VIZ Media Pubwatch: March 2021

Viz Pubwatch banner featuring Nana from Viz Media

Spring is in the air, above-freezing temperatures have finally reached the northeastern United States, and VIZ media has new releases for you! Welcome to the March VIZ Pubwatch. This month we’re talking about mostly shonen series, but also some shojo stuff as well.

Tokyo Fashion has practical tips for work-from-home looks

Tokyo Fashion promotional image featuring a fashion sketch of a woman in comfortable clothes

Tokyo Fashion by Nodoka is a simply-illustrated, straightforward guide on how to quickly and easily learn to choose clothes and accessories that will make you look better without spending too much money or effort. Most importantly, Nodoka is realistic: we’re in a pandemic, most of us aren’t going outside more than absolutely necessary. In this promotional trailer for Tokyo Fashion, the author gives three tips for dressing while working from home and two tips for how to get the most out of your online shopping experience. The full book contains advice for women and men interested in becoming more fashionable without really trying.

Interview with the cast of the Mr. Osomatsu English Dub

Mr. Osomatsu Dub Cast Announcement showing the english voice actors for the main cast

Season 1 of Mr. Osomatsu is now available on Blu-Ray, and two of the main voice actors of the dub sat down with VIZ to talk about the experience of voice acting for a gag anime! Billy Kametz and Ray Chase discuss their characters and what it was like to work on such an unusual show. I’d never been interested in watching Mr. Osomatsu before, but now I am almost interested in seeing it even though it is very far from my usual taste in anime.
The first season of Mr. Osomatsu aired in 2015, but the Blu-Ray was released on March 9, 2021, containing episodes 2 through 25 and a number of fun bonus shorts.

Shonen Jump New Series Continue

Cover image for Nine Dragons' Ball Parade depicting the two main characters playing baseball

As an update to last month’s first chapter reviews: I’m still reading i tell c and WITCH WATCH every week, but am no longer reading The Elusive Samurai. The parts I found interesting about i tell c and WITCH WATCH hold up with each new chapter so far, and the tension in i tell c’s high-stakes criminal investigations is really well developed. The Elusive Samurai, unfortunately, just doesn’t have the same magic Yusei Matsui’s previous series Assassination Classroom had. I also picked up the even newer series Nine Dragon’s Ball Parade by Mikiyasu Kamada and Ashibi Fukui. Nine Dragon’s Ball Parade is a fun and wacky take on the well-worn baseball manga subgenre. The jokes land well, the characters are fresh and interesting, and I love that the sports manga protagonist is a brainy nerd for once.

Speaking of sports manga protagonists, let’s take a look at…

What I’m Reading

Haikyu!! Volume 43

Haruichi Furudate
March 2, 2021Haikyu!! Volume 43 Cover depicting Kageyama, Hoshiumi, and Ushijima in their Adlers uniforms

The author’s note at the beginning of this volume made me tear up. “The world is a little crazy right now, but let’s keep our spirits up and try to stay as cheerful as possible (but take occasional breaks from being cheerful as needed). To everyone reading this volume in 2030, did you see us? Everybody from 2020 did their very best! How are you doing?” That is so sweet. As for the actual content of the volume, this arc is one of my favorites in Haikyu!!. I love seeing the characters we’ve gotten to know and love in high school grow beyond their school experiences and progress in their professional volleyball journeys (or choose a different path entirely.) These chapters were a delight to read live on the Shonen Jump app as they were released, and they’re just as fun to read now collected into a book form. I love the mid-chapter extras in this volume too. Haikyu!!’s just so good, you guys. Every time.

My Hero Academia: Team-Up Missions Vol. 1

Yoko Akiyama
March 2, 2021

My Hero Academia Team Up Missions Volume 1 cover depicting Deku front and center with Uraraka, Bakugou, and Todoroki around him.

It was okay.
I used to be a huge fan of My Hero Academia, but I fell off both the anime and the manga about two years ago, shortly after the end of the cultural festival arc. Despite this, a part of me is still fond of the characters and their various dynamics. The first volume of this specific spinoff collects 4 one-shots that ran for various special promotions and three of the promised “Team-Up Missions”. It feels a bit disjointed to read through, but each chapter stands very well on its own. I expect future volumes will feel more cohesive once the premise is more established. Of the Team-Up Mission chapters, my favorite was the one focused on Yaoyorozu, Iida, Amajiki and Fatgum. I liked getting to see more of these less popular characters.

The art did not work as well for me. A lot of the time the characters are fairly faithful imitations of the main series, which makes the panels where they look off-model stand out more. The inkwork isn’t as solid or dynamic as Horikoshi’s inking, which makes the action sequences feel flatter. I’d be interested in seeing a very different art style tackle these iconic characters, rather than watching Akiyama try and fail to match Horikoshi’s distinctive look.

Beast Complex Vol. 1

Paru Itagaki
March 16, 2021

Cover of Beast Complex Volume 1 showing an anthropomorphic camel and wolf

Beast Complex is a collection of unrelated one-shots set in the same universe as Itagaki’s epic BEASTARS, that started before BEASTARS (and before Zootopia, in case anyone was wondering) and then came out sporadically while the longform story was also running in Weekly Shonen Champion. Beast Complex is also apparently coming back sometime this year, which is exciting.
As a fan of Itagaki’s work, I enjoyed the expansion of this anthropomorphic universe offered in this first volume. We have a school story about a tiger and a beaver being friends, a dark, almost noir-feeling tale about a kangaroo and a black panther, a funny story about a gazelle and a crocodile working together on a cooking show, and others, showcasing a huge variety of lifestyles animals lead in Itagaki’s world. The drawings are as lively and dynamic as in the main BEASTARS series, and it’s interesting seeing her explore a bigger variety of character types (although I do miss Haru and Legoshi.) I look forward to the second volume!

That’s all I have for you this month! See you next month with even more VIZ news.