SEAN: Sometimes the images we feature with this post work out perfectly. And sometimes we have weeks like this. Where the images I want to use are all in a row next to one another. Sigh. By the way, my shop’s getting in Yen early, so WE ARE AS WELL!
Kodansha has the final volume of their Kitchen Princess omnibus. If you hadn’t picked this up earlier, it’s now available in 4 handy volumes! And there are recipes!
MICHELLE: I regret to say that I still haven’t managed to read Kitchen Princess, despite owning the original edition in its entirety. I wonder how it compares to Arisa… is it less ridiculous?
MJ: This is one of those series I planned to catch up with in omnibus form, but have yet to pick up. Someone want to tell me how foolish I’ve been?
ANNA: Kitchen Princess is cute and sweet and a little bit weird. I need to finish the series too.
SEAN: And there’s the 28th volume of Air Gear. Which is a whole lot of Air Gear.
Vertical has a done-in-one series coming out. Utsubora: the Story of a Novelist is a psychological drama that comes from the pages of Manga Erotics F, a magazine that has given us more polarizing titles than any other, I believe. Will this one also divide readers who love it and hate it? Find out by reading it!
MICHELLE: Looks interesting!
MJ: I will usually try anything Vertical thinks I should–their track record is pretty good. So I will definitely check it out.
SEAN: Viz has the final volume of Children of the Sea, which was one of its first Ikki titles but ran up against the dreaded “the final volume isn’t out in Japan yet”. It’s been two and a half years, and honestly I think I may have to re-read. But I do recall being very fond of this series about love, loss and the sea.
MICHELLE: I have actually been hoarding Children of the Sea, so now I’m glad of a chance to read the series all in one go.
MJ: I have missed this series! Though, like Sean, I may have to start from the beginning again at this point.
ANNA: I’ve read a couple volumes of this and it is lovely.
SEAN: And the rest is all Yen. I am very fond of GA Art Design Class, which has a very entertaining cast of moe stereotypes, but more importantly, due to this series I have learned SO MUCH MORE about art. Vol. 5 is out. (And yes, it is still not Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro.)
At least, what we’ve been waiting for: the home stretch of the main Higurashi Storyline. Not to spoil or anything, but this is, finally, the one with the Good End. Festival Accompanying Arc starts with this omnibus, which gives us Miyo Takano’s backstory, and needs a giant TRIGGER WARNING: ABUSE applied to it. But still good stuff.
MICHELLE: I just can’t make myself read Higurashi. It’s like you said in your recent Umineko review, Sean. We’re not supposed to like these people or care what happens to them personally; we’re just supposed to care about the mystery. But I guess I can’t simply stick around for that if I don’t like the protagonists at least a little.
SEAN: I’d argue that the big difference between Higurashi and Umineko is, in fact, that the characters ARE more likeable in Higurashi. Sure, they can be horribly screwed up, particularly in the earlier arcs, but we get to see them learn from past iterations and grow as people. Umineko is more about trying to figure out what’s going on and solving the mystery, and the development of a bunch of gold-happy adults is quite secondary. (The kids fare a bit better.)
MICHELLE: That does sound more like something I’d enjoy.
SEAN: Kingdom Hearts has a new volume out, called Chain of Memories. I still don’t know much about this except it has Donald and Goofy in a fantasy game world setting.
Pandora Hearts 16! MJ? Tag!
MICHELLE: How have I gotten so far behind on this one?! I’ve only read through twelve!
MJ: I’m sure nobody will be surprised to hear that I CAN’T WAIT. Seriously, though, things have really gotten intense. Every volume at this point is a source of great anticipation. So. Y’know. GIMME.
SEAN: For those who enjoyed the mindscrew that was Madoka Magica and want more, here’s the first of two spinoff manga licensed by Yen. Kazumi Magica features a different lead, but no doubt will still have the same old Kyuubey lurking around.
MJ: I found the manga to be a little disappointing, but I’ll probably give this spinoff a shot.
SEAN: Soul Eater has a big artbook coming out. Considering that one of the top three reasons I read Soul Eater is the amazing art, this is a pretty big deal. Even casual fans should give this one a look.
Spice & Wolf! Did you know it had a manga as well, to go along with the light novels? It does! It’s also caught up to Japan, so be prepared to wait a bit.
And lastly, there’s volume 3 of Triage X. If you like BTOOOM! but wanted more motorcycles, try this series.
MICHELLE: Ugh. I am very tempted to christen BTOOOM! “the-manga-that-must-not-be-named,” that’s how little I’d like to think about it in the future.
SEAN: What manga are you getting for your father? (Please don’t say Triage X.)
ZZZ saysJune 14, 2013 at 3:22 am
To preach a little for Umineko, the characters are not just “a bunch of gold-happy adults”. Actually when you learn more about them and see things from their point of view, most of them are quite sympathetic ; the thing is that they are normal, flawed people and that all their flaws get exacerbated when they reunite with each other. This series is as much about how a family can screw up and turn its members into vile people as it is about a twisted mistery. Admittedly I only played the sound novel, I don’t know how it is portrayed in the manga.
Sean Gaffney saysJune 14, 2013 at 4:09 am
Well, part of my challenge is that I’m spoiled on Umineko, but have to present it in reviews and these columns as if I don’t know what’s going on, to avoid spoiling others.
That said, yes, the adults gain far more complexity, particularly in the 3rd arc. But I still say Higurashi is character-driven by the reader wanting these kids to succeed and escape, and Umineko is driven by “what is happening and how can I solve it?”, which makes for two very different moods.
AshLynx saysJune 14, 2013 at 6:32 am
By the end, I found the Higurashi characters likeable. At first, I wasn’t sure because they spend most of the arcs murdering each other like psychopaths, but it made more sense as it went on. Well, Staoko never grew on me, she was annoying at all times for me. I’m so way behind on collecting Higurashi, I do appreciate that I can rather collect them out of order though. I’ve seen all of the anime, but since season 2 never came out in the US, I want the manga at the very least. Perhaps catching up shall be my next manga collecting project now that I’ve gotten all of Baby & Me…. no wait, Old Boy first, then Higurashi, it feels like I’m always collecting something (not even including the ongoing series, just older things). Also, I’m just about out of shelf room :(
I’ll probably rent Utsubora, I can’t not give Vertical series a chance, right?
A Day Without Me saysJuly 11, 2013 at 11:40 am
Kitchen Princess starts off alright, but its never particularly good, and it goes off the rails hardcore by the middle of the third omnibus or so. Lots of really poor stabs at drama, many of which end up being recycled again, and again, and again. By the sounds of Arisa, it seems like she picked up some of the habits of Kitchen Princess writer Miyuki Kobayashi. For shoujo tales of cooking at elite schools, Yumeiro Patissiere just completely outpaces Kitchen Princess; too bad that manga was never picked up over here.