It’s a very slow week for new manga releases, but we have two very different titles that are worth a look. This might be a good week to catch up on some long-running series—or save your money for next week’s onslaught of new titles from Yen, Vertical, and Kodansha Comics.
The title that absolutely can’t be missed this week is vol. 2 of “21st Century Boys,” which wraps up Naoki Urasawa’s short sequel to his award-winning series “20th Century Boys.” Together, the two series tell the story of a group of men whose childhood game somehow becomes a blueprint for world domination by a shadowy cult leader known only as “Friend.” Urasawa is a master storyteller, and throughout the 24 volumes of the two series he weaves a complicated story that is anchored by a number of quirky and likable characters. His clear-lined art makes his stories easy to follow—you don’t have to be a dedicated manga fan to enjoy these—and he has a particular genius for revealing personalities through the characters’ faces and gestures. So if you have been reading this series all along, it’s time to wrap it up, and if you haven’t, this is a good week to start.
The other new release, this one from Kodansha Comics, is vol. 2 of “Genshiken: Second Season,” the sequel to the otaku-friendly series “Genshiken.” The members of the Society for the Study of Visual Culture are trying to get their doujinshi finished in time for Comic Fest, but there are romantic complications. This tale of love among the geeks is heavily salted with anime and manga references and in-jokes, so it’s a lot of fun for the hardcore fans, maybe not so much for everyone else.