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Pick of the Week: Saiunkoku, GTO, Skip Beat!

KATE: It’s VIZ dump week, in which a large and random assortment of VIZ titles arrive at Midtown Comics. Although there are several great titles to choose from—Skip Beat!, Slam Dunk, A Devil and Her Love Song—my vote goes to volume eight of The Story of Saiunkoku. The volume is worth it just for the scene of Minister Ko’s unmasking, but there’s plenty more going on as well: sexual discrimination, clan intrigue, and romance. (Remember the emperor? He factors into the story in a more prominent way in this volume.) Frustratingly tidy as Saiunkoku can be, it’s still fun to read; I’m irresistibly reminded of Yentl and Mulan every time I sit down with a new volume.

MELINDA: While the VIZ dump certainly has a lot to offer, I admit I’m leaning in Vertical’s direction. Arrivals this week at Midtown include my pick from last week, Paradise Kiss, but also the fifth volume of GTO: 14 Days in Shonan, one of my least expected current favorites. Though nothing about the premise suggests that this series would be something I’d fall in love with, the fact is, I have, and I can’t help looking forward to each new volume. It’s definitely a GTO week for me!

SEAN: I also went with ParaKiss last week, so I’ll dip into the Viz Blitz this week and pick Vol. 29 of Skip Beat!. First of all, that cover is pure Barbara Cartland, even if no actual hot hot seduction will be happening within the actual pages. What we’ll get instead, I suspect, is more acting angst, more of Ren brooding, Kyoko freaking out about something at least once, and hopefully a shot or two of humor. At 29 volumes and counting, this is one of the longest shoujo series to be published over here, and I’ glad that it still seems to sell well. Mostly as Kyoko is simply fun to read about.

MICHELLE: I think I am going to have to go with Skip Beat!, too. It’s a special series that still makes me go, “Oh, yay! New Skip Beat!” even when we’re talking about volume 29. I could probably love this series at volume 79, actually. It’s that good, and the characters that endearing.

Readers, what looks good to you this week?

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