It’s all shoujo, sunjeong, and BL this round, as the Manga Bookshelf bloggers make their Picks of the week!
From Melinda: My choice this week is probably pretty obvious, considering how much love I’ve already heaped onto SangEun Lee’s supernatural romance, 13th Boy. This quirky manhwa is easily one of my favorite currently-running teen series, made up of drama, humor, and outright weirdness in pretty much equal parts. Check out my thoughts on the last volume here. “… one thing I consistently enjoy about this series is how deftly Lee combines drama and cracktastic humor so that neither ever dominates the story … served up together with a helping of true whimsy, every piece of this meal is utterly delectable.” Yen Press ships out the series’ sixth volume this week, which looks to be packed with extra talking-cactus goodness–truly the way to my romance-loving heart.
From David: As a gay man who’s extremely picky about yaoi and boys’-love titles, I generally like to do advanced research before I commit to a title. I haven’t done full due diligence on Riyu Yamakami’s Then Comes Love (Digital Manga), but it does sound promising. Okay, so my ears perked up when I saw the word “outs” in the product description. Any time there’s the possibility that sexual identity matters even a little, I feel compelled to at least investigate a book further. So while I can’t promise I’ll pick up Then Comes Love, I’m curious to hear from people who may be familiar with the title, which sounds to me that it’s about people with lives and stuff.
From Kate: Do I have to pick just one? Because I’m torn between two Yen Press titles: the final volume of Dragon Girl, and <the sixth volume of 13th Boy. Dragon Girl is dumb as hammers, trotting out every cliche from the shojo manga handbook: secret siblings, omnipotent school councils, aloof guys that only the heroine can reach. I couldn’t hate it, though, because it’s fundamentally good-natured and just a little weird: how many stories can you name in which the heroine’s father is a handsome, globe-trotting ethnobotanist who wears an earring and a leather vest *and* used to lead the pep squad? (Come to think of it, I’d read a manga about Rinna’s dad. *Ahem.*)
I feel the same way about 13th Boy: on many levels, it’s the kind of story I normally loathe, as it features a bossy girl who single-mindedly pursues an unavailable boy. What won me over was the lively supporting cast, a cast that includes a walking, talking cactus who wears a do-rag, adores his owner, and occasionally transforms into a handsome teen. Beatrice (yes, I know: Beatrice?) may have started out as a comic-relief character, but he’s evolved into 13th Boy‘s most sympathetic figure, a lovelorn young man who’s willing to make big sacrifices for the chance to tell his owner how he feels. I don’t know about you, but Beatrice’s dilemma is making me wonder what, exactly, the spider plant in my kitchen is thinking.
So, readers, what are your picks this week?