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November 4, 2009

Bento Bako Lite: Your November 2009 Previews

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Written by: Kristin
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Welcome to another Bento Bako Lite, and a look at your upcoming entertainment choices from Diamond’s November 2009 Previews catalog.  This is a light month, both in terms of what is offered, and what is worth looking into.  As the last time, I will start with the titles I plan on ordering myself.

bbwphantomdream5Phantom Dream vol. 5, by Natsuki Takaya.  This is the final volume of this series that follows the tragic story of two warring families – the Otoya family, a family that exorcises evil spirits (specifically, main character Tamaki does this as the sole shugoshi of the family); and the Gekka family, a family akin to demons who turn humans into jaki (basically, they prey on humans’ strong negative emotions and turn them into monsters).  It’s nowhere near as good as Fruits Basket, but Takaya still tells a good story in her debut manga.  In the story’s conclusion, Tamaki and Hira (the Gekka king) will fight their final battle; and the sad story of Hira, Saga and Suigekka will finally come to an end.   February 2010, from Tokyopop.

bbwvampireknight9Vampire Knight vol. 9, by Matsuri Hino.  Things are heating up as an all-out war breaks out at Cross Academy between the different vampire factions.  Even the hunters are getting involved in this one.  The peace of the school is in danger, as are all of the human students trapped at the academy.  Kaname and Zero fight to defend what they wish to protect, no matter the cost.  The delicate balance of the vampire world comes crashing down.  February 2010, from Viz Media.

bbwblackbird3Black Bird vol. 3, by Kanoko Sakurakoji.  I’ll be honest – Black Bird is mostly smut (as if you couldn’t tell by looking at the cover).  But there’s nothing wrong with a little smut now and then, particularly when it’s actually relatively well-written smut.  I mentioned this title in my recent Bento Bako Weekly on vampire anime and manga, as an alternative to Bloody Kiss. I still stand by this recommendation.  Misao Harada can see supernatural beings, and for some reason, they are abnormally attracted to her.  When she is attacked by a demon, she is rescued when her childhood friend Kyo suddenly re-appears.  Kyo has returned from several years’ absence to claim Misao for his bride.  Misao’s blood has special properties that increase the power of demons, and Kyo has decided that he is the demon who will claim her.  Viz, Feb. 2010.

bbwroseRose, by Jeff Smith and Charles Vess.  Alright, this isn’t a manga.  This is actually a prequel to Jeff Smith’s Bone series, which I quite enjoyed.  The story follows Rose (Gran’ma Ben) as a teen, and sets up the conflicts and war that lead into the Bone saga.  I definitely plan to pick this up.  A softcover, full color collection of the series.  A must-have for fans of Bone (just like me).  From Cartoon Books.

bbwgreenlightGreen Light, by Yura Tamaki, with illustrations by Taishi Zaou (one-shot).  Every once in a while a yaoi title pops up that doesn’t sound completely absurd, or like absolute garbage.  This is one of them… but the last time I jumped at an interesting story, I ended up pretty disappointed.  Hopefully that won’t be the case with Green Light, but there’s really no way of knowing until it’s in my hands.  This one is a 200 page novel with scattered illustrations, following Shotaro Izumi as he deals with the rising fame of his childhood friend Makoto Natsuki, and his own downfall into social hell.  When Natsuki approaches Izumi, asking how he could ever make things up to him, Izumi jokingly asks him to go out with him.  To his great surprise, Natsuki accepts his offer.  Things should be pretty obvious from there.  January 2010, from Digital Manga’s DokiDoki line.

From Dark Horse

Okimono Kimono, by Mokona, CLAMP.  If CLAMP sounds familiar to you (and it will if you’re a fan of Chobits, Cardcaptor Sakura, xxxHolic, X, or Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle), then you’ll probably be interested in this book.  This book collects art, interviews, and short stories from the CLAMP girls, with focus on Mokona’s love of kimono and kimono accessories.  March 2010.

Also from Viz Media

Fullmetal Alchemist, volumes 20 and 21, by Hiromu Arakawa.  It looks like 20 may be a reissue (well, both may be), with a release date in September, but 21 comes out in November 2009.

The Legend of Zelda vol. 9, by Akira Himekawa.  If you have kids, this is a great choice.  It’s published under Viz’s vizkids line.  February 2010.

From Del Rey Comics

bbwpaanniversaryThe Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade: The 11 1/2 Year Anniversary Edition HC, by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik.  Again, this isn’t manga, but if you’re like me, manga and web comics go hand-in-hand.  If you’ve been collecting and plan on collecting PA’s collected volumes, this particular book is a less “sure” deal.  This is not one of the sequential volumes, previously published by Dark Horse.  This book showcases the guys’ favorite strips, with new commentary from the creators, as well as commentary from industry professionals.  It’s still probably a must-have for any major PA fan.  The rest of us can probably wait for a soft cover edition, or bypass it all together in favor of the collected volumes.

Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei vol. 5, by Koji Kumeta.  This delightful dark comedy continues into another volume, for an obligatory hot springs story line.

From CMX

Rampage vol. 1, by Yunosuke Yoshinaga.  This one interests me because it deals with some Romance of the Three Kingdoms figures; specifically Zhang Fei and Liu Bei.  I like that era of history, though admittedly I only became interested by playing Dynasty Warriors. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a sample of the manga anywhere (or of the author’s other work, Break Blade/Broken Blade), so I really can’t say whether it will be worth buying or not.  And given that my list is so full already, I can’t take a chance on something I know so little about.  Apparently he (Zhang Fei) falls off a cliff trying to save a kid, is rescued by some wizards, and given some crazy powers.  February 2010.

Other fun things

bbwsabersticksMass Effect: Redemption, by Mac Walters, John Jackson Miller, and Omar Francia.  This miniseries takes place within the story line of Mass Effect 2; Shepard has disappeared, and Dr. Liara T’Soni heads out on a dangerous mission to…I don’t actually know.  Find Shepard, I assume.  Considering Mass Effect is one of my favorite video games, I can’t pass up a mere 4-issue miniseries.  At the very least I want to check out the first issue.  From Dark Horse, in January.

Star Wars Lightsaber Chopsticks Sets. If it wasn’t already completely obvious that I’m a total geek, my interest in these delightful items should seal the deal.  These adorable chopsticks come in two sets – Yoda and Luke Skywalker set (8″ green and 9″ blue, respectively), and Yoda and Darth Vader set (8″ green and 9″ red).  They also come with chopstick rests.

As always, I hope you have found something new to pique your interests!




  1. Infinite Speech

    I don’t think the lightsabre chopsticks would ever be used if I got them lol

  2. Kristin

    Eh, they’re plastic. They’re easily washed.

  3. My girlfriend got me into Phantom Dream. Haha. I can’t wait. And those Lightsaber chop sticks are adorable.

  4. It’s cool that Jeff Smith is ‘continuing’ Bone in manga format… and Black Bird sound interesting.

    Oh, and I want those chop sticks.

  5. “It’s cool that Jeff Smith is ‘continuing’ Bone in manga format”

    Um, he didn’t? They’ve just been publishing full color digests. And, it turns out, Rose was released in a small, SC edition already (this re-release is larger I guess, in terms of the physical dimensions of the book), for half the price. Which I picked up from my LCS yesterday.

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