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Mar 26

Q1 2015 Manga Releases

Time for a manga megapost! There’s been a barrage of great releases over the past three months for fans of right to left comics from all the publishers, with more being licensed by the day (thank you Seven Seas for licensing Accelerator <3), so much so I can’t cover everything as in-depth as I would usually. Normal service will resume next month, but for now, rapid fire graphic novels agogo!

Oh, and a reminder that these are based off the totally accurate Amazon UK listings which means half of them are probably wrong, because man the book search functions on that site suck. One day there’ll be a nice easy list for me to abuse…

Viz Media

Featured Release – Neon Genesis Evangelion 14

Is this it? Can it be? The conclusion of the Evangelion manga!? Yes indeed. It’s taken 20 years from its debut in 1994, but finally this take on the events in Tokyo-3 is coming to an end. And before the movies too, that’s a shock.

It’s difficult to know what to say here. I’m assuming y’all know what Eva is, considering it’s probably the most influential anime of all time. Yoshiyuki worked with original series creator Anno at first to help establish the manga, but it quickly evolved into Sadamoto’s own take on the franchise. The differences range from the subtle, such as cosmetic changes in hair colour to the stark with characters who survive in the TV series dying.

And if your worry lies with Sadamoto, then you needn’t be. When he’s been avoiding working on this series, he was doing character designs for Gainax hits like FLCL and Nadia and Hosoda’s masterpieces Summer Wars and Wolf Children, as well as producing beautiful Evangelion artbook Der Mond (which I own, and is phenomenal). Most of the prior volumes are out in omnibus format now as well, so there’s no reason not to see how Shinji’s tale concludes in this universe.

For those of you looking to start something new, we have the debut volumes of Meteor Prince, Pokémon XY, Master Keaton (from the legendary Naoki Urasawa of Monster / 20th Century Boys / Pluto fame), Yukarism and the very longly awaited JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Phantom Blood, and there’s also a few one-offs in Pokémon the Movie Diancie and the Coccon of Destruction, Asura Girl and Jaco the Galactic Patrolman by the king of Dragonball, Akira Toriyama.

As for omnibuses, there’s been plenty. The eight Dragonball one, the sixth D.Gray-Man one, the fifth High School Debut one, six InuYasha ones from thirteen to eighteen, the seventh, eighth and ninth Vagabond ones, the eleventh One Piece one, the first Yu-Gi-Oh one (that’s covering the original stuff from season zero, so don’t expect card games), the tenth Naruto one, the sixth Ranma 1/2 one, the tenth Bleach one. And speaking of Bleach, you can now pick up the first boxset of it, with the first 21 volumes covering all the way to the closure of the Soul Society arc!

And lastly but in no way least we have a an actual ton of continuations. I already highlighted Neon Genesis Evangelion 14, but there’s also… 07-Ghost 14, Arata 20, Assassination Classroom 2, Black Rose Alice 3, Bleach 63, Case Closed 53, Deadman Wonderland 6 / 7, Dogs 9, Gangsta 5, Happy Marriage 9 / 10, Hayate the Combat Butler 25, Honey Blood 2 and Tale Zero, Kamisama Kiss 15 / 16, Kimi ni Todoke 20, Kiss of the Rose Princess 2, Little Battlers eXperience 3, Magi 10, Millenium Snow 4, Monster Perfect Edition 3, My Love Story 3, Naruto 69, Nisekoi 7 / 8, Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan 25, One Piece 73, Pokémon Adventures 26, Pokémon Adventures Black and White 6, Pokémon Black and White 19 / 20 (no I don’t know what the differences are), Resident Evil Marhawa Desire 2, Seraph of the End 4, Spell of Desire 3, Terra Formars 4, Tiger & Bunny 6, Toriko 26, Voice Over Seiyuu Academy 9, World Trigger 4, Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds 7 and Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal 6! If you can’t find something out of all of that… I’m guessing you don’t read manga.

Yen Press

Featured Release – Akame ga Kill 1

Of all the summer anime that narrowly missed out on being keepers, it was Akame ga Kill that came the closest. Night Raid, a group of infamous and deadly assassin’s who are made out as enemies of the state but obviously there’s corruption in government so they’re the good guys, and they end up welcoming Tatsumi to the fold after a local rich family tries to kill him and his friends, with him being your in to this world of blood and death.

Just like the anime version, this has plenty of blood and guts and slicing people in twain, though the artwork is fairly standard shōnen fare, with Tetsuya Tashiro doing a good but nothing special job. The manga series has sold a few million copies to date, and the anime adaptation seemed to go over well enough despite a few harsh critics.

Elsewhere, Yen Press continue to be the primary force in bringing light novels to the west, with Accel World 3, Sword Art Online Progressive 1, A Certain Magical Index 2 and Is It Wrong To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon 1 strengthening their line-up.

We’ve also got debuts for Big Hero 6 (yes, it has a manga version), Log Horizon, The Devil Is A Part-Timer, Karneval, Sword Art Online Progressive (though technically this is just a continuation from past arcs), Secret (part of the Doubt / Judge series) and Ubel Blatt, along with the one-off The Angel of Elhamburg and Madoka spin-off Puella Magi Oriko Magica Extra Story.

And for those of you looking for the latest editions in ongoing series, they’ve got as much as Viz do with Ani-Imo 2, Are You Alice 8, Barakamon 3, Black Butler 19, Bloody Cross 6, BTOOOM 9, Demon From Afar 2, Goong 17, Gou-dere Sora Nagihara 2, He’s My Only Vampire 2, High School DxD 4, Inu x Boku SS 6, Judge 6, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days 5, Love At Fourteen 2, Milkyway Hitchhiking 2, No Matter How I Look At It It’s You Guys Fault I’m Not Popular 6, Soul Eater 24 / 25 (marking the end of one of the best damn shōnens out there), Sword Art Online Fairy Dance 3, The Disappearence of Nagato Yuki-Chan 7, The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi-chan 9, Triage X 9, Umineko When They Cry Episode 4 Alliance of the Golden Witch 3 and Until Death Do Us Part 8. Plenty to keep you busy.

Dark Horse

Featured Release – Seraphim 26661336 Wings

Well, that doesn ‘t really look all tha-wait, Satoshi Kon? Mamoru Oshii? The guys who made films like Paprika and Ghost in the Shell? I’m sold. This is a weird one actually. An unfinished collab between the two done back in the mid 90s, it features a group of 4 journeying throughout Asia to try and bring a stop to a deadly “angel disease” wiping out the world.

What else can I say? The art’s great but c’mon, look at who’s doing it. This’ll accompany that copy of Opus you bought last time perfectly as a tribute to a legend who died before his time.

Not a whole lot else from the Dark Horse guys, though we do have the first volume of Drug & Drop from Clamp, who… oh c’mon, you have to know who they are. A sequel / continuation to their previous Legal Drug series, this has sadly also suffered the fate of most of their recent work and been halted for now.

Closing out their lineup are several continuations to the old and long running, with Oh My Goddess 47, Gantz 34, Lone Wolf and Club Omnibus 7, New Lone Wolf and Cub 4, Samurai Executioner Omnibus 4 and Blood Blockade Battlefront 7.

Vertical

Featured Release – My Neighbour Seki 1

My Neighbour Seki was a show that I kinda assumed would just be left and forgotten, but seemed to really take off with people who watched it. And now here’s the manga. The “story” isn’t really about Seki or Rumi (the girl who acts as narrator), but about the crazy games and imagination that Seki exhibits on a daily basis.

There’s no real depth or storytelling outside of Rumi slowly being absorbed into his world, with most of the stories being one-offs. The artstyle is simplistic, only going into any detail for, you guessed it, Seki’s games. The manga’s managed to shift a few million over the years, so this is another “if you liked the show, check it out” deals.

Not a whole lot else from Vertical despite combining three months into one. It’s all continuing series, with Knights of Sidonia 13, Ajin Demi-Human 3 (I’ve read the first volume, it’s excellent), Prophecy 2 / 3, Witchcraft Works 3, Cardfight Vanguard 5, From the New World 7 (take everything that made the anime a phenomenal success, and ignore it for softcore porn) and What Did You Eat Yesterday 6.

Kodansha

Featured Release – Maria the Virgin Witch 1

“Oh god, he’s finally snapped” Well, not quite… probably. I mean, as of writing this I’ve yet to see the anime adaptation, and yes it’s about a witch who uses succubi to manipulate global agendas and create large-scale illusions. So yes, there is the occasional ecchi shot, I fully admit. But that’s not the focus of the series. Honest.

It’s more about politics, and not just of an Earthly nature, with Heaven and archangels getting involved as the story progresses, and Masayuki’s art is pretty solid, emphasising action well and never losing focus. At only three volumes too, this is not a long drawn out affair, but a series that gets to the point quickly, so if you want to get into something which isn’t going to last a decade, Maria’s a good shout.

There’s also a few more Kodansha debuts in the form of Yamada-Kun and the Seven Witches and Space Dandy, and for Clamp fans a pair of omnibuses, the fifth xxxHolic and the third Tsubasa.

And then there’s more followups led by Kodansha’s cashcow Attack on Titan 15, as well as Noragami 3, Genshiken Second Season 6, Air Gear 33, Seven Deadly Sins 6 / 7, UQ Holder 4, Vinland Saga 6, My Little Monster 6 / 7, Manga Dogs 3, The Wallflower 34, Cage of Eden 17, Sankarea 11, Say I Love You 6, Missions of Love 10 and the eternally popular Fairy Tail 46.

Seven Seas Entertainment

Featured Release – Magical Girl Apocalypse 1 / 2

Look at that cover. Not really what you think of when you hear “magical girl”, even with Apocalypse in the title. Well, it’s not your normal magical girl series, embracing the horror genre and having zombies galore. And gore, and death, and those creepy faces this genre loves. Kentaro Sato also does a great job in merging a normal manga artstyle with a creepier aesthetic.

As for the story? Well, magical girls caused the zombie apocalypse, and so our protagonist Kii regrets ever wanting a more exciting life as the crazy girls and their zombie hoards go around killing everything. It is, in some ways, goreporn, but it provides a refreshingly different take on the usual happy stuff so if you’re after a magical girl series with a twist and you’ve already seen Madoka, check this out.

There’s also a few more new series including Nurse Hitomi’s Monster Infirmary, Strike Witches One-Winged Witches, Dance In The Vampire Bund 2 Scarlet Order, Zero’s Familiar Chevalier (which was apparently released after the second and third volumes, Seven Seas what are you doing), Girls und Panzer Little Army and Citrus.

Throw in a few specials like Alice in the Country of Clover The Lizard Aide and Haganai Club Minutes, alongside a stacked line up of continuations with Haganai 8 / 10 (9’s already out, please don’t ask, I don’t know), Dragonar Academy 5, Girls und Panzer 3, Mayo Chiki 6, Senran Kagura Skirting Shadows 3… wait, I’m spotting a pattern here… But it’s not *all* perversion, with A Certain Scientific Railgun 10, Alice in the Country of Joker Nightmare Trilogy Afternoon Dream 2 / Circus and Liars Game 7 (why do these things get such long titles…) , Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer 3 / 4, Devils and Realist 4, Witch Buster 13 / 14, D-Frag 3, Centaur’s Life 5, Zero’s Familiar Chevalier 4 (told you ZFC release schedule made no sense), Arpeggio of Blue Steel 3, I Am Alice Body Swap In Wonderland 2 / 3 and I Don’t Like You At All Big Brother 7 / 8… huh, maybe it is all lewd…

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Normal monthly manga service for these articles will resume soon as I look at April’s releases. And hey, if you are buying manga (or comics) this month, why not tell us about it, perhaps on Facebook, perhaps on Twitter or perhaps on the forums! You could even review it! Please. I’m so lonely on this blog…