KATE: After several lean weeks, the Midtown Comics list is bursting at the seams with great titles. I have no doubt that at least one of my fellow Battle Robot members will bang the drum for Osamu Tezuka’s Message to Adolf, which Vertical is re-issuing in a splendid, two-volume hardcover edition, so I’ll plug another Vertical title: volume nine of Chi’s Sweet Home. I adored Chi before I became a cat owner last November — c’mon, what’s not to like about cute kitten antics? — but I’ve developed an even deeper appreciation for the series after living with Francesca. Kanata Konami does a great job of showing the pet-owning experience from both the pet and the person’s point of view, never avoiding those moments that test an owner’s patience: barf, shredded toilet paper, pilfered food, accidents. In the last few volumes, Konami’s done a nice job of expanding Chi’s horizons beyond the confines of her apartment, preventing the story from becoming too cutely claustrophobic or repetitive. Best of all, Chi is one of those rare manga that I could hand to just about anyone — a six-year-old, my mom, a grumpy subway commuter — and know that they’d enjoy it.
SEAN: Tempted as I am to go with one of my many light, fluffy comfort manga which will no doubt make me smile more, I have to admit that the pick of the week is going to be Message to Adolf, the new Tezuka release from Vertical. I never did read the first release of this when Viz put it out back in the day, so am looking forward to seeing what late-period, mature Tezuka can be like. The premise alone sounds good – examining the life of three people named Adolf, one of whom you probably know – but the artwork is also more advanced and detailed, and the book’s design is gorgeous. At about 1200 pages total between the two volumes, this tome is a big investment, but I sense that it’s going to be worth it.
MICHELLE: I am completely on board with both Chi’s Sweet Home and Message to Adolf—I was fortunate enough to be able to read the old VIZ editions via inter-library loan a couple years ago—but I would be remiss if I did not voice my squee at a new volume of Yuu Watase’s Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden appearing on this list! It’s been nearly three years since we’ve had a new installment in this series, which finds Watase revisiting the world of Fushigi Yûgi as a more experienced storyteller. I can’t wait to get caught up, and it makes me even happier that volume eleven isn’t too far behind!
MELINDA: After all that, I hardly know what to choose! I’ll be anxiously digging in to all three of my colleagues’ picks as soon as I can get my grubby little hands on them, but with such a bounty shipping in this week, I feel I should take the opportunity to spotlight another title. So in the end, I’ll give my nod to volume eight of Natsume Ono’s House of Five Leaves. I’ve made it a habit to champion this title whenever I have the chance, so why stop now? This series really shows off all of Ono’s greatest strengths—subtle relationships, nuanced characterization, complicated morality, and her lovely, distinctive artwork. Even in the midst of a very hectic week, when I sit down with a new volume of House of Five Leaves, I simply have to savor it, page by page. It’s an enduring favorite.
Readers, what looks good to you this week?