SEAN: What we have feared for so long has finally come upon us. Viz’s first week has combined with Yen’s monthly shipments. But that’s OK. We can get through this if we just stay together. (I can’t actually confirm Yen’s stuff via Diamond just yet, but it’s definitely coming into Midtown.) So let’s get going.
First, a brief stop off with Dark Horse, where the Shinji Ikari Raising Project has reached Vol. 12. I don’t follow most of the Evangelion AUs, but this is supposed to be one of the fluffier ones. Given that, if you like Evangelion but hate that everyone keeps getting killed (sorry to spoil that 17-year-old anime for you), this may be a winner!
MICHELLE: I’m pretty surprised that series has gotten up to twelve volumes without me noticing! I guess that shows how far under my radar it is.
SEAN: And now (oh dear) for Viz. Let’s start off with Arata the Legend 12, Yuu Watase’s stab at shonen that hasn’t quite won as many readers as Fushigi Yuugi, but has quite a cult following.
ANNA: I’ve been following this, but slowly. I still haven’t quite forgiven Arata for not being Fushigi Yuugi, but Watase is such a pro I find myself enjoying this shonen fantasy series. I have a couple volumes of Arata on my “to read” stack.
MICHELLE: I really like Arata!
SEAN: Bakuman finished in Japan, so there’s no reason not to have the American release GO GO GO to catch up. Here’s Vol. 17.
Black Bird has reached 15 volumes, and its cover still has that same look, thankfully with less actual blood than the last time I read it. But hey, Shojo Beat readers adore it.
ANNA: I read the first couple volumes and then later volumes somewhat sporadically, but this is one of those shojo series that I just can’t seem to connect with.
MICHELLE: Yeah, I gave up long ago.
MJ: I’ve hated this series for so long, my relationship with it seems somehow… intimate. And isn’t that just sad?
SEAN: Two more Bleach volumes, still strangely Aizen-less. Poor Ichigo’s lost his powers! Who can help? Why Rukia can… unless she’s distracted by adorable plush toys. But hey, what are the chances of that happening?
D.Gray-Man 23 tells us about a group of demons called Noah. Right! What’s a Gray-man? And why is it D? Did they have three Gray-men before it? (Look, I’ve gotten into the bad habit of trying to be funny with these. Bear with it, it’ll be over soon.)
Dawn of the Arcana 7 is out, another in a series of shoujo manga from Viz I’ve gotten behind on, so I’ll let my colleagues try to be funny here.
ANNA: I didn’t realize I’d gotten so far behind on this series either! This fantasy series has a slow but rewarding pace, and a refreshing heroine. I see myself stocking up on Dawn of the Arcana for some quality vacation reading next month.
MICHELLE: I’m behind too, but somewhat on purpose so I can have a small stack to marathon next time I feel like catching up on it. (Sorry, can’t think of anything funny!)
SEAN: Oh boy, another Mayu Shinjo series! I am feeling equal parts eagerness and trepidation, given her past record. Demon Love Spell seems to be made up of shrine maiden, sexy demon, lots of seduction. I suspect I will both enjoy and be repelled by it.
ANNA: I am very much looking forward to this series. After not being quite sure what to make of Ai Ore, I have come to the conclusion that it is entirely satirical, and the second series settles down a bit into being a shojo comedy. Still, I enjoy Mayu Shinjo series when she brings the crack, as found in all the bondage, forced drug addiction, bondage, kidnapping and sex in unusual places that she treated readers to in Sensual Phrase. If this series is more like Sensual Phrase than Ai Ore, I can see myself enjoying this very much.
MICHELLE: I was actually reading the back cover blurb of Demon Love Spell to a friend on the phone last night, and snickering unkindly that the wholly original name for the shrine maiden is…. Miko. While I’d like to believe Ai Ore is satire, I still pretty much hated volume seven, so that doesn’t leave me too eager for this new series, though I will still probably check it out.
MJ: I don’t know what to think of this. I really dislike Ai Ore!, but I’ve never read Sensual Phrase, so I suppose there’s still hope?
SEAN: Devil and Her Love Song 6 is a Shojo Beat series that I am keeping up with, and it hasn’t lost its spark yet. Here’s hoping we get a bit less angst and a bit more bite this time, though.
ANNA: I enjoy this series every time I pick up a volume, but it isn’t the type of series that I see myself rereading very much in the future. I’m glad though that Shojo Beat is releasing such a good variety of manga under their imprint currently.
SEAN: The Earl and The Fairy light novel series is 29 volumes and counting, but its manga equivalent finishes here with Vol. 4. Given I think that Vol. 2 was a perfectly serviceable ending, I’m not sure what to think. But hey, I liked 2 better than 1, maybe I’ll like 4 better than 3.
Natsume’s Book of Friends has rapidly become one of my can’t miss titles, and seeing it’s hit Vol. 13 fills me with happiness. (And yes, there won’t be enough Taki in it. There’s never enough of my OT3. Ah well.)
MICHELLE: I too am rejoicing over volume 13 of Natsume.
SEAN: I can’t remember the last time Viz wasn’t putting out a Tanemura series, and this is definitely not one of those times. Vol. 9 of Sakura Hime is due out next week.
Slam Dunk has reached a quarter century of volumes! I think this means it only has a few more to go, in fact. Perhaps when it finishes we can see Kuroko no Basket?
ANNA: SLAM DUNK RULES! I have no other comment than that.
MICHELLE: I can get behind Anna’s sentiments 110%! But yes, after this one there are only six volumes left. And I’d love to see Kuroko no Basket released here. Now that Cross Game has finished, are there any other sports manga coming out here now? I can’t think of any off the top of my head…
SEAN: There’s Cross Manage, which runs in Shonen Jump Alpha.
Toriko 13 has our heroes realizing that it’s time to GET STRONGER! Oh dear, a training arc? Not quite. Getting stronger in Toriko means BETTER KNIVES. Food preparation is still serious business.
As for Vol. 2 of Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal, when did this series start to sound like it was written in On Beyond Zebra? Did I miss Yu-Gi-Oh Yuzz?
Now then, Yen. I bet you thought “What would it be like if I had even more Alice in the Country of Hearts spinoffs? Can my heart even take another harem route?” Now’s your change to find out, as My Fanatic Rabbit is the March Hare route, sitting nicely next to your Cheshire Cat volumes.
ANNA: I’m taking a bit of a wait and see attitude towards the Alice In the Country of Hearts spinoffs. I did enjoy the original series very much, but I wasn’t a big fan of the first Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat volume. I’m going to rely on the opinions of other reviewers before I contemplate picking this up.
MICHELLE: Cheshire Cat was actually loads better than Bloody Twins, even though it wasn’t great. Still, I am kind of fond of the March Hare, so I might like Fanatic Rabbit. We shall see!
SEAN: I first saw Blood Lad a while ago and remarked that it would no doubt be licensed as it had Vampires in it. And here I am, proven right again. The burden of being me can be overwhelming sometimes.
MICHELLE: Hee hee.
SEAN: Given I now share this list with my fellow Manga Bookshelf peeps, I can’t just skip over manwha like I used to. So, Chocolat Vol. 8. Anyone?
MICHELLE: Chocolat is a manhwa series by the creators of Very! Very! Sweet, originally licensed here by Ice Kunion. Yen took over with the fourth volume and and released through volume seven by the end of 2008. Then the series languished for four years, even though it wrapped up in Korea. But now we’re finally getting the ending! Though it’s labelled as volume eight, Yen’s site notes that it’s actually a 512-page omnibus containing the final three volumes of the series. I’m sure this is making a lot of people happy! I hope the final volume of Comic is next!
MJ: YES! YES! YES! I’ve have been anxiously waiting for this series to continue! I’ve really missed all of those Ice Kunion licenses, and Yen has nearly reached the end of them, without much hope for more of the same as far as I can see. I’m grateful for one more taste.
SEAN: Another in the series that I seem to like a lot more than most everyone else online (though it sells, unlike my usual obsessions), Higurashi When They Cry. Vol. 20 is the middle of the Massacre arc, containing Vols. 3-4 from Japan, and features everyone in the entire world trying to make child services see reason. Also, I finally get to stop pretending I don’t know who the real villain is, as they’re revealed here.
Maximum Ride: The Manga is still by James Patterson, even after 6 volumes.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya continues to be the dullest of the 3 Haruhi manga currently running, but it’s trying its best! Currently documenting the events of the 7th novel.
Why are so many series hitting Vol. 13 these days? Here’s Pandora Hearts.
MJ: Always happy to see more of this series. Yes, indeed.
SEAN: Madoka Magica’s manga may not quite have the impact of the anime it’s based on, but it still manages to shock. Vol. 3 is the final volume of the main series (be prepared for spinoffs and AUs).
The Raiders have finally found the Blood of Christ, but are stopped by Jeanne D’Arc. This description of Raiders Vol. 9 is almost enough to make me try to go back and pick up the rest.
MICHELLE: I’ve read most of Raiders, and while it often doesn’t make complete sense, there’s something about it that keeps me returning to see what’s going to happen next.
SEAN: Lastly, there’s the Collector’s Edition GN of Twilight, which everyone except Midtown seems to have had for a month now.
So, any stocking stuffers?