This is a very good week for manga, with Vertical's new edition of Ai Yazawa's "Paradise Kiss," a fresh volume of "Fairy Tail," the "lost" "Ghost in the Shell" stories, and more "Yotsuba&!"
Vertical has top priority for my manga-buying dollars this week with two outstanding titles: Vol. 1 of "Paradise Kiss," Ai Yazawa's story of a studious girl who becomes the model for a group of fashion students, and "Drops of God: New World," a standalone volume of their wine-tasting soap opera manga that focuses on California wines.
This is the second trip down the runway for "Paradise Kiss," which was first published by Tokyopop as a five-volume series in the mid-2000s; Vertical is releasing it in a larger format with more pages per volume, so their edition will be complete in three volumes. The series was so popular among manga bloggers that even after it was long out of print, they devoted an edition of the Manga Moveable Feast, a manga blog carnival, to the series. After Paradise Kiss, Yazawa went on to create the even more popular "Nana," which is currently on hiatus because Yazawa has been ill.
Yotsuba orders a pizza in vol. 11 of "Yotsuba&!," the cute slice-of-life manga about a green-haired five-year-old who is fascinated by everything around her. This is an easy book to pick up even if you haven't been reading the series from the beginning, because it is written as a series of self-contained short stories, and creator Kiyohiko Azuma's detailed art is a pleasure to look at on its own.
If that's not enough cuteness for you, check out vol. 4 of "GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class," a 4-koma manga about (wait for it) a group of cute girls, each with slightly different defining characteristics, who go to art school. Also up from Yen this week: Vol. 2 of "Until Death Do Us Part," an action series, and vol. 3 of "Tale of the Waning Moon."
Kodansha has The Ghost in the Shell 1.5, by Masamune Shirow. Shirow is the creator of the original manga, a futuristic series about a crime-fighting cyborg. The first Ghost in the Shell series was published by Dark Horse in 1995 and then re-issued by Kodansha Comics when they launched last year. This manga collects stories written by Shirow between the end of the first series and the beginning of "Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface" but never collected in English until now. Also up from Kodasha this week: vol. 21 of "Fairy Tail," the lighthearted shonen series from Hiro Mashima.