It’s another heavy release week at Midtown Comics. Join the Manga Bookshelf gang as they choose their week’s picks with new battle robot limb Sean Gaffney leading the way!
SEAN: My pick of the week is Cross Game Volume 4, which has now reached the halfway mark with this volume. Judging by what few sales numbers we see, Cross Game seems to do ‘OK, not great’. Therefore, we must continue to push it to everyone we know, as it really is a fantastic series, not only making baseball exciting even to non-fans, but also having a completely different mood and flow compared to both the typical shonen plot and the typical shonen lead couple. Plus it’s an omnibus, so you get two here! This will have the Japanese volumes 8 & 9.
MJ: I have a feeling Cross Game could be a popular choice this week, so I’ll take up the cause for one of my favorite shounen series, Jun Mochizuki’s Pandora Hearts. Yen Press releases volume six this week, and while it is probably the goofiest installment in the series so far, it still maintains the beautifully creepy vibe I’ve enjoyed all along. Currently running in Square Enix’s GFantasy, this series brings on the girl-friendly fanservice I’ve come to expect from that magazine, along with healthy portions of supernatural adventure, wry humor, and heart-wrenching human drama. And did I mention that it’s creepy? Throw in some really gorgeous costuming, and you’re pretty much got me hooked.
DAVID: MJ’s intuition is correct, as I’m going to second Sean’s recommendation of the fourth Cross Game collection. In spite of industry contractions, we’re still getting a ton of great new manga, and I would put this series right near the top of the list in terms of quality, inventive storytelling, and overall entertainment value.
KATE: Sean said everything that I would have said in support of Cross Game, so I’m going to recommend volume thirty-nine of Case Closed instead. Don’t be intimated by the sheer number of volumes; readers can jump into Case Closed at almost any point in its run and follow the action without difficulty, as the stories are generally short and self-contained. The latest volume pits kid sleuth Conan Edogawa against a serial arsonist whose likes to leave a small model horse at the scene of his fires. True, the story rehearses some familiar mystery/crime procedural tropes, but the brisk pace, smart-looking artwork, and snappy dialogue prevent the series from devolving into a manga re-hash of the Agatha Christie canon.
MICHELLE: Count me in as another voice in support of Mitsuru Adachi’s Cross Game, but I’m also personally looking forward to revisiting Rumiko Takahashi’s RIN-NE, which is now up to its sixth volume. I don’t love the series as ardently as I do some of Takahashi’s other creations, but I’m feeling in the mood to see what’s happening in the story since I last picked it up in volume four. Plus, with InuYasha wrapping up earlier this year, this is now the only Takahashi series with new releases to look forward to. I would probably continue to follow it just for that reason alone!
Readers, what looks good to you this week?