Princesses And Chainsaws: New Manga For The Week

This is a great week for shoujo manga lovers, with a spate of new releases in Viz's Shojo Beat imprint, plus a fresh volume of Arisa from Kodansha Comics. It's a big Shonen Jump week, and the digital comics site JManga is bringing back a slew of Kodansha series, mostly shonen, that were originally published by Del Rey.

Let's start with Viz. If you like your shoujo with some spirit, pick up A Devil and Her Love Song—volume 5 is out this week. It's a smart story about a sharp-tongued girl who speaks her mind, even when it gets her in trouble. Of course she just wants to be loved, and there are plenty of cute guys around to help make sure she gets her wish. It's a great blend of romance and cattiness, and a lot more fun than your standard high school story. Another fairly new series is Dawn of the Arcana, about a red-headed princess forced to marry a man she doesn't love, in a country where her hair color marks her for death. There are lots of interesting complications—her psychic powers, her almost excessively devoted retainer, and the fact that she and the prince are actually starting to get along... Volume 6 is out this week, so the series is moving along fairly briskly.

For serious shoujo fans, vol. 2 of Jiu Jiu brings more dark mutterings and animal transformations, as teenage demon-hunter Takamichi deals with her two wolf companions (who can change to human form but never quite lose their canine characteristics) and takes on a pig as well. Check out my review of vol. 1 of Jiu Jiu to get up to speed with this series and get ready to enjoy some shoujo angst.

If you're in the mood for something lighter, check out vol. 8 of The Story of Saiunkoku, which has beautiful art wrapped around a story that won't break your heart, vol. 29 of Skip Beat!, or vol. 8 of Stepping on Roses.

For shonen fans, Viz pulls out that solid second string of Shonen Jump titles that aren't Naruto. Vol. 15 of Bakuman brings some new conflicts, and a bit of misplaced media attention, for Moritaka and Akito. There's double the fun for Bleach fans, with vols. 48 and 49 out in print this week, plus vol. 11 of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, vol. 28 of Slam Dunk!, vol. 12 of Toriko!, and vol. 3 of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's.

As promised, Kodansha Comics has some sweet, sweet shoujo manga this week, with vol. 9 of Arisa, Natsume Ando's high-school mystery story. Ando is the creator of Kitchen Princess (which Kodansha is re-releasing in omnibus form), and she knows how to tell a story without sending you into insulin shock. If you're in the mood for a survival about high school students facing up to prehistoric creatures, check out vol. 7 of Cage of Eden; and if either of those raises an objection for you, take a look at vol. 3 of Miles Edgeworth: Ace Attorney Investigations.

Incidentally, if you're a fan of the old Del Rey series, JManga is the place you wanna be: They just posted a slew of older Kodansha volumes (which were published under the Del Rey imprint): School Rumble, Code:Breaker, Princess Resurrection, Pumpkin Scissors, and more. So go on over there and get your shonen fix. Also, check that first link: JManga is offering 500 free points, the price of a volume, to anyone who Tweets the news. So the first one is free, kids...