MJ: Though Midtown Comics’ selection is pretty limited this week, I still find myself a bit torn. I’ve been a big fan of Tohru Fujisawa’s GTO: 14 Days in Shonan—much bigger than I’d ever expected, in fact—so that’s certainly a major draw for me. But I think my real vote goes to the second volume of another Vertical title—Shuzo Oshimi’s The Flowers of Evil. The series’ first volume offered up a thoughtful take on some of the awkward realities of teenage sexuality, portrayed with a level of honesty (especially regarding its young, male protagonist) that I really hadn’t anticipated. I was surprised by my own reaction to this series, and I am really looking forward to more.
SEAN: Tempted as I am to ignore Midtown’s list and pick one of the pile of Viz coming out everywhere else this week, I will refrain. Instead, let’s go with Vol. 13 of GTO The Early Years, which doesn’t get as much critical praise as its sequels, but is just as much fun. The first half is an epic high school battle involving what a man has to do. After that we get to see exactly what it’s like to be Onizuka’s mother (answer: not all that fun), and find out what the dangers are of claiming to your gang that you’re so badass you can defeat anyone and anything. And the last two chapters are filthy and hilarious. It may seem retro, but just like GTO, its heart is in the right place.
KATE: I second both of MJ’s recommendations—GTO: 14 Days in Shonan for being much funnier than it has any right to be, and The Flowers of Evil for being more complex and real than Sundome, the manga it most closely resembles. If I had to choose one of the two, Flowers nudges out GTO simply because it’s weirder and less formulaic than 14 Days in Shonan. The ending of volume two is amazing—it gives new meaning to the term “blow-out”—and pushes the plot in a new and unexpected direction.
MICHELLE: I too recommend GTO: 14 Days in Shonan, but since that’s already been touted by my compatriots I will instead mention a title that’s due on August 7th according to Amazon, but which is absent from Midtown’s list, and that’s the debut volume of Lizzie Newton: Victorian Mysteries, a new manhwa coming from Seven Seas. I suppose its plot isn’t too original—headstrong lady is more interested in solving crime than in marrying advantageously—but it still sounds pretty fun to me!
Readers, what looks good to you this week?
[…] The Manga Bookshelf bloggers discuss their picks of the week. […]