Welcome to the first-ever monthly VIZ Pubwatch! VIZ is the largest publisher of graphic novels in the United States, bringing an extensive catalog of manga and anime from Japan to English-speaking audiences. From simulpublishing Shonen Jump chapters online, to releasing the newest hit anime on DVD and Blu-Ray, VIZ has been a force in Western anime and manga fandom for decades. As a big fan of many VIZ series over the years, I’m excited to bring you the details about their newest releases every month! Starting… now! This first pubwatch will cover both promising new releases and classic old manga, including Not Your Idol and the collector’s edition of Maison Ikkoku.
From VIZ Signature, Junji Ito Collection Venus in the Blind Spot
Published August 18, 2020, Venus in the Blind Spot collects the ten best short stories of Junji Ito’s manga career. Sporting a gorgeous, 272-page hardcover, with a wraparound cover design, special color pages and illustrations from his long-running work No Longer Human throughout, the collection presents Ito’s incredible horror manga with the care and polish his work deserves. This collection includes an adaptation of Rampo Edogawa’s horror story “The Human Chair” and fan favorite “The Enigma of Amigara Fault.” Just in time for spooky season!
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind part 1 on Blu-Ray
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure set 6: Golden Wind part 1 is now available in Blu-ray and digital as of September 1st, 2020. Based on the long-running manga by Hirohiko Araki, Golden Wind follows the adventures of Giorno Giovanna as he runs around Naples, Italy and battles with rival Mafia gangs.
The limited edition Blu-ray set contains 20 episodes in 1080p with English and Japanese stereo audio and English subtitles. It also comes with a variety of special features, including a 48-page exclusive full-color booklet, interviews with the English voice cast, clean versions of the opening and ending, and trailers. Get to know the Famiglia in style.
New original anime sequel to Inuyasha announced
In August, VIZ Media announced a new anime series based on Inuyasha: Yashahime. Yashahime, which premieres on October 3rd, 2020, will follow the lives of Sesshomaru’s twin daughters and Inuyasha and Kagome’s daughter Moroha. Towa and Setsuna, Sesshomaru’s daughters, are separated in a forest fire. Towa is raised by Kagome’s little brother in the modern day, while Setsuna becomes a demon slayer with no memories of her past. Ten years later, they reunite and set off on an adventure with Moroha to regain what they lost.
Staff from Inuyasha are returning, and original Inuyasha creator Rumiko Takahashi designed the new main characters.
Speaking of Rumiko Takahashi, let’s talk about…
What I’m Reading
Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition, Volume 1
September 15, 2020
So this is actually the first time I’ve ever read a full volume of Takahashi’s manga. I knew of her, and I’ve seen a few episodes of Inuyasha, but I’ve never really sat down to read her comics at length until I was given the opportunity to review this volume.
Maison Ikkoku was her second major series, running from 1980 to 1987, and while some parts of it do feel dated, a lot of the humor holds up surprisingly well. I laughed out loud multiple times. I don’t find the protagonist particularly sympathetic, but I do find him and his problems funny and fun to read about. I enjoyed the dynamic everyone in the boarding house has with each other, and it reminded me that people really are basically the same in every time and place.
Takahashi is an incredible visual storyteller, and I found myself taking notes on her shot compositions and panel choices while reading because of how clearly and effectively she communicates ideas like “a hot summer day” or “a loud, rowdy party” just by how she chose to draw the sequences. The art is simple, yet immersive and engaging. I found this volume a delightful experience, and look forward to reading more of her work.
Not Your Idol, Volume 2
September 1, 2020
Not Your Idol by Aoi Makino is a new shoujo series about a girl who quits being an idol after getting stabbed by a fan at an event and the effect this has on her life and the lives of the people around her.
Volume 2 goes deeper into the mind of the popular girl Miku Nagasu and examines how just because she denies the reality of being a teenage girl in society, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect her. Miku is popular with the boys in her class by playing the “Cool Girl,” laughing along at sexist jokes and volunteering to wear a sexy halloween costume for the school’s annual costume contest. Being the Cool Girl, however, and hiding her pain doesn’t make her safer or happier than any of the girls she makes fun of.
I liked the exploration of Hikaru’s motivations in this volume as well. He seems more believable and his behavior around Nina and Miku makes more sense now.
Not Your Idol is absolutely not a story for everyone. It’s a tense psychological drama that deals very frankly with sexual assault, trauma, rape, and the sexualization of teenage girls in ways that may be triggering for certain readers. It’s not light or fun. But it is incredibly important. I can see some people reading a story like this and feeling seen and less alone.
Haikyu!! Volume 40
September 1, 2020
Ah, Haikyu!!. This series by Haruichi Furudate has been going strong for over eight years now, and though the manga has ended its run in Shonen Jump, the second part of the fourth season of the anime is set to air in October 2020, and there are a few more volumes of the print collections still to be released.
Volume 40 focuses on Asahi Azumane’s character development in the Spring High quarterfinal as he faces off against Kamomedai’s Hirugami. Asahi fans, this volume is for you. In this volume, Asahi grows into himself and learns how to make the most of his strength and power as Karasuno’s ace, while Hirugami from their rival school gets a surprisingly relatable and compelling backstory. It’s exciting, it’s interesting, it uses fun visual metaphors to represent Asahi casting off the self-doubt tying him down. Reading Haikyu!! never fails to spark joy for me, and volume 40 does it again.
That’s it for this month! I’ll be back in October with even more cool stuff to talk about.