New Manga For The Week Of December 19: High Drama And A Boxed Lunch

Things are quiet in the manga world this week... too quiet. With the year almost over, and the holidays almost upon us, pickings are slim at the comics shop. But we do have a few new releases to tide us over till the January deluge.

This week's top choice is vol. 2 of "Paradise Kiss," Ai Yazawa's stylish story of a goody-goody high school student who has been faithfully following the path set out for her by her elders—until she falls in with a group of fashion students and gets a whole new outlook on life, helped along not only by her new friends' artistic endeavors but also by the romantic attentions of their leader, George. This is a fairly basic love story, but the fashion-school setting really gives it a boost, and the book is worth a look for Yazawa's art alone. (If it sounds familiar, this series was originally published in the U.S. by Tokyopop as a five-volume series; the current publisher, Vertical, has a new translation and is releasing it in three large-format volumes.)

Dark Horse has volume 43 of "Oh My Goddess," the longest-running manga series in the U.S. At this point, either you're reading it or you're not, but if you like romantic comedies you might want to pick up some of the earlier volumes. It's not really something you can jump into in the middle, but it is a nice light read.

That about does it for the print releases, but the digital manga service JManga will be putting some new volumes up tomorrow, including vol. 2 of YuruYuri, a gag manga about four girls (aren't they all?); here's the link to vol. 1 if you want to check it out. Also new this week is vol. 4 of "Ekiben Hitoritabi," a strangely specific foodie manga about a man who travels around Japan sampling the ekiben, train station lunches, available in different regions; again, here's a link to vol. 1 if you want to see what it's all about.