It’s a banner week for manga arrivals at Midtown Comics. See below for recommendations from the Manga Bookshelf bloggers and special guest Michelle Smith!
MICHELLE: There’s a lot of good stuff hitting Midtown Comics this week, including new volumes of several of my Shojo Beat favorites. But I simply must award my pick of the week to the 23rd and final volume of Hikaru no Go. I have loved this series for a long time—I read the first volume in June 2004, and that was after I’d seen the anime—and the fact that it’s finally ending is pretty bittersweet. I’ll miss following much-beloved characters as they, in the grand tradition of sports manga, try their best to get stronger, but at the same time, it’s hard to feel too bummed out knowing that I’ll now have the luxury of binging on the entire series at once. Not only is Hikaru no Go a keeper, it’s a treasure.
MJ: Well, wow, it’s incredibly tempting to second Michelle’s choice. I have a deep, deep love for Hikaru no Go, something you’ll all be hearing more about as the week goes on. In the interest of diversity, however, I’ll take up the torch for Usamaru Furuya’s Lychee Light Club, a highly-anticipated new title from Vertical, featuring a secret society of middle-school boys who are developing a lychee-fueled “thinking machine.” Billed by Vertical as “Lord of the Flies for our new century,” the book is reportedly dark and pretty graphic in terms of sexuality and gore. It’s also reportedly awesome. Given Vertical’s recent track record with me, I say, “sign me up!”
DAVID: It’s certainly an embarrassment of riches this week, and I certainly second both Michelle and MJ’s choices, and there are new volumes of some utterly winning shôjo series (Kimi ni Todoke and The Story of Saiunkoku leap to mind), but I’m going to cast my vote for the Kekkaishi 3-in-1 Edition by Yellow Tanabe. I’ve read some of this series and enjoyed it a great deal, and I’ve always meant to go start it from the beginning at some point, so I’m very pleased to have an easy and inexpensive entry point. Any book that Kate describes as “The Best Manga You’re Not Reading” is worth some serious attention, I think.
KATE: I’ve always been puzzled that Kekkaishi wasn’t a bigger hit here in the US, as it has so many things going for it: great characters, cool-looking monsters, and artfully choreographed fight scenes that are exciting and unpredictable. With the series coming to an end in Japan, VIZ seems to be re-doubling its efforts to make Kekkaishi a success, promoting the anime through its website and re-issuing the series in a wallet-friendly omnibus edition. I’d strongly encourage InuYasha fans to give it a try, as I think they’ll find a lot of positive similarities between the two series, from the authors’ imaginative use of folklore to the authors’ penchant for feisty, smart female characters who pull their own weight in battles.
Readers, what are your Picks this week?