Manga Monday – Week 14

So, I’ve seen this feature on a few book blogs out there, and decided to make this feature my own. After suggestions from friends, Manga Mondays comes to Birth of a New Witch! I’ll try to give equal billing to manga being released both in the US and in Japan, since US licensing takes awhile and I read manga in both languages. I want to cater to other fans out there who do the same.

Confused by some of the terms I use in this feature? See Week 1 for clarification on my most commonly used terms.

And now, to this week’s US and Japanese choices!

Week 14 (US Release): “Venus Versus Virus: Omnibus 3 (Venus Versus Virus #7-8)” by Atsushi Suzumi

Title: “Venus Versus Virus: Omnibus 3 (Venus Versus Virus #7-8)”

Author/Artist: Atsushi Suzumi

Translation Company/US Publisher: Seven Seas/Macmillan (North America)

Genre: Seinen, Horror, Yuri/Shoujo-Ai

Publication Date: October 2012 (expected)

Summary: The earth-shattering final volume of the hit supernatural horror series! After Sumire Takahana discovered she was gifted with the ability to see malevolent ghosts known as “Viruses,” she joined the monster-killing outfit Venus Vanguard and her life has never been the same since. It’s been one battle after another against stronger and stranger foes. Now, the ultimate showdown between the crew of Venus Vanguard and their mysterious Enemy has come. Will Sumire’s feelings for her boyfriend Yoshiki survive the terrible discovery she’s about to make?  Sumire never knew it would come to this. The ultimate battle between the crew of Venus Vanguard and their deadly Enemy is now at full tilt. The lives of Sumire and Lucia hang in the balance, not to mention the very fate of the world.

This is the concluding volume in the exciting Venus Versus Virus manga series.

Usagi’s Take: I originally read the manga in Japanese when it first came out (I was living in Japan at the time), but I unfortunately couldn’t take ALL of my manga (or ship it all) home with me, so I sold them back to book-off in Japan before going home. Big mistake. I found that I missed the series as it progressed, past its short-lived one-season anime series. It eventually finished at eight volumes, and I never got to finish the series. Now, thanks to Seven Seas/Tor/Macmillan, I can. So far they’ve done a really great job with translating the series, so I trust them with the final two volumes in this omnibus collection. This series is a must if you’re into the gothic lolita subculture, or if you really just want a good, rollicking monster hunting story. And if you like a little girl-lovin’, too. I think everyone will find something to love about this series – I HIGHLY recommend it, as it’s ended up being one of my favorite series that’s come out in the past ten years. You can get the anime through Funimation here in the US on DVD.

Week 14  (Japanese Release): “Magnolia: Volume 1” by Naked Ape

Title: “Magnolia”

Artist/Author: Naked Ape

Publication Date: 2010

Publisher: Kodansha

Genre: GLBT, Fantasy, Coming of Age, Josei

Summary: Crown Prince Ayato is neither male or female, but at the age of 16 must choose a gender. Why does Ayato have a pair of “wings” on “his” back and what will “he” lose when “he” falls in love?

Usagi’s Take: I LOVE this series. It takes such bold risks, and it probably won’t see publication in the US because of the subject matter (transgender issues), but I really hope it does. Naked Ape has never shied away from the “tough stuff” issues like dystopian governments, murder, rape, and totalitarian police forces (see their other awesome work, “Dolls” for all of those things), so I’m really happy to see them taking on another “tough stuff” issue like this one. They always make these issues accessible to every reader, and they’re quite skilled at making the reader comfortable even if the reader isn’t comfortable with some of the ideas they put forth in their work. Though couched in a story of a crown prince in a fantastic kingdom where it’s said that an Angel nearly destroyed the planet and with her blood, restored it, the characters are powerful and the story is very moving. Hopefully I’ll be able to own the first few volumes soon (I keep hoping they’ll show up at my local Book-Off), because this is one series to seriously invest in if these issues matter to you. Highly recommended!

What about you? Do you read manga? If so, feel free to participate with your own manga monday segment and link up in the comments section!


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