In case some of the people who are reading this happen to be superhero fans of the DC/Marvel persuasion, there is a series you should consider as your stepping stone into the world of Japanese manga. It’s called Berserk, and its 35th volume hits our shelves this week. People who are already addicted to this epic, Heavy Metal-esque fantasy story are probably going to snatch this bad boy up as fast as possible, but there will hopefully be a few rogue volumes left in their wake for curious newbies to peck at.
Berserk is a manga by Kentaro Miura, and focuses on an orphaned mercenary named Guts, who has a prosthetic arm that conceals a number of epic weapons, epic strength, and a lot of social issues. He’s often accompanied by fellow mercenary, Casca, the only female mercenary in the Band of the Hawk; led by the charismatic Griffith who has deemed himself destined for greatness. In the first story arc, the traditional European setting decomposes into cannibalistic horror when Griffith decides he is going to sacrifice the entire band in the name of a bleak ceremony. Then, when Guts becomes something of an outlaw (he rebels against Griffith for his betrayal), he begins to hunt those who had murdered the Band of the Hawk. Crazy, ridiculous, and violently over-the-top battles follow Guts wherever he goes as he uncovers more of Griffith’s dark plans; which he attempts to foil. Think Conan the Barbarian on steroids: this stuff is out of control action and gore like you’ve never seen!
Another fun manga that is coming out this week is Volume 2 of A Certain Scientific Railgun. It’s a spinoff from a light novel series called A Certain Magical Index, which you may or may not have already heard of. It’s got a great style and a lot of fun action. The story focuses on a number of special agents-in-training to become espers. The main character is Mikoto Misaka, a high-level electromaster, and it follows her and her friends during the periods before and during the events of A Certain Magical Index. However you don’t need to have read the original to be able to appreciate Railgun on its own, so don’t be afraid to pick it up, even if you’ve never tried Magical Index.
And if you like magic, don’t forget the new Negima book that comes out this week, as well as Arisa and perhaps even the first volume of My Boyfriend is a Vampire, which is certainly milking the supernatural craze, but perhaps could be a fun ride nonetheless.