the fall. The sweltering heat of summer turns crisp as lifeless
foliage drops delicately to the ground. For many it's a time
of reflection, but for any self-respecting manga fan, it's
time to kick back and escape the world through some killer
manga! Leave it to Otaku USA's intrepid manga expert, Jason
Thompson, author of Manga: The Complete Guide, to navigate
you through this falls meatiest manga releases. Company by
company, title by title, Thompson gives a glimpse of your
very own manga consuming future.
YURI MONOGATARI 5
ALC Publishing (September 2007)
Long before lesbian-chic moe manga like Tetragrammaton Labyrinth
and Iono-sama Fanatics, ALC Publishing was publishing original
lesbian-themed dojinshi by Japanese and American artists.
The latest installment of their 200+ page anthology magazine
collects stories by American, European and Japanese creators,
including Rica Takashima (Rica 'tte Kanji!) and Eriko Tadeno,
as well as dojinshi circles Sakuraike and UKOZ. Although
some of the stories are outright fantasy, others are realistic
tales by lesbian creators, dealing with coming out, sexual
orientation and all that other stuff that people don't normally
talk about in manga. Ask at your local indy comic store
or look online (www.anilesbocon.org) for this small-press
Aurora Publishing (July 2007)
Ohzora Shuppan (Ease, 2005)
Aurora Publishing is the new U.S. branch of Ohzora Shuppan,
a Japanese publisher famed for josei (women's) manga. Walkin'
Butterfly, their launch title, is the story of Michiko,
a tall awkward girl who goes from delivering pizzas to being
a Tokyo fashion model. "You won't last one step on
that catwalk," says Mihara, the handsome designer who
Michiko meets at the beginning of her bizarre modeling adventure.
But of course, that's a challenge, not a warning. Aimed
at approximately college-age readers, the story is drawn
in a lanky, big-lipped, attractive style similar to Moyoco
Anno and Erica Sakurazawa.
FLOCK OF ANGELS
Asahi Sonorama (Nemurenu Yori no Kimyô Hanashi (Nemuki),
Would a pair of feathery wings growing out of your back
be a blessing or a curse? Would you be a celebrity, or a
freakish outcast? More importantly, why do manga artists
love drawing wings so much? In this supernatural story (originally
published in the soft horror/fantasy magazine Nemuki), a
disease named "Angelosis" causes angelic wings
to grow on human beings, such as teenage Shea.
CPM (October 2007)
Ohzora Shuppan (Romaroma, 2000)
Yui is a wedding gown designer with a problem: the last
four brides to wear her gowns have gone through painful
divorces. Are her dresses cursed…and will Yui herself,
a single woman, ever find true love? Old-fashioned josei
romance from Keiko Honda, whose last translated manga, Over
the Rainbow, was a romance about two lawyers and their secretary.
KEY TO THE KINGDOM
Kadokawa Shoten (Asuka, 2003-2004)
When the kingdom of Laudeure loses its king and eldest prince,
the throne is up for grabs. Whoever can find the legendary
"Key to the Kingdom" will be the new ruler…but
will the precious artifact go to royal relative Asta, a
princess, a military captain, an aristocrat, or someone
else? A fantasy adventure with monsters and quests, drawn
in an '80s shojo style, from the creator of Blue Inferior.
CMX (October 2007)
Akita Shoten (1993-1998)
Like her stylistic predecessor Hideshi Hino, Kanako Inuki
(School Zone) is a horror manga artist who loves to put
roly-poly Family Circus-style children in nightmarish situations.
Actually, Inuki is not quite as graphic as Hino, but her
heavily stylized artwork is still creepy, spooky and kooky;
a little more Addams Family, a little less Hostel. In Presents
(a three-volume short story anthology) a supernatural girl
delivers terrifying fates in the form of presents for the
PALETTE OF 12 SECRET COLORS
CMX (October 2007)
Hakusensha (LaLa DX, 2004-ongoing)
From the creator of The Recipe for Gertrude comes this fantasy
about aspiring "color magicians" who partner up
with colorful tropical birds and study at a magic school
in a South Seas.
Toru Zeku (story), Yuna Takanagi (art)
Del Rey (September 2007)
Akira Kizuki is a 14-year-old shiki tsukai, "Keeper
of the Seasons," with magic powers based on the four
seasons. Can he defeat evil shiki tsukai and protect the
universe from chaos?
Yuya Aoki (story), Akinari Nao (art)
Del Rey (October 2007)
In GetBackers, manga writer Yuya Aoki (Kindaichi Case Files)
created the Japanese equivalent of superheroes, with superpowered
teenagers taking dangerous missions in modern-day Tokyo.
Psycho Busters, based on a series of books by Aoki, is another
thinly disguised superhero story, about psychic teens on
the run from a shadowy government organization. New artist
Akinari Nao delivers a more modern, moe art style than Rando
Ayamine's work in GetBackers.
Shinshokan (Wings, 1999)
A borderline-yaoi love story set in 19th century England
in the backdrop of a baron's flower garden.
In Japan, every truly nerdy magazine rack and bookstore
contains countless mooks ("magazine books") full
of photos of young girls in nighties, swimsuits, school
uniforms, etc. And then there's bishojo magazines like Megami
("Goddesses"), which follow the same formula except
that it's all full-color pin-up drawings and posters of
female anime and video game characters. Megami DX, aka Megami
Deluxe, is a biannual "only the good parts" spin-off
of Megami, now available in translation from DMP (although
there's not that much which actually requires translation,
except for a few articles).
HIDEYUKI KIKUCHI'S VAMPIRE HUNTER D
(original story), Saiko Takaki (art)
Never before adapted into manga, Hideyuki Kikuchi's Vampire
Hunter D novel/anime franchise is finally being "comicalized"
(as they say it in Japan) in conjunction with DMP. Although
drawn by a Japanese artist, the new manga will be released
in America and Europe first. In the post-apocalyptic year
12,090 AD, the wanderer named "D" is the only
force who stands between the hapless villagers and the vampiric
Go! Comi (August 2007)
MediaWorks (Dengeki Daioh, 2001-2005)
College-age Sagaki wakes up to discover a mysterious little
girl in his bed. Bizarrely enough, Kanna turns out to be
his daughter from a parallel dimension. But evil forces
from the other dimension have also come into this world,
bringing with them terrible danger…
Go! Comi (September 2007)
MediaWorks (Dengaki Gao!, 2005-2006) +
Yu Yagami's Those Who Hunt Elves fell neatly into the Slayers/Louie
the Rune Soldier "funny fantasy" mold, with one
difference: it was sometimes actually funny. In Hikkatsu,
his even weirder-looking new series, Earth is suffering
from a plague of household appliances gone haywire. Only
one man can save the world: karate student Shota, who can
fix broken appliances with his special "repairing fist"!
LOVE MASTER A
Go! Comi (October 2007)
Akita Shoten (Princess, 2006) +
A dateless girl transforms the student council into a dating