CMX Upcoming Titles: November 2007

Venus in Love Book 1

Venus in Love cover

by Yuki Nakaji, due out November 14
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Suzuna’s a new college student, but with her huge eyes, stupid-goofy smile, and pigtails, she looks more like a pre-teen. She’s living on her own for the first time and dreaming of falling in love.

New friend Hinako turns out to have history with her neighbor Eichi, who’s best friends with Fukami, the tennis stud Hinako is infatuated with. It’s all very conveniently cozy, rather like a sitcom. I’m not sure we need a manga version of That Girl, where gawky Suzuna tries to find her place in life with the help of her wacky neighbors and friends.

Maybe I’m wrong. While I would rather read teen soap opera, maybe others prefer teen comedy. Shame that there’s not very much humor here. Instead, there’s a purse-snatching and school clubs and a picnic in the country and a lot of starry-eyed “maybe he’ll notice me”. The only unfamiliar element to experienced manga readers may be Suzuna’s rival: instead of another girl, it’s Eichi. The boy/boy crush is treated somewhat sensitively, as difficult emotional situation, instead of as either slapstick or soft porn.

The Palette of 12 Secret Colors Book 1

The Palette of 12 Secret Colors cover

by Nari Kusakawa (author of The Recipe for Gertrude), due out November 21
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Opal, a South Seas island, is home to the most beautiful birds in the world and the magicians who take colors from their feathers. Cello is a student who studies well but can’t execute and so is in danger of failing. Her feelings for her bird Yoyo, her magic familiar, keep her trying.

The premise is an odd choice for black-and-white printing. I found the details of events and their scope hard to follow, especially when what happened involved mismatched colors. The characters were entertaining, though, with distinct personalities and involving attitudes. Cello’s devotion to her pet comes through dramatically, and the idea behind the magic is a clever twist.

The chapters are individual adventures where something mildly dangerous happens and Cello’s ability reveals itself in unexpected ways to save the day. She’s unique, typical of a manga heroine, in finding things to do with her magic no one else can, in the expected “outcast made good” way. I’d enjoy following this series if it was in color because I’d like to read more about her.

The Key to the Kingdom Book 2

The Key to the Kingdom Book 2 cover

by Kyoko Shitou, due out November 28
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I try not to read anything that involves a quest for some magical object in order to keep the kingdom safe. A flip-through shows stereotypical images — the beautiful big-eyed young girl, the brooding older man with eye-brushing bangs who protects her, the plucky and determined young prince, the caricatured supporting cast, the woman in disguise with secret knowledge, the epic monsters.

Pieces of a Spiral Book 10

Pieces of a Spiral Book 10 cover

by Kaimu Tachibana, due out December 5
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I don’t understand why publishers send out the final volume of a series for review. I doubt I could catch up with a story that lengthy about generational battle between mystic powers and demons, especially since it involves reincarnation. It’s not fair for me to try to jump in at this point — even if I grasped the high points, I’d likely miss the subtleties and emotional punch of the conclusion.

(All comments are based on photocopied, not final, preview copies provided by the publisher.)


  1. […] Angels and vol. 1 of Nightmares for Sale, both from new publisher Aurora, and a short look at some upcoming CMX volumes. Michelle checks out vol. 16 of Hana-Kimi at Solioquy in Blue. At Manga Life, Craig Johnson reviews […]

  2. […] Kusakawa previously created The Palette of 12 Secret Colors and The Recipe for Gertrude. Like those titles, this book is an overstuffed combination of fantasy, […]

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