New Manga for the Week of December 5: Shrine Maidens and Broken Promises

We have a couple of interesting debuts this week: "Nisekoi," a romantic comedy with a yakuza twist, for shonen fans; "Demon Love Spell," a romantic comedy with a shrine-maiden twist, for shoujo lovers; and "Danza," a collection of short stories by Natsume Ono, for the indy-comics crowd. And there are plenty of fresh volumes in ongoing series as well, enough to keep us all reading right through the end of the year.

The new titles Kodansha announced earlier this year are here at last, and the one I'm looking forward to most is Natsume Ono's "Danza," a collection of short stories about "being a foreigner, sometimes even in your own home." Ono creates thoughtful, subtle stories about interesting people, and this book should be a delight to read.

Also up from Kodansha: Vol. 3 of "Attack on Titan"; word on the street is this series gets better with every volume.

As always, Viz kicks off the week with a flurry of new Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat titles. They are launching a new shoujo series this week with vol. 1 of "Demon Love Spell," by Mayu Shinjo, creator of "Ai Ore" and "Sensual Phrase." This is a comedy about an incompetent shrine maiden who accidentally binds a powerful incubus to herself; now he is trapped in a tiny chibi body and dependent on her to be able to exercise his powers. Anna N at Manga Report calls it "a fun comedic version of paranormal romance manga" and compares it favorably to "Ai Ore."

Also up in the Shojo Beat line this week: Vol. 6 of "A Devil and Her Love Song," one of the smarter high-school comedies out there; vol. 15 of "Black Bird"; vol. 7 of "Dawn of the Arcana"; vol. 13 of "Natsume's Book of Friends"; vol. 9 of "Sakura Hime: The Legend of Princess Sakura"; and vol. 4 of "The Earl and the Fairy."

Viz has a new Shonen Jump series as well this week, but it's not available in print: Vol. 1 of "Nisekoi," a romantic comedy about the son of a yakuza family and the daughter of another who are compelled to pretend they are boyfriend and girlfriend—even though they loathe each other—in order to keep peace between their warring clans. It's available on Viz's digital service for $3.99 and well worth gambling four bucks on. This week's other new Shonen Jump and Shonen Sunday releases are vol. 12 of "Arata: The Legend"; vol. 17 of "Bakuman"; vols. 52 and 53 of "Bleach"; vol. 23 of "D.Gray-Man"; vol. 12 of "Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan"; vol. 25 of "Slam Dunk"; vol. 13 of "Toriko"; and vol. 2 of "Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal."

From Dark Horse, we have vol. 12 of "Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Raising Project." This is a different series from the Neon Genesis Evangelion that Viz is releasing; it's based on a game and this volume features a virtual Tokyo being menaced by a giant drill, which sounds like it could be fun.