Viz First Quarter Releases

Viz has announced three new manga series debuting in the next month or so. The quoted passages are from their press release.

Due out in two weeks is Inubaka: Crazy for Dogs.

Inubaka: Crazy for Dogs cover
Inubaka: Crazy for Dogs
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All alone except for her loyal canine companion, Lupin (named for the famous anime character), 18-year-old Suguri moves from the country to the big city in search of a career and a new life. On a walk with his owners to check out the new neighborhood, the gregarious Lupin meets a female Labrador Retriever named Noa who he soon gets pregnant. Noa’s owner, Teppei, is dismayed and crushed to learn his dream of a litter of pure bred Labrador puppies has been shattered. To make up for the indiscretion, Suguri offers to work at the pet store Teppei manages. She soon meets an assortment of quirky dogs and their even stranger owners and an adventure in canine antics begins. This loveable story from Yukiya Sakuragi will delight animal lovers!

This is the one I’m most interested in, so of course, it’s the one I haven’t seen yet. (The next two following, I was lucky enough to review previews for.) It just sounds so cute, with all the manga doggies. A pet store is a great setting for different types of stories as owners and customers come through.

The next two titles are due in March. Backstage Prince at first sounded predictable, but I appreciated its classic treatment of romance.

Backstage Prince cover
Backstage Prince
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Set against the vivid backdrop of Kabuki theater, BACKSTAGE PRINCE introduces readers to Akari, an average high school girl who fails to see why the other girls in her school are so interested in Ryusei, a young and talented Kabuki actor and fellow student. Akari happens to run into Ryusei at school and accidentally ends up bruising him with her book bag. Later, Akari ends up following a cat all the way to a Kabuki theatre and by chance runs into Ryusei once again. To make up for her mistake, she volunteers to become Ryusei’s assistant until he is healed. The reclusive and socially inept Ryusei accepts only because Akari gets along with his pet cat, the very one she followed all the way to the theatre. When Ryusei is finally better, Akari realizes she has fallen in love. The couple’s blossoming love takes a turn for the dramatic as their relationship is put to the test by Ryusei’s profession and popularity and those who disapprove of their relationship, especially Ryusei’s strict father and Naoki, another Kabuki actor who loves Akari.

The following-the-cat-into-another-world bit reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, and the two leads have surprisingly deep feelings. Together, they’re more than they were apart. The idea that he needs her to learn how to feel is reminiscent of numerous Harlequins, but the emotional drama reminded me of Sensual Phrase (without the sex, making it suitable for a younger audience).

The other book I didn’t enjoy. The strong>Gentlemen’s Alliance+ is by the author of Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne and Full Moon O Sagashite, and it has the same frenetic action as those titles.

Gentlemen's Alliance+ cover
Gentlemen’s Alliance+
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In return for a business loan of 50 million yen, the prestigious Kamiya family gave their daughter Haine away for adoption to the successful Otomiya family who send her to the Imperial Academy, an exclusive school for the children of wealthy families. Haine, now an Otomiya, is appointed to the student council of the exclusive school. Even though Haine is of proper lineage to be on the council, she finds herself struggling to find her place among the many secrets of its elite members, especially those of the president who holds her heart – Shizumasa Togu, aka “the Emperor.” Haine has been in love with Shizumasa Togu since she read the fairy tale he wrote as a child. However, the Emperor is so well sequestered by the student council that she hasn’t been able to speak to him in the three months she’s been at the academy. And as rumor has it, he already has a lover. As impossible as the odds may seem, Haine-chan’s innate optimism keeps her going, as she pursues her love. … The first printing of THE GENTLEMEN’S ALLIANCE+ Volume 1 includes a 2-sided full-color poster.

I found the heroine outrageously cheery and somewhat simple-minded. Given the premise, I would have probably reacted to it better if the story was set in the past instead of modern day.

3 Comments

  1. carpboy, my reaction to the preview of Gentlemen’s Alliance was that the delinquent history of the heroine was hard to buy considering the art, which makes her seem too bubbly and cheery to accept as a former street tough.

    OTOH, I’m really enjoying Backstage Prince in Shojo Beat. It’s very simply about character and it takes the challenge of writing about people just dealing with their personal issues with gusto.

  2. its hard to believe Haine from gentlemen’s alliance was a former yankee.. or delinquent, her character’s looks and actions shows nothing of that matter.
    the plot is so random. not as good as her early works such as ‘Full Moon’ but its still worth reading because the art is amazing, also, only the fifth volume came out, it’ll get better.

  3. I love Arina manga. I think that she should make a sequal to Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne, but with Shinji (Access) and Nastuki (Finn) as the main characters! That would be awesome!

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