It is that time again, when the world is awash with consumerism. Surely there are worse things than picking up a few volumes of manga for yourself or loved ones? Here’s what I think should be on your holiday lists depending on the type of person you’re shopping for:
For the old school shoujo fan:
Truly we live in glorious times, when classic and hard to find out of print manga is being released again here in the US. I’m speaking of course of Sailor Moon, because what holiday isn’t made better by magical girls in sailor uniforms taking names and fighting evil while yelling catchphrases like “venus Love-Me Chain!” I’ve reviewed the first volumes of Sailor V and Sailor Moon, and I have the second volumes ready to enjoy over the holiday weekend. Complete at two volumes and never before published in the US, Codename: Sailor V is a must-have for any shoujo fan who hasn’t bought it already, and the nice new editions of Sailor Moon are a treat. Wow, Tuxedo Mask is so dreamy, isn’t he? Great for any manga fan who is in touch with his or her inner 13 year old girl.
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon and Codename: Sailor V
I haven’t read Princess Knight yet, but it is on my personal wishlist! Vertical continues to do the world a great service by releasing so many great editions of Tezuka’s manga in English, and this early girls’ manga defined many classic shoujo storylines.
Lovey Hardcover Editions
One nice thing that has happened this year is more manga series are getting the deluxe treatment. I’m not going to turn up my nose at a new paperback manga, but it is nice to see that more publishers are varying the formats we can expect from manga. So I’m going to highlight two very giftworthy series that come in hardback format.
Wandering Son Volume 1
Fantagraphics is one of those companies that does such a stellar job on the book production front that I knew any manga published from them would be a treat. I was happy to see that they brought their best efforts to Wandering Son, a tender and sometimes humorous slice of life story dealing with gender identity issues in modern day Japan.
A Bride’s Story Volumes 1 and 2
The other hardcover series I want to spotlight is A Bride’s Story from Yen Press. Kaoru Mori brings her meticulous attention to detail and through research practices to her story of a young woman married to an even younger boy in Central Asia, cementing ties between two nomadic tribes. I enjoyed the first volume very much, and the second is on my wishlist. Two volumes of this series are out now, and these lavishly illustrated books would make a great gift for any serious manga fan.
Best Manga for Manga Ambassadorship
Drops of God
Drops of God is a bit of an anomaly as it has gotten mainstream press attention due to its effect on wine prices in other countries even before being licensed in the US. This was yet another manga I thought I’d never see translated here, so the fact that I can expect Vertical’s excellent production work makes me even more enthusiastic about this manga. I haven’t read it yet, as it is in a box of comics somewhere between Pennsylvania and Salt Lake City that has yet to be delivered to my house (why is it taking so long, whyyyyyyyyy) but this manga about wine has the best crossover potential of any recent title, and I hope some non-manga readers discover it.
If you are dreaming of an Italian vacation
Gente and Ristorante Paradiso
Natsume Ono’s slice of life stories set around an Italian Cafe allow you to disappear into another world filled with handsome bespectacled older gentlemen and the people who love them. Her manga have a distinct sense of pace and scene, making it easy to vicariously experience the rhythms and foibles of cafe life.
New Collected editions and box sets
Viz always comes out with a crazy box set right before the holidays, and this year we have the Fullmetal Alchemist Box set.
My pain at knowing that X/1999 may never get an actual ending is assuaged by all my memories of the billowing coats and random feathers scattered through every panel of this manga. This was the series that first got me into Clamp, and there’s a new omnibus edition of the first three volumes out.
My personal manga wishlist is Dawn of the Arcana Volume 1, A Bride’s Story Volume 2, and Princess Knight 1 and 2. What’s on your wishlist?