Up here in the Northeast we're preparing for an epic snowstorm; and on our way back from the grocery store, we're going to stop by the comics shop and check out some new manga. After all, even if the power goes out, we can still read manga by candlelight. In fact, that sounds sort of nice.
With a single exception, everything out this week is another volume in a long-running series. The one new story is "Beautiful Creatures," the graphic novel based on the Caster Chronicles novels. Check out our preview of the first chapter and watch out for the movie, which premieres next week.
This is the week for Viz's big release of Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat titles. All the Shonen Jump headliners get new volumes this week, and the first book to grab my money would be vol. 13 of "Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan," which is ramping up to Rikuo's rematch with the yokai Tsuchigumo to win the release of Yuki-Onna. Good stuff. Also high on the list is vol. 14 of "Toriko," which will somehow turn a broken kitchen knife into an action-packed story. The rest of the lineup: Vol. 4 of "Bleach" (3-in-1 edition, which is a lot of story for the money), vol. 55 of "Bleach", vol. 4 of "Naruto" (3-in-1 edition), vol. 60 of "Naruto," vol. 5 of "One Piece" (omnibus edition), vol. 26 of "Slam Dunk," and vol. 12 of "Tegami Bachi."
On the shoujo side, my first pick would be vol. 12 of "Kamisama Kiss," Julietta Suzuki's romantic comedy about a priestess and a yokai. Suzuki is a smart writer with a polished art style, and her stories make for a nice, light read. Next up would be vol. 8 of "Ai Ore," a high-school band story with two main characters who don't quite fit the usual gender roles; and vol. 8 of "Dawn of the Arcana," which started as a reluctant-bride romance but has blossomed into a larger story about castle intrigues and warring kingdoms. Also new this week: Vol. 7 of "A Devil and Her Love Song," vol. 30 of "Skip Beat," and vol. 9 of "Stepping on Roses."
Vertical has just one new release, but it's a good one: Vol. 7 of "GTO: 14 Days in Shonan," which follows the adventures of our favorite middle-school teacher Onizuka, who has holed up in a home for troubled and abandoned children after causing a scandal at his school; in this volume, two former students track him down. This series has a great combination of humor and action in a badass-manga sort of way, and if I knew I was going to be snowed in for a couple of days, I might grab all the volumes from the library or my nearest comic shop and have myself a GTO marathon.
No matter where you are—in sunny California or snowy New England—be safe, and read manga!