By Shannon H
Death and pestilence kept me from the Weekly Planet last week, and it would figure that on such an occasion, the robot manga gods of Japan delivered a book I’ve been clawing after for no less than half a year. That book would be Dark Horse’s new printing of the first Magic Knight Rayearth story arc, another CLAMP title that had been abandoned by lame-o Tokyopop, forgotten and left to rot in the archives of our memories for almost eight years now. I had nearly lost my mind when I first found out that Dark Horse seemed to be on this CLAMP kick, but the Magic Knight book kept falling behind schedule, and it was making me a very sad panda. It’s definitely one of my favourite CLAMP titles, not only because it was the first one I ever read, or because it changed the way I looked at comics in general, but because it’s just so damn awesome as well! Continue reading
Manga Explosion 2011 seems to have calmed down a little, at least for the time being. Still, there is a decent offering of things to choose from this week if you’re looking for something new to read, such as new Oh! My Goddess, Sergeant Frog, .hack/sign GU, or Negima Neo. Frankly, most of them seem to be the tail end of TokyoPop’s pre-slated releases, so be sure to whip out a hankie and shed a tear for horrible business models as that ship finally sets sail and heads out into the waning sunset. Done? Yeah, me too.
Maybe the death of TokyoPop is serving as a lesson to other publishers, but as of late, it seems as though they’re adopting a “less is more” sort of attitude. Less books, sure, but at least they’re bothering to make sure that what comes into print over here is worth reading. This week is a shining example, with a slew of powerhouse titles such as Biomega 6, Gantz 17, Gente 3, all of which will surely end up proudly in your manga collection. And that’s just the primer! Be sure to also snag new volumes of Bride of the Water God, Jormungand, and Kurozakuro while you’re at it. Continue reading
By Mat K.
The long drought is over. And hopefully the beginning of February will prove as fruitful in manga releases as the end of January, but we have quite a few bits of awesome in this week regardless. After the last 3 weeks of single digit releases, this time we’ve got a couple dozen showing up.
The first major “want” this week is the series premier of High School Of The Dead written by Daisuke Sato, and drawn by Shouji Sato. I know people have been catching wind of it online and bugging out over not being able to fulfill their needs via American publishers, mostly I know because the otakus have been raining down on me. In case you’re unfamiliar with the series it has hot girls and zombies in high school. A mysterious illness is spreading rapidly through the halls of Fujimi High School. In a matter of hours the campus is transformed from a place of learning into a hive of nightmares as the infected students collapse and are reborn as flesh-hungry zombies. Only a handful of students escape the initial outbreak, but how long can Takashi and the other students hope to survive when the whole school, and maybe the whole town, is out for their blood?
Next up on the list of awesome, (and believe me I struggled internally about which to write up first), is Black Butler Volume 4. Honestly, the popularity and speed in which the manga are selling are rivaling the initial Death Note obsession, though I think mostly with the female population. In book 4 Ciel, Sebastian, and Lau investigate a case where British citizens returning from India are attacked, stripped, and hung upside down outside Indian pubs in London. They are helped by the Indian Prince Soma and his butler Agni who are searching for Soma’s servant Meena. Although Agni is human, he is on par with Sebastian’s fighting skills. Their quest will take them into the home of Lord West and pit them against the villain in a curry contest. Continue reading
By Mat K.
So, there’s not actually any kind of special TokyoPop event going on, so much as its just a major release week for them, and kudos to them for that. After last week’s minimal title list, we have at least 20 new books coming in this time, which is quite a nice little selection to choose from, and pretty average considering it’s the last week of the year. That’s right, the next time I write to you guys it will be 2011. I’m also not saying every book this week is TokyoPop, but I’m always so proud of them when they print more than 2 books. Okay, so Dark Horse is dropping the Oh My Goddess! Volume 16 reprint edition this week, and Udon is reprinting the Street Fighter and Street Fighter 2 Ultimate edition TPs, which are gorgeous, full-color, oversized, $60 collections of the comics, and totally worth it. Also, Street Fighter Gaiden Volume 2 shows up (which was amazingly quick after the first volume).
Now, on to the party. There are a couple series that Tokyopop is premiering this week, and first on the block is AiON (aka Hekikai No AiON) by Yuna Kagesaki who is notorious for Chibi Vampire (aka Karin). In Kagesaki’s new series Tatsuya Tsugawa loses his wealthy parents in the middle of high school. Trying to fulfill his father’s dying wish of his becoming an upstanding man, Tatsuya attempts to save a gril from obsessive bullies only to be consumed with intrigue and slight obsession himself. But eventually his good will and earnest efforts lead him into a twisted fantasy world infested with mermaids and mind-controlling parasites. And those channel 11 kids think they have it tough in high school. Continue reading
By Mat K.
Welcome otaku boys and girls, and I’m dry on article titles for now. Moving forward, this week isn’t very tremendous in terms of quantity of new books coming out, despite it being the first week of December, but there are definitely some desired or at least intriguing books coming in. I’ll start with some small mentions. TokyoPop puts out Lagoon Engine Volume 7 this week, a record 3 years after volume 6, (that’s right, six came out in 2007 folks), but I ranted enough about that last week. They also put out NG Life volume 7. From the Del Rey side of things, they’re continuing their omnibus editions playing catch up with their titles with Papillon Volume 5 and 6 together, and Psycho Busters volumes 6 and 7 together. I still think these are pretty neat, except you lose the art for the covers of the inside volumes. Also, Inukami Omnibus and Inubaka Crazy For Dogs volume 17 show up this week, and we are listing them as new because even though they were supposed to arrive a couple weeks ago, due to mix ups they did not, but are here now.
Now for some big ones. The sweet new premier this week is Osamu Tezuka’s Ayako, coming to us from Vertical Publishing. Ayako defies the conventions of Tezuka’s previous mangas by utilizing a completely original cast and relying solely on historical drama to drive the plot. Set in the aftermath of World War II, Ayako focuses its attention on the Tenge clan, a once powerful family of landowners living in a rural community in northern Japan. The war and American occupation have begun to erode the fabric that binds them all together. And when the family seems to have completely fallen apart, they decide to turn their collective rage on what they believe to be the source of their troubles, the newest member of the Tenge family, the youngest sister Ayako. Continue reading
By Mat K.
Hello boys and girls. Yes, this week is finally Halloween. If you have kept track over the last few years, it’s one of may favorite holidays. And fortunately for the anime crowds, its the one day a year you probably wont be laughed at for cosplaying in the middle of the street. Now conventions are acceptable enough, even I am guilty of having done it once or twice, but things like the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, not so much. I don’t care if they sell bento boxes and have places to play Go, you’re scaring the normal people who go to enjoy the cherry blossoms. Last time I went to a Sakura Matsuri, I swear there was a fight between a gang of old ladies and Bleach Cosplayers. But again, I digress. ITS FRICKIN’ HALLOWEEN! So don your awesomest costume and let there be merry making. I want to see your amazing costume making skills, so come to the manga section this weekend, I’m sure we’ll have some candy or something to throw to you.
So, as for the manga coming out this week, lets start with the new stuff. Up first on the block is Summoner Girl by Hiroshi Kubota coming to us from Tokyopop. In this one, a young summoner named Hibiki wants to become the world’s most powerful summoner. In order to do so, she must travel to Earth and collect a set of powerful jewels. But along the way, she meets a strange young man, Sanjo, and discovers that she has a rival in her pursuit. Only one can be the Ultimate Summoner. What’s not to love about a magical girl series. She definitely kind of looks like Sakura, though obviously not Clamp. Continue reading
By Mat K.
Why is it so busy? Good question, but not really the point. The delicious fact is that after last week’s short release list, this week is chock full of books for you to pick up. So lets start off with the premier titles, at least the interesting looking ones. Oh, one quick mention DARK HORSE IS REPRINTING CARDCAPTOR SAKURA. That’s right, in an omnibus edition just like they did with Clover, and Chobits. Dark Horse knows good Clamp when they see it. But I digress into my childhood. Moving on. This week we’re not just getting one, but two Haruhi Suzumiya books. The first one is The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya Volume 7, the direct continuation of the main series. And the second is Melancholy Of Suzumiya Haruhi-Chan Voulme 1. “What’s the difference?” you might ask? It’s the SOS Brigade like you’ve never seen them before! Witness the untold adventures of Haruhi Suzumiya’s quest to uncover aliens, time travelers, and espers in this cute, four-panel comedy.
Next on the list is March Story written by Hyung Min Kim and illustrated by Kyung Il Yang. Among the quiet villages and towns of 18th century Europe, demons known as the Ill hide within the most beautiful works of art, sparked to life by the torment of their creators. Attracted by their jewel-like allure, the unwary find themselves possessed by the Ill and driven to horrific acts of violence. Only the hunters of the Ciste Vihad can dispel the Ill. I have to admit, the art in this one is really nice looking. Almost looks like Godchild meets D Gray Man. Definitely potential for a fun read. Yay demons, art, and violence! Continue reading
By Mat K.
Before we jump into the review, here’s what’s what with this week. There are a good handful of manga coming in this week, but that is all. I know the last couple weeks were a little bit spoiling what with the dozens of titles released at a time. I’ll mention a couple things real quick, Gantz Volume 13 (yay for Gantz being on the fast track these days), and the new Cross Game Volume 1 by Mitsuru Adachi. The series centers around a boy named Ko, the family of four sisters who live down the street and the game of baseball. This poignant coming-of-age story will change your perception of what shonen manga can be. Or it could just be a mis-labeled shojo series about baseball. But really that’s for you to read and figure out. It does look cute. Anyway, other than that there’s Inu Yasha, Case Closed (finally), Kekkaishi, Lucky Star, Yakitate Japan, and some Dean Koontz book turned into a manga.
No really, that’s pretty much it. Maybe just one or two other things. So now it’s time for a book review, since I have run out of things to say about this week’s releases. So let’s talk about Deadman Wonderland written by Jinsei Kataoka and drawn by Kazuma Kondou. If you’re an avid reader of this little article series, you might remember when I introduced the first volume some months ago, well, now we’re on to the third volume and the real mysteries are just getting under way. For those of you who missed out and have no idea what I’m talking about: Ten years have passed since the Great Tokyo Earthquake, and the people’s memories of the disaster have faded. Ganta Igarashi, a middle school evacuee, has finally begun to live a normal life…That is, until the day “Red Man” appears at his school and Ganta’s fate is changed forever. His entire class is brutally murdered, and although innocent of the crime, Ganta is sentenced to death and sent to the bizarre prison known as “Deadman Wonderland.” An insane and brutal game of prison survival begins! Continue reading
By Mat K.
Okay, some good news this week for all of the squealing fan girls out there. As you might already know, we got the Hetalia Axis Powers anime in stock a couple weeks ago. Now you will be super thrilled to learn that now the manga is here. The book by Himaruya Hidekaz and brought to us by TokyoPop finally makes its debut in the states. This is one of those titles that you people have been begging me for way before they had plans to release them. I’m taking a second to remind people that just because it exists in Japan already, and you are watching or reading it online, does NOT mean that it is available in English (or for that matter, caught up with what you’ve been seeing in Japan). Seriously. But I digress.
Back to Hetalia. These hilarious 4-panel comic strips in which the world’s powers take on ridiculous stereotypes have finally made their English-language debut! During World War 1, gruff Germany finds Italy hiding in a wooden box of tomatoes. Germany takes Italy as prisoner, but instead of war-like interrogation, Italy becomes more of the nuisance and unwanted guest. World War I quickly comes to an end, but World War II is right on its heels! This time, Italy tries his best to become friends with Germany. They soon befriend Japan, and the three of them form the Axis Powers. Meanwhile, America, who loves heroism and hamburgers, tries to form a treaty, as Great Britain reminisces about when America was his loving child! World War Two was never this funny! Continue reading