MJ: There’s quite a bit manga on its way to Midtown Comics this week, but despite the wide range of tasty-looking titles, making my pick is astonishingly easy. Natsume Ono’s House of Five Leaves is one of my very favorite titles currently running, and a new volume of that trumps nearly anything else the industry could put before me. I love this series’ idiosyncratic artwork, its passive protagonist, its ambiguous morality, and its meandering style. For me, this series is always a must-buy.
KATE: I second MJ’s recommendation; House of Five Leaves is my favorite Natsume Ono manga (it beats out Ristorante Paradiso by a whisker), and I never miss an opportunity to sing its praises. The other series on my mind this week is Alice in the Country of Hearts, which Yen Press rescued from licensing purgatory. I missed out on Alice when Tokyopop was publishing it, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to read it without bankrupting myself or resorting to scans. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this title’s shojolicious riff on Alice in Wonderland, so I go into the new two-in-one editions with high hopes.
MICHELLE: I’ll cast my vote for Yen Press’s license rescue of Alice in the Country of Hearts, which is hitting stores complete in three omnibus editions. Yes, I’ve read it already, but I had to rely on a somewhat dodgy translation for the final volume, so I’m looking forward to checking it out and seeing whether it makes any more sense (hopefully!) when handled by professionals!
SEAN: I know very little about Olympos other than that it’s a josei manga from Ichijinsha, and is apparently about Apollo and Ganymede. It’s always fascinating to see how Japan handles Western mythology, and the art for this series looks absolutely gorgeous. (The author also did Utahime, which DMP has.) It’s also nice to get a manga that’s complete in one, which this is, by virtue of it being an omnibus collecting both Japanese volumes. But I have to say, in a week which already features a lot of high-minded and worthy manga, Olympos simply looks *classy*. Looking forward to it.
BRIGID: Well, you guys grabbed the obvious choices, so let me chime in with a recommendation for a manga that is near the end of its run: Vol. 32 of Kekkaishi. I have only started reading this series, but what I have read I have liked a lot—it’s a shonen battle manga with a lot of personality. It has the usual ingredients—teenage boy with special powers, girl who is a childhood friend—but it also has some nice quirks (the main character longs to be a pastry chef) and the art is clear and easy to follow—even the fight scenes, which often lose me in shonen manga. It’s hard to jump in over 30 volumes into a series, but Viz has started issuing the earlier volumes as 3-in-1 omnibus editions, and the first 27 volumes are also available digitally. It’s a nice alternative if you’re just in the mood for some straight-up shonen manga.
Readers, what looks good to you this week?