Giant Spider & Me: A Post-Apocalyptic Tale Vol. 1
by Kikori Morino
The story begins with the main character, Nagi, stumbling into an encounter with the eponymous giant spider, whom she names Asa and invites to live with her. From then on, it’s a story about two different kinds of creatures learning to live together, from food preferences to communication methods. And the art style—the cute I promised you from the last go-around—is soft and cozy, with even the edges of modern technology worn into natural comfort.
Giant Spider & Me’s setting is a mountainside wilderness, only briefly touched by the ruins of civilization. The young Nagi, born after whatever apocalypse has ruined civilization, keeps the story focused on the present rather than the past, with the artifacts of humanity largely curiosities rather than things with emotional attachment, which is a refreshing approach to a post-apocalyptic setting. Nagi’s emotional attachments are to food and cooking, an unexpectedly big part of the story so far. Nagi and Asa bond over the preparations, which are detailed enough for the audience to make themselves. And speaking of “them,” it’s a small detail, but I love the choice to use the gender-neutral “them” as Asa’s pronoun, keeping the story from assuming a detail not in the original Japanese.
Saint Seiya: Saintia Sho Vol. 1
by Masami Kurumada (Writer) & Chimaki Kuori (Artist)
Shoko, an ordinary high schooler/judo student, wants nothing more than to hear from her sister who went to school at an elite academy years ago. When she finally reappears, it’s as a Saintia of the goddess Athena, who is trying to ward off the resurrection of the goddess of chaos. That goddess, Eris, wants Shoko’s body for the job. In order to keep herself and her sister safe, as well as the rest of the world, Shoko prepares to enter the world of the Greek deities and their supernatural abilities.
While Saintia Sho is written by Masami Kurumada—the mangaka of the original Saint Seiya series—the artwork is done by Chimaki Kuori, giving it a modern-looking style that is rather removed from the scratchy, classic look of the ’80s shounen manga. The simplicity in some of the lines and faces feels like it’s trying to give a nod to that style, while meshing in with current works. The first volume lays down a lot of groundwork, with the inciting incident happening toward the end, so it’s hard to get a good feel for pacing and plotline, like it’s difficult to tell how fast a juggernaut will go when it’s still picking up speed.
I’ve been a fan of the original Saint Seiya long before it ever got an official translation, so when I heard about this all-women reboot, I was pretty stoked, to say the least. That said, as a reboot, you don’t have to have read or watched any of the (very long) original series. Actually, maybe it’s better if you haven’t; as a fan of the original, I was a little confused about how exactly this ties into the original series. At first I thought this was a separate storyline, but the presence of a Gold Saint from the original series and the fact that Saori Kido’s name and appearance matches the original exactly muddles things a bit for me. There’s also a weird explanation for why there are female saints, when the original series didn’t allow them, which should be unnecessary if the series existed in its own separate timeline.
However, there definitely were details that I appreciated more thanks to being a fan of the original. The armor for the Saint Equuleus is clearly a nod back to the original Pegasus, and Kyoko’s character design reminds me a little of Shiryu as well. Shoko also feels like a nod to the original’s main character Seiya, in both headstrong personality and the strong bond toward their older sisters that becomes their initial motivation.
I’m also interested to see how this series will compare in terms of violence. The original Saint Seiya isn’t shy about inflicting violent and permanent injuries on friend and foe alike, but this series being released in modern times and focusing on a female cast may change that.
Unmagical Girl Vol. 2
ny Ryuichi Yokoyama (Writer) & Manmaru Kamitsuki (Artist)
First off, I would like to point out that volume two corrects the biggest gripe I had about volume 1.
This is an adorable cover and much better captures the humor/whimsy of this series. I am satisfied, thank you Seven Seas.
In volume two, the new characters come in heavy and hard. We meet the final two members of the team (the energetic yet impressionable Flame, and the almost-too-naive-to-live Cutie), the adorable (“adorable”) mascot character, and oh, just the King of Hell himself. It feels like a little much to be juggling this early, but volume 2 does handle the side characters from volume 1 well, so we might just need more time to get to know them better. Edge, the evil underling turned light novel author, is starting to become one of my favorites. His down-to-earth attitude is a nice contrast to the over the top personality of Nirbrave and some of the others.
Like volume one, the stories are episodic and largely humorous (with a good dose of ecchi humor), but with a couple of stories that humanize and grow the main characters as well. The final chapter of this volume, revolving around a doujinshi author, has been my favorite so far. As a fandom nerd, it really speaks to the joy of fandom that reminds so many of us why we got into fandom in the first place.
What else came out recently? Well…
The Ancient Magus’ Bride Vol. 8 by Kore Yamazaki: I think of this series as one of the main sails in the Seven Seas’ ship. It’s likely you’ve already heard of either this series or the wildly popular anime, but in case you haven’t: Chise, an abandoned girl, is sold to an inhuman mage who decides to teach her magic (and also make her his wife). The running theme of the series is two people learning how to properly human (and what exactly that consists of). Volume 8 works on trying to solve the problems created by the big climax of volume 7, and the emotional effects it is having on a Chise that has much changed from her initial appearance, leading to another big climax at the end of this volume.
Bloom into You Vol. 4 by Nakatani Nio: The penultimate volume of a series whose anime premieres in October, Bloom Into You involves two girls disillusioned by their (straight) love confessions, who start falling for each other instead…
Captain Harlock: Dimensional Voyage Vol. 3 by Leiji Matsumoto (Writer) and Kouichi Shimahoshi (Artist): Remember this series from December? The continuing adventures of Tadashi Daiba aboard a ship of intergalactic pirates fighting against the plant-alien Mazon.
Citrus Vol. 7 by Saburouta: An enemies-to-lovers (with a stepsisters step in there) high school yuri pitting the cheerful Yuzu against the aloof Mei.
Clockwork Planet Vol. 1 by Yuu Kamiya (Writer), Tsubaki Himana (Writer), and Shino (Artist): Post-apocalyptic steampunk Chobits in light novel format. Otaku guy finds machine girl and hijinks ensue.
Devilman Grimoire Vol. 2 by Go Nagai (Writer) and Rui Takatou (Artist): A modern reboot of the original Devilman series with a new artist (don’t worry, good ol’ Go Nagai is still writing). A boy named Akira gets possessed by a literal devil, who thrusts him into the terrors of a supernatural war on humanity.
Didn’t I Say To Make My Abilities Average In The Next Life?! Vol. 1 by FUNA (Writer) and Itsuki Akata (Artist): The light novel version of the manga also carried by Seven Seas, it’s an isekai story with a rare female protagonist, who discovers her previous life asked God to make her only average next time and not super-talented. God said “lolno.”
FREEZING, Vol. 19-20 by Dall-Young Lim and Kwang-Hyun Kim: A 2-in-1 manga/manhwa release about the continuing struggles of a boy-girl pairing that form part of the first (and only) line of defense against an alien invasion.
Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Vol. 5 by Ao Jyumonji (Writer) and Eiri Shirai (Artist): Finally, an isekai where the characters aren’t super-powered or have unique cheats! This light novel series is about a group of people struggling to survive in the fantasy land they’ve been reborn into.
Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends Vol. 15 by Yomi Hirasaka (Writer) and Itachi (Artist): A pair of social outcasts in school form a club to make more friends and end up attracting people even more weird. In other words, every high school club I ever joined.
Kase-san and an Apron Vol. 4 by Hiromi Takashima: A high school yuri romance about a girl named Yamada and the aforementioned Kase-san.
Lord Marksman and Vanadis Vol. 6 by Tsukasa Kawaguchi (Writer) and Nobuhiko Yanai (Artist): Harem fantasy series. After the neighboring country conquers his homeland, Tigre becomes the servant to one of the enemy’s leading warriors.
Magical Girl Site Vol. 5 by Kentaro Sato: The magical girls know too much, and now the site admins are after their lives. Worse yet, Aya’s older brother is going to become even more of a garbage human.
Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka Vol. 2 by Makoto Fukami (Writer) and Seigo Tokiya (Artist): Magical girls? Military girls? Why not both?
MaMaMa: Magical Director Mako-chan’s Magical Guidance by OKAYADO: In order to graduate from magic school, Mako-chan must set a perverted human on the right path. I think I’d prefer the thesis.
NTR – Netsuzou Trap Vol. 4 by Kodama Naoko: I love how many yuri series Seven Seas carries. Two girls decide to practice making out so they can please their boyfriends, only to discover they’re way more into each other instead.
Perfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis by Yoshikazu Takeuchi: The first volume of the light novel the acclaimed film is based on. Mima quits her pop idol career to focus on becoming a serious actress, but is pushed toward a mental breakdown by the stalker ex-fan who wants his idol back.
Tales of Zestiria Vol. 4 by Shiramine: An adaptation of one of the more recent entries in the ongoing Tales RPG series.
The Testament of Sister New Devil STORM! Vol. 2 by Tetsuto Uesu (Writer) and Fumihiro Kiso (Artist): Toujo Basara finds out his new stepsisters are literally demons, which naturally makes him want to romance them all the more. The Testament of Sister New Devil STORM! and the Seven Seas-released Testament of Sister New Devil are both adaptations of the light novels and are separate continuities; STORM! focuses more on the younger succubus Maria.
Releases from Ghost Ship:
TO LOVE RU DARKNESS, Vol. 3 by Saki Hasemi and Kentaro Yabuki: Momo continues Operation: Hook Rito Up With Every Hot Girl, Ever with a date with Run, a shapeshifting (and chromosome-changing) alien.
I love how girl-oriented (and girl/girl oriented) this batch of Seven Seas Entertainment releases were. Fingers crossed that we continue with that next month! Well, on the other hand, if it does, my wishlist might get a little too unmanageable….