New Manga from Viz, Kodansha, and More! | Manga Roundup

Seven new manga releases that are sure to be a hit with YA readers. 

ANASHIN. How I Met My Soulmate, Vol. 1. tr. from Japanese by Sawa Matsueda Savage. illus. by Anashin. 208p. (How I Met My Soulmate). Kodansha. Dec. 2023. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781646518753.
Gr 10 Up–Yuuki is a young woman who doesn’t have a lot of time for dating, but wishes to meet her soulmate. After striking out one night at a club, Yuuki finds herself with a few young, eligible men: one, studying to be a dentist, who sort of ruined her night; another who is nice, but doesn’t make a lot of money working at a gas station; and her first crush from middle school whose recent reconnection changes what she thought of him, possibly for the worse. Yuuki now has to navigate friendships and feelings for all three while sorting through her past and hopes for the future. This romance is set on the precipice of adulthood and told with the charm of youth that will have broad appeal to teens looking for a serious romance with some familiar tropes. Anashin’s detailed art style sets characters against beautiful backgrounds with rich details and full scenes. Characters often imbibe alcohol, contributing to the older teen rating. VERDICT Purchase where teens are looking for a heartfelt romance series like “In the Clear Moonlit Dusk” by Mika Yamamori or “Ao Haru Ride” by Io Sakisaka.–Sara Smith

KASHIWABA, Hiro. A Cat from Our World and the Forgotten Witch, Vol. 1. tr. from Japanese by Kathryn Henzler. illus. by Hiro Kashiwaba. 168p. (A Cat from Our World and the Forgotten Witch). Seven Seas. Jan. 2024. pap. $13.99. ISBN 9798888432594.
Gr 7 Up–One world was saved, and in another, a cat died. Now, an elderly witch named Jeanne from the surviving universe summons the late cat as a guardian beast, only to get something she didn’t quite expect: In true feline fashion, the cat Mew isn’t exactly compliant. There is, however, one shared trait that grounds their developing bond—they are both lonely after loss. Madam Jeanne, once savior to the world, now lives as the isolated witch in the Forest of No Return. She watches as people hero-worship her youth while simultaneously ostracizing her current, unrecognizable self as a “creepy old woman.” Between this and timely, interwoven flashbacks, readers come to understand her personality immediately. Mew also has their motivations solidly established. While it looks like current events will force the characters to confront their pasts, Kashiwaba also sets up a story of finding comfort in others once again. Her art sincerely portrays each moment’s emotional beat through character expression, framing, and pacing. This includes the childlike actions of the tabby to the gruff woman’s desperate summoning. Overall, this first volume has a good balance of warmth, regrets, and humor. VERDICT For those who enjoyed the series “Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End” and are looking for something less bittersweet, this healing isekai manga of unlikely friendship is one to recommend. –Rachel Forbes

MIZUBE, Chika & Kanata Hoshi. Pass the Monster Meat, Milady!, Vol. 1. illus. by Chika Mizube. 208p. (Pass the Monster Meat, Milady!). Kodansha. Dec. 2023. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9798888770900.
Gr 7 Up–Melphiera is a social outcast among the nobility because she experiments with how to make certain monsters into edible dishes, furthering the research of her late mother. Duke Galbraith is likewise a pariah of the upper crust for his ruthlessness and questionable battle techniques, which have earned him the nickname The Blood-Mad Duke. When the two make each other’s acquaintance at an autumn gathering that was nearly spoiled by a monster attack, their complementary interests and shaky social standings converge for a perfect pair. What starts as another food manga quickly turns into a romance with a message about judging others. The chemistry between the two leads, as well as the dialogue and how quickly the characters’ individual arcs are developed—including the supporting cast—are outstanding. The illustrations are detailed and interesting; the monsters seen in this volume are fantastical, if not nightmarish, and all are drawn with clear effort. VERDICT An excellent purchase for collections, especially where food manga and fantasy romances are in high demand.–Sara Smith

MOYLAN,Matt. Street Fighter 6: Days of the Eclipse. illus. by Bengus, Panzer, & others. 248p. (Street Fighter 6: Vol. 1). Udon Entertainment. May 2024. Tr $49.99. ISBN 9781772943269.
Gr 9 Up–Ken Masters, retired world champion fighter, has organized a fighting tournament in the newly formed country of Nayshall, which is looking to gain its independence. Their hope is that this tournament will give them the exposure they need to do so. But not all is rosy in Ken’s world, and between his rocky relationship with his son Mel and the destructive political demonstrations against the tournament, Ken quickly realizes he’s bitten off more than he can chew! Days of the Eclipse is a prequel graphic novel to the award-winning fighting video game Street Fighter 6 , which should garner interest from teen library patrons. Readers will love the vibrancy each full-color page brings. The artwork is handled by a wide range of illustrators, both from Japanese and non-Japanese backgrounds, who bring different visual styles to the table. While the content in a few scenes is violent, most of the action won’t be too much for teens to handle. Fun shorts flank the main story to add more content. The plot adeptly introduces those new to Street Fighter to some of the main players of the franchise, while also adding some supplemental character development to the personas franchise fans will know. VERDICT Multiple artists have passionately brought to life a great story that adds another element for members of the game’s base—and those new to it—to savor.–Joe Pascullo

NICHOLSON, Nico. My Lovesick Life as a ‘90s Otaku, Vol. 1. tr. from Japanese by Matt Treyvaud. illus. by Nico Nicholson. 176p. (My Lovesick Life as a ‘90s Otaku). Kodansha. Nov. 2023. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781646518814.
Gr 7 Up–When Megumi starts at a new school, she’s determined to begin her new life on her own terms, and in the 1990s, that means having to hide her shameful otaku ways. In 2021, Megumi can’t believe her teenage daughter can hang out with a popular-looking friend and leave the house wearing anime merch! While readers see pieces of Megumi’s present-day life, the majority of the story follows her teenage self as she navigates high school, trying not to be a shoujo manga heroine. Of course, she still finds herself crushing on the basketball-playing, handsome class president; hiding her artistic skills from her classmates; and having a lack of fashion sense. Nicholson adds plenty of hilarious, cartoony details to help readers see and feel Megumi’s constant struggle. Interesting font choices spark occasional confusion between what is inner dialogue and Megumi’s outer confessions, but it’s nothing readers won’t be able to navigate overall. VERDICT This fun title may inspire conversation between current teens who openly love anime and manga, and their otaku parents who had similar journeys to Megumi’s. –Sara Smith

URANA, Kei. Gachiakuta, Vol. 1. illus. by Kei Urana. 192p. (Gachiakuta). Kodansha. Jan. 2024. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9798888770207.
Gr 10 Up–In a city where a wall divides the rich from slums, originally built for criminals, a boy named Rudo is willing to risk incarceration to rescue items discarded by the wealthy. After his murderous father was thrown into the garbage dump known as The Pit, Rudo was raised by a man named Regto who taught him to cherish items, including a pair of gloves he uses to hide his damaged hands. One day, Rudo works up the courage to give a girl he likes a stuffed animal he salvaged, but after rushing back home, he discovers Regto lying on the floor, bleeding out. Caught at the scene of the crime, Rudo is thrown into The Pit—his denial of the crime and pleas for the real murderer to be found completely ignored. There is a fair amount of violence throughout, and probably more for future volumes as this is an action manga, and in The Pit, Rudo is almost killed by the toxic air and the trash beasts that roam the dumping grounds. In the nick of time, he is rescued by Enjin, a Cleaner who wields an umbrella capable of harming the beasts. Enjin drags him to safety before leaving Rudo on his own again, but once Rudo’s powers awaken his gloves, proving he is a Giver who is able to give objects life and harness their abilities, Enjin steps back in. This manga is filled with dynamic artwork that Urana manipulates to direct attention, highlighting specific panels and features with bold lines. The action scenes have incredible movement to them, and facial expressions are particularly striking. VERDICT Recommended, especially where action manga is popular.–Lisa Rowland

XU, Ru. Status Royale, Vol. 1. illus. by Ru Xu. 216p. (Status Royale). Viz Media. Feb. 2024. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781974727995.
Gr 7 Up–Nobody’s better than Min-Jun Yong when it comes to the wildly popular VR game, Status Royale. Every professional esports team he’s played on ends up a champion, but when it comes to his real-life friendships, he could use a little work. When Min-Jun unceremoniously ghosts his friend Vell, who also loves playing Status Royale, though more as a casual gamer than a professional, Vell decides to take matters into her own hands by leading her own collection of amateur gamers to beat the champ at his own game! From the VIZ Original imprint, where anyone around the world can submit their work for the chance to be published, this book brings a largely lighthearted electronic sports story to life. Though the action can occasionally be hard to decipher, and certain panels are cluttered, the art style is a departure from typical manga, bringing a refreshing take to the table. Vell is believable, lively, and positive, going about her business in a cheerful way, while displaying a realistic array of both strengths and weaknesses. The plot is easy enough to follow, and while the narrative is not groundbreaking, this is a safe enough title to introduce reluctant readers to the manga medium before offering them a sip of the hard stuff. VERDICT While Status Royale doesn’t do anything readers haven’t seen before, the fun premise and characters are enough to entertain old and new manga fans alike.–Joe Pascullo

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