Manga Before Flowers — Manga Previews: The Best of April
Oh, Previews. Why do I love you so? You’re not as fat as you used to be but you still bring me to a state of anticipatory joy. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Dark Horse’s Eden: It’s an Endless World! (vol 12) is my pick for manga of the month. I’ve been stocking piling volumes of this deliciously complex post-apocalyptic sci-fi manga but that isn’t a bad thing. It just means I’m going to have one helluva a ride on the other side (page 44).
CMX offers two of my favorite manga series of all time this month. Our favorite uptight German spy and British art thief finally return after a long hiatus with From Eroica With Love (vol 14), while Emma (vol 9) promises a charming look at more characters from the Emma universe (page 124). The cover is so pretty it makes me want to cry.
Del Rey entices us with hilarious, trashy fun with the second volume of Gakuen Prince (page 243) but DMP may be *my* MVP of the month with such varied titles as Tezuka’s Swallowing the Earth (which sets off feminist alarm bells with its female seductress / villain but I’m always willing to be offended in the pursuit of awesome manga), You Higuri’s Ludwig II (yet another boys’ love historical tale), and the final and long awaited third volume of Il Gatto Sul G (pages 245, 246, and 248 respectively).
First Second continues with the second installment of its Korean Trilogy about love, sex and growing up with The Color of Water (page 250). The Color of Earth sits on my manga pile, unread, taunting me….I really have to do something about that. Speaking of smaller, high quality publishers, Fanfare/Ponent Mon offers the truly inspiring-looking The Summit of the Gods (vol 1), about two very different trips up Mt. Everest, drawn by Jiro Taniguchi and written by (the unknown to me) Yumemakura Boku (page 251).
Moving on to my shojo picks, Go! Comi offers the fourth volume of Bound Beauty by Mick Takeuchi, author of fan favorite Her Majesty’s Dog (page 254). Tokyopop finally concludes the long-running, much beloved, Fruits Basket with volume 23. It’ll be no spoiler to say it will make us all cry with sadness and joy. Tokyopop also offers new volumes of Petshop of Horrors: Tokyo (vol 5) and Gakuen Alice (vol 8), (page 288). I still insist that Gakuen Alice should be recognized as Fruits Basket‘s spiritual successor! On the boys’ love side I’m pleased to see Junjo Romantica (vol 10) offered as well. Pretty soon we’ll be all caught up with Japan…
As always, Viz offers entirely too much shojo and shonen goodness. One the shonen side, we have one of my favorite comedies of all time, volume 13 of Gin Tama (aliens versus samurai, what could be better?!) (page 294). New volumes of NANA and High School Debut are always a must, but I can’t resist the second volume of Miki Aihara’s new soap opera about the acting world, Honey Hunt. The low-key, but quite excellent We Were There is already on its fifth volume and newcomer Kimi no Todoke: From Me to You looks downright charming (296-297)!
Then there’s some seinen by some guy named Takehiko Inoue. Wonder how those will do…. Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, which is currently my favorite manga of 2009, is on volume 4, and new volumes of Oishinbo and Full Metal Alchemist are up as well (pages 298-299).
However, if Viz is the main course it is important not to leave before you consider a decadent dessert. Particularly the fifth volume of Goong, everyone’s favorite young Royals melodrama, and a manga whose name alone inspires incredible interest, Cirque du Freak volume 1 (page 302).
So, what manga titles interest you?