It’s another strong week for manga shipping into Midtown Comics. Check out our Picks below!
MJ: This is a tough pick for me, with new volumes of both Karakuri Odette and Natsume’s Book of Friends shipping this week. But I’ll put in my vote for volume nine of Shiho Sugiura’s BL-lite fantasy Silver Diamond, out this week from Tokyopop. From my review of volumes 1-4, “There is so much charm to Silver Diamond, I hardly know where to begin … Though characters are what I read stories for, Silver Diamond also benefits from strong world-building and a solid (if not wholly original) fantasy plot … Sugiura’s art is honestly gorgeous, with lovely character designs and just exactly enough detail to be both beautiful and easy to read.” Though I’d consider this series a casual read, sometimes that’s just the read a weary mind most requires. In times like these, Silver Diamond hits the spot.
DAVID: It is a tough week, or it would be if not for my personal curve breaker, Mitsuru Adachi’s Cross Game. The third omnibus, which collects the sixth and seventh volumes of the series, arrives this week, and it’s a treat. There’s a several significant turning points in this installment, all of which are wonderfully handled by Adachi. I’ve reviewed the first and second collections in this series, and I’ll probably review the third, because I will not rest until more people are reading this wonderful series.
KATE: Oh, the dilemma! After several weeks of slim pickings, I hardly know where to start: volume three of Cross Game? volume six of Karakuri Odette? volume six of Natsume’s Book of Friends? But if I had to choose only one title, it would be volume four of Neko Ramen, which is quite possibly the best manga Tokyopop is publishing right now. I know, I know: “cat opens noodle shop” sounds like a one-joke premise, but most of the humor stems from feline hero Taisho’s ill-advised promotions, unappetizing specials, and inability to learn from his mistakes as he tries to expand from humble stand to national chain. Yes, there are jokes about hairballs and scratching posts, and jokes that just aren’t funny, but on the whole, Neko Ramen is a smart comedy that’s edgy but never mean-spirited, poking fun at the absurdity of Taisho’s ideas while honoring his ambition and hustle.
MICHELLE: The plus side to going last this week is that each of you has cleared one possible contender from my list, and I heartily second each of your recommendations. While I am tempted to select the seventh volume of Shinobi Life, a shoujo tale about the romance between a modern girl and a ninja that is way better than one would expect, I think I will be the one to formally select the sixth and final volume of Karakuri Odette as my pick this week. I’ve enjoyed this quirky slice-of-life series a great deal, and even though I was less than enthused by the addition of wife-seeking robot Travis in volume five and am therefore somewhat troubled by Odette’s bridal attire on the cover, I’m still eagerly looking forward to seeing how it all ends.
So readers, what are your Picks this week?