Mecha and Shinigami and Yaoi, Oh My!

This week’s manga selection is a great stroll through the various genres that are near and dear to the otaku’s heart. From the super awesome second Black Collector’s Edition of Death Note (which collects volumes 3 and 4) to volume 4 of Ichiroh, you can bet your Pocky that there’s a lot of variety to choose from this week.

A personal favorite that’s popping out this week after about a million years of nothing is the final Eureka SeveN novel. Though the novel version of this amazing and underrated series differs slightly from the anime, it still has the same heart and feel. For those of you who aren’t in the loop, Eureka SeveN is the cool, pop-culture shocked story of a future where the earth is dying, and people (and mechs!) can “lift”, or surf through the sky. Protagonist Renton Thurston is bored to tears of his life and dreams of being a lifter with his idols, the crew of the Gecko State. His fantasy comes true when an odd girl named Eureka crash lands in his yard in a mech called the Nirvash typeZERO and brings him on board the Gecko, of which she is a member, after Renton and his grandfather help her out of a big pickle. Of course, upon joining the Gecko, things aren’t quite as Renton envisions, and before he knows it, he and the rest of the crew are caught up in a war between the military and the very earth itself. The series offers some really touching themes about love, peace and harmony both with one’s self and the universe. Characters beyond just the young and naive Renton and Eureka grow and change as the story progresses, deftly balancing romance, mecha awesomeness and transcendent philosophy into one lovely mixture.

Of course, another book worth doing a little dance over is the newest Soul Eater. Volume 5 continues one of the coolest shonen manga series to come out in a while with an attack from Medusa during the DWMA founding anniversary party. She’s out to awaken the original kishin, Asura, who sleeps beneath the DWMA headquarters, and iit’s on Maka and company to make sure it doesn’t happen! Soul Eater is definitely Bleach’s cooler sibling with its deft mixture of action and lighthearted fun. It has the same urban feel and Shinigami theme to be sure, but Soul Eater’s plot point of weapons that take the shape of humans is a pretty cool one, offering a new kind of dynamic for characters and their relationships with one another.

Also, there are a good number of yaoi titles to titillate your darker side. In particular, another Kizuna omnibus, in which we see the progressing relationship between Enjouji and stoic Ranmaru. Enjouji fell hard and fast for Ranmaru, and despite being seemingly offput by such affections, Ranmaru soon begins to have a change of heart towards Enjouji as their awkward friendship begins to shift into something more. But then, upon the death of his mother, Enjouji discovers that his estranged father was actually a big yakuza boss and Ranmaru is injured in a hit-and-run accident, ruining his future as a kendo star. These are plot elements that help add some wonderful emotional conflict and depth to what might have otherwise been an ordinary slice-of-life story. If you are a yaoi fan, this is definitely one series you better have in your collection!

Though, honestly, you should probably have everything in your collection. You know, for nerd street cred. What up!?

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