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Anime Expo brought plenty of good news for manga fans, and we expect even more at San Diego Comic-Con next week. In the meantime, here's a roundup of this week's new manga to pass the time between cons.

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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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There's not much on the shelves for newcomers to manga this week—every new release is either halfway through a series or a riff on a classic. Still, there's plenty of good reading here, and it comes in generous servings, too, as most of this week's new releases are omnibus editions.

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Last week was slow, but this week brings us the first novel by "Vampire Hunter" D illustrator Yoshitaka Amano as well as new volumes in some favorite series: "Black Butler," "A Bride's Story," "Flowers of Evil," and "Genshiken."

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After last week's bumper crop of great manga, things are a bit quieter this week. Actually, there are some interesting volume 2s popping up, so this might be a good week to pick up some volume 1s to go with them.

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We're starting the New Year off with a bang, with a stack of new and classic manga for every taste: Fantagraphics' deluxe edition of Moto Hagio's "Heart of Thomas," the second volume of Osamu Tezuka's "Message to Adolf," the first volume of Naoki Urasawa's "21st Century Boys" (the followup to his award-winning "20th Century Boys"), and a stack of solid shoujo and shonen titles. Let's read!

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Things are quiet in the manga world this week... too quiet. With the year almost over, and the holidays almost upon us, pickings are slim at the comics shop. But we do have a few new releases to tide us over till the January deluge.

This week's top choice is vol. 2 of "Paradise Kiss," Ai Yazawa's stylish story of a goody-goody high school student who has been faithfully following the path set out for her by her elders—until she falls in with a group of fashion students and gets a whole new outlook on life, helped along not only by her new friends' artistic endeavors but also by the romantic attentions of their leader, George. This is a fairly basic love story, but the fashion-school setting really gives it a boost, and the book is worth a look for Yazawa's art alone. (If it sounds familiar, this series was originally published in the U.S. by Tokyopop as a five-volume series; the current publisher, Vertical, has a new translation and is releasing it in three large-format volumes.)

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This is a slow week for new manga releases, but last week we had a bumper crop, so let's combine the two! With the holidays almost upon us, we have some nice deluxe editions—"Thermae Romae" and the Sailor Moon box set—as well as the new "Interview with the Vampire" graphic novel, a fresh volume of "Real" from Takehiko Inoue, and more!

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We have a couple of distinguished debuts this week, as Seven Seas releases the first volume of the high-school comedy "Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends," Viz brings back the tourtured-bishounen tale "07-Ghost" and a fresh omnibus edition of "Neon Genesis Evangelion," and JManga debuts two quirky-looking new series as well as a trio of BL short stories. Plus we have fresh volumes of Mitsuru Adachi's "Cross Game," "Trigun" creator Yasuhiro Nightow's "Blood Blockade Battlefront," and "Zatch Bell" manga-ka Makoto Raiku's "Animal Land." Read on!

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Two of the best manga in print right now wrap up this week, Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys and CLAMP's Cardcaptor Sakura, and Dark Horse launches a new CLAMP series in lovely omnibus form, Angelic Layer. Plus the otaku's favorite, Genshiken, is back in a hefty new omnibus edition.

It's a great week for CLAMP fans, as Dark Horse has two nice new re-releases of their books. The first is vol. 4 of Cardcaptor Sakura, the omnibus edition, which wraps up the series. This is one of the great shoujo manga of all time, and Dark Horse has done it proud with remastered illustrations and extra color pages. And they are launching their next CLAMP omnibus series with vol. 1 of Angelic Layer, which was originally published in English by Tokyopop. The new edition also has remastered art and bonus color pages. Read More...

New volumes of Chi's Sweet Home and CLAMP's Gate 7 await us this week; JManga has some never-seen-before titles in a variety of genres, and One Peace Books gets us back to school in style with a handful of manga adaptations of classic novels.

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It's the long stretch of August—it seems like everyone is either away on vacation or getting ready to go back to school. The manga releases have been slow lately, but watch for things to heat up right when the weather is cooling down. In the meantime, this is a good week to catch the end of Bamboo Blade, enjoy the hijinks of Love Hina, or check out some exotic titles from JManga.

This is the big week for Yen Press, and my first choice is vol. 2 of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, a darker take on the magical-girl genre. I have a few more reservations about vol. 6 of Bunny Drop: This series started out as a comedy about a 30-year-old bachelor who takes in a six-year-old girl, and it has now morphed into a comedy about a 40-year-old bachelor trying to deal with a 16-year-old girl. I haven't read any stories set in the new timeline (which started in vol. 5) but I liked the first few volumes, so hopefully the tone won't change too much. Meanwhile, the drama comes to an end with vol. 14 of Bamboo Blade, the last volume of this exciting kendo series. Also on deck this week: vol. 4 of The Betrayal Knows My Name, Vol. 13 of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, vol. 11 of Nabari no Ou, and vol. 10 of Soul Eater. Read More...

It's a slow week, with only a handful of releases from the usual suspects, but we have a few new things to stave off boredom during the dog days of August.

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This week's new-manga list is an intriguing mix from a variety of publishers, including a new volume of fan-favorite Sailor Moon, two more literary titles, and some enjoyable light reading.

The headliner for this week is vol. 5 of Sailor Moon, and the description makes it sound a bit Doctor Who-ish:

Chibi-Usa gets sucked into the far reaches of space-time and vanishes! It’s up to Tuxedo Mask to reach her and get her back safely while Sailor Moon and the others must escape Nemesis and the evil clutches of Wiseman and his cronies. But as Tuxedo Mask travels through the space-time storm, he encounters an ominous woman claiming to be his daughter! Who is this strange woman? Is she really Chibi-Usa?!

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Viz is the only traditional manga publisher with new releases this week, but they have a nice selection of fan-favorite Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat titles, as well as some Pokemon. The digital manga site JManga also has some new humor releases to round out the week.

My pick from the Viz batch is vol. 7 of The Story of Saiunkoku. This shoujo manga is set in an imaginary country in some imaginary past, allowing for lots of traditional-looking costumes and settings without the bother of historical accuracy. It's the story of the impossibly clever and nice Shurei, a poor woman of noble blood who was initially sent into the palace to be a consort for the emperor. That wrapped up in volume 2, leaving Sainkoku free to pursue her destiny—she wants to be a civil servant—and the emperor hopelessly smitten with her. This series puts a fresh spin on the manga cliche of the spirited girl who tries hard to overcome adversity, much to the admiration of the gaggle of handsome males that surrounds her. Also on the Shojo Beat list: Vol. 14 of We Were There. Read More...

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