Hold my calls, I’m reading manga

I just got my review copies from Tokyopop, and this month’s batch seems to have a lot of thicker volumes than usual, with prices all over the map. Vol. 1 of Jyu-oh-sei ($14.99), vol. 1 of Jade of Bango ($12.99), Hee Jung Park’s one-shot Too Long ($9.99), and Samurai Champloo Complete ($14.99), all look like they are well over the standard manga length of about 200 pages. I’m pretty sure the August titles were already in production when Tokyopop announced their big split, so I’m not sure if this indicates any sort of trend, but it looks like this is a good month to pick up some bargains on summer reading.

Also, while there has been a lot of shakeout at the industry level, there does seem to be an awful lot of good manga out there this year. John Jakala lists his midyear favorites at Sporadic Sequential. I’m swamped in good stuff as well, with Dororo, Me and the Devil Blues, Disappearance Diary, and Martin and John all jostling for space on my night table at the moment. Also Yen Press is putting out some mighty tasty manhwa—watch for a review soon. Still to come: Yen’s Yen Plus anthology, which will include Svetlana Chmakova’s Night School, and Vertical’s new edition of Black Jack, which I got a preview of yesterday—apparently Ryan of Same Hat! got his as well. I’d love to put the rest of my life on hold and just read comics all summer. Sigh.

At Kuriousity, Lissa Pattillo notes that Blu has added some new titles to their list, which is a good sign.

News from Japan: Japanator’s Aoi is shocked—shocked!—to learn that Mainichi’s late, lamented Wai Wai column may have contained inaccuracies. The Daily Yomiuri looks at a private manga library in Tokyo. And the New York Times has news of a digital comics venture backed by Kadokowa, Kodansha, Shueisha, and Shogakukan that will bring manga to the Wii and maybe other consoles as well. (Hat tip: Jake Forbes.)

Reviews: If you’re puzzled as to why teenage girls love Vampire Knight, read Lianne Sentar’s review at Sleep Is For the Weak and be enlightened. Lianne articulates it perfectly. Johanna Draper Carlson reviews vol. 1 of Apothecarius Argentum at Comics Worth Reading. The Anime Pulse folks get their seinen on for a podcast discussion of Gantz and Eden: It’s an Endless World. Sam Kusek takes a look at vol. 1 of Suihelibe! at PopCultureShock’s Manga Recon blog. If you prefer short takes, EvilOmar has some Midweek Manga Reviews up at About Heroes. Tiamat’s Disciple checks out Go!Comi’s online game O-Play. Lissa Pattillo checks out vol. 8 of Saiyuki Reload at Kuriousity. Down at the Manga Maniac Cafe, Julie is reading vol. 1 of Silver Diamond. Sesho includes vol. 1 of Guardian Hearts in his latest podcast and posts a written review of vol. 2 of Negima. James Fleenor takes a look at vol. 2 of xxxHolic at Anime Sentinel. Emil checks out Katakoi no Tsuki at Emily’s Random Shoujo Manga Page. Katherine Farmar admits that BL isn’t always all that, but fortunately Junjo Romantica is.

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