Monday, May 09, 2016

Reviewing the Mail, Week of 5/7

It's another week, and yet more books have arrived in my mailbox. This time out, they're all manga (with an asterisk for a related novel, which I'll leave for the end), and all in finsihed-book form, which means they're all available for order right now.

And here's what I can tell you about these various things despite the minor handicap of not knowing basically anything about any of them....

Most of these books come from our friends at Yen Press -- whom we also want to congratulate on their recent change of ownership, and express deep hopes that congratulations are the right sentiment -- but I do have two from the scrappier, quirkier Vertical, so I'll putthose first. (I'm a bit scrappy and quirky myself!)

So first up is the very quirky looking Ninja Slayer: Atrocity in Neo Saitama, Vol. 4, which has credits so long and involved I'll have to rended them as bullet points:
  • Original Work by Bradley Bond and Philip Ninj@ Morzez
  • Art by Yuki Yogo
  • Script by Yoshitaki Tabata
  • Manga Adaptation Supervised by Yu Honda and Leika Sugi
  • Character Design by Warainaku and Yuki Yogo
That's all on the cover folks, underneath the over-rendered picture of the dude with the unfortunate nose. In this volume, the Ninja Slayer is dead, or thought dead, and there's a new Ninja Slayer in town. (So this is the "Reign of the Superman" or Azazel of this particular universe.)

Also from Vertical is Ajin: Demi-Human, Vol. 7, which ups the ante on the previous, already pretty darn dark covers for the series and flat-out dares you to be able to read the title. (Designers: black on black may look cool, but it suffers a bit in legibility.) This series is about immortals forced into science experiments and deigned non-human, but they seem to be fighting back pretty strongly by this point.

(From here on out, it's all Yen.)

Take a deep breath for the title of My Youth R♥mantic Comedy is WrΓΈng As I Expected: @ comic, Vol. 1, by Wataru Watari (original story), Naomichi Io (art) and Ponkan⑧ (character design). (And, yes, the title has an at-sign, a slashed lower-case o, and a heart in it, and one of the authors has a circled 8 in his name. It's like they don't want anyone to be able to reported their credits. Luckily, my HTML-code google-fu is at Level 9000.) After all that, I'm a bit disappointed to find out this is yet another high school comedy about a misanthropic boy and a cold-fish girl, thrown together into the inevitable club and forced to solve other students' problems. They will, of course, fall deeply in love by volume 7, possibly even tell each other by volume 15, and so forth.

Your latest dose of magical-girl fun comes from the Magica Quartet and Gan, in the form of Puella Magi Suzune Magica, Vol. 3. I frankly can't keep track of all of the "Puella Magi" books, but they're all interconnected and all feature cute girls in silly outfits battling evil and the heartbreak of teen girl friendships.

Dragons Rioting, Vol. 3 is not -- and I have to underline this -- a veiled reference to the cover character's barely-contained mammaries and a promise on their unveiling inside. Well, I think it isn't, but this book does have a parental warning and shrinkwrap, so there may well be some naked flesh inside. This, I think is the tough-girls-school-suddenly-allows-a-few-boys-in story, and wacky hijins are at this point ensuing. The whole thing is by Tsuyoshi Watanabe.

From Izumi Tsubaki comes Monthly Girls' Nozaki-Kun, Vol. 3, the continuing story of high-school manga-ka and their combined school and professional problems. But that does raise the question: if both Japanese schools and Japanese comic-making are famously all-encompassing, time-devouring occupations, how on earth is it plausible anyone could do both at once? And, even more importantly, why is the guy on the cover holding a transparent ruler?

Then we have Trinity Seven, Vol. 5 by Kenji Saito (story) and Akinari Nao (art), continuing their story about a wizards' school. This time out, someone is re-devoting himself to his studies after something happened in the previous volume (don't ask me, I don't know what), and It Is Surprising.

Speaking of things I don't know much about, can I offer Yana Toboso's Black Butler, Vol. XXII? It's some kind of Victorian England supernatural thriller, but I've never been able to figure it out any further than that. (of sure, I could read it, but twenty-plus volumes is a big time commitment for that.)

And last is a novel by Kugane Maruyama, called Overlord, Vol. 1: The Undead King. (I'm deliberately not checking to see if it's been turned into a manga and anime and series of collectible figurines yet, because the only question there is the word "yet.") About a century in the future, one super-gamer is online to watch the last moments of his favorite virtual reality MMORPG, Yggrasil, when -- wouldn't you know it! -- he's subsumed bodily into the game and has to live in a dangerous fantasy world that isn't quite the same as the game he played. (Guy gets stuck in VR video game seems to be a thriving genre in Japan.)

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