Hello hello! It’s me, Joe Pascullo, returning to pen a guest piece on my friend Tabrizia’s blog! Hope you’ve all been doing well! Last year, I wrote a piece about noteworthy new manga titles that hit shelves in the spring. I’m back here again in 2022 for another round of debuting manga that are out now (or coming out soon!) during this spring season. Let’s take a look!
Alice in Borderland by Haro Aso
Let’s kick things off with an absolute banger: Alice in Borderland! Netflix-subscribers may recognize the name of this title. It’s a Japanese thriller/drama series whose first season (consisting of 8 episodes) debuted in December of 2020. While fans of the Netflix adaptation won’t have to wait too much longer for new content, with season 2 set to be released at year’s end, they can always check out the source material manga if their restlessness boils over! In it, we’ve got Ryouta Arisu, an apathetic 18 year old with no real goals or motivation. He’s fine just drifting through life as disinterested as can be in anything that isn’t a video game. That is, until his life’s on the line. After an unexplainable event goes down, Arisu and 2 of his friends find they’ve been transported to a version of Shibuya that’s completely devoid of life. When they happen across a woman named Shibuki, she explains to them they’re now in “the arena”, and that “the game” they’re about to play will cost them their lives should they wind up on the losing end. Will Arisu & his friends live long enough to figure out why they’re now in the predicament they’re presently in?
From the Red Fog by Mosae Nohara
In 19th century England, young Ruwanda’s mother has just been taken out by a pair of hunters. Ruwanda doesn’t know much about the world, having been shut away from it thanks to his unloving mother in their home’s cellar. But he does know that his mother was the world’s most bloodthirsty killer, having slain all male suitors that lamentably attempted to court her. Now Ruwanda’s on the run, and it’s clear despite a life of confinement, he’s inherited some of his mother’s ruthless tendencies. Needing to survive in a world where he’s all alone, but also obsessed with murder, Ruwanda meets a mysterious man known as Mr. Midwinter, who introduces him to a guild of assassins. Will Ruwanda be able to coexist with others who’re as like-minded as he is?
Catch These Hands by Murata
Michiko’s just hanging about one day, when she receives a call from a friend who abruptly announces she’s getting married soon! Michiko was a troublemaking rebel in her youth. But with all of her friends turning over new leaves in life, she decides to do the same. Starting with her daily attire! When she visits a department store for some new duds, she’s shocked to discover the saleslady assisting her is none other than her biggest rival from her rebellious days, Kirara Soramori! And if that wasn’t enough, Kirara drops a bombshell on Michiko, stating that she’s always had feelings for her stemming back to their high school battles, and sincerely wants to go out with her! Will love be in the air for these two?
Summertime Rendering by Yasuki Tanaka
Expected Publication Date: May 31
Shinpei’s returning to his hometown, the island of Hitogashima for the first time since his high school graduation 2 years ago. Sadly though, it’s to attend the funeral for one of his dearest childhood friends, Ushio, who drowned trying to save a young child. But strange happenings have been occurring as of late on this remote Japanese island. Ushio seemed to have marks around her neck when her body was recovered, causing her little sister Mio to confess to Shinpei, she believes her sister was murdered. When another family on the island vanishes entirely, and rumors crop up about a strange “shadow sickness”, it becomes clear that something bizarre is happening on Hitogashima. Will Shinpei be able to avenge his fallen friend, and figure out the truth behind this paranormal mystery before it’s too late?
Sakamoto Days by Yuto Suzuki
Fans of VIZ’s The Way of the Househusband, will surely love this latest comedy released by the San Francisco-based publisher: Sakamoto Days! Taro Sakamoto was once the most feared hitman alive. But after falling in love with his now-wife, plus having a daughter, he’s put his hitman days way in the rearview, lets himself go weightwise, and now lives a quiet life running a convenience store. That’s unacceptable to his one time hitman associate Shin, who has the unique ability to be able to read people’s minds should he concentrate hard enough. He feels this is a waste of Sakamoto’s gifts, and wants him to go back to his old life. What develops is comedy at every turn of the page!
Island in a Puddle by Kei Sanbe
The king of thriller manga, Kei Sanbe (Erased, For the Kid I Saw in My Dreams), is back at it once again, with the release of Island in a Puddle! Minato & Nagisa’s mother has a mysterious job that she vanishes to for weeks on end. When the pair fear that this time is the time where she abandons them for good, she does indeed return home, and offers to take them to an amusement park as means of an apology for her latest long absence. While the two kids are at the top of the ferris wheel looking down at their mom, they watch her clearly but unexplainably, walk away from the base of the ride, leaving them alone once again. To make matters worse, lightning strikes their car, as well as the car a pair of wanted criminals are in, one male and one female. When Minato comes to, he finds he’s now in the body of this male wanted criminal, while his body is likewise consumed by this unknown wrongdoer. What results is a pageturner you won’t be able to put down!
Let’s Go Karaoke! by Yama Wayama
Expected Publication Date: May 24
Satomi Oka absolutely loves competing in his middle school’s chorus. His talent catches the eye of yakuza member Kyouji Narita, who asks Satomi if he would go to a karaoke spot with him. When they arrive, Kyouji confesses that the boss of his yakuza family absolutely adores karaoke, has perfect pitch, and holds a mandatory karaoke contest for his syndicate members every year. He judges everyone’s singing quite critically, and the loser of the aforementioned contest is forced to receive a tattoo from the boss himself, and they never come out good! Yikes! That being said, Kyouji is turning to Satomi for any type of singing advice he can impart to avoid such a fate. Will Satomi be able to save Kyouji from receiving a painfully bad addition to his body?
New York, New York by Marimo Ragawa
This 1990s gem from Marimo Ragawa (Those Snow White Notes, Baby & Me) finally receives a long-awaited English translation! Set in 1990s New York City, Cain, a closeted gay man, works for the New York Police Department. When it comes to love & sex, he likes to keep things as casual as can be. That is, until he meets and falls for Mel Hendricks. While the two clearly have feelings for one another, and want to keep their relationship as monogamous as possible, many curveballs are thrown their way. From jealousy over former partners, to parents’ perceptions, the road to happiness for Cain & Mel will be a tough one. Will the pair be able to make it with one another?
Apollo’s Song by Osamu Tezuka
Though released once already in 2007 via Vertical Comics, the Kodansha USA imprint is re-releasing Apollo’s Song in a brand new omnibus format! Originally written in 1970, by none other than the God of Manga himself Osamu Tezuka, here’s how Vertical’s blurb for the release reads: “From a boxcar bound for a Nazi concentration camp to a dystopian future where humans are persecuted by their own clones, Apollo’s Song reaches Olympian heights of tragedy as it explores the meaning of love and the consequences of its absence. Salty, romantic, and at times profoundly erotic, the ambiguities of its poetic justice will plumb new depths of the heart with each rereading.”
Sensei’s Pious Lie by Akane Torikai
And last but not least, I’ll round out my post with Sensei’s Pious Lie. Just a bit of a warning to readers out there, this is a tough read, and does contain instances of sexual abuse. 25 year old Misuzu is a high school teacher, who is being blackmailed by her coworker’s fiance in exchange for sex. Niizuma, a student at the school who’s got a nerdy-virgin reputation amongst his classmates, has recently been spotted exiting a hotel with a married, older woman. When the school principal dispatches Misuzu to talk about this with Niizuma (since she is his homeroom teacher) in order to avoid the school’s image from going down the tubes, what results is a thought-provoking read about toxic masculinity, and how victims of sexual violence are perceived by people.
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