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Soliciting Multiversity: Top 10 Manga for October 2020

By | July 30th, 2020
Posted in Columns | % Comments

Welcome back, manga fans! Nick got sucked into an Isekai, so send him well wishes and hopefully it’s one of those charming ones he highlighted and not, like, “Sword Art Online.” *Shudders*. What this means is, hi everyone! I’m your new curator for the weird world that is diamond previews. How weird? Well, I almost put Nightmare before Christmas, Star Wars, and Slime Time spin-offs onto the list. Oh, and something about sexy hot spring yokai from Ghost Ship? Eh, doesn’t matter.

What does matter is something kicked those potential gems off. Read on to see what did that and, hopefully, my tastes line up with yours! Also, for those wondering, no, I did not only pick volumes ones on purpose; I did it because there wasn’t a single non-new series in previews.

10. Cynicism is the new Earnestness

This has me intrigued. It sounds like Kidding with Jim Carey, which is Mr. Rodgers but sad, but playing the twist with the on-camera stuff rather than off. I have no idea if the comedy will hit but I’m betting there’ll be at least one deeply cynical gag that will get me to keep reading.

Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniichan, Vol. 1
Written & Illustrated by Gaku Kuze
Published by Kodansha Comics

How did the cynical Uramichi end up hosting a TV show for small children? And how long is the studio going to let him keep teaching the kids the sorrow and exhaustion of life instead of, say, the ABCs? This dark comedy manga started as a webcomic and became a bestseller across Japan — with an anime coming soon! Uramichi is a 31-year old children’s TV host who leads physical exercises and teaches life lessons colored by one main theme: adulthood sucks. Alongside mascots played by a couple of bushy-tailed millennials, and a singing duo whose music embodies the notion of being kicked while you’re down, Uramichi wades through the misery of working life, one sardonic comment at a time…

9. Stardew Isekai

*sigh* I don’t like modern Isekai. Give me a regular fantasy world like “Delicious in Dungeon” or “Witch Hat Atelier” any day but I know many, many, many, many people love them — hence the glut of titles — and of the ones releasing in this, the very empty month of October, “Farming Life in Another World” has me interested, the cover’s standard implication of an isekai fantasy harem notwithstanding. One Peace books is also a smaller publishing outfit and their line up makes me think there’s some gold buried with these potatoes. If “Silver Spoon” can make farming school hilarious and heartwarming, then maybe “Farming Life in Another World” can sow the seeds of a new take on Isekai.

Farming Life in Another World, Vol. 1
Written by Kinosuke Naito
Illustrated by Yasuyuki Tsurugi
Published by One Peace Books

As overworked Machio Hiraku slowly succumbs to disease in a hospital, his one solace is a TV program about the leisurely life of a farmer. When he dies at 39, God grants Hiraku a second chance at a life of his choosing. Hiraku chooses to be a farmer and, armed with a new body, powerful farming skills, and new language, he begins to adjust to his new world. But a quiet farming village is not all it seems, and Hiraku must dig, chop, and plough his way through new challenges. A hilarious journey into the fantasy farming life!

8. Latinus Madeupicus

Woof, that title is a mouthful. I would almost write this series off but it strikes me as a cross between the approach to fantasy cooking in Delicious in Dungeon, the actual history bits and main character dynamic of Golden Kamuy and linguistics, three things I am very into. Otherwise, the description doesn’t give much to go on. But hey, the cover has drawings of fantasy creatures as if it were an old-school field journal and I am here for it.

Heterogenia Linguistico, Vol. 1
Written and Illustrated by Salt Seno
Published by Yen Press

After his professor is injured, rookie linguist Hakaba is entrusted with his work, a research trip to study the language of monsters. Travelling together with his guide Susuki, he dives into the complex world of interspecies communication! For readers ages 13 and up.

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7. Paint Me Like One of Your Picasso Boys

I would have put this higher on the list but I already have something with blue in the title that’s potentially a sports manga about something non-“sport.” It’s got the pedigree to be up there — 2020 Manga Taisho Grand Prize, which is nothing to sneeze at — and it’s also about a medium that translates really well to manga, barring deadline crunch. I suspect we’re in for a sad time from the title, the description, and the fact that the artist previously adapted Makoto Shinkai’s She and Her Cat, a story from Shinkai’s own pseudo-blue period of work.

Blue Period, Vol. 1
Written and Illustrated by Tsubasa Yamaguchi
Published by Kodansha Comics

Winner of the 2020 Manga Taisho Grand Prize! A manga about the struggles and rewards of a life dedicated to art. The studious Yatora leaves a dry life of study and good manners behind for a new passion: painting. But untethering yourself from all your past expectations is dangerous as well as thrilling… Yatora is the perfect high school student, with good grades and lots of friends. It’s an effortless performance, and, ultimately…a dull one. But he wanders into the art room one day, and a lone painting captures his eye, awakening him to a kind of beauty he never knew. Compelled and consumed, he dives in headfirst — and he’s about to learn how savage and unforgiving art can be!

6. The Adventure of the Bishonen Brit

I know jack all about this series but it’s getting an anime adaptation and because I am a sucker for Sherlock Holmes, that gives it a moderately high spot on this list, despite “Blue Period” having a higher potential pedigree. They even credit Doyle, which is wild to me. Do I think it will be good?

. . . Well . . .Moriarty bores me and I don’t get why everyone loves to reimagine him BUT it’s storyboarded by the guy who did “All You Need is Kill” aka Edge of Tomorrow aka Live. Die. Repeat. so I’m cautiously optimistic.

Moriarty the Patriot, Vol. 1
Based on the Works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Storyboards by Ryosuke Takeuchi
Illustrated by Hikaru Miyoshi
Published by Viz Media LLC

In the late 19th century, Great Britain rules over a quarter of the world. Nobles sit in their fancy homes in comfort and luxury, while the working class slaves away at their jobs. When young Albert James Moriarty’s upper-class family adopts two lower-class orphans, the cruelty the boys experience at his family’s hands cements Albert’s hatred of the nobility he was born into. He asks the older of the two boys-who has a genius mind and a killer instinct-to help him rid the world of evil, starting with Albert’s own family! For older teen audiences.

5. The Title Says it All

The Manga Club peeps seem to love it. Shonen Jump fans seem to love it. That cover and solicit looks and sounds hilarious and awesome and utterly batshit insane. I’m ready to give this a go and I think y’all should too.

Chainsaw Man, Vol. 1
Written and Illustrated by Tatsuki Fujimoto
Published by Viz Media LLC

Denji’s a poor young man who’ll do anything for money, even hunting down devils with his pet devil-dog Pochita. He’s a simple man with simple dreams, drowning under a mountain of debt. But his sad life gets turned upside down one day when he’s betrayed by someone he trusts. Now with the power of a devil inside him, Denji’s become a whole new man-Chainsaw Man!
For older teen audiences..

4. Manga: Weird and Loving It

Now this is the kind of strange ideas I’m looking for. What’s with the mac loading sign on the cover? Why is this creature a grape ball? How will the creator use color to create contrast or will it be the always strange black and white trying to imply colors thing? Will it really be slice of life or more madcap comedy ala “Arakawa Under the Bridge?” I don’t know but I sure as hell want to find out.

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Rainbow & Black, Vol. 1
Written and Illustrated by Eri Takenashi
Published by Seven Seas Entertainment LLC

A charming slice-of-life manga about a girl and the strange creature in her home. College student Shirahoshi Kuroe feels like she’s living in black and white, and she longs for more excitement… until a small, rainbow, incredibly weird bird-thing brings color to her life. Now they live together. Is this creature just a pet, or is it more like a roommate? Penned by Eri Takenashi, a prolific Japanese artist best known for the manga (and anime) Kannagi, Kanpachi, and Take-Moon/Carnival Phantasm, this unique manga series is sure to move right into your heart..

3. Manga: Gay and Loving It

I have yet to read “I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up” but by reputation alone it is hella gay and focused on adult lesbian relationships and so is this one. I adore this cover, I adore this conceit and so long as Seven Seas keeps bringing over thoughtful queer gems like “Shimanome Tasogare: Our Dreams at Dusk” or the aforementioned “Best Friend,” I will continue to recommend them. I need a good happy cry and this seems like the perfect thing for that.

Days of Love at Seagull Villa, Vol. 1
Written and illustrated by Kodama Naoko
Published by Seven Seas Entertainment LLC

A touching yuri romance about two women building a life together in rural Japan, by the bestselling creator of I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up! When Mayumi’s fiancée leaves her for another woman, Mayumi impulsively decides to move away and start over again by the seaside. Once there she meets Rin, a tough but kind single mother who runs the housing complex Seagull Villa. While the two women might not have a lot in common, they’re drawn to each other, and the relationship growing between them is deeper than they expected. Sail away on this tale of romance by the sea!

2. Saxy

“BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad” is a manga I highly recommend for its ability to make music work in comics by focusing not on the music, but on the struggle of the musician. It’s got its problem, mainly with the male gaze-y ness of the comic and at least one character, but it’s a classic that until recently was firmly out of print. “Blue Giant” is another, minus the lechery (I hope) but this time, it’s actually coming back to print and not just digital and it also never had a prior English release. I am stoked to read this, both as a tenor sax player myself and because these are the kinds of manga stories that resonate with me. Best part is, it’s only ten volumes collected into five 2-in-1 omnibi.

I’m ready for moody clubs, stressful competitions and Miyamoto Dai to absolutely suck for at least this first omnibus volume.

Blue Giant Omnibus Vol. 1
Written and illustrated by Shinichi Ishizuka
Published by Seven Seas Entertainment LLC

Miyamoto Dai, a student with a taste for basketball, changes his life the first time he sees a live jazz performance. The incredible music strikes a chord deep inside him, and he immediately decides to dedicate himself to the saxophone. He has no skills, no formal training, and no idea what he’s up against, but his obsession drives him to play that instrument day after day. Will passion be enough to become the player of his dreams? This award-winning manga from Shinichi Ishizuka, compiled into five omnibus volumes for its English debut, is a pitch-perfect drama about the power of music.

1. Have You Noticed My Type Yet?

Hnnnnnnng, I want it NOW! Art-deco designs? Vengeance plot featuring witches and magic in a “Fullmetal Alchemist”-like world? Noir tropes ala Baccano? That killer cover that says danger, intrigue, and cocktail parties that end in bloodshed? Yes. Yes please. Take my money now.

Witch and Beast, Vol. 1
Written and illustrated by Koysyke Satake
Published by Kodansha Comics

Dive into Kousuke Satake’s suave and explosive manga debut, about powerful women and good and evil, featuring a story of vengeance in a stylish, art-deco urban wonderland that’s one part Fullmetal Alchemist and one part Cowboy Bebop. Ashaf: a soft-spoken man with delicate features, a coffin strapped to his back, and an entourage of black crows. Guideau: a feral, violent girl with long fangs and the eyes of a beast. This ominous pair appear one day in a town in thrall to a witch — a ruler with magic coursing through her tattooed body, who has convinced the townsfolk she’s their hero. But Ashaf and Guideau know better. They live by one creed: “Wherever a witch goes, only curses and disasters follow.” They have scores to settle, and they won’t hesitate to remove anyone in their way, be it angry mob or army garrison. A dark fairytale set in a steampunk world of magic and monsters, The Witch and the Beast will entice and entrap manga readers looking for their next fantasy action fix!

Anything I missed? What are YOU looking forward to of the, like, 20 coming out? Let me know in the comments and maybe next month, I’ll be able to talk about a manga that isn’t just launching!


//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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