The Short Stack: New Manga For July 6

This is a big week for manga releases, with plenty of choices, including a gender-bender manga that treats the topic with some respect for a change, a light-hearted monster-hunter manga, and for those who like a little cuteness in their lives, a new volume of the adorable cat manga Chi's Sweet Home.

Let's start with vol. 1 of Wandering Son. While most manga about cross-dressing involve lots of shrieking and embarrassment, Wandering Son takes a quieter, more introspective approach. Shuichi, the main character, is a boy who is slowly awakening to his desire to dress like a girl. His friend Yoshino is a girl who likes to dress like a boy, and she's a lot more up front about it. It's a very sweet manga with realistic characters—no dead parents or crazy teachers, just ordinary, loving families and supportive friends. This manga is a beautifully produced, hardcover book, and at $19.99 it's rather expensive, but it's worth every penny. The anime is up on Crunchyroll.

For those who want action, not introspection, the choice of the week is the first volume of Monster Hunter Orage, by Fairy Tail creator Hiro Mashima. It's the story of a young man who was apprenticed to a monster hunter and returns to his home town after his master's death to become a monster hunter himself. (The story is based on Capcom's Monster Hunter game.) Mashima has a nice way with light hearted action manga; if you like One Piece or Dragon Ball, give this one a try.

And now for a cuteness break: The sixth volume of Chi's Sweet Home is out this week, and if you haven't read volumes one through five, don't let that stop you from picking this up: This full-color, all-ages manga is a series of short stories about a cat named Chi living with an ordinary Japanese family, with the twist that no pets are allowed in their apartment so they have to keep him a secret. The stories are light and funny, and Chi's antics are adorable, making this a great manga for cat lovers or anyone who just needs a laugh.

There's lots more this week as well: It's a big week for Viz, with new volumes of many of their ongoing series and the first volumes of two new series, >Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's and Mameshiba. Yen Press has new volumes of Bamboo Blade and Zombie-Loan. And Seven Seas has new volumes of Dance in the Vampire Bund, Toradora!, and the global manga >Amazing Agent Luna.

The full list of this week's new releases is available at ComicList; note that these are release dates to comics stores, and bookstore dates may vary.

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