ASH: Well, as Sean put it, I hope you like manga! Seems like there is a ton of guilty pleasures and other great manga being released this week. But even though there are plenty of titles that I’m interested in reading, my heart belongs to the most recent volume of Takako Shimura’s Wandering Son. It’s such a beautifully written and drawn series and I love the deluxe treatment that Fantagraphics has given it. Wandering Son is an incredibly important series to me personally; I’m still thrilled that it’s being released in English at all.
MICHELLE: I’m so behind on Wandering Son that I feel like a hypocrite picking it, so instead I’m going to pick a shoujo favorite: Natsume’s Book of Friends, now in its 15th volume. This series doesn’t come out too frequently, as we’re almost caught up to Japan, so each new installment is like a treasured gift. The series is warm and lovely, but not without its dramatic moments. I recommend it most highly!
SEAN: And I too will go with a shoujo favorite, as I pick the 18th volume of Kimi ni Todoke. Seeing the character development of the five other main leads (yes, yes, even Kento, though I admit it grudgingly) has been excellent, but seeing Sawako’s growth has been positively sublime. Every new volume of this series always gets devoured the day I get it, and this one will be no exception.
ANNA: I’m going to have to go with DMP’s Takasugi-san’s Obento. Food manga is one of those underrepresented genres for translation, so I always feel compelled to highlight it. This slice of life story centered around bento is sure to entertain anyone who enjoys the demonstration of care that goes into a well-designed lunch.
MJ: To bring this column full-circle, I’m going to go back to Ash’s pick, because it’s mine too. Though I’m thoroughly enjoying a number of the series whose latest volumes are being released this week, including Strobe Edge, Midnight Secretary, and the shoujo favorites mentioned by my colleagues, nothing comes close to my feelings for Shimura’s Wandering Son. Not only is it lovingly translated and produced, but I find it very personally gratifying—perhaps differently than Ash does, but with similar strength. This series made my list of best continuing series in 2012, and you can count on it appearing in 2013’s list as well.
What looks good to you this week?
In case you missed it, check out our Pick of the Year – 2013!