Title: Maria The Virgin Witch (Junketsu no Maria)
Genre: Fantasy, Religion
Publisher: Kodansha (JP), Kodansha USA (US)
Artist: Masayuki Ishikawa
Serialized in: Good! Afternoon
Translation: Stephen Paul
Original Release Date: February 24, 2015
There’s not a ton of manga released in the US that talk about religion, or if they do, it scrapes the surface of it or is used as a theme for a chapter or two. Maria the Virgin Witch exclusively makes religion its theme, and that’s a reason this manga is interesting, though whether it’ll be up your alley due to its anger towards the Catholic Church and Maria’s views on what the Almighty should do is gonna be up to the reader.
When you will be reading this, I will be in Japan … Isn’t it amazing? Count on me to spam you everywhere with this for a while.
The sad thing is that for now I have absolutely nothing to tell you about Japan because I am writing this still in the comfort of my own home, so I am going to talk about Sho Hayami.Known for: Aizen (Bleach)
My favorite roles: Ayanami (07 Ghost), Akechi Mitsuhide (Sengoku Basara)
Title: My Neighbor Seki (Tonari no Seki-Kun)
Publisher: Media Factory (JP), Vertical Inc (US)
Artist: Takuma Morishige
Serialized in: Comic Flapper
Translation: Yoshito Hinton
Original Release Date: January 13, 2015
It’s a great pleasure to jump back into the world that Seki himself created. I watched the anime last year, and it made my Top 10 of 2014 despite being a short. Vertical was kind enough to license the manga and release it, and in reading Volume 1, it put a nice big smile on my face and made me realize how much I miss that dumb show. I’m glad it’s back, even in manga form.
The first thing that will strike you about speaking to the creator of Henshin and Eisner nominated artist of I KILL GIANTS is his English is solid, considering he grew up in Spain and now lives in Tokyo working on manga for a manga publisher.
The second thing that will strike you is him expressing surprise when learning that Kengo Hanazawa’s I Am a Hero, which Jason Thompson said in his House of Manga column, “is probably the greatest zombie manga ever,” was not licensed in the US. “It’s like Walking Dead set in Japan. It’s really great!” He believes it’ll come over sometime soon.
The third thing that will strike you is him talking about a trip to a bar called Cabbages that are run by two twins in their 70’s. “They used to be singers,” he said, ” They made their debut, then they quit, they started this bar, and they sing for you.”
This is apparently the start of the “unique” life in Japan, and how it ultimately ties into the creation of Henshin.
Genre: Surreal, Drama
Publisher: Shogakukan (JP), Image Comics (US)
Story/Artist: Ken Niimura
Serialized in: Web Ikipara Comic
Translation: Ivy Yukiko Ishihara Oldford
Original Release Date: January 27, 2015
In the back of Henshin, it says the story has “a unique vision of Japanese life.” Scratch the unique part and put in weird because that’s what Henshin is — weird…in a great way.