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Nov 10

November 2014 Manga Releases

Firstly, I’d like to say I do put my money where my mouth is and bought the first volume of Ajin, so expect thoughts on that sometime. Need to finish my current Cardcaptor Sakura volume.

Secondly, and more importantly, WE HAVE AN ANICOM STEAM GROUP GO JOIN AND PLAY VIDJA GAEMS – http://steamcommunity.com/groups/anicom

Okay, enough promotion, time to talk about the manga hitting the shelves this month in good old Blighty. Wait, isn’t this promo… nevermind.

Viz Media

Featured Release – All You Need Is Kill 1

The manga release of a decade old light novel is your pick, Sean? Well, when it’s got a Hollywood adaptation in Edge of Tomorrow and illustrations from Yoshitoshi ABe, you bet it is. The manga version has an equally great artist in Takeshi Obata, who you may know from niche title Death Note. The original book was nominated for several science fiction awards and launched the career of its writer Hiroshi Sakurazaka.

What starts off as a fairly simple alien invasion by the Mimics with the story focused on United Defense Force soldier Keiji, who… well, dies. And then wakes up the day before the fight began. Oh yes, it’s time loop time, as Kieji fights to change his fate and not live an endless life of death. I’m not sure how much more I need to say to sell this. Two of the best artists in Obata and ABe, an award-winning story good enough to be picked up by Hollywood, and if you hate long series, great news, there’s only two volumes. Buy it. I know I will be.

Besides that, if you’re a fan of jumbo books Viz has you covered, with multi-volume releases for D.Gray-Man, Fullmetal Alchemist, Vagabond and a double dose of InuYasha. And for boxset enthusiasts there’s a new One Piece set, packed with volumes 24 to 46, covering the entire Skypeia and Water Seven arcs. There’s also the Black Bird complete boxset covering all 18 volumes of Misao’s supernatural romantic adventures and the Pokémon Adventures DPPt is now finally coming out covering the Sinnoh arc of the manga.

If vampires are more you thing and you own a Kindle, you can rejoice as several series including Chibi Vampire and Trinity Blood get new releases for the device. And even if you haven’t got one you can pick up the second and final boxset of Vampire Knight with volumes 11 to 19 concluding that highschool action romance series.

And this is before I go into the rest of the more regular releases such as the debut volume of My Love Story, a fairly acclaimed romcom which has won awards from Kodansha and Takarajimasha as an exceptional series for female readers, Honey Blood which tells the original story of a vampire and a human being in love and Kiss Of The Rose Princess, yet another romcom where lead character Anis has to collect Arcana cards with the help of her four Rose Rhode knights.

We’ve also got the penultimate thirteenth volume of Neon Genesis Evangelion, along with a repritning of the Der Mond artbook which is utterly gorgeous. The rest of the lineup is Bleach 62, Case Closed 52, Oresama Teacher 17, Dengeki Daisy 15, Claymore 25, Ultimo 10, Happy Marriage 8, Blue Morning 5, Ooku 10, Real 13, Deadman Wonderland 5, Natsume’s Book Of Friends 17, Kamisama Kiss 11 & 12, Blue Exorcist 12, Tegami Bachi 17, Pokémon Adventures BW 5 and Nisekoi 6. Phew.

Yen Press

Featured Release – A Certain Magical Index LN 1

“But that’s not a manga” shhhhhhh. Yen Press announced a little while back they were going to redouble their efforts to bring across popular light novel series. That effort’s resulted in Sword Art Online and Accel World making the leap, and now, after a decade of waiting, we get the Toaru Majutsu no Index franchise. It’s always surprised me how such a big series has never really been given a release in the West, the series got licensed but then abandoned, and the spinoff Railgun manga got licensed by Seven Seas while the original just twiddled its thumbs. But it’s here now.

So what is Index? Taking place in Academy City, the story revolves around Index, a weird and always hungry girl whose mind resets every few years to the dismay of everyone who’s gotten to know her, and Touma, the unluckiest man in existence, apart from the power in his right fist to cancel out any other power. Yep, due to SCIENCE a lot of the people in Academy City have powers, ranging from Level 1 where they do very little, to the seven almighty Level 5’s who aren’t to be trifled with, including the other main character and star of Railgun spinoff, Misaka Mikoto.

That Kazuma Kamachi’s series has been going for now over a decade, has multiple arcs, spinoffs, anime adaptations and a substantial fanbase should give some indication to its quality, and if you’d rather read real books from Japan than read picture books from Japan, you could do a whole lot worse than this.

The other light novel release from them this month is Accel World LN 2, which is what the creator of Sword Art Online wrote when he learned how to write. As for brand new releases, there’s the debut of Milkyway Hitchhiking, which is about a cosmic cat that travels through time and space. Yes, really. It’s in full colour too, meaning it’ll cost a bit more but look so much better. And if you’re into romcoms, good news, there’s also Ani-Imo, a story about a twin brother and sister bodyswapping, with the usual Japanese incest humour prevalent, and Gou-dere Sora Nagihara, where one aspiring manga artist’s creation comes to life, and hijinks follow.

Rounding out their lineup we have Highschool DxD 3, Pandora Hearts 22, Triage X 8, Jack Frost 11, Durarara Yellow Scarves 2, BTOOOM 8, Sword Art Online Fairy Dance 2, Higurashi 26, Haruhi 20, Soul Eater 23 and Soul Eater Not 4. Soul Eater’s nearing the end now so if you want to catch up before the last volume comes out, clock’s ticking.

Dark Horse

Featured Release – Gantz 33

Gantz is extremely fucked up. Certainly if you’re looking for something “raw” or “guttural”, it’s up there with Berserk and Vagabond as one of the big seinen series. When you die, there’s a small chance that the being known as Gantz will summon you and pit you against aliens. Kill the aliens, gain points. Get 100 points, and you can buy your freedom and rebirth, or maybe something else if you don’t want the games to stop. Except this is seinen so all the violence and all the sex. Afterall, you’re dead, it’s not like you have rights.

This particular volume takes place about halfway through the third and final phase (the series came to an end last year after volume 37), where the metaphorical shit has hit the fan, with the aliens launching a full scale attack on Earth and our poor Gantz subjects caught up in the middle of it all, fighting to survive and save the world. Artistically the series looks as great as ever, though the graphic nature makes it not for the faint of heart. If you want nice fluffy romcoms or s’life series this isn’t for you. For the rest of us, climb aboard, I’m pretty sure Dark Horse are still printing the entire series.

Besides Gantz we have a couple of new omnibus’s with the third Samurai Executioner from the same team who made Lone Wolf and Cub which I talked about last month. The story focuses on a guy testing new swords in the Edo period, as well as his victims, making them more than just mere bodies to fall to his blade. The other, Trigun Maximum omnibus 5, concludes the stampede of Vash with the final few volumes of the series, and some great looking art from Yasuhiro Nightow, who continues to do great work in Blood Blockade Battlefront.

Lastly we have Blade Of The Immortal 30, which as a 90s series is positively modern by Dark Horse standards. The final volume of Manji’s journey to kill a thousand evil men to end his un dying curse and return to the realm of mortal men. As you may expect, the themes of life and death are well covered by Hiroaki Samura, who also does some of the best shading I’ve seen in manga. I don’t know if I’d recommend checking it out just yet, there might be omnibus releases in the future, but for those already onboard this last release should be motivation enough to finish the series.

Vertical

Featured Release – Prophecy 1

A trifecta of releases from Vertical this month, spearheaded by this new series which I know nothing about, so let’s look. Written by Tetsuya Tsutsui who has done a bunch of short series and one shots of which none I recognise, so it would appear Prophecy, or Yokokuhan as it’s known in Japan, is his most popular, considering he’s currently doing a sequel spinoff for it. Revolving around Erika Yoshino, a talented but still young cop caught in the middle of a new crimewave spearheaded by that newspaper mask wearing guy who just wants to right the wrongs of society and punish the unjust. You could very easily draw parallels to Death Note, and like that the series quickly snowballs in scale.

This original series only lasted for 3 volumes so if you want something short and sweet to pick up, it could be worth a look. The artwork is good but not spectacular, though extra effort has been taken on the newspaper mask’s design to make his scenes look better considering his importance to the story, with part of it revolving around just who he is and how he became what he is now.

Otherwise your Vertical choices are down to Cardvight Vanguard 4, which I imagine if you’re interested in you either already play or watch the anime. I keep meaning to give it a chance and check out that version, but it’s a big time investment. As for this manga, it looks alright but the medium has always struggled with card game adaptations. The YuGiOh manga was at it’s best for the season zero content. Your other choice is What Did You Eat Yesterday 5, which is a boys love s’life where some lawyer guy cooks food a lot for his hairstylist boyfriend. The artwork looks nice and clean, the food will make you wish for an Asian supermarket and there’s a surprising amount of nuance in the story about perception.

Seven Seas Entertainment

Featured Release – No Game No Life 1

I remember watching the first episode of this back in Spring (back when I was still up to date with anime, ah, good times), and thinking it looked pretty good once you got past the totally not incestuous lead brother and sister. Sora and Shiro are two “inseparable” siblings, and are both utter recluses, playing online as nameless characters who dominate whatever game they turn their attention to. One day the two get challenged to a game of chess and offered to go to a world of games, and are transported to their new lives.

It’s hardly original, but the show’s done well enough. And the manga? Well, in some ways it looks even better than Madhouse’s adaptation, with detailed artwork and some utterly psychotic expressions from some characters which suit the world perfectly, and I’d honestly say the manga has a less perverted streak than the show (yes, that is a good thing). The series isn’t likely to get a season 2 anytime soon (the original light novels only started in 2012 afterall) so this’ll be your best bet for a NGNL fix in the meantime.

What more? There’s Dance in the Vampire Bund Secret Chronicles contains a whole bunch of new content previously only available to Comiket attendees for those who’ve been invested in Bund from start to finish. There’s a new duo of Alice releases with Alice in the Country of Diamonds: Bet On My Heart and Alice in the Country of Joker: Circus And Liars Game 6. And then there’s the second volumes of Strike Witches 1937, the second and final volume of that particular arc and Arpeggio of Blue Steel, which if I remember the anime right will be covering Takao’s defection from the Fog fleet while Takao and the other good guys start their journey to America. Something like that.

Oh, and there’s Haganai 9, or to use its full name, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai which I solely remember as “the one with the butterfly girl”. If I remember correctly this volume takes place somewhere in the second season,  but fair warning that Yozora and Sena are apparently even bitchier in this version than they were in the show, so this is probably for the diehard fans only.

 

And that’s the slightly belated but still relatively on time summary of this month’s releases. I need to look over how much money I’ve got, make sure I can afford a few of these. And if you’re more a comics guy, maybe you should check out the Marvel meets Attack on Titan crossover that’s happening very soon. If nothing else, it’ll be memorable.

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And 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! And watch as I start drooling because I have a compulsion with manga which isn’t healthy for my wallet…