Welcome back, manga fans! It’s 2021. We’re in the Future™. What will this new land and new year bring? Probably more of the same but HEY, that means that I can highlight a bunch of really cool shit I just caught up on. Not yet though. The release schedule is a cruel one sometimes. Maybe I’ll even throw in a couple isekai or light novel adaptations.
I don’t know if this book is real. There’s no creator listed on the Diamond credits. I cannot find hide nor hair of this book outside of this solicitation. Not even Digital Manga Distributon’s site network (the main one is under maintenance) lists it. I’m intrigued by this and it’s companion book “The Day I Divorced God” but I have no proof outside these entries that it exists. Because of this, it didn’t feel right to kick another book out of the running but I wanted to highlight it anyway.
If anyone can find more information, I will be grateful. If anyone ends up getting it, let me know too! I’m genuinely curious.
The Day I Was Forced To Marry God
Written by ??????
Illustrated by ????????
Published by Digital Manga Distribution
Ms. Tamo believed in the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses for 25 years after her mother brought the family into the group. But – years later – when her first born son falls ill and is in desperate need of a blood transfusion, she is forced to leave Jehovah’s Witnesses However, the road to “escaping” the religion isn’t so straightforward…
10. Relaxing Adventures
There’s something soothing about the description of “Hakumei & Mikochi.” It feels like one of those classic British fantasy novels (think Diane Wynn Jones) where the world is infused with wonder and our main characters get to experience it all but there’s a bittersweetness beneath it all. Maybe I’m projecting on that last bit since it seems like this is the final volume, if my brief research is to be believed. Still, that cover’s got me intrigued and if the interiors are as textured as the cover, I may have found a new creator to follow.
Hakumei & Mikochi, Vol. 8
Written and illustrated by Takuto Kashiki
Published by Yen Press
Familiar sights, places, and faces – there’s a special happiness in having everything important to you close by. Hear lovely poetic odes to the sights of the port town, watch an animal men’s fashion show, and revel in the luxury of a day where you don’t have to do anything with Hakumei & Mikochi!
9. Team Jacob All the Way
Sexy werewolves. Sexy GAY werewolves. Throw in some classic “Romeo & Juliet”-style forbidden romance, sprinkle in a dash of the struggle between loyalty to family, and mix it all together with soft yet powerful line work. What more do you need?
Coyote, Vol. 3
Written and illustrated by Ranmaru Zariya
Published by SuBLime
Coyote, a werewolf who has lived his entire life hiding his true identity, has unknowingly fallen for Marleen, the successor to the mafia family hunting his kind. Upon finding out Marleen’s true identity, Coyote rejects him, feeling hopeless and betrayed. But Marleen is intent on seeing him again and enters the werewolves’ territory alone to look for him. Coyote wants to trust Marleen, wavering between his intense feelings for him and his loyalty to the pack that raised him, but how can he when it could mean the very death of his kind?
For mature audiences.
8. Influencers in Another World
I promised you isekai and I have delivered. This one intrigued me for a couple reasons. For one, we have a female protagonist and I find those stories tend to be more compelling than the usual male power fantasy version that superseded the originators in recent years. For another, at the heart of this book seems to be the struggle between what society expects of you and what you want to do. There’s a lot of mileage to be gained from this and even if it disappoints, at least we’ve got this gorgeous cover.Continued below
Saint’s Magic is Omnipotent, Vol. 2
Written by Yuka Tachibana
Illustrated by Fujiazuki
Published by Seven Seas Entertainment, LLC
Sei, a 20-year-old office worker, is whisked away to a whole new world. Unfortunately for Sei, the ritual that summoned her – meant to produce a “Saint” who would banish the dark magic – summons two people over instead of one. And everyone prefers the second girl over Sei! But this is just fine by Sei, who leaves the royal palace to set up shop making potions and cosmetics with her newfound magic. Business is booming, and this might not be such a bad life, after all… as long as her supposed Sainthood doesn’t come back to haunt her.
7. Old Man & Big Chonker
Maybe I’m just feeling like I need some low key, warm, fuzzy manga this week but “A Man & His Cat” hits the sweet spot. Cute and somber, I love these tales of older characters and their pets. It’s a reminder that not every story needs to be huge or fantastical to be engaging. That and look at Fukumaru! Look at that big chonk! I love him.
A Man and His Cat, Vol. 3
Written and illustrated by Umi Sakurai
Published by Square Enix Manga
In this wholesome, heartwarming tale, a lonely older man takes home a pet-shop kitten that no one else wants. Fukumaru’s in the hospital and in big trouble! This turn of events leaves Mr. Kanda in big trouble too, emotionally speaking. Both the man and the cat know what it’s like to be lonely, and as the days pass in a whirl, the reason Mr. Kanda weeps from time to time gradually becomes clear.
6. Who Hired Liefeld to Market this Book?
If you’re wondering why books like these make this list but huge names like “My Hero Academia” or “One Piece” or “Attack on Titan” never do (the last I’d never put here it’s not good and has been very bad for years fight me,) it’s because those books don’t really need me to rep them. Viz alone puts out over 20 books a month (“AoT” is Kodansha) and so I need to be very choosey and unless a series is absolutely blowing me out of the water, chances are you’ll rarely see the big, big names or even smaller names that remain very strong, like “The Promised Neverland.”
This is all prelude because “Jujutsu Kaisen” is having a moment right now. The anime adaptation is hot, the series finally has enough volumes on a shelf to stand out. So why in the ever loving name of FUCK is this is a ZERO VOLUME? I mean, I know why. The series began as a four issue mini called “Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School” in mid to late 2017 before being picked up by Weekly Shonen Jump in March 2018 under its new title. And yeah, the original is a pretty blah title and selling it as a stand-alone under that title would confuse people but, like. . .volume (and issue) zeros are the bane of my existence.
At least it’s better than listing it as volume 1/2.
Jujutsu Kaisen, Vol. 0
Written and illustrated by Gege Akutami
Published by Viz Media, LLC
Yuta Okkotsu is a nervous high school student who is suffering from a serious problem…his childhood friend Rika has turned into a curse and won’t leave him alone. Since Rika is no ordinary curse, his plight gets noticed by Satoru Gojo, a teacher at Jujutsu High, a school where exorcists are taught to combat curses. Gojo convinces him to enroll, but can Yuta learn enough in time to confront the curse that haunts him?
For older teen audiences.
5. We Must Seize the Means of Productions, Comrade Mushashi
Demons and rebelling against an oppressive system run by those demons but then life complicates things for our young idealistic protags? Sounds like the set up for a really fun shonen series or potentially a very bland one. Which will it be? I’m not sure but the cover has me intrigued and I’m always down for more shonen series NOT published by Viz getting big. Don’t love the title and the way it evokes, well, orientalism but it also means to find one’s way (to orient on a map) so imma assume it’s the latter.Continued below
Orient, Vol. 1
Written and illustrated by Shinobu Ohtaka
Published by Kodansha Comics
The new shonen action manga from the creator of Magi is here! Musashi is a teenager living under demon rule. As children, he and his best friend made a promise: to become the greatest warriors in the world and overthrow the demons. But life intervenes, and five years later, he finds himself about to become a miner. Yet can Musashi truly be satisfied with a “normal” life?
At age 10, best friends Musashi and Kojiro sat in excited silence as Kojiro’s father spun tales of evil demons who preyed on the innocent, and the warriors who defeated them. Practicing swordplay, the two swear an oath to become the strongest in the world and But as they grow up, Kojiro turns cycnical, and Musashi comes to realize that he can’t turn back 150 years of demon rule on his own. He’s being called a prodigy with a pickaxe, and he’s almost ready to settle for a life of labor. Yet he can’t shake the feeling that he still has a responsibility to act…and, soon, the injustices of his world will force his hand…
4. A Legend Returns
Shigeru Mizuki’s works are absolutely stunning in depth without ever losing the playful edge that makes them human. Even in his darkest works like “Onwards Towards Our Noble Deaths,” he provides opportunities for laughter and silliness, firm in his condemnation of war and stark in the horrors experiences and perpetrated but also firm in the acknowledgment of the absurd and the ways humans find or create laughter.
“Tono Monogatari,” an adaptation of the seminal piece of folklore, I suspect, will do the same, balancing the fear of the supernatural with its inherent silliness. This worked well for his “Gegege no Kitaro” series of stories and his many, many Yokai stories. Or maybe it’ll be a straight up tale of the supernatural. Whatever the case, it’s Mizuki so you know it will be excellent. Maybe he’ll even throw in some Nezumi Otoko.
Written and Illustrated by Shigeru Mizuki
Published by Drawn & Quarterly
Shigeru Mizuki-Japan’s grand master of yokai comics-adapts one of the most important works of supernatural literature into comic book form. The cultural equivalent of Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales, Tono Monogatari is a defining text of Japanese folklore and one of the country’s most important works of literature. This graphic novel was created during the later stage of Mizuki’s career, after he had retired from the daily grind of commercial comics to create personal, lasting works of art.
3. Manga About Skating Reveal Your True Form. Release!
“You’re My Pet” is a very good Josei manga from the early 2000s with a very complicated premise that isn’t for everyone (all available on ComiXology Unilimited as a rescue.) This new series by the same creator seems much more accessible but no less insightful on the messiness of romance, especially when shameful secrets are involved. This time, however, the shameful secret is that the skater can ONLY SKATE when his “serious” childhood friend recites a chant from his fav magical girl anime.
I love this kind of bonkers premise and I need to know how it plays out.
Knight of Ice, Vol. 5
Written and illustrated by Yayoi Ogawa
Published by Kodansha Comics
A rom-com manga on ice, perfect for fans of Princess Jellyfish and Wotakoi. Kokoro is the talk of the figure-skating world, winning trophies and hearts. But little do they know…he’s actually a huge nerd! From the beloved creator of You’re My Pet (Tramps Like Us).
Chitose is a serious young woman, working for the health magazine SASSO. Or at least, she would be, if she wasn’t constantly getting distracted by her childhood friend, international figure skating star Kokoro Kijinami! In the public eye and on the ice, Kokoro is a gallant, flawless knight, but behind his glittery costumes and breathtaking spins lies a secret: he’s actually a hopeless romantic otaku, who can only land his quad jumps when Chitose is on hand to recite a spell from his favorite magical girl anime!
2. Adulting is Hard When you Spend All Your Money On Comics
“Nichijou” is pure absurdist comedy gold about being in middle school. “City” is pure comedy gold about being an adult. You need this in your life. Trust me.
City, Vol. 10
Written and illustrated by Keiichi Arawi
Published by Vertical Comics
From Keiichi Arawi, the creator of hit series nichijou, comes a new slapstick comedy series about a penniless college student who moves to a town filled with bizarre people. This reckless girl will be the one who eventually sets the city in motion.
Nagumo is in a bit of a bind. She’s a college student, and like many people in her situation, is struggling with money. She is in debt and her landlord is trying to shake her down for rent. Asking her friends no longer works! They know her deal and they do not have the cash to prop her up, even temporarily.
So what is she supposed to do under these circumstances? Well maybe bullying would help. Maybe petty theft? Neither one is realistic. Maybe getting a job would settle things…But that means working and not having fun in the big city. That also means not spending all your earnings before paying your rent.
Life in the city is an adventure. Thankfully it’s a fruitful and entertaining one at that!
1. Digital for the First Time
NEW NAOKI URASAWA! NEW NAOKI URASAWA! NEW NAOKI URASAWA! NEW NAOKI URASAWA! NEW NAOKI URASAWA! NEW NAOKI URASAWA! NEW NAOKI URASAWA! NEW NAOKI URASAWA! NEW NAOKI URASAWA!
Also, the first time he’s ever allowed his work to be sold digitally, so you now have no excuse for not reading it.
Asadora, Vol. 1
Written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa
Published by Viz Media, LLC
When Asa’s mother goes into labor yet again, Asa runs off to find a doctor. But no one bats an eye when she doesn’t return-not even as a storm approaches Nagoya. Forgotten yet again, Asa runs into a burglar and tries to stop him on her own, a decision that leads to an unlikely alliance.
For older teen audiences.
Anything I missed? Any opinions I’m absolutely wrong on? What are YOU looking forward to that’s coming out in January? Let me know in the comments!