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December 7, 2011

Bento Bako Lite: December 2011 Previews Manga Highlights

Welcome to December 2011, where in Texas it’s already hitting freezing temperatures, and it’s been raining for three days straight. Unseasonably warm and dry winter, my ass. Fortunately, there are all sorts of goodies to be had, and cheer me up, in this month’s Diamond Previews catalog. So grab a blanket and a warm cup of tea, snuggle in with your copy of Previews, and follow along as I point out some of the best manga (and related) goodies to be found. As usual, all product descriptions are from Previews unless otherwise noted.

Kris’s Pull List

RASL #14, by Jeff Smith. “Rasl finds himself on the run from government assassin Salvador Crow. With only one way to escape, he’s forced to take the unsuspecting Uma into his confidence.” From Cartoon Books, February 2012, $3.50.

Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World #22, by Chuck Dixon, with art by Andie Tong. “Hard traveling on the Caemlyn Road becomes a little bit easier for Rand and Mat after they’re inspired to travel as gleemen. Their journey takes them to the village of Four Kings – and right back into danger. Will it be the thieves or the Darkfriends that catch them first?” From Dynamite Entertainment, February 2012, $3.99.

Gunslinger Girl omnibus volume 4, by Yu Aida. “When new children are brought into the Social Welfare Agency, their minds are wiped and their bodies enhanced with the latest in cutting edge cybernetics. They are blank slates ready to be molded and conditioned as their handlers see fit. Yet for Angelica, the first of the Agency’s cyborg assassins, memories of the life she once knew are starting to return!” From Seven Seas Entertainment, March 2012, $16.99.

Black Bird volume 13, by Kanoko Sakurakouji. “Sho’s plans to plunge the world into chaos continues as he targets the Eight Daitengu, hoping to strip his brother Kyo of all his protectors. And now he has Hoki, whose secret past makes him easy prey. Can Hoki stand up to Sho, or will his efforts to aid Kyo backfire?” From Viz Media, March 2012, $9.99.

Oresama Teacher volume 7, by Izumi Tsubaki. “Mafuyu finally discovers the truth behind Takaomi’s bizarre bet with the principal of Midorigaoka Academy! The twisted tale elicits her sympathy, and she decides to put her all into helping him out. But her all may be less than she hopes as she faces down the looming threat of…finals!” From Viz Media, March 2012, $9.99.

The Earl and the Fairy volume 1, by Ayuko. “Edgar Ashenbert claims to be descended from the human ruler of the fairy kingdom, and he urgently needs Lydia’s help to find and claim his birthright, the legendary sword of the Blue Knight Earl. Things will never be the same for Lydia as she is pulled into a dangerous quest against dark forces.” From Viz Media, March 2012, $9.99.

House of Five Leaves volume 6, by Natsume Ono. “Although Masa has uncovered some alarming secrets about Yaichi, he decides not to share them with the other members of the Five Leaves. Yet despite his caution, the bonds between the gang members continue to fray. And now, in the restless interlude before the crew’s final job, it seems that the sins of Yaichi’s past are finally catching up to him.” From Viz Media, March 2012, $12.99.

From Dark Horse Comics:

Megatokyo Omnibus volume 1, by Fred Gallagher. “Join irresponsible otaku Piro and his game-obsessed freakazoid friend, Largo, on their unexpected adventures while stranded in Japan. They may not find love, but they’ll definitely find mayhem.” Contains the first three volumes. April 2012, $19.99.

Magic Knight Rayearth volume 2, by CLAMP. “The sequel to Magic Knight Rayearth! Umi, Hikaru, and Fuu return to Cefiro – but after Emeraude’s tragic end, who would have a strong-enough heart to have summoned them back? With the Pillar gone, Cefiro is wide open to invasion from other realms, whose rulers desire to become the new Pillar themselves! The Magic Knights must once again fight to save their adopted world in Magic Knight Rayearth 2!” April 2012, $19.99.

Katsuya Terada’s The Monkey King volume 2, by Katsuya Terada. “After a seven-year hiatus, Katsuya Terada, one of Japan’s most sought-after commercial illustrators, returns to his adaptation of this saga with The Monkey King volume 2. A rare example of a manga painted entirely in full color, The Monkey ing is the epic of Goku, a savage ape once imprisoned by Lord Buddha himself, but now freed by the monk Sanzo to serve as his bodyguard on a journey to the West…across a wasteland filled with weird, violent, and sexy demons!” April 2012, $16.99.

From Digital Manga Publishing:

Yashakiden The Demon Princess volume 5, by Hideyuki Kikuchi, with illustrations by Jun Suemi. “The immortal vampiress known as Princess has almost completely turned Demon City Shinjuku into a vampire metropolis. A plan by the national government to eradicate the threat with nuclear weapons is narrowly averted. But Setsura – the key to the city’s restoration – appears to have fallen into her grasp. Aware of his precarious predicament, Tonbeau and the doll girl conjure up a major act of magic that will reach into the ‘Akashic Records,’ the timeline of the universe itself. Can Shinjuku’s greatest enemy be defeated? And if so, what kind of day will dawn in Shinjuku the day after?” February 2012, $19.95.

beast & feast, by Akira Norikazu. “Detective Kazuha has landed a murder case that brings him back into contact with a man who once attended junior high with him. Back then, their relationship was like oil and water, and it certainly seems to be the case now as well: while Kazuha is a police detective, Hyoudou is a member of one of the notorious yakuza groups. Hyoudou claims to be willing to bargain for some very important information pertaining to Kazuha’s case. His price is unacceptable, however. Demanding Kazuha himself as payment, the refusal given seems to not be an option he will accept. Now, not only after a cold blooded killer, Kazuha finds he is being stalked by his very own beast of a different sort… Will he catch the killer and come out with his own heart, body and soul intact?” February 2012, $12.95.

Ambiguous Relationship, by Masara Minase. “Satoru is used to being alone. Ever since high school, he has lived his life without anyone else. Then one rainy night he encounters a stranded stranger. Taking him in, he unexpectedly finds that being alone is not what he wants at all, and that what he wants may just be within his grasp. But does Reiji feel the same way? And will Reiji’s family accept it when the discover where he is? A selection of angsty romance stories by master mangaka Masara Minase, published in English for the very first time!” February 2012, $12.95.

Blue Sheep Reverie volume 5, by Makoto Tateno. “With the city streets of Akatsuki still running with blood, Kai and Lahti continue to fight together to bring order and uneasy peace. The two men’s bond is deeper than ever before, but will forces from the past continue to disrupt their future and destroy the city in the throes of love/hate personal relationship with the pair? It’s vol 5 of the ever popular Makoto Tateno’s action packed sci-fi fan favorite, and the stakes have never been higher!” February 2012, $12.95.

From Drawn & Quarterly:

Jinchalo, by Matthew Forsythe. “Jinchalo is Korean for ‘Really?’ and that question is at the heart of this book. A companion to Ojingogo, Jinchalo stars the same little girl as its heroine. When the mischevious shapeshifter Jinchalo hatches from a mysterious egg, he starts our heroine adventuring anew. Magical troubles drag the pair out of the safety of her home. These comics are firmly rooted in Korean [folktales] and stylistic conventions, with a playful, joyous line to create a Miyazaki-tinged dreamscape where spotted octopi fly and bears give piggyback rides.” February 2012, $19.95.

From Del Rey:

xxxHolic volume 19, by CLAMP. [Final volume.] “The final volume of one of Del Rey’s most popular manga series! Gorgeous art and a mysterious storyline starring Yuko, the Space-Time Witch, and her young protege, Watanuki. Fans will be anxious to read this wistful conclusion to the gorgeously illustrated series by CLAMP….” February 2012, $10.99.

From Fanfare/Ponent Mon:

A Distant Neighborhood volume 1, by Jiro Taniguchi. “Hiroshi Nakahara is a salaryman, returning to Tokyo, only to discover he is traveling back to the town of his upbrining, not Tokyo. Arriving in his hometown, he returns to his 14 year-old life and body while retaining all his adult character and experiences. That day his father disappeared without explanation, the death of his mother, will he change his past or be forever condemned to relive each painful moment? And will he ever see his wife and daughters again?” A reprint, I believe, $23.00.

From Kodansha Comics:

Sailor Moon volume 4, by Naoko Takeuchi. From Barnes and Noble: “With an intense bombardment of continuous attacks by the Black Moon, the Scouts are pushed to the edge with little chance of survival. Includes a charming Rini’s Diary bonus section.” March 2012, $10.99.

From NBM:

Rohan at the Louvre, by Hirohiko Araki. “Rohan, a young mangaka, meets a beautiful mysterious young woman with a dramatic story. Seeing him draw, she tells him of a cursed 200-year-old painting using the blackest ink ever known from a 1,000 year old tree the painter had brought down without approval from the Emperor who had him executed for doing so. The painting meanwhile had been saved from destruction by a curator of the Louvre. Rohan forgets this story as he becomes famous but ten years later, visiting Paris, he takes the occasion to try and locate the painting. Little does he know how violently powerful the curse of it is until he has the museum unearth it from deep within its archival bowels.” April 2012, $19.99.

Also From Seven Seas Entertainment:

Young Miss Holmes Casebook 1-2, by Kaoru Shintani. “Christie Holmes is a prodigy. At 10-years old, she’s as familiar with the sciences and classics as any older student at Cambridge or Oxford. And her faculty for logic is as formidable as her uncle’s, the eminent consulting detective Sherlock Holmes himself! So, what’s a brilliant young girl to do when her parents are away in India, leaving her behidn in the care of maids and servants? Solve mysteries, of course! Along with her giant hound Nelson, Christie’s implacable curiosity leads her from one adventure to another, often joining forces with ncle Sherlock and Doctor Watson on their famed investigations.” March 2012, $16.99.

From Udon Entertainment:

Persona 3: Official Design Works. “Featuring the character designs of Shigenori Soejima! Go behind the scenes of PERSONA 3, one of the most unique and respected RPG’s ever. Inside you’ll find character designs, rough sketches, storyboards, backgrounds & settings, an exclusive interview with the game’s creators, and more!” Actually, as P3 is about my favorite game of all time, I wish I could get this myself, but at $39.99…I simply can’t. So I’ll just curl up in a corner and cry with my P3P.

From Vertical Inc.:

Chi’s Sweet Home volume 8, by Kanata Konami. “Chi’s Sweet Home is recognized as one of the most popular cartoon properties in Japan today. Chi, the titular cat character, is beloved by fans worldwide on the internet and mass media. A tender fun adventure focusing on the life of a newborn kitten and the young family that decides to raise her.” February 2012, $13.95.

GTO: The Early Years volume 11, by Tohru Fujisawa. “The series that started a comic revolution restarts with Onizuka and Danma riding their way to graduation. A Fan favorite, GTO returns tot he States shedding new light on its unique anti-hero Eikichi Onizuka, soon to be the World’s Greatest Teacher.” February 2012, $12.95.

Also From Viz Media:

Bleach Masked: Official Character Book 2, by Tite Kubo. “Uncover the secrets of Bleach! This profile book contains extensive information on the characters and story from Bleach volumes 21-37. It includes exclusive color art, a poster, bonus materials and an interview with Tite Kubo. Step into the ghostly world of Bleach like never before!” March 2012, $14.99.

Hana-Kimi: For You In Full Blossom (3-in-1) volume 1, by Hisaya Nakajo. “Mizuki Ashiya is no slouch when it comes to a challenge. She’s a star of track and field at her high school, after all. So when she falls for fellow athlete Izumi Sano, she figures out an ingenious plan to get close to him. Now she’s moved to Japan, enrolled in the all-male high school Sano goes to, and becomes his roommate!” March 2012, $14.99.

Skip*Beat! (3-in-1) volume 1, by Yoshiki Nakamura. “Kyoko’s broken heart keeps her from getting into her talent agency of choice. The eccentric president of the agency decides to give her a second chance, but it requires her to wear a bright pink uniform, put up with spoiled stars, and try to live up to the name of her new position – the Love Me Section! Can Kyoko stand the indignity long enough to find her vengeance?” March 2012, $14.99.

Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You volume 13, by Karuho Shiina. “Kazehaya invites Sawako to his house to meet his family. Now Sawako really h as a boyfriend, but what about her friends Chizu and Ayane? Will things change for them as well?” March 2012, $9.99.

From Yen Press:

Nabari no Ou volume 9, by Yuhki Kamatani. “As Yoite’s condition worsens, Yukimi’s mind drfits, eventually settling on the mystery of the dying Kira user’s past. Acting independently at the cost of his assigned mission, the Grey Wolves’ resident journalist sets off in search of the truth about his ward’s life with little to guide him. Left to their own devices, Yoite and Miharu break free of Hattori and the Grey Wolves. On their own and on the run, the two do their best to stay alive and solve the puzzle of the Shinra Banshou.” February 2012, $11.99.


Cosplay in America, by Ejen Chuang, from OptikNerve. New printing (I think). “In the past decade, cosplay has exploded in popularity here in the United States. Walk into any anime convention in America and you’ll see fans dressing as their favorite characters from anime, manga, or video games. In 2009, photographer Ejen Chuang travelled to six aniem conventions across America to capture this phenomenon. Five monghts were spent photographing 1,651 cosplayers from coast to coast followed by another six months of editing. The result is a hard bound coffee table book of cosplayers captured at the conventions.” $40.00.

For the yaoi/BL fans out there, Kotobukiya has made some rather lovely looking statues of Togainu no Chi characters Akira and Shiki, for $69.99 each. There’s also an alternate version of Akira without his jacket, covered in wounds. Coming in April and May, 2012.

Tiger & Bunny: Blue Rose Chibi Arts Figure. “Blue Rose, the super-hero/super-celeb high schooler with freezing powers from the popular Tiger & Bunny anime joins that adorable Chibi-Arts line with a full array of accessory and option parts. This cool crime fighting beauty is depicted in a characteristically cute ‘Chibi’ proportion. A total of three interchangeable face parts along with interchangeable lower body and arm parts enable for portrayal of a variety of expressions and scenes from the series. This deluxe figure set also features arm and leg parts with gun, holster, and Pepsi bottle, as well as a display stand.” Ships in March 2012, $42.99.

My Bride is a Mermaid Complete Box Set DVD, from FUNimation. “San Seto, a young mermaid, rescues young boy Nagasumi Michishio from drowning. However, if a human sees a mermaid’s true form, both must be killed, so the pair agree to marry to keep San’s mermaid form a secret.” January 2012, $59.98.

EF: A Tale of Memories: The Complete Collection, from Section 23. “Once Christmas Eve, Hiro Hirono helps Miyako, the victim of a purse snatching, and discovers she goes to the same school he does. To the dismay of Kei, Hiro starts hanging out with Miyako. But Kei is not about to let a new girl in Hiro’s life take him away from her. Meanwhile, when Renji Asou meets Chihiro Shindou at an abandoned train station, he notices nothing unusual at first. Soon [he] discovers that she can only remember things for thirteen hours. Chihiro dreams of writing a novel, but her amnesia has made it an impossible task. Emotionally charged, beautifully animated and now available for the first time with an all-star English cast.” January 2012, $69.98 (BR), $59.98 (DVD).

Redline, from Manga Entertainment. “The most dangerous and exciting car race in the universe is held only once every five years. And that’s tonight. The competitors are lined up at the starting block. In his vehicle, JP, the most daredevil driver on the circuit, is ready for the green light. Female driver Sonoshee, with whom he is secretly in love, is also on the starting line. She will stop at nothing to get on to that podium. In this race, not only is anything possible, but also anything is allowed.” January 2012, $29.99 (BR), $24.98 (DVD).

Well, that’s it for this month. Some pretty good pickings, overall. Hope you found something interesting to add to your pull list!





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