New Manga for the Week of December 12: Alice and the Vampire Otaku

It's a big week for Yen and Seven Seas but a quiet week for everyone else. Viz has the final volume of "Kekkaishi," Yen Press has a collection of short pieces by "Emma" creator Kaoru Mori, and Seven Seas launches a new series about high schoolers with gender issues.

Kaoru Mori has built up quite a fandom among English-speaking readers for two series: "Emma," the story of a Victorian maid in love with a wealthy man, and "A Bride's Story," which is set in Asia Minor in the 19th century. Mori composes her pages carefully and uses quiet moments to give her characters real depth, and in both series she indulges her love of period detail. This week, Yen Press has a treat for Mori fans: "Kaoru Mori: Anything and Something." This stand-alone book collects short stories and character sketches in a variety of genres, some of which may be new to English-language readers. It's a perfect sampler for anyone who loves good art.

And that's not all that Yen has for us this week. Vol. 1 of "Blood Lad" is an oversized volume that kicks off a quirky series about a vampire who is fascinated by human culture, especially Japanese culture. Also on deck are vol. 3 of "Puella Magi Madoka Magica," the strange magical-girl manga, based on the anime of the same name, that presents the life of a magical girl as something other than delightful; "Alice in the Country of Hearts: My Fanatic Rabbit," yet another manga based on the "Alice in the Country of Hearts" game; vol. 6 of "Maximum Ride," based on the James Patterson prose novels; vol. 14 of "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya"; vol. 2 of "Higurashi When They Cry: Massacre Arc," the 20th volume in the Higurashi series; vol. 13 of "Pandora Hearts"; vol. 9 of "Raiders"; and vol. 8 of "Chocolat," which wraps up this manhwa series with a three-in-one final volume.

It's a bountiful week for Seven Seas as well, with four new releases, including the first volume of a new series: "Mayo Chiki!," a story about a teenage boy who is afraid of women—and discovers that one of his classmates, who presents as male, is really a girl. Complications ensue. Seven Seas also has three new volumes in ongoing series this week: Vol. 6 of "A Certain Scientific Railgun," vol. 8 of "Amazing Agent Luna," and an omnibus edition of vols. 1-3 of "Dance in the Vampire Bund."

It looks like we have just two new releases from Viz this week: vol. 35 of "Kekkaishi," which is the final volume in the long-running series, and vol. 7 of "Itsuwaribito." It's worth checking out Shaneon Garrity's description of "Kekkaishi" at the Overlooked Manga Festival to see what this series is about, because it's a bit quirkier and more interesting than your standard fighting manga.

It's a quiet week for Kodansha Comics as well, with just one new book: Vol. 8 of "Cage of Eden," in which readers may find the answers to some nagging questions.

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