Superhero comics have long been a staple of the medium in the United States. Arguably they’ve dominated sales and the public conscious more so than any other genre in the American comic book scene for over half a century. Japan, on the other hand, not so much. That said, Japan certainly has had their own superhero tradition, one look at the long running live action franchises like Super Sentai or Kamen Rider is proof of this. Over the last few years, Viz has shown interest in tapping into America’s love of the superhero with several superhero manga titles. Tiger & Bunny, One Punch Man and now… Kohei Horikoshi’s My Hero Academia.
The latest in Viz’s small wave of superhero manga My Hero Academia, Vol. 1 introduces us to a world where superpowers are the norm and the road to becoming a hero is an academic one. Enter Izuku Midoriya, a middle school student who stands out from the rest of his powered classmates by virtue of not having any powers. With nothing but a dream and determination, he sets out on his quest to become a hero… but can he?
Welcome to the latest midweek manga review here at Sequential-Ink! There was a brief break last week due to finals, but I’m back on track and looking to return to a twice a week schedule for the rest of the month. Despite the fact that I just welcomed you to a midweek manga review, this midweek review is actually a little different as I’ll be looking at The Science of Attack on Titan, which technically isn’t manga! Before we get that though, some news from the past two weeks…
- The Ultraman blitz on America continues! Sci-Fi Japan attended Comicon earlier this summer and was able to interview Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi, the creators of the Ultraman manga soon to be released by Viz!
- Speaking of Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi, the latest issue of Bessatsu Shonen Champion announced that the duo’s new manga, Robot Detective will be premiring in the magazine’s next issue. Robot Detective is based off of Shotaro Ishinomori’s 1970s tokusatsu series of the same name.
- Earlier this month, Last Gasp Publishing opened a Kickstarter to get Barefoot Gen into schools and libraries. If the publisher is able to meet their goal, 4,000 copies of Keiji Nakazawa’s seminal manga will be printed in hardcover for distribution to schools and libraries.
- At long last, all 20 of the Marvel manga variant covers have been revealed!
- Al Jazeera recently posted How Comic Books Helped Fuel Japan’s Love for the Atom, an article about how Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy was used to help change the Japanese public’s perception of nuclear power back in the 70s.
- And last but not least, the New York Times Best Sellers List for August 16th.
And now, onto this week’s review of The Science of Attack on Titan!
The Science of Attack on Titan
Written by Rikao Yanagita, Illustrated by Maru Fujishima, Additional Illustrations and Attack on Titan originally created by Hajime Isayama, Translated by Ko Ransom.
Kodansha Comics, 208
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)
As Attack on Titan mania sweeps the world, leading to spin off series, anime series, OVA’s, action figures, games, moves and more, one man dares to ask the important questions! One man dares to ask just what is the body temperature of a Titan, or just how fast does the vertical maneuvering gear move you through the air. That man is Rikao Yanagita and he’s written The Science of Attack on Titan to address just such issues!
As the last volume came to its conclusion, all seemed lost. Tartaros’ plan to activate the anti-magic bombs seemed to be unstoppable, despite the efforts of Fairy Tail and their allies. Then, as all seemed lost the dragons returned! Now,Igneel and Acnologia clash in the air as the Tartaros arc comes to an end, but what will become of Fairy Tail? Hiro Mashima brings this story arc to it’s explosive, heart wrenching climax and sets the stage for the next arc with Fairy Tail, Vol. 49!
Welcome to another midweek manga review! This week I’ll be taking a look at the final three volumes of Sankarea with my review of Sankarea, Vols. 9 – 11, but first, some news items from Otakon and elsewhere!
- The licensing surprises just keep on coming with Kodansha’s announcement that they’ll be releasing Leiji Matsumoto’s Queen Emeraldas in 2016. If that wasn’t enough, they also announced plans to release Yui Sakuma’s Complex Age and Nao Emoto’s Forget Me Not as well.
- Meanwhile, Viz announced they’ve picked up Inio Asano’s Goodnight Pun Pun for a 2016 release.
- Also at Otakon, Vertical announced three new titles, Riichi Ueshiba’s Mysterious Girlfriend X, Kaori Ozaki’s The Gods Lie and Ryo Hanada’s Devil’s Line
- In non-Otakon news, the Asahi Shimbum recently ran an article about the English edition of the Attack on Titan manga having over 2 million copies in print!
- And last but not least, the New York Times Best Sellers List for August 2nd.
And now, onto this week’s review of Sankarea, Vols. 9 – 11!
The climatic volumes of Mitsuru Hattori’s zombie horror/comedy/romance series, Sankarea, are here! After the life altering events at the ZOMA island, Chihiro and Rea return to Japan. Unfortunately, Rea’s memory has been altered and her relationship with Chihiro has fundamentally changed. Struggling to keep Rea ignorant of the truth of her nature as a flesh eating undead monstrosity drives Chihiro to look deep into his family’s past, finally uncovering the truth of the elixir and learning the ultimate fate of his late mother. Will this information prove to his advantage, or is Rea doomed to become a mindless zombie?
After a longer than planned absence, I’m back with a new midweek manga review! The past couple of weeks have seen us go through San Diego Comicon and Anime Expo, so there’s plenty of manga related news bits floating around right now. This isn’t all of them by any stretch of the imagination, but these are the highlights that really caught my attention.
- Udon won SDCC, and quite possibly the decade, when they announced plans to release Riyoko Ikeda’s classic series, Rose of Versaille.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Creator Kazuki Takahashi was awarded a Comic Con Inkpot Award at Comicon! The award recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions to comics, sci-fi/fantasy and the like. Past Japanese Inkpot winners include Osamu Tezuka, Hayao Miyazaki, Naoko Takeuchi and more.
- Shigeru Mizuki’s Showa 1939 – 1944: A History of Japan and Showa 1944 – 1953: A History of Japan won the Eisner Award for “Best U.S. Editon of International Material – Asia” at this years Comicon. The series is one of several Shigeru Mizuki works to be released by Drawn & Quarterly in recent years.
- A Manga Publisher’s Roundtable was held at Comicon this year. Hosted by Deb Aoki, the panel was made up of editors from several U.S. manga publishers and the discussion focused on busting commonly held misconceptions about the U.S. industry. Topics included such things as sports manga not selling, older series being a hard sell, josei not selling, scanlations and more.
- Marvel recently unveiled a slew of their Marvel Manga Variant covers. The latest round of covers include Ant-Man: Last Days by Q Hayashida, Guardian of Knowhere by Yasuhiro Nightow, Planet Hulk by Imaishi Hiroyuki and more.
- Crunchy Roll’s Peter Fobian rolls out a new feature highlighting specific manga artists, for his first entry in the series he takes a look at Tsutomu Nihei
- And last but not least, the New York Times Best Sellers List for July 26th.
And now, onto the featured review of Your Lie in April, Vol. 2!
Young Arima Kosei is forced to confront his fears in an attempt to help Kaori Miyazono in her violin competition. Is this the push Arima needed to regain his confidences and embrace music once again, or will it break him even further? And just what is Kaori to him anyway? Love, music and more abound in the Naoshi Arakawa’s Your Lie in April, Vol. 2!
Ayaka and Honoka find themselves between a rock a hard place as they come under attack by a new, powerful and clever enemy. The enigmatic Tower Witch known as Weekend! After swiftly defeating Ayaka’s mother, she launches a explosive plan to capture Honoka, forcing the duo and the rest of the Workshop Witches onto the defensive! Is there anyway to stop Weekend? Witchcraft Works, Vol. 5 sees Ryu Mizunagi ramp up the action and destruction as the new enemy looms!
AX is behind us and we’re eyeball deep into Comicon, so there’s a ton of manga and manga related news to catch up on.
- At Anime Expo last weekend, Vertical announced several new title, including Keiichi Awawi’s Nichijo, Kanata Konami’s FukuFuku: Kitten Tales and the Attack on Titan: Lost Girls novel co-written by Hajime Isayama and Hiroshi Seko.
- Speaking of Attack on Titan: Lost Girls, it’s set to receive a manga adaption in Japan. Given how many other Attack on Titan spin off series and adaptions have made it Stateside, it seems like only a matter of time before this comes over here as well.
- TokyoPop held a panel at AX announcing their plan to return to publishing in 2016. There wasn’t a whole lot of information to come out of the panel, but the mere announcement of TokyoPop’s return set off some rather interesting discussions online.
- In the wake of TokyoPop’s announcement, Comics Alliance ran a piece about their past treatment of “OEL” creators, with a number of comments from several “OEL” alumni. Likewise, The Beat ran a similar article looking at TokyoPop’s return, their planned “Pop Comics” site and their handling of the “OEL” line and creators.
- Viz made several licensing announcements at AX, including their plans to release the Naruto spin off and follow up series, along with several new additions to their Shojo Beat line, including Shuriken and Pleats from Matsuri Hinoa and Behind the Scenes from Bisco Hatori.
- And last but not least, the New York Times Best Sellers List for July 19th.
And now, onto the featured review of xxxHolic: Rei, Vol. 3!
All good things must come to an end as Watanuki is about to discover within the pages of Clamp’s xxxHolic Rei, Vol. 3. The little mysteries and oddities that have been plaguing Watanuki throughout the previous volumes of the series have been building this moment, when Watanuki is forced to make a choice…