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Pick of the Week: April Bounty

After last week’s drought, this week brings riches, with a whole slew of new titles expected in at Midtown Comics. Check out this week’s Picks from the Manga Bookshelf bloggers and special guest Michelle Smith!

MICHELLE: Although it’s a month late appearing on Midtown’s list—it actually came out on March 1st!—my pick this week is the second and final volume of Masami Tsuda’s Eensy Weensy Monster. Over twelve chapters (each covering one month), this charming shoujo series tells the year-long story of the developing relationship between two likable characters. It’s well crafted, employing many of the technical aspects that made Tsuda’s longer and more famous Kare Kano so special, and also super cute. In addition, it’s been nominated for the 2012 list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens so what’s not to like?

MELINDA: There are a number of compelling titles coming in to Midtown Comics this week, particularly new volumes of Demon Sacred and Seiho Boys’ High School, both of which I think have made this list before. But I’m going to throw my vote in for the debut volume of Yu Aikawa’s Butterfly, new this week from TOKYOPOP. This is a quirky little supernatural manga involving an emotionally damaged teen who reluctantly teams up with an elementary school-aged con artist. From my review: “As weird as this series is, it’s also really interesting. The characters are all filled with dark little nooks and crannies they’re struggling to hide from everyone else. It’s just the strangest little story, but I really can’t wait to read more.” Also, it’s got Squeakears. Need I say more?

DAVID: In spite of the fact that it has one of the most unpromising first chapters of any series of recent vintage, I’m going to give my nod to Kazue Kato’s Blue Exorcist from Viz. Kato corrects her shortcomings so quickly that it’s worth picking up just to see her manage that, but it also offers a very promising story and an interesting relationship between its twin protagonists. One brother, Rin, is the chosen heir of Satan, and the other, Yukio, is a prodigy in the field of exorcism. Rin decides he’d rather fight demons than rule them, and Yukio steps up to train Rin (and make sure he doesn’t inadvertently follow in their father’s footsteps). If course-correction spectacle isn’t your cup of tea, you could skip the first chapter entirely and move right on to the good stuff.

KATE: I’m voting for volume four of Demon Sacred, which is shojo manga at its crack-tastic best: who but Natsumi Itsuki could weave demons, dinosaurs, pop idols, unicorns, and handsome scientific geniuses into a storyline that’s as fun to read as that list implies? I’d be the first to admit that Itsuki seems to be making things up as she goes along, but the story unfolds in such a feverish, breathless fashion that it’s hard not to get caught up in it, even when it’s patently ridiculous.

So, readers, what are your Picks this week?

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  1. Although there are many great titles coming in this week from VIZ Media and TOKYOPOP, I am going to throw my vote in for volume 23 of Yoshiki Nakamura’s Skip Beat!. I enjoy reading this series and I am especially happy whenever Ren is in the scene. I would have to say that this is one of the few series where the relationship between the two main characters are developing way too slowly but it is still fun to read. Some might get tired of the long wait as the mangaka is really good in dragging things on and stop things just before they become interesting. Well, patience, patience.

    Other titles I love and anticipate are Rinko Ueda’s Stepping on Roses and Yuki Midorikawa’s Natsume’s Book of Friends.

    • I very nearly picked Skip Beat! myself, but thought volume two of a short series might be more convincing than volume 23 of a long one. I’m with you, though, on finding the series very fun even though the two leads haven’t managed to get together yet. Because it focuses on Kyoko’s continued development as an actress, it still feels as if it’s going somewhere. And I like that romance isn’t obliterating her career focus.


  1. […] Beasi, Kate Dacey, Michelle Smith, and David Welsh discuss their Pick of the Week at Manga […]

  2. […] week’s installment of Bookshelf Briefs covers a number of imminent manga arrivals from Viz. My Pick of the Week is also from Viz, Kazue Kato’s Blue Exorcist, which I reviewed here. And if you’re wondering […]

  3. […] actually really glad that David made a point of repeating, when he named Blue Exorcist his Pick of the Week, that the first chapter is exceptionally weak, because if I hadn’t known that it was going to […]

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