It’s a Viz-heavy week at Midtown Comics. Check out picks from the Battle Robot below!
KATE: It’s time for the semi-monthly VIZ dump, which means new volumes of such long-running titles as Naruto and One Piece, as well as a random assortment of shojo and shonen series. My pick is the fourth volume of Oresama Teacher, a juvie-gone-straight comedy from the creator of Magic Touch. The fact that the same person is responsible for both series is nothing short of mind-blowing; I found Magic Touch tepid, tedious, and entirely too wholesome for its own good. Oresama, on the other hand, is fun and silly, with a great, feisty lead character and just enough edges that an old curmudgeon like me can enjoy it without needing an insulin injection.
MICHELLE: I actually thought the 58th volume of One Piece was coming out in October, so with Midtown’s list providing evidence to the contrary, how could I do otherwise than name this my pick of the week? It’s pretty special to be this excited about the 58th volume of a series, but mangaka Eiichiro Oda continues to do new and interesting things with the world and characters he’s created. In the current arc, for example, the simmering tensions between pirates and navy have finally come to a head in the form of an epic battle in the midst of which Luffy, and his kickass drag queen allies, strive to rescue his brother, Ace. Yes, I miss the other Straw Hats, but this is definitely going to be a volume I start reading immediately after coming into possession of it.
SEAN: First of all, I enjoyed The Magic Touch quite a bit, so neener neener neener. (Sorry, I had to respond, it’s contractual). For my pick of the week I will pick a final volume, the last of the josei experiment from our friends at Shojo Beat, Butterflies, Flowers. I have been back and forth about this title its entire run, generally depending on how much backbone its heroine is showing at the time. However, unlike some other shoujo series with bad reputations, Choko does show SOME backbone – when she puts her foot down it can be awesome. And the hero is of an over the top type we really haven’t seen over here – Tamaki from Ouran might match him for foolishness but is far too much of a gentleman to ever go as far into the gutter as Masayuki does throughout. Best of all, even if it’s offensive and wrong at times, it at least KNOWS it’s a comedy – which is more than one can say for Ai Ore half the time. I’ll miss it, and hope Viz tries more Josei Beat soon.
MJ: My choice is pretty surprising, or at least it is to me, but after reading the 36th volume of Bleach due out this week, I found myself more interested in the series than I have been for a long time. A long jump back in time might not be the most original storytelling convention ever, but it turns the focus away from battles and back to characterization, which is where I love Tite Kubo best. I don’t know for sure how long this backstory arc will last, but I’m grateful for it while it’s here. It’s nice to feel excited about reading Bleach again.
DAVID: I’m rather surprised to see myself type this, as I’m still on the fence about the series, but I’m going to go with the fourth volume of Kaori Yuki’s Grand Guignol Orchestra. My reaction to each volume so far has been mixed, but Yuki keeps bringing enough eye-popping weirdness and energy to the proceedings to keep me on the hook, even if consistency isn’t her watchword. Our band of zombie-fighting musicians has really put their collective feet in it as this volume begins, forcing Yuki to pay attention to her overarching plot. In my admittedly limited experience, her likelihood of success in this endeavor is about 50%, but I know there will at least be some freaky, “What the hell was that?” diversions.
Readers, what looks good to you this week?