Happy June, everyone! Summer’s right around the corner, my neighborhood is ankle-deep in cicadas (who are, unfortunately, louder in real life than in anime), and VIZ media has put out even more new comics for you to enjoy! This month we’re picking up where we left off on some continuing series as well as taking a look at a new original English-language title, World Piece.
After issue 28 of Weekly Shonen Jump, hit manga Jujutsu Kaisen went on indefinite hiatus citing its creator Gege Akutami’s poor health. In a letter posted by the Jujutsu Kaisen PR team, Akutami confirmed that this hiatus will probably last around a month, the condition isn’t serious and his mental health is fine. However, after publishing several draft pages in the previous week’s issue, the team decided it would be better for the comic for him to take a break. Manga creators are notorious for their long hours of intense labor, with many other creators like Yoshihiro Togashi of Hunter x Hunter taking hiatuses for their health as well. Churning out 20 pages of comics every week is a difficult pace to keep up for a long time! I hope he gets the rest he needs.
Boruto May 2021 Character Popularity Poll results
Thousands of readers voted in this latest character popularity poll for their favorites in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations by Masashi Kishimoto, and the results are live now! Unsurprisingly, title character Boruto took first this time, but Boruto’s dad also made a strong showing, coming in second. The full list of the top 21 most popular Boruto characters can be viewed here. The first three chapters are also available to be read digitally for free.
Kirby Manga Mania volume 1 out now
Who doesn’t love the pink, round ball that is iconic video game protagonist Kirby? Kirby Manga Mania volume 1 collects some of the very best strips of the 25-year series by Hirokazu Hikawa, making them available officially in English for the first time. The stories explore Kirby and King Dedede’s adventures in Dreamland, as well as a host of colorful side characters. A treat for Kirby fans of all ages!
Now that we’ve looked at some manga I am not reading, let us turn our attention towards…
What I’m Reading
World Piece, Volume 1
Josh Tierney and Agroshka
June 8, 2021
The debut volume of World Piece is a wild premise with fun, likable characters that feel like nothing else I’ve ever seen before.
Lucas Densen is a regular guy who likes comics and playing basketball. When his mom invites him to visit the archaeological site she’s excavating, the entire planet somehow shrinks to the size of a basketball! Lucas ends up in an alien world where people shrink and trade planets on a dime. Will his new friends help him get Earth back to the way it was?
Agroshka’s sleek, fluid style is a natural fit for this story, and the otherworldly environments look both original and believably immersive. I also love the dynamic between the three leads— they all have different skills and knowledge that help with their current situations, but also traits that hinder their progress, like Mitton being a military kid and Lully being a sheltered rich girl. They don’t bicker needlessly but work together as best as they can to help each other out. The world and story are so different from anything I’ve ever read before I can’t predict what happens next, and I look forward to reading more.
When I was a kid, manga-style Western comics in English were just beginning to show up in bookstores. None of them looked as comfortable with the medium as World Piece does. I’m glad the genre has evolved to a place where comics like this can exist.
Komi Can’t Communicate, Volume 13
June 8, 2021
Komi’s on summer vacation this volume and so is her standoffish cousin Rei, who’s visiting Komi’s family for a week. This volume focuses on developing the relationship between Komi and Rei, who is afraid of getting attached to people. I like the change of pace to focus on Komi’s family this volume instead of her classmates, but it’s also nice to see her eccentric group of friends show up again towards the end of the volume.
Komi’s gotten better at speaking to people when she has to, and she manages to communicate her feelings to her cousin instead of shutting down from anxiety. The appeal of Komi Can’t Communicate to me is watching the characters grow and change from their interactions with each other, even though their names are puns on their defining personality traits and it’s a comedy manga first and foremost. Watching Katai relax a bit in his home with his family around was very sweet, considering how shy and anxious he usually is in the school environment. A cute installment in a cute series!
How do we Relationship? Volume 3
June 8, 2021
Happy pride month, everyone! This volume delves deeper into Miwa and Saeko’s pasts, particularly Miwa’s first crush in high school and Saeko’s issues regarding intimacy and letting go. I really appreciate how the sex scenes are handled in How do we Relationship?. They feel honest without being voyeuristic. Miwa and Saeko are cute together, but they’re also people, with flaws and insecurities and past experiences that mean no matter how nice their relationship is, it’s not perfect. Miwa encounters her high school crush again and is racked with guilt over her leftover feelings, while Saeko is embarrassed about her own middle school days. I also like how heteronormativity is shown in this volume— everyone keeps assuming Miwa and Saeko are dating boys, and they have no choice but to let it go. How do we Relationship? Volume 3 is a relatable and entertaining manga about girls being gay.
That’s all I’ve got for you this month! I’ll be back in July with even more news and reviews!