VIZ Media Pubwatch: November 2021

Viz Pubwatch banner featuring Nana from Viz Media

Welcome back to another VIZ pubwatch! This month we’re taking a look at some newer comics by long-established creators, including the brand new Show-ha Shoten! by Death Note co-creator Takeshi Obata. But first, the news!

Spy x Family anime trailer released

still from Spy x Family trailer depicting Loid forger carrying Anya.

On October 31, the official Spy x Family Twitter account released the first trailer for the upcoming anime adaptation of this popular manga. The anime will be produced by WIT Studio and Cloverworks, with veteran voice actor Takuya Eguchi as the voice of Loid Forger. No airdate yet, but the trailer promises sometime in 2022. We covered the most recent volume of Spy x Family in last month’s Pubwatch if you would like to know more about it. I’m excited!

Interview with the creator of Vampire Knight

vampire knight series splash image depicting the protagonist with roses in her hair.

As part of Mangaka Mania 2021, Matsuri Hino does an exclusive interview with VIZ Media on their Youtube channel, discussing her creative process and how she builds characters and storylines for her hit romance comic Vampire Knight. Fans of Vampire Knight will appreciate her insights into the characters and world of this dark and dramatic story.

My Hero Academia Official Character Guide Out Now

title page from my hero academia ultra analysis character guide

Trivia buffs and fanfiction writers alike will enjoy My Hero Academia: Ultra Analysis—The Official Character Guide, packed full of stats, profiles, and bonus art by Kohei Horikoshi himself. The guide includes a gallery of the best color art from the manga and a collection of Horikoshi’s twitter sketches. There’s also a conversation between Bleach creator Tite Kubo and Horikoshi discussing the characters of their flagship shonen series. A must-have for any My Hero Academia fan!

We’ve heard the news, now for reviews! It’s time to take a look at…

What I’m reading

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End, Volume 1

Story by Kanehito Yamada, Art by Tsukasa Abe
November 9, 2021

cover of frieren beyond journey's end volume 1 depicting frieren and her adventurer party in their youth.

I’ve been hearing good things about Frieren for months before it reached American shores, and I’m pleased to report that it lived up to my high expectations. Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End follows the elf medic from a successful adventuring party decades after her quest ended. While her human and dwarf companions age much faster than Frieren does, for Frieren, the years pass in a blink of an eye, and it’s not until the human leader of their group dies of old age that Frieren realizes she should have spent more time with her friends before it was too late. The rest of the volume follows her reconnecting with the other party members and then attempting to fulfill their last wishes. Frieren is a serene and atmospheric story that also manages to be heartwrenching at times, as it makes you feel the characters’ grief with very few words. It effectively depicts the kind of timescale elves live on, as the characters and locations around the protagonist age and decay while she herself remains unchanged for months and years on end. The peaceful, quiet environments also make Frieren’s struggle to connect with humans feel so much more profound. Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End did not make me cry, but it did make me contemplate.

Mao, Volume 2

Rumiko Takahashi
November 9, 2021

cover of Mao volume 2 depicting Nanoka in her school uniform with red eyes.

Volume 1 of Mao did not impress me, but the second volume was a lot more engaging than the first! The tension ratchets up as Nanoka realizes the Taisho-era shopping alley she travels back in time to will be destroyed by the devastating Kanto earthquake. Not to mention her own family is acting very strange… is her grandfather really who he says he is? Nanoka’s a bit more interesting in this volume than in the first, but what really stands out in volume 2 is the monsters and the horror elements of the story, as a group of suspicious nuns morph into birds and then insect-headed creatures and try to attack Mao and his allies. Takahashi’s always been skilled at drawing action scenes, and the monster fights in Mao show off her abilities well. Even if the story isn’t always the most engaging, the intense, dramatic visuals pull through. The mystery unfolding in the final chapter leaves readers eagerly anticipating the next volume.

Show-ha Shoten! chapters 1 and 2

Story by Akinari Asakura, Art by Takeshi Obata
November 3, 2021

promotional image for show-ha shoten depicting the two protagonists in color

This is a new monthly comic available digitally on the Shonen Jump and VIZ apps and website. Takeshi Obata, acclaimed artist of Death Note, Bakuman and All You Need Is Kill, is partnering with lesser-known writer Akinari Asakura to make an exciting shonen comic about… Japanese stand-up comedy. Terminally shy but secretly hilarious protagonist Azemichi decides to team up with his former child actor classmate Shijima to become a famous comedy duo so Azemichi can somehow reunite with a girl he had a crush on who changed her name and moved away. An opening that hits a lot of the same beats as the beginning of Bakuman, but it’s clear Asakura is a different type of writer than Tsugumi Ohba because his female characters have personalities and interests that are not “I want to marry a man.” The bar is on the floor and Ohba put it there. A comic about comedy sets the expectation for humor high, but Show-ha Shoten!’s first two chapters did make me laugh a few times. I was especially surprised by the comedy skit about Crime and Punishment the protagonists acted out in the second chapter. Obata’s art is as solid as always, the characters are engaging, and the jokes are actually funny. Show-ha Shoten! is worth checking out.

That’s all I’ve got for this month! Tune in next month for even more VIZ news and reviews!

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