This is a slow week for new manga releases, but last week we had a bumper crop, so let's combine the two! With the holidays almost upon us, we have some nice deluxe editions—"Thermae Romae" and the Sailor Moon box set—as well as the new "Interview with the Vampire" graphic novel, a fresh volume of "Real" from Takehiko Inoue, and more!
Yen Press has a number of interesting new releases, including the much-awaited "Interview with the Vampire: Claudia's Story," adapted from the Anne Rice novel. As the title indicates, the story is told from a different point of view than the original, and Ashley Marie Witter's gorgeous artwork adds a whole new dimension as well. We ran the book trailer a few months ago, and I talked to Rice about the adaptation when the news came out last year.
"Thermae Romae" has won a number of awards in Japan, and now we get to find out why. The concept is a quirky one: It's about a designer of public baths in ancient Rome who is mysteriously transported into present-day Japan and gets to observe typical Japanese bathing customs, in both public and private baths. The art is unusual and quite detailed, and it's an interesting glimpse into something that's part of everyday life for people in Japan but not so familiar to the rest of us. Yen Press has published it in a deluxe, oversized hardcover edition—it's pricey, but it's a keeper.
Yen has a flurry of other interesting books as well: Vol. 7 of "Bunny Drop," which has shifted from the story of a bachelor taking care of a little kid to the slightly edgier story of a bachelor taking care of a teenage girl; vol. 3 of "Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro," a darkly funny 4-koma gag comic; and vol. 2 of "Soulless," the graphic novel adaptation of Gail Carriger's "Parasol Protectorate" novel, with art by the immensely talented rem. And there's a new series for some weekend fun: Vol. 1 of "Aron's Absurd Armada," Here's what reviewer L.B. Bryant has to say:
Aron's Absurd Armada is basically the manhwa equivalent of candy. It's absolutely delicious and delightful when you take it in as a treat but once you start trying to consume too much of it in one sitting it just doesn't sit right in your stomach.
So take it in limited doses. (I find this to be true of most 4-koma manga, by the way.
Viz has a smaller list but it includes one of my favorite series of all time, vol. 6 of "Saturn Apartments." Don't be put off by the drab cover; this series of short stories about a window-washer in a ring-shaped apartment complex that orbits the earth is smart, clever, and has an incredible visual structure to it. Also up from Viz this week: Vol. 11 of "Real," by Takehiko Inoue (check out CNN's interview with him); vol. 4 of "X," by CLAMP; and vol. 7 of "Bokurano: Ours."