SEAN: After a very, very busy first two weeks of November, you’d think the manga industry would let us off easy before Thanksgiving, but no. There’s an awful lot to bite into this week.
First of all, Midtown seems to have caught up with Diamond Comics. If you’re looking for the 2nd week Viz releases or the Seven Seas titles, we discussed them last week.
That still leaves a lot. Starting, as ever, with Dark Horse, who are bringing out the first of their Trigun Maximum volumes. While I always tended to prefer the anime adaptation of this story, I do still have a soft spot for Vash and company, and if you haven’t tried the title out yet, you might want to. Meryl and Milly are a stitch!
MICHELLE: I never have been able to muster much enthusiasm for Trigun, even though I have vaguely good feelings towards it.
SEAN: Digital Manga Publishing has one BL titles and two non. Starting with the BL, we first have Honey Smile, a title from Nihon Bungeisha’s Karen Magazine. Aside from appealing to women named Karen, the premise sounds quite sweet, and the cover only adds to that impression.
MJ: It’s so rare that I like the cover for a BL manga (even when I end up liking the manga), but for once this actually does look like My Kind of BL, right from the start. I’ll definitely be looking out for this.
MICHELLE: Oh, that *is* pretty adorable-looking!
SEAN: I had thought that Lovephobia, Vol. 2 of which is out next week, fell into the BL category as well, mostly as it runs in the hideously named Comic B’s Log KYUN!. But it’s apparently a regular old shoujo title that features vampires. As you know, Congressional Act Pub-L 111-369 decrees that all vampire manga must be licensed for North American audiences, so here we are. Do they sparkle?
MJ: Hmmm, I’m torn between my love for the words “old shoujo” and my increasing weariness with vampires. Which feeling will win?
MICHELLE: I keep mentally conflating Lovephobia with Toko Kawai’s Loveholic, so I’ve been thinking of it as BL as well.
SEAN: I’m not used to seeing DMP dipping its toes into the waters of Media Factory’s Comic Alive, which is usually the purview of our friends at Seven Seas. Here they are, though, with Vol. 1 of Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat. It apparently features a perverted protagonist *and* a tsundere, but we’ll give it a shot anyway.
MJ: This sounds like it could either be awesome or horrible, and I’ll probably wait for someone else to read it first. I’m looking at you, Sean.
MICHELLE: Ugh. Not for me.
SEAN: 3 titles next week (well, this week, but it’s Kodansha, we know the deal) from Kodansha Comics. Animal Land has hit Vol. 6. For some reasons, I always assume this title is geared towards little kids in Japan, but it runs in Monthly Shonen Magazine, also home to Flowers of Evil and Attack on Titan, so I could be wrong. Are there at least animals? In a land?
MJ: There are, but I couldn’t even make it through the first volume, so that’s about all I can tell you.
MICHELLE: I made it through the first one, but never did continue. It’s got tons of poop jokes, so you’re probably right about its intended audience.
SEAN: Love Hina’s omnibus re-release hits Vol. 4, and introduces two of its most controversial plot points. a) Kanako Urashima, Keitaro’s younger sister, and b) Keitaro’s leave-of-absence from the series, and subsequent return with a personality transplant. Still, it has a new translation, and probably better scans, so Love Hina fans (like me) will get it anyway.
Miles Edgeworth: Ace Attorney Investigations hits Vol. 3, and sadly still lacks most of the cast of the games themselves, being content only with Dick Gumshoe. Still, even though Edgeworth is not as silly as Phoenix, he surrounds himself with silly suspects.
Apologies to BL fans: when porting over Viz’s 2nd week releases last week, I missed the two SubLime BL titles. So here they are. Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love has Vol. 2, with a cute feminine little guy trying to attract the grumpy, chain-smoking big manly guy. (I really need to come up with better ways to describe BL.) As for the cover of Vol. 2 of Starting with a Kiss… do necks even BEND like that? Oh my God!
MJ: I admit I’ve been pretty wishy-washy on SuBLime releases in general. I love what they are doing and how they’re doing it (Viz has proven they really get digital distribution, including how it works best for particular audiences—in this case, BL fans), but for the most part, their licenses are simply not to my taste. I am not the BL fan they are publishing for, and titles like Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love really drive that point home. Given the response I’ve seen from BL fans at Manga Bookshelf (and elsewhere), I’m pretty sure they’re making strong choices for the larger fanbase, but I just really don’t care for these titles.
MICHELLE: I have genuinely liked at least one (The Bed of My Dear King) and was unexpectedly intrigued by another (Punch Up!), but on the whole I must agree. I prefer a kinder, gentler sort of BL. And egads, that Starting with a Kiss cover is creepy!
SEAN: Viz also has a few 3rd week releases. Bokurano: Ours has hit Vol. 7, and is still doing what Bokurano does quite nicely. Its uplifting and life-affirming message requires the reader to sit through piles and piles of trauma, and thus I’ve given it a miss.
MJ: Oooh, I bet Michelle has a response to this!
MICHELLE: There’s no denying Bokurano is grim, grim, grim, and that one doesn’t get to learn much about the cast of kids until it’s their turn to pilot the robot and subsequently die. But it’s the mystery of why this is all happening that keeps me fascinated.
SEAN: REAL is still ongoing in Japan, albeit at a very slow rate, and now North America gets Vol. 11. This volume actually promises to feature Nomiya, the delinquent protagonist who got most of the beginning of the series before the focus moved away from him. Still a good story well-told, as you’d expect from Inoue.
MJ: Hurray! Seriously, that’s the only possible response to a new volume of REAL.
MICHELLE: I disagree. I think “Huzzah!” works equally well!
SEAN: And Saturn Apartments, one of the quieter SigIKKI titles, has hit Vol. 6. I think 7 is the last, so it must be getting close to wrapping things up.
MJ: Wow, I’m behind in this series. I need to remedy that, pronto.
MICHELLE: Me, too. I really like it, but I’ve fallen behind by several volumes now.
SEAN: There’s a new omnibus out for CLAMP’s classic shoujo series X, containing Vols. 10-12, and more preparation for the complete and total apocalypse that we still haven’t actually quite seen yet. Still, the preparation is absolutely gorgeous.
MJ: Despite my lukewarm feelings for this series, these omnibus releases are a must-buy. If there’s one thing I really do love about X, it’s the gorgeous, shoujo-tastic artwork, and these volumes show that off to its best advantage.
MICHELLE: I still have yet to read beyond volume one of this series, despite owning it in its entirety and having the first two omnibus editions. I’ve seen the anime, though.
SEAN: Lastly, I had wondered why Diamond didn’t ship it this week with the rest of Yen’s titles, but no matter: The long awaited Thermae Romae Vol. 1 (a two-volume omnibus) is out next week in glorious hardcover. Far more than just a take of Roman baths, this series is another reason why North Americans keep wanting more and more from Comic Beam (also home to Emma and Wandering Son).
MJ: I can’t wait to read this!
MICHELLE: Me, neither! Coming soon to an Off the Shelf near you!
SEAN: It’s Thanksgiving Week for The U.S.! What titles are you thankful for?