SEAN: Many interesting releases this week, but I have to go with an old favorite. Sailor Moon has hit its 5th volume, which in this 12-volume re-release means we get to the end of the ‘R’ arc here. The manga may lack some of the characterization highs of the anime – the other four senshi in particular suffer in this volume as the focus is on other characters – but its action, coherence and occasional emotional brutality – Chibi-Usa’s transformation into Sailor Chibi Moon ends up being heartbreaking – are top-notch. And Pluto actually gets a lot more characterization here than in the anime, being far more than just a stoic ‘guardian’ of time. Any fan of manga should be getting this.
KATE: Since I’ve plugged InuYasha more times than I can count, I’m going off-list to highlight an awesome graphic novel that’s arriving in stores on Wednesday: Princeless. This Eisner-nominated kids’ comic is funny, edgy, and utterly feminist in its outlook — even though it stars a princess who’s imprisoned in a tower. That princess, sixteen-year-old Adrienne, is a blast of fresh air: she dismisses fairy tales as “full of plot holes,” and dispatches would-be suitors with withering assessments of their intelligence. When she finds a sword stashed under her bed, she enlists the help of a dragon to escape. (And that’s just in the first few pages!) Like the best kids’ comics, the script works equally well for kids and adults, offering a good mixture of teachable moments and laugh-out-loud scenes.
MICHELLE: I’m with Sean on this one. Somehow, I never did get around to watching the ‘R’ arc of the anime, so I’ve been enjoying getting a better handle on that storyline, since I’m actually able to read it in English now! I’ve definitely been enjoying Pluto, too, but I’ve got to say… what really makes me happy is that the conclusion of the ‘R’ arc means the start of the ‘S’ arc is just around the corner, and ‘S’ introduces some of the most beloved characters in the series. MJ, I hope you find a way to keep up with this series, because I dearly want to know what you think of what’s coming next!
BRIGID: OK, I’ll be different and go with Starry Sky. I know, I know, it’s based on a game, but the idea of an astronomy student reminiscing about her old school friends—who are somehow tied into a four-seasons theme—seems like a good choice for a lazy day. I’m not expecting to be blown away by this, but I think I’ll enjoy reading it more than a late volume of a series I haven’t been following. (Actually, Sailor Moon was my first choice too but I didn’t want to just go with the crowd.)
MJ: Like Brigid, while Sailor Moon is probably my first choice this week, I’ll seize the opportunity to talk about something different, though I may sorely regret it. Back September of 2010, I read the first volume of Hinako Takanaga’s The Tyrant Falls in Love and kinda hated it. Several months later, I read the second volume and kinda loved it. Though I haven’t yet gone any further in, I’m seriously considering picking up the rest of the series, including volume six, which was released this week. Which will be it? Love or hate? Your guess is as good as mine, but I think I may risk it.
Readers, what looks good to you this week?
Disclosure: MJ is currently under contract with Digital Manga Publishing’s Digital Manga Guild, as necessitated for her ongoing report Inside the DMG. Any compensation earned by MJin her role as an editor with the DMG will be donated to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.