Ishinomori’s Legend of Zelda returns

Legend of Zelda

Big news! Viz is publishing a new, full-color edition of Shotaro Ishinomori’s Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past manga in its Perfect Square imprint. The story was originally published in Game Power magazine in 1992, and a trade was published the following year.

More Viz news: They will be publishing Yu-Gi-Oh! in 3-in-1 omnibus format.

Also riding the omnibus: Dark Horse, which will re-release the earlier volumes of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service in as 2-in-1 omnibuses.

Crunchyroll is launching a new line of original manga, and they are starting with HYPERSONIC music club, a collaboration between Patrick Macias and Hiroyuki Takahashi. I talked to Macias about the book, and the new line, at Robot 6, and Takahashi did an interview with Crunchyroll.

Shonen Jump is offering the latest issues for free through February 15; if you haven’t been following it and are thinking of jumping in during this trial period, check out my quick guide to SJ series at Robot 6.

Shonen Jump has also added a new series to the lineup: My Hero Academia, which will run simultaneously with the Japanese releases.

The Manga Bookshelf team discusses their Pick of the Week.

Erica Friedman has the latest from the world of yuri in this week’s Yuri Network News post at Okazu.

Ash Brown takes a look at the work of Mitsukazu Mihara as part of the Female Goth Mangaka Carnival.

Two cosplayers learned the hard way that it’s better to put on your costume when you get to the con, at least if you’re wearing camouflage and carrying what looks like a gun. This incident occurred in Gatineau, Quebec, which is quite near the capital of Ottawa, where last year a lone gunman attacked the national parliament. The two cosplayers were arrested but not held; they were also fined $270 and their replica weapons were taken away.

Reviews: Sean Gaffney and Michelle Smith post some short takes on recent releases in the latest edition of Bookshelf Briefs at Manga Bookshelf. Ash Brown takes us through a week’s worth of manga reading at Experiments in Manga.

Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Akame Ga Kill! (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Lesey Aeschliman on vol. 8 of Attack on Titan (Lesley’s Musings on Manga)
Rebecca Silverman on vol. 1 of Citrus (ANN)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 14 of Dengeki Daisy (The Comic Book Bin)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 24 of D.Gray-Man (The Comic Book Bin)
Chris Kirby on vol. 3 of Durarara!! Saika Arc (The Fandom Post)
Kate O’Neil on vol. 4 of Gangsta (The Fandom Post)
Erin on Helter Skelter: Fashion Unfriendly (Gagging on Sexism)
Ken H on vol. 12 of Knights of Sidonia (Sequential Ink)
Chris Kirby on vol. 16 of Tegami Bachi (The Fandom Post)
Alice Vernon on Ubel Blatt (Girls Like Comics)
Matthew Warner on vol. 3 of World Trigger (The Fandom Post)
Jocelyne Allen on Yoru Mata Yoru No Fukai Yoru (Brain Vs. Book)
Erica Friedman on vol. 1 of Yuri Kuma Arashi (Okazu)

Rin-ne Anime Debuts in April

Coming soon to the NHK: the first episode of Rin-ne, which will air on April 4th. Rin-ne is Rumiko Takahashi’s eighth series to be adapted for television.

French filmmakers announced plans to bring Jiro Taniguchi’s Everest drama Summit of the Gods to the big screen.

The latest installment of Finder bumps Unofficial Hatsune Mix and Attack on Titan from the top of this week’s New York Times Manga Bestseller list. Other titles posting strong numbers include Assassination Classroom, Nisekoi: False Love, and The Seven Deadly Sins.

What’s arriving in comic book stores on January 28th? The Manga Bookshelf team highlights next week’s new releases.

To celebrate Weekly Shonen Jump‘s third anniversary, Anime News Network is giving away cool swag. The deadline to enter is January 31st, so get clicking!

The Female Goth Mangaka Carnival is in full swing, with new contributions from Ash Brown, who explores the macabre world of Mitsukazu Mihara, and Michelle, who celebrates the unique artistry of Junko Mizuno.

News from Japan: Oricon reports that the Japanese manga market grew 4% in 2014, posting total sales of 282 billion yen (roughly $2.4 billion).

Reviews: J-Horror alert: Toshi Nakamura sings the praises of Kouisho Radio, a collection of short stories not yet available in English, while Shaenon Garrity looks at Kazuo Umezu’s funny-scary classic Cat-Eyed Boy.

Lori Henderson on vol. 19 of Bakuman (Manga Xanadu)
Ken H. on vols. 5-6 of Brave 10 (Sequential Ink)
Lesley Aeschliman on vol. 26 of Full Metal Alchemist (Lesley’s Musings on Anime & Manga)
Sakura Eries on vol. 1 of Kiss of the Rose Princess (The Fandom Post)
Lesley Aeschliman on vol. 27 of Naruto (Lesley’s Musings on Anime & Manga)
Megan R. on The One I Love (The Manga Test Drive)
Lesley Aeschliman on vol. 3 of Say I Love You (Lesley’s Musings on Anime & Manga)
Chris Kirby on vol. 3 of Sunny (The Fandom Post)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Sword Art Online: Progressive Manga (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Leroy Doresseaux on vol. 4 of Terra Formars (Comic Book Bin)
Lori Henderson on vols. 1-2 of Tiger and Bunny (Good Comics for Kids)
Michelle Smith and Melinda Beasi on Yukarism, Kiss of the Rose Princess, and What Did You Eat Yesterday? (Manga Bookshelf)

Marvel/Attack on Titan crossover to be FCBD comic

AoT and Spidey

Big news! Marvel will offer the Marvel/Attack on Titan crossover as part of its Free Comic Book Day comic Secret Wars #0. The crossover, which was a one-shot story in Brutus magazine, was plotted by Attack on Titan creator Hajime Isayama, with dialogue in English, and features the Avengers fighting the Female Titan, the Colossal Titan, and others.

More big news: Weekly Shonen Jump is free through February 15.

At Okazu, Erica Friedman interviews Helen McCarthy, author of The Anime Encyclopedia. Erica also updates us on some new and upcoming yuri releases in her latest Yuri Network News post at Okazu.

The Manga Bookshelf bloggers discuss their Pick of the Week, with a significant skew toward manhwa.

Laura looks at what’s running in the josei magazine Kiss—and which of those series she would like to see in English—at Heart of Manga.

The first round of nominations for the Manga Taisho awards has been announced; only one of the 14 titles, The Ancient Magus’s Bride, has been licensed in North America.

News from Japan: Writer Kazumasa Hirai, creator of Genma Taisen, 8 Man, Zombie Hunter, and Wolf Guy, and a contributor to the Spider-Man manga, has died. Nakaba Suzuki, creator of The Seven Deadly Sins, told Entermix magazine that Chapter 100 is the end of the first of three planned story arcs; the magazine also noted that sales of the series, which is up to volume 12 in Japan, have reached 10 million volumes. Linebarrels of Iron has entered its final arc. The Kuroko’s Basketball -Replace- novel series will be adapted into manga for the digital Shonen Jump+ magazine.

Reviews: At Brain Vs. Book, Jocelyne Allen reads Ever After, a book of BL-ified fairy tales by est em (only one of which is available in English). Ash Brown’s Week of Manga includes quick takes on vol. 1 of Ane-Imo, vol. 2 of Manga Dogs, and vols. 1 and 2 of Witchcraft Works, as well as links to longer reviews.

Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 10 of Afterschool Charisma (The Comic Book Bin)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 20 of Arata: The Legend (The Comic Book Bin)
AstroNerdBoy on vol. 43 of Fairy Tail (AstroNerdBoy’s Anime and Manga Blog)
AstroNerdBoy on vol. 5 of Genshiken: Second Season (AstroNerdBoy’s Anime and Manga Blog)
Helen on Joshi Kausei (Organization Anti Social Geniuses)
Anna N on vol. 1 of Master Keaton (Manga Report)
Matthew Alexander on vol. 9 of Ooku: The Inner Chambers (The Fandom Post)
Sean Gaffney on vols. 11 and 12 of Ranma 1/2 (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Ken H. on vol. 3 of The Seven Deadly Sins (Sequential Ink)
Drew McCabe on vol. 1 of Sgt. Frog (Comic Attack)
Drew McCabe on Shion of the Dead (Comic Attack)
Erica Friedman on vol. 10 of Usotsuki Lily (Okazu)
Sarah on vol. 3 of Voice Over! Seiyu Academy (nagareboshi reviews)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 3 of Whispered Words (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Sakura Eries on vol. 1 of Yukarism (The Fandom Post)

Manga Star Wars Coming to a Galaxy Near You

manga_star_warsIf the phrase “manga Star Wars” is music to your ears, you’ll be happy to learn that ComiXology has just reissued manga adaptations of the original trilogy and The Phantom Menace(Hey, the manga’s gotta be better than Episode One, right?)

According to the Yano Research Institute, manga accounted for almost 80% of the overall digital book market in Japan last year.

Diamond Comics just released its annual sales rankings. Not surprisingly, Attack on Titan dominated the list of 2014’s best-selling manga, along with such perennial favorites as Bleach, Naruto, and Yu-Gi-Oh.

Vertical Comics just confirmed that it will be publishing Hajime Segawa’s Tokyo ESP, which is currently running in the pages of Monthly Shonen Ace. Look for the first volume in fall 2015.

Erica Friedman posts a eulogy for the short-lived Waai! magazine, which featured stories and manga about “Otoko no ko,” boys who dress as girls.

Justin Stroman offers ten bold predictions for the manga publishing industry in 2015.

Good news for digital manga enthusiasts: Crunchyroll’s premium membership now includes access to its growing manga library.

News from Japan: To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Appleseed‘s original publication, Book Walker and Amazon JP are releasing a new digital edition of Masamune Shirow’s debut work.

Hiro Mashima will publish a new full-color story for Monthly Fairy Tail magazine; look for “Aoneko Happy” (Happy the Blue Cat) in the February 17th edition.

After a bout with serious illness, manga-ka Tite Kubo told fans that Bleach will be on a brief hiatus; no new chapter will appear in the January 19th edition of Weekly Shonen Jump.

Reviews: What should you be reading on Crunchyroll? Jason Thompson investigates. Over at The Comics Journal, Joe McCulloch looks at the latest manga by Suehiro Maruo. Needless to say, some of the images are NSFW, no matter how chill your office may be.

Alice Vernon on vols. 1-3 of Bloody Cross (Girls Like Comics)
Chris Kirby on vol. 24 of D.Gray-Man (The Fandom Post)
Alice Vernon on vols. 1-2 of Durarara!! Yellow Scarves Arc (Girls Like Comics)
Sheena McNeil on vol. 4 of Gangsta (Sequential Tart)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 9 of Happy Marriage?! (Comic Book Bin)
Leroy Douresseaux on Jaco the Galactic Patrolman (Comic Book Bin)
Joseph Luster on vol. 1 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood (Otaku USA)
Sheena McNeil on vol. 1 of Kiss of the Rose Princess (Sequential Tart)
Anna N. on vol. 2 of Kiss of the Rose Princess (Manga Report)
Toshi Nakamura on The Literacy of Nana (Kotaku)
Sakura Eries on vol. 1 of Manga Dogs (The Fandom Post)
Thomas Maluck on The Manga Guide to Linear Algebra (No Flying No Tights)
Ash Brown on vol. 1 of Mushishi (Experiments in Manga)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of My Neighbor Seki (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Ken H. on vol. 1 of My Neighbor Seki (Sequential Ink)
Ryotaro Aoki on vol. 14 of Neon Genesis Evangelion (Otaku USA)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 73 of One Piece (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Jessikah Chautin on vols. 1-5 of Puella Magi Kazumi Magica: The Innocent Malice (No Flying No Tights)
Phillip Anthony on vol. 2 of Skip Beat! 3-in-1 (Manga Bookshelf)
Matthew Warner on vol. 3 of Terraformars (The Fandom Post)
Sheena McNeil on vol. 24 of Toriko (Sequential Tart)
Lori Henderson on vol. 1 of Vinland Saga (Good Comics for Kids)
Matthew Warner on vol. 4 of What Did You Eat Yesterday? (The Fandom Post)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 6 of What Did You Eat Yesterday? (Manga Worth Reading)
Erica Friedman on Yuridori Midori (Okazu)

New Licenses from Kodansha

Kodansha just announced a large slate of new manga for 2015, including more Attack on Titan products–no, really!–as well as an interesting assortment of seinen, shojo, and shonen series. Here is a brief round-up of the eight titles that will be coming to a bookstore near you this year:

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Kuroda Iou’s Appleseed Alpha. (Fall 2015)

Appleseed α (Masamune Shirow and Kuroda Iou): A prequel to Masamune Shirow’s sci-fi classic Appleseed, set in 22nd century New York City. Sexy Voice and Robo artist Kuroda Iou provides the illustrations. (Fall 2015)

Attack on Titan: Colossal Edition, Vol. 2 (Hajime Isayama): An oversized omnibus collecting volumes 6-10 of everyone’s favorite series. (September 2015)

Die Wergelder (Hiroaki Samura): A seinen title from Blade of the Immortal creator Hiroaki Samura, featuring three women who kick ass, take names, and really, really want their stuff back. (Fall 2015)

Fairy Girls! (Hiro Mashima and BOKU) Yet another Fairy Tail spin-off; this one chronicles the further adventures of Erza, Wendy, Lucy, and Juvia. (Fall 2015)

Kiss Him, Not Me! (Junko): A shojo comedy about a fujoshi who just wants her male classmates to make out with one another, dammit… (Fall 2015)

Livingstone (Jinsei Kataoka and Tomohiro Maekawa): A supernatural story featuring artwork by Deadman Wonderland manga-ka Jinsei Kataoka. Expect gorgeous illustrations and a lot of earnest discussion about the weight of human souls. (Fall 2015)

Maria the Virgin Witch Exhibition (Masayuki Ishikawa): A one-volume sequel to Maria the Virgin Witch. Both manga have been licensed by Kodansha; both manga feature a young witch who uses her magic to alter the course of the Hundred Years’ War. (August 2015)

The Science of Attack on Titan (Rikao Yanagita and Hajime Isayama): A generously illustrated text that answers all your burning questions about giant anatomy, intellect, and powers. Guaranteed to be 100% free of any actual science, or your money back. (June 2015)

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Hiroaki Samura’s Die Wergelder (Fall 2015)

 

Bookmarked! The Best Manga of 2014

File this week’s Bookmarked! column under the heading Better Late Than Never. Brigid and I sat down this week to review our favorite manga of 2014, from swashbuckling Viking sagas to goofy shojo comedies. We also chatted about the series we thought we’d love but didn’t, and looked ahead to potential candidates for the Best Manga of 2015.

JUN131345 Brigid: When I was compiling my best of the year list for Robot 6, I mentioned three manga—Kyoko Okazaki’s Helter Skelter, Moyoco Anno’s In Clothes Called Fat, and Inio Asano’s Nijigahara Holograph—but I’m smacking my head because I somehow spaced on Vinland Saga. Even though Kodansha Comics has temporarily put the series on hold, it’s well worth a read. It’s a really well done story with a complex plot—lots of double-crosses and surprises—and some interesting characters. It’s also beautifully drawn, and Kodansha Comics has gone the extra mile in terms of production quality, with double-size hardback volumes and some little touches that make it feel really special. I simply disappeared into these books over the Fourth of July, and now I want to go back and read all the way through Volume Five.

Kate, what was your standout pick for the year?

974d10d54b54987b252eb2fece9827d4_1394065624_full_a3d4c3086a7e1d355a3b27f0c4f2091cKate: I’m also a Moyocco Anno fan, though I preferred Memoirs of Amorous Gentleman. I found Anno’s depiction of Colette, the prostitute-heroine of Memoirs, less mean-spirited than her depiction of Noko, the binge-eating heroine of In Clothes Called Fat; when I read Noko’s story, I had a difficult time distinguishing the author’s feelings about Noko from the other characters’. The other reason I liked Memoirs better: the artwork! The story takes place in a fin-de-siecle brothel in Paris, which provides Anno with a swell excuse to draw extravagant clothing, accessories, and lingerie. Her attention to detail doesn’t end with the clothing, either; the character designs are more soft and sensual than in her earlier series like Flowers & Bees.

Other titles making my best-of list would include Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga, which DC Comics has presented in a smart-looking, unflipped edition; Master Keaton, an older Naoki Urasawa title about a globe-trotting, crime-solving insurance agent; My Love Story!!, a goofy shojo comedy that offers a teenage boy’s perspective on first love; and OPUS, a manga-within-a-manga by the late animator Satoshi Kon. Honorable mention goes to the final volume of Thermae Romae, which managed to wring a surprising amount of story from a slender premise.

If you could only pick one of the titles from your list as “the best manga of 2014,” which one would it be?

Yamazaki_ThermaeRomae_V3_HCBrigid: I think Vinland Saga truly was the best manga of the year, but let me go back to your honorable mention of Thermae Romae. It’s hard to give that the best-manga tag, because the art is a bit odd and the story wobbled all over the place, yet there’s something really wonderful about that manga. I think it reflects our own reality in a way, because just like Lucius, we are taking artifacts from Japanese culture and making them our own—only for us, it’s manga, not bathrooms. I thought this was an amazing series and kudos to Yen Press for publishing it in such a beautiful edition.

Attack on Titan hardly needs a boost from me, but I have to say it was one of the series I turned to when I just wanted to relax and enjoy a good story. I also really liked Nisekoi in the same way—it’s not deep, just a fun read.

Were there any series you were reading just for fun?

Kate: VIZ tends to be my go-to label for fun series. I already mentioned My Love Story!!, which usually makes me laugh out loud, but I also enjoyed the first volume of Assassination Classroom. I won’t make any grand claims for Classroom; the story has a sentimental streak a mile wide, even though the premise is subversive. Koro-sensei’s preposterous assignments, dedication to his craft, and super-human grading skills, however, provide a reliable stream of chuckles even when the author loses his nerve and goes for the “awwww” moment instead of risking offense.

142156906XAnother series in my “just for fun” pile was Naoki Urasawa’s Monster. When VIZ began reissuing Monster last year, I dusted off my old set and revisited it for the first time since 2008. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the series was almost as good as I remembered. The crack pacing and twisty plots held my attention, as did the plight of the enormous cast of supporting characters. (And oh, those characters! No one draws a nose, a brow, or a paunch with the same elan as Urasawa.) The only thing that disappointed was the ending, which felt more suitable for an episode of Scooby-Doo than the conclusion of a thriller exploring the underbelly of the former Soviet bloc.

I was certain that Fumi Yoshinaga’s What Did You Eat Yesterday? would be on my “fun” list, too, but I’ve found it oddly unengaging. The problem, for me, lies with the ratio of interpersonal to culinary shoptalk. Though Shiro and Kenji’s travails as a middle-aged couple are compelling, the endless panels of recipes, food preparation, and grocery shopping are too run-of-the-mill to hold my attention, even if some of the ingredients are exotic from an American’s perspective. I liken it to reading a manga about household chores: unless the character has a talking robot vacuum cleaner or uses depth charges to clear a messy bedroom, it’s hard to make such routine tasks interesting on the printed page.

What series didn’t live up to your expectations?

1421575892Brigid: Shockingly, Naoki Urasawa’s Master Keaton. I really loved his other series (although I agree with you about the end of Monster), so I was really looking forward to this one. The setup is great: The main character is an archaeology professor who moonlights as an insurance investigator, which gives him plenty of excuses to solve mysteries, but the plots have holes you could drive a Mack truck through. Still, Urasawa on his worst day is better than most other creators on their best. His art is great, although not quite as sophisticated as in his later books, and his lead character, who is sort of a combination of Sherlock Holmes and McGyver, is fun to watch.

Another manga that I felt was solid but didn’t quite live up to its hype was Barakamon. The premise is solid: A talented calligrapher punches the wrong guy and exiles himself to a remote island to hone his craft in solitude, but the locals keep intruding into his life. The city-boy-in-the-country humor works, and Satsuki Yoshino does a nice job of establishing a sense of atmosphere with the backgrounds and settings. The weak point was the way figures were drawn—they often looked like piles of clothes with no structure underneath. Also, while I understand the decision to have the locals speak in dialect, I don’t really agree with it. It makes the story hard to read. I think this series is just hitting its stride, though, and I have the second volume queued up on my reading stack.

Jaco 1To end on an up note, though, I already have a favorite manga of 2015, and it’s one I had low expectations for: Jaco the Galactic Patrolman. It’s a one-shot by Akira Toriyama, the creator of Dragon Ball, which is not really my kind of book, so I didn’t have high expectations, but I was really impressed by the art. Toriyama knows how to set a scene, with clear lines and just the right amount of detail. All his characters looked very different, with strong personalities of their own. The plot is a ridiculous pileup, but Toriyama pulls it off, and his earnest but vain galactic patrolman is a perfect foil for the cranky Omari and the spunky Tights. (Yes, that’s her name.) There is a bit of a Dragon Ball crossover, plus a bonus Dragon Ball story at the end, but you don’t have to have read that series to enjoy this book. It was a real treat, and I highly recommend it for one of those gray winter days when you just need a laugh.

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Now we turn the floor over to you: what were your favorite new manga of 2014? What titles disappointed you the most? Inquiring minds want to know!