Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Reviewing the Mail: Week of October 3: "Regular" Manga

And so we come to the conclusion of this epic trilogy of "Reviewing the Mail" posts. Today, I've got more manga, in the usual size (paperback, roughly mass-market trim). All are in final book form, so they're all either already published or in the middle of distribution right now -- you should be able to find them all very soon from your favorite purveyor of book-like objects. They come from two different companies, so I'll lead off with the three from Vertical.

First up is a book with more credits that usual: Ninja Slayer, Part 1: Machine of Vengeance is credited to Yuki Yogo (art) and Yoshitaki Tabata (script), but they're working from an original novel by Bradley Bond and Philip Ninj@ Morzez, and the book also credits Yu Honda and Leika Suigi with Manga Adaptation Supervision and Character Design to Warainaku and Yuki Yogo. All this to tell the hyperviolent story of a guy in a red outfit who kills ninjas in a corrupt city full of them. If you like seeing ninjas get killed -- and who doesn't? -- this is for you.

Slightly more straightforward is Tokyo ESP, volume 1, which is by Hajime Segawa and features the blond girl on the cover, who discovers that she has secret superpowers and has to team up with similar good-guy types to save Tokyo from the inevitable evil superpowered folks.

Last from Vertical for this installment is Ryu Mizunagi's Witchcraft Works, Vol. 7, which continues the series insistence on having unreadable covers. (A bold move, I think you'll agree.) This volume seems to be set in the aftermath of the big boss fight -- the boss's name is Weekend, which is an odd choice -- as our heroes head home to "uncover the secrets of their past." That could mean the series is wrapping up, or that it'll run another three dozen volumes -- your guess is as good as mine.

Everything else today is from our friends at Yen Press, presented (as usual) starting with series-starters and moving onto later books.

Strike the Blood, Vol. 1 is yet another series adapted from a light novel -- in fact, I saw the light novel itself last week, also from Yen -- and this time, the novelist is Gakuto Mikumo, the character designer (aka illustrator of the novel) is Manyako, and the artist of this actual manga and visual storyteller is Tate. (Is this Little Man Tate grown up and moved to Japan? Who can say?) It's about a seemingly normal boy who is actually, secretly the most powerful vampire in the world, and the cute girl in a miniskirt sent to kill him by the usual shadowy forces.

Take a deep breath before reading this next title: Final Fantasy Type-0 Side Story, Vol. 2: The Ice Reaper. Luckily, that title explains itself pretty clearly: Type-0 is the new Final Fantasy game, and this is a side story called The Ice Reaper. So if you have ice you don't want to be reaped, make sure to keep it safe. This is by Takatoshi Shiozawa and also credits Tetsuya Nomura with supervision. (Supervising books sounds easier than editing them: I'd like to get into that game.)

Continuing the ever-proliferating series about magical girls, here's Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Homura's Revenge!, Vol. 2. As always, the story is from the Magica Quartet (whoever they are when they shed their robes of office and become ordinary people again) and the art this time is by Masugitsune and Kawazukuu. This one seems to be angst-filled, with back cover copy all about tragic fates and revenge.

And then there's First Love Monster, Vol. 2, from Akira Hiyoshimaru. It seems to be the story of the love between a mousy high schoolgirl and a demanding fifth-grade boy. I am seriously hoping that "fifth-grade" is some kind of translation error -- that they mean "fifth form" or "fifth year" or something like that -- because otherwise this just looks creepy. (Clingy older boyfriends of teen girls are bad enough; clingy younger boyfriends might at least be novel, but that's because it's a bad idea.)

Back to the light novel mines for Kagerou Daze, Vol. 3, adapted and drawn by Mahiro Satou from the novel by Jim (Shizen No Teki-P) and the character designs by Sidu,Wannyapuu- [1]. This one's about a master gamer teen girl, the one other student in her class, and their lackadaisical teacher -- but, somehow, they have to put on a show for the school festival in this volume. (Yet another data point tending to agree with my theory that there's a Big Wheel of School Plots in a manga office somewhere in Japan, and everything is generated by spinning that wheel.)

Light novels rule! Kazuma Kamaxhi's series is adapted by Chuya Kogino (using Kiyotaka Haimura's character designs) into A Certain Magical Index, Vol. 3. I believe this is about a school for superpowered kids, but the back cover just focuses on Mikoto Misaka (perhaps the girl on the cover?) who is a "Level Five esper" whose "DNA has been harvested to create a series of clones." This is, clearly, not entirely a good thing.

If Satan were deposed from his extra-dimensional throne in a massive apocalyptic battle, and reincarnated on Earth along with the hero who defeated him, they both would be teenagers working in a Tokyo fast-food restaurant, right? (It's only natural.) This is the premise of The Devil Is a Part-Timer!, Vol. 3 (, which was also adapted from a light novel series (writer: Satoshi Wagahara, character design: 029 (Oniku)) by a manga artist (Akio Hiiragi).

I have no idea what Akame ga KILL!, Vol. 4 is about, but it has a blue-haired girl wearing high boots and hot pants, so it's got to be good, right? The back cover copy goes on about General Esdeath (how very subtle!), an emperor, and something called Night Raid, which seems to be the good guys. It's written by Takahiro and drawn by Tetsuya Tashiro.

And last for this week is Accel World, Vol. 5, which has the three-part credits -- art by Hiroyuki Aigamo, original story by Reki Kawahara, and character design by HIMA -- that you should instantly recognize by this point. (Light Novel alert!) Accel World is about a schlubby fat kid who is actually a superstar of online gaming, and this volume sees him interact with the characters from author Kawahara's other major series, Sword Art Online (about teens trapped in an online game) -- even though the two take place twenty years apart.

[1] Yes, I did type that correctly. No, I have no idea why what I assume is a human being would present a name like that.

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