This week, Michelle and Sean take a look at several recent releases from Viz Media and Digital Manga Publishing.
Blue Exorcist Vol. 3 | By Kazue Kato | Published by Viz Media-The author here continues to flesh out both the magic world and the hero, as Rin gets a lot of chances to shine here. He’s shown at his best in the first chapter, where a familiar of the late Father Fujimoto has gone insane on learning of his death, and Rin is the only one to realize what Father Fujimoto GENUINELY wanted to have happen if this ever came to pass. (Also, he’s very cunning here, a necessary trait in a Jump hero, even Jump Square.) We’re also reminded, however, that he remains the son of Satan, and has powers that he can’t control – that may not even BE controllable. Luckily, we get a new badass introduced in the form of Shura, who also seems likely to be our fanservice character given that Shiemi is too shy to really fit that bill. Shiemi and Rin do get a ton of Ship Tease, however, especially towards the end where he’s forced to use his powers to save her life. Still quite solid shonen, if not groundbreaking.– Sean Gaffney
Itazura Na Kiss, Vol. 6 | By Kaoru Tada | Published by Digital Manga Publishing – Ordinarily, Itazura Na Kiss leaves me smiling, but this volume, despite the snifftastic first half during which Naoki finally admits his feelings for Kotoko and a whirlwind wedding ensues, is pretty aggravating. Once the newlyweds return from their honeymoon, Naoki announces that he’s going to delay filing the paperwork to make their marriage official because there are “some things [he] still need[s] to think over.” Poor Kotoko is left to flounder for two weeks until he finally deigns to offer an explanation, at which point he admits that he knew she was going to be confused and hurt by his behavior. Ass. Alas, it’s hard to sympathize with Kotoko much, because shortly thereafter she embarks on an excruciating stint as a student teacher, something for which she is supremely ill-suited. It’s very frustrating. I do applaud Tada-sensei for not ending the series when the two leads get married, however. – Michelle Smith
Kamisama Kiss, Vol. 4 | By Julietta Suzuki | Published by Viz Media-This volume expands on the previous one in focusing on Nanami’s growing love for Tomoe. Unfortunately, Tomoe is having none of it, and his reasoning seems a bit too cool to be realistic. This culminates in a scary scene on top of a skyscraper, where Tomoe tries to scare Nanami into dropping her attempts to get his affection, only to have it horribly backfire, almost leading to her death. Now things are even more awkward between them, and things aren’t helped by the arrival of an old foe of Tomoe’s, Ryu-Oh, who captures him and demands the return of his eye, lost hundreds of years ago. While the search for this shows off a particularly dense side of Nanami (gosh, why does she have the eye inside her after that ill girl who’s NOT HER DESCENDANT AT ALL swallowed it?), but also shows her true strength, as she realizes that she’s let her love for Tomoe change the way she acts. “Since when did I become so passive?” Fun romantic stuff, though clearly the romance will be slow going.– Sean Gaffney
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan Vol. 4 | By Hiroshi Shiibashi | Published by Viz Media-The fight at the end of last volume is wrapped up pretty quickly, but that doesn’t mean things are over for our mafia boss and his gang… erm, sorry, clan leader and his yokai. A new group is coming in to challenge his territory and Rikuo (and Nura) is going to have to think fast in order to stay alive. Actually, what impressed me most about this volume is that Rikuo does think fast – he’s quick to action, plans ahead, and is not afraid to ask advice of his subordinates. He impresses me more and more as a good leader. Oh, and he also brings out the giant can of whupass as Nura. As for the rest of the volume, the romantic rivalry between Yuki-Onna and Kana is amusing, but this is a Jump title based on battles, so I don’t expect much two-sided romance at all. Also, the minor villain based on the ‘mad dog’ persona is genuinely unsettling.– Sean Gaffney
Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee, Vol. 6 | By Hiroyuki Asada | Published by Viz Media – It’s been five years since Lag Seeing first met Gauche Seude, the letter carrier who transported him when he was but a lowly parcel. Gauche inspired Lag to become a “letter bee” himself, but once Lag achieves that goal he learns that Gauche has left government service and disappeared. After an unexpected and brief reunion in the fifth volume, Lag spends volume six making mail deliveries while trying to compose a letter that will reach amnesiac Gauche’s heart. This is a little disappointing, even though the deliveries are somewhat niftier than usual, since Gauche is easily the most interesting character in the series and I want to learn more about the anti-government group for which he’s working. Even when on the backburner, however, this development gives the story some direction and something to focus on besides whether Niche, Lag’s childlike companion, is wearing underwear. I approve. – Michelle Smith