I was a bit late picking up my Previews magazine this month so my apologies to the two of you who were wondering where the heck my second installment of Previews was (I kid! …don’t I?). So here I am taking advantage of that extra day – Happy Leap Day! This month’s previews didn’t have as much manga content as January’s but still lots of fun stuff to look forward to and order in at our local comic stores.
February 2012 Manga Previews Checklist (PDF)
You may continue reading at your own discretion for my thoughts, elaborations, random pictures and the Top 10 Selling Manga of December 2011 and Diamond Comics top selling manga of all 2011!
While not manga related, I stopped for a while to stare at the first giant ad of this February edition. It’s for the first issue of Fanboys vs .Zombies – a comic series by BOOM! about zombies attacking San Diego Comic Con. It’s a fun sounding concept from a fictional standpoint because anyone who’s ever been to SDCC knows how insane any sort of epidemic would be because of the crowd density alone.
Throughout the Previews, which contain a very sample pages later in, there seems to be an almost even split between male and female characters. I didn’t see anything blatantly anime/manga related, short of one of the girls with pink hair and a kitty hat, but I’m eager to see all the different types of fandom that pop up because of how diverse SDCC’s appeals are. The first issue of Fanboys vs Zombies is only $1 to garner readers’ interests – I’ll definitely be picking up a copy out of curiousity.
In Dark Horse‘s large promotional section in the front were a few manga series showcased. The one that excited me most was CLAMP’s Gate 7 (Vol.03). Such pretty artwork! The ad also boosts what much of Gate 7’s international charm was always intended to be: “Released just a few months after the original release date in Japan!”. This third volume is listed for a June 27th street date.
Next was Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Raising Project (Vol.11). I cringe every time I see a new volume of this because of how much I loathed the first three (if curious you can read my review of volume one). To each their own though! This series seems to be doing well for Dark Horse as it’s had a pretty consistent release schedule since the get-go and sports the following extras: “Contains opening pages in full colour, fan art, letters and giveaways!”. This newest book is scheduled for June 6th.
Their last showcased title was Gantz (Vol.23) which has a June 20th release date. The ad included a quote from About.com‘s Deb Aoki – “Gantz is a mind-blowing sci-fi suspense story that reads like a first-person shooter video game.”. I always find it really neat seeing a quote in print from someone I’ve met. Deb’s dedication to her manga news and reviews makes it no surprise to see her words used here.
Moving on through some other publishers’ sections, it was interesting to see Dynamite Entertainment is releasing a new Voltron series – Voltron: Year One. It’s a prequel story to the main plot line of the Voltron franchise drawn in a more identifiably American art style. I guess the Voltron story is having a little resurgence lately with Viz Media also releasing their own Voltron graphic novel series this year. The target audience seems a key difference here; DE’s seems targeted to older, more nostalgic fans while Viz Media’s is drawn in a way that looks more appealing to children.
Then it was Digital Manga‘s time – probably my favourite part of the Previews. How could I not love multiple pages of pretty boys’ love artwork spanning the whole sheet?
First up was their upcoming series, Starry Sky (Vol.01). This book originally created some ripples when they were promoting on their website as a boys’ love series when it’s actually a girl-with-lots-of-boys harem-style story. This ad sports their corrected DMP book cover and lists a release date of April 25, 2012.
The first boys’ love title showcased was the one-shot, Samejima-Kun and Sasahara-kun. I always like the cover of this one every time I see it, with the details in the convenience story background and the expressions on the characters’ faces. I’ll be looking out for this one when it ships April 25, 2012 (or whenever that actually translates to shipping through Diamond and not DMP’s online store, Akadot).
Other books shown were:
Castle Mango (Vol. 01), (April 25, 2012), 16+ (June)
Good Morning, (April 25, 2012), 18+ (June)
Private Teacher (Vol.03), (April 25, 2012), 18+ (June)
Tyrant Who Falls in Love (Vol.06), (April 25, 2012), 18+ (June)
January’s Previews were full of manga earning the preview publication’s ‘Spotlight On’ stamp but this month there’s just the one – Yu Suzuki’s Vs Aliens. It’s nice seeing the attention given to a smaller company’s books though. This one-shot collects the story, Vs Aliens, from it’s run in the GEN anthology.
“Kitaro must unravel a mystery between the two cutest girls in school. One claims the other is an alien! Is Sana Sakuma really a secret visitor from outer space or is this some elaborate prank? The mystery spirals in and out, back and forth, keeping you guessing until the very end. Do you want to believe?”
I liked this story when I read it via GEN’s printed anthologies but I hope it has better print quality this time around. Screen tones were very moired and none of the comics had proper bleeds, making the art small and cheaply placed. Hopefully this new edition will be closer in release quality to the books of GEN Manga’s partner company, One Peace. Vs Alien will have the same size specs as the anthology – softcover, 5×8 and in black & white. The total story will be 172pgs and costs $9.95.
Kodansha Comics had five new books listed, all of which continuing to use their synopsis from the first volumes. This really drives me bonkers! Whether it’s Kodansha Comics not supplying it to Diamond or the Diamond Previews folks unable to find the synopsis alone in the same way the rest of us can’t (because they simply don’t seem to exist…), it’s a real annoyance reading the summarized events of volume one again and again.
Deltora Quest (Vol.06)
Negima! (Vol. 34)
Sailor Moon (Vol.05)
Shugo Chara-Chan (Vol.04)
Tokyo Mew Mew (Vol.03)
Seven Seas had just one volume listed this week, Certain Scientific Railgun (Vol.04). This mini ad also used the synopsis for volume one of the series – why publishers? Why?! Maybe to attract new readers into a series mid-way? I wish I could see it as something other than lazy, especially in a solicitation magazine published only a few months before the book hits store shelves.
It was the same story for Vertical Inc’s GTO: The Early Years (Vol. 12). A reminder to readers that Vertical is continuing this series from where Tokyopop left off, so their first book of it was volume eleven and this is their second at volume twelve.
UDON Entertainment didn’t have any manga titles listed this week but they’ve got a few upcoming books that are bound to overlap with readers.
Persona 4: Official Design Works – $39.99, 192 pages full-colour
Shigenori Soejima Art Works – $39.99, 160pgs full colour
Makeshift Miracle Book 1: The Girl from Nowhere – $19.99, 120pgs full-colour, hardcover;
I’m really eager to see Makeshift Miracle when it’s released. Shun Hong Chan’s artwork looks absolutely gorgeous and I look forward to indulging in the eye candy. It’s something you can always count on UDON to provide.
Viz Media’s section begins with a Creator Spotlight – a full page spread promoting one of their creators. This time it’s Takehiko Inoue. The showcase puts emphasis on their VizBIG editions of Vagabond (each collecting three volumes), plus includes a short bio, some nice big artwork and a notation for Slam Dunk and Real, Takehiko Inoue’s two basketball themed series.
Next up was Viz Media’s half-page ads, each sporting volume-specific synopsis and the volume’s artwork, as well as a few extra notes:
Naruto (Vol. 56) – “Frequent #1 Bestseller on New York Times, USA Today & Bookscan!”
Ai Ore! (Vol.05) – “It’s not your typical story of boy-meets-girl!”
One Piece (Vol. 62) – “The best-selling manga in the world with over 200 million copies in print!”
Hana-Kimi 3-in-1 (Vol. 02)
Skip Beat 3-in-1 (Vol.02)
Following is their VizKids page which focuses almost exclusively on their Pokemon titles. Listed below are their listed manga titles, while the page itself also has a length list of their Pokemon anime releases.
Pokemon the Movie: White – Victini and Zekrom ($7.99/US, $9.99/CAN)
Pokemon: Black & White (Vol. 06)
Pokemon: Black & White (Vol. 07)
Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll (Vol. 03)
From their Haikasoru novel imprint – which is promoted as “Space Opera, Dark Fantasy, Hard Science” – Viz has one title listed: The Future is Japanese. Since it doesn’t have any authors listed and simply ‘Edited by Haikasoru’, I’m guessing from this ad it’s an anthology of short stories.
Other listed Viz Media books were:
Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time (Vol. 16)
Oresama Teacher (Vol. 08)
The Story of Saiunkoku (Vol. 07)
We Were There (Vol. 14)
Psyren (Vol. 04)
Tegami Bachi (Vol. 09)
Inuyasha VIZBig (Vol. 11)
Saturn Apartments (Vol. 05)
This section also listed Saturn Apartments (Vol.04) as having a release date of May 15, 2012 (which is the release date of the titles above), but this volume was already released back in November 2011.
Last up for manga was Yen Press with the following books listed for May release:
The Betrayal Knows My Name (Vol. 03)
Black Butler (Vol. 09)
Black God (Vol. 16)
Durarara!! (Vol. 02)
High School of Dead (sp!) (Vol. 06)
Higurashi When They Cry (Vol. 18): Atonement Arc Part 4
Cruising through the figurines section, there weren’t many that caught my eye this month amidst the variety of fanservice-heavy nudey poses (hugging a giant melting popsicle? Really?). One that did catch my eye though was Kotobukiya’s figure of Yugi from Yu-Gi-Oh. It’s 9 1/2 inches tall and looks amazing! It’s $69.99 and I think I need it on my shelf.
I also took some time oogling the many different Pop! Vinyl toys coming out. I fell in love with them thanks to all the DC and Marvel editions and it’s fun seeing them take off with pop-culture icons (The Beatles anyone?) and Disney characters. I’d love if we could see some licensing options so manga characters could be done like those someday. How about some Bleach? Naruto? Sailor Moon? Black Butler?! They’re adorable and very cheap to buy (only $12.99/CAN). I look at them like the cheap American version of the Nenoroids in Japan. Not as high quality but just as cute.
There may not have been as many manga titles listed this month throughout the Previews as last, but I did notice a number more anime releases. Notable titles were a remastered edition of Grave of the Fireflies (amazing and brilliant movie I’ll likely never watch again because it was so, so sad) and Black Butler: Season 2 (still so expensive!).
It was also great seeing a well-timed full page ad for The Secret World of Arrietty which was released in theatres this month. I went to see it and really enjoyed it. It’s slow but beautiful and very sweet. The ad also listed the release prices for the blu-ray/DVD:
The Secret World of Arrietty, ($39.99/BLU-RAY, $29.99/DVD)
And to wrap up the February 2012 Previews, we have the Top 10 Listings. Some interesting results here, especially in the 2011 Overall section. Notably I was surprised at the strength of Naruto (Vols. 50+), even topping the first releases of Sailor Moon.
Top 10 Manga for December 2011
1. Naruto (Vol. 53)
2. Bleach (Vol. 37)
3. Fullmetal Alchemist (Vol. 27)
4. Gantz (Vol. 20)
5. Oh My Goddess! (Vol. 40)
6. One Piece (Vol. 59)
7. Bakuman (Vol. 08)
8. Blue Excorcist (Vol. 05)
9. Ouran High School Host Club (Vol. 17)
10. XXXHolic (Vol. 18)
Naruto (Vol. 53) also made the Top 10 Graphic Novels and Trade Paperbacks in spot six in December 2011, competing neck in neck with the zombies and big-two companies. I may not like Naruto but any manga selling that well is more than fine by me!
TOP 10 BESTSELLING MANGA FOR ALL OF 2011
1. Naruto (Vol. 50)
2. Sailor Moon (Vol. 01)
3. Naruto (Vol. 51)
4. Naruto (Vol. 52)
5. Codename: Sailor V (Vol. 01)
6. Sailor Moon (Vol. 02)
7. High school of the Dead (Vol. 01)
8. Naruto (Vol. 53)
9. Bleach (Vol. 34)
10. Blade of the Immortal (Vol. 23)
Alas, no manga made the Top 10 Graphics Novels section for the year.
That’s it for the manga-content of Previews February 2012. If you’re interested in browsing through all the comics, anime, toys and games scheduled for April(-ish), I recommend going to your local comic store and picking up a copy. Until next month!
[…] I posted my picks from this week’s new manga releases at MTV Geek, and Sean Gaffney goes over next week’s list at A Case Suitable for Treatment. Lissa Pattillo travels even further into the future with a look at the best manga in the February Previews. […]