It’s a slow but not quite dismal week at Midtown Comics. Check out the Manga Bookshelf bloggers’ picks below!
DAVID: It’s a narrow but interesting selection at Midtown Comics. In one of my experiments in crowd-sourcing, I ended up pre-ordering Kikuko Kihuya’s Entangled Circumstances, which will consequently earn my Pick of the Week status. I admit that I’m shallow enough that part of this was because I really found the cover design to be striking. It’s also about grown-ups with jobs, which makes my heart flutter, though the protagonists also share a past of some degree of awkwardness tracking back to their university days. I’m really just that easy to please, though: make it look nifty, and make your protagonists old enough to drink or sign a lease.
KATE: Them’s some slim pickings at Midtown Comics this week! But if I had to pick something from the list, I’d choose the sixth and final volume of Time and Again (Yen Press). I admit that I found the first few volumes a bumpy ride, as the script abounded in slangy phrases and anachronistic jokes that detracted from the spooky atmosphere. By volume three, however, author JiUn Yun had a better handle on the material, and the series began to evolve into something more interesting: a character study about a troubled young exorcist. The final volume explores the family curse that doomed Baek-On to a life of lonely wandering, allowing us to fully appreciate the origins of his prickly, detached personality. Oh, and that flashback? It’s a heck of a ghost story, too.
MICHELLE: You’re not kidding about the paucity of options on Midtown’s list! Still, like David, I find myself intrigued by the new batch of DMP releases. Entangled Circumstances has the prettiest cover, it’s true, but some of the others fare pretty well, too, like This Night’s Everything, which definitely doesn’t look like your typical BL. It also involves grown up with jobs—apparently a politician and his bodyguard who coldly handles dirty work—and sounds like it has potential to be an interesting story.
SEAN: I am going to rebel against the Midtown list, as they are apparently involved in some giant Kodansha boycott or something, and make my pick the thirtieth volume of Ken Akamatsu’s Negima!, which Diamond will be shipping to all non-Midtown stores this week. The manga has been in its ‘Magical World’ for about 10 volumes now, and things are finally getting to a big action-packed climax, which will take several volumes and is still ongoing as of this writing. This is the start of it, where Negi finds out the truth about his mother’s so-called treachery and the enemy makes their move against his students. Also, I believe this volume is low on fanservice, so it’s a great one to pick up if you dislike that aspect of it.
MJ: Since Kate’s already put the spotlight on what would have been my pick from Midtown, the final volume of JiUn Yun’s Time and Again, I’ll follow Sean’s lead and go rebel against the list by naming volume eleven of Peach Pit’s Shugo Chara! from Kodansha Comics, which by all appearances should be arriving this week, but isn’t. Shugo Chara! is a long-time favorite of mine, thanks to its feisty, deeply-conflicted heroine, her idiosyncratic team of friends, heart-pounding tween-fantasy romance, adorable artwork, and identity-searching themes that resonate more personally with this forty-something reader than they probably should. This is the final volume of the original series, with volume 12 picking up the published chapters of its sequel, Shugo Chara! Encore!, thankfully continued by Kodansha Comics after being pulled from Del Rey Manga. So if you’ve never tried this thoughtful magical-girl series, this is the time to start!
Readers, what looks good to you this week?