Sean and Michelle look at recent releases from Viz Media and Vertical, Inc.
Cage of Eden, Vol. 15 | By Yoshinobu Yamada | Kodansha Comics – Romance is not really one of the main reasons to read Cage of Eden, but it’s been clear from the beginning that Akira and Rion love each other, and the start of this volume reinforces that, with both admitting they’re being strong for the other (though not admitting that out loud, of course). Elsewhere, it’s becoming apparent that the cast have not ended up in the past, mostly due to finding modern machinery that suggests that everything on this island was created by man. Yes, it’s a vast international conspiracy. Not that this matters to Ohmori, who ends up being crucified and set on fire to serve as a cliffhanger. Cage of Eden is still fun, pulpy trash, and I still like it a lot. – Sean Gaffney
Chi’s Sweet Home, Vol. 11 | By Konami Kanata | Vertical, Inc. – One thing I generally do not expect to be whilst reading Chi’s Sweet Home is stressed. Chi’s adorable kitten antics typically have the opposite effect! In this volume, however, we see her future with the Yamada family genuinely in peril. Throughout the series, Chi has had flickers of memory of her mother and siblings, and in the last panel of this volume, she finally comes face to face with the former, who has never stopped looking for her. On top of this, there’s a “lost” poster bearing Chi’s face, and Mr. Yamada has a job prospect that would require the family to move to France. Will Chi be able to stay with Yohei, or will she return to her original home? I am more upset about this cliffhanger than I care to admit. – Michelle Smith
Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 12 | By Hiro Arikawa and Kiiro Yumi | Viz Media – After last volume’s exhausting action-filled heroics, I was expecting a step back, and I’m mostly right, though there is some action here as they try to protect an author who may be kidnapped by the government to stop him writing. Instead, we get romantic progression, mildly on the Dojo and Iku front (they’re cute together, but forward motion is as slow as you’d expect), but quite a lot on the Tezuka and Shibasaki front, as she starts to take a more active role and tries to stop Tezuka’s brother from more emotional damage. And if stopping this involves kissing him, well, SO BE IT. This is still one of my favorite shoujo series from Viz, and has really come into its own. – Sean Gaffney
Phantom Thief Jeanne, Vol. 4 | By Arina Tanemura | Viz Media – After the big reveal at the end of volume three, which I shan’t spoil, volume four opens with a bit of backstory and explanation that nicely turns the whole magical girl concept of this series on its end. Happily, or perhaps not, Jeanne’s saintly status is restored when a thoroughly random trip back in time culminates with the original Jeanne d’Arc transferring her powers directly to Maron, who returns to the present reinvigorated. It’s really feeling like we’re heading into a final arc, even though there haven’t been many hints as to what shape that will take. But first, there are romantic confessions to agonize over and to gently reject, and then another big reveal at the end. Occasionally far too silly for me, Phantom Thief Jeanne is nonetheless a good read and probably the best Tanemua series in existance. – Michelle Smith
Skip Beat!, Vol. 33 | By Yoshiki Nakamura | Viz Media – I know some people are getting tired of seeing Cain and Setsuka, but those people are not me, particularly when it leads to scenes as sexy as the one we get at the start of this volume. Indeed, the tension between Rena and Kyoko, their burgeoning feelings for each other – which for Kyoko is an issue, since love for her is also a trigger for emotional trauma – and the desire to bury themselves in their roles to escape themselves are all present here. There’s also comedy, mostly in Kyoko’s OTT reactions in her head to what Setsuka is doing, but also having to deal with a Cain fangirl, and facing up to jealousy. The fact that Kyoko admitting she’s in love may be a tragic event is part of what makes Skip Beat! still so interesting. – Sean Gaffney
The Wallflower, Vol. 33 | By Tomoko Hayakawa | Kodansha Comics – You would think, given how often the series has dealt with them, that yet another chapter about Noi and Takenaga having a fight would just tread the same water as before. But this is more about how friends in a peer group interact with other friends, as the outgoing Noi finds more fun at the amusement park with Ranmaru and Kyohei, and Takenaga has to deal with jealousy as well as needing to ‘look cool’ despite his introverted qualities. The rest of the volume isn’t so hot, though I was amused at the chapter featuring a Tim Burton lookalike coming to Japan and trying to utilize Kyohei and Sunako in his new film (spoiler: it’s a disaster). This series desperately needs to end, but I still enjoy its zombie progression. – Sean Gaffney