MJ is on the road this week, so we’ve assembled a slightly smaller version of the Manga Bookshelf Battle Robot to take on Wednesday’s new arrivals. As always, we’re basing our recommendations on what will go on sale this week at Midtown Comics. And — not surprisingly, given the team’s reading habits — David, Michelle, and I are bullish about the new VIZ Signature offerings. Read on for our recommendations.
DAVID: It’s hard for me to pick among the three VIZ Signature titles that are arriving this week, as I like them all for their own reasons. Like an over-compensating parent, I’ll focus on the one I feel like I may be neglecting: the third volume of Shunji Aono’s I’ll Give it My All… Tomorrow. This shaggy, funny tale of a mope’s attempt to become a mangaka is the perfect tonic for Bakuman. Even more exciting is MJ’s promise that “in volume three stuff actually happens.” Slice-of-loser-life isn’t usually my genre of choice, but I love this book for its combination of biting humor and surprising sympathy. As Johanna Draper Carlson puts it, “I can relate, as can most adults who’ve grown up and made trade-offs.”
KATE: My vote goes to Gente: The People of Ristorante Paradiso, a series I initially found too drowsy to engage me. The latest installment, however, reminded me of a good Italian film: it has some comic moments, but the prevailing mood is wistful, as adults contemplate failed relationships, flirt with attractive strangers, and struggle to confess deeply buried feelings. At the risk of sounding like a grouchy old bat, one of the things I like best about Gente is that Natsume Ono makes age and experience look sexy; for someone who’s read a few too many stories about shy fifteen-year-olds who pine in secret for hot jerks, it’s refreshing to read a manga about real adult relationships. If only Marcello Mastrioanni had lived long enough to star in an adaptation… now *that* would have been hot.
MICHELLE: I’ll cast my vote for the other VIZ Signature offering, volume three of Saturn Apartments. I described the first volume as a “low-key dystopia,” but the tone warmed up to “homey” levels in the second volume. After setting up the world and fleshing out its characters, I’m wondering where Hisae Iwaoka will take the story next, since volume two alluded to some mysterious action upon Earth’s surface. Even if it remains mellow, I’ll be happy, but should Saturn Apartments actually develop some intrigue, I can only assume that will be even better!
So, readers, what looks good to you this week? Inquiring minds want to know!