Title: Drug & Drop volume 1
Published: February 1st 2013
Publisher: Dark Horse.
The first Legal Drug series went on hiatus in 2003. Drug & Drop will again follow the lead characters Kazahaya Kudo and Rikuo Himura. The new manga will reveal Kazahaya and Rikuo’s pasts as well as the background of Green Drug, the mysterious drugstore where they work.
Kazahaya awakens from a disturbing dream of the sister he had to part from, Kei—covered in blood and clutching close to her. If it’s a case of seeing spirits three’s one young man Kazahaya and Rikuo can go to for advice…
Drug & Drop is the continuation of Legal Drug a trilogy put out by Clamp in 2000. I was so excited when I saw that this was finally available in the states, as Clamp is one of my favorite manga circles. The art is beautiful with amazing backgrounds and even more beautiful characters. This picks up right after the events of the last volume of Legal Drug. We’re thrown right into the action and a continuing story line. As it is Clamp you need to pay attention to details and wording because it hints at things to come.
I love the ‘guest’ character who shows up this volume. I love him in his own series, and I’m really hoping that he shows up more throughout Drug & Drop. I’m trying to avoid spoilers, because Clamp is so convoluted and intertwined. I cannot talk about the art enough, it is beautiful. Their line work is flawless, and their characters are all so beautiful and memorable. The story telling is great, as this volume ended on a cliff hanger (I need to go pick up the next volume asap!)
Overall: Start with Legal Drug, otherwise you’ll be totally lost. Thankfully, it’s not out of print, you can get all three in an omnibus on Amazon or any bookseller. Beautiful art, great story. Can’t wait to read more.
Title: Kamen Volume 1
Author/Artist: Gunya Mihara
Published: September 16, 2014
Publisher: Gen Manga
In a world of fantasy and might, a lone warrior emerges. Kamen, a mysterious masked man appears among prisoners of war in ancient Japan and becomes a legendary warrior and defender of the innocent while his enemies rush to uncover his secrets.
I loved this, I’m looking forward to getting my hands on volume 2. Set in Feudal Japan, Kamen puts everything upside down and upended, in a wild romp. The art is beautiful and vibrant, the characters well written and fully developed. There’s mystery and a lot of chances for plot development and even more character development arcs.
Kamen is a great shonen manga, which on the surface seems similar to other titles out there, but there’s enough complexity that keeps it from falling into the usual boring trap. It’s got great pacing and great action. I need another volume of this, and I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for it.
Title: Bleach Vol. 60 Everything but the Rain.
Author/Artist: Tite Kubo
Published: April 1, 2014
Ichigo Kurosaki never asked for the ability to see ghosts—he was born with the gift. When his family is attacked by a Hollow—a malevolent lost soul—Ichigo becomes a Soul Reaper, dedicating his life to protecting the innocent and helping the tortured spirits themselves find peace. Find out why Tite Kubo’s Bleach has become an international manga smash-hit!
With the training not going as planned, Ichigo returns to the World of the Living to reevaluate himself. But when he runs into his father, Isshin, he discovers he has a lot to learn about his mother—and the way she died!
Oh Bleach. I love you so very much. I’m so sorry that I spent so much time away from you (distracted by teenage basketball prodigies and other series). I recently went on a massive Bleach binge read–I was at volume 27 of 59 at the time. I got massive stacks of volumes from the library and settled in to get caught up (I rarely read scans, because I hate waiting for them), and instantly I was back in love with this series.
Kubo has entered into the final arc of his massive series, which has claimed the coveted title of one of the big three manga. With this arc, I’m drawn back to what initially got me into the series. A slick story line, great action, and great characters. In this volume the history between Isshin (Ichigo’s father), Ryuuken (Uryuu’s father) and Masaki (Ichigo’s mother) that was hinted at long before the reveal. My suspicions about Isshin were confirmed and the story between Isshin, Ryuuken and Masaki is heartbreaking and gives insight to the man that Ryuuken became. Other loose ends are tied up, and we are presented with a massive plot twist about something very important to Ichigo’s fighting style.
Not to mention the reader is also set up with the fight that’s been hinted at since the introduction of the character of Uryuu. And I know the conclusion of this manga is going to break my heart. It’s going to be a long drawn out heartbreak, but I can just see it coming.
Overall: Bleach is one of my favorite series, and this volume didn’t disappoint. I cannot wait for the next.
Title: Les Miserables the Fall of Fantine
Author/Artist:Victor Hugo, Crystal Silvermoon, Stacy King, SunNeko Lee
Published: August 1, 2014
Publisher: Diamond Book Distributers.
Adapted for stage and screen, loved by millions, Victor Hugo’s classic novel of love & tragedy during the French Revolution is reborn in this fantastic new manga edition!
The gorgeous art of TseMei Lee brings to life the tragic stories of Jean Valjean, Inspector Javert, and the beautiful Fantine, in this epic adaptation of Les Miserables!
The classic epic, Les Miserables is retold here with classic manga art. I’m not fond of this art style, the wide eyed, sparkly shoujo-kawaii style art. The art aside it’s a wonderful re-telling staying true to the classic, but presenting it in a way that’s easily understood. Some of the more delicate nuances of the source material are lost in translation, but it’s still a strong story. This volume focuses on Fantine and her story within Les Mis. I found that she was even more sympathetic in this version, causing me to feel really sorry for her.
Some of the narration is repeated throughout the pages, creating a double exposition effect. I wasn’t too bothered by this, as it happens in other volumes and series. If you’re interested in reading this, and you haven’t read manga, please be sure to read from right to left (so start at what would typically be the end of the book). The art style takes a little while to get used to, and the text is a bit overblown, but at it’s core it’s a great presentation of an iconic piece of literature.
Overall: Classic literature gets the manga touch, with overblown text and pretty illustrations. I’d present this to younger readers, or those intimidated by the massive tome.
Title: Gangsta. Volume 2
Publisher: Viz Signature
The Handymen, Nic and Worick, ply their trade in Ergastulum, a city run by the Mafia and ruled by violence. Recruited into a battle with a gang, they find themselves against one of the “Twilights”, mercenaries with superhuman abilities generated by dangerous drugs. Nic, who is also a Twilight, fights back with the same savagery and skill–until Worick has to step in to save him from himself. Partners and equals now, in the past they were anything but, yet both men are bound together by the chains of a tragic past as they face an uncertain future.
It’s MINE ALL MINE MY PRECIOUS. Ah, I waited for a month to get my hands on volume two, and it seemed like an eternity. I’m in love with this series, and I cannot express in words how happy I am that Viz has kept it up (there are publication dates up to volume 4). I mean I could try but it would come out with a lot of high pitched squealing and it would upset dogs, cats and small children. So really it’s safer that I just talk about it in a blog setting.
Volume two picks up right after the first volume. Nic and Worick have taken in Alex off the streets and made her the secretary for their business. She’s seemingly settling in well, adjusting to life with the two men. Alex and Worick are hysterically funny together and I really like the way they play off of each other. I like how hard she tries with Nic, giving him space and at the same time teaching herself sign language. Alex is a character that while she provides a lot of sex appeal–she’s a well rounded, flawed character for a seinen series.
When it comes to the plot of this volume, more information about the Twilights and the Three Laws that they have to obey are introduced. It brings an interesting twist to the working relationship and friendship between Nic and Worick. One of my favorite characters, Delico also makes an appearance. The story is starting to get more layers and questions are starting to come to the surface. Hints of double crossing, and a larger story are put into play here. However, that’s put on hold with the third volume which will be about Worick and Nic’s history. After volume three the story will be new to me, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Overall Beautiful art, clean fight scenes, great engaging characters and a complex story make for a great manga. This is a series for the older crowd however due to content/theme. Volume Three will be out in August.