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Swag Bag: Searching for Shinigami, Knife-Makers and Reasons to Smile

Swag Bag: February 10, 2013

It’s a Viz Media week for me today as I get caught up on several on-going series from their Shonen Jump, Shoujo Beat and SuBLime imprints. So many great goodies to be had! I’ve also been keeping up on their weekly digital editions of Shonen Jump, but that’d be a whole post in itself someday – and maybe it might be, if people are interested?

Toriko (Vol. 14)For now though, it’s the collected editions and I start with Bleach (Vol. 55). It’s the start of a new story arc now, which is a big relief after the previous few books which I found pretty dull and silly after the huge Aizen fight. It was fun to read scenes in this volume where everyone is chummy. Defeating Hollows and defending their town is now something the leads do between class and lunch at Ichigo’s house. However, things turn bad quick when…! Some people show up I won’t spoil, but I will say this… could you really not go for this particular mission, Uryuu? Really?!

My second dose of Shonen Jump collected was Toriko (Vol. 14). I have so much love for this series! I hope it’s selling okay, I’d hate to think of it stopping in English because of it’s… strangeness. In this volume Toriko goes off to find a missing knife-maker while Komatsu is left behind to tend to the self-confidence of the knife-maker’s disciple. While there’s some of the usual scary monsters, weird food and humanly impossible survivals, most of the volume is actually pretty light-hearted fun as Komatsu makes a new friend, and Toriko continues to treasure the friendship he has with his new partner. Ah, shonen bromance…

Then for some shoujo, I picked up Kamisama Kiss (Vol. 12). This volume looks more about the swamp yokai and her human boyfriend then Nanami and her cranky fox-demon but I see plenty of adorable and funny moments to come. Plus, Julietta Suzuki’s artwork is really gorgeous. It gets better with every book – some of the full body character spreads in this volume are fantastic!

Far less cheery a series is A Devil and Her Love Song. I bought and read volume seven the other day, and what a downer! It’s a beautifully drawn story with some really heart-wrenching emotional scenes about friendship and love, but this volume had little in the way of progress towards happy times. In fact, not only are things more strained than ever between this group, hearts of the most loyal are broken, and now we’re seeing more glimpses of Maria’s traumatic, repressed past. I need a tissue.

A Devil and her Love Song (Vol. 07)

Then it was time for some boys’ love as I work to get caught up on the three SuBLime series I’m following before their third volumes come out later this month. From one of my favourite artists, Hinako Takanaga, is Awkward Silence (Vol. 02). It’s a really cute story about a young man who can’t express his emotions outwardly, and has little inner dialouge and doodles to show what he’s really thinking inside. That’s about all there is to it, alongside his caring, baseball playing, boyfriend. More adorable hijinks shall occur, I’m sure.

Quite the opposite communication-wise is Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love (Vol. 02) where the lead character is a little pretty boy who is very open and direct about what he wants, and that happens to be an older friend who works at a neighbouring shrine and who cared for him growing up. Drama! And the fine line of underage dating – beware!

While in that series’ it’s the smaller who tries to control the situation, in His Favourite (Vol. 02), I’m confident that the smaller guy is going to continue being freaked out and unsure about the frequent advances of his popular and good-looking friend, whose insistence on loving him brings the ire of his school’s female fans. I really love Suzuki Tanaka’s art style, especially when she draws really cleanly and more ‘cartoonish’. His Favourite is a little more BL generic looking for her titles, but there’s a short story at the end of this second volume that I love the look of and really catches what I try to describe so flimsily as cartoonish.

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Kuriousity.ca. Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.



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