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There's a bewildering array of new manga out this week, from classics like "Lone Wolf and Cub" (a new edition) and Osamu Tezuka's "Twin Knights" to a new "Alice" manga and the last volume of "Bakuman." If you're worried about damage to your wallet, consider going digital: Viz just announced their annual summer sale, with all their digital manga on their own service and the Nook marked down until September 5.

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Today is Yaoi Day, the official fujoshi holiday—it's a pun on the date 8-01 in Japanese. Yaoi fans can celebrate with markdowns on new and classic yaoi titles at Digital Manga's eManga site (NSFW), where they are offering 15% off a ton of digital manga until August 4. The manga are available in a variety of different formats, including EPUB files for Kindle, iBooks, and Kobo, as well as downloadable PDFs.

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Anime Expo, the biggest anime con in the U.S., starts tomorrow, with a stellar lineup of talent and the potential for some interesting news. If you're new to the anime world, check out AX MC Danny Choo's video intro. Or just read on.

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It's a slow week in terms of numbers, but a good week if you're looking for something fresh, with two new series debuting from Kodansha and two one-shots, one by Osamu Tezuka and one from the Alice series.

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Kodansha Fights the Power: Kodansha Comics kicks off two very different new series this week. "No. 6" is about a teenage boy living in a dystopian future society—no, wait! Don't run away! The premise may be familiar, even hackneyed, but the story has quite a bit of life to it. Like a lot of manga heroes, Shion is a fairly bland guy who does what's expected of him, except that sometimes he doesn't. On his 12th birthday, he opens up his window during a raging thunderstorm, leans out, and yells. This startles the escaped criminal who is hiding in his garden. The intruder, who calls himself Rat, is wounded, and Shion takes him in and stitches up his wounds. Rat disappears, and when the authorities find out about it, Shion loses his placement in an elite school. What's interesting about Shion is that while he goes along with his society, he doesn't really buy into it, even before Rat comes along to shake his foundations. Rat re-emerges when Shion is 16, amidst a series of odd murders, and the two team up and go underground. Good characters, an imaginative story, and clear art lift this book above the standard escapees-in-a-dystopia genre.

The second new series is "Sankarea," the story of a teenage boy who is obsessed with zombies; he tries to resurrect his pet cat, but through a series of events he ends up with a zombie girlfriend as well. Not quite my cup of tea, I'll admit, but if you like zombies it's worth a look. Read More...

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This is a huge week for new manga, with a new volume of "Attack on Titan," an omnibus collection of the classic "Dragonball," and the return of "Kingdom Hearts." And in the digital realm, "Astro Boy Magazine" comes to your computer with a collection of classic Osamu Tezuka stories: Read More...

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The Eisner Award nominations are always a good reading list, especially if you're looking for something a little bit different. The manga that get nominated each year tend to be more literary than popular, especially in the traditional manga category, Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia. The Eisner judges have yet to nominate "Naruto" or "Sailor Moon" for the award; as a judge myself last year, I advocated for The Story of Saiunkoku to be included in the Young Adult category, but there were so many other good teen books that it didn't make the final cut. Read More...

This is usually a slow news time, but the past few weeks have brought a flurry of manga news stories, including the death of "Barefoot Gen" creator Keiji Nakazawa, a change in the Yaoi-Con schedule, and word of a disturbing series of threats against the creator of "Kuroko's Basketball" in Japan. Read on!

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August is usually a slow time in the publishing world, because everyone goes away on vacation, but this month is a bit different: Viz and Digital Manga expand their digital initiatives, Bleach skips a chapter because creator Tite Kubo is under the weather, and several series come to an end in Japan. Read on for all the details!

Mayu Shinjo speaks! Viz has set up a Shojo Beat Facebook page, and in addition to providing a space for fans to chat about their favorite books, they are also posting some interesting articles. The latest is an interview with Ai Ore creator Mayu Shinjo, who says she does plan to continue the series beyond volume 8 and talked a bit about Akira and her characters in general:

I had never drawn a cute boy—a boy with a cute face—before as a main character, so I wanted to give it a try. And I get bored if I keep drawing the same kind of character over and over again. But there are some things that you mustn’t change. He still has to be cool... Inside he’s the same as my other men: he’s rather aggressive and manly, a strong fighter, and sexy too. Those things I don’t want to change. In that sense, the only thing I changed was his appearance.

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A small but stable field of manga publishers brought their A game to San Diego Comic-Con this year, and if there wasn't the rush of new license announcements that we have seen in previous years, well, there was still plenty to talk about.

Yen Press editorial director Kurt Hassler at the Yen booth

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This weekend brings the first major manga and anime con of the season, Anime Expo, at the Lost Angeles Convention Center. Charles has already covered the first big anime story, Viz Media's announcement of their Neon Alley anime streaming service, but here's a look at the manga highlights.

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eigoMANGA in 2012: It looks like this, Viz, and Tokyopop are the only publisher panels. eigoMANGA publishes Original English Language manga. Here's the blurb from their website: "Colleagues from eigoMANGA will announce and showcase releases of the company's mass-market publications, games, and animation titles since 2012." (Saturday at 10 a.m., Room 502AB) Read More...

This week brings an interesting batch of new manga, with a handful of genre titles and some oddball things as well.

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It's a light week for print releases, but that makes it a good week to check out the latest digital offerings. Also, more Natsume Ono is always a good thing!

The sole Viz release this week is one of their more interesting titles, vol. 6 of House of Five Leaves, Natsume Ono's tale of a diffident ronin who falls in with a gang of kidnappers. From the description, it sounds like the story is starting to set up the final confrontation, as the series has just two more volumes to go. Read More...

The girls are in charge in this week's new manga releases, from aspiring astronaut Asumi to Amazing Agent Luna—and of course, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon.

Usagi is back! This week brings vol. 4 of Sailor Moon, which seems to have captivated a new generation of readers—every volume has made the New York Times manga best-seller list, and the first two volumes, along with the two volumes of Codename Sailor V, were Kodansha's top sellers last year. And look at that pretty cover with the spring colors! Kodansha has two more new releases this week, vol. 3 of Negima! (the omnibus edition) and vol. 9 of Ninja Girls. Read More...

The digital manga site JManga had some good news, some bad news, and some more good news for readers this week.

The good news is that the site is dropping its regional restrictions and will be available worldwide. Until this week, readers who tried to access it from outside the U.S. and Canada got a blue screen and a message saying the site was unavailable; now everyone can access the site. The change came after JManga's business manager, Robert Newman, called out to readers to make their feelings known via Twitter and Facebook to the 39 publishers who make up JManga. Newman also said via Twitter that the site supports multiple languages, so they are looking at offering translations into languages other than English. Read More...

It's a big week this week, with new volumes of CLAMP's Gate 7, Chi's Sweet Home, and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, as well as a gaggle of unusual shoujo and shonen titles from Digital.

The pick of the week is definitely vol. 2 of Gate 7, CLAMP's ghost story set in old (and new) Kyoto. In the first volume, we saw high school student Chikahito stumble into an alternate world while on a visit to the historic part of Kyoto. He falls into the company of an odd group of supernatural warriors, and we have the beginnings of a plot with roots in Japanese history. While the first volume had its flaws, the storytelling had firmed up quite a bit by the end, and I'm looking forward to volume 2.

Also out this week: Vol. 8 of Chi's Sweet Home, the beautifully produced full-color manga about the adventures of a cute cat and her host family. This will be the last volume for a while, as Vertical's releases have caught up with the Japanese books, so savor it slowly.

Digital Manga is best known for yaoi manga, but they have some nice shoujo and shonen releases coming this week. Vol. 8 of Itazura na Kiss has the happy couple going on summer vacation, where misunderstandings and hijinks are sure to ensue. This series is a cute romantic comedy about an enthusiastic (but not too bright) girl, her smart (but not too emotional) husband, and their wacky families. It's good, clean, soap-opera fun, even if most of the characters are over the top. Also on the way are vol. 3 of Moon and Blood, a paranormal romance, vol. 2 of Replica, a surreal manga about battles among toys, and vol. 2 of Countdown 7 Days, a series about a dead boy fighting his way through the afterlife in the hope that he can come back to life.

This is the big release week for Yen Press, with six new volumes, all in ongoing series. Vol. 8 of Soul Eater continues the story of the school for weapon meisters and their partners, who are human weapons. This series has a nice, clean art style and I'd recommend just jumping in, but vol. 8 begins with part 2 of two-part story. Check out the free preview chapter at the link to see if you'll like it. Also out this week: Vol. 11 of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, vol. 3 of Higurashi When They Cry: Atonement Arc, vol. 9 of Nabari no Ou, vol. 6 of Omamori Himori, and vol. 11 of Sumomomo Momomo.

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