This Week’s Manga: Master of All He Surveys

This Week's Manga

Master Keaton 3A couple of long-awaited titles from Viz Media finally debut this week. Tokyo Ghoul has been on reader’s radars since it was announced, and even with the first volume being released digitally early, it doesn’t seem to have stifled reader’s desire for the print edition. I expect it to debut pretty high on the NYT bestseller list next week. Also out from Viz is the short story collection Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito, the master of Japanese horror manga. You have to really love horror and be able to stand disturbing or gory images to get through some of his titles, but for the true horror connoisseur, it is a must have. My must have this week is Master Keaton Vol 3. I still have read Vol 2, but that not because I don’t want to, it more like I’m saving it to savor it, like saving dessert for last, so you can enjoy every last bite.

Servamp 2Seven Seas has quite the collection of releases this week. The first volume of Freezing Omnibus collects the first two volumes of the series and is very male gaze heavy. It’s that not your thing, you’ve been warned. Also coming out are the second volumes of two of their newer titles; Nurse Hitomi’s Monster Infirmary and Servamp, both of which I’ve heard promising things about, even though Nurse Hitomi leans on the male gaze side. Gen Manga Entertainment, who started out releasing their titles digitally has been recently sending them to print. This week debuts the first volume of Eden, an epic fantasy series. Finally, Fanfare Presents Ponent Mon releases the fifth and final volume of Summit of the Gods. This title has had a long release schedule, as the first volume came out in 2009, but readers can relax now that the final volume is out.

Full List per Diamond Distributors:

New Lone Wolf And Cub Volume 5 TP, $13.99

Summit Of The Gods Volume 5 GN, $25.00

Eden Volume 1 GN, $10.95

xxxHOLIC Omnibus Volume 6 TP, $14.99

Freezing Omnibus Volume 1 GN, $19.99
Haganai I Don’t Have Many Friends Volume 11 GN, $12.99
Nurse Hitomi’s Monster Infirmary Volume 2 GN, $12.99
Servamp Volume 2 GN, $12.99

Dogs Bullets And Carnage Volume 10 GN, $12.99
Fragments Of Horror GN, $17.99
Gene Mapper SC, $14.99
Master Keaton Volume 3 GN, $19.99
Tokyo Ghoul Volume 1 GN, $12.99

Wish List: Mythical Detective Loki Update

lokiMythical Detective Loki is a series I have wanted released in the west for years. It’s had a bumpy history here. ADV Manga first licensed the continuation of the series, Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok, and released two volumes before they folded. Jmanga licensed the first series and managed to release five volumes before it folded. A third series, Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok: Gods of the New World, never saw translation here, but has now ended in Japan. The series is about Loki, the Norse god of mischief, who is banished to Earth in the form of a young boy. To return to the land of the gods, he must collect auras of evil, so he opens a detective agency. As well as collecting the auras, he has to deal with other Norse gods who come to visit and/or taunt him, some of whom do not want him returning.

Loki RagnarokI love boy detective titles, as well as any kind of mythology, so I’ve been dying to read this series. I still have the two volumes ADV Manga released, but lost the Jmanga titles when they went under. But this is a series that so deserves another chance! It’s not the manga’s fault it never finished with either company. Both folded before the manga had a chance to finish. Jmanga was just two volumes away. I don’t think Ragnarok would have done well for ADV Manga anyway, since it was a continuation of the first series, and ADV Manga didn’t provide any background information on the characters or story.

Loki Ragnarok GodsThanks to the Marvel Avengers and Thor movies, Loki has become a really hot property. Some publisher should really pick this series up. Each titled series is short too. Mythical Detective Loki is only 7 volumes. Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok is 5 volumes, and the final series, Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok: Gods of the New World is 6 volumes. None of the titles are too long for publishers and still fit into the post 2000s requirement. I think the series would be a good fit for Seven Seas Entertainment or Yen Press, and the Japanese publisher, MAG Garden isn’t tied down to any one English publisher.

I know I’ve written a Wish List for this series before, but with all that’s happened since then, it really needed this update. We really need a Japanese manga about Norse gods solving mysteries! There is no such thing as too much Loki! This series needs an English release stat!


PR: Viz Media Releases Junji Ito’s Fragments of Horror Manga

I must confess I have read any Junji Ito titles. They either freak me out or gross me out too much. The one title I will even try is his cat manga, Cat Diary: Yon and Mu that Kodansha is releasing. I’m not sure if a collection of short stories would be either better or worse than a full length title. Being short they would be over fast, but sometimes a shorter story can be more creepy, and gross. I’ll just have to wait to see if I can stomach these stories. Fans of Ito and horror in general should snag this title up regardless.

Continue reading PR: Viz Media Releases Junji Ito’s Fragments of Horror Manga

PR: Viz Media Releases Horror Manga Tokyo Ghoul

I’d heard about this series when the anime came out, and was curious, until I read about how graphic it was, and was about the flesh-eating undead. Not my cup of tea. But fans of the series have been pre-ordering this series like gangbusters, even with releasing the digital version early, so Viz has another potential hit on their hands. This is one series I’ll have to watch from the sidelines, but readers with no qualms about characters that don’t eat just brains, but the rest as well should check this series out.

Continue reading PR: Viz Media Releases Horror Manga Tokyo Ghoul

Weekly Top Ten – June 13, 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 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.



New York Times Bestseller List for the week ending June 6, 2015

  1. Naruto 70Naruto Vol 70    
  2. Assassination Classroom  Vol 4    
  3. Fairy Tail Vol 48     
  4. Trinity Seven Vol 1     ↓ 2
  5. Food Wars Vol 6    
  6. Big Hero Six Vol 1     ↑ 4
  7. High School DxD Vol 5     ↓ 2
  8. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↓ 2
  9. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past     ↓ 8
  10. Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon Vol 1     ↓ 7

After a month at the top, Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past finally gets knocked down falling the furthest, eight spots. It’s replaced by everyone’s favorite ninja, Naruto, as Vol 70 debuts at the top. Maybe I spoke a little too soon last week. He’s joined by fellow Shonen Jump titles Assassination Classroom Vol 4 and Food Wars Vol 6. the only other debut title this week is from Kodansha Comics with Fairy Tail Vol 48 coming in at #3. Attack on Titan Vol 1 begins its second century on the list with a short fall, but not for long. Yen Press continues to make a good showing with four titles still hanging on, and Big Hero Six Vol 1 getting a boost, sending it back up 4 spots.

Amazon for the week ending June 13, 2015

  1. TokyoGhoul-GN01Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1     ↑ 1
  2. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past     ↑ 1
  3. Naruto Vol 70     ↓ 2
  4. Uzumaki 3-in-1     ↑ 3
  5. Sword Art Online Aincrad Novel Vol 2     
  6. Legend of Zelda Box Set     
  7. Tokyo Ghoul Vol 2     
  8. Noragami Vol 1     
  9. Seraph of the End Vol 5     ↓ 4
  10. Seraph of the End Vol 1     

There’s just a slight switch around in the top three titles this week. Tokyo Ghoul‘s Vol 1 print debut is this next week, and the last-minute preorders are jumping on board, pushing it back to the top spot. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past lurks just behind, waiting for its chance to take back the top spot, while Naruto Vol 69 falls back to #3. The Legend of Zelda Box Set returns as does several other titles including Noragami Vol 1, Seraph of the End Vol 1 and Sword Art Online Aincrad Novel Vol 2. The Tokyo Ghoul Vol 2 preorder also makes a return, even though it would be seeing a print release until August. Maybe readers are adding Vol 2 to their Vol 1 orders.

∗ = 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) 

Manga Dogs Volume 3

Teenage manga artist Kanna Tezuka’s series about a high school for Buddhist statues is facing cancellation! Meanwhile, the manga course that’s given her so much free time to draw at school is under threat from a principal taken with the next big thing: light novels! Their teacher’s solution to this existential crisis is an inspiring field trip, but will it be enough to get these dogs to start drawing at last?!

Manga Dogs Volume 3
Manga Dogs 3By Ema Toyama
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Comedy
Price: $10.99
Rating: ★★½☆☆

I didn’t really care for the first volume of Manga Dogs. The characters weren’t interesting and the stories weren’t funny. But I was given the opportunity to read the final volume, so I decided to give it a try to see if anything had improved. I can safely say, the series didn’t get any worse, but neither did it get any better.

Kanna continues to struggle to keep her series from being canceled. She gets a new editor who believes in her talent, but doesn’t actually do anything to help her improve the story. The boys continue to be delusional, and be more of a hindrance than help to Kanna, until they are given an ultimatum. Produce a manga that will be published or the program will be shut down in favor of a light novel program.

Not much has changed from the first volume, something I shouldn’t be too surprised by after reading Missions of Love a few volumes later. The boys are still lazy and assuming they will be great without doing any work, and are still annoying as all get-out. Kanna at least has grown slightly as a character, and it shows by the end. After a year with the boys, they have grown on her some, and she doesn’t object to spending some time with them.

Most of the chapters didn’t appeal to me again, as they were more of the same, the boys messing things up for Kanna more than helping. They chase away a potential new student while trying to act cool, and answer some interview questions that were for Kanna. I did like the cultural festival chapter, where they do a version of a haunted house, but instead do what it’s like to be a mangaka. Their version is more scary than a haunted house. I also like the pilgrimage their teacher takes them on to all the places where the gods of manga stayed and worked to give the kids inspiration, and also so she could pray to the gods of manga to help save the program.

Overall, I did like this volume a little more than the previous. Kanna’s growth, and some of the humor did work for me, but those things were too few or far between to really make this volume work better. I still spent more time shaking my head than smiling, though I did feel a bit of vindication when it truly sank in how much work the boys would have to do get a story ready for a contest.

As a satire, Manga Dogs does lampoon much of the industry. Editorial gets hit the hardest with Kanna’s editors being ineffectual at best and harmful at worst. The boys are shown to be what most hardworking artists hate most in fans; those who think they can do just as well or better without the work. Even Kanna represents what artists shouldn’t be like by just going along with what other people say than craft a story herself. It might have worked too, if Kanna had been in any way appealing as a character. Manga Dogs had its moments, but there are better manga-about-creating-manga that deserve your money more.

This Week’s Manga: Regency Romance

This Week's Manga

EmmaAnd we go from feast to famine as this week’s list is tiny in comparison to last week. I love that we’re getting all these new licenses, but I really wish the release schedule was a little more even. It makes buying (and writing) about them much easier. Only three publishers have anything coming out, and Udon Entertainment’s title is only tangentially related. Of course I’m going to recommend Say I Love You Volume 8. This is an auto-response in my brain. I can’t not. Viz also releases their Shonen Sunday titles with a dash of Jump added for good measure. I would recommend Magi vol 12 and One Piece 3-In-1 Vol 12 which moves the series into one of the best (and longest) arc of the series, “Waters Seven.”

I’m gonna give Udon Entertainment a shout out for their Manga Classics series. I’ve been enjoying them a lot, as well as finally reading the classic literature I never got to when I was in school. This time it’s Emma, another Regency romantic comedy by Jane Austin. I really enjoyed Pride and Prejudice, the first Jane Austin novel they adapted, so I expect to feel the same about Emma.

Full List per Diamond Distributors:

Say I Love You Volume 8 GN, $10.99

Manga Classics Emma SC, $19.99

Arata The Legend Volume 22 GN, $9.99
Deadman Wonderland Volume 9 GN, $9.99
Magi Volume 12 GN, $9.99
One Piece 3-In-1 Volume 12 TP, $14.99
Seraph Of The End Vampire Reign Volume 5 GN, $9.99

Crunchyroll Picks Up Four New Titles


Crunchyroll, the anime and manga streaming service, continues to add manga titles to their all-you-can-eat manga service. This time, they are pulling titles from the Square-Enix library, and are available world-wide.

Aizawa san Multiples Aizawa-san Multiples is a rom-com harem series. The frail beauty of the school Shino Aizawa confesses her feeling for Souta Mizutani. Soon after another Aizawa appears, and another, and another! Each one is slightly different, but they are all Aizawa. Are they twins? Clones? Dopplegangers? This series sounds like it takes the comedy in romantic comedy very serious. It might be interesting to see how this gag manga handles the harem model with the boy being surrounded by several of the same girl. There are currently 2 volumes of the series out so far.

Father and Son Father and Son is a slice of life shonen comedy. It follows former gangster You-san who has to take care of his wild and unpredictable son Shou and the eventful everyday life of the lively pair. This series sounds like it would not just make a good light comedy, but could also be suitable for younger readers, with slap-stick as part of the otherwise easy-going comedy. It would be a good pick up for Yen Press as an Yotsuba&-esque title, if it does well. There are currently 4 volumes available.

Tale of the Wedding ringsTales of Wedding Rings is a fantasy series. Sato has been in love with his childhood friend Hime since she and her grandfather became his neighbor 10 years ago. When she suddenly says good-bye, he chases after her and is transported to a fantasy world. He catches her and they marry, leading Sato to become the legendary Ring King. This series is created by the duo Maybe, who also created Dusk Maidens of Amnesia, a manga that got an anime adaptation recently. The title initially caught my eye, but the description didn’t do anything to pull me in. But, I am intrigued by Dusk Maidens, so there might be something more here, that not coming through in translation. The series has two volumes out so far.

DonyatsuDonyatsu is probably one of the strangest titles I’ve ever seen. It is about an animal/snack hybrid, in this case a cat who looks like a donut, living in a post-apocalyptic world where all the humans are gone. He is joined by other animal/snack hybrids such as Bengaru, and feline bagel composite. This titles just sounds completely bizarre. I know cat manga can be weird, but combining them with snack foods is just plain out of this world! Such a quirky cat title is hard to pass up. This title so needs a print edition. There are five volumes available.

It’s interesting that all of these titles are relatively new. This should make catch-up easy. The longest is Donyatsu at five volumes, and I can’t imagine it being dialog heavy. It’s also good to see more publishers get on board with Crunchyroll’s all-you-can-read streaming. There is such a wide variety of titles available, and if streaming the only way we can get some of them, (I’m looking at you Donyatsu), then I’m all for it.

PR: Viz Media Digital Updates with 4 New Titles

Viz has raided the old Tokyopop vaults to come up with three new titles to debut under their Select digital imprint. Welcome to the N.H.K. was one of the first light novel manga adaptations to come to the states, and arrived shortly after the anime, giving the title a lot of name recognition. Aion is by Yuna Kagesaki, the creator of Chibi Vampire. This follow-up didn’t do as well as Chibi Vampire, a sentiment I agree with. I didn’t find the first volume all that great. Metamo Kiss is by a mangaka not previously published here, and is a gender/body switching shojo, if you’re into that sort of thing.

They’ve got some good bundles this month too. Saint Seiya, Knights of the Zodiac, is an awesome series that didn’t get the love it deserved in print. That can be corrected with one of the two bundles they have available: vol 1-14, or the whole thing, 1-28. Also available is the older teen historical, time travel series Red River, filled with action and romance. A very addictive series. I recommend both!

Continue reading PR: Viz Media Digital Updates with 4 New Titles

Weekly Top Ten – June 6, 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 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.



New York Times Bestseller List for the week ending May 30, 2015

  1. LegendOfZelda-LinkToThePast-3DLegend of Zelda A Link to the Past    
  2. Trinity Seven Vol 1     ↑ 2
  3. Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon Vol 1     ↑ 3
  4. Sword Art Online: Girl’s OPs Vol 1     ↑ 3
  5. High School DxD Vol 5     
  6. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↓ 2
  7. Rosario + Vampire: Season II Vol 14     ↓ 5
  8. Naruto Vol 69     
  9. Assassination Classroom  Vol 1      ↑ 1
  10. Big Hero Six Vol 1     ↓ 5

Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past holds on to the top spot for the 4th consequential week. Not bad for a title that is over 20 years old. The Yen Press titles that debuted last week showed they have some traction by not only making it a second week, they all moved up as well, stacking up the top five with the inclusion of another debut title, High School DxD vol 5. Attack on Titan vol 1 fell two spots, but that matters little as the title celebrates 100 total weeks on the list, most of which have been consecutive. Viz Media has a huddle at the bottle of the list with Naruto vol 69, stuck in the middle. Are the days of the orange-suited ninja dominating over with?

Amazon for the week ending June 6, 2015

  1. Naruto 70Naruto Vol 70     ↑ 1
  2. Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1     ↑ 3
  3. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past     ↓ 2
  4. Berserk Vol 1     
  5. Seraph of the End Vol 5     ↑ 4
  6. Attack on Titan Vol 15     
  7. Uzumaki 3-in-1     ↓ 4
  8. Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon Vol 1    
  9. Food Wars Vol 6     ↓ 3
  10. Fairy Tail Vol 48  

Not at Amazon. Naruto Vol 70‘s release lets it overtake Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past, breaking that title’s hold on the top spot. Following behind is the long-awaited print debut of Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1. Berserk Vol 1 makes its return to the top ten. I would really love to know what is fueling its sales. Attack on Titan Vol 15 returns as Vol 1 falls off. Amazon continues to flaunt its volatile different to the NYT. While the title vary widely, Amazon does have a higher rate of returning titles, while NYT has only a few favorites.

∗ = 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) 

Goong: The Royal Palace Volume 9-10

Yul continues his machinations against Shin, determined to get both Chae-Kyung and the title Crown Prince. His mother only cares about him becoming prince, and even sets him up in an engagement with the daughter of a powerful business man who is possibly more horrible that her. Shin and Chae-Kyung’s relationship continues down a rocky road as they alternate between loving and alienating each other, and causing the royal family public humiliation. Add to that the King who won’t show his feeling for his own son and royal baby on the way that could just complicate things further, and  you have just another day at the Royal Palace.

Goong: The Royal Palace Volume 9-10
Goong 9By SoHee Park
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Romance
Price: $18.99
Rating: ★★★½☆

The drama continues to crank up, as if that’s possible, in these two volumes. The soapiness just froths over like a wrongly loaded washing machine from a sitcom. The power plays and political intrigues start coming to the forefront, while Shin and Chae-Kyung’s relationship hit more bumps than smooth patches. While I still find Goong a compelling read, it isn’t as satisfying as it once was.

The main problem I have had with these two volumes is that everyone has become unlikable. Chae-Kyung spends all of her time whining about not wanting to be in the Palace while still pining for Shin. She is so completely selfish that she falls for Yul’s manipulations and betrays Shin even after he tells her it’s what he fears most. This isn’t how you’re suppose to treat someone you claim to like. Shin isn’t blameless in any of this though. His big mouth and bigger pride keeps him from actually showing Chae-Kyung his true feelings, which leads in part to her betrayal. So much of their problems come from their inability and/or unwillingness to talk to each other. It’s become more frustrating than entertaining at this point.

I really disliked Yul for using Chae-Kyung against Shin, despite his claims to love her. You don’t win someone’s love by hurting the person they love, even if it the hot-and-cold relationship Shin and Chae-Kyung have. And then he has the gal to think Shin manipulated Chae-Kyung for not telling her about her grandfather, after all he’s done to try to sabotage her and Shin’s relationship? As much as I hated Mi-Roo Oh, Yul’s chosen fiance, she is exactly who Yul and the Daebi-mama deserve for their manipulations. The King isn’t much better, with the way he keeps favoring Yul over Shin for so many personal reasons and none of them good. Whether it’s because of his feeling for the Daebi-mama, the promise he made to his older brother or some of reason we haven’t heard yet, none of them are excuses for ignoring the good of the country, which putting Yul and Daebi-mama in charge may jeopardize. Hyo-Rin proves she’s on the same level as Daebi-mama, as she manipulates Shin by first exposing the truth of Shin and Chae-Kyung’s engagement, then pleading with Shin to divorce Chae-Kyung for her own good. Despite her situation, she isn’t someone I feel sympathy for.

Goong 10The only people who I still have any respect for are the Queen and the Queen-Mother. They are the only two without any secret agendas, who actually care about others and aren’t afraid to admit their feelings. The Queen has to plead with the King to allow Shin and Chae-Kyung to move to Changduck palace not as the Queen but as Shin’s mother. They are the only two who think to investigate the Daebi-mama as a possible suspect in her own arson. Honestly, I think they are the two smartest in the series and the Queen should be leading instead. She dealing with a difficult pregnancy and is still the most rational person in court at the moment.

I’d really like to see more political intrigue than relationship drama. Shin’s position as Crown Prince has been iffy at best for most of the series, but as soon as decides to take his duties seriously, is when the King seems to really turn against him. Most of the time the problems come from Chae-Kyung. The mention of divorce on National TV and the revelation of their engagement pushes the King to seriously consider demoting Shin. Yul and his mother want to push for a stronger monarchy which doesn’t make them very popular with many in the National Assembly, giving Shin more support. It is going to be tough to get any support for Yul to become Crown Prince. I hope this will be explored more in future volumes.

While these two volumes of Goong didn’t leave a favorable impression on me over all, I did still enjoy reading them. Soaps are supposed to have characters you love to hate, but I don’t think you’re suppose to hate everyone. Hopefully future volumes will change this and give me someone to sympathize with and root for. I still love all the costumes and the detail Park puts into them. I also really like the different fashions Chae-Kyung gets when she’s in everyday clothes. Even though I’ve grown weary of the miscommunication and manipulation in the personal relationships. I will keep reading. It’s like the train wreck you can’t look away from.

Review copies provided by publisher.

Seven Seas Makes Friends with Monsters


Publisher Seven Seas Entertainment recently made another license announcement on their Twitter feed and Tumblr blog. They have picked up another title that fits into their “dark and violent take on kid’s franchises” line.

Tomodachi x MonsterTomodachi x Monster is a recent series by Yoshihiko Inui and is published in Futabasha’s seinen magazine Manga Action. The story follows middle school student Wataru, who hears a mysterious voice after wandering away from school in his mountainous village in rural Japan. He discovers a new “friend”, a monster from the mountain, and one of many that want to befriend young kids like Wataru. This new friendship may transform Wataru’s life, or it may shorten it, as he is needed for his “friend” to participate in a horrifying death match.

If you’ve ever dreamed of being able to kill the Pokemon, or trainers in the video game, then this is probably the series for you. Tomodachi x Monster is described as an “ultra-violent, dark parody” of the Pokemon series, as if the blood-splattered cover wasn’t enough of a clue. It fits in with Magical Girl Apocalypse, taking on the kids-with-monsters genre in a smiliar fashion. Kids with no conscience get a hold of monsters. What could possibly go wrong?

There are two volumes out, with a third scheduled for release in Japan in June. Seven Seas plans on releasing their first volume in February 2016. I don’t know if this is a series I’ll be picking up. I’ve never wished Pokemon any harm (but I’ve never played the video games either), and I do like the Pokemon manga. Really I just don’t know how to feel about a series whose description can put “cute” and “gore” not just in the same sentence, but connected as well! Maybe I’ll have to give this series a pass.

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