Anyone worrying about the health of the manga publishers should see what happens when you stack up a month’s worth of releases from the three majors: Viz, Yen Press, and Kodansha. There are so many books here, I don’t know how I’ll get to them before the end of February, the shortest month.
Kodansha sends out the past month’s worth of books in their mailings, so in the January batch, I’m looking forward to catching up with the twin mystery in Arisa 6; sampling @ Full Moon 2 (it’s the final volume, but since it’s a gender-mixed vampire/werewolf romance, I’m guessing I can get up to speed quickly); escaping with the sugary 4-koma strip Shugo Chara Chan 2; and trying Sailor Moon for the first time with Book 3. Also out are the adventure sagas Fairy Tail 17 and Deltora Quest 4, as well as the magical harem action fantasy Negima! 33: Magister Negi Magi.
I’m honored to be added to the Yen Press list, giving me a sneak peek at their February releases. Soul Eater 8 doesn’t sound like my kind of thing, but I’m curious to try The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya 11, the supernatural alien secret organization comedy. I’m not sure a demon-slaying story rated Mature, such as Omamori Himari 6, is for me — I thought the rating was for violence, but after a flip-through, I’m guessing it’s due to the nude shower scene — and the other two books, Nabari No Ou 9 and Sumomomo, Momomo 11, look like fight manga, although the latter has a romance twist that might be intriguing.
The biggest problem for a new reader is that Yen’s series are long-running. That’s a huge benefit for fans, who may be concerned about the stability of titles after some of last year’s industry upheavals, but it makes it a little more difficult to be sure you’ve got a good jumping on point. Readers, what Yen series and volumes do you recommend starting with?
Then there’s Viz. They do several mailings a month due to their different categories of titles, so I’ve already received and mentioned some of the shojo titles coming out in early February, but there’s lots more. (I do wish Viz had a list at their website of all their titles during a particular month. It’s one of my very few complaints about their site, since otherwise, they do a lot of things right online.)
Viz also has the longest lead time in review copies. They’re ready for March now, with a selection that included new series The Earl and The Fairy 1 (Lydia, a fairy doctor, gets involved in a quest with a mysterious heir to the fairy kingdom), One Piece 61 (can you believe it? over 60 volumes of pirate adventure?!?), La Corda d’Oro 15, and the new Hana-Kimi omnibus re-release. I was a fan of this series when it started in 2004, and I’m curious to see how I approach it now that I’ve read a lot more shojo manga. (We know that revisitation didn’t work out so well for Love Hina, but I’m guessing Hana-Kimi might be a little less problematic.)