The arrivals list at Midtown Comics overflows with manga, making this week’s Pick a tough one for all. Take a look below to see what made the cut!
MICHELLE: It’s a bountiful week at Midtown Comics, with many Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat offerings from VIZ making their way onto the shelves. There’s an awful lot on this list that I am personally planning to buy, and singling out just one is pretty tough. New volumes of One Piece and Slam Dunk are serious contenders, but in the end, the fifth volume of Bakuman。 walks away with the honors. I’ve been catching up on the series this weekend, and it’s just utterly charming. The behind-the-scenes glimpses into manga production at Shueisha are fascinating, Mashiro and Takagi are finally achieving some success, and an interesting crop of friendly rivals has developed, including the endearingly weird Eiji Nizuma, who has been waiting for Mashiro and Takagi to come challenge him. Now, gee, what other Shonen Jump manga illustrated by Takeshi Obata does that remind me of?
MJ: We’re offered a wealth of choices this week, indeed. New volumes of Black Jack, Claymore, and Rasetsu call out to me in particular, but if I could only buy one volume of manga from this list, I’d have to choose the 25th installment of Fullmetal Alchemist. I doubt anybody needs me to go on and on again about why I love this series, but just in case you’ve missed it somehow, feel free to browse this tag. And for those who’ve never gotten around to starting this admittedly long series, now is the perfect time to start, with the first of Viz’s new 3-in-1 editions arriving in stores this week as well. If you’ve only watched the anime series, you don’t know what you’re missing. Time to pick up a volume and find out!
DAVID: Viz really could learn to pace itself. I’m quite eager to read the third volume of Kamisama Kiss and curious to see which way the pendulum will swing on Grand Guignol Orchestra, not to mention the previously mentioned books, but I’m going to have to cast my vote for the 14th volume of Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack from Vertical. Much as I love Tezuka’s crazed gekiga stories, I have such a weakness for this series and its totally reliable, often absurd servings of genre fiction. I have high hopes that this volume will offer a nice side dish of creepy, creepy Pinoko.
KATE: Tempted as I am by the second volume of Blue Exorcist, I’m also going old-school with my pick and choosing the fourteenth volume of Black Jack as this week’s must-buy manga. I’d be the first to admit that the series can be repetitive, especially when read in large chunks. But if you ration yourself to just one or two stories at a time, it’s easier to appreciate Tezuka’s storytelling gift; he manages to fit a whole volume’s worth of drama into twenty pages without sacrificing clarity or emotional intensity. The hero’s dark, brooding personality is another plus; Black Jack may share Dr. Gregory House’s ability to diagnose a rare illness from looking at a character’s fingernails or smelling his breath, but Jack isn’t nearly as smug and insufferable as his TV counterpart. I’m not sure how Tezuka will ever top the story in which Black Jack operates on himself in the Australian outback while fending off wild dingoes, but I’m happy to keep reading until Tezuka does.
Readers, what looks good to you this week?