May 5, 2010

Bento Bako Lite: May 2010 Previews

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Written by: Kristin
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Welcome, manga fans!  It’s time for another look at Diamond’s monthly Previews catalog.  As usual, I’m going to weed through the catalog, note my personal picks, and then make recommendations on what else I find.  Dark Horse has a stellar line up this month, and Viz Media has some nice offerings as well, but there’s not a whole lot in between.  Well, let’s get started!  All quoted product descriptions are pulled from Previews unless otherwise noted.

Kris’s Pull List

Bride of the Water God volume 6, by Mi-Kyung Yun.  Yes, it’s still confusing, and yes, I still love it.  I’ve noticed that some readers have given up on the series, but I’m still totally hooked.  “[….] Will this be the volume in which the Water God finally spills the truth to Soah – or will other conspiring, jealous gods succeed in driving a permanent wedge between him and his human bride?  Cursed and pursued by an unknown, shape-shifting tormentor Habaek is also led to believe that his previous human bride is still alive!”  I’m betting it won’t be the volume where he tells her the truth.  From Dark Horse, $9.99, August 2010.

Return to Labyrinth volume 4, by Jake T. Forbes, art by Chris Lie.  I’m actually not all that impressed with this series, but I’m a big fan of the film, so it was a must for me, even though it’s a bit of a mess.  “The conclusion of the manga sequel to the cult classic!  With Toby in chains and the evil Queen of Cups in control, the Goblin City is now a virtual police state.  Meanwhile, Jareth is in the ‘real world’ making one more devilish attempt to ensnare Sarah’s heart.  Can Toby save his friends, his sister, and the Labyrinth as well?”  From Tokyopop, $12.99 (!!! geez…), August 2010.

Black Bird, vol. 5, by Kanoko Sakurakoji. One of my guilty pleasures, it’s certainly turned off many readers, but a little smutty goodness isn’t so bad now and then, when it’s well done.  Product description in Previews is just a first volume summary, so this comes from Amazon: “Misao thinks she’s come to terms with being the bride of prophecy and dating a tengu lord, but is she ready to bear her handsome demon an heir?!  Kyo’s grandfather is impatient to secure the power of the prophecy and the line of succession, and he doesn’t care which of his grandsons fathers Misao’s baby.  If Kyo doesn’t act fast, he’ll lose Misao and the leadership of the clan.  But despite his desire for Misao, Kyo is hesitant to consummate their relationship, for that will bring about catastrophe…”  From Viz Media, $9.99, August 2010 (happy birthday to me!).

Skip Beat!, vol. 21, by Yoshiki Nakamura.  From Amazon: “Kyoko is basking in the glow of working a Christmas miracle and getting some birthday booty of her own.  But she’s so unused to this kind of joy that she ends up late to the script reading for her new drama.  Now her whole day is a mess and Ren is mad at her!  Can Kyoko balance revenge, a career and her own happiness?”  From Viz Media, $9.99, August 2010 (w00t w00t, looking like a good birthday for me!).

Romeo X Juliet Omnibus TP, by Com, Gonzo, SPWT (and Shakespeare, of course).  “A fantasy manga retelling of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet.’  In Neo Verona, the Montagues attempt to overthrow the ruling Capulets and kill all of them in the process – with the exception of the daughter of the Capulets, Juliet.  Rescued by servants, the sole surviving Capulet randomly encounter Romeo, the son of the Montagues, 14 years later and falls in love.  Will their story finally get a happy ending?”  One of my favorite anime, so of course I’ve got to pick up the manga.  From Yen Press, $18.99, July 2010.

Also from Dark Horse

Everything.  No, seriously.  Every title Dark Horse has listed this month is worth checking out.

Ghost Talker’s Daydream volume 4, by Saki Okuse, with art by Sankichi Meguro.  “If having hallucinations is scary, then seeing them at school would be terrifying.  But when the hallucinations talk back to you, that’s the kind of fright you’ve come to expect from the world of Ghost Talker’s Daydream.  Come join Saiki Misaki, the albino dominatrix necromancer [Well, I don’t know how you can go wrong with that!], as she jumps head first into another supernatural mystery.  This time around the case becomes more personal, as the power that gives Saiki the ability to see and talk to the dead is the very thing terrorizing her client.”  $10.99, September 2010.

Magic Knight Rayearth Omnibus Edition, by CLAMP.  Actually, I may pick this up too, since it’s just the one volume.  “Umi, Hikaru, and Fuu are three schoolgirls out on a field trip to Tokyo Tower, whisked suddenly away by a strange voice and light to Cephiro, a world full of spirits and sorcery.  They were summoned here through the last remaining strength of the Princess Emeraude, who hopes that they are the trio destined to become the magic knights legend says can save her realm!  But how are a bunch of junior-high-school kids supposed to defeat the dark might of the sinister Lord Zagato…with only an exceedingly strange bunny creature named Mokona as their guide…?”  $19.99, September 2010.

Gantz volume 13, by Hiroya Oku.  “Dinosaurs.  Seriously, can the frantic world of Gantz get any more scary?  How about a giant doughboy with crazy fangs and a strange outie bellybutton?  Yeah, it’s not just scary; it’s a very strange world for Kei!  At least this time the Gantz crew have a new weapon!  It’s an awesome state-of-the-art uni-motorcycle!  And one of the characters uses a massive space samurai sword.  It’s Gantz!”  $12.99, September 2010.

Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Raising Project volume 6, by Osamu Takahashi.  “Shinji is never quite sure whether he’s in a relationship or just some sort of bizarre lab experiment, and he probably didn’t need yet another cute, mysterious individual to arrive in his homeroom.  But that’s just what he’s going to get in the person of Mana Kirishima.  Will she prove to be a girlfriend of steel…or more of an iron maiden?”  $9.99, September 2010.

From Bandai Entertainment Inc.

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion volume 8, by Majiko.  “The final volume of the manga adaptation of Code Geass R2!  Will Zero triumph or face destruction?  Based on the acclaimed anime series from writers Goro Taniguichi and Ichiro Okouchi, with original character designs by the manga powerhouse CLAMP!”  Rescheduled from February.  $10.99, August 2010.

From Del Rey Manga

Mushishi Volume 8/9/10 Omnibus Edition, by Yuki Urushibara.  “This high-value package presents the final adventure of the enigmatic Ginko, the mysterious man pledged to protect those whose lives have been changed by strange supernatural forces only he can perceive.”  Check out my review of the anime, and these many reviews of the manga series via April’s Manga Moveable Feast.  $24.99, July 2010.

Sayonara, Zetsubo-Sensei volume 7, by Koji Kumeta.  The comedic stylings of everyone’s favorite suicidal high school teacher continue!  $10.99, July 2010.

Tsubasa [Reservoir Chronicle] volume 27, by CLAMP.  “Fei-Wang has been waiting for our heroes to return to his dimension, and when they do they’re in for the ultimate fight.  The witch Yuko finally brings into play that odd cylinder she’s had in her keeping, and what’s inside is the shock of Syaoran’s life!”  $10.99, July 2010.

From Digital Manga Publishing

Itazura na Kiss 3, by Kaoru Tada.  “Kotoko finds out that Naoki is going out on a date with her nemesis, Yuko!  What is she up to?!  Kotoko is too worried and can’t leave the two alone, so she takes Sudo senpai and tails them!  Will they be able to tail without getting caught or do they have a plan to ruin their date?  And just as Kotoko though she got Yuko under control, now she has to worry about Ayako – Yuko’s younger sister, who is also after Naoki.  But Naoki doesn’t seem to mind the attention he’s getting – he’s been cool and nonchalant about it.  What are these two up to?!  And Naoki is acting a little different these days…  He’s been quiet and Kotoko feels he’s being distant…  The he suddenly announces to his family that he is going to move out of his home and live on his own!  Why would he do that?!  Nobody seems to know where his new apartment is.  How is he affording his new place?  Is he working?!  What is he doing?  Energetic Kotoko is frantic about Naoki’s every move!”  From Digital Manga, $16.95, July 2010.  Check out my review of volume 1, and expect a review of volume 2 relatively soon.

Maiden Rose vol. 2, by Fusanosuke Inariya.  “The story takes place in a fictional world that has just begun a great world war.  Klaus von Wolfstadt, from one of the nations of the ‘Western Alliance,’ has left his duty as a soldier to his nation in order to be a knight to Taki Reizen, commander of the 15th division ‘Maiden Rose,’ whose country has an alliance with ‘Eurote,’ an enemy of the Western Alliance.  The story follows their romance as it evolves from friendship, to love, and finally, to hatred.”  $12.95, July 2010, on their Juné imprint.

From Kodansha Comics

Akira volume 3 GN (Kodansha Edition), by Katsuhiro Otomo.  Kodansha’s U.S. branch slowly crawls to life with another Akira release.  $24.99, July 2010.

From Top Shelf Productions

AX Volume 1: A Collection of Alternative Manga, by Various.  “AX is the premier Japanese magazine for alternative comics.  Published bi-monthly for over ten years now, AX contains the most creative and cutting-edge works of independent comics from the world’;s largest comics industry.  Now Top Shelf presents a 400-page collection of stores from ten years of Ax history, translated into English for the first time!  This groundbreaking book includes work by 33 artists, including Yoshihiro Tatsumi (A Drifting Life), Imiri Sakabashira (The Box Man), Kazuichi Hanawa (Doing Time), Akino Kondoh, Shin’ichi Abe, and many many more!”  $29.95, July 2010.

From Vertical Inc.

Tezuka’s Black Jack volume 12, by Osamu Tezuka.  “Black Jack is a mysterous and charismatic genius surgeon who travels the world performing amazing and impossible medical feats.  [Though] highly trained, he freelances without a license because he [disdains] the medical establishment.  This leads to run-ins with the authorities and unscrupulous, sometimes criminal, individuals.  Because Black Jack keeps his true motives secret, his ethics are perceived as questionable and he is considered a selfish, uncaring devil.”  $16.95, July 2010.  Looks like someone forgot to proofread that description….

Also From Viz Media

Crown of Love, vol. 3, by Yun Kouga.  From Amazon: “No matter how much closer Hisayoshi gets to Rima in the showbiz world, she only retreats further from him emotionally. Anxious over Hisayoshi’s blossoming career along with her own mother’s disappearance, Rima’s nerves are on edge. But will everything change when Hisayoshi’s caught on a date with another woman?!”  $9.99, July 2010.  I reviewed volume 1 recently, and wasn’t really fond of it, but I’ll be giving it a second chance soon by reviewing volume 2.

Bakuman, vol. 1, by Tsugumi Ohba, with art by Takeshi Obata.  “Average student Moritaka Mashiro enjoys drawing for fun.  When his classmate and aspiring writer Akito Takagi discovers his talent, he begs Moritaka to team up with him as a manga-creating duo.  But what exactly does it take to make it in the manga-publishing world?”  $9.99, July 2010.

Color Bleach+: Bleach Official Bootleg, by Tite Kubo.  “This incredible guide takes you behind the scenes of the shadowy world of the Soul Reapers.  Read all about the illustrious Thirteen Court Guard Companies, study for the grueling entrance exam to Soul Reaper Academy, get tips on fighting effectively, take the personality quiz and more. This book includes 72 pages [of 184] of full-color manga spun off from the original Bleach story.”  $14.99, July 2010.

Maoh: Juvenile Remix, vol. 2, by Megumi Osuga.  From Amazon: “As Ando learns to use his powers effectively, he must decide whether or not to oppose Inukai. A decision made much harder when it could cost him his life.”  $9.99, July 2010.  Preview the series at Viz’s Shonen Sunday website.

Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, vol. 10, by Naoki Urasawa.  “It appears that Kanna’s ambitious gamble has paid off as the leaders of the local Thai and Chinese mafias agree to both call a truce and offer to back her up. This doesn’t sit too well with Yukiji, though, who is furious that Kanna would risk her life in such a brazen way.  But one thing seems certain: when it comes to fighting the Friends, there’s no limit to how far Kanna will go.”  $12.99, July 2010, on the Viz Signature line.  Expect a look at this 2010 Eisner nominee on ComicAttack soon.

Ôoku: The Inner Chambers, vol. 4, by Fumi Yoshinaga.  From Amazon: “Despite Iemitsu and Arikoto’s best efforts, there is no male heir to take over the shogunate. As the Redface Pox continues to ravage the country, it becomes increasingly clear within Edo Castle that Japan’s continued existence relies on overturning the centuries of custom that define it!”  $12.99, July 2010, on the Viz Signature line.  Review of volume 3 coming soon to a Bento Bako near you.

Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, vol. 5, by Karuho Shiina.  From Amazon: “Sawako finally realizes that her feelings for Kazehaya are more than just admiration. But this novice in love has a lot to learn about romance. Not that Chizu can help her out any–she’s got enough worries of her own to deal with! Can either of these shy girls take the next step toward a real relationship?”  $9.99, July 2010.

Also From Yen Press

Nabari No Ou volume 4, by Yuhki Kamatani.  “When Yoite realizes that Yae knows his secrets, he goes berserk and kills most of Frosty’s guards.  Miharu stops his rampage, and as Yae urges Kumohira to kill Frosty, Kouichi does it in his place.  Yae’s trusted assistant Katou had actually been with Fuma shinobi the whole time, and the entire assassination plot was set up by Kotaro in an effort to get Kumohira and Miharu to be better shinobi.”  $10.99, July 2010.


Tokyo Cyberpunk: Posthumanism in Japanese Visual Culture, by Steven T. Brown, from Palgrave Macmillan.  “Engaging some of the most canonical and thought-provoking anime, manga, and science fiction films, Tokyo Cyberpunk offers insightful analysis of Japanese visual culture.  [Steven] Brown draws new conclusions about the cultural flow of art, as well as important technological issues of the day.  Penetrating and nuanced, this book makes a major contribution to the debate about what it means to be human in a posthuman world.”  $27.00, August 2010.

My Bride is a Mermaid DVD Season 01, from FUNimation (in Japanese: Seto no Hanayome).  “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.”  A hilarious romantic comedy about a human boy’s chaotic days dealing with his wife’s mermaid yakuza family.  Contains the first half of the series (13 episodes) for $49.99, out July 2010.

That’s all for this month.  Got this done sooner than I had expected, so the Happy Boys review I had mentioned will go up on Monday.  Happy pre-ordering!  Orders for May are due May 15 at your local comic shop.




  1. Kristin

    I’d like to add…. I was recently sent a copy of Ôoku: The Inner Chambers, and I am hooked. I think I will be adding that to my pull list as well, I just hadn’t taken a look at it in time to reflect that in my pull list at the top.

  2. Jade

    Ooo, RomeoxJuliet sounds interesting, I’ll have to keep tabs on it.

    I think I could get more interested in a series like Black Bird if the main character had a bit more unique character. She’s written as a feminine cipher though, so the ribaldry often comes across as sexism directed at the general idea of women since I don’t really identify with characters directly.

    Does that make any sense? I’m having trouble putting thoughts together today, for some reason.

  3. Kristin

    Well, I’m not sure how the RomeoXJuliet adaptation compares to the anime, but I really, really loved the anime. It’s a sort of fantastical period piece. It looks like it could fit right into Shakespeare’s time (he’s even a character), but they live on a floating land mass and fly around on Pegasi (Pegasuses?). There’s a slight sci-fi element in there, which was weird, but doesn’t ruin the show on the whole. I don’t think it’s supposed to be significantly different, but I don’t know for sure. It will surely contain all the basic stuff, with Juliet running around town as a sort of vigilante Scarlet Pimpernel superhero character.

    Your comments on Black Bird make sense, and I’ve seen similar sentiments elsewhere from reviewers who didn’t care for it much. It’s hard for me to describe why I like it, but I do. For what it is (which is, let’s be honest, total smut), it’s remarkably well written.

  4. […] reads the May Previews through manga-tinted glasses at Comic […]

  5. lys

    Eee, RomeoxJuliet is the first series I worked on as a letterer! I’m so excited to see the finished product finally (well, in two more months)! I haven’t seen the anime, so I can’t say how they compare, but coming as a new reader to the story, I certainly enjoyed its take on the Shakespearean classic 😀

  6. Kristin

    Did you really? That’s cool! Congratulations on your published work! The anime is quite lovely; it’s from Gonzo, and Gonzo does spectacular animation work.

  7. […] reads the May Previews through manga-tinted glasses at Comic […]

  8. Jade

    Hmmm…From the sounds of it, the RxJ anime may be worth checking out before the manga hits. Gonzo makes some of the only anime I like, but their series have a habit of fizzling out into weak endings. Does this one keep up the pace?

    I’m thinking one draw of bodice-rippers with basic leads like Black Bird or Hot Gimmick is the ability to identify whoever the reader wants with the main character and either empathise or snicker at the misfortune. I suppose one could also look at it as a morality tale with shallow women who refuse to take initiative being taken advantage of by predatory men. The books are valid and there’s nothing wrong with someone enjoying them. There’s just a personal line a book can cross where it gets a bit too sexually mean-spirited and I’m just not enjoying my time spent reading the book.

  9. Kristin

    Uh, you know…it does kind of dovetail a bit at the end, if I’m being honest. I wouldn’t say it fizzles out….It just takes a weird turn…. It has a satisfying end, but it just sort of gets a little crazy in terms of the story. It didn’t ruin the show for me, though; I still love it.

  10. […] Publisher: Viz Media Volume: Volume 2; $9.99.  Volume 3 is available in August, and is listed in May’s Previews. Vintage: May 2010; in fact, it just came out last Wednesday, on May […]

  11. […] It’s biggest fault I’d say, is that the history and politics can get a little confusing and hard to follow.  Things get explained sporadically throughout, and there’s a good bit to keep track of.  Taki and Claus’s past unfolds very slowly, and jumps around quite a bit.  As for my personal opinion…well, it’s not too bad.  It’s not great either.  It’s mostly well drawn, and the basic story is interesting, and I typically enjoy twisted relationships.  My initial impression was…ambivalence.  And I think that’s how it will remain.  If you find it interesting at all, volume 2 is slated to come out in July.  It was listed in May’s Previews. […]

  12. […] in 2005, from Hakusensha in Japan, 2009 from Viz, with volume 3 in April 2010.  Volume 4 was in May’s Previews. Genre: Historical drama, some romance, political intrigue (hooray! my favorite).  It’s got […]

  13. […]  You’ll have to read volume 2 to learn more, and volume 3 to see how it plays out (it was in May’s Previews and should be out this July or […]

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