The Best New Manga of April 2019

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

This month’s new manga releases include a Japanese spin on American superheroes and a beautifully drawn manga by a Japanese artist whose repertoire includes work for Marvel and DC. Plus yokai, robots, more horror from Junji Ito, a new volume of Attack on Titan, and a new series about awkward teens talking about sex. Let it rain—we’ve got plenty to read!

Witch Hat Atelier, Vol. 1, by Kamome Shirahama
This magic-school manga is beautifully drawn in a style reminiscent of early 20th-century European and American children’s books—think Andrew Lang’s fairy books, but with the humor and energy of manga. Shirahama, who frequently does cover art for DC and Marvel comics, seamlessly blends a clear, detailed, quasi-Art Nouveau style with lively manga tropes to create a book that adults will love for the look and children will read for the story—which is actually pretty good, too, although it breaks no new ground. Coco, the lead character, helps her widowed mother run a dry-goods shop. One day, when messing around with a book of magic, she accidentally turns her mother and her home to stone. By happy coincidence, there’s a powerful witch nearby, and he shares a secret with Coco: although most people believe that only someone who is born with special powers can do magic, in fact, anyone can do it with the proper training. He takes Coco to his special school so she can learn magic and undo the spell she unwittingly cast on her mother. Shirahama fills her tale with wondrous magical objects and sets Coco up against a bully in this first volume, but she also clues us in that there’s more going on than just a simple school story. A great pick for Harry Potter fans, manga readers who like really good art, or just about anybody, really.

Batman and the Justice League, Vol. 2, by Shiori Teshirogi
And now for something completely different: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the Justice League get the manga treatment. In volume 1, we met a youngster named Rui who had just arrived in Gotham City searching for his parents, missing after an accident. The cops gave Rui a Gotham City welcome by beating him up, robbing him, and attempting to kill him, before Batman swooped in to save the day. That was just the beginning of this complex story, which features manga versions of classic DC superheroes and villains, some startlingly off-model. In volume 2, the villains come forward with their dastardly plan. This manga delivers the same sort of pulpy fun as old superhero comics and new superhero movies, with a minimum of angst and plenty of action.

Mega Man Mastermix, Vol. 1, by Hitoshi Ariga
Mega Man started out as a video game and then became a manga, anime, and an American comic (published by Archie Comics). This collection brings back classic stories created by Hitoshi Ariga and originally published in English as Mega Man Megamix, but in a larger format (7” x 10”) and in full color. This first volume includes the origin story of Mega Man, originally a lab assistant named Rock who allowed robot scientist Dr. Light to transform him into a fighting robot to protect the world from other fighting robots under the control of the evil robot scientist Dr. Wily. Really, it’s just good, clean robot-fighting fun in a new, colorful package.

Smashed: Junji Ito Story Collection, by Junji Ito
Junji Ito’s particular brand of horror, which involves twisting some aspect of everyday life into madness, works particularly well in short stories, and recently, Viz has been serving them up in nice, big hardcover volumes. This latest collection weighs in at over 400 pages and collects 13 stories featuring seemingly ordinary people trapped on the up escalator to crazytown.

My Hero Academia, Vol. 18,by Kohei Horikoshi
My Hero Academia Vigilantes, Vol. 4, by Hideyuki Furuhashi and Betten Court
My Hero Academia School Briefs, Vol. 1, by Anri Yoshi
April is a triple-threat month for fans of My Hero Academia, with three new volumes to look forward to. In vol. 18 of My Hero Academia, the epic battles continue, with Midoriya straining to match the power of Overhaul and getting some help from his friends. In vol. 4 of My Hero Academia: Vigilantes, which features a team whose quirks fall short of superhero standards, Knuckleduster is tracking down the source of a sinister drug while Pop Step organizes the entertainment for a department store opening. And we’re back to the main cast in the first volume of My Hero Academia School Briefs, a prose story about the antics inside UA, the school for superheroes. The story starts with the students’ parents being held in a cage over a pit of flames—but this is My Hero, so we know things won’t go too far (although the adults might think twice about coming back to Parents Day next year).

Kitaro’s Yokai Battles, by Shigeru Mizuki
Shigeru Mizuki’s yokai boy Kitaro finds himself in a pickle—literally—when his former friend Nezumi Otoko sells him out, steals his horse, and gets involved in a shady pickled-daikon scheme. That’s just the first of seven self-contained stories in this volume, which includes fights with giant wigs, a mud monster, and other assorted yokai. These stories date from the late 1960s and early 1970s, when Kitaro was at the height of his popularity in Japan, starring in an anime and several different manga series. Translator Zack Davisson pulls it all together with historical notes about the manga in the front and a guide to the featured yokai in the back. This manga is billed as “kid-friendly,” and it is, but it’s also a bit dark and has a lot to offer adult readers too.

O Maidens in Your Savage Season, Vol. 1, by Mari Okada and Nao Emoto
This one’s a little… different. It’s about high school kids and sex. They’re not having sex; it’s still a big mystery to them. But they can’t seem to stop thinking and talking and wondering about it. The lead characters are the five members of the literary club, although in this first volume the focus stays firmly on two: Uptight Rina Sozenaki, who can’t bear to even think about it but can’t avoid the topic, and everygirl Kazusa Onodera, who can’t think of her childhood friend Izumi that way until (spoiler alert!) she walks in on him when he’s masturbating. Despite all the blushing and sweating and near misses and weird euphemisms, this isn’t one of those awful leering walking-the-edge-of-porn manga. It’s a brutally honest look at the awkwardness of teens, and because of that, it’s probably a better read for those of us who are thankfully done with adolescence than those who are still going through it.

Attack on Titan, Vol. 27, by Hajime Isayama
Zeke has been smuggled back to Paradis Island, and now the powerful weapon is in place, but it won’t necessarily deter an all-out war. Attack on Titan has moved pretty far away from the original premise but continues to deliver plenty of action alongside a story of politics, struggle, and conquest.

What new manga is on your spring reading list?

The post The Best New Manga of April 2019 appeared first on The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.

The Final Season of Jessica Jones Could Bring Back a Major Villain, One Last Time


Syfy is developing a truly insane take on The Banana Splits. Dune’s impressive cast continues to expand. Could another Star Wars show be headed to Disney+? Batwoman finds Kate Kane’s dad. Plus, new Captain Marvel footage, and what’s to come on Star Trek: Discovery. To me, my Spoilers!

Read more…

The Best New Manga of December 2018

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

Can you have too much of a good thing? Not where manga is concerned: this month’s batch of new releases includes spinoffs, side stories, and new volumes of ongoing series that continue to bring surprises even many volumes in—and, of course, a few new Vol. 1s. Here’s a quick look at some of the new manga you’ll want on-hand to read as the nights grow longer.

your name. Another Side: Earthbound, Vol. 1, by Makoto Shinkai and Jyunya Nakamura
In Makoto Shinkai’s film, novel, and manga your name., Mitsuha, a country girl, and Taki, a city boy, swap bodies. Each has to figure out who the other one is and how to live in their shoes, leading up to a dramatic climax. your name. Another Side:Earthbound looks at the events of that story from different points of view, focusing on the world of Mitsuha and her family and friends. It’s a great way for fans of the original to learn more about both the main characters and the supporting cast.

The Promised Neverland, Vol. 7, by Kaiu Shirai
If you haven’t been reading this series, this is a good bad jumping-on spot. If you have been reading it, expect more of what’s kept you going for the past six volumes: cute children using their wits to escape terrible danger in a world where no one can be trusted. The orphans of Grace Field House, having escaped from what seemed like an idyllic orphanage but was actually a food farm for monsters, arrive at a new hideout only to find there’s someone already there. There’s peril but also a bit of a breather before the kids move on to the next part of their quest, to rescue the other orphans and find their way to safety in the human world.

Abara, Vol. 1, by Tsutomu Nihei
Nihei, the creator of Blame, Biomega, and Knights of Sidonia, sets this story in a huge, crumbling city that was created by advanced technology in the distant past but allowed to decay over time—a world that will feel familiar to readers of his other manga. Mutants pose a threat to the humans who live there, so they create time machines and engineer mutant-human hybrids to try to save humanity from extinction. This technology can only go so far, however, and so the story revolves around the struggles between a handful of individual humans and mutants, all set in the sort of lushly decaying city that is a signature of Nihei’s work. Despite the “vol. 1” in the listing, this story is complete in a single volume, and it also includes the short one-shot tale “Digimortal.”

The Ancient Magus’ Bride: The Golden Yarn, Vol. 1, by Kore Yamazaki
You don’t have to be a fan of Kore Yamazaki’s The Ancient Magus’ Bride manga to enjoy this collection of short fantasy stories. Everything you need to know is laid out in the first story, which is by Yamazaki herself: It’s set in an alternative Britain where magical folk and humans coexist, separated by a veil, where streets are paved with cobblestones but the homes have televisions. Yamazaki’s story is a Christmas story, and the rest of the volume is a collection of tales by other writers, all set in this world and peopled by a variety of human and magical characters.

Ojojojo, Vol. 1, by coolkyousinnjya
Ojojojo actually manages to put a novel twist on the four-panel (4-koma) gag manga about high school students: Haru is a spoiled rich girl who can’t relate to ordinary people because of her upbringing; Tsurezure is a nonconformist boy who dresses weirdly and spends time looking at nature. They don’t have much in common except for being outsiders, but that’s all it takes for them to strike up an unusual friendship. The characters aren’t exactly realistic, but neither are they as mannered as those in most 4-koma manga, so if you’re on the fence about this kind of manga, give it a try.

Attack on Titan, Vol. 26, by Hajime Isayama
It’s kind of amazing that this series has so much energy 26 volumes in, but this volume has plenty of Titan-battling action, as Eren Yeager goes up against the War Hammer Titan, Levi takes on Zeke, and Hange shows up in an airship, which complicates everything. As he does in every volume of this series, Isayama sows surprises and revelations among the fights. While this manga started with a simple premise—humans battling man-eating giants for survival—it has become a rich and complex story of politics, strategy, and betrayal.

Goblin Slayer Side Story: Year One, Vol. 1, by Kumo Kagyu and Kento Sakaeda
This spinoff of Goblin Slayer tells the title character’s origin story: His entire village was slaughtered by goblins, and only he survived. Cared for by the relative of a friend, he grows up with one purpose in mind, to kill all goblins. To that end, he joins an adventurer’s guild and signs on only to quests involving goblins. Both the original series and this spinoff are also available as light novels, for those who can’t get enough of battles with goblins

My Hero Academia, Vol. 16, by Kohei Horikoshi
The superheroes-in-training of UA have been selected for an internship program, and Midoriya has been teamed up with two third-year students as part of a special mission: Rescuing a young girl with a special quirk who is being held by a group of gangsters to help them distribute a dangerous drug. This volume opens with the students and the police teaming up to storm the gangsters’ hideout, not realizing the amount of villain-power that is arrayed against them. As always, Horikoshi brings an original twist to the Shonen Jump formula of friendship, competition, and battles, with Midoriya and his teammates using their quirks (superpowers) in creative ways in order to work together against an intimidating array of enemies.

Tokyo Ghoul: re, Vol. 8by Sui Ishida
The stakes are always high in this series, and this volume is no exception, as Haise, the lead character, tries to free his friends from prison while dealing with a stream of new revelations about the Commission on Counter Ghoul and the people around him. The combination of action and mystery makes for compelling reading.

Spice and Wolf, Vol. 16, by Isuna Hasekura and Keito Koume
Spice and Wolf, which exists as both light novels and a manga series, is a great story about a shrewd traveling merchant and a wolf-goddess who travel through a sort-of medieval countryside, combining their brains and supernatural powers to swindle swindlers and set things right everywhere they go. This volume wraps up the manga series, as Lawrence and Holo go all in to take back their territory from a radical faction.

Ran and the Gray World, Vol. 1, by Aki Irie
Here’s one we missed highlighting last month: this series starter follows young Ran Uruma, who is far too eager to grow up and become a witch like her mother—and manages to avoid the wait via a pair of enchanted sneakers that transform her, Big-style, into an adult, but don’t do anything for his unformed magical talents. Aki Irie’s artwork is rich in charm and detail, and the quick plotting wends the story through fish-out-of-water mishaps and awkward romance without missing a step. Sure to be a fan favorite.

What new manga are you picking up in December?

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