PR: FCBD 2015 With Viz Media

Manga publishers have been hit or miss with the Free Comic Book Day promotion. Dark Horse sometimes has had a preview of a title or two included with their regular comics and  Yen Press has made previews of their original books available in the past. Kodansha is joining in this year with a preview of Attack on Titan as well as some of their other high performing titles Fairy Tail, Seven Deadly Sins and Noragami, but Viz Media has been the most consistent publisher to participate, and this year is no different. They have titles in both the Gold and Silver categories ranging from all ages to older teen. If you have time and comic shop or library participating near you this year, you should definitely go check it out. It can be a lot of fun, and you never know,  you might find a new book to read for you and/or your kids!

Continue reading PR: FCBD 2015 With Viz Media

This Week’s Manga: MangaHOLiC

Weekly Top Ten Manga

xxxHolic Rei 3 Kodansha and Seven Seas Entertainment is getting the lion’s share of releases this week. Kodansha releases more of their newer titles with Maria The Virgin Witch Vol 2 which seems to have a lot going on under the surface. Noragami: Stray God has been doing well, so I expect to see vol 4 hit the NYT bestseller list in the next few weeks. The third volume of xxxHolic Rei is released just as it is announced in Japan that CLAMP will resume work on the series. Good timing for Kodansha. Dark Horse got stuck with the still on hiatus series Gate 7, but then, with Dark Horse’s sometimes glacial release schedule, who would notice?

Certain Scientific Railgun 10Seven Seas releases a new Alice in the Country of title; Alice in the Country of Clover: The March Hare’s Revolution. Elliot has done pretty well in the Alice pairings. How many does this make now 3? 4? 5?? A Certain Sceinetific Railgun Vol 10 is released this week, catching the series up with its Japanese counterpart. It’s a good thing Yen Press has the main series, A Certain Magical Index coming out in both light novel and manga formats to tide fans over until the next release. Vol 6 of Dragonar Academy is also coming out this week, and is sure to hit the NYT bestseller list at least for its first week. The monster girl fans are really supporting their releases. If you’re not interested in monster girls, Viz has vol 15 of Dorohedoro, which has a completely different kind of monsters, but is also really fun. Or if drama is more your cup of tea, Vertical Comics has their very successful deluxe release of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin Vol 9. Excellent writing and art.

Full List per Diamond Distributors

Gantz Volume 35 TP, $13.99

Attack On Titan Junior High Volume 3 GN, $16.99
Maria The Virgin Witch Volume 2 GN, $10.99
Noragami Stray God Volume 4 GN, $10.99
Say I Love You Volume 7 GN, $10.99
xxxHOLiC Rei Volume 3 GN, $10.99

Alice In The Country Of Clover The March Hare’s Revolution GN, $13.99
Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 10 GN, $12.99
Devils And Realist Volume 5 GN, $12.99
Dragonar Academy Volume 6 GN, $12.99

Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin Volume 9 HC, $29.95

Dorohedoro Volume 15 GN, $12.99

Sword Art Online Novel Volume 4 Fairy Dance SC, $13.00

Manga at the Eisners: Nominees

eisner_awardsThis week the Wil Eisner Comic Industry Awards panel of judges announced their nominees this week. Manga essentially gets its own category in the US Edition of International Material – Asia. The category was created to keep manga from dominating the US Edition of International Material category. Five titles and six volumes received nods.

AllYouNeedIsKill_Omni01_CatalogAll You Need Is Kill has been getting a lot of attention this year. It is from Viz Media and was one of the 8 manga titles to make the YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens list this year. It is an adaptation of the Japanese sci-fi novel what was also the basis of the Hollywood film Edge of Tomorrow. Keiji Kiriya is a new recruit thrown into a suit of battle armor called a jacket and sent to fight the invading alien race, the Mimics. He dies on the battle field only to be revived every day to relieve the day and die again. On his 158th return, he is contacted by another soldier, known as the Full Metal Bitch. Is she his friend or foe. The art is by Takeshi Obata, a popular artist here in the US. With the art and story being so well-known, it probably has a good chance of winning.

In Clothes Called FatIn Clothes Called Fat from Vertical Comics. It is about Noko, a young woman with a good job and loving boyfriend. Beneath this seemingly happy veneer, Noko is struggling with issues of self-image and self-confidence as she fights to keep her weight down. A gain of a mere 5 pounds can send Noko miles away from happiness in her love life and work place. This single volume story was created by Moyoco Anno, who is well-known name in Japanese women comics. This title is closer in spirit to many US indie comics with its searing look at women with self-image problems. It also has a good chance of with Eisner voters.

MasterKeaton-GN01-3DMaster Keaton Vol 1 is another title from Viz Media. It follows the adventures of half-Japanese, half-English insurance investigator Taichi Hiraga-Keaton. Keaton is a man of many talents. He graduated from Cambridge with a degree in archaeology, joined the British SAS for several years, and now teaches at a Japanese college. He uses his many talents and experience to investigate insurance claims and help people along the way. I loved this volume of Master Keaton, both for the problems Keaton takes on and for the Cold War era feel of the manga. I don’t know how well this title will go over with voters. It’s by Naoki Urasawa, who has been nominated several times and even one once. Either way, it’s got my vote!

One Punch Man 01One Punch Man is the third Viz Media title to be nominated. It is about Saitama, a superhero who is so strong, he can knock out most villains with just a single punch. He trained so hard to hone his skills that he lost all his hair, but now, he is so strong, he can’t find a worthy opponent, and fears he will be doomed to superhero boredom.  This is a digital only title and has a lot of human. It was the start of the superhero boom that Viz seems to have going on right now. This title is rather light and filled with plenty of human, at least at the beginning. Being a more tradition superhero comic Eisner voters may favor it.

Showa 1939-44Showa 1939-1944 A History of Japan and Showa 1944-1953: A History of Japan are two  separate titles in the same series from Drawn and Quarterly. They are an auto biographical and historical account of Japan by creator Shigeru Mizuki. These two volumes cover the Japan of World War II and the subsequent occupation afterward. On a personal level, it shows Mizuki’s struggles with the strict disciple of the Japanese officers on the island of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea and whether or not to return to Japan after the war to follow his dream of becoming a cartoonist despite losing an arm. The first volume in this series was nominated last year, but didn’t win. The story in these two volumes are no doubt more compelling as it deals with the devastation of war and its aftermath. Maybe this year will be its lucky year.

Hosoda_WolfChildren_HC_V1Wolf Children: Ame and Yuki is published by Yen Press and was also on the YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens list. It is based on the animated movie of the same name. Hana is a young woman who falls in love with a man who is part wolf. They start a family with two children, but Hana’s husband is tragically killed, leaving Hana as a single mother to raise her two children who stand on the fine line between man and beast. This is a story that is both heartwarming and melancholy as it shows the exploration of identity and balancing being from multiple cultures. Eisner voters will find a lot to love here.

The winners will be announced Friday, July 10 during the San Diego Comic-Con at a gala ceremony.

PR: Viz Media Manga Gets Eisner Nods

I’ve only read one of the four Viz Media titles that have been nominated for this year’s Eisners, Master Keaton, and to be honest, it’s the one I hope wins. I plan on reading All You Need Is Kill because it was on the YALSA GGNT list, and this just adds another reason. I know a lot of people like One-Punch Man, but the chapters I read of it back in January just didn’t do much for me. But it’s a superhero title, so that might make it more appealing to Eisner voters. The Hello Kitty graphic novels Viz’s Perfect Square imprint have done have been good for early readers, so the tribute Hello 40 is no doubt done just as well. I might have to check that one out too.

Continue reading PR: Viz Media Manga Gets Eisner Nods

Weekly Top Ten – April 25, 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 April 18, 2015

  1. Big Hero Six 1Big Hero Six Vol 1     ↑ 1
  2. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↑ 7
  3. Attack on Titan Vol 15     ↔
  4. Black Butler Vol 1     ↵ 45
  5. Monster Musume Vol 6     ↵ 5
  6. Assassination Classroom Vol 3     ↑ 1
  7. Citrus Vol 2     ∗
  8. One Piece Vol 74     ↓ 7
  9. Naruto Vol 69     ↵ 6
  10. Akame ga Kill Vol 1     ↵ 9

One Piece Vol 74 tumbles down from the top spot, finally giving Big Hero Six Vol 1 the chance its been waiting for to take it. The Attack on Titan volumes huddle as Vol 1 rises back up to #2 while Vol 15 holds steady at #3. A lot of titles return this week as well. Black Butler Vol 1 is a perennial, now having hit the list for 45 weeks total. I think that’s the longest after Attack on Titan vol 1. Monster Musume Vol 6 makes a return as another Seven Seas title, Citrus Vol 2 debuts. The newest Naruto, Vol 69 hasn’t been doing as well as its predecessors, having fallen off last week. It returns this week along with Akame ga Kill Vol 1.

Amazon for the week ending April 25, 2015

  1. LegendOfZelda-LinkToThePast-3DLegend of Zelda A Link to the Past     ↑ 3
  2. Attack on Titan Vol 15     ↓ 1
  3. Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon Novel Vol 1     ↓ 1
  4. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↓ 1
  5. Log Horizon Novel Vol 1     ↑ 1
  6. Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin Vol 9     ∗
  7. Akame ga Kill! Vol 2     ↑ 1
  8. Sword Art Online Progressive Novel Vol 1     ↵
  9. Berserk Vol 1     ↓ 7
  10. Attack on Titan Vol 10     ↵

Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past retakes the top spot as its release date is only a little over a week away. Vertical Comics’ Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin Vol 9 is set to be released this Tuesday and preorders have sent it up into the top ten. Yen Press’ Yen On light novel line continues to do well, as its got three different titles on list. Akame ga Kill Vol 2 continues to do better here as it inches up a spot. I still don’t get the resurgence of Berserk, but Volume 1 took the biggest tumble of 7 spots.

∗ = 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)


Orange Junk Volume 1

When Louise’s wealthy family loses everything, she has to pull herself up by her bootstraps and start over in a new high school – where the smartest boy is the meanest, and the hottest boy is the weirdest. But Louise needs tutoring, so the three become a team…and it’s heaven, hell, and everything in-between.

Orange Junk Volume 1
orangejunk_vol1_ebookcoverBy Heldrad
Publisher: Chromatic Press
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Price: $6.00/eBook – Free to read at Sparkler Monthly
Rating: ★★★★☆

In general, I don’t care for the riches-to-rags stories. I don’t find financial hardship to be funny no matter who is writing it, so I had my doubts about Orange Junk when it was announced as a new addition to Sparkler Monthly. But I have a terrible case of curiosity and decided to check the series out on my lunch break at work. I ended up reading all 7 available chapters over lunch and break. Orange Junk spins an engrossing story filled with appealing characters and a story that balances the humor and drama just right.

The protagonist of Orange Junk is Louise Barton. Her family used to be wealthy, but her father’s company went bankrupt and they lost everything. They move into a regular neighborhood where Louise has to go to the local public high school. It’s like a whole new world for her, but she does adjust and makes friends. Bruce Daniels starts out as Louise’s nemesis. He is quick to anger and is always getting into fights. He also hates rich people, so sees nothing good in her. Andrew Grey is the third member of the trio. He is a new student like Louise. He lost his parents and now lives with his Grandmother who spends a lot of time traveling. He is good-looking and a bit clumsy. The trio become friends when Bruce is forced to tutor Louise in math to keep their teacher Jack from telling his mother about his fighting and Drew lets the use his house when rumors start to fly at school.

I really like all three of these characters. I wasn’t sure I would like Bruce at first. He was so quick to judge and jump to conclusions about Louise. He is hyper-sensitive about his family’s financial situation, while Louise isn’t. She seems to have accepted the change in her lifestyle, though she does hold a bit of a grudge against her father’s partner who was responsible for the family’s downfall. For most of the first volume they spend a lot of time bickering. I loved that Louise called Bruce and hedgehog, and imagined him as a pineapple when his mother described him as tough on the outside but sweet on the inside. They do finally come to an understanding, mostly with the help of Drew. He starts to hang out with Louise and Bruce during their tutoring, and the reason why is not one you would expect. I thought is was a good twist.

The humor is strong emphasized in this first volume, but dramatic elements still get dropped in. The trios’ back story is revealed as well as glimpses into their family lives are shown. Bruce is tricked into revealing his when Louise opens up to him first. All three have very different homes to go to. Bruce’s is lively and happy. Louise’s is still filled with anger and resentment. You can’t see the bonds in Louise’s that you can in Bruce’s. Drew’s family quickly becomes Bruce and Louise since he is essentially alone, but he always has an upbeat attitude and smile.

The art of Orange Junk is charming. It has a shojo feel to it, while having a life of its own. Both Bruce and Drew are good-looking in their own way. Louise is comely, though I like her better with her hair down. I also really like Bruce’s hedgehog spikes. The characters also have their own fashion styles, and I enjoyed seeing them in different outfits.

Orange Junk is a fun series that delighted me, all the more since I wasn’t expecting it to. It has a lot of shojo manga tropes, but handles them in a way that they don’t feel old or tired. I was riveted as I torn through the pages, the story and characters growing on my with every chapter. If you are a fan of shojo manga or just good stories, check this series out.

Become a member and get Sparkler Monthly every month with a $5 monthly subscription, pay for a year at $50 and save $10, or become a VIP for $125 and get back downloads of serialized titles as well as Cherry Bomb adult stories.

This Week’s Manga: April Showers

This Week's Manga

Clay Lord 1 Lots of titles debuting this week. Kodansha starts out with two new titles. Let’s Dance A Waltz is by Natsumi Ando, the mangaka of Kitchen Princess, and the recently ended Arisa. I have yet to read an Ando title, though Kitchen Princess is on my “someday” list, but I’ll definitely give the first volume of this series a try. Your Lie In April was Kodansha’s last announced license of 2014. It’s a music title that has been compared to Nodame Cantabile, which was only partially published by Del Rey back in the day. I’m looking forward to giving this volume a try as well. Seven Seas has two debuts as well. 12 Beast is another monster girl title, and is by the same mangaka as their runaway hit Monster Musume.  I expect this title to do just as well, I just won’t be experiencing it first hand. Clay Lord: Masters of Golems is much more my type. It’s a fantasy with plenty of adventure and competition.

DevilIsAPartTimerV1_Prose_TPYen Press is the serious player this week with four new light novels and 2 new manga debuting. Yen On gets a big push with Devil is a Part-Timer, Kagerou Daze, No Game, No Life, and Log Horizon all debuting their first volumes this week. No Game No Life and Log Horizon has seem a bit of hype from fans, but Devil is a Part-Timer is the one I’m most interested in. I don’t know why but the thought of a demon lord working in fast food just sounds really funny to me. Of the new manga, the title I’m looking forward to the most is of course Puella Magi Tart Magica. This time it’s a magical girl from the past, so I’m looking forward to how the historical setting works. Also out this week is the final volume of Tena on S-String. I never thought this title would ever be finished. Before its return in December, the last volume was released in 2010. That volume finished well enough that it could have been the end, but there is a proper ending now, which I’m looking forward to reading.

Full List per Diamond Distributors

Let’s Dance A Waltz Volume 1 GN, $10.99
Your Lie In April Volume 1 GN, $10.99

12 Beast Volume 1 GN, $12.99
Clay Lord Masters Of Golems Volume 1 GN, $12.99

Witchcraft Works Volume 4 GN, $12.95

Vagabond Volume 37 GN, $9.95

Akame Ga Kill Volume 2 GN, $13.00
Barakamon Volume 4 GN, $15.00
Devil Is Part-Timer Light Novel Volume 1 SC, $14.00
Inu X Boku SS Volume 7 TP, $11.99
Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon Novel Volume 2 SC, $14.00
Kagerou Daze Volume 1 GN, $13.00
Log Horizon The Beginning Of Another World Light Novel Volume 1 SC, $14.00
No Game No Life Light Novel Volume 1 SC, $14.00
Puella Magi Tart Magica The Legend Of Jeanne D’Arc Volume 1 GN, $13.00
So I Can’t Play H Volume 1 GN, $13.00
Spice And Wolf Novel Volume 14 SC, $13.00
Sword Art Online Progressive Volume 2 GN, $13.00
Tena On S-String Volume 7 GN, $30.00

Banned From My App

Viz DigitalI have really grown to like digital manga. Considering the lack of space I currently have, and the difficulty I have in letting things go, being able to stack digital files is a lot easier than physical books. And they’re a lot easier to carry. I can carry several different titles to suit what ever my mood is in just my tablet, and it’s a lot easier to eat and read on a tablet that can stand on its own and doesn’t need one of my hands to hold it open.

The Vizmanga app has been one of these platforms that I’ve been buying my manga on, though reluctantly lately. One of my problems with it is that there is no way to back up the titles I purchase. They can only be downloaded and viewed through the app. This isn’t so much a problem if something happens to my device. I can just download them again on the new one. But what if something happens to Viz and their servers go down? They say everything will still be available and working through the app.

happy marriageWell, that’s not entirely true. Viz’s mature titles are not available to download and read through the app. They can only be read online through a PC/Mac with flash. This is actually very limiting. The whole purpose of digital manga is to be able to read it anytime, anywhere, just like the print, but more conveniently. Limiting the ability to read manga I supposedly own is not convenient. I am more often in an environment where I can’t get online with my device and the available PC is not flash enabled. Yes, I can read something else, but that isn’t really the point. I love digital manga because it’s supposed to give more freedom in what I read and when. Viz banning their own titles from their own app is actually ludicrous to me. If you are going to sell Mature manga on your site that is supposed to be available through your app than make ALL OF IT available. Don’t say “You can read all of these titles you’ve bought anytime, anywhere, but don’t even think about those titles.”

I’ve partially solved this problem by not buying anymore Mature manga through the Vizmanga app or website. I should be able to read any title I’ve bought anytime I want, and should not be limited by whatever hangups a publisher has about their own titles. But this now means I have my digital manga divided up between apps, and even some series. I shouldn’t have to have multiple apps to get titles from the same publisher, but to make digital manga work for me, I just have to, and I really think that’s wrong.

New Select and Starter Bundles for Viz Media in April

Viz’s Select line adds 2 former Tokyopop titles that I’m familiar with, but met with two different ends. Grenadier is a five-volume series I picked up because a friend has seen the anime, and told us about the most intriguing element of the story. The lead, a buxom blond, kept her bullets in said bosom and would reload her gun with some jiggling. Not joking. I picked up Red Hot Chili Samurai because it was a historical detective series. In the end, I gave Grenadier to said friend, and chased down the last two volumes of Red Hot Chili Samurai I could find. Tokyopop published 5 of the 8 volumes, but only four were easily found. I guess I’ll be finishing up the series with Viz.

Continue reading New Select and Starter Bundles for Viz Media in April

Weekly Top Ten – April 18, 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 April 11, 2015.

  1. One Piece 74 One Piece Vol 74     ∗
  2. Big Hero Six Vol 1     ↔
  3. Attack on Titan Vol 15     ↓ 2
  4. Fairy Tail Vol 47     ↑ 2
  5. Soul Eater Vol 25     ↓ 2
  6. Food Wars! Vol 5     ∗
  7. Assassination Classroom Vol 3     ∗
  8. Attack on Titan Before The Fall Vol 4     ↓ 4
  9. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↓ 4
  10. Sword Art Online Fairy Dance Vol 3     ↓ 1

The mighty titans are unseated by a bunch of pirates! One Piece Vol 74 debuts in the top spot this week. Big Hero Six Vol 1 keeps itself at #2 for its third week. While Attack on Titan Vol 15 falls two, it is met by the wizards of Fairy Tail Volume 47 moving up the same amount. Soul Eater‘s final volume, 25, also falls two, but it still has hope of moving back up. The other titan titles Vol 1 and Before The Fall Vol 4 lose some of the sail Vol 15 gave them, but after 93 weeks on the list, I don’t see Vol 1 falling off any time soon or for very long.

Amazon for the week ending April 18, 2015.

  1. Attack on Titan 15Attack on Titan Vol 15     ↔
  2. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls In a Dungeon Novel Vol 1     ↑ 4
  3. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↔
  4. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past     ↔
  5. Berserk Vol 1     ↓ 4
  6. Log Horizon Novel Vol 1     ∗
  7. 12 Beast Vol 1     ∗
  8. Akame ga Kill! Vol 2     ∗
  9. Deadman Wonderland Vol 8     ∗
  10. Sword Art Online Aincrad Novel Vol 2     ↵’s list shows some static volumes, while there is a majority turn over. Both Attack on Titan volumes and Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past hold the ground. Yen Press gets two new volumes up with the first light novel of Log Horizon and the second volume of Akame ga Kill!. Seven Seas introduces their newest cast of monster girls with 12 Beast Vol 1, and Viz Media’s Deadman Wonderland just squeaks by at #9. Berserk‘s odd resurgence continues with only Vol 1 hanging on, but Vols 2-3 still made the top 20.

Viz Digital


Vizmanga for the week of April 6, 2015.

  1. Assassination Classroom 3Assassination Classroom Vol 3
  2. One Piece Vol 74
  3. World Trigger Vol 5
  4. Dengeki Daisy Vol 16
  5. Toriko Vol 27
  6. My Love Story Vol 4
  7. Library Wars Vol 13
  8. Skip Beat! Vol 34
  9. Toriko Vol 1
  10. Toriko Vol 6

Vizmanga makes a rare appearance with a top ten list this week. Assassination Classroom Vol 3 beats out One Piece Vol 74 in the digital realm. Toriko got three volumes on the list, but with three different bundles running, it’s not surprising, though I would have expected Vol 1 to be higher. Dengeki Daisy‘s final volume, 16,  charted respectably, coming in at #4, with fellow shojo titles My Love Story, Library Wars and Skip Beat! not so far behind.



Nielson Bookscan for the month of March 2015.

1. Naruto 69Naruto Vol 69     ∗
5. Attack on Titan Vol 15     ∗
6. Monster Musume Vol 6     ∗
14. Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds Vol 7     ∗
17. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↓ 4

It’s a whole new list, almost, on the Nielson Bookscan for March. The total titles almost double with the latest Naruto takes its place at the top with the next closest title being the newest Attack on Titan coming in at #5. It’s followed closely by the monster girls of Monster Musume. Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds is the strongest Yu-Gi-Oh! titles since the original with volume 7 coming in at #14, and Attack on Titan vol 1 holds on at the bottom of the list after falling four from February.

∗ = 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)

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.


Kodansha at Anime Boston


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.

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