A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{October 8, 2012}   Comics and manga of the week (61)

Hello Internet, I’m back! Well mostly. I’ve moved and I finally have Internet again. But. My desktop has died and I’m in the process of reinstalling it. I’m currently writing you all from my slow-as-molasses, lap burning laptop. But enough about my life, you’re here for the comics!

Avatar, the Last Airbender: The Promise Part 3 by Gene Luen Yang

  • The Earth and Fire Kingdoms are about to start a war over the fate of the Fire colony of Yu Dao, where Fire and Earth nation people coexist. The Earth king supports the Restoration Movement but Zuko has come to believe that separating the four nations may not be in the best interest of all his people. Aang must make an important decision, one that may change the world forever, if he wants to restore peace. With this volume, The Promise storyline comes to an end but we’ve already been promised a new series, about Zuko’s search for his mother, in March 2013. I can’t wait! Avatar is one of my favorite TV series and Yang and truly done it justice in this series.

Dawn of the Arcana, volume 6 by Rei Toma

  • Princess Nakaba’s arcana of time allows her to see the future, a future in which her friend Lemiria is murdered. Can she change this future? And if so, what will be the cost? A thoughtful, intelligent fantasy series with lovely art.

A Devil and her Love Song, volume 5 by Miyoshi Tomori

  • Maria Kawai, a girl known as a devil for her excessive frankness, has finally made some friends. But when she realizes that she has fallen in love, she doesn’t know how to express it. Now her best friend from her previous school has reappeared and her sweet smiles may be hiding a devious plot. I really love this series: Maria is so sweet and earnest, I can’t resist her. And I have a bit of a crush on Shin too.

GTO, volume 17 & 18 (French) by Toru Fujisawa

  • Things are heating up in these volumes. Onizuka must prevent two of his students from committing suicide. Meanwhile all the parents have been turned against him and his job is on the line. Onizuka deals with this with his usual calm and insanity but the vice-director may actually have learned something from the ordeal! We also meet Azusa’s sister, who is concerned by her disappearance. This volume is full of Fujisawa’s usual irreverent humour but it is more exciting than ever.

Jiu Jiu, volume 2 by Touya Tobina

  • This supernatural adventure series has turned into a silly, amusing harem manga. Takamichi’s two half-human, half-wolf defenders want to grow up as quickly as possible in order to better protect her but she misses the time when they were sweet lonely pups who needed her. Her troubles only increase when the wolves are joined by a vampire-pig and a selkie, both of whom falls in love with her. Not deep, but a lot of fun.

Laissee pour Comte, volume 4 (French) by Mimori Seike and Isuzu Shibata

  • Mireille must continue to impersonate her twin brother at court in order to aid the princess of a neighbouring kingdom, who is being manipulated by unscrupulous men hungry for her wealth and power. Meanwhile she struggles with what she thinks are unrequited feelings for her body guard Richard. The plot is at times confusing and strains my disbelief but the art is beautiful and the characters are endearing.

Paul en Appartement (French) by Michel Rabagliati

  • In this volume of Rabagliati’s semi-autobiographical comic, he recounts the story of Paul’s first apartment with numerous flashbacks to his time studying to be a graphic designer. This comic (like Paul dans le Metro) is irresistibly nostalgic for anyone who has ever lived in Montreal. But my favorite part? Paul’s bird Coco, who is always getting up to mischief like sticking her head in mashed potatoes: Adorable!

Skip Beat, volume 29 by Yoshiki Nakamura

  • To her horror, Kyoko’s heart has begun to stir for Tsuruga. She fights back these budding feelings of love with all her might. Tsuruga, meanwhile, is feeling jealous of the attentions other men are paying to Kyoko and this is causing his darker side to show. Will the two be able to live and work together as the Heel siblings for Tsuruga’s upcoming film? I love this series all the more for Kyoko’s continued resistance to romance. 🙂

Slam Dunk, volume 24 by Takhiko Inoue

  • Shohuku faces Toyotoma for their first game in the Nationals. Toyotama aren’t pushovers: they play with the run and gun strategy taught to them by their previous coach and they are determined to win. With Rukawa’s eye damaged and Ryota’s temper frayed, Shohoku might not make it past the first round. Fortunately the match ends in this volume, I couldn’t have waited 2 months for the results!

The Story of Saiunkoku, volume 8 by Kairi Yura and Sai Yukino

  • Shurei has passed the civil service exams and survived her torturous period as an inductee but she has been accused of cheating and must face an inquiry to prove her innocence. She do so with her usual poise and intelligence and brings down several corrupt officials in the process. This series, is as usual a breath of fresh air: a strong, independent girl who, though surrounded by gorgeous adoring men, is more concerned with serving her country than love.

Switch Girl, volume 1 (French) by Natsumi Aida

  • Nika is a switch girl: in public she is beautiful and charming but as soon as she is alone, she reverts to her lazy, comfortable habits. Within the first chapter she is found out by the new boy at school, a gorgeous boy who ,contrary to her, pretends to be plain to avoid the attention of girls. Could it be love? Fans of Kare Kano will love this light, silly take on a similar topic (I’m also reminded a bit of Hotaru).

Les Vacances de Jesus & Bouddha, volume 1 (French) by Hikaru Nakamura

  • Having survived the millennium and all the resulting work, Jesus and Buddha have decided to take a much deserved vacation in Tokyo. But it isn’t easy for two divinities to blend into Japanese society and make ends meet. I didn’t find this gag manga laugh out loud funny but it is unique and it made me grin on occasion.

Yakitate Ja-pan, volume 2 (French) by Takashi Hashiguchi

  • Kazuma’s new manager challenges him to make a bread that even a horse would love and then he must face the head of a rival bakery in a baking competition. The fate of their little store is at stake! This series is ridiculous, overflowing with obnoxious puns (which the French translators handled surprisingly well), but it is surprisingly fun. Who knew you could write a shonen adventure about baking? (And one fun enough that I would read it a second time?!)

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