From the Manga Mailbag: March Into April

It’s that time of month again! Come to think of it, I think it’s more than monthly these days.

March is a big month for Yen Press, with two of my very favorite series coming out next week. Bunny Drop Volume 5 jumps the story ahead a few years, as Rin, a schoolgirl in the previous book, is now in high school. Ah, the potential for teen romance.

The eagerly anticipated next volume of A Bride’s Story is also out. It tells us more of Mr. Smith, the English researcher living with the family, and his travels through that amazing history. This one I’m saving as a treat for myself.

Yen is launching Is This a Zombie?, a parody of magical girls, crossdressing, and supernatural manga that unfortunately sounds horrible. With the title, nudity, and panty shots, it’s not for me — but fans of the anime might enjoy the print version.

13th Boy, on the other hand, I hear good things about, so I’m glad to get a chance to try the series, even on Volume 11. It’s Korean, so it reads left-to-right.

Continuing volumes also out at the end of this month are Pandora Hearts 9, Bamboo Blade 12 (which I should try sometime, since it’s about a girl swordfighter), The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi-chan 5 (unlike the book with the similar title, this one is short stories and 4-koma humor strips), and Spice and Wolf 6.

Moving to Viz, we’re looking at what’s coming up in early April. Getting the second volume of A Devil and Her Love Song reminds me that I should try the series — I like the description of the lead as a girl with a “sharp tongue” and “bold attitude”.

Dawn of the Arcana continues with Volume 3, in which the princess’ aide Loki is promised to play more of a role. I smell jealousy!

I’m glad to see Slam Dunk has made it to the 21st volume. I’m surprised that sports manga isn’t more popular in the US, especially books about such a favorite and dramatic sport as basketball.

Several popular shojo series (which I am ashamed to say I haven’t been able to get into — I should put together a post on how little shojo I’m reading these days, because I’m not sure why that is, unless it’s that I’m not as young as I hope to be) continue as well: Skip Beat! 27, Sakura Hime 7, and Oresama Teacher 8.

Last, but only because it will take much longer to read, is Anime’s Media Mix: Franchising Toys and Characters in Japan, a book from the University of Minnesota Press, the same folks who put out Mechademia, the scholarly journal on anime and manga. The book explores convergence among anime and merchandising, tracing it back to the debut of Astro Boy and analyzing consumer culture in light of art as commodity. I’m curious to find out more (and if I can still follow that kind of academic argument!).

5 Comments

  1. [...] in manga, I’ve already mentioned some outstanding Yen Press releases this week. I’m also curious to try Young Miss Holmes, an omnibus from Seven Seas [...]

  2. I fear that 13th Boy could be a tough sell for someone coming in on the second-to-last volume, but I hope you find something to like in it! :)

  3. Yeah, I didn’t realize that was next-to-last until I read the coverage at your site. Oh well.

  4. I’d be interested in your review of A DEVIL AND HER LOVE SONG. I bought the first one on the strength of the blurb and was baffled. I didn’t find the main character particularly “sharp-tongued”, and her personality wavered between obsequious deference and blase indifference.

    And the two male leads — her love triangle-to-be? — were opaque and incomprehensible to me.

    BUT — I think there is a huge cultural disconnect thing going on — that all of this characterization was supposed to make sense against the backdrop of cultural gender expectations that I not only didn’t share, but didn’t even have in my mental toolkit.

    Anyways, I’d like to see if was just me!

  5. Oh, that’s intriguing. Now I’m more curious to read the series, and see what I think of the marketing as well as the content.

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