This week, Sean and Michelle take a quick look at recent releases from Viz Media, Digital Manga Publishing, and Vertical, Inc.
Dengeki Daisy, Vol. 14 | By Kyousuke Motomi | Viz Media – Much of the discussion of this volume will likely center around Teru and Kurosaki finally kissing, and it’s just as sweet and adorable as you’d expect. But they can’t really move forward till the main plot is solved, and for all that it’s a romance manga, Dengeki Daisy is intrinsically tied to its thriller plotline driving everything. Be it adding backstory to Akira in order to make the reader better understand him and contrast him with Teru; having the enemy use Teru’s own darker impulses to drive a wedge between her and Kurosaki; or just plain kidnapping her to give us our cliffhanger. Without the thriller, we wouldn’t have this sweet romance. Let’s hope they can work everything out. – Sean Gaffney
Itazura Na Kiss, Vol. 10 | By Kaoru Tada | Digital Manga Publishing – Hooray! A new volume of Itazura Na Kiss! And it’s actually less frustrating than most! Kotoko will probably never stop being incredibly dense and Naoki will probably never stop saying unnecessarily hurtful things, but there are still plenty of good moments for them as a couple nowadays. I especially liked the chapter where he asks to accompany Kotoko and her dad on their annual trip to pay their respects to her mother’s grave. There’s also some fun stuff here with Yuuki and the stupid yet good-hearted girl who loves him. It’s been fun seeing him grow up on the sidelines, and I especially like that although he is very similar to Naoki, he’s still his own person, and is ultimately more free with his emotions. I do have to wonder now: will we see Kotoko become a competent nurse at last before the series is ultimately cut short? I have my doubts… – Michelle Smith
Knights of Sidonia, Vol. 9 | By Tsutomu Nihei | Vertical, Inc. – Say what you will about Sidonia, it’s never dull. The battle scenes are tense and gripping, but that’s not really what I mean. I mean more the bizarre not quite porn between Tanizake and the Hawk Moth *during* the battle. I mean the constant wacky comedy between Tanizake, Tsumugi, and Izana (Tanizake walks in on Izana again, reaching Keitaro Urashima levels here). And I mean acknowledging that Izana’s love for Tanizake is not just a crush – her body is adapting itself to be more like what he’s attracted to (i.e., female). While giving her two cliffhangers in a row seems a little unbalanced, I’m greatly enjoying her development, contrasting itself with Tanizake’s harder-to-read hero. – Sean Gaffney
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Vol. 21 | By Hiroshi Shiibashi | Viz Media – There’s a lot of shonen battle in this volume, but I was trying to focus on the little things. Like seeing Wakana, Rikuo’s mother, put in danger – I’d honestly forgotten she existed, particularly as she looks as young as Rikuo and his friends. Speaking of which, as I said last time, I love seeing that the ‘normal’ high schoolers aren’t getting left out of the final battle, and how they try to find a way to be useful throughout. I also liked that Tsurara, even if she still tends towards constant jealousy, manages to recognize that Rikuo needs Kana in his life, and seeing them bond over his stubbornness. I think the arc after this one will be the last, but I’m ready for it. Let’s see what more yokai madness the author can bring. – Sean Gaffney
Natsume’s Book of Friends, Vol. 16 | By Yuki Midorikawa | Viz Media – And speaking of yokai, after the plot-heavy stuff going on in the previous volume, we take a break here for smaller, quieter stories. Tani deals with a yokai that she gave directions to but hasn’t left her house, and we see the inherent issues with yokai affection for humans. Then Natsume and Tanuma go to an inn and deal with a piece of Tanuma’s past and a mystery. Through both of these stories, we get echoes of one of the main threads of this series: whether the worlds of yokai and humans can ever come together, and if they do, will it be a bad thing on both sides? Even the angst seems pretty light in this one, making it a good choice for those who enjoy Natsume, his friends, and an earned peace. – Sean Gaffney