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Oct 05

October 2014 Manga Releases

You.

Yes, you there!

Do you buy manga? Because if you do, this’ll be of interest, a guide to all the manga you can buy this month in the good old UK of… GB. And I mean, who reads scanlations anyway. Not I.

Viz Media

Featured Release – World Trigger 1 & 2

What with the series starting this season too, what better time to jump in on the manga, with Viz releasing the first two volumes simultaneously. The plot is pretty much what you’d expect from a Jump work, in (town name here) gate opens to (alternate world here) unleashing (enemy here) upon the hapless residents, and none of their weapons work on them. But then (mysterious organisation name here) finds a way to repel them and people return to normal lives.

Nope, it’s not a story about slaying monsters, but one about the friendship between one of said monsters, the Neighbours, and one of said monster slayers, an agent from Border. And then like 50 other people because shōnen. Despite my harsh tone here, World Trigger is something I’ve been looking forward to making the jump for a while now. Daisuke Ashihara has a fairly clean way of drawing that doesn’t clutter the page but gets the message across. Also I like that main character’s design far too much, it’s one of a select group of series that have gotten me intrigued off of it and it alone. Last time that happened was Ciel from Kuroshitsuji / Black Butler, and that turned out brilliant.

Elsewhere, we have Pokémon boxsets galore with Pokémon Adventures RS covering the first arc of the Hoenn journey where the male and female heroes race each other to conquer every Gym and Contest the region has to offer in 80 days, while Pokémon Adventures DPPt which continues the story through Sinnoh as the three main characters meet through a misunderstanding before beginning their journey. There’s also a Pokémon BW boxset but if memory serves those are one / two chapter books so wait for the proper Adventures volumes down the line.

Then there’s the second volume of Monster Perfect Edition, championed as one of the best manga’s ever written by the legendary Naoki Urasawa, who’s also done 20th Century Boys and Pluto over the years. With the original printing near impossible to obtain nowadays these are a must. Speaking of reprints, there’s also the seventh and eighth jumbo volumes of InuYasha, the fourth jumbo books of Ranma 1/2 and Vagabond and the tenth supersized One Piece tome. And then, of course, more continuations than could hope to fit in this paragraph.

So I’ll just put them in this one instead. Magi 8, Food Wars 2, Phantom Thief Jeanne 4, Terra Formars 2, Voice Over 7, Pokémon Adventures 24, Hayate the Combat Butler 24, Sunny 4, Toriko 24, 07-Ghost 12, Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan 23, Arata 19, Kamisama Kiss 9 & 10, Vagabond 36 and Naruto 67(!). Plus there’s a few Kindle releases if that’s your bag which mainly seem to be re-releases of Tokyopop stuff like Future Diary. Wonder if that means Viz will translate the final few volumes of it…

Yen Press

Featured Release – Barakamon 1

One of the summer shows I actually picked up, Barakamon in some ways channels classics like Yotsuba&! and Usgai Drop. Our lead, an up and coming calligrapher, Handa, moves to a remote island to find inspiration, with this series talking about his interactions with the isolated island community. And more specifically, that little girl, Haru. See the similarity?

And just like those two, the characters are portrayed brilliantly. Naru has the delinquency yet earnestness and childhood innocence you’d expect from a 7 year old, and Handa, hitting in at 23 years old, represents the easily irritable prodigy well as he struggles to change to the pace of the island’s younger residents. Add in Satsuki Yoshino’s artstyle which is brilliant at realising facial expressions, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a great series. Considering there’s already a spinoff of it in Japan, it’s clearly become popular over there, so I’d say check it out.

For Haruhi fans there’s a double dose with Haruhi-chan 8 continuing the comedy spinoff and The Celebration Of, a cool anthology loaded with brand new stories from a variety of artists and writers.Madoka fans can get their next fix with the third volume of Madoka Magica The Different Story, and if the recent Kuroshitsuji series was up your street, tome 18 of Black Butler is ready and waiting.

Then there’s Judge, one of 2013’s cooler new series and the sequel to equally good series Doubt (which I really need to buy, argh) carrying on to volume 5, with more animal masked psychotic shenanigans. Start off by thinking about Hotline Miami meets Danganronpa and maybe you’re halfway there.

Rounding up their lineup, we have Inu x Boku SS 5, Watamote 5, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 4Ubel Blatt 0, Bloody Brat 2 (yes that is a Blood Lad spinoff), A Brides Story 6, Umineko 4.2, Oninagi 4 and an artbook for Alice In The Country Of Diamonds.

And if all that fails to whet your appetite, don’t forget from next month on Yen Press will be kicking their light novel releases into high gear. It’s great to see some of these titles finally making the leap, but we’ll talk about them next month.

Dark Horse

Featured Release – Astro Boy Omnibus 1

One of Dark Horse’s apparent two releases this month. Yeah, go figure. I refuse to believe if you’re reading this you don’t know what Astro Boy is, but just in case, this is the manga that would go on to be adapted into the first real animated series, spawning the entire genre of anime that we love / hate and adore / loathe (delete as appropriate). Written by some Osamu Tezuka bloke who may have worked on one or two things over the years, Astro Boy follows the titular robot who was constructed by a scientist to try to replace his dead son. But nobody can fill that void, so he sells him off and eventually the kid winds up with another professor who gives him the love he deserves.

Cue the lil mechanical scamp fighting and saving people in the name of justice, usually beating up other mechanical fiends. Running for roughly 20 years in Japan, it’s become Tezuka’s magnum opus and one of the series associated with the medium. Stories from it have been adapted by other renowned mangaka, like Urasawa’s Pluto. And now you can own a piece of history and see where it all began. And don’t think because it’s old it’ll look and read like crap, the artwork and writing still hold up today, even if the plots can seem a little light at times compared to how deep some series are now.

As for the other series from the Horse’s mouth, that’d be the sixth omnibus of Lone Wolf and Cub, another manga from yesteryear. Following the exile of our lead character, an executioner, from his clan, he and his son become known as… well, guess. It looks beautiful, with some stunningly detailed artwork for a 70’s piece, and while it didn’t have as big an impact as Astro Boy it’s still an important title from the annals of manga history. Basically, if you want quality classic manga, look out for the Dark Horse logo. Or Clamp. They pretty much own Clamp.

Vertical

Featured Release – Ajin 1

While all of Vertical’s other releases this month have become animated, Ajin: Demi-Human hasn’t, so let’s look at it. Highschool student Kei is run over by a car. The end. Okay, not really, as he discovers he’s an immortal Ajin. On the plus side, being superhuman rocks. On the downside, humanity now wants him dead and / or as a research subject as he joins a conflict between his kind and us regular humans, with friends being few and far between.

Gamon Sakurai’s artwork suits the darker tone portrayed by writer Tsuina Miura, neither of which have a track record I can gauge this off of. What I do know is it’s been championed by some as one of the better mangas to come out in recent times, receiving several notable manga award nominations, and apparently doesn’t go down the predictable “why can’t we be friends” route. If you don’t want to buy the books it’s also part of Crunchyroll’s manga service, so if anybody with it could let me know how it’s turning out, I’d be grateful.

Rounding up Vertical’s lineup we have the eleventh volumes of Knights of Sidonia and Flowers of Evil. Both have gone way beyond their animated counterparts, with Sidonia forcing Nagate into tougher fights than ever and Flowers bringing the psychological story to a close. While I may have been brutal on the latter’s anime, calling it “the worst anime series I’ve ever watched, and the closest I’ve ever come to awarding something a one out of ten”, the manga version has none of the pacing issues and was free to take the story to darker places, so it’s still worth looking into.

And then there’s the manga version of Shinkai’s Garden of Words, which I can’t seem to find much about, though I see it being a tough sell with Shinkai’s works looking best in motion. Lastly we have the debut of Witchcraft Works, which, to sum up, is a Shana clone. Joe Everyman is important to Super Awesome Female Lead, cue plot. But the art seems to excel in manga format, and I remember some badass mechanical bunnies from the first episode of its anime adaptation that almost got me watching, so give it a shot if it’s your bag.

Seven Seas Entertainment

Featured Release – I Am Alice: Body Swap In Wonderland 1

Turns out all the stuff I originally had written here comes out in November, with October being fairly quiet for Seven Seas. So let’s talk about an Alice in Wonderland spinoff. Not to be confused with the artbook Yen Press are releasing. Even though SS own the rights to the manga ARGH. Where was I? The plot. One day a kid and his sister are reading a book (guess which) before getting transported into it, with the brother being Alice her… himself. To return home he has to beat the Qu-sorry, King of Hearts. Yep, it’s genderswapped Alice in Wonderland.

The series lasted for a year or so in Japan so… I guess it’s decent. I can’t even find any artwork online outside of the volume cover which looks cool, if a little creepy when you know what’s going on. Which is probably the joke. Artist / writer Ayumi Kanou has also done a Tales of the Abyss manga which looks decent artwise (you don’t want me to comment on TotA’s story). I’m sure it’s fine, and if not, SS license a ton of Alice in Wonderland parodies anyway so there’ll be others to read.

Beyond that, we have World War Blue 7, which is described as being drawn to look like Fairy Tail and Rave Master. That’s the first line they try to sell you with. And then they talk about the extras. If this isn’t a desperation pitch I don’t know what is. Plot is video game consoles come to life like in a bunch of other stuff and… wait, I recognise this now. It was an utterly awful anime that just made as many shameless innuendos to try to cover up the fact it was terrible. So, erm, don’t buy it.

Let’s talk about better stuff they’re releasing. Like Girls und Panzer 2 no please come back. I admit I never got into it but it went over surprisingly well within the community. It’s sort of like those highschool club series you know so well, except it’s all female so no harem elements and the activity is they pilot tanks. And fight in them. Also they all live on giant aircraft carriers at sea. Then there’s D-Frag 2 which is highschool club harem shenanigans, with the quirk being they’re part of a Games Creation Club, except everyone just ends up driving the lead insane. Which sounds pretty realistic now I think about it. With those two only on their second volumes it’ll probably be content you’ve seen already in the anime adaptations.

Lastly *deep breath* Dance In The Vampire Bund: The Memories Of Sledge Hammer 3 *gasp*. The last volume of the sequel to the original, it takes place three months afterwards, as the bond between vampires and humans is slowly being restored. Of course, some parties don’t desire that end and try to kill off the government liaison, which is where this story takes place. I never got into Bund after the animated version was… a little creepy, hence why Funimation censored it into the ground, but if you like vampires and lolis who totally aren’t lolis she’s 300 officer, then go for it.

 

Aaaand that’s a wrap. Can’t think of any other major publisher I’ve missed, but if I’ve omitted something just holla at me. Besides, if you can’t find something to keep you occupied out of that lot, you’re either mad or don’t read manga. In which case go buy the new Thor or Spiderverse comics. Female Asgardians and Spider Gwen are going to be awesome.

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And if you are buying manga this month, why not tell us about it, perhaps on Facebook, perhaps on Twitter or perhaps on the forums! Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to lock my wallet away before this blog post starts giving me expensive ideas…