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Sep 28

Q2 & Q3 2015 Manga Releases

"A blog update!?"

“A blog update!?”

Hello! Been a while, eh? And look at that, the blog’s had a minor facelift. And the calendars working! And other behind the scenes nonsense you can’t see, but I assure you is totally rad. But, er, where was I. Oh yeah. Manga.

We’ve seen a huge crop of titles come out over the past half-year, as well as the debut of Viz Media and Kodansha on Comixology UK at long last, so it seems as good a time as any to blast through the last six months and highlight some of the cooler releases before the uni year starts up proper.

Viz Media

Featured Release – One-Punch Man 1 & 2

I don’t know if Viz deliberately timed this or if they’re just unbelievably lucky, but mere weeks before the most anticipated anime of the Fall season, and probably the entire year, starts airing, here are the first two volumes of the manga. Well played guys.

So, One-Punch Man. A series about a man so overpowered he can win any fight with just one punch. As such, this isn’t shōnen so much as it is comedy, as he looks for meaning in his life now he can’t experience the thrill of the fight. And then there’s the numerous bizarre things he dukes it out with, all going in cocky as hell until they get punched straight into oblivion.

It looks cool as shit, with the original rough drawings of the webcomic version made ten times better in the manga format. There are plenty of scenes too that essentially go frame by frame through a punch (look for some gifs of them online if you can). Basically, if you’re going to buy into one new manga this year, you couldn’t do much better than this.

That’s not the only debut we’ve had from Viz either. Cannibalism reigns in the first two volumes of Tokyo Ghoul, which I’ve been enjoying the anime adaptation of as one poor kid is dragged into a world of Ghouls and devouring. Speaking of eating, Food Wars is also available in spectacular fashion, with the first seven volumes out now if you’re into people making food so good it’s orgasmic. Not a joke.

There’s also the first volume of the bad-ass looking Twin Star Exorcists, the hey you’re a normal person in a world where everyone’s a superhero My Hero Academia, the Shakespeare inspired Requiem of the Rose King, and classic tokusatsu series Ultraman. And for those after more shōjo content, there’s the first volume of The Demon Prince of Momochi House and the first two of So Cute It Hurts!, and then there’s yaoi hijinks in the first two volumes of Love Stage!!. All of that not enough? How about the manga version of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past?

For those of you looking to pick up the next volume in a series? Well, I hope your favourites in this list! 07-Ghost 15 – 17, Assassination Classroom 3 – 5, Black Lagoon 10 (woo, it’s back), Black Rose Alice 4 & 5, Bleach 64, Blue Exorcist 13, Case Closed 54 & 55, Claymore 26, Deadman Wonderland 8 – 10, Dengeki Daisy 16, Dogs 10, Dorohedoro 15 & 16, Gangsta 6, Itsuwaribito 14, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood 2 & 3, Kamisama Kiss 17 & 18, Kimi ni Todoke 21, Kiss of the Rose Princess 3 – 5, Library Wars 13, Little Battles eXperience 4 – 6Magi 11 – 13, Master Keaton 2 & 3, Meteor Prince 2, My Love Story!! 4 & 5, Naruto 70 & 71, Natsume’s Book of Friends 18, Nisekoi 9 – 11, One Piece 74 & 75, Oresama Teacher 18, Pokémon Adventures 27 – 29, Pokémon Adventures Black & White 7 & 8, Pokémon XY 2 & 3, Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire 3 – 5, Rin-Ne 17 & 18, Rosario + Vampire Season II 14, Seraph of the End 5 & 6, Skip Beat! 34 & 35, Spell of Desire 4 & 5, Sunny 5Tegami Bachi 18, Terra Formars 5 – 7, The World’s Greatest First Love 2, Tiger & Bunny 7, Toriko 27 – 29, Vagabond 37, Voice Over! Seiyuu Academy 10 – 12, World Trigger 5 & 6, Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal 7 aaaand Yukarism 2 & 3.

And if you’re a Kindle owner, Viz continue to support the platform by shifting a lot of Tokyopop’s old releases alongside the debut of their Weekly Shonen Jump magazine on the platform! Notable releases include the first four volumes of Welcome to the NHK, the first five of Eureka Seven, eleven Sgt Frog volumes from 7 to 17, and the beginning volume of Clamp School Detectives!

As for the rest of the Kindle overload, you’ve got *deep breath*… AiON 1 & 2, Arata: The Legend 22 & 23, Boys Over Flowers Season 2 chapters 5 to 11, Cheeky Angel 1 – 10, Chocolate Cosmos 1, Crazy For You 1 & 2, Flower of the Deep Sleep 1 & 2, Girls Bravo 3 – 10, Glass Wings 1, Grenadier 1 – 7, Guardian Hearts 1, Hands Off! 5 – 8, Hands Off! Don’t Call Us Angels 1 & 2, Haru Hana: The Complete Collection 1, Kamiyadori 1 – 3, Lost Letters 2, Metamo Kiss 1 – 3, NightS -Another Night- 1, Ratman 2 – 4, Red Hot Chili Samurai 1 – 3, Rizelmine 1, Samurai Girl Real Bout High School 1 – 3, Someday’s Dreamers: Spellbound 2 – 5, Starting With A Kiss 3, Tokyo Boys & Girls 1 & 2, Tuxedo Gin 1 – 4 and lastly, the final volume of another Clamp series, Wish 4!

More? You want more!? Okay, how about some omnibuses? There’s 2-in-1’s with Embracing Love 3, Gyo Deluxe Edition, Maid-sama! 1Millennium Snow 2, Monster Perfect Edition 4 & 5 and Ranma 1/2 7 – 9. Want even more? How about some 3-in-1’s? Bleach 11 & 12, D.Gray-Man 7, Dragonball 9 & 10, Naruto 11 & 12, One Piece 12, Skip Beat! 10 & 11, Vagabond 10 – 12 and YuGi-Oh! 2 & 3.

Mor-okay, now you’re being greedy. If you’ve got this much money to blow why not buy the second boxset of Bleach or Naruto. The former contains volumes 22 to 48, the latter 28 to 48, and are a cheaper way of buying these long running series in bulk if you can afford the single larger payment. Naruto will set you back around £75, Bleach closer to £100.

Okay, we’re done with Viz now. For real. Only five publishers to go! *collapses*

Yen Press

Featured Release – RustBlaster

Some of you might recognise mangaka Yana Toboso, and with good reason, she’s the genius behind the long running Black Butler (or Kuroshitsuji if you like saying Japanese anime names with swear words in them). RustBlaster was her first work before she hit the big time, and now Yen Press have brought it to the masses, so to speak.

The plot takes place at a special high school for vampires, and features Al, the most un-vampire vampire there, and Kei, a transfer student who’s also human. For some reason I’m thinking Rosario + Vampire, except way less lewd. And also way shorter, as this one volume covers the entire six chapters of the series.

Art wise, it’s not nearly as refined as Black Butler, though you can see where the inspiration for Sebastian’s design in that series came from. There’s plenty of cool posing and posturing too, though the actual bloodshed and fighting look less good. One for Yana’s biggest fans then.

Meanwhile Yen Press have gone debut mad. Right now you can pick up the first two volumes of the A Certain Magical Index manga (be careful when buying you don’t get confused with the light novels though), So I Can’t Play H (which is exactly what it sounds like), Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? (which is anything but what it sounds like, I’m told), Emma (a romance story set in the Victorian period), Trinity Seven: The Seven Magicians (lone guy enter crazy new world of magicians, guess what gender they all are), and Chaika: The Coffin Princess (a bunch of princesses each representing different emotional states go on a journey to collect their dad’s remnants yes I did watch the anime how did you know).

And then there’s the first volume barrage of Alice in Murderland, Sword Art Online: Girl’s Ops, First Love Monster, Prison School, The Devil Is A Part-Timer! High School!, Rose Gun Days Season 1, Black Bullet and a couple of Final Fantasy Type-0 Side Story releases.

Fans of Madoka Magica will no doubt lap up the continued stream of spin-offs and what-ifs produced by the manga, as Puella Magi Tart Magica, Puella Magi Homura Tamura, Puella Magi Suzune Magica and Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Homura’s Revenge have all debuted over this period, with second volumes set to follow for all of them in the future. And for those wanting even more, how about the first volume of the manga version of the first movie in Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Movie -Rebellion-.

Elsewhere we’ve got the usual assortment of continuations, so you can pick up Akame ga Kill! 2 & 3, Ani-Imo 3 & 4, Are You Alice? 9, Barakamon 4 – 6, Big Hero 6 2, Black Butler 20, Blood Lad 6, Bloody Cross 7 & 8, BTOOOM! 10 & 11, Demon From Afar 3 & 4, Durarara!! Yellow Scarves Arc 3Goong 18, Gou-dere Sora Nagihara 3 & 4, He’s My Only Vampire 3 & 4, High School DXD 5 & 6, Inu x Boku SS 7 & 8, Karneval 2, Love At Fourteen 3 & 4No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular! 7Secret 2, Soul Eater NOT! 5, Spice & Wolf 11, Tena on S-String 7, Triage X 10, Ubel Blatt 2 & 3, Umineko When They Cry Episode 5: End of the Golden Witch 1 & 2, Until Death Do Us Part 9 & 10 and Void’s Enigmatic Mansion 2. Some must buys, some “I’ll judge you if you buys”.

But remember, this is Yen Press, who translate light novels as well as manga, and they’ve really started kicking it up this year. Want words not pictures? Go pick up Accel World 4, Black Bullet 1Durarara!! 1, Kagerou Daze 1 & 2, Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? 2 & 3Log Horizon 1 & 2, No Game No Life 1 & 2, Pandorahearts ~ Caucus Race ~ 1 & 2, Spice & Wolf 14 & 15, Sword Art Online 4 & 5, Sword Art Online Progressive 2, The Devil is a Part-Timer 1 & 2 and The Isolator 1. Sure hope you like video game inspired settings…

They’ve even squeezed in time for some Kindle support, including individual chapters of Void’s Enigmatic Mansion (17 – 19), as well as Handa-kun 1 – 3 (which doesn’t come out in paperback until next year), Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler – 1 & 2, Ninja Soccer 1 & 2, The Royal Tutor 1 & 2, Today’s Cerberus 1 – 4, alongside most of the titles mentioned above.

Dark Horse

Featured Release – Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt

I still remember how shocked I was that a series called “Panty & Stocking” turned out to be one of my favourite animated shows. I also remember the last time I bought a manga adaptation of a Gainax show in FLCL, and was not only awed by its striking artwork, but also the different direction and focus it took from the original show. Hence my intrigue at this release.

The artwork here is handled by “TAGRO”, who probably won’t ring a bell as his past works are all fairly obscure. Luckily, he gets it, completely. The simple combination of black and pink makes even basic scenes look stylish, and the artwork is as loose or complex as it needs to be for any particular scene, a perfect match for the show’s own “whatever the hell we feel like” look, in a way.

As for the story, well, you probably already know. Two angels kill ghosts, one a sex crazed blonde bombshell, the other a sweets devouring gothic lolita. They fight and fuck anything that moves, and do it in such an in your face way compared to the genre’s usual focus on titillation. It’s so refreshing a take and so at odds with Japan’s usual style, you just have to check it out.

That’s not the only Gainax inspired release from Dark Horse either, as Tony Takezaki’s Neon Genesis Evangelion is also available, a parody on the classic series. They’ve also released a glorious artbook simply titled Art of Satoshi Kon, paying homage to his bizarre and unique style he brought to all of his productions. We’ve also had a few Usagi Yojimbo releases, with The Special Edition 2, Saga 3 & 4, Senso and regular old Usagi Yojimbo 29.

Elsewhere we have continuations for the long running in Blade of the Immortal 31 and Gantz 35 & 36, a long-awaited return in The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service 14, the rebirth of a classic with New Lone Wolf & Club 5, and then there’s Clamp’s Drug & Drop 2. Oh, and I’ve saved the weirdest for last, as they’ve translated Oreimo: Kuroneko 1 & 2, so you can pick up the best character from that show’s spin-off. Not that I watch-bugger.

So. Er. How about that Kindle? You guys can check out a bunch of Shirow Masamune’s work, including Appleseed ID, Black Magic, Dominion, Dominion: Conflict One and Orion. And then there’s those meddling cats with Gunsmith Cats Revised Edition 1 – 4 and Gunsmith Cats Burst 1 – 5.

In the land of the omnibus, there’s Lone Wolf and Cub 8 & 9, Oh My Goddess! 1 and The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service 1, the latter two providing a good jumping on point for those longer and harder to find series.

Vertical

Featured Release – The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home 1

D’aaaaawwwwww isn’t she adorable. Sorry, Japan mode, I mean kawaii. In the realm of anime shorts few come close to Chi’s Sweet Home, as it tells the tale of this adorable little kitten experiencing the world and being a mischievous little bugger like cats are (if you’re reading this Spike, that means you).

This first of four complete editions bundles the first three volumes of the manga together. Author and artist Konami Kanata provides an adorable childlike perspective through Chi, both in the innocence of writing and the watercolour inspired artstyle that fits the tone perfectly. Pus Chi’s wide variety of expressions are amazing, including the pure terror that racks her boy every now and again.

It’s nothing complex or deep, but it sits proudly alongside Yotsuba&! as a real feelgood series. And if Chi’s adventures aren’t enough, there’s also a preview of Kanata’s newest series FukuFuku Kitty Tales at the end, which is, well, pretty similar except with a grumpier kitten and an old lady owner instead of a family.

We’ve also got a pair of books dedicated to two of the industries finest. A Sky Longing For Memories collects the artwork of Makoto Shinkai, famous for Five Centimeters Per Second, The Garden of Words, Voices of a Distant Star… all anime films championed for being stunningly beautiful. Then we have Dream Fossil, a collection of numerous short stories by Satoshi Kon, the visionary behind Paprika and Tokyo Godfathers, amongst others. And then Titan fans are well catered for with a pair of novels, Attack on Titan: Before the Fall – Kyklo is set before the main series, while Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City 1 is set during the events of the manga but from a new perspective.

Other Vertical releases have included Ajin: Demi-Human 4 – 6 (I’ve read the first one and it’s quite good), Cardfight!! Vanguard 6 & 7, Knights of Sidonia 14, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin 9 – 12, My Neighbour Seki 2 – 4, What Did You Eat Yesterday? 7 – 9, Witchcraft Works 4 – 6 and Wolfsmund 6.

And then there’s a few Kindle books, mostly Osamu Tezuka works, including Black Jack 9 – 17, Ode to Kirihito, Princess Knight 1 & 2 and The Twin Knights. Oh, and Sakuran if you want something non-Tezuka.

Kodansha

Featured Release – Fairy Tail 50

I must admit, I’m surprised. While the first time I saw Fairy Tail I found it a neat shōnen series, later visits had me put off by the humour and art. But here we are, with the last six months having seen the release of volumes 47, 48, 49 and 50. Fifty! The half century. Less than a hundred manga have ever crossed that threshold, and now Fairy Tail takes its place among legends.

If you don’t know what Fairy Tail is, it primarily revolves around Natsu, a pin haired kid raised and left to fend for himself by a dragon, who now searches for the closest he has to a father, and Lucy, a young up and coming mage who utilises keys to form contracts with various spirits to help her as needs be. She wanted to join a guild, and so Natsu drags her into Fairy Tail, who have a bit of a reputation as crazy wild child do whatever they want oops we blew everything up.

As you can probably guess, by now there’s a million and one characters, powers, enemies and all the trimmings you get in a long running shōnen. Honestly, I read the description and aside from recognising names I got nothing. It sounds like the Fairy Tail guild got destroyed somehow so now it’s Natsu and pals travelling around trying to get the band back together maybe. Who knows? By this point you’ll either be watching / reading Fairy Tail for life or have skipped past this.

There’s more Fairy Tail too, as Fairy Tail Blue Mistral 1, the series’ first spin-off, focuses on Wendy before she joined Fairy Tail. Plus we’ve got a few all new series debuting, like Let’s Dance A Waltz 1 – 3 (one male student actually loves ballroom dancing hope his friends never find out), A Silent Voice 1 – 3 (kid bullies girl out of school, five years later they meet again and he tries to redeem himself), Inuyashiki 1 (married man who nobody cares about dies, but is rebuilt by aliens), Your Lie in April 1 – 3 (think the plot of Nodame Cantabile and you’re pretty much there) and Devil Survivor 1 (based off the Shin Megami Tensei game).

Oh, and we’ve got a couple of special one offs too. There’s The Science of Attack on Titan, which is about as nonsensical as you’d expect for a series which regularly throws science out the window. And then there’s Maria the Virgin Witch Exhibition which no it isn’t that, lord. It’s a collection of side stories using the cast of the main series.

Continuations! The Titan onslaught never ends with Attack on Titan: Before the Fall 4 & 5, Attack on Titan: Junior High 3, and of course, the original, Attack on Titan 16. Otherwise you’ve got Cage of Eden 18, Maria the Virgin Witch 2 & 3, My Little Monster 8 – 10, Noragami 4 – 6, Say I Love You 7 – 9, The Heroic Legend of Arslan 3, The Seven Deadly Sins 8 & 9, The Wallflower 35, xxxHolic Rei 3 and Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches 2 – 4.

Omnibuses! Kodansha, not satisfied with mere 2 or 3 in 1 books, have started released their crazy 5 in 1 editions. There’s Fairy Tail Master’s Edition 1 collecting the first five volumes of that series, and Attack on Titan Colossal Edition 2, covering the sixth to tenth volumes. In more normal omnibus land, we have xxxHolic 6 & 7 bringing that series to a close (again) and Tsubasa 4 & 5 for those who can’t get enough Clamp.

Seven Seas Entertainment

Featured Release – Pandora in the Crimson Shell: Ghost Urn 1

Written by Shirow Masamune, creator of Ghost in the Shell. Art by Rikudo Koshi, creator of Excel Saga. I must admit, not two names I ever expected to see side by side, but Pandora provides just that.

So, what the heck is it. It’s a world weak from constant disasters, leading to countries racing to build better tech, creating an abundance of robots and cyborgs. The story revolves around two ultra-powerful cyborgs in particular. Sadly to activate their powers, they have to… well, finger fuck each other. Think of that one joke at the start of Chobits, then… make it happen over and over…

As it turns out, and as I’ve learned, those two are rather more known in manga terms for their hentai work. So… maybe not the dream team combo I envisioned. Certainly the artwork is pretty good, a mix of over the top anime expressions and clothing combined with neat looking environments, but you’d probably expect something deeper and more refined from names like these. Maybe one to check out as a curiosity, just don’t expect this to win any awards.

But that’s far from the only new Seven Seas series, as over the past six months they’ve also started 12 Beast 1 & 2, Alice in the Country of Clover: Black Lizard and Bitter Taste 1, Alice in the Country of Hearts: White Rabbit and Some Afternoon Tea 1, Bodacious Space Pirates: Abyss of Hyperspace 1 (apparently it’s pretty good despite appearances), Clay Lord: Master of Golems 1 & 2, Evergreen 1 & 2, Freezing 1 & 2, Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto 1 (another one I’ve had recommended before), Non Non Biyori 1 (if it’s anything like the anime, don’t bother), Servamp 1 & 2 and The Ancient Magus’ Bride 1. Oh, and there’s some special one offs like Alice in the Country of Clover: Twin Lovers (who is buying all this Alice stuff) and Vampire Cheerleaders in Space… And Time?! (I take it back, buy Alice).

But there’s also the usual slew of continuations (including yet more Alice). There’s A Centaur’s Life 6, A Certain Scientific Railgun 10, Alice in the Country of Joker: Nightmare Trilogy 3, Arpeggio of Blue Steel 4 & 5, Citrus 2 & 3, D-Frag! 4 & 5, Dance in the Vampire Bund II: Scarlet Order 2, Devils and Realist 5 & 6, Dragonar Academy 6 & 7, Girls und Panzer 4, Girls und Panzer: Little Army 2, Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends 11, I Am Alice: Body Swap In Wonderland 3, Kokoro Connect 3 & 4, Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer 5 – 8, Magical Girl Apocalypse 3 & 4, Monster Musume 6 & 7 (the in thing now based off summer anime season), Nurse Hitomi’s Monster Infirmary 2, Strike Witches: One-Winged Witches 2, The Sacred Blacksmith 7 & 8, ToraDora! 7 and World War Blue 8, which if it’s the series I think it is… don’t bother.

And with that, I… I think I’m done.

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Oh boy it’s good to be writing about manga again. And it’s good to have a new year of Anicom starting up too. Come check us out, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6pm til 9pm in OL1. Or hang out on Twitter, Facebook and the forums. Can’t wait to meet all the new faces (and catch up with the old)!