Drip Drip takes a serious subject—the long-lasting effects of childhood trauma—and delivers a story filled with surprises and laughs all the way to the end.
Spy x Family Volume 8 gives readers a family cruise, Forger family style. Nothing is ever easy. Even less so when your family comprises a spy, assassin, telepath, and seer. With story and art by Tatsuya Endo, translation by Casey Loe, and lettering by Rina Mapa, this volume, serialized in English by Viz Media, continues the intrigues of the Forger family as they try to keep their respective identities hidden. The only one with a clue is 1st grader and telepath Anya. Chockful of action and identity hijinks, Spy x Family Volume 8 continues to shine with the hilarious, zany family front and center.
I have a weakness for cat ears. I love cats and had cat ear headphones for a while (I got rid of them because I kept getting headaches). So when I saw the cover of Ghost Reaper Girl, this manga, serialized in English from Viz Media, grabbed my interest. With story and art by Akissa Saiké, translation by Amanda Haley, and lettering by Annaliese “Ace” Christman, the story follows Chloé Love as she embarks on a supernatural journey battling evil spirits with her familiars Kai and Noel. With comedy, battles, and magical girls, Ghost Reaper Girl Volume 2 delves into the world Chloé is now a part of after her viral video battle.
I went into Romantic Killer Volume 1 completely blind, anticipating a manga story that involved romance but murders, too—shows you where my mind is at. Unfortunately, there is no killing except for the unnameable bug. On the plus side, Romantic Killer Volume 1, written by Wataru Momose with translations by Adrienne Beck and lettering by Inori Fukuda Trant, from Viz Media, reminds me of Lovely Complex, thanks to the hilarious antics of anti-heroine Anzu Hoshino. Anzu and magic fairy Riri’s conflict in Romantic Killer Volume 1 stands out because of Anzu’s relatability, the dialogue, and the drawings.
I cannot decide if Dandadan Volume 1 is hilarious or not to my taste. There is a cute story and blossoming friendship amidst the insanity in these five chapters, so I am curious about what future volumes hold.
Alice in Borderland Volume 3, written by Haro Aso with translations by John Werry and lettering by Joanna Estep, continues the adventures of Arisu in this Battle Royale-esque world. The group on the beach soon winds up in a free-for-all, similar to that film; people devolve to their most primal in their desperate bid to survive. Syndicated in English from Viz Media, this manga is perfect if you like action, drama, and psychological torment. With strong characters trapped in a terrifying world, Alice in Borderland Volume 3 ratchets up the violence yet delves into backstory between players in this game with a perfect pace.
As far as manga, there are few in touch with the darker human elements than Junji Ito. Black Paradox is comedic, morbid, and by the end, fatalistic, but though entertaining, knowing nothing about the characters makes it hard to invest in them.
This sweet manga continues the budding romance between teenagers Sota Aoki, and Kosuke Ida after a case of mistaken identity leads the pair to date. Warm-hearted with that first flush of young love, My Love Mix-Up! Volume 4 shows the awkwardness, immaturity, and confusion in early relationships with a beautiful story in time for Pride Month.
The Liminal Zone, created, written, and illustrated by Junji Ito, is a collection of short horror stories. From Viz Media, with translations by Jocelyne Allen, lettering by Eric Erbes, and cover by Adam Grano, the stories are stand-alone without connections between characters. Traversing transition from one state to another, The Liminal Zone lives up to its title with a dreadful cohesion by a master of horror. Junji Ito can squeeze eeriness out of anything.
Fist of the North Star Vol. 1, published through Viz Media with story by Buronson, art by Tetsuo Hara, translations by Joe Yamazaki, and lettering by John Hunt, is still as relevant now as it was when it initially dropped in 1983. Then, the original manga was so popular it spawned anime, games, and spinoffs. It is still so tragically familiar, so, we continue to feel closer to this doomsday scenario in our present world. A world where society is gone. The only rule of law is survival of the fittest. It’s a world where groups that exercise their collective might through violence and fear.