This week brings a lot of new manga: A new series in the Blood world from Dark Horse, some fresh volumes of Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat stalwarts, more Alice, and the third volume of Heroman, a manga created by Stan Lee and brought to life by BONES.
Dark Horse has the first volume of "Blood-C," which is one of those hybrid franchises: First it was a television anime, produced by Production I.G. with a story and character designs by the manga team CLAMP; then it was a manga, which is still ongoing and runs in Monthly Shonen Ace; and then it was an anime film, "Blood-C: The Last Dark." And it's all related to "Blood +," which in turn has spun off from "Blood: The Last Vampire." The good news is that you can enjoy this book on its own; it's a story about a kind, clumsy, high school student who is also a shrine-maiden-in-training and fights monsters by night. I'm sure it will come as no surprise when I add that the heroine, Saya, and her friends go to a bakery and eat cakes and marshmallows; this series leaves no manga cliche untouched. The artist, Ranmaru Kotone, is also responsible for the lovely manga The "Girl Who Leapt Through Time" (licensed in the U.S. by Bandai), and the art is polished and expressive, but the story jumps around a bit, making it hard to follow at times.
Meanwhile, it's Shonen Jump/Shojo Beat week at the Viz factory, and this week print readers get vol. 1 of "Barrage," a series that first ran in Viz's "Shonen Jump" digital magazine. It's a smoothly drawn, fairly clever spin on the Prince and the Pauper story, and it only runs for two volumes so it won't turn you into a pauper in order to read it all. It's light but worth a read. Also up this week: Vol. 18 of "Bakuman," in which Moritaka and Akito finish their story, "Reversi," only to learn that Eiji Nizuma has finished his story too; vol. 66 (!) of "One Piece"; vol. 9 of "Psyren"; and vol. 11 of "Rosario + Vampire: Season II."
On the Shojo Beat side, we have the third volume of "Strobe Edge," a surprisingly entertaining high school romance; vol. 2 of "Demon Love Spell," about an inept shrine maiden who accidentally on purpose seals the powers of a sexy incubus. Rounding out this week's shoujo selections are vol. 11 of "Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden," vol. 13 of "Oresama Teacher," vol. 4 of "Skip Beat" (the chunky 3-in-1 omnibus edition), and vol. 16 of "Vampire Knight."
Vertical brings us vol. 3 of "Heroman," which was created by Stan Lee and published first in Japan; not too surprisingly, given the provenance, it's a story about a teenager who accidentally gets superpowers.
Seven Seas has a treat for those who just can't get enough of QuinRose's Alice stories: vol. 4 of "Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat Waltz." And for those who like their stories a little edgier, there's vol. 2 of "Mayo Chiki," a tale about a boy who has a phobia of women and the girl who torments him.