Monday, January 23, 2017

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 1/21

Yeah, yeah, it's another Monday. But at least I have some books to tell you about.

Most of these are from the fabled Big Monthly Box from Yen Press -- so all of those are from those fine folks, and are manga and/or light novels, and are Japanese in origin, and lastly are publishing any day now. But before I get into that Big Box, I have one other book, which will get to go first to keep it distinct.

Wires and Nerve is a graphic novel set in the "Lunar Chronicles" series of Marissa Meyer, in which she's been retelling fairy tales in an interplanetary SFnal setting (and I suspect there's a lot of dystopia, because it's YA). That's the series that started with Cinder, in case series titles don't stick in your head. Wires is a new story in the same continuity, written by Meyer and drawn by Doug Holgate, which focuses on Iko, who I suppose is an established character in the series. This is a hardcover from Feiwel and Friends, on sale January 31st.

And, just to reiterate: everything else from here on is from Yen Press, and will be in your favorite store Real Soon Now.

Akame ga KILL!, Vol. 9 is by Takahiro and Tetsuya Tashiro, and presumably features a lot of KILLing.

Big Order, Vol. 1 is indeed much fatter than the typical manga volume, so top marks for honesty in advertising there. It's by the manga-ka Sakae Esuno, and focuses on a young man named Eiji, who just got a superhuman power and is wishing to destroy the world. Given the length of the volume, I guess he doesn't actually destroy it on page 5 so that the rest of the book can be nice calming blank pages, but the thing is shrink-wrapped, so that's just barely possible.

A Certain Magical Index, Vol. 8 is a manga by Chuya Kogino adapted from the light novel of the same name by Kazuma Kamachi, and the creators would also like you to know that character designs were by Kiyotaka Haimura. This is one of those magic-school stories, with presumably the usual saving-the-world extracurriculars.

First Love Monster, Vol. 6 continues Akira Hiyoshimaru's story of young lovers and the incredibly minor tumults in their teenage lives. (I say teenage, though I think the first volume said the boy was still in grade school. I still am assuming I just don't understand how Japanese schools work la la la la LA!) This time, someone else reveals to the boy that he (?) forced a kiss on the girl!!!!! OMG!

Horimiya, Vol. 6 comes to us from a person who wishes to be known as "Hero" and someone else with the more normal name Daisuke Hagiwara. This is another cute-couple-in-high-school story, which seems to focus more on the "cute" than the drama.

The Isolator, Vol. 1 is the compelling story of a lab technician who heroically centrifuges samples in order to isolate their...oh, ok. No it isn't. Instead, it's the story of a driven security guard in a SuperMax prison, who keeps his fiendishly sneaky international-terrorist prisoners from communicating with each other and the outside world, foiling horrifying plots, not that, either? Well, what is it about? It's about a normal Japanese boy who wants to live a normal life but had some weird thing from space "embedded" in his body, which sounds painful, actually. And he now has "impossible powers," because that's what weird things from space do. The manga is by Naoki Koshimizu, from a light novel by Reki Kawahara.

Murcielago, Vol. 1 is by Yoshimurakana, and apparently is about a sex-crazed lesbian international assassin. Well, "assassin" might be stretching it -- looks like she just likes to kill lots of people, and has recently been hired "as a hit woman for the police," because that's totally a thing that could actually exist in any plausible universe.

Speaking of implausible things, check out the "no, it's not a ribbon, it's my bra!" on the cover of Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers, Vol. 1. Luckily she's drawn, so it will never inadvertently slip unless the artist wants it to. This one also seems to be from a light novel, as it's credited to Kei Toru (art) and Ishio Yamagata (original story). And it's about the six predestined heroes who will save the world from destruction...only, when they assemble, there's seven of them, implying a ringer who will undermine their work and destroy them all.

Taboo Tattoo, Vol. 5 comes from Shinjiro, and this seems to be the volume in which the hero picks himself up after losing a big fight with the big baddie (who is "Princess Aryabhata," in this case) and throws himself into a training montage to be better for the next time. He also plans to travel back in time, which never goes wrong.

The cheerfully titled manga from Kaori Yuki is back with Alice in Murderland, Vol. 5. This is the one where all of the many pubescent children of a family must fight to the death for a single inheritance, again because that's totally a thing that would ever happen.

One of my favorite nutty titles! Have a gander at Hiro Ainana's light novel Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody, Vol. 1! (I'm not sure how it can be both a March and a Rhapsody at the same time, but perhaps some more musically-talented person than myself can hazard a theory.) The story itself is another stuck-in-the-MMO story, though this time our hero is one of the game's programmers, and dropped into it in his sleep somehow.

Fruits Basket Collector's Edition, Vol. 9 continues the reprinting of Natsuki Takaya's popular series in big friendly omnibus editions.

Another light novel series continues with Kagerou Daze VI: Over the Dimension, by Jin (Shizen No Teki-P). No, I don't understand the author's name. And no, I have no idea what's going on in the book, either -- the back-cover copy sounds like our hero is amnesiac and trapped in a virtual reality, but I could be mistaken.

Liselotte & Witch's Forest, Vol. 3 is by Natsuki Takaya, and it seems to be one of those gushing-emotion shojo manga, focused on a young exiled aristocrat and her household.

Another light novel: Overlord, Vol. 3: The Bloody Valkyrie, by Kugane Maruyama. If I remember correctly, it's another trapped-in-an-MMO story, only the hero is basically the Dark Lord and is also pretending to be another person, who is a great hero. This time out, there seems to also be a bloody Valkyrie, who I suppose requires some medical assistance.

Scum's Wish, Vol. 2 is by Mengo Yokoyari is about two young people who are dating, apparently only to make the people each of them really wants jealous. And that always works out right, doesn't it?

The cover of the light novel Strike the Blood, Vol. 5: Fiesta for the Observers has much more schoolgirl upper-inner-thigh than I personally am comfortable with, and I'm trying not to look at it. It's by Gakunto Mikumo, has illustrations by Manyako, and presumably is not about the First Airborne Lolita Force. (Maybe she's an Observer, parachuting in for the Fiesta?)

Tohyo Game, Vol. 2 seems to be another manga adapted from a light novel -- it's credited to G.O. (original story), CHIHIRO (adaptation) and Tatsuhiko (art). And it looks like one of those torturing-teenagers stories, in which either they or outside forces need to kill a certain number of people every so often to keep the story moving. I don't expect to look much further.

The massively long series of huge manga adapted from video games continues with (deep breath) Umineko WHEN THEY CRY, Episode 6: Dawn of the Golden Witch, Vol. 3. It has a story by Ryukishi07 and art by Hinase Momoyama, and has some version of the story about people killing each other on a remote island, a la And Then There Were None.

And last for this week is Void's Enigmatic Mansion, Vol. 5, by HeeEun Kim from the original by JiEun Ha. I think "original" in this case was a TV show, but I don't actually care enough to figure that out right now. This is also the last volume, for those who care about such things.

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