’ve enjoyed the manga adaptations of video games that have been released so far: Legend of Zelda and Pokémon most notably. What makes these adaptations so fun is the deviations they can take from the original work, making them more interesting or filling in the story better. I’m happy to hear this volume will be no different.

Continue reading PR: Viz Media Brings A Link to the Past Back to Life

Weekly Top Ten – March 28, 2015

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 21, 2015

  1. Attack on Titan 15Attack on Titan Vol 15     ∗
  2. Naruto Vol 69     ↔
  3. Monster Musume Vol 6     ↓ 2
  4. Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds Vol 7     ↓ 1
  5. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↑ 3
  6. Nisekoi: False Love Vol 8     ↓ 2
  7. Seraph of the End Vol 4     ↔
  8. No Game No Life Vol 1     ↵ 6
  9. Kamisama Kiss Vol 17     ↓ 3
  10. Akame ga Kill! Vol 1     ↵ 8

Well, that’s a surprise–not! Attack on Titan Vol 15 debuts at #1 and pulls up Vol 1 a couple of spots along with it. It’s good to see Kamisama Kiss and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, both at three weeks on the list, continuing to hang on, both representing genres that don’t tend to; shojo and gaming. Seven Seas’ Monster Musume may have lost to their rival the Titans this week, but the girls still hang on to the top five. The publisher gets a boost as well with the return of No Game No Life Vol 1. Yen Press’ single representation is also a returnee, with Akame ga Kill! Vol 1 hanging on at #10. Viz Media continues to dominate the list though, as it holds 5 of the 10 spots. Perhaps Yen Press can take some back after their big release this week.

Amazon

 

Amazon.com for the week ending March 28, 2015

  1. Attack on Titan 15Attack on Titan Vol 15     ↔
  2. Sword Art Online Progressive Vol 1 Novel     ↑ 5
  3. Monster Musume Vol 6     ↑ 1
  4. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past      ↓ 1
  5. Naruto Vol 69     ↓ 3
  6. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↓ 1
  7. Attack on Titan Vol 2     ↵
  8. Big Hero Six Vol 1     ∗
  9. Attack on Titan Vol 14     ↓ 1
  10. Attack on Titan Vol 6     ↵

Attack on Titan Vol 15 holds on to the top spot at Amazon for a third week in a row, and it’s joined by several of its brethren, as Titans are want to do. Half of this week’s top ten is Titan volumes. Yen Press gets two titles on the list with Sword Art Online Progressive Vol 1 shooting up the chart and Big Hero Six Vol 1 making its debut. Viz, which so dominated the NYT list this week, could only keep two titles on Amazon’s list as well. All bow before the power of Kodansha’s Titans!

Viz Digital

 

Vizmanga.com for the week of March 16, 2015

  1. Food Wars 5Food Wars! Vol 5
  2. Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1
  3. Claymore Vol 1
  4. One-Punch Man Vol 2
  5. Naruto Vol 69
  6. One-Punch Man Vol 6
  7. Assassination Classroom Vol 2
  8. Seraph of the End Vol 4
  9. Claymore Vol 3
  10. Claymore Vol 10

Vizmanga pops in for a top ten this week. The early digital release of Food Wars vol 5 takes the top spot, and is followed by another early digital release with Tokyo Ghoul vol 1. Claymore‘s digital bundle has helped some of its single volume sales as three volumes in the bundle chart, including vol 1. The release of the new digital only One-Punch Man Vol 6 has helped bring back Vol 2 where it also ends up charting higher.

∗ = 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)

Seven Seas Goes Scientific Again

sevenseaslogoOn their Twitter account this week, Seven Seas Entertainment announced a new manga license after dropping some hints for followers to try to guess.

acceleratorA Certain Scientific Accelerator is another spin-off manga of the light novel series A Certain Magical Index. It follows Accelerator, the most power esper in Academy City. He starts out as an antagonist in both the main series and the spin-off manga A Certain Scientific Railgun, until he is defeated by Touma Kamijou, the protagonist in Magical Index. Accelerator’s story starts after this defeat and at the beginning of his journey to be more “heroic” in the story. The series is currently at 3 volumes and is ongoing. The first volume is set to be released in October of 2015, with volume 2 following up in January 2016.

Seven Seas already publishes A Certain Scientific Railgun, so adding another Scientific title makes perfect sense. Yen Press holds the license to the main series A Certain Magical Index, both the manga and the light novel. I liked the first two volumes of Railgun that I’ve read, so I may consider this series as well. Stories with redemption arcs are popular right now so this could do well for Seven Seas, especially as Magical Index comes out and more of the story is available.

Bring Em Back: V.B. Rose

As I was pulling together titles for my post update on crafting manga, I remembered I had a couple of volumes of V.B. Rose. I won volume 7 from a blog a few years ago. I remember there being a lot of hype for the series back in the day, and being ever curious, wanted to see what all the hoopla was about. Then found volume 1 on Paperback Swap and snatched it up.

vb rose 1V.B. Rose is about high school student Ageha Shiroi. Her older sister Hibari, who she idolizes, is getting married and Ageha doesn’t approve. But, Ageha loves weddings and can’t resist when she is invited to see the dress design with Hibari at the boutique Velvet Blue Rose. The boutique is run by two men, Yukari Arisawa and Mitsuya Kuromine. Ageha gets off on the wrong foot with Yukari when she explodes over the wedding, and Yukari literally throws her out of the shop. Ageha, with the help of her friend Mamoru, realizes she did wrong and goes back to apologize. Things go awry again, and Mitsuya hurts his hand. Ageha volunteers to help out in Mitsuya’s place. Yukari balks at first, but Ageha is very crafty, and already know for the handmade purses she makes for Hibari and her friends, so he relents. It becomes a race to get the Hibari’s dress done on time as Ageha has to learn bead embroidery and how to deal with Yukari’s strict management and Mitsuya’s constant glomping.

I read volume 7 first and at the time wasn’t too impressed. I passed on reviewing it since I didn’t have anything useful to say. For this re-read, I read volume 1 first and then volume 7 and found I liked the series a whole lot more. The first volume set up the characters and relationships really well,  so when I got to volume 7, it wasn’t difficult to see how they got there. I think when I first read volume 7, it just didn’t work as well without that context.

Ageha and Yukari are amusing characters. Ageha is rather hot-headed and speaks without thinking, or worse, saying things she doesn’t really mean. Yukari can be just as abrasive, saying exactly what he means, when he chooses to speak. He more often reacts first without full explaining why. This poor communication, or complete lack thereof, leads to misunderstandings between them. It’s not so bad at first, when the misunderstandings are Ageha getting the wrong impression about what Yukari thinks of her craftwork. When it gets into their budding relationship, it’s easy to see how this will only complicate things.

vb-rose-7Ageha and Yukari are the main couple, but Ageha seems to have plenty of suitors for Yukari to worry about. Mitsuya isn’t serious about his advances, but there are other men around who could be serious competition. Mamoru’s younger brother, Nagare has feelings for her and declares them over Christmas, while Ageha is talking to Yukari. His anxiety over Ageha being courted by other men is fun to watch. Ageha has her own things to worry about as she wonders if Yukari’s ex-girlfriend Kana, who he still works with, still has feelings for him.

Since the setting of this series is a wedding dress boutique, there are plenty of beautiful gowns. In volume 1, there is a gorgeous Chinese inspired gown I would have loved to have worn. The gown that Kana makes the corsage for in volume 7 is just elegant. Ageha’s handmade purses are both cute and useful. What I wouldn’t give for a friend that could make a custom bag.

V.B. Rose is a romantic comedy that is a lot of fun. Tokyopop originally licensed the series, and nearly published it complete. They released volume 13 the same month they shutdown, making this one of the most difficult volumes to find in English. The series was originally published by Hakusensha in Japan, a publisher that doesn’t have an established relationship with a US publisher. This title would be a perfect candidate for Viz Media’s Viz Select program. While I would prefer getting this series digitally, I do have to admit that Tokyopop’s early prints of the series were very nicely done with gold imprinting on the cover to make it extra sparkly! Viz Select has already picked up and published several of Tokyopop’s old titles digitally. V.B. Rose would be another great addition to this program. It is probably completely translated, and is a shojo title that would an ideal fit their Shojo Beat catalog.

This Week’s Manga: Demon Magica

This Week's Manga

Demon From Afar 2 Kodansha and Seven Seas Entertainment are back this week, but their selections just aren’t speaking to me. Kodansha is top-loaded with titles I have no interest in. I gave up on Vampire Cheerleaders a while ago, even though that interest was mild at best, and I lost track of the Alice In the Country Of… awhile ago. So, I leave it to Yen Press again to spark my interest and they do a pretty good job this week. Second volumes of Demon From Afar and Love at Fourteen are out this week. The first volume of Demon From Afar felt like a prologue, so I’m curious to see where it goes in the second. Love at Fourteen is a pretty cute romance, so I can’t wait to see where things go in volume 2.

Puella magi Oriko Magica ExtraYen Press is releasing a few new titles as well that I want to read. I unexpectedly really enjoyed the first Puella Magi Oriko Magica series, so I’m really looking forward to reading Extra Story. I love the glimpses at alternate universes the spin offs give us. I’m curious about Devil is a Part-Timer. I think the idea of a Demon Lord having to work as a part-time employee could be fun. I’d also like to read the first volume of Karneval. It sounds intriguing with a touch of mystery. Angel of Elhamburg is by Aki, the same creator as Olympos, a title I loved, so I have high hopes of enjoying this one as well, even if the premise is less than cheerful.

Full list per Diamond Distributors:

KODANSHA COMICS
Air Gear Volume 33 GN, $10.99
Genshiken Second Season Volume 6 GN, $10.99
Sankarea Volume 11 GN, $10.99
UQ Holder Volume 4 GN, $10.99

SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT
Alice In The Country Of Joker The Nightmare Trilogy Volume 3 GN, $13.99
Vampire Cheerleaders In Space And Time GN, $12.99

YEN PRESS
Accel World The Twilight Marauder Novel Volume 3 SC, $13.00
Accel World Volume 3 GN, $13.00
Angel Of Elhamburg Volume 1 GN, $18.00
Are You Alice Volume 8 GN, $13.00
Big Hero 6 Manga Volume 1 GN, $12.00
Bloody Cross Volume 6 GN, $11.99
Demon From Afar Volume 2 GN, $18.00
Devil Is Part-Timer Volume 1 GN, $13.00
Disappearance Of Nagato Yuki-Chan Volume 7 GN, $13.00
He’s My Only Vampire Volume 2 GN, $13.00
Karneval Volume 1 GN, $20.00
Kingdom Hearts The Novel SC, $16.00
Love At Fourteen Volume 2 GN, $15.00
Puella Magi Oriko Magica Extra Story GN, $13.00
Soul Eater Volume 25 TP, $13.00
Sword Art Online Fairy Dance Volume 3 GN, $13.00
Sword Art Online Progressive Novel Volume 1 SC, $14.00
Triage X Volume 9 GN, $14.00

Sewing Manga

March is National Craft Month (among other things). So being a crafty person, I thought I would do some features about crafts in manga. I already did one post back in 2009 about some handicrafts, but it was focused more on knitting. This time, I’m expanding to sewing and fashion.

vb rose 1V.B. Rose is about Ageha, a girl with a serious big sister complex. When her older sister announces she is getting married, Ageha is against it at first, but goes with her to the boutique where the dress is being made. There she meets Yukari and Mitsuya, the two-man team that run Velvet Blue Rose. But when Mitsuya’s hand it hurt, Ageha volunteers to help keep her sister’s marriage on track. V.B. Rose features several kinds of crafts. Dressmaking the main one, with wedding dresses being the main focus. There is plenty that goes into making a wedding gown, designing and sewing the gown, and making the accessories such as corsages, beadwork, and the veil. Ageha also has her own skills as she enjoys making purses and bags, impressing Yukari and Mitsuya enough with her work that they let her help at the shop when she offers. This series is 14 volumes long and was published nearly complete by Tokyopop. They got as far as vol 13 before they shut down. It is now out of print.

parakiss1Paradise Kiss follows the story of high school student Yukari who becomes tangled up with four college fashion designer students as they prepare for the fashion school final and want Yukari to model their gown for them. She is drawn into the world of fashion professionally and into the romantically into the arms of George, the charismatic leader of the group. Dressmaking is shown in detail, from the design, to choosing the fabric, to putting on the flourishes. The story is as much a romance as it is about fashion and dressmaking. This series was first published by Tokyopop, and was rescued by Vertical, Inc., that published it in three volumes. It is still in print, but it is unknown for how long.

Stolen Hearts v1Stolen Hearts is about Shinobu Okuma, a petite girl and Miharu Koguma, a boy who looks intimidating, but is really gentle. Koguma’s grandmother owns a kimono shop and needs models to wear the kimonos as advertisements for her shop, and Okuma is tricked into helping by Koguma. At Koguma’s grandmother’s shop, kimonos can be bought or custom-made, and Koguma’s other brothers help out with designing and making the garments. It was licensed by CMX, but only 2 volumes were released before CMX went under. The series went for six volumes and is now out of print.

Buruki no Kazume Buriki no Kanzume is about Nabiki Oukawa, a girl who dreams of being a stuffed toy maker. Itsuru Fukamachi wants to be a silverwork designer. They both join Kousei High’s Crafting Club, intent on working hard to become professionals in their chosen fields. They both have their obstacles to overcome. Fukamachi’s father opposes his choice of professions, while Nabiki’s grades threaten her club activities. Since it’s set in a crafting club, there more crafts that the main characters stuffed animal and silverwork. Beading, glass work, and woodworking also get shown. This series is complete in one volume and was published by Hakusensha. It is currently unlicensed.

Handmade PrinceHandmade Oujisama is about Michiru Asaba, a successful fashion magazine editor who is dumped by her boyfriend because she can’t even sew on a button. Lacking in sewing skills, she decides to make a change and goes to a sewing class run by Shou Igarashi, who has been given the nickname “Handmand Prince.” This title looks cute, and has an older lead, something that appeals to me. This is another one-shot volume. It is a josei, and was published by Shogakukan. It is currently unlicensed.

OsenOsen follows Sen Handa, nicknamed Osen. She is a popular hostess at the longstanding restaurant Isho-an. As well as being a good hostess, Osen is a “jill of all trades.” She is a master chef, entertainer, potter, and art connoisseur. She uses her many skills to solve the problems that pop up around Isho-an. While crafting isn’t the focus of this series, it still sounds really interesting, and has a cool-looking female lead. This series is 16 volumes long. It is a seinen and was published by Kodansha. It is currently unlicensed.

 

 

PR: Big Shojo Beat Update for Comixology

Since Shojo manga doesn’t tend to get the attention shonen does, its encouraging when it gets a big update like this, especially to a site mainly known for US comics that doesn’t cater to feminine tastes. There are a lot of really good titles in this update. I would personally recommend Library Wars: Love and War, Otomen, and Skip Beat. Please Save My Earth and Ouran High School Host Club are on my list to check out as well. They all should be on yours too if you haven’t. Most of them are complete and there’s no waiting for the next volume.

Continue reading PR: Big Shojo Beat Update for Comixology

Weekly Top Ten – March 21, 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 14, 2015

  1. Monster Musume 6Monster Musume Vol 6     ↑ 1
  2. Naruto Vol 69      ↓ 1
  3. Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds Vol 7     ↑ 1
  4. Nisekoi False Love Vol 8     ↑ 4
  5. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1 Phantom Blood Part 1     ↓ 2
  6. Kamisama Kiss Vol 17     ↑ 1
  7. Seraph of the End Vol 4     ∗
  8. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↓ 2
  9. Unofficial Hatsune Remix     ↑ 1
  10. Wolf Children Ami and Yuki     ↵ 10

Monster Musume Vol 6 was finally able to climb Mount Naruto to stick its flag at the top, taking the #1 spot, but the orange-suited ninja only fell down one to stay hot on the monster girls’ heels. Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds  Vol 7 made a nice move up one as does Kamisama Kiss Vol 17 and Unofficial Hatsune Remix. The biggest mover was Nisekoi False Love Vol 8, jumping four spots to #4. And it’s interesting to see the return of Wolf Children Ami and Yuki, with it being such a thick, hardback edition. Even through Seven Seas took the top spot, the majority of the list, 6 spots, belongs to Viz Media and their shonen/shojo machine.

Amazon

 

Amazon.com for the week ending March 21, 2015

  1. Attack on Titan 15Attack on Titan Vol 15     ↔
  2. Naruto Vol 69     ↑ 2
  3. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past     ↔
  4. Monster Musume Vol 6     ↓ 2
  5. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↑ 1
  6. Uzumaki 3-in-1 Edition     ↵
  7. Sword Art Online: Progressive Novel Vol 1     ∗
  8. Attack on Titan Vol 14     ↵
  9. Attack on Titan Vol 13     ↵
  10. Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1     ↔

Several stable titles as well as returnees this week. Attack on Titan Vol 15 holds on to the top spot as preorders turn into orders. It is accompanied by volumes 13 and 14, as readers catch up with the latest. Naruto Vol 69 and Monster Musume Vol 6 bounce around slightly, but keep their spots in the top five. Uzumaki 3-in-1 is an interesting title to return to the top ten. Sword Art Online: Progressive Vol 1 is the novel, and new to the top ten. Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1 continues to just hold on with its preorder for print even though the eBook is now available.

∗ = 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)

Master Keaton Volume 1

Taichi Hiraga-Keaton, the son of a Japanese zoologist and a noble English woman, is an insurance investigator known for his successful and unorthodox methods of investigation. Educated in archaeology and a former member of the SAS, Master Keaton uses his knowledge and combat training to uncover buried secrets, thwart would-be villains, and pursue the truth… When a life insurance policy worth one million pounds takes Master Keaton to the Dodecanese islands of Greece, what will he discover amidst his scuffles with bloodthirsty thieves and assassins?

Master Keaton Volume 1
MasterKeaton-GN01-3DBy Naoki Urasawa; Story by Hokusei Katsushika, Takashi Nagasaki
Publisher: Viz Medial
Age Rating: 16+
Genre: Drama
Price: $19.99
Rating: ★★★★★

Master Keaton is one of those licenses that was always talked about but never dreamed it would become reality. Or maybe, dreaming was all fans of the series could do. A 24 episode anime was released here by Pioneer/Geneon back in 2003, but that was as much of the story as fans could hope to get. I was so thrilled when Viz Media announced it last year. It is one of the few titles I will pre-order, sight unseen.

I almost had my doubts at first. Urasawa has been hit and miss with me. I loved Pluto, but didn’t care for Monster or the latter half of 20th Century Boys. But I am happy to say I was not disappointed with Master Keaton. What initially drew me to the series was the title character, Taichi Hiraga-Keaton. He is both an archaeologist and an insurance investigator, combining to things I love; archaeology and mysteries. I really liked Keaton as the absent-minded professor type. He is easy-going, and a bit of a dreamer, but behind this non-threatening facade, is a keen eye and a sharp wit. Even though it is a convenient plot point, I love his quirk of taking seemingly random things that end up helping him get through his current adventure.

Most of the chapters are stand alone cases, with a few multi-chapter stories. Sometimes Keaton gets a case due to his knowledge of archaeology, but in almost every case his skills as a former S.A.S. member and survival skills trainer come into play. Both these skills mesh nicely in the two-part story “Hot Sands, Black and White” and “Qehriman of the Desert.” Not every chapter is a case. This volume also introduces Keaton’s daughter Yuriko and his father. These stories are more about his relationships with his family. He helps out Yuriko when she has problems with a teacher at school, and a girl who thinks his father is also her father. These chapters were just as enjoyable as the more action-oriented chapters. They give more insight to Keaton’s character. “Journey With a Lady” was another wonderful chapter where Keaton’s patience is tested, and ultimately rewarded.

This series is from 16 years ago, but the art is still very Urasawa. The characters are recognizable as his work, and match well with the story. Urasawa’s more technical skills are put to the test as he has to draw, old ruins and life-like statues to fit the archaeological side of the story, and he does it well. The backgrounds are very detailed too, giving the feeling of the place Keaton is in, whether it is England, Italy or the Taklamakan Desert.

Master Keaton is a great series. The stories are well written, and very engaging. I didn’t want to put it down once I started. The investigations are readily solved, with all the piece set in place before hand. There is plenty of action and mystery to keep fans of both happy. I certainly am. I highly recommend it.

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