It often happens that I don’t realize how many books I’ve bought recently until I write one of these Swag Bag posts. While my buying habits of today can be a pretty far cry from the look-at-all-my-disposable-income days of yester-year, I’m still ever grateful I can afford to fill one of these columns in a month. And this past month had some real gems that I hope many readers are able to fit into the budget as well.
Vertical Inc.’s books were the cream of the crop this past July. After spending Animaritime drooling over every copy I saw lucky buyers walking around with, I was quick to come home and buy my own copy of Gundam the Origin (Vol. 02). I never thought I’d be so invested in one of the classic Gundam stories, but I fell in love with this one right away. Vertical’s hardcover, colour-page insert editions definitely help too. This volume even came with a bonus illustration by CLAMP.
Next I went for something new and bought a copy of Vertical’s one-shot, Utsubora: The Story of a Novelist. There was something very reminiscent of Tezuka’s darker works reading Utsubora. This twisted tale of plagiarism, lust and suicide-mystery nestles well into Vertical’s library and I quite enjoyed it. Then I had to try Wolfsmund (Vol. 01), which really surprised me. Both of these series are for adults only, and Wolfsmund greatly so for the violent content. But that didn’t surprise me as much as how the book took a story-convention I’m really used to (and enjoy) and turned it on its head. Episodic stories with one reoccurring common character but instead of running a magical shop or granting wishes, in Wolfsmund it’s a gatekeeper who won’t let anyone pass. I rounded out my mini Vertical binge with a copy of Limit (Vol. 01) as well.
I took a trip to my Yen Press list next to visit some continuing series. First was Blood Lad (Vol. 02) and then Drrrr!’s sequel series, Drrrr! Saika Arc (Vol. 01). My favourite new book out from Yen though was easily Black Butler (Vol. 14). Every volume since the book hit double-digits has been a real step up in the story and art; enough so to take it from a series I considered dropping, to one of my most anticipated. Warning, very mild spoiler ahead – Sebastian getting his butt handed to him? Much more interesting than Mr. Perfect-Butler.
Next up were some sad farewells to two series. The first, from Viz Media, was Children of the Sea (Vol. 05). I still don’t fully understand what happened in this series, but I think that’s the point. The slightly confused yet tranquil feeling I had finishing it just made me miss it more. That melancholy couldn’t hold a candle to my sadness at completing Sailor Moon (Vol. 12), however. Wow, what a series. It’s dramatic, beautiful, detailed, universe-encompassing in its scope, and totally inspiring to read as a woman. I’m really looking forward to the two collections of Sailor Moon short stories due out from Kodansha Comics in the Fall.
Gate 7 (Vol. 04) is another book I bought recently that desperately wants to be as pretty and epic, but unfortunately only succeeds at the first. This is one of CLAMP’s most recent works, and while the artwork is absolutely gorgeous, and the characters are kinda fun, the story itself is completely underwhelming. I really hope something big and interesting happens soon or else it could be the first CLAMP series I’m tempted to drop.
That does it for this week’s Swag Bag. As always, feel more than free to share what purchases you’ve made recently and if you’d recommend them!