SEAN: So, it’s May, and we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Let’s break down what that means, by publisher.
Viz/SuBLime and J-Novel Club have both indicated that their May print books are on schedule. Yen Press has moved a number of books to later months, and has a smaller May schedule that’s all in the last week of the month (the books on the list below are technically April holdovers). Tokyopop and Udon have both indicated that, despite Amazon listings, their May books are ‘TBA’ – I’m going to guess One Peace will fall in here as well, though I can’t confirm that. Dark Horse doesn’t have any May manga titles, and Denpa seems to have moved everything to June as well, though their lack of a release calendar on their site doesn’t help. Vertical moved all its May books to later in the year. Kodansha and Seven Seas have delayed their print releases to TBA (Ghost Ship is an exception), but are still releasing the books digitally on time.
Having done all that, let’s start with a publisher who’s none of the above. Fantagraphics has a box set of both volumes of Dementia 21 out next week. Definitely worth a look if you like creepy stuff.
ASH: True, that! I already have the individual volumes myself, but this is a great set for those who don’t.
MELINDA: I might consider this.
SEAN: Ghost Ship has Vol. 9 of Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs.
J-Novel Club has three print releases for us. An Archdemon’s Dilemma 5, Infinite Dendrogram 6, and JK Haru Is a Sex Worker in Another World: Summer.
On the digital end, we have the 3rd Faraway Paladin manga, The Greatest Magicmaster’s Retirement Plan 5, Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash 14++ (why is it avoiding 15?), Lazy Dungeon Master 10, the 3rd Master of Ragnarok and Blesser of Einherjar manga, and the 2nd Sweet Reincarnation manga.
ASH: Why is it avoiding 15??
SEAN: Kodansha is all digital, but let’s begin with what WOULD have been print, as we have L♥DK 15 and To Your Eternity 12.
ASH: To Your Eternity is such a good series.
SEAN: On the digital digital end, there’s no debut (the ‘debut a new title every week’ thing seems to be over), but we get All-Rounder Meguru 14, A Condition Called Love 3, Orient 2, Smile Down the Runway 9, and To Be Next to You 5.
MICHELLE: There may not be a weekly debut, but they really are getting out their newish shoujo titles super quickly!
SEAN: Seven Seas has a digital-first debut light novel, Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear. The Japanese meaning in the multiple kumas is apparently a tortured pun, but oh well. Kuma is a young VRMMO prodigy who is otherwise a shut-in, and (stop me if you’ve heard this one) is sucked into the game for real! Even worse, her equipment – while powerful – is cutesy bear pajamas. Can she survive in the game with her dignity intact? This seems funny, and at least Kuma seems unlikely to amass a large harem.
Seven Seas also has two “no print yet, but here’s the digital on time” releases: How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift? 3, and Saint Seiya: Saintia Sho 10, and an “early digital light novel” release of Restaurant to Another World 4.
ASH: It definitely has a stong fanservice element, but I’ve largely liked what I’ve read of How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift? so far.
SEAN: And so we move to Viz, which has everything you’d want in a first week of May. The debut is Not Your Idol (Sayonara Miniskirt), and thank God for title changes. It’s a shoujo manga from Ribon, though it also appears on Shonen Jump +, their digital platform. This is about a former idol who was attacked and decided to live as a boy afterwards. Now someone recognizes them. It feels like the sort of manga I tend to call a “potboiler”. We’ll see.
MICHELLE: I will definitely give it a shot!
ANNA: I’m curious about this one.
MELINDA: Cautiously interested.
SEAN: Also coming out from Shojo Beat: Daytime Shooting Star 6, Love Me Love Me Not 2, Shortcake Cake 8, and Snow White with the Red Hair 7.
MICHELLE: I’m reading all of these, though I look forward most to catching up on Shortcake Cake and Snow White with the Red Hair, as I’m a couple volumes behind now.
ANNA: I’m reading all of these too!
MELINDA: I’m so far behind on everything!
SEAN: On the Shonen Jump side, the debut is One Piece: Ace’s Story, the first in a series of light novels focusing on Luffy’s older brother.
There’s also Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba 12, Dr. STONE 11, Haikyu!! 38, Kaguya-sama: Love Is War 14, My Hero Academia SMASH! 4, Samurai 8 2, and Twin Star Exorcists 18.
ANNA: My kids are big Haikyu!! fans. One day I need to get caught up but we have every single volume.
ASH: I’m a bit behind, too, but Haikyu!! is a series I really enjoy.
MELINDA: Half my Twitter feed is obsessed with Haikyu!! but I must really be getting old, because my first reaction is, “Ack, so many volumes.”
SEAN: Lastly, Yen Press had a few April titles that got bumped a week but aren’t affected by the pandemic. We get the 2nd manga volume of The Alchemist Who Survived Now Dreams of a Quiet City Life, Aoharu x Machinegun 17, Éclair Blanche (the 2nd Girls’ Love anthology in that series), Murcielago 14, the 2nd Our Last Crusade manga, and Skull-Faced Bookseller Honda-san 4, which is its final volume.
ASH: Skull-Faced Bookseller Honda-san, it is so good to see you one last time!
MELINDA: I still need to give Skull-Faced a chance.
SEAN: See? Even in a pandemic, there’s still plenty of stuff. What are you reading from home?