Soliciting Multiversity: Top 10 Manga for March 2022

By | January 13th, 2022
Posted in Columns | % Comments

Welcome back, manga fans! I struggled, y’all. March’s solicits are absolutely packed to the gills with releases, and that’s BEFORE you take into account all the re-solicits. I literally cut 10 series that all could have made this list, most of which were continuing volumes of things I’ve already gushed about. It’s a good feeling to have but it’s also maddening. Ah well. Onwards!

Oh! Before I forget, “Initial D” fans get excited because the sequel series “MF Ghost” dropped its first 10 volumes on ComiXology Unlimited on Tuesday. Since they’re not getting solicited, I thought this would be the place to put the rec. I am…very excited to read this.

10. Wherefore Art Thou Mizuno?

What struck me most about “Mizuno and Chayama” is how it’s essentially another take on “Romeo & Juliet.” That’s not a knock on the manga though; there’s a reason Shakespeare’s classics are classics, even if the language itself is nearly impenetrable by a casual audience, of which I count myself among. Twists on well-established stories make it easy to get the shape of the narrative while providing easy opportunities to subvert, reinforce, and mess with those elements. “M&C” looks to be embracing this ethos with a twisty narrative of tea and politics, with romance at the heart. Let’s see where it goes, shall we?

Mizuno & Chayama
Written and Illustrated by Yuhta Nishio
Published by Yen Press

In a small town where water and tea are the residents’ livelihood, tensions are rising between a major tea company and the opposition party, those who insist the company is polluting the water. Mizuno, whose father is the leader of the opposition party, and Chayama, the only daughter of the tea company’s owners, aren’t allowed to even talk to each other, but even so, they continue to meet in secret…

9. Second Breakfast

While I’m only using the information and the cover from “The Solitary Gourmet,” I wanted to also highlight the expanded edition of “The Walking Man” Fanfare is releasing. After watching The Summit of the Gods – which I reviewed here, wink wink, nudge nudge – I checked out Taniguchi’s manga and fell in love. It’s like nothing else out there and is entirely timeless, even when set in a very specific time and place. Reading his work is like being transported into a soothing land with a good friend and more of his works making their way here is something to be celebrated.

The Solitary Gourmet
Written and Illustrated by Jiro Taniguchi
Published by Fanfare presents Ponent Mon

This is the book in which nothing happens but everything is consumed! It’s ‘The Walking Man’ at lunch!!

What do we learn about Mister Inogashira? He’s a sole, independent trader importing household and fashion goods from France into Japan. He is always busy but never rushed as he travels around Japan selling his wares. He’s a private person who, whilst he enjoys the company of women, prefers to remain a bachelor. He smokes cigarettes but never touches alcohol. But above all, he enjoys his food! He is The Solitary Gourmet!

Each of the thirty-two chapters explores another dish in another restaurant in another part of town – from Tokyo to Tottori, from Osaka to hospital (yes!) and even ventures to an Algerian restaurant in Paris, eating and observing.
This volume collects all 32 chapters created over two decades and includes the hospital chapter.
Like an exquisite meal, this book should be savoured over and over again.

8. They were Bandmates. *Whispers*. oh my god they were bandmates.

Denpa’s at it again, bringing us another one volume work that seems right up my alley yet also one I never would’ve found otherwise. I love myself a good band romance story and the promise of messiness over a heartwarming tale makes me interested. It feels truer to life. Doesn’t mean I don’t love pure sugar romance stories but I’m a messy bitch who lives for (fictional) drama so…

The Song of Yoru & Asa
Written and Illustrated by Harada
Published by Denpa

When Asaichi decides to start up a band to pick up chicks, he soon realizes his band’s in trouble. He’s a bad singer. Thankfully his bassist Yoru is there to help but Asa isn’t interested in his help or his advances. Will the stubborn Asa open up to Yoru or will their relationship be nothing but screaming and violence?!

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7. Release the Witch!

The cover is what first grabbed me. Then I saw it was written by Daisuke Igarashi and released originally in the magazine “Ikki” and I knew I had to feature this release. For those wondering who Igarashi is, you probably know him from “Children of the Sea,” a very strange and meditative series that Viz released years ago. I think it’s the only one of his 6 or so series to make it into English and his longest. I really like this trend of, when a classic or a re-release comes out, it’s in these nice omnibi formats. It makes it feel special and “Witches” certainly seems to deserve the special treatment.

Witches Complete Collection Omnibus
Written and Illustrated by Daisuke Igarashi
Published by Seven Seas Entertainment

On a visit to the capital of a small country in the far west of Asia, a British girl named Nicola falls in love. The object of her affections is Mimar, a young man who works at a bazaar-yet despite her attempts, he doesn’t notice her. Back at home in England, the ache of her unrequited love festers. After years spent obtaining wealth, fame, and “the secret of the world,” she returns to the bazaar to exact her deadly revenge upon Mimar and those he holds dearest. This story is just one of many in this dramatic collection, which features tales of witchcraft across the globe and even in the far reaches of outer space. Winner of an Excellence Prize at the 2004 Japan Media Arts Festival, now you can own the entire series in English for the first time in this beautiful omnibus release.

6. Still Faster Than Dejoy’s USPS

This series is complete Elias bait. From the cover design evoking the playful and loose characters of The Tatami Galaxy to the somewhat out there sci-fi concept to the tragedy baked into the core concept, it’s all custom built to make me love it. I hope I do! And I hope you do too.

Correspondence from the End of the Universe, Vol. 1
Written and Illustrated by Menota
Published by Seven Seas Entertainment

Marko is a young Russian university student who is looking forward to finishing school so he can spend more time with his fiancée. However, those plans go out the window when he’s abducted by aliens! These extraterrestrials have a mission for Marko, one that will take ten years. All Marko can do is make the most of it and get to know the strange creatures who are now his co-workers in this offbeat tale of a life far from Earth.

5. And The Murderer Is…

It’s a new comic from Kei Sanbe, who blew everyone away with “Erased” and baffled people with “For the Kid I Saw in My Dreams,” which I actually really liked. There’s not much for me to say. It’s going to be a series to watch, as it’s coming from one of the few thriller manga creators out there who is able to sustain the mystery and tension throughout.

Island in a Puddle, Vol. 1
Written and Illustrated by Kei Sanbe
Published by Kodansha Comics

The new manga series from Kei Sanbe, the master of suspense behind Erased, plunges an innocent young boy into Tokyo’s criminal underworld, as he fights to keep his younger sister alive, and to return his soul to his own body! The tiny apartment where Minato lives may as well be an isolated island in the middle of the ocean. Despite still being in elementary school, it falls on his shoulders to care for his little sister Nagisa, who never stops asking when their mother will make one of her infrequent visits home. On one of those visits, their mother takes them to an amusement park, only to give Minato some cash and leave them on a Ferris wheel… but as the wheel reaches the top, lightning strikes, and, instead of his sister, Minato sees the corpse of a woman… and, reflected in the glass looking back at him, an unfamiliar and menacing face!

4. Whoever Wrote This Blurb Makes Me Want to Roll My Eyes So Hard

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First things first, this series comes with a big old trigger warning for sexual assault. It’s kinda the whole premise so if that’s not something you want to read about, skip to #3 on the list. If you’re OK with it, “Sensei’s Pious Lie” seems like it’s going to be a challenging but rewarding read. From the blurb, “Sensei’s Pious Lie” looks like it’s going to tell a more natural (and thus messy and difficult) story featuring, and centering, it and other topics like the power dynamics of teachers and students.

It’s really, really hard to do stories about serious and complicated subjects without them falling into sanctimony or callousness so we’ll see how accurate the blurb writer’s assertions of the “most complex and fascinating psychological portraits of both rapist and victim in any medium” will turn out. I do have a bone to pick with the writer who ends it with “very much not just for manga fans, Sensei’s Pious Lie will appeal to readers of graphic novels and literary fiction in general.” Ugh. Hate sentences like that.

Sensei’s Pious Lie, Vol. 1
Written and Illustrated by Akane Torikai
Published by Vertical Comics

Misuzu Hara is a quiet, reserved 24-year-old high school teacher whose world is turned upside down after her friend’s fiancé rapes her. Her attempt to connect with one of her students, himself a victim of sexual trauma, results in an unlikely romance, and the repercussions of these events affect everyone around them in often unpredicatable ways. Torikai’s work is a frank and nuanced examination of the emotional and practical effects of sexual violence, rendering the messy realities in gorgeously refined linework and dialogue far more naturalistic than most manga. The author veers away from blunt indictment to paint one of the most complex and fascinating psychological portraits of both rapist and victim in any medium. Very much not just for manga fans, Sensei’s Pious Lie will appeal to readers of graphic novels and literary fiction in general.

3. More Memoir the Better

Nagata Kabi is back with another book! Go read it! I hope she’s doing alright mentally and physically.

My Wandering Warrior Existence
Written and Illustrated by Nagata Kabi
Published by Seven Seas Entertainment

Nagata Kabi’s groundbreaking autobiographical work has captivated audiences around the globe, starting with the viral online comic about identity that would become the graphic novel My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness. Readers from all backgrounds have been moved by the author’s ability to capture complex emotions through her art and text, giving insight into feelings they may have struggled to articulate themselves. Nagata Kabi’s memoirs, including the Eisner-nominated My Solo Exchange Diary and new release My Alcoholic Escape From Reality, have explored themes of physical and mental illness, sex and sexuality, family, and independence. Follow the newest installment of this trailblazing series with My Wandering Warrior Existence, Nagata Kabi’s exploration of longing for love and marriage.

2. Erasure, Thy Name is Woman

“Ooku: The Inner Chambers” is a criminally underrated historical fiction series. It’s coming to a close with volume 19 but I hope it continues to be read long after it finishes. The basic premise is similar to “Y: The Last Man” but with less post-apocalypse. It explores gender roles, historical memory, power struggles, and generational struggles. It is true that the series is fairly reductive in terms of what gender is but that doesn’t stop it from being fantastic or insightful. Go check it out and convince your local library to stock up on the series.

Ooku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 19
Written and Illustrated by Fumi Yoshinaga
Published by Viz LLC

The new government of Japan is determined to not only end the reign of the shoguns but to erase any mention of the generations of women who once ruled the country. But try as they might to rewrite history, they cannot erase the memories of those who served in the ooku…

1. Rivals to Neighbors to Lovers

I cannot for the life of me remember where I read about this series. Someone recommended it in a “2022 manga to watch out for” article, who noted that the title translation is a perfect balance of literalism and understandable use of slang. Then I saw it on the Previews page and went…yes. The art style reminds me of Keichi Arawi’s, who you know I love, and the story seems like it will be both touching and full of pure, undistilled absurdity. Sign me the hell up.

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Catch These Hands, Vol. 1
Written and Illustrated by Murata
Published by Yen Press

One day, Takebe, a former delinquent trying to leave that part of her past behind for good, runs into her high-school rival, Soramori. The two fight for the first time in years, and thanks to being desperately out of practice, Takebe loses-leaving her no choice but to accept Soramori’s request to start dating her…?!

Anything I missed? What are YOU looking forward to? Let me know in the comments!

//TAGS | Soliciting Multiversity

Elias Rosner

Elias is a lover of stories who, when he isn't writing reviews for Mulitversity, is hiding in the stacks of his library. Co-host of Make Mine Multiversity, a Marvel podcast, after wining the no-prize from the former hosts, co-editor of The Webcomics Weekly, and writer of the Worthy column, he can be found on Twitter (for mostly comics stuff) here and really needs to update his profile photo again.


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