The first week of the year is a quiet one for manga, with most of the action coming from Viz, but we have a few interesting volumes from other publishers, including a mystery about Mount Everest.
Viz brings the shoujo with new volumes in a number of ongoing series. My favorite of this week's crop is vol. 8 of Dengeki Daisy, fine high-school soap opera about a girl and her mysterious protector. It's great guilty-pleasure reading. Vol. 6 of Oresama Teacher is another great shoujo story, this one about a tough kid who is trying to go straight in a last-chance school—and keeps failing in comical ways. If you're already on the Skip Beat bandwagon, vol. 26 is rolling your way, and rounding out the Shojo Beat choices are vol. 12 of Black Bird and vol. 12 of Kimi ni Todoke.
Pickings are slimmer on the shonen side—the one Shonen Jump manga for this week is vol. 8 of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX—but Viz also has a nice treat for One Piece fans: One Piece Color Walk 2, a handsome, large-format artbook featuring Luffy and the crew.
There is just one new series launching this week, and it's in the VizKids line: Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll, which is the story of puppies who seem to live in a land of cinnamon rolls, and use their ears to fly. Cinnamoroll is a Sanrio character, and therefore a cousin of Hello Kitty, and it's way at the sugary end of the kawaii scale, so if you like your manga super-cute, this is the one to try. Johanna Draper Carlson has a brief review at Comics Worth Reading.
The third volume of an intriguing series about the historic attempts to climb Mount Everest is out this week from the British/Spanish publisher Fanfare/Ponent Mon. Summit of the Gods, based on a Japanese novel and illustrated by Jiro Taniguchi (Walking Man) is a mystery about Sir Edward Mallory, who perished on the slopes of Mount Everest. But did he die on his way up or on his way down? In this series, a photographer finds a camera in a Katmandu bazaar that may be the one Mallory lost on the summit—and may hold the answer to that historic question. Fanfare's books are sometimes hard to find in bookstores and comics shops, but this series is available on Amazon.
Seven Seas also has a couple of new books out this week: Vol. 11 of Dance in the Vampire Bund and vol. 2 of Amazing Agent Jennifer, which wraps up this brief prequel to Amazing Agent Luna. Amazing Agent Jennifer is a clean-lined, nicely told story of a college girl who becomes a secret agent and has to deal with an assassination on her first mission. If you aren't up to speed on the story, head over to the webcomics site Zoom Comics, where it is being serialized along with five other Seven Seas titles.