SEAN: It’s rare for me to recommend a manga purely on the basis of OH MY GOD IT’S SO ADORABLE, if only because there are so many other moe titles that ply on that trait that I dislike. Puyo’s alternate universe take on the 4th Haruhi Suzumiya novel, however, The Disappearance of Nagato-Yuki-chan is an exception. The artwork may not be perfect, especially at the start, but otherwise this is basically Haruhi reimagined as a cute romantic comedy starring Kyon and Yuki. (Don’t worry, Haruhi won’t stay away for long). Funny in a cute way, angsty in a cute way, and romantic in a very cute way, this is for everyone who thought that Haruhi’s story would be great if only everyone was simply nice to each other. And wait till you see Ryoko Asakura. (Of course, non-Haruhi fans likely won’t get the same value, but…)
KATE: Midtown Comics isn’t listing Sakuran among this week’s new arrivals, but the book’s official street date is July 17th, so Sakuran is my pick. I’ve always been torn about Moyocco Anno’s work: though I love her stylish art, I wasn’t crazy about the gender politics of Happy Mania and Flowers and Bees. Sakuran, however, made into an Anno convert. Not only is it beautifully illustrated, it’s told with humor, grit, and surprising sensitivity, given the subject matter. The story also boasts one of the fiercest, most complicated heroines in recent memory; Kiyoha isn’t someone I’d like to emulate (or even spend time with), but I came to admire her tenacity and survival skills.
MICHELLE: There are other worthy entries on this list, but I only have eyes for 13th Boy. As was my rationale with Ouran High School Host Club a few weeks ago, it’s impossible for me not to pick the final volume of a beloved series when it’s my last opportunity to do so. 13th Boy is easily one of the strongest, most interesting and surprising manhwa series to be released in America; if you’re at all curious about comics from Korea, you owe it to yourself to check it out.
MJ: Well, I’m with both Kate and Michelle this week. But since I’ll get another crack at Sakuran whenever it does show up on Midtown’s list, this week I’ll side with the final volume of 13th Boy. For some perspective on this pick, I think by now you all know how much I love the beautiful coats and shirtsleeves in Pandora Hearts (another of this week’s bounty), and just how much sway that holds with me… and I’m still picking 13th Boy. Make of that what you will.
Readers, what looks good to you this week?