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New Year's Manga


Yes, the New Year has already begun, but there is still time to look at a few new(ish) titles that caught my eye. I was originally going to write only about new series by my favorite mangaka (manga artists), but as it turns out, many of them haven't done much that is new. This, in itself, is sad, but at least it allows me to try some new titles and new artists!

New Year, New Manga

Since I'm guilty of rereading my favorite series too many times (such as Fullmetal Alchemist, which I'm re-enjoying at this very moment), it's good to branch out a little and try new things. I visited some of the other county libraries to peruse their manga collections. The first three manga are new titles that caught my eye, and the second three are new works from notable mangaka. Enjoy!

Durarara!! by Narito Ryohgo
Durarara!!. 1 by Ryohgo NaritaDurarara!! is the tale of Mikado Ryugamine, an ordinary boy moving to the bizarre Ikebukuro and the incredible cast of characters he meets on the way.

I can't say much more without spoiling it, for this was a series that surprised me at almost every turn. I loved the blend of chat room conversation with the odd characters that Mikado meets as he moves out of his comfort zone. I also loved all the characters in it and the suspense, as you never quite knew what was going to happen next. The intrigue builds up over time and the more you read, the more clues you pick up!

Puella Magi Madoka Magica. 1 by Magica QuartetPuella Magi Madoka Magica by Magica Quartet
Madoka Kaname and Sayaka Miki are best friends who meet a creature that offers them the chance to become magical girls. They are quickly thrust into a world of danger and darkness.

What really caught my eye about this series was the drawing style. Cute yet simple (as in no gigantic sparkles in the eyes...). It is also a very different twist on the "magical girl" series, in that magic words and a shiny outfit will not always save the day. The lives of these magical girls are fraught with danger and the very real risk of physical harm. It also slightly reminds me of the next title, which is...

Soul Eater Not!. Vol. 1 by Atsushi ŌkuboSoul Eater, NOT! by Atsushi Ohkubo
Tsugumi Harudori enters the Death Weapon Meister Academy intent on becoming a true weapon, and finding her true love (when she's ready), and a meister to fight with. She meets up with two meisters, Meme and Anya, and struggles to choose which will be her partner.

NOT! occurs before the events of Soul Eater, and Soul Eater fans will be surprised by its pacing: rather than a fantasy action adventure series with more than a few dark overtones, NOT! is a school life comedy with only the faintest hints of dark things to come. NOT! is still fun and entertaining, especially as the main crew of Soul Eater make their cameo appearances.

Back With the Old!

Arata, The Legend. 1 by Yuu WataseArata by Yuu Watase
The newest by Yuu Watase, Arata tells the story of two boys named Arata who live in very different worlds. Everything changes when they switch places: Hinohara Arata, from Japan, must overcome his dark past and save the life of a dying princess, and the other Arata must deal with the relentless bullying in Hinohara's school-life.

Not a very good summary, but a very good series! While it is more "shonen-esque" than most of Yuu Watase's other works, it continues with all of her strengths, such as memorable characters, dramatic countries, and intricate worlds bound together by strings of similarities. Both Aratas are great protagonists, and I really want to find out what happens next! (Although I do want to give Hinohara a push forward, every now and then).

Gate 7. 1 by CLAMP (Mangaka group)Gate 7 by CLAMP
History fanatic Chikahito Takamoto goes to Kyoto to visit shrines and meets the beautiful Hana, who battles supernatural enemies. He soon falls deeper into this mystical world that overlaps with the very modern Japan.

I love almost everything that CLAMP has done, and Gate 7 has the intricate and detailed artwork that always catches my eye no matter the plot. As I also have an interest in Japan and feudal history, this series was informative as well as entertaining. Chikahito's reactions to the strange things around him reminded me of XXXHolic's Watanuki.

Rin-Ne. Vol. 1 by Rumiko TakahashiRin-Ne by Rumiko Takahashi
Sakura Mamiya is a normal girl who has been able to see ghosts ever since she was a child, and her odd classmate Rinne immediately catches her eye....

My first reaction seeing Rin Ne on the shelf was "Ranma got his pigtail cut off!" In fact, this series is more along the lines of Inuyasha: supernatural comedy with martial arts elements. It's a powerful hybrid of Inuyasha and Ranma ½! I enjoyed the humor, expressions, fight scenes, dialogue, pacing, well, just about everything in the volumes I've read of this series. If you liked Takahashi's other works, you'll like this one too.


Author Bio:

Jenna V. is trying to snap up new manga titles whenever they pass by....