It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for another midweek manga review! Today I’ll be taking a look at Attack on Titan, Vol. 13. First though, news!
- In licensing news, Yen Press announced that they’ve picked up Touya Mikanagi’s Karneval on their Twitter feed this past Friday.
- Udon took their Manga Classics Line to the librarians, by previewing the books at the ALA Annual Conference in Los Vegas.
- The Organization of Anti-Social Geniuses attended Vertical’s recent Knights of Sidonia event at Kinokuniya bookstore and had a chance to ask Vertical’s Ed Chavez some questions.
- And of course, The New York Times Best Sellers List for the week for August 16th.
And now this week’s featured review of Attack on Titan, Vol. 13!
With Attack on Titan, Vol. 13 Hajime Isamaya takes a break from the non-stop action of the last few volumes, and focuses in on the politics within the Walls. Still reeling from their losses while rescuing Eren, Erwin and the heads of the Survey Corp plot their next move. Unfortunately for them their enemy is a bit harder to detect than 15 meter high man eating Titans, as they soon come to realize that there may be no one within the walls they can trust!
Welcome! This week I’ll be taking a look at Sankarea, Vol. 7, but before we get to that, let’s have a look at what news, announcements and other manga related tidbits have caught my eye this past week.
- Otakon was the past weekend, and while there wasn’t a lot of news coming out of it, Vertical did announce plans to publish A Sky Longing for Memories: The Art of Makoto Shinkai.
- Earlier in the week Al Jazeera ran an … interesting OpEd piece focusing on the sexualization of children in Anime/Manga.
- The latest “The Line is Drawn” column at CSBG features a number of anime/manga vs. comic book mashups. The Kenshin vs. Katana and Astro Boy vs. Magnus the Robot Fighter are my personal faves.
- And of course, The New York Times Best Sellers List for the week for August 2nd.
Without further ado, my review of Sankarea, Vol. 7!
After a few volumes off, it’s time to take a look at what’s happening with the romantic comedy/horror series that is Sankarea! With Bub’s condition worsening and acting as a potential prelude to what could eventually happen to Rea, Furuya and Rea take the plunge and agree to head off to the top secret zombie research facility that his uncle and Kurumiya have worked with in the past known as Zoma. Is this a case of the cure being worse than the disease, or will things go well for our duo?
Welcome to the weekly manga review here at Sequential Ink! Before we get this week’s review of My Little Monster, Vol. 2, let’s see what interesting tidbits we can dredge up from the San Diego Comi-Con flood, shall we?
- Udon Entertainment made a number of interesting licensing announcements this year, with their planned releases of the Kill La Kill manga and two Osamu Tezuka art books being the highlights for manga and anime fans.
- Drawn and Quarterly will be continuing to release works from Shigeru Mizuki, with his biographical manga Hitler, while also adding Tadao Tsuge’s Trash Market to their slowly growing library of manga.
- Kodansha also named two new series their 2015 line up, with the licensing of Yamada-Kun and the Seven Witches and Let’s Dance a Walts.
- Elsewhere, Wired UK ran an interview with DC Editor Jim Chadwick and translator Sheldon Drzka regarding the decision and process of releasing Jiro Kuwata’s Batman manga in the west.
- Also, earlier today Seven Seas announced two new acquisitions in the form of the Servamp and 12 Beast series.
- And of course, The New York Times Best Sellers List for the week for July 5th.
And now, onto this weeks review of My Little Monster, Vol. 2!
When we last left Shizuku and Haru, their relationship had taken an odd turn as Haru rejected Shizuku’s request for a date, causing her to vow to make him love her! Robico’s My Little Monster, Vol. 2 picks up immediately after this and continues to explore the tangled and awkward relationship that Shizuku and Haru’s share, while adding further complications such as a potential romantic adversary, and ominous hint about Haru’s home life.
Another Wednesday means another review! This week I’ll be taking a look at The Seven Deadly Sins, Vols. 1 + 2 from Kodansha. Before we get into that, here are a few news items that have caught my attention over the past few weeks.
- Over the weekend Guillermo Del Toro held an AMA on Reddit, where he fielded a question about manga and anime.
- Earlier this mont, Publishers Weekly caught up with manga creator Moyoco Anno and had a chance to talk to her about her various works.
- A few weeks back the classic anime series Doraemon began airing in the US. Around the same time the translation team of Matt Alt and Yoda Hiroko gave a presentation on the challenges of adapting the series for a US audience and James Singleton of Nippon.com was there to cover it.
- The Japan Times recently ran a short interview with Hiroshi Sakurazaka, author of Edge of Tomorrow/All You Need is Kill. He talks a little bit about the movie and manga adaption’s of his original novel.
- And of course, The New York Times Best Sellers List for the week for July 5th.
A lot of those stories were slated to be linked to in last week’s column, but due to the flood of manga news they got bumped back until now. Better late than never! With that done, it’s onto this week’s featured review of The Seven Deadly Sins, Vols. 1 + 2.
The land of Brittania is in turmoil! A group known as the Holy Knights have overthrown the King, forcing Princess Liones to seek help from the legendary group of knights known as The Seven Deadly Sins. Unfortunately for her, the group has been declared outlaws for nearly a decade following an attempted coup of their own. Struggling to save her kingdom Liones must track down these outlaws and uncover the conspiracy surrounding the Holy Knights actions, in Nakaba Suzuki’s The Seven Deadly Sins, Vols. 1 + 2.
Welcome to the latest review at Sequential Ink! This week I’ll be taking a look at Say I Love You, Vol. 2, but first, please enjoy some news-y tidbits!
- Starting this weekend, Netflix will be streaming Knights of Sidonia, the anime adaption of Tsutomu Nihei’s sci-fi manga currently being released in the US by Vertical.
- DC Comics has announced that it plans to release the 1960’s Jiro Kuwata Batmanga in the US. The series is currently slated to be released as a digital series, and later in a three volume collection. The series debuts this weekend on DC Comics app, and similar digital comic sites.
- Kodansha Comics is giving you a chance to win original artwork with it’s Vinland Saga contest. For creating an interesting and compelling character who could exist in the world of Vinland Saga, you could own one of three character portraits from the series creator, Makoto Yukimura, featuring Thorkell, Askeladd or Thorfinn!
- And finally, The New York Times Best Sellers List for the week for June 21st, topped by Vertical’s release of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, Vol. 6!
With the news roundup out of the way, it’s onto this weeks featured review of Say I Love You, Vol. 2!
With volume 2 of Say I Love You, Kanae Hazuki continues to use Yamatao and Mei’s growing relationship and their circle of friends to explore the rocky shores of teenage relationships. With the introduction of several new characters, she takes the opportunity to look at body issues, teen sex, and more in this fascinating shojo series.
Welcome back to Sequential Ink, or just welcome for those visiting for the first time. For those wondering, I’ve spent the last year or so writing Manga in Minutes column for Comics Should Be Good, part of Comic Book Resources. My association with them is now at an end, but my review writing isn’t! With that in mind I’ll be dusting off this blog and posting weekly manga reviews every Wednesday night between 6 and 7 PM EST. As time goes on I may expand a bit and return to mixing in American comic reviews and novel reviews as well, but first things first.
Now that that’s taken care of, let’s take a look at a few news items that caught my eye this past week.
- Over the weekend Yen Press announced several new licenses, including Kingdom Hearts II, Secret a series from the creator of Doubt and Judge, Sword Art Online Progressive and more!
- ANN’s reporting that Takehiko Inou’s Vagabond will be delayed until the Fall. The series has been on hiatus in Japan since Feb. and was originally set to return this week.
- And finally, The New York Times Best Sellers List for the week for June 7th sees Attack on Titan, Vol. 1 mark a full year of being present upon the best sellers list!
Speaking of Attack on Titan, with the news out of the way it’s time to take a look at Attack on Titan: No Regrets, Vol. 1!
Adapted from a visual novel included with the Japanese Blu-Ray release of Attack on Titan, Jikaru Sugura’s Attack on Titan: No Regrets, Vol. 1 delves into the history of Levi, one of the more popular characters in the series, and promises to show how he met Commander Erwin, joined the Survey Corps and became the character fans know and love.
Sailor Moon, Vol. 3
by Naoko Takeuchi
Kodansha Comics, 248 pp
Rating: Teen (13+)
The third volume of Naoko Takeuchi’s shojo hit, Sailor Moon concludes the opening arc seeing our heroines facing off against the evil Queen Metalia! Secrets are revealed as the forces of good and evil clash with the fate of the Earth hanging in the balance. Afterwards the Sailor Scouts find themselves up against a new threat with new mysteries and questions waiting to be answered.
We’re three volumes in and I beginning to think that this might be a rather uneven series. The first volume was all introductions, leading us to meet the various Sailor Scouts while finding out bits and pieces about them and their powers. The second volume was a massive info dump with huge amounts of background information, world building, setting up the conflict between Sailor Moon and the forces of Metalia and Beryl, and a heavy fleshing out of the romance between Usagi and Mamoru. This volume brings the opening arc to it’s conclusion but does so in such a way that undercuts much of the drama and the excitement of the story. It’s so compressed that moments which feel like they matter and should resonate fall a bit flat or are glossed over surprisingly quickly. Moments such as the Sailor Scouts sacrificing themselves or various fights and climactic scenes often take place over the course of a panel or two. This continues into the second arc which we’re thrown into head first, witnessing seemingly pointless attacks upon the Sailor Scouts by villains who are cyphers. While that’s not a huge issue, their motivations currently serve as a mystery hook for this arc, the reactions of the Sailor Scouts to all of it are virtually nonexistent! For example, Sailor Mars is kidnapped early on but the scouts express almost no worry or grief outside of an initial “She’s gone!” reaction. This rather large and major occurrence is almost glossed over and instead Sail Moon spends a large chunk of the story stressing over the arrival Chibi-Usa, a mysterious young girl who seems to have a connection to Usagi and who moves in with them. While it makes sense that that would be on her mind, you’d think she’d be more than a little worried about her friend being kidnapped and might comment on it a bit more. To make things even more bizarre almost no one but the Scouts seem to notice or care about Mars’ disappearance. Her classmates express some surprise that she’s been absent for a few days but there’s nothing about what her family is doing or anyone making any attempt to locate a missing teenager beyond the Scouts asking around. It makes the entire thing feel surreal and oddly empty, like the events are taking place in some kind of vacuum which doesn’t affect the world the story is set in.
Visually the book’s not really my cup of tea but it’s hard to deny Naoko Takeuchi’s skill in depicting and conveying emotional oomph. As I mentioned above her battle scenes tend to be hyper compressed to the point that they make old school superhero comics look positive languid in their pacing. It’s not just the pacing but the lack of clarity regarding what’s happening and where people are going or moving in relation to each other. On the other hand when it comes to the romance between Usagi and Mamoru she’s piles it on and turns up the volume to eleven. A kiss between the two at the end of the opening arc is given a gorgeous two page spread juxtaposing it against their previous lives as Endymion and Serenity. The whole moment hangs in the air wonderfully thanks to her use of toning, patterns, a lack of panel borders or backgrounds and more. The entire scene feels like the equivalent of two lovers running to each other at the climax of a Hollywood film.
I’m finding Sailor Moon to be a mixed bag and wonder if it’s due to the fact that I’m so far outside of the target audience for the book or whether it’s just not being as good as everyone’s made it out to be over the years. Still, while I can’t quite put my finger on it, though I’m leaning towards it’s importance in the American anime and manga scene, it is oddly compelling and I find myself wanting to give it at least one more volume.
Sailor Moon, vol. 3 is available now from Kodansha Comics.