My Week in Manga: May 11-May 17, 2015

My News and Reviews

Well, I was hoping to post the recap of my recent visit to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival last week, but I haven’t actually managed to finish writing it yet. (Things have been very busy at work and home, and the taiko performance season is ramping up, too.) So, the plan is to post it sometime later this week instead. Fortunately, I did have a couple of in-depth manga reviews in reserve for last week just in case the TCAF post fell through. The first review, Yuki Urushibara’s Mushishi, Volume 3, is a part of my ongoing monthly horror manga review project. Mushishi continues to be one of my favorite series. This particular volume is notable as it reveals some of Ginko’s backstory. Last week I also reviewed the most recent installment of Bruno Gmünder’s Gay Manga line, Mentaiko Itto’s Priapus, which is a highly entertaining collection of gay erotic manga. The volume marks Itto’s official English-language debut and contains some pretty ridiculous stories and characters.

While I haven’t managed to fully report back on TCAF 2015, other TCAF posts are already being made. The Comics Reporter is making an effort to create an index of stories and references, but I specifically wanted to point out the recordings of some of the panels at The Comics Beat. Other items of interest from elsewhere online include Ryan Holmberg’s most recent What Was Alternative Manga? column at The Comics Journal—Blood Plants: Mizuki Shigeru, Kitaro, and the Japanese Blood Industry—and the 2015 edition of Advice on Manga Translation from Manga Translators over at Organization Anti-Social Geniuses. As for licensing news, Kodansha Comics announced a deluxe omnibus edition of Fairy Tail and Dark Horse will be adding a few new titles: Kentaro Miura’s Giganto Maxia, Spike Chunsoft and Takashi Tsukimi’s Danganronpa, and Kengo Hanazawa’s I Am a Hero, in addition to rescuing CLAMP’s RG Veda.

Quick Takes

Attack on Titan, Volume 15Attack on Titan, Volume 15 by Hajime Isayama. Although it certainly has its moments and its own peculiar charm, Isayama’s artwork has never really been one of the strengths of Attack on Titan. There has certainly been improvement over the course of the series, and some of the individual panels and sequences are fantastic, but the artwork in this particular volume is terribly inconsistent and sometimes doesn’t even make sense to the point of distraction. But what Attack on Titan lacks in artistic finesse, the series makes up for with its large, engaging cast of characters and its constantly evolving story. Granted, with plot twist after plot twist after plot twist, the story is frequently on the verge of getting out of hand. Fortunately, Isayama reins it in a bit with this volume, allowing several of the story threads to play out and come to some sort of resolution before throwing something completely new into the mix, once again ending with a cliffhanger. Sometimes I miss the days when Attack on Titan was closer to being straight up horror, but all of the recent political intrigue can be interesting, too.

Fairy Tail, Volume 47Fairy Tail, Volumes 47-48 by Hiro Mashima. Thanks to Mashima’s afterword in the forty-seventh volume, I think I’ve finally figured out why Fairy Tail has been frustrating me recently—it’s his admitted lack of foreshadowing. The sudden plot developments that seem to come out of nowhere, although some of them are admittedly pretty great, make the series feel very disjointed and to some extent even directionless. Instead of inspiring feelings of excitement in how the story is progressing, Fairy Tail often inspires bafflement over its twists and revelations. In the same afterword Mashima indicates that he hopes to improve the foreshadowing, but he also says that he’ll be including plenty of red herrings as well, so I’m not sure how much that’s going to help. But even considering the unevenness of the series’ narrative, there’s still some good fun to be had in these two volumes. There are dragons, epic battles, and plenty of opportunities for the characters to demonstrate just how powerful they have become and just how badass they can be. Mashima is even able to work in some additional backstory for some of the characters amidst all the chaos.

Love at Fourteen, Volume 1Love at Fourteen, Volumes 1-2 by Fuka Mizutani. I was actually taken by surprise by how much I ended up enjoying the first two volumes of Love at Fourteen. I had heard good things about the series, but I didn’t really expect that I would be so taken with a series about the romantic turmoils of middle school students. Tanaka and Yoshikawa have been close friends for some time and that friendship has started to blossom into something greater. They are becoming more aware of themselves and of each other. But their school doesn’t allow dating at such a young age, so they do what they can to keep their relationship a secret. So far the series is a chaste, slowly developing romance, but realistically that’s how it should be. Love at Fourteen is charming and somewhat nostalgic without being syrupy sweet. There’s even some queer representation—a girl who has fallen in love with another girl—which I’m always happy to see. However, I will admit that I am a little concerned about how the relationship between the music teacher and one of the other students may develop since some of her behavior towards him has been has been borderline if not blatantly inappropriate.

Carried by the Wind: Tsukikage RanCarried by the Wind: Tsukikage Ran directed by Akitaro Daichi. I am just now discovering Carried by the Wind; I completely missed when it was first released and happened across the thirteen-episode series more by accident than anything else. I’m glad that I did, though, because it is a tremendous amount of fun. Carried by the Wind is a comedic homage, without quite being a parody, of samurai films and television series. Tsukikage Ran, a skilled swordswoman, is a wandering ronin who would much rather drink a good bottle of sake and take a nap than get into a fight. Meow is a talented Chinese martial artist who means well but tends to get herself into trouble with her meddling. Although their attitudes and personalities are almost complete opposites—Ran is cool and collected while Meow is brash and prone to outbursts—the two end up becoming traveling companions of sorts. Each episode of Carried by the Wind stands completely on its own and generally follows a somewhat predictable story arc with Ran and Meow righting some sort of wrongdoing. But with its humor, marvelous lead characters, and great fight scenes, Carried by the Wind is a highly entertaining series.

My Week in Manga: March 16-March 22, 2015

My News and Reviews

Two more reviews were posted at Experiments in Manga last week. Only one was of a manga, but the other book does include illustrations! I’m a little behind in reviewing the series, but I finally wrote up my impressions of Fumi Yoshinaga’s What Did You Eat Yesterday?, Volume 6. (Just in time for the seventh volume to be released later this week!) There’s some really nice character development for Shiro and, as always, delicious-looking food. The second review posted last week was for Haikasoru’s anthology of short fiction Phantasm Japan: Fantasies Light and Dark from and about Japan which collects twenty-one horror-tinged stories. It has a great range of contributions and authors and is an excellent followup to the The Future Is Japanese anthology.

I’ve been busy at work and the taiko performance season is ramping up, so I’ve not had much time to pay attention to the manga news over the last week or so. (Let me know if I missed something good!) However, I did see that Manga Brog posted a translation of interviews of Inio Asano and Daisuke Igarashi from the magazine Manga Erotics F in 2012. And speaking of Asano, Vertical Comics apparently made a license announcement a couple of weekends ago—an omnibus edition of Asano’s A Girl on the Shore. Asano’s Nijigahara Holograph left a huge impression on me last year, so I’m really looking forward to reading more of his work in English.

Quick Takes

Attack on Titan, Volume 14Attack on Titan, Volume 14 by Hajime Isayama. The cover of the fourteenth volume of Attack on Titan has a Western flair to it (“Western” as in the genre) and, surprisingly enough, so do the contents. I found the introduction of the trappings of the American Old West to be a little bizarre in a setting that has largely been European-influenced, but it is what it is. I never expected there to be a guns-blazing saloon shootout in Attack on Titan, but it is an admittedly exciting scene even if it does feel a little out-of-place. Also somewhat surprising, not a single Titan makes an appearance in the volume except for flashbacks. The series’ focus has shifted from the fight against the Titans to the conflict inside of the walls as humans are pitted against each other. The Survey Corps is in the process of trying to reveal some major conspiracies to the general public, schemes that the Military Police and government would rather not come to light, so things get pretty violent. All in all, even considering the odd Western elements, it’s an excellent volume of Attack on Titan with some great action sequences, character development, and plot progression.

Fairy Tail, Volume 44Fairy Tail, Volumes 44-46 by Hiro Mashima. The Tartaros arc of Fairy Tail continues with these three volumes of the series. Fairy Tail is facing off with a guild of demons which is attempting to eliminate all magic except for its own curses. For the most part, it’s battle after battle without too much story development. Major sacrifices are made by Fairy Tail (sadly, some of them lose their significance and impact when Mashima doesn’t completely follow through with them), and a new antagonist is introduced, the extremely powerful King of the Underworld, Mard Geer. Reading Mashima’s afterwords at the end of each volume, it seems as though he has tried to carefully plan out the important events and battles of Fairy Tail. Even so, it feels as though the series meanders getting from one major plot point to the next, almost as if Mashima is making the story up as he goes instead of having a definite endpoint in mind. However, the fights can be exciting and the characters continue to evolve, or at least power up. I was pleased to see the forty-sixth volume turn the manga’s focus back onto Gray, though, bringing his most recent story arc to a satisfying conclusion.

Sankarea: Undying Love, Volume 10Sankarea: Undying Love, Volume 10 by Mitsuru Hattori. There have been parts of Sankarea that I’ve really enjoyed, and parts of the series that I really have not, but overall the tenth volume frustrates me more than anything else. Mostly it’s because of the narrative structure and the fact that several important backstories are crammed into the volume. I almost wonder if Hattori realized that he was running out of time to bring the series to a proper conclusion. (There is only one more volume after this one.) It is good to finally find out more about Chihiro’s grandfather and all of his research into bringing the living back to life. And there are some great horror elements to that particular story, as well. I just really wish the revelation hadn’t taken the form of a huge infodump given by a conveniently revived zombie. However, I did like the different art styles that Hattori used to distinguish Chihiro’s memories of his mother and the story about Chihiro’s grandfather from the rest of the manga. And I am curious to see how Sankarea will end. It’s been a strange if somewhat uneven series about zombies and love, part horror manga and part romantic comedy.

My Week in Manga: December 8-December 14, 2014

My News and Reviews

Two reviews were posted at Experiments in Manga last week. The first was of Frederik L. Schodt’s classic survey of manga originally written in 1983 but slightly revised in 1986 and with a new introduction added in 1997, Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics. It may be a few decades old, but it’s still a fantastic work that is well worth reading. Last week I also reviewed Hikaru Suruga’s Attack on Titan: No Regrets, Volume 2, the final volume of Attack on Titan‘s short, shoujo spinoff which focuses on Levi and Erwin’s backstories. I wasn’t quite as fond of the second volume as I was of the first, but I did enjoy the series. It’s definitely a must-read for fans of Erwin and/or Levi and I appreciated how it expanded the setting of Attack on Titan.

Elsewhere online, Kodansha Comics announced the license of Naoshi Arakawa’s Your Lie in April. An Indiegogo campaign was launched to create a stop-motion film adaptation of Moyoco Anno’s The Diary of Ochibi manga. Vertical linked to an older article about Prophecy and how French Manga Fans Inspire the Work of Tsutsui Tetsuya. (The first volume of Prophecy was recently released in English and it’s fantastic.) And last but not least, Muse Hack posted an interview with Mikhail Koulikov of the Anime and Manga Studies Blog. I’ve been following Koulikov’s Anime and Manga Studies ever since I’ve discovered it. The blog is a great resource for anyone interested in the academic pursuit and scholarly study of Japanese pop culture.

Quick Takes

Fairy Tail, Volume 43Fairy Tail, Volume 43 by Hiro Mashima. There was very little Gray in the forty-third volume of Fairly Tail which made me a little sad, especially after the buildup in his character and story over the last few volumes. But with a series like Fairy Tail, which has a fairly large cast of characters who regularly play an important role in its plot, time needs to be spent with those other characters as well. Fairy Tail always seems to have one or two moments of fanservice that, at least for me, detract from the story being told. The clothing and armor choices for the female characters in particular tend towards stereotypical fantasy design—showing more flesh than would be appropriate for battle—but at least the women in Fairy Tail generally have well-developed personalities and are very capable characters in their own right. Often, they’re even stronger than the men. And to be fair, there’s male nudity as well as female nudity in Fairy Tail, though as might be expected from a shounen manga, generally not to the same extent. Fairy Tail is now well into the beginning of the Tartaros arc of the series in which the members of the Fairy Tail guild must face off with a dark guild of demons which is trying to eliminate the entire Magic Council.

Kiss All the Boys, Volume 1Kiss All the Boys, Volumes 1-3 by Shiuko Kano. For the most part I enjoyed Kiss All the Boys more than Kano’s earlier series Yakuza in Love, but ultimately I felt a bit cheated by its conclusion. While in some ways I’m glad that most everything ends happily for the characters, I’m not convinced that that’s really how things would have played out and some of the eventual pairings are troubling. But while Kiss All the Boys may not be the most believable series, at least the convoluted relationships are for the most part interesting even when they are appalling. The series hinges on Tetsuo, a straight thirty-something hentai artist with a fifteen-year-old son born from his youthful indiscretions. At least he’s supposed to be straight. Conveniently for the manga, he soon finds himself entangled in relationships with several other men—his next door neighbor, his best friend and editor, and even the boy his gay son has a crush on. Tetsuo is an asshole, but at least he knows he’s an asshole. He does make some effort to rise above his nature but unfortunately never quite manages to succeed. For the most part Kiss All the Boys is intended to be a comedy and shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but I couldn’t help but worry for the youngsters left with terrible adult role models.

Yukarism, Volume 1Yukarism, Volume 1 by Chika Shiomi. I haven’t previously read any of Shiomi’s manga, but I was looking forward to Yukarism because of its promise of interesting gender dynamics, reincarnation, and historical romance. Although Yukari Kobayakawa is only seventeen, he has already made a name for himself as an author of novels set in the Edo period. He never has to do any research though since he subconsciously draws inspiration from his past life as a courtesan in the era’s pleasure district. Except for that particular twist, at this point Yukari actually isn’t a very interesting character. He’s very reserved, self-absorbed, impassive, and completely unfazed when he begins to slip back and forth between his past life and his current one. Many of the people surrounding Yukari in present-day Japan are reincarnations of people he knew in the pleasure district although they don’t all seem to be aware of that fact. There’s definitely some potential for romance in Yukarism, but after only one volume that doesn’t appear to be the series’ main concern yet. Instead, the mystery surrounding the deaths of Yukari and the others in the past seems to take precedence, although the connections between all of the characters in all of their incarnations is an important element as well. I’ll be curious to see how the series continues to develop.

DevilPartTimerThe Devil Is a Part-Timer! directed by Naoto Hosoda. I’ve been meaning to watch The Devil Is a Part-Timer! for quite some time now, but I was recently reminded of that intention when Yen Press licensed both the light novel series by Satoshi Wagahara on which the anime is based as well as at least one of its manga adaptations. While the anime is entertaining, the ridiculous premise is more hilarious in theory than in execution—The Devil Is a Part-Timer! is actually played fairly straight. But it’s still a fun and consistently amusing series. I particularly got a kick out of Satan diligently working in the fast food industry as a way to take over the world (he takes his job very seriously) and the portrayal of Lucifer as a hikikomori with an online-shopping addiction. For the most part, The Devil Is a Part-Timer! nicely balances its comedy with its drama. Although it has a conclusion, the ending of the series lacks finality and some of the characters introduced were never really put to good use, as though additional seasons were initially planned for but never manifested. (At least I haven’t heard anything about a second season.) Overall, The Devil Is a Part-Timer! is funny series and a nice change of pace from all of the anime centered around high school or middle school students. I might just give the original novels a try when they’re released in English.

My Week in Manga: September 22-September 28, 2014

My News and Reviews

Last week unintentionally turned into an Osamu Tezuka Week at Experiments in Manga…sort of. First of all, this month’s manga giveaway features Tezuka’s Triton of the Sea. Tell me a little about the merfolk you’ve encountered in manga for a chance to win the first omnibus of the series. (The winner will be selected and announced on Wednesday, so you still have a little time!) I also reviewed Dororo, Volume 3. Out of all of Tezuka’s manga that has so far been released in English, Dororo is one of my personal favorites. It’s currently available from Vertical in an omnibus edition which contains the entire series, however it may not be reprinted. I highly recommend picking up a copy sooner rather than later if it seems like a series you’d be interested in. And then for something completely different, over the weekend I reviewed the tenth-century classic The Tale of the Cavern (also known as The Tale of the Hollow Tree) which has absolutely nothing to do with Tezuka, but everything to do with music, love, and Heian-era court life.

In other news, the second volume of Lianne Sentar’s Tokyo Demons is now available for purchase as an ebook from the Sparkler Shop, which means the print edition will be released in the near future as well! (If you missed my early review of the novel, I loved it.) And speaking of Sparkler, the membership drive is still going on. If Sparkler Monthly doesn’t get at least 1,000 subscribers it most likely won’t be able to continue beyond its second year, which would make me extraordinarily sad. Please consider supporting Sparkler Monthly, if you can!

Elsewhere online, Shonen Jump is soliciting questions for Takeshi Obata, who will be a guest at New York Comic Con this year. If, like me, you can’t make it out to NYCC, Obata’s panel will thankfully be streamed live online. (Hopefully it will also be recorded.) In London, the Cartoon Museum is currently showing the exhibit Gekiga: Alternative Manga from Japan. To coincide with the exhibition, The Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain wrote a brief introduction to gekiga. Finally, Vertical released a particularly interesting post on its Tumblr account about manga’s English-language market and specifically about the pricing of books.

Quick Takes

Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, Volume 19Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, Volume 19 by Yukito Kishiro. Last Order was my introduction to the Battle Angel Alita universe. It’s probably best described as an alternate ending to the original series. While I was never as taken with Battle Angel Alita as much as other people seem to be, there were parts that I really enjoyed: interesting characters and character designs, martial arts, great action scenes, and so on. But the plot just never seemed to pull together in a way that satisfied me. I didn’t realize or expect that the nineteenth volume would be the final volume of Last Order. It’s also one of the most frustrating volumes as Kishiro seems to rush through the story in order to bring everything to some sort of conclusion and, in my opinion, fails to do so. Even more disappointing is the fact that Alita doesn’t even really make much of an appearance in it. Apparently there is yet another Battle Angel Alita series that will soon be starting in Japan, but I have no idea how it relates to Last Order. There was certainly enough left confused and unresolved in Last Order that there’s plenty of material for Kishiro to choose from.

Devils and Realist, Volume 2Devils and Realist, Volume 2 written by Madoka Takadono and illustrated by Utako Yukihiro. Although I mostly enjoyed the first volume of Devils and Realist, I was unsure how far I wanted to pursue the series and so decided to read at least one more volume. After reading the second installment, I can say that I’ll probably be reading even more of Devils and Realist in the future. Generally stronger than the first volume and more even in tone, the second volume takes a slightly more serious and dramatic turn. The series’ humor is still present though, interspersed among the more life-threatening events of the manga and the story’s other dangerous mysteries. Yukihiro’s artwork and character designs are very attractive, and as a whole there are some definite homoerotic undertones to the manga as well. Readers’ enjoyment of Devils and Realist will probably largely depend on how well they like the lead and his personality. I, for one, am greatly amused by William’s refusal to believe in the supernatural despite it staring him in the face as he stubbornly tries to come up with any other possible explanation for the strangeness going on in his life.

Fairy Tail, Volume 40Fairy Tail, Volumes 40-42 by Hiro Mashima. I’ve only read two series by Mashima—Fairy Tail and Monster Soul—but out of those two, I find that Fairy Tail is the better manga. The long Grand Magic Games tournament arc has now finally reached its conclusion with the fortieth volume. While I did find some of the Games enjoyable, for the most part I’m happy to be moving on to battles that actually have some real purpose and meaning behind them beyond securing bragging rights; I tend to enjoy Fairy Tail more when it feels like there’s something at stake. I’m glad to see the beginning of a new story arc that promises just that—things are starting to get a bit more serious again. (Granted, there was the whole dragon invasion during the Games arc; the possibility that the world will be destroyed is a pretty big deal.) It also looks like Gray will be getting some significant page time, too, which I’m not going to complain about. The Fairy Tail Guild’s latest mission requires Gray to confront his painful memories and past tragedies. It isn’t a pleasant experience for him, but he is also able to draw incredible strength from it.

Hetalia: Axis Powers, Volume 6Hetalia: Axis Powers, Volume 6 by Hidekaz Himaruya. Perhaps by this point I should no longer be surprised, but I always seem to unexpectedly learn something new whenever I read Hetalia. Sometimes it’s a historical tidbit, and sometimes it’s actually something more closely related to current events. This particular volume of Hetalia features micronations and Molossia makes an appearance among several others. (I had never even heard of Molossia before, and it’s in Nevada!) The Nordic states are also an important part of the sixth volume, which includes Iceland. (Ever since writing a report on Iceland in the sixth grade, I’ve always been interested in and fond of the country, so I did get a kick out of that.) Often the humor in Hetalia does require some familiarity with or prior knowledge of world history and politics to really appreciate it, so in the process of trying to make sense of some of the jokes I find that I’m learning about all sorts of interesting things. Admittedly, Hetalia frequently makes use of stereotypes as part of its gags, which some people may find offensive and has generated a fair amount of controversy.

My Week in Manga: September 15-September 21, 2014

My News and Reviews

Two manga reviews were posted at Experiments in Manga last week, both with a bit of queer bent to them. First, I took a look at Wandering Son, Volume 7 by Takako Shimura. Wandering Son is a series that means a tremendous amount to me personally, so I’m always happy when a new volume is released. (And speaking of releases—Fantagraphics assured me that the eighth volume will be published sometime next year.) My second review from last week was of Fumi Yoshinaga’s What Did You Eat Yesterday?, Volume 4, which I continue to thoroughly enjoy (even though it can sometimes make me hungry when I’m reading it).

A while back I, and a handful of other people, were interviewed by Justin Stroman about why we buy manga. He turned it into a pretty great article, so I hope you’ll check out Why It’s Worth It to Buy Manga over on Manga Bookshelf. As a followup of sorts, Justin also posted Life As a Manga Fan in the United Arab Emirates at Organization Anti-Social Geniuses which was a fascinating read. Another interesting interview from last week was Tofugu’s conversation with translator and interpreter Jocelyne Allen who has translated a ton of manga among other things. Also of note: Breakdown Press recently announced its next alternative manga publication—Masahiko Matsumoto’s “The Man Next Door.”

Quick Takes

I've Seen It All, Volume 1I’ve Seen It All, Volumes 1-2 by Shoko Takaku. The featured guest of this year’s YaoiCon was Shoko Takaku. I realized that I hadn’t actually read any of her work, so I decided to pick up I’ve Seen It All. Dr. Saikawa is a specialist in men’s health, specifically addressing concerns dealing with genitals. By chance he meets and soon falls in love with Asano who is blessed with a “cock of peerless beauty.” I’ve Seen It All easily has the most references to penises that I’ve ever come across in a boys’ love manga. Saikawa is completely unfazed about it—it is his job after all—and no one else seems to be either which just makes the manga even funnier. Asano and Saikawa are adorable as a couple. It was also nice to see that they both try to make sure that the other enjoys their more intimate moments (of which there are plenty). The other characters are pretty great, too. Despite some of the more realistic elements of the series, I’ve Seen It All leans slightly more towards the silly and sweet. Happily, there is at least one more volume of I’ve Seen It All; I just hope that the rest of the series will be translated because I loved the first two volumes.

Monster Soul, Volume 2Monster Soul, Volume 2 by Hiro Mashima. I’ll admit, I did enjoy the second and final volume of Monster Soul slightly more than the first, but it’s still not a series that left much of an impression on me. Where the first volume was largely episodic, the majority of the second volume of Monster Soul focused on one story—the Black Airs’ efforts to rescue the souls of an entire kingdom of humans from the clutches of the Drei Kommandos. In the process, Mashima takes the opportunity to delve into the back stories of the individual members of the Black Airs. I personally appreciated that the characters were further developed, but the series is too short to really take advantage of it all. Although Monster Soul doesn’t stand out much, it is generally entertaining. The action sequences in particular are fairly well done. Admittedly, there are a few annoying character quirks that don’t make much sense within the context of the story as a whole, such as Mummy’s propensity for stripping for no particular reason. Overall, Monster Soul feels more like a prototype than anything else. It is very energetic, though.

Time KillersTime Killers by Kazue Kato. While I largely enjoyed Kato’s manga series Blue Exorcist, I never seemed to be quite as taken with the story as so many others were. However, I’ve always been fond of Kato’s artwork. And so, I was very interested in reading Kazuo’s short story collection Time Killers. The anthology collects eleven short manga selected from over a decade’s worth of Kazuo’s work, including some of her earliest and debut stories. Many of the manga included in Time Killers simply consist of whatever elements Kazuo felt like exploring and mashing together, completely disregarding what readers might be interested in. The manga ends up being a somewhat odd conglomeration with a strong indie feel to it, but I rather enjoyed its quirkiness. The collection also includes a story that is derived from the same source material as Blue Exorcist, which was interesting to see. It’s also worth noting that Time Killers is probably the nicest release that I’ve seen from Viz Media’s Shonen Jump imprint. It has a slightly larger trim size, includes beautiful color pages, and is printed on high-quality, glossy paper, too.