May 4, 2011

Bento Bako Lite: May 2011 Previews Manga Highlights

Welcome to May, manga fans! It’s been pretty rough lately, with the closing of Tokyopop’s US manga division, and layoffs at Dark Horse. The manga industry is struggling, but it’s not gone! And even while it struggles, it still stays strong. So pull out your order forms and get ready for the best/most interesting titles in Diamond’s May 2011 Previews catalog, dug up by yours truly. All quoted product descriptions are from Previews unless otherwise noted. Also, please note that while Tokyopop has a section in this month’s Previews, since the American publishing branch is closing at the end of May, these titles will not be coming out.

Kris’s Pull List:

Gunslinger Girl volume 7, by Yu Aida. “There is a secret counter-terrorism unit for the Italian government known only as ‘The Social Welfare Agency.’ Its mission: to rescue troubled girls and turn them into heartless cyborg assassins unsing the latest advances in cyber-technology. The newest inductee into the Agency is a second generation cyborg called Petrushka, who may be the Agency’s most powerful operative yet. How can she prove she’s got what it takes when she may not even survive her very first mission?” August 2011, $10.99, from Seven Seas Entertainment.

Black Butler volume 6, by Yana Toboso. “The cheer of the holidays has passed, but the Noah’s Ark traveling circus has been making the rounds, bringing fun and joy to children of all ages. However, a disturbing trend begins to surface in the wake of the colorful entourage. Children are disappearing whenever the circus packs up for its next destination, and there are neither clues nor morpses to be found. Dismayed by these occurrences, Queen Victoria dispatches Earl Phantomhive and his most able butler Sebastian to locate and reunite the missing children and their loved ones.” July 2011, $11.99, from Yen Press.

ICO: Castle in the Mist, by Miyuki Miyabe. “The Castle in the Mist calls for its sacrifice: a horned child, born once a generation. When, on a single night in his thirteenth year, Ico’s horns grow long and curved, he knows his time has come. But why does the Castle in the Mist demand this offering, and can the castle keep Ico’s destiny from intertwining with that of the girl imprisoned within its walls?” (Light novel.) August 2011, $15.99, from Viz Media (based on the PlayStation 2 video game).

The Story of Saiunkoku volume 4, by Kairi Yura, original story by Sai Yukino. [No copy.] August 2011, $9.99, from Viz Media.

Maoh: Juvenile Remix volume 6, by Megumi Osuga. From Amazon: “As Ando continues to try to uncover Inukai’s plans, Grasshopper prepares for a major event to take control of the city. And just when Ando gets close to the truth, standing in his way is the most dangerous challenge he’s ever faced.” August 2011, $9.99, from Viz Media.

From Dark Horse:

Berserk volume 35, by Kentaro Miura. “After a hellish battle against ravenous sea monsters, Guts the Black Swordsman and his companions are forced to seek refuge on a small island so their ship can be repaired. But this island is not the safe haven they’d hoped for – it’s a sinister place rife with dark energy, watched over by an ancient, vengeful god. And with a full moon on the rise, that god’s power is about to be unleashed…” September 21, 2011, $14.99.

Blood Blockade Battlefront volume 1, by Yasuhiro Nightow (wait what? KICK ASS, will probably get bumped to my pull list). “A breach between Earth and the netherworlds has opened up over the city of New York, trapping New Yorkers and creatures from other dimensions in an impenetrable bubble. They’ve lived together for years, in a world of crazy crime sci-fi sensibilities. Now someone is threatening to sever the bubble, and a group of stylish superhumans is working to keep it from happening.” September 14, 2011, $10.99.

From Bandai Entertainment:

Gurren Lagann volume 6, by Kotaro Mori. “[….] In this volume, an older Simon and Yoko lead team Dai-Gurren as new conflicts arise to challenge humankind’s claim to the upper world.” August 2011, $10.99.

From Digital Manga Publishing:

Demon City Shinjuku: The Complete Edition, by Hideyuki Kikuchi. “Kyoya Izayoi is no ordinary high school student – he’s one of the few trained in the martial art of Nenpo, and wields a sword known as ‘Ashura.’ Little does he know, the walls between this world and the world of the spirits are getting thinner by day…and when the fault line separating these two worlds collapses, the city of Shinjuku is about to face the biggest horror and live in a devastating effect… And Kyoya is waiting – can he stop the demons…” July 21, 2011, $14.95.

Itazura na Kiss volume 6, by Kaoru Tada. “Kotoko can’t believe that her most far-fetched fantasy has come true…she’s finally married to superstar Naoki! But just when Kotoko begins to feel like the coast is clear (for once), a honeymoon horror springs to life when a sexy troublemaker hits on her man! and what on earth could be keeping Naoki from officially registering their marriage, anyway?” July 20, 2011, $16.95.

An Even More Beautiful Lie, by Kei Kanai. “When art student Kurosu Keiichiro notices a young man leaving his umbrella on the train, he runs after him to return it. In so doing, he ends up missing his last train home. Feeling responsible, the young man offers his place for the night. Turns out he is a fellow student at Keiichiro’s university, one Yukari Yohito who has already garnered considerable attention for his artwork. Yukari may be a genius with paints and a canvas, but is completely hopeless at everything else as Keiichiro discovers. Striking up a friendship, Keiichiro begins coming by to take care of things for Yukari. The more he involves himself in Yukari’s life, however, the deeper Keiichiro’s feelings begin to run. It’s no longer mere friendship or even admiration that moves him, but just what should he do about it?” July 15, 2011, $12.95 (Juné).

Yellow 2 Episode 3, by Makoto Tateno. “Taki and Goh – an expert team of bandits hired by the police to steal from the mafia. This time, their assignment involves their immediate family member. Can they find what they are looking for without getting too personal and emotional? How would they handle the assignment this time? A stand-alone short stories to DMP’s best seller Yellow. These short stories [have] never been published into a book before, these episodes were distributed in Japan via cell phones and handheld devices.” July 20, 2011, $6.95 (Juné).

Finder 4: Prisoner in the Viewfinder, by Ayano Yamane. “The gorgeous and devious Fei Long has kidnapped Akihito and taken him all the way to Hong Kong! Though he’s made to perform debasing acts for his ‘master’ at night, Akihito’s mind is filled with thoughts of the wounded Asami. Will the two men finally be reunited…or is Akihito destined to remain a slave?” July 15, 2011, $13.95.

From Kodansha Comics:

Until the Full Moon volume 1, by Sanami Matoh. From Amazon: Marlo has a problem. On the night of the full moon, this half-werewolf, half-vampire undergoes a mysterious and terrifying transformation: He turns into a girl. Desperate for a cure, his parents call on Doctor Vincent, a long time family friend. But Marlo wants to keep his condition secret from Vincent’s son, the vampire playboy David. Unfortunately, the secret gets out, and a new problem surfaces: David is interested in Marlo’s female form! If a remedy can’t be found, their parents believe the next best solution is marriage – a marriage between Marlo and David!” July 2011, $10.99 (previously published by Broccoli).

Deltora Quest volume 1, by Emily Rodda, with art by Makoto Niwano. “The peaceful Deltora Kingdom is in peril due to the machinations of the Shadow King. Three brave adventurers set out on an epic quest to recover 7 lost stone that are critical to saving Deltora from the Shadow King. Based on the bestselling novels, and appearing everyday on TV on The Hub!” July 2011, $10.99.

Also From Seven Seas Entertainment:

Amazing Agent Jennifer volume 1, by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir, with art by Kriss Sison. “A spin-off from the pages of Amazing Agent Luna! Long before Luna’s hard-as-nails boss known simply as ‘Control’ became a top agent, Jennifer Kajiwara was a rookie. From Jennifer’s freshman year in the Agency, through her struggles with her parents and her grueling training, to her first dangerous mission as a field agent (and first big romance!), being a young secret agent is never easy. Jennifer must learn the hard way how to play deadly spy games as she becomes embroiled in a secret war full of intrigue, betrayal, and deadly consequences.” August 2011, $10.99.

From Udon Entertainment:

Apple Selection vol. 1: Summer, by various. “The creation of the Apple anthology/artbook series are back with an all-new volume of gorgeous, pinup artwork! APPLE SELECTION features dozens of Korea’s top illustrators creating brand new pinup work of cute summer girls, seductive nurses, jamming punk rockettes, and more. APPLE SELECTION belongs in everyone’s art book collection!” August 2011, $39.99.

From Vertical Inc:

Tezuka’s Book of Human Insects HC, by Osamu Tezuka. “‘The Human Metamorphosis’ is a recognized as one of Osamu Tezuka’s most cinematic titles. Reading much like a thriller, this title has more twists and turns than MW and features a timeless leading lady.” July 2011, $21.95.

Tezuka’s Black Jack volume 17, by Osamu Tezuka. [Generic copy.] August 2011, $16.95.

Also From Viz Media:

Bakuman volume 6, by Tsugumi Ohba, with art by Takeshi Obata. “Moritaka and Akito’s hard work is paying off, and they start challenging their rival Eiji’s popularity in Weekly Shonen Jump. But just as they plan to take the next step, the team is hit with a surprising setback. Moritaka and Akito will need the help of their manga artist friends to overcome this hurdle!” August 2011, $9.99.

Blue Exorcist volume 3, by Kazue Kato. “As a new Exorcist Esquire at True Cross Academy, Rin has a long way to go before he reaches the top rank of Paladin. When Rin and his classmates are sent to an amusement park to search for a ghost, Amaimon, King of Earth, takes Rin by surprise and steals the Koma Sword. Higher powers have been observing events at the academy and make their presence known. New players enter the game, and Rin doesn’t even know he’s playing!” August 2011, $9.99.

Tegami Bachi volume 6, by Hiroyuki Asada. “Lag finds his long-lost hero Gauche Suede! But Gauche’s heart is so depleted that he has no memory of his former self, and now goes by Noir the Marauder. Lag’s only hope to recover the real Gauche is a special letter bullet that will convey Lag’s heart to his friend. Lag’s not sure how to go about writing the perfect letter, but his Letter Bee duties offer some good lessons in connecting hearts.” August 2011, $9.99.

Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys volume 16, by Naoki Urasawa. “Contrary to what his actions as an adult have led Kenji and his pals to believe, back when they were children, Fukube really wanted to be their friend. Fukube even went so far as to let them read all the latest manga magazines he diligently purchased in the hope of winning their friendship. Yet despite all this, Fukube still felt like an outsider. Fostering a sense of superiority toward all the other children around him, how did Fukube’s actions as a little boy serve as an indication of the kind of man he would eventually become?” August 2011, $12.99.

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan volume 4, by Hiroshi Shiibashi. “The Nura clan’s turf has been invaded! A mysterious set of travelers arrive in Ukiyoe Town to wreak havoc and challenge Rikuo in his position as the leader of Japan’s most powerful yokai syndicate. They even infiltrate his school! If Rikuo wants to maintain the Nura clan’s status and protect his human friends from the rival yokai’s malice, he’s going to have to call his hundred demons to battle and prepare for his biggest fight yet!” August 2011, $9.99.

Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit volume 7, by Motoro Mase. [Final volume.] From Amazon: “Featuring Episode 13: Photo of the Deceased & Episode 14: The Dream I Tried to Make Come True. If I quit now, my life itself would become a lie.” August 2011, $12.99.

Natsume’s Book of Friends volume 8, by Yuki Midorikawa. “Nyanko Sensei is recovering after being wounded in the last yokai incident, so Takashi is on his own when he accidentally releases a yokai right before the school festival. With new friends and his ever-strengthening relationship with the Fujiwaras, Takashi has more reasons than ever to keep the supernatural at bay. But does he stand a chance without Nyanko Sensei’s power to back him up?” August 2011, $9.99.

Kamisama Kiss volume 4, by Julietta Suzuki. “Being a teen deity is tough! Now only does Nanami have her duties at the shrine, she has her female classmates begging her to get them dates with her yokai companions. Tomoe wants nothing to do with dating, so what is Nanami going to do about her growing feelings for him?” August 2011, $9.99.

Seiho Boys’ High School volume 7, by Kaneyoshi Izumi. From Amazon: “When Rui and Fuyuka’s relationship hits a rough patch, it’s up to the boys to lend their support. And when a new teacher turns out to be a Seiho graduate, will the students be overcome with depression as they see their possible future selves…?” August 2011. $9.99.

Also From Yen Press:

Nabari No Ou volume 7, by Yuhki Kamatani. “The Banten shinobi and Grey Wolves are under attack by the students at Alya Academy. Raimei tries to talk Subaru out of fighting, but Subaru reveals that the brains of young shinobi are the main ingredient for the forbidden cure – all Daya which she wants to use to revive the school’s headmaster, who is dying of a chronic disease. They capture Raimei, Juuji, and Miharu while the adults are still fighting upstairs with Kouichi.” July 2011, $11.99.

High School of the Dead volume 3, by Daisuke Sato, with art by Shouji Sato. “The high school escapees are joined by elementary-schooler Alice and a brave little dog as they make their way to the next house, with nary a soul or corpse in sight. Alice’s presence eases the tension, but as Marikawa-sensei drives farther into the neighborhood, the zombies sem to be out in greater numbers. The group has been lucky so far, but will their determination and makeshift arsenal be enough to make it to safety alive?” July 2011, $13.99.

Pandora Hearts volume 6, by Jun Mochizuki. “Though Oz’s sudden appearance withing Pandora wreaks havoc, the initially chily reception to the prison-breaker turns more than warm when Jack Vessalius, hero of the tragedy of Sablier, manifests in Oz’s body. Sending Oz’s resultant inner turmoil, Oscar drags Oz and company on a ‘mission’ to Lutwidge Academy, where Oz’s little sister Ada is a student. But a tearful reunion ten years in the making isn’t the only thing for which Oz must prepare himself; cloaked enemies are lying in wait [to] torture Oz for answers about events a hundred years past.” July 2011, $11.99.

Time and Again volume 6, by JiUn Yun. [Final volume.] “[….] At last, we learn the truth of Baek-On’s past, how he has shouldered the punishment and revenge of the spirits that was meant for his father. Even worse, Baek-On knows that these painful events will repeat themselves into his next life and the next, time and again until his soul is spent. The cycle of hatred and love continues in the final volume.” July 2011, $11.99.

Book Girl and the Captive Fool, by Mizuki Nomura. “One day Tohko borrows a book from the library, but there are pages missing. There’s no way the Book Girl, who loves books so much that she devours them, is going to stay silent about this! Caught up in Tohko’s rampage, Konoha and Akutagawa are forced to perform a play for the school’s culture fair. But Tohko and Konoha glimpse the darkness in his classmate’s heart. A soul stand immobilized, bound by the mistakes of the past. Will the Book Girl be able to set it free?” (Light novel.) August 2011, $8.99.

And that’s that! Hope you found something interesting to order.

By the way, listen up, CLAMP fans. Dark Horse is releasing the first volume of CLAMP’s new series Gate 7 on October 25, 2011. From the PR copy:

In Gate 7, an innocent sightseeing trip to Kyoto opens up a magical realm to shy high schooler Chikahito Takamoto. Visiting a legendary shrine, Chikahito finds himself in the mystical world of Hana and her comrades—and his immunity to their powers leads them to believe that he’s no ordinary awkward teenager! Protecting our world from violent elemental beasts, Hana and her team welcome the confused Chikahito—who isn’t quite sure that he wants to be caught in the middle of their war! One’s thing’s certain, though: since he’s smitten with aloof, childlike warrior Hana, he’s along for the ride, for better or worse!




  1. Is that ICO the same as a video game I heard of a few years ago? Blood Blockade sounds pretty good though, why does everything have to happen in NYC?

  2. Kristin

    *ahem* “(Light novel.) August 2011, $15.99, from Viz Media (based on the PlayStation 2 video game).”

  3. oops! I actually skipped the solicit for it after reading Black Butler which I am now hooked on thanks to you! 🙂

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