SEAN: Given I have the least surprising pick of the week, I guess I will go first. This is probably the last chance for me to urge you all to give Higurashi: When They Cry a try. Umineko has more depth, but also is a lot more depressing and filled with broken suffering people. Higurashi also has those people, but the entire story is about the power of friendship and learning to trust each other and managing to work past your issues and deal with your past without letting it rule you… or, in the case of Miyo Takano, letting it rule you after all. It’s been quite a ride. Let’s see how it ends.
ASH: I’m not sure if my pick will be surprising or not, but I’m going to go with the final volume of Bunny Drop. I loved the early series, and there are some great things about the later part, too, but it’s been a long time since a manga has been able to make me so incredibly angry. It wasn’t so much the direction that the story turned that upset me as it was how Unita handled it. I felt cheated. And yet I’m intensely curious about this volume of short stories.
MICHELLE: I have mixed feelings about how Bunny Drop turned out, certainly, but volume ten is still the only thing coming out this week that appeals to me, so I guess it’s my pick by default.
MJ: My pick may indeed be surprising, but I’m leaning overwhelmingly toward the first volume of the light novel series Sword Art Online. I do not watch much anime, but my husband introduced me to the anime adaptation of this series (available on Crunchyroll, for those who might be interested), and I absolutely loved it—particularly the first arc, “Aincrad,” which is the subject of this novel. Though the series’ second arc features more “damsel in distress” than I would like, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to re-experience my favorite storyline in its original format. I’m so glad to see this being published in English!