Aya Kanno Interview; New Licenses from Dark Horse; Free Manga from Viz

Aya KannoI interviewed Aya Kanno, creator of Otomen and Requiem of the Rose King, for the Barnes & Noble blog. Although her work is published in shoujo and josei magazines, Kanno originally wanted to do seinen manga, and she apprenticed with a shonen artist. But the first manga she ever drew was a shoujo manga:

What is the first comic you ever made? Not the first comic that was published, the first comic you made for yourself.
It was probably when I was in elementary school, grade three maybe—I was about eight or nine years old. I don’t even know why I wrote this, but the usual shoujo—the way things played out with shoujo—I was really kind of in opposition to, I was like “Ah, I hate this,!” but the details were very shoujo: This girl falls in love with her senpai [an older student], but he is moving away, so she knits him a scarf. That is the first thing I drew.

giganto-maxiaDark Horse announced some new licenses at its Anime Central panel: Giganto Maxia, by Berserk creator Kentarou Miura; RG Veda, by CLAMP (originally licensed by Tokyopop back in the day); Danganronpa: The Animation, by Spike Chunsoft and Takashi Tsukimi; and I Am a Hero, by Kengo Hanazawa. Lori Henderson covers the panel, which was apparently a surprise appearance.

Want some free digital manga? Viz is offering the first chapters of All You Need is Kill, Bleach, Food Wars, Naruto, and One Piece on their vizmanga.com platform.

The Manga Bookshelf team looks at this week’s new releases.

Lori Henderson looks at the latest manga best-seller lists from the New York Times and Amazon.

Erica Friedman brings us up to date with the latest edition of Yuri Network News at Okazu.

Reviews: Ash Brown reports in on the week in manga at Experiments in Manga.

Matthew Warner on vol. 15 of 07-Ghost (The Fandom Post)
Kate O’Neil on vol. 15 of Attack on Titan (The Fandom Post)
Erica Friedman on the May issue of Comic Yuri Hime (Okazu)
Anna N on His Virgin Mistress and Night of Love (Manga Report)
Matthew Warner on vol. 4 of Little Battlers Experience (The Fandom Post)
Sean Gaffney on vols. 15 and 16 of Ranma 1/2 (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Matthew Warner on vol. 17 of Rin-ne (The Fandom Post)
Ken H on vol. 1 of A Silent Voice (Sequential Ink)
Lori Henderson on vol. 1 of Your Lie in April (Manga Xanadu)

The Manga Revue, 5/22/15

Welcome to the first installment of The Manga Revue! I’ll be posting this column on a weekly basis, offering a mixture of reviews and links to manga criticism around the web. This week, I focus on two manly manga, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood, the first installment of Hirohiko Araki’s long-running saga, and Seraphim 266613336 Wings, an unfinished collaboration between Mamoru Oshii and Satoshi Kon.

jojo_phantom_blood1JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Part 1: Phantom Blood, Vol. 1
By Hirohiko Araki
Rated T+, for Older Teens
VIZ Media, $10.99

Phantom Blood is a prime example of ALL CAPS theater, the sort of manga in which characters boldly declare their intentions on every page, sidekicks materialize whenever a plot twist demands explanation, and villains reveal their true colors by torturing fathers, girlfriends, and faithful pets. If only Phantom Blood was fun! Alas, this origin story is a dud, thanks to its flat characterizations and paint-by-numbers plotting.

The biggest problem is the hero: Jonathan Joestar is a paragon of virtue who suffers so many preposterous setbacks that it tests the reader’s patience. Many shonen heroes share Jonathan’s capacity for punishment, for course, but Jonathan is such a limp rag that it’s hard to sympathize with his anguish over losing favored son status to his adopted brother Dio Brando. Dio is similarly two-dimensional, devoting 97.8% of his waking hours to plotting the Joestar clan’s demise. Although his plan is suitably baroque, Dio’s malevolence is so all-consuming that he, too, lacks any recognizably human traits.

These paper-thin characterizations would matter less if the plot or artwork were more engaging. The main storyline, however, is about as fresh as week-old fish; even if the phrase “bloodthirsty Aztec mask” piques your interest, the mask is so clumsily integrated into Dio’s revenge as to invite comparisons with an episode of Scooby Doo. The artwork is also a disappointment, a collection of lantern-jawed men with cartoonish muscles inhabiting a pseudo-Victorian landscape–it’s Fist of the North Star in 19th century England! At least we know Araki’s draftsmanship and storytelling got better, as fans of the third JoJo arc, Stardust Crusaders, will attest.

The verdict: Unless you’re a die-hard collector, skip it. Folks looking for a good introduction to Araki’s unique talent are better served by Rohan at the Louvre.

seraphimSeraphim 266613336 Wings
By Mamoru Oshii and Satoshi Kon
Rated 16 and up
Dark Horse, $19.99

First serialized in the pages of Animage magazine, Seraphim 266613336 Wings is a fascinating relic from the mid-1990s. The magazine’s editors invited Mamoru Oshii and Satoshi Kon to create a series that would fill the space left by the conclusion of Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Although the results were not as ambitious or satisfying as Nausicaa, Oshii and Kon’s work is surprisingly good, a harmonious blend of science fiction, geopolitics, and mysticism. (OK, mystical claptrap. More on that in a minute.)

The story unfolds in the near future. Asia is in shambles, devastated by a mysterious plague that reduces its victims to stony, bird-like corpses. Despite the best efforts of the World Health Organization (WHO), no one has successfully determined the disease’s cause or found a cure. In a desperate bid to save humanity, four pilgrims cross the cordon sanitaire that encircles Central Asia. Their mission: to investigate a mysterious relic that’s jealously guarded by a Hakka warlord.

If certain aspects of the plot feel a little heavy-handed–the WHO, for example, is portrayed as a quasi-religious organization not unlike the Vatican–the execution is brisk and skillful. Oshii and Kon resist the temptation to freight the dialogue with too much exposition, instead relying on Kon’s crumbling landscapes and vivid character designs to convey the pandemic’s toll on society. We see abandoned cities punctuating the desert, refugee camps teeming with feverish, disoriented victims, and isolated military outposts where survivors husband weapons and medicine–all potent (if familiar) symbols of a world plunged into chaos.

Winged imagery, too, plays an important role in Seraphim: planes glide silently through migrating flocks, skies turn black with mobbing birds. In some passages, Kon and Oshii revel in the ambiguity of these images: did the pandemic originate with birds, or are they simply beneficiaries of its effects? In other passages, however, the authors baldly state the story’s themes; characters pontificate about the plague victims’ “angelic” appearance and wonder if these victims are harbingers of mankind’s extinction–or redemption.

We’ll never know the answer. After producing seventeen chapters, Oshii and Kon shelved the project over creative differences. The surviving fragment is a testament to their ability to transcend those differences–if only for a short period–to produce a story that reads like the product of a single, fertile imagination.

The verdict: With its gorgeous artwork and intricate plot, Seraphim 266613336 Wings rewards multiple readings–even if the story lacks a proper ending.

Review Links: Jason Thompson offers a sneak peak at cyber-thriller Inuyashiki, which will debut in print this August, while Serdar Yegulalp revisits old favorite Black Lagoon. At Brain vs. Book, translator Jocelyn Allen discusses Aya Kanno’s Otomen. (Fun fact: Allen is currently translating Kanno’s Requiem of the Rose King for VIZ.) Closer to home, Sean Gaffney posts an early review of The Ancient Magus’ Bride, while Ash Brown weighs in on the latest volumes of Attack on Titan, Fairy Tail, and Love at 14.

Marissa Lieberman on vols. 1-2 of Accel World (No Flying No Tights)
Joseph Luster on vol. 4 of Ajin: Demi-Human (Otaku USA)
Matthew Warner on vol. 1 of Ani-Imo (The Fandom Post)
Megan R. on Apothecarius Argentum (The Manga Test Drive)
A Library Girl on vol. 1 of Aquarian Age: Juvenile Orion (A Library Girl’s Familiar Diversions)
Kate O’Neil on vol. 4 of Attack on Titan: Before the Fall (The Fandom Post)
Tony Yao on Black Butler (Manga Therapy)
Connie on vol. 27 of Blade of the Immortal (Slightly Biased Manga)
Justin Stroman on vol. 1 of Captain Ken (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Ken H. on vol. 5 of Cardfight!! Vanguard (Sequential Ink)
Connie on vol. 3 of Crimson Spell (Slightly Biased Manga)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 15 of Dorohedoro (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Wolfen Moondaughter on vol. 14 of Itsawaribito (Sequential Tart)
Connie on vol. 1 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Part One: Phantom Blood (Slightly Biased Manga)
Kory Cerjak on vol. 2 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Part One: Phantom Blood (The Fandom Post)
Allen Kesinger on vols. 1-3 of High School DxD (No Flying No Tights)
Allen Kesinger on High School DxD: Asia and Koneko’s Secret Contact?! (No Flying No Tights)
Connie on vol. 23 of Hoshin Engi (Slightly Biased Manga)
Anna N. on vol. 4 of Kiss of the Rose Princess (The Manga Report)
Emma Vail on vols. 1-3 of Manga Dogs (Women Write About Comics)
Sakura Eries on vol. 2 of Master Keaton (The Fandom Post)
Erica Friedman on vol. 9 of Morita-san ha Mukuchi (Okazu)
Kristin on vols. 1-2 of My Neighbor Seki (Comic Attack!)
Connie on vol. 2 of Phantom Thief Jeanne (Slightly Biased Manga)
Kory Cerjak on vol. 3 of Prophecy (The Fandom Post)
Erica Friedman on vol. 17 of Rakuen Le Paradis (Okazu)
Rebecca Silverman on vol. 11 of Sankarea: Undying Love (ANN)
Helen on Shirahime-Syo (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Connie on vol. 33 of Skip Beat! (Slightly Biased Manga)
Sheena McNeil on vol. 3 of Spell of Desire (Sequential Tart)
Erica Friedman on vol. 2 of Stretch (Okazu)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 6 of Terra Formars (Comic Book Bin)
Greg Hunter on Trash Market (The Comics Journal)
Rebecca Silverman on vol. 3 of Whispered Words (ANN)

If you’re a manga reviewer and would like to see your reviews included in our regular round-ups, please let us know in the comment section.

New Licenses, May Manga Roundup, Vinland Saga Love

Legend of ZeldaLots of fantasy, gaming and supernatural series are launching in May, starting with Shotaro Ishinomori’s Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which was originally drawn for Nintendo Power magazine back in the 1990s; I rounded up some of the most promising May releases at the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi/Fantasy Blog.

Also at the B&N blog, I celebrate the return of Vinland Saga with a look at what sets it apart from your average Viking story.

This blog has been a bit quiet because I went to TCAF last week, where I interviewed both Aya Kanno, the creator of Otomen and Requiem of the Rose King, and Gurihiru, the two-woman team that illustrates Dark Horse’s Avatar: The Last Airbender graphic novels. I’ll have more to say about that later, but for now, it’s worth taking a few minutes to read Jocelyne Allen’s essay on Aya Kanno and the importance of Otomen. Jocelyne was Kanno’s translator at TCAF and she did a superb job; she’s also the translator of Requiem of the Rose King, but this post is about why Otomen matters. I have to admit I had only glanced at Otomen before TCAF, but I prepped for the interviews (one individual and one onstage) by reading not only Otomen and Requiem but also Kanno’s earlier series, Blank Slate. Taken together, they are a remarkable body of work. Kanno is versatile, working in a number of styles, but also very smart, and as Jocelyne points out, Otomen gets really interesting after the first few volumes.

Seven Seas has announced three new manga licenses: The high school zombie series Hour of the Zombie (a.k.a. Igai—The Play Dead/Alive); a fanservice-y shonen title, The Testament of Sister New Devil, which is based on a light novel series; and an action comedy, My Monster Secret.

Of the Red, the Light and the Ayakashi

Of the Red, the Light and the Ayakashi

Yen Press announced two new licenses last week: School-Live! (Gakkō Gurashi!), by Sadoru Chiba and Norimitsu Kaihō (Nitroplus), and Of the Red, the Light and the Ayakashi (Aka ya Akashi ya Ayakashi no), by HaccaWorks* and Nanao

Meanwhile, Viz has some license rescues, all digital: Eureka Seven, formerly published by Bandai; two vintage Tokyopop titles, Glass Wings and Flower of Deep Sleep; and Cheeky Angel, a Viz title that’s out of print.

And Crunchyroll has the digital release of Inuyashiki, by Gantz creator Hiroya Oku. Kodansha comics will start releasing it in print in August.

Big convention news:

  • Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto will be coming to New York Comic Con in October;
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! manga-ka Kazuki Takahashi will be at Comic-Con International in San Diego in July;
  • And Julietta Suzuki, creator of Kamisama Kiss and Karakuri Odette (remember that one?) will make her first U.S. appearance at Anime Expo, also in July.

The Manga Bookshelf team discuss their Pick of the Week and take a look at the coming week’s new releases.

Justin Stroman has another one of his excellent insider posts up at Organization Anti-Social Geniuses; this time he interviews four manga translators about their work. He also investigates why he can’t read mature manga in the Viz apps.

Also, Ryan Holmberg has a longish but fascinating piece at The Comics Journal about blood banks and selling blood and why that pops up so often in manga.

In preparation for Kishimoto’s visit, Vernieda Vergara answers all your questions about Naruto. Well, some of them, anyway.

Shonen Jump is bringing back Jump Start, running a couple of chapters of new manga from the Japanese magazine; Lori Henderson takes a look at two new series.

Least surprising news item of the week: Shotaro Ishinomori’s Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past tops this week’s New York Times best-seller list.

Here’s a preview of Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga #46.

News from Japan

  • Kodansha has announced the winners of the 39th Kodansha Manga Awards. The Seven Deadly Sins and Yowamushi Pedal (recently licensed by Yen Press) tied for best shonen manga, Nigeru wa Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu got the nod for best shojo title, and Knights of Sidonia was named Best General Manga. Tochi Ueyama’s long-running series Cooking Papa got a special award as well.
  • The monthly magazine Zero-Sum Ward is shutting down, but several series, including Wild Adapter, are being farmed out to other publications or online.
  • Do you like Magi? So do lots of other people: A recent issue of Shonen Sunday reports that there are 18 million volumes in print.
  • Kadokawa is launching Comic Walker GLOBAL, a companion to its Comic Walker digital manga site that features non-Japanese titles (mostly translated into Japanese).
  • Shueisha will be selling a full-size reproduction of Masashi Kishimoto’s original art for the first chapter of Naruto.

Reviews

Kristin on The Angel of Elhamburg (Comic Attack)
John Rose on vol. 18 of Black Butler (The Fandom Post)
Ash Brown on Blade of the Immortal, vol. 31: Final Curtain (Experiments in Manga)
John Rose on vol. 5 of Blood Lad (The Fandom Post)
Day on vol. 2 of Citrus (Okazu)
AstroNerdBoy on vol. 1 of D-Frag (AstroNerdBoy’s Anime and Manga Blog)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Evergreen (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
John Rose on vol. 38 of Fairy Tail (The Fandom Post)
Kory Cerjak on vol. 43 of Fairy Tail (The Fandom Post)
Ken H on vols. 2 and 3 of The Heroic Legend of Arslan (Sequential Ink)
Matthew Alexander on vol. 3 of High School DxD (The Fandom Post)
AJ Adejare on vol. 1 of Kagerou Daze (The Fandom Post)
Erica Friedman on vol. 3 of Kampfer (Okazu)
Lori Henderson on vol. 1 of Let’s Dance a Waltz (Manga Xanadu)
Kate O’Neil on vol. 1 of Let’s Dance a Waltz (The Fandom Post)
Matthew Warner on vol. 13 of Library Wars (The Fandom Post)
Anna N on vols. 1-3 of Magi (Manga Report)
Dave Ferraro on vol. 1 of Maria the Virgin Witch (Comics and More)
Erica Friedman on Murcielago (Okazu)
Ash Brown on vol. 3 of Mushishi (Experiments in Manga)
John Rose on vol. 1 of No. 6 (The Fandom Post)
Laura on No. 6 (Heart of Manga)
Jessica Uelmen on Ouran High School Host Club (The Mary Sue)
Lori Henderson on vols. 12-20 of Pandora Hearts (Manga Xanadu)
Chris Beveridge on Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (The Fandom Post)
Ash Brown on Priapus (Experiments in Manga)
Rebecca Henely on Puella Magi Oriko Magica: Extra Story and vol. 1 of Puella Magi Tart Magica (Women Write About Comics)
Nick Smith on Puella Magi Tart Magica, vol. 1: The Legend of Jeanne (ICv2)
Erica Friedman on Renai Manga (Okazu)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of A Silent Voice (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
John Rose on vol. 3 of Soul Eater NOT! (The Fandom Post)
Erica Friedman on Starlight Melody (Okazu)
Kristin on vols. 2 and 3 of Terra Formars (Comic Attack)
Justin Stroman on vol. 1 of Tokyo Ghoul (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Matthew Alexander on vol. 8 of Triage X (The Fandom Post)
Scott Cederlund on Uzumaki (Panel Patter)
Ken H on vol. 6 of Wolfsmund (Sequential Ink)
Kory Cerjak on vol. 1 of Yamada-Kun and the Seven Witches (The Fandom Post)
Sakura Eries on vol. 1 of Your Lie in April (The Fandom Post)

Eisner Nominees, Banned Manga, and Another License for Seven Seas

One-Punch Man

At the Barnes and Noble Sci-Fi/Fantasy blog, I rounded up this year’s Eisner nominees in the manga category and threw in a few titles that I would have advocated for, had I been in the room. I also took a look at the best new series and graphic novel lists.

ANN posts a list of seven manga banned around the world, including Death Note, Barefoot Gen, and Dragon Ball. Even Pokemon, surely the most innocuous of all manga, fell afoul of the authorities in Saudi Arabia for promoting gambling (because trading cards) and containing “Zionist” and Christian symbols.

Yen Press takes the top three spots in this week’s New York Times manga best-seller list, with vol. 2 of Akame Ga Kill!, vol. 1 of Log Horizon, and vol. 1 of Big Hero 6 in the top three spots. The first volume of Akame Ga Kill also makes the list, as do two volumes of Attack on Titan, all three volumes of Assassination Classroom, and vol. 2 of Citrus.

Seven Seas has announced another new license: The time-travel shoujo manga orange:

Everyone has regrets in life. So who wouldn’t take the chance to change the past if given the opportunity? When sixteen-year-old Takamiya Naho receives a mysterious letter, claiming to be from her twenty-seven-year-old self, her life is suddenly thrown into flux. The letter tells her that a new transfer student by the name of Naruse Kakeru will be joining her class, and to keep her eye on him. But why? Naho must decide what to make of the letter and its cryptic warning, and what it means not only for her future, but for Kakeru’s as well.

Why did Seven Seas decide to license Franken Fran? Justin Stroman asks the questions, and Lissa Pattillo of Seven Seas answers them.

Justin also talks to Hope Donovan, who joined Tokyopop as the manga wave was cresting and is now a managing editor at Viz, directly overseeing Seraph of the End and Toriko.

The Manga Bookshelf team rounds up this week’s new manga.

In this week’s edition of Yuri Network News, Erica Friedman looks at some new announcements and concludes that the yuri market has grown and matured enough that publishers are now going back and taking a second look at some good early manga. Of course, that’s happening in Japan, and the bad news is that many of these works are unlikely to be licensed for English-language readers.

Shaenon Garrity writes about Jiro Taniguchi’s A Zoo in Winter, which she sees as a good follow-up read to Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life, for the House of 1000 Manga column at ANN.

So, you’re in the mood for manga but you want to read a complete story all at once? Jessica Uelman has got you covered over at The Mary Sue, with a look at xxxHOLiC, part of an ongoing series about manga series that are already complete.

Don’t freak out if your preorder for vol. 3 of The World’s Greatest First Love is canceled; SuBLime editor Jennifer LeBlanc explains on their blog that due to delays in getting approvals from the mangaka, the release schedule has changed.

Reviews

Ash Brown on The Angel of Elhamburg (Experiments in Manga)
Sarah on vol. 15 of Attack on Titan (nagareboshi reviews)
Alice Vernon on vol. 1 of Big Hero 6 (Girls Like Comics)
Alice Vernon on vol. 1 of Demon From Afar (Girls Like Comics)
Kory Cerjak on vol. 2 of Durarara!! Yellow Scarves Arc (The Fandom Post)
Laura on Dengeki Daisy (Heart of Manga)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of The Devil Is a Part-Timer (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Sakura Eries on vol. 17 of Goong (The Fandom Post)
Matthew Warner on vol. 10 of Happy Marriage?! (The Fandom Post)
Dave Ferraro on vol. 1 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (Comics-and-More)
Rebecca Silverman on Karneval (ANN)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Log Horizon (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Anna N on vol. 2 of Master Keaton (Manga Report)
Manjiorin on vol. 1 of Meteor Prince (Organization Anti Social Geniuses)
Kristin on vol. 2 of Meteor Prince and vol. 4 of My Love Story (Comic Attack)
Lori Henderson on vol. 2 of Orange Junk (Manga Xanadu)
Erica Friedman on vol. 2 of Puella Magi Tart Magica (Okazu)
Matthew Alexander on vol. 1 of xxxHolic Rei (The Fandom Post)
Ken H on vol. 1 of Your Lie in April (Sequential Ink)
Laura on vols. 1 and 2 of Yukarism (Heart of Manga)

Seven Seas to Publish Franken Fran

A10967-5This just in: Seven Seas announced that it will be publishing Franken Fran in February 2016. Part Black Jack, part Reiko the Zombie Shop, Katsuhisa Kigitsu’s macabre comedy (macamedy?) focuses on Fran, a scientist with a knack for creating grotesque creatures in the lab. Seven Seas will be issuing the story in a four-volume omnibus format.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a new big-screen adaptation of Death Note is in the works with director Adam Wingard (The Guest, You’re Next) at the helm. That sound you’re hearing? It’s the anguished cries of Light Yagami fans protesting the Americanization of yet another beloved manga franchise.

Vertical Comics has a new Twitter feed: @vertical_comics. Follow them for the latest licensing and reprint news, as well as sneak peeks at new releases.

Jonesing for a ninja fix? VIZ has you covered with Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring which debuted on Monday in the digital edition of Weekly Shonen Jump.

Over at the B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, Brigid Alverson delves into the history of Ultraman.

Backers of DMP’s most recent Kickstarter campaign will be happy to learn that both Clockwork Apple and Brave Dan are now slated for publication. Next up is a reprint edition of Tezuka’s dark fable Barbara.

This year’s Eisner nominations were announced on April 23rd, and manga made a good showing. In the Best US Edition of International Material–Asia category, VIZ nabbed nominations for Master Keaton, One-Punch Man, and All You Need Is Kill, while Fantagraphics’ Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It, got a nod for Best Anthology. The winners will be revealed on July 10th.

News from Japan: Akira Toriyama has teamed up with Kazuhiko Toriyama to produce a new series for Shueisha’s Young Jump. And speaking of manga magazines, Japan’s most popular titles–including Weekly Shonen Jump and Weekly Shonen Magazine–have seen a 10% decline in circulation over the last twelve months.

Reviews: Jason Thompson reviews Kakukaku Shikajika, an autobiographical manga by the creator of Princess Jellyfish, while the Manga Bookshelf gang tackle the latest volumes of Genshinken: Second Season and Magi. Over at Brain vs. Book, Jocelyn Allen flips through the December issue of Bijutsu Techo.

Rebecca Silverman on vol. 1 of 12 Beast (Anime News Network)
Ken H. on vol. 3 of All-Purpose Chemistry Club (Sequential Ink)
Ken H. on vol. 15 of Attack on Titan (Sequential Ink)
Katie Skelley and Mike Dawson on The Book of Human Insects (The Comics Journal)
Allen Kesinger on vols. 1-2 of Girls und Panzer (No Flying No Tights)
Erica Friedman on vol. 5 of Golondrina (Okazu)
L.B. Bryant on Gyo: 2-in-1 Deluxe Edition (ICv2)
Thomas Maluck on Jaco the Galactic Patrolman (No Flying No Tights)
Rebecca Silverman on The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Anime News Network)
Megan R. on Monkey High! (The Manga Test Drive)
Lori Henderson on vol. 1 of Orange Junk (Manga Xanadu)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 10 of Voice Over: Seiyu Academy (Comic Book Bin)
Joseph Luster on vol. 5 of World Trigger (Otaku USA)

Shonen Jump Artists Take Sick Leave

Manga artist Kou Kojima, creator of the adult manga Sennin Buraku (Hermit Village) has died at the age of 87. Kojima was the uncle of manga-ka Moyoco Anno.

There will be no Bleach or One Piece in this week’s Shonen Jump, as both creators are taking the week off due to illness. This article refers to the Japanese magazine but as the North American SJ publishes simultaneously with Japan, they will presumably be missing from the English-language edition as well. Also the Japanese SJ is launching three new series in May, plus the Naruto spinoff at the end of this month; it will be interesting to see how much of this makes it into the American SJ.

Manga expert and game fanatic Jason Thompson (author of King of RPGs) has launched a Kickstarter to fund his game Mangaka: The Fast and Furious Game of Drawing Comics, which sounds like a lot of fun.

I wrote about Ultraman for my latest post at the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog, giving some background on the show as Viz has picked up the latest manga.

The Manga Bookshelf bloggers discuss this week’s new releases.

Erica Friedman posts a new episode of Yuri Network News at Okazu.

Have you seen Jiro Kuwata’s Batmanga? 13th Dimension has a preview of the latest chapter.

Volume 12 of Chi’s Sweet Home will be the final volume.

The latest volume of One Piece, the first volume of Big Hero 6, and vol. 15 of Attack on Titan top this week’s New York Times manga best-seller list.

News from Japan: Gotcha! Police in Saitama Prefecture arrested a 33-year-old man on charges of uploading the final volume of Kuroko’s Basketball to the web. Police say the suspect, who teaches high school part-time, has already admitted to doing it, and they suspect he has been uploading other material as well. CLAMP’s xxxHoLIC: rei, which went on hiatus in July, will be back Neon Genesis Evangelion, Oh My Goddess, and Moyashimon were among the manga nominees for the Seiun science fiction awards. Log Horizon author Mamare Touno says he has filed and paid his back taxes, ending an investigation into possible tax evasion.

Reviews

Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of 12 Beast (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Ash Brown on vol. 3 of After School Nightmare (Experiments in Manga)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 10 of Black Lagoon (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Rebecca Silverman on vol. 16 of Dengeki Daisy (ANN)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 5 of Food Wars (Comics Worth Reading)
Anna N on vols. 4 and 5 of Gangsta (Manga Report)
Lori Henderson on The Garden of Words (Manga Xanadu)
Nick Creamer on vol. 5 of Genshiken: Second Season (ANN)
Kristin on vols. 1 and 2 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (Comic Attack)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 2 of My Neighbor Seki (Comics Worth Reading)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 74 of One Piece (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Ash Brown on vol. 1 of Sengoku Basara: Samurai Legends (Experiments in Manga)