This is a huge week for new manga, with a new volume of "Attack on Titan," an omnibus collection of the classic "Dragonball," and the return of "Kingdom Hearts." And in the digital realm, "Astro Boy Magazine" comes to your computer with a collection of classic Osamu Tezuka stories:
Attack on Titan Tears It Up and Throws It Down: The fifth volume of "Attack on Titan" is just out this week, but as I noted last week, it was the hot manga series at Anime Boston, and now here it is topping Amazon's manga/comics/graphic novels best-seller list. All five volumes released so far made the list, with vol. 5 taking the number one spot. If you're late to the Attack on Titan party, check out the preview we ran last year—yeah, we were there first—and our interview with creator Hajime Isayama.
Kingdom Hearts Is Back: This is a big week for Yen Press as well, with the bulk of their May releases hitting comics stores just now, and one welcome license rescue is "Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix," the manga based on the Disney/Square Enix game. Tokyopop released this a few years ago in a different format; Yen's is more up to date and is complete in two volumes, both released this week. And there's more Kingdom Hearts goodness on the way in coming months, so stay tuned.
Also new from Yen this week is vol. 1 of "Are You Alice?" This is not, as you might think, a continuation of the Alice in the Country of Hearts series; it's the story of a disillusioned young man who finds himself in Alice's Wonderland trapped in a deadly game of "Kill the White Rabbit."
Yen also lays on some new volumes of ongoing favorites like "Soul Eater" and "Black God," plus the second volume of the truly unique "Thermae Romae," the story of a Roman bath designer who somehow time-travels to modern Japan, learns about their bathrooms, and tries to replicate the technology when he returns to ancient times. With an unusual, heavily hatched art style and detailed depictions of Japanese bathrooms, this book seems like it might be for a certain type of enthusiast only, but the humor is broad enough for anyone to enjoy, and the scenarios are quite clever.
Viz Brings on the Genres: This week brings a big list of new titles from Viz and Yen Press, plus a scattering of others. Viz brings on the second-string Shonen Jump titles, including the vastly underrated "Toriko," but no new "Naruto" or "Bleach." There's a raft of new Shoujo Beat volumes as well, including the super-sparkly "Sakura Hime," by the shoujo-est shoujo creator of them all, Arina Tanemura. My pick from the Viz bag, though, would be vol. 1 of "Dragonball," a three-in-one omnibus that brings us back to the basics of manga. Akira Toriyama's artwork is as lively now as it was 20 years ago, and this series really underpins a lot of modern Shonen Jump stories. Plus the three-volume omnibus is a great deal at $14.99.
CLAMP It Up: Dark Horse has a new CLAMP title out this week: vol. 2 of "Blood-C," which is based on the anime and continues the "Blood+" storyline. I read the first volume a while ago and it stood pretty well on its own; there's a preview at the site so you can check it out for yourself. And for classic manga fans, there's the "Lone Wolf 2100 Omnibus," collecting "re-imaginings" of the original "Lone Wolf and Cub."
Tezuka in Pixels: "Weekly Astro Boy Magazine" is a bit of a misnomer; while this magazine does feature "Astro Boy," it also serializes other manga by Osamu Tezuka in each issue. The magazine started out as an iPad app back in the early days of digital, and at one time it was an iPad app as well, but both apps were buggy to the point of being unusable. Now Digital Manga is bringing them back in the simplest format possible, streaming into their web browser (sorry, no downloads). At $4.99 for over 100 pages of content, "Weekly Astro Boy Magazine" is a pretty good deal, and you don't have to wait a whole week for the next issue: eManga has ten issues available now with plans to add six more a week. The first issue kicks off with the first chapter of "The Greatest Robot on Earth," the Astro Boy story that Naoki Urasawa transformed into "Pluto," as well as the first chapters of "Dororo," "Phoenix," and "Black Jack." This one addition really boosts the quality of eManga, although beware of going to the site at work, as they tend to feature adult manga and idol photos on their home page alongside the shoujo and yaoi.