It's a lean week for new manga releases, with just four new titles on the shelves, but there's a lot to like here: One of my favorite series gets a new volume and a vintage Tokyopop series is resurrected in an attractive omnibus format. There other two? Probably of interest mainly to enthusiasts, but there's some eye candy and an intriguing sci-fi plot in there.
This week's special treat is vol. 5 of Saturn Apartments, one of the most creative and interesting manga being published in English today. As I noted in my review of the first four volumes, Saturn Apartments is set in a ring-shaped apartment building that orbits the Earth. The apartments are literally stratified by class, with the working classes living in the dark bottom levels and the rich inhabiting airy, sunny loft apartments on the upper side of the ring. The hero of Saturn Apartments, Mitsu, is a window washer, so he travels not only through the different levels but also around the exterior, and one of the wonderful things about this book—besides the characters and their stories—is the way the characters inhabit the different spaces of the building. The manga is set up as a series of short stories, so this volume is as good a starting point as any.
From Dark Horse, we have vol. 11 of Bride of the Water God, a beautifully drawn manhwa (Korean comic), and the FLCL omnibus, which gathers the two-volume series into a single volume. Based on the anime of the same name, FLCL is a coming-of-age story wrapped in sci-fi and ecchi elements—giant robots, a crazy girl, a monolithic corporation. The manga was originally published by Tokyopop, and Dark Horse is advertising their version as having "remastered story pages," although it's not clear what that means.
Kodansha has just one release this week: vol. 3 of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, another anime tie-in. If you're following this, it's a good week, and if not, well, there are three solid alternatives to keep you busy.
And that's it. It's a slim week for manga, but what there is, is choice.