VIZ Media Pubwatch: December 2020

Viz Pubwatch banner featuring Nana from Viz Media

‘Tis the season to… read manga! Welcome to the December VIZ Pubwatch. This month we’re taking a look at both new and established series in a wide range of genres, including How Do We Relationship? But before that, some news from VIZ.

VIZ Media wishes you “a merry VIZ-list”promotional graphic for VIZ media's december catalog, featuring Kim Chi

If you’re looking for new manga and anime for the winter holidays, VIZ Media made a video highlighting several of their newer releases over the past few months — including volume 1 of Fangirl, which we’ve covered in the past. The video also features drag queen Kim Chi talking about meditation and Demon Slayer. Interesting combination! It feels like an earnest attempt to make their list of new releases entertaining to hear about, so for those of you trying to shop for an anime and manga fan in your life, this might be a good place to start.

Tokyo Ghoul: re Artbook released

Promotional graphic showing off the cover and interiors of the art book.

Tokyo Ghoul: re Illustrations: zakki collects illustrations by Tokyo Ghoul creator Sui Ishida into a beautiful 112-page hardcover volume, with full-color reproductions, behind-the-scenes notes, commentary, and a Q&A with Ishida, focusing on Tokyo Ghoul: re. A significant amount of the artwork is being printed for the first time, including pieces made for cross-promotional ventures like advertisements or merchandise. Fans of the series and Ishida’s art should definitely check this out!

Seis Manos now available on Blu-Ray

In case you missed it, Seis Manos, the Netflix original animated series by Powerhouse Animation is now available on Blu-ray. The Blu-ray includes all eight episodes in a two-disc set, with audio and subtitles in both English and Spanish, as well as interviews with the director, composer, and creators of the show. Seis Manos is one of those rare American cartoons aimed towards adults that also tells an interesting story, and has the impressive animation and art direction to back it up. Experience the show in high-definition audio and video today!

This month, I chose to review the latest volumes of some series I haven’t touched on in Pubwatch before, but enjoy nonetheless. So let’s take a look at…

What I’m Reading

How Do We Relationship? Volume 2
December 8, 2020

Cover of How Do We Relationship Volume 2 showing Miwa and Saeko

I’m not usually into stories about people already in relationships. I prefer the slow build, the will-they-or-won’t-they, the tensions that lead to a couple finally getting together. How Do We Relationship? however, makes the development of Miwa and Saeko’s relationship interesting and compelling to follow. Not to mention how refreshing it is to read a cute yuri manga that isn’t set in high school!

I’m impressed with how grounded and realistic their fears and insecurities feel, and how they both handle the different pressures the outside world puts on them. Tamifull also sensitively explores the complicated, often contradictory nature of human sexuality and desire through an interesting cast of characters.

How do we Relationship? is a relatable and interesting yuri manga that shows the good and bad parts of two girls in their first really serious romantic relationship, and I like it a lot!

Golden Kamuy Volume 19
Satoru Noda
December 15, 2020

Cover of Golden Kamuy volume 19, showing Kiroranke.

And now for something completely different: Golden Kamuy by Satoru Noda.

Golden Kamuy is a wild ride all the way through, jumping through genres, locations and weird jokes like a tiger through a circus hoop. In Volume 19, Asirpa learns more about her father’s past from Sofia, and Sugimoto’s party continues their journey towards reuniting with her.

A lot of things happen in this volume. Tigers! Violence! Explosions! Heartfelt backstory! Dick jokes! Truly a rollercoaster. We learn more about what exactly Wilk and Kiroranke were doing with Sofia in the past, and what Sofia has been up to since they parted ways.

Noda takes great pains to get the historical and cultural parts of his manga correct, hiring multiple consultants for different aspects of the series. I was really excited to see that the Russian text used throughout for the several characters speaking in Russian was both accurate and naturalistic.

Like every volume, Golden Kamuy volume 19 makes me want to keep reading to find out what happens next.

Komi Can’t Communicate Volume 10
Tomohito Oda
December 8, 2020cover of Komi Can't Communicate, volume 10, showing Komi and Manbagi having a sleepover.

I admittedly haven’t checked in on Komi and Tadano in quite some time, but Komi Can’t Communicate is the kind of lighthearted slice of life story that can be easily picked up at any point. In Volume 10, Komi and her friends move up to their second year of high school… and not all of the friends she’d worked so hard to make in her first year are in her class. When it turns out the girl sitting next to her is just as shy and lonely as Komi was a year ago, Komi puts her newly learned friendship skills to the test.

I really enjoyed seeing how much Komi’s grown since the first volume. Her new classmates are just as colorful of a bunch as the rest of the cast, and Manbagi, the surprisingly awkward manba gyaru (a fashion subculture characterized by lots of bronzer, fake eyelashes, and hair accessories), is especially easy to like and sympathize with even through her layers of heavy makeup.

However, this volume could have benefited from some translation notes. If I didn’t know what a manba gyaru was already, I’d be confused about Manbagi’s whole thing. Besides that, I felt like there were puns and cultural references that went over my head, so a few notes explaining things like the new characters’ names and the impressions Najimi made people do in their self-introductions would have improved the reading experience.

That’s all I have for you this month! See you in 2021 with more news about your favorite manga!