Weekly Wish List
Kodansha, Viz and Yen Press all hold my attention this week. There’s only one title from Kodansha I’m interested in; Attack on Titan Volume 11. This is the last of the monthly releases, as the US is now caught up with Japan, and the next vol, 12 will be released in March. Viz has a couple more titles I want. Inuyasha was one of the first manga titles I bought in English, but I was disappointed they were left to right. Viz fixed that with their VizBIG edition. The final vol, 18 comes out this week. I wish this title wasn’t iOS exclusive. I loved the first vol of Magi and bought 2-3 during the Vizmanga sale. Vol 4 is out this week. I also enjoyed Voice Over Seiyu Academy. Vol 3 comes out, though I still need vol 2. Yen Press has a few titles I enjoy. Durarara was a title that had to grow on me, but now that it has, I have to have all the volumes. Durarara Saika vol 3 is out now. Yen Press is also trying to kill me with the omnibuses. Higurashi When They Cry vol 24 Festival Accompanying Act part 3 and Umineko When They Cry vol 5 Banquet of the Golden Witch Part 1 both come out this week. Those things are huge!
Over at Vizmanga, they didn’t have a top 10 list per se, but what they called their top January releases. It looks more like a regular top 10, so I’m going to read it like one anyway. Still sitting pretty at #1 is Naruto vol 64. Phoenix vol 1 comes in at #2, despite a higher price. Knights of the Zodiac vol 3 moves up one to #3 while Strobe Edge returns after week off at #4. Also returning are Rurouni Kenshin Restoration vol 2 at #5 and Psyren vol 14 at #6. Yu Yu Hakusho loses its top five spot with vol 14 coming in at #7 followed by Muhyo and Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation vol 10 at #8. The final volume of Gimmick, vol 9 comes in at #9 and Skip Beat vol 30 ends the list at #10.
I’m not sure why Viz didn’t call this a top 10 like normal. I’m skeptical about the “top january releases” title. It includes titles that while may be strong sellers aren’t necessarily at the top. Muhyo and Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation is a perfect example since it hasn’t charted since volume 2 or 3 I think. A monthly top seller list should be more about series’ than individual volumes, especially for titles such as Yuyu Hakusho and Skip Beat whose titles chart every week, but it is often a different one.
New York Times Bestseller list
The New York Times Bestseller list sees a small shakeup thanks to some Yen Press new releases. For the week ending January 25, 2014, the number #1 titles doesn’t change for a third week as Naruto vol 64 hangs around. Black Butler returns with it’s newest volume as vol 16 comes in at #2. Hanging on for its third week also is Monster Musume vol 2 at #3. The second Yen Press title, No Matter How I look At It, Tt’s You Guy’s Fault I’m Not Popular vol 2 comes in at #4 followed by Attack on Titan vol 1 at #5. Attack on Titan vol 10 falls back 3 to #6 while Fairy Tail vol 34 debuts at #7. Also debuting is Dictatorial Grimoire vol 2 at #8 while Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal vol 4 falls back 5 to #9, and Nisekoi vol 1 also falls back 4 to come in at #10.
The Kodansha and Viz titles are both nothing new and no surprise. Yen Press’ Black Butler debuting isn’t a surprise either. I am surprised by No Matter How I Look at it returning. I wasn’t impressed with the first volume. I still can’t believe Monster Musume is doing so well, but I am glad to see Dictatorial Grimoire chart with it’s second volume. I really need to get volume 1.
Con season has barely started, and already the licenses are starting to roll in. I may have to start a new feature just for Crunchyroll. This last week they added another 4 new titles to their streaming service.
Action Man is the the favorite superhero TV series of Shinchan from the manga Crayon Shin Chan. It starts when a boy goes searching for a serial assailant who is attack children. when he is attacked himself, he is saved by a masked man. Meta manga has it’s problems, but this one might not be so bad since it’s premise is pretty normal
King’s Game: Origin tells the origin story of the popular mobile phone novel Kings Game. It’s a survival horror that takes place 30 years in the past, when one villager in the village of Yonaki receives a black envelope with instructions that must be obeyed or the entire populace will suffer. I’m not a fan of survival horror. Those two words turn me off of most titles.
Orange is a shojo manga with a bit of a sci-fi twist. A boy receives a letter from himself from 10 years into the future urges himself to take steps to keep from reliving his regrets of losing Kakeru. this one has an interesting ring to it, and it’s a shojo, which has been rare on the site so far.
Re Collector has a strange premise. A man calling himself God appears before amnesiac high school teacher Kanade natsume. “God” promises to help Natusme get his memories back. the story is a mystery-romance. I’m on the fence about this one. It sounds a little on the weird side for me. As is the norm now with Crunchyroll, new chapters now, older chapter sometime later.
Seven Seas had a license announcement for Dance in the Vampire Bund fans. They will be releasing 2 doujinshis by the creator of the series that were previously only available at Comiket, Japan’s major comic convention, in individual issues. Forgotten Tales is 192 pages of previously uncollected manga with some bonus material to be added. Secret Chronicle will have 280 pages of previously unpublished canonical short stories. The first book will be available in June of this year.
Vertical released its first license of the new year over Anime News Network’s podcast, Anncast. Ed Chavez announced Tonari no Seki-kun, a comedy manga for release this fall. The story revolves around a girl named Yokoi who sits next to a boy known only as Seki-kun. Instead of paying attention in class, Seki-kun creates detailed distractions on this desk, such as a detailed golf course, or a dramatic war fought through paper shoji pieces. This title sounds very strange and eclectic, and I can’t wait to read it!
Year of the Horse
The Chinese New Year has come early this year and with the new year comes a new animal in the Eastern zodiac. This year is the year of the horse. For five years now, I’ve looked for manga that is about or features prominently the year’s zodiac animal. I had to do a lot of thinking to come up with titles in english with horses, and even stretched it a little to include some mythical horse-types. But they’ve got four legs and hooves, so they count, right?
The purest of titles is Fruits Basket. The story is based around the legend of the Chinese zodiac, with 12 members of the Sohma family being cursed to turn into one of the animals. The horse of the Sohmas is Isuzu. She shows up in volume 13. Like most of the Sohma family, she has a tragic past, having been abused both physically and emotionally by her parents. She is aggressive and unkind, but also loyal and emotional. She is cynical of Toru’s optimism and has only let one person get close to her, Haru, though she was chased away from him by Akito. All 23 volumes were released by Tokyopop, but are out of print now. Yen Press has since rescued the license and is publishing the series with a new translation in 2-in-1 omnibuses.
Therme Romae is a comedy manga about Roman bath architect Lucius who can travel through time to modern Japan. On one visit to modern Japan, Lucius helps a mare whose owner couldn’t give her the proper care she needed. The mare becomes infatuated with Lucius, with hearts appearing over her head when she sees him. This new love interest for Lucius only makes a funny manga funnier. It is available from Yen Press in deluxe hardcover 2-in-1 omnibus editions.
Moving on to the mythical, let’s start with some western mythics. The hero of Knights of the Zodiac Saint Seiya, Seiya, is the holder of the Bronze Pegasus armor. He and his co-horts fight to protect the goddess Athena in the human form of Saya. Other horse like cloths in the series include the Unicorn and Sagittarius, the centaur archer gold armor, that Seiya gets to borrow every once in awhile, usually after getting beat up really bad. It’s published by Viz Media and all 28 volumes are available in print and it has just started coming out digitally.
From the same creator comes a series based on eastern mythological creatures. B’t X is about brash Teppei who tries to rescue his brother from Machine Empire and ends up partnered with the B’t X, an artificial intelligent mechanoid in the shape of kirin, often called a Chinese unicorn. The series wasn’t as popular as Saint Seiya, but Tokyopop did manage to release all 16 volumes. It’s now out of print.
Another title to feature a kirin was Pet Shop of Horrors. where he is shown as a king maker, helping Hitler rise to power in World War II. This same kirin crossed over along with D to another Matsuri Akino series, Genju no Seiza. Here he has more of a role as Sohki, the only beast not under control of the Holy King, but still has the role of kingmaker. I loved Sohki, he is funny and capricious, as you would expect from a holy creature, but I also really liked the Hitler story. Both titles were published by Tokyopop, and both are out of print, though only Petshop of Horrors was published complete.
The final mythical horse-like creature is the centaur. The first centaur manga to get an official English translation was Hataraki Kentaros from Jmanga. This one volume title by the well known BL creator Est Em is about centaurs trying to be salary men in a human workplace. It’s a humorous premise, but is also out of print and unavailable. A more recent title is A Centaur’s Life from Seven Seas Entertainment. It is a slice of life about Himeno, a teenage centaur and her everyday life at school and with her other supernatural friends. There are currently 2 volumes available.
Know of any other titles that feature horses or their mythical close relatives? Leave me a comment and let me know!