Hello again! After taking April off, the monthly VIZ pubwatch is back and better than ever! This month we’re taking a look at… mostly Shonen Jump stuff, but also the latest release from horror master Junji Ito and volume 2 of Naoki Urasawa’s Asadora!. Let’s start with the news!
Free Limited-time Download of Demon Slayer Volume 1
To celebrate the American release of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train (what a title), VIZ has generously made the first volume of Koyoharu Gotouge’s action-horror manga available to download for free on ComiXology, Google Play, iBooks, Kindle, and Nook. Offer expires May 23, 2021, however, so go grab yours fast!
The Demon Slayer movie was released in theaters in the United States and Canada on April 23, 2021, and will be available for digital download on June 22. After a relatively short four-year run, the Demon Slayer manga has smashed historic sales records, outselling One Piece ten times over in 2020. Perfect time to catch up to the hype!
More New Shonen Jump Series
Sui Ishida of Tokyo Ghoul fame is back in Jump with the first two chapters of Choujin X, a new series about teenage boys turning into horrible monsters. Very on brand! Fans of Tokyo Ghoul will probably enjoy Choujin X, even though it seems to be leaning harder on the body horror than Ishida’s first hit series.
A few weeks ago, Candy Flurry (written by Ippon Takegushi and drawn by Santa Mitarashi) made its debut. Candy Flurry is an action manga about people gifted with the ability to use magical sweets and the destruction their sugary weaponry rained down upon Tokyo. With an interesting premise and fun fight sequences, the first few chapters of Candy Flurry show it’s a series to watch.
The final series to have launched since our last pubwatch is Blue Box by Kouji Miura, about a “sports-crossed romance” that turns out to be leaning more on the romance than the sports so far. He played badminton, she played basketball, can I make it any more obvious? It is certainly a slice-of-life high school romantic comedy. If you’re into those, this comic’s for you.
Takehiko Inoue’s Real now Digital
The critically acclaimed wheelchair basketball manga by the author of Slam Dunk is now available to read entirely in digital format! Real has been ongoing since 1999, and has now been collected in 14 volumes that are all available in digital form. Real’s high-drama and high-energy story shows off the possibilities of sports manga to their fullest, so sports manga and anime fans are encouraged to check this one out! Though the story does get pretty dark at times, it’s ultimately an inspiring story.
Speaking of sports manga, let’s talk about:
What I’m Reading
Haikyu!! Volume 44
May 4, 2021
One more volume left after this one, but the action is just ramping up in Haikyu!! 44. The Black Jackals’s game against the Adlers is in full swing, and we finally get a glimpse of Kageyama’s childhood that helps explain how he got to where he is now. The themes that have been threaded throughout the story continue to resolve themselves, as we learn more about how Kageyama perceives his rivalry with Hinata and how their former teammates and opponents view their growth as players. We also get to see how the core players’ stats and “current concerns” changed in the years since we last saw them. Another really fun volume!
Lovesickness: Junji Ito Story Collection
April 20, 2021
I regret reading this right before bed!
This story collection contains the five-chapter story “Lovesickness” and five shorter stories, two about “the strange Hikizuri siblings” and three stand-alone stories.
Lovesickness is a haunting and disturbing horror anthology. The first story, which comprises about half of the book, is about a town where people will go to crossroads and demand the first stranger they encounter to tell them their fortune, and a mysterious tall boy in black who drives young women to madness by giving them terrible fortunes. There are ghosts and monsters and lots of body horror!
For me the scariest thing about this anthology is that most of the people involved have simple and relatable desires, and whether or not they can achieve those desires is entirely out of their control because of the supernatural forces that have found them. The striking imagery and inventive horror of Lovesickness will appeal to any horror fan.
Asadora! Volume 2
April 20, 2021
Asa Asada’s adventures continue in this volume, and just like the first, a lot of things happen! As the dust settles after the horrific typhoon, Asa learns about the joy of piloting… and sees signs of a mysterious giant beast that might have had something to do with the damages the storm caused. Meanwhile, explorers in a distant jungle find giant claw marks on the trunk of a tree. Years later, in 1964, Asa is a stunt pilot and waitress balancing taking care of her younger siblings with high school when a man from the military shows up to discuss a photo of a creature’s tail rising from the water after the storm. “I should be wary of strange men,” Asa decides on a trip to the science museum, moments before another strange man in a lab coat drops a photograph in front of her.
In Volume 2, pieces of the larger story are beginning to come together and settle into a groove. Asa is almost unrealistically badass throughout, fearless and determined even as she stares death in the face more than once. It’s fun to watch her succeed, and also tragic as her parents and some of her many siblings are still nowhere to be found years after the disaster.
It’s hard to categorize Asadora! into a genre or type of story because it seems to change with every chapter, but every chapter is an unpredictable, exciting ride.
That’s all I’ve got for you this month! Tune in next month for more VIZ news and reviews!