Welcome to the September VIZ Media pubwatch! It’s back to school time for many students around the world, including myself, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a moment to catch up to some manga news and new releases. This month we’re talking about a lot of different franchises, and saying goodbye to a promising new Shonen Jump series I first discussed a few months ago.
And now the news!
Celebrate Shojo Beat’s Sweet 16 with an exclusive new illustration from Bisco Hatori
Ouran High School Host Club was the first anime I ever saw, and the sweet and funny romcom manga by Bisco Hatori will always hold a soft spot in my heart. I’m excited to share this video with you all! To celebrate the 16th anniversary of the Shojo Beat imprint, Hatori drew the protagonists of her landmark series in full color. The video features Youtuber MommaLuvsManga and is part of the Mangaka Mania ‘21 content series. I’m glad Tamaki and Haruhi are still in love after all these years!
My Hero Academia: Vigilantes Popularity Poll Results
It is once again time for a character popularity poll! This time for My Hero Academia: Vigilantes, the spin-off manga to Kohei Horikoshi’s popular My Hero Academia, following different characters and set a few years prior to the events of the main story. Both completely new and beloved supporting characters from My Hero Academia make appearances, and all of these characters are represented in the results of this popularity poll!
Interview with the Editor of Mashle: Magic and Muscles
Shonen Jump interviewed Yusuke Arai, the current Japanese editor of Mashle: Magic and Muscles, about what it’s like to edit the Weekly Shonen Jump series. I have not read Mashle myself and have no plans to do so, but the interview should be enlightening for any manga fan who’d like a closer look at what goes on behind the scenes. Arai discusses the kinds of suggestions he gives to Hajime Komoto and what he believes the themes of Mashle are. If you like magic and muscles, this might be the manga for you!
That’s it for this month’s news! Now let’s take a look at…
What I’m Reading
Animal Crossing: New Horizons Volume 1
September 14, 2021
I’ve been playing a lot of Animal Crossing: New Horizons this past year! So I was looking forward to reading this one. I was expecting something low-key and peaceful, atmospheric and friendly. What I got was an over-the-top gag manga about four wacky friends who move to a deserted island with Tom Nook and refuse to do any of the island development tasks in favor of sleeping, eating, and lazing around. The humor didn’t work for me, and I couldn’t relate to any of the characters or this kind of experience with the game. The last quarter of the volume was an introduction to some of the villagers and NPCs a player might encounter, with little four-panel strips joking about aspects of the characters. It left me confused as to who this book was for: someone who’s already playing the game would know all of these characters, and someone who hasn’t played Animal Crossing probably wouldn’t want to read a manga about it. The most interesting part for me was the few pages in the end where the mangaka showed off her personal favorite parts of her own island because it gave me ideas for how I could redecorate my island. The art is fine, flat, and simple, reflecting the art of the game. Overall though, I didn’t love this manga. [Editor’s note: For another perspective on this book, visit our sibling site, Sidequest!]
Mao, Volume 1
September 14, 2021
Manga legend Rumiko Takahashi is back with a brand-new story! Mao follows the adventures of Nanoka, a young girl orphaned in a freak landslide when she was a child who accidentally wanders into a Taisho-era shopping arcade where she meets a mysterious exorcist named Mao. Fans of Rumiko’s older work Inuyasha may enjoy this as it also mixes Japanese folklore and a heroine from the ordinary modern world. I didn’t enjoy Mao as much as I liked other Takahashi works I’ve read. I feel like Nanoka doesn’t have a lot of personality as of this first volume, and the art isn’t as striking as Takahashi’s art was in, for example, Mermaid Saga. It’s still clear and easy to read, but it’s not as funny or as dramatic as I’ve come to expect from Takahashi.
Candy Flurry Chapter 19
Art by Santa Mitarashi, Story by Ippon Takegushi
September 12, 2021
Candy Flurry launched in April 2021, and after just 19 chapters, the weekly series has come to a rushed and abrupt conclusion. All the mysteries raised in the opening chapters have been addressed, but without enough buildup or tension to make the resolution feel satisfactory. The art is lovely, and the concept of fighting with huge battle candy is striking and interesting. I’m glad our protagonist defeated the bad guy, but the arrival of the bad guy was sudden in a way that makes it clear this early ending was not anticipated.
With Candy Flurry’s cancellation, three of the new Weekly Shonen Jump series I’ve started following this year have ended in less than half a year. Nine Dragons’ Ball Parade’s final chapter came out in July, and i tell c ended in late June after 20 and 21 chapters respectively. Weekly Shonen Jump is harsh about canceling underperforming series, but I feel like these stories needed more time to develop. Candy Flurry might not have been the next big thing, but it had promise, it just needed room to expand instead of being forced to suddenly pivot into its endgame so early in its run. It’s disappointing to see this many offbeat and interesting new series end so quickly.
Not the most positive reviews this month, but maybe next month will be better! I hope to see you then!