With only one volume of new manga shipping to Midtown Comics, this week’s pick looked bleak. Fortunately, David came to the rescue, by suggesting a new way for us to spend our money. See below!
MICHELLE: The big news in the manga sphere this week was JManga‘s launch on 8/17. I have already spent more money than I’d intended snapping up first volumes of some intriguing-looking series. All look potentially great, but I am perhaps most interested to read Ekiben Hitoritabi, a seinen series from Futabasha in which a train-loving man receives a trip around Japan from his wife on their tenth wedding anniversary. He proceeds to travel around, sampling the bentos available at the various stations. Like Sean mentioned in his recent review of Urameshiya, what I was really looking for out of JManga was a title I’d never heard of before that probably wouldn’t have sold well in a print edition. Ekiben Hitoritabi seems to fit the bill perfectly, and I’m really looking forward to reading it.
SEAN: As has been noted, I’ve already reviewed a manga from Futabasha, Urameshiya. I therefore wanted to highlight something new by another company. Shonen Gahosha has only free previews (in Japanese) of its titles best known here in America – Excel Saga, Hellsing, and Trigun). But it does have Volume 1 in English of a title that has not been released here – Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru, which translates approximately to ‘And Yet The Town Turns’ and is generally referred to as ‘Sore-Machi’. It’s about a maid cafe in a small town, and our plucky hero who tries to deal with events as best she can despite being not a particularly good maid. The manga also got an anime in Japan in late 2010, which might be why it’s available here, and is still running in Young King OURS, Shonen Gahosha’s best known magazine. In amongst all the worthy josei and seinen manga that my colleagues will no doubt be pushing, it’s nice to see a goofy, weird, slice-of-life maid comedy popping up as well to cater to slice-of-life fans and maid otaku (though I suspect this might be a bit too strange for the typical otaku).
MELINDA: With so much to choose from, I hardly know where to start! But I do have my eye on Hyakkiyakoushou, one of the site’s josei series from mangaka Ichiko Ima, previously licensed (but never published) by Aurora Publishing. I’m always a sucker for supernatural manga, and this one has lured me in with its free preview. There’s no new ground here, really, in terms of ghost stories, but it looks genuinely creepy and a little melancholy, both of which tend to appeal to me. It’s award-winning, according to the internet, with expressive artwork and some nice period details. The names of the first three chapters (“The Voice Calling from the Darkness”, “The Sea-Hare” and “Cherry Tree Sparrow”) appeal to my sensibilities as well. Looks like my kind of manga!
DAVID: One of my personal fascinations is fixated on comics that explore the way people work and the way that activity factors into their lives. I love just about any comic that’s set in a workplace in a meaningful way, and I think there are far too few of them. So the first offering to really grab my attention would have to be Anesthesiologist Hana by Nakao Hakua and Kabbei Matsumoto. The title is about as literal as you can expect from manga, offering a realistic depiction of the challenges of a young woman working as an anesthesiologist, an often-under-appreciated medical profession. The manga does not seem to offer a particularly realistic depiction of boobs, but you’re cutting out a lot of seinen if you use that as a limiting factor. I also find myself writing tag lines for the series: “She can put you to sleep, but her adventures will keep your pulse racing!”
Readers, have you checked out JManga? What looks good to you?