Though overshadowed by all the DC Comics shenanigans, Anime Boston also took place this past weekend, and the event saw US manga publisher Viz Media announce a promising crop of new releases and reprints that will roll out over the rest of the year, including the latest shonen series from the creators of one of the most popular manga series around, and a new edition of the early work of one of the true masters of horror manga.
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Inio Asano's Goodnight Punpun is unlike any other manga you've ever read. It's the sort of convention-defying, senses-shattering experience you get when reading Will Eisner or Chris Ware for the first time. It takes notions of what manga can be --- of what comics can be --- and throws them right out the window. It's at once achingly familiar and deeply alienating.
What if Harry Potter was a knight and also kinda dumb? That’s the logline for Yuki Tabata’s Black Clover, an action romp that doubles down on shonen (boys’) tropes to create a fun adventure that sucks you in no matter how familiar it seems.
Video games and comics have enjoyed a pretty tight relationship over the past 30-some years. From wacky Super Mario comics from Valiant to WildStorm's popular World of Warcraft comic, to the fact that Sonic the Hedgehog is the longest-running American comic book, the two mediums seem to bring out the best in one another.
No other video game developer, it seems, has doubled down on comics more than Capcom. From the recently ended, astonishingly sophisticated Mega Man comic of the last few years to just about everything put out by Udon Entertaiment, the Japanese game developer has used comics for a number of its properties. Next month will see another one of those works come stateside with Viz Media's translation of Monster Hunter: Flash Hunter, launching digitally and in print on April 12.
While on the surface, popular manga often seems to be action-oriented, there are a lot of big horror titles out there that are all immensely scary and well-liked. The latest in a legacy that includes Naoki Urasawa's Monster and the work of Junji Ito is Tokyo Ghoul, a manga that combines angst over the nature of existence and what it means to live with moments of lushly illustrated, shocking terror.
Other than my deep and abiding affection for Sailor Moon and my more recent, in-at-the-ground-floor love of One Punch Man, quite possibly the best superhero comic on the market, I'm pretty notoriously late to the party when it comes to manga. It's something that I've been trying to fix lately, diving back into a few older series as I try to catch up with the current stuff, and while there's a ton of stuff that I love enough to shout about it to anyone who will listen, it also sometimes feels like I'm sitting down in 2016 to write a piece about this great song I just heard, "Gangnam Style."
So forgive me if that's the case here, but for real, do y'all know about Yoshihiro Togashi's Hunter X Hunter? Because even though it started in 1998, I've just been getting around to it over the past month, and it's one of the most fun, ridiculous, and ludicrously violent comics I've ever read.
Takeshi Obata, the acclaimed manga artist behind Death Note and All You Need it Kill, has been working on School Judgment: Gakkyu Hotei with writer Nobuaki Enoki (Rikkuou) in the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump, and on February 2nd, Viz Media is launching it as a new book series under the Shonen Jump imprint. The book is set in an elementary school in which all problems are settled in a court, featuring the school's own students who happen to be skilled lawyers.
If you like Kazune Kawahara and Aruko's My Love Story!! --- which I do --- but you're just not satisfied with experiencing it in its existing forms of the ongoing manga and the new anime that's streaming on Crunchyroll, I have some good news for you. There's a live-action movie adaptation of the first arc of the manga coming in February of 2016!
Sadly, it's not currently planned for a release in America --- at least in theaters --- but if you'd like to see how Takeo, Sunakawa, and Rinko are making the transition to three dimensions, don't fret. There's a trailer out, complete with subtitles, and you can watch it right now!
Even though he has international influences that include a third-century Bishop from Turkey and European gift-giving traditions, I think it's fair to say that the modern version of Santa Claus is about as American as Coca-Cola. With as big a Santa Claus fan as I am, though, I'm always interested in seeing how other countries interpret the jollly old elf. That's what led me to Sakura Tsukuba's Santa-themed romance comic, Sweet Rein, and I think it's safe to say that it might just be the single weirdest Christmas comic I've ever read.
If nothing else, I don't think I've ever read another story that was built around the idea of Santa and a Reindeer falling in love through BDSM (Bondage, Deer and Santa Magic), and that's before you get to the part where they're both actually wide-eyed teenagers. Yes, even the reindeer. Especially the reindeer.
I'm still holding out hope that one day, Cyber Monday will mark the day that we all transcended our human forms and uploaded our minds into new bodies with rocket fists and laser eyes instead of just sitting around refreshing online shopping sites all day, but until then, we might as well make the most of it. And folks, Comixology is making the most of it in a way that's downright overwhelming.
Today, in honor of the Internet's biggest shopping day, there are several massive sales going on, from DC, Dark Horse, Viz, Kodansha and more. So if you want to take a break from shopping for everyone else and get yourself a little something --- or buy someone a nice digital gift, I suppose --- then read on for our guide!