MICHELLE: There’s a lot of good stuff on Midtown’s list this week, including new volumes of a few favorites like Slam Dunk and Dawn of the Arcana, but I must avail myself of the once-yearly chance to award my pick to Kaze Hikaru, now in its 20th volume. While I’m sad that this series doesn’t come out more frequently, I’m exceedingly grateful that it hasn’t been outright cancelled, because it’s quite an affecting read. The cross-dressing element of the story—a young woman has disguised herself as a warrior in order to fight alongside the Shinsengumi—doesn’t do much for me, but I love that very sad and complicated things can and do happen, which makes me keen to see just how closely mangaka Taeko Watanabe will follow history. Highly recommended.
SEAN: Lotsa good stuff this time around, but my obvious pick is for a series I’ll see for the last time. I’ve loved Bamboo Blade since it began, a sports manga that shows jaded girls, flaky girls, ambitious girls, and quite frankly dangerously insane girls, all of whom can throw off all that baggage and become awesome with the power of kendo in order to reach the top. For most of the series the top has been our heroine, Tamaki. And now she’s finally discovering that she still has something to reach for, and that kendo is not just about making her more sociable. I can’t wait to see the end, and will miss the series dearly when I do get to it.
KATE: Long-time readers of my blog know I’m a shameless promoter of Kaze Hikaru. And InuYasha. And Kekkaishi. So I’m going to deviate from my well-established pattern of promoting my favorite titles and recommend volume twenty-three of Slam Dunk. One of the things I like best about this series is the way Takehiko Inoue balances intense game play with slapstick humor. Hard-core sports fans will appreciate the skill with which Inoue renders the pick-and-roll and free throw, while ordinary otaku can can appreciate the goofy, anything-for-a-laugh moments that punctuate the practices, scrimmages, and games.
MJ: There really is a lot to choose from this week, but the title that most catches my eye is one I haven’t thought about in a while. I became an immediate fan when I read the first volume of Nabari no Ou back in 2009, but I let it fall off my radar a bit after the first few volumes. Then last week, I read this review of volume ten by Kate O’Neil at the Fandom Post, and it became suddenly clear that I needed to catch up. So this week’s must-buy for me is volume eleven of Nabari no Ou. I really look forward to digging in to this series again, especially now that I have a few volumes ready to marathon all at once. I’ll be sure to report back!
Readers, what looks good to you this week?