Two For the Foodies

Effortless BentoA good month for foodies! What Did You Eat is obviously a must for manga readers who also appreciate a well drawn meal. But for those who wish to taste modern Japanese meals, Effortless Bento is the bento box bible! Compiling 300 recipes to fill your bento boxes this book from the editors of Shufunotomo Publishing has every must have bento dish and side imaginable!

Want a soup bento? It’s got it.

Want a veggie focused bento? There are dozens of vegetarian recipes in here.

Looking for something sweet to pack in your box? Yup. Effortless Bento has it.

Our biggest cookbook yet is gonna be that next must buy for everyone who has ever wondered…What should I eat tomorrow?

What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volume 2And for foodies who enjoy a bit of drama with their meals, the award-winning Fumi Yoshinaga returns this month with a fresh release of What Did You Eat Yesterday? In this latest volume, readers are treated to a sampling of Shiro and Kenji’s first meeting. The second course also focuses on Shiro’s past, before Kenji moved in with him. And for a main Ms. Yoshinaga has prepared a dramatic and unexpected Kakei family reunion full the usual juicy tension one would expect from a Yoshinaga work.

This month indulge yourself in Vertical and savour some of the best print media Japan has to offer.

Enter a New Generation…

Knights of Sidonia vol.8There is no denying that Tsutomu Nihei’s Knights of Sidonia is a departure from what this veteran comicker has previously worked on. But when comparing it to most of the science-fiction that is available in the market today, it is clear that this series is something unique on many levels. From its setting to its growing cast of characters, and even its impressively rendered world and mechanical designs set it apart from anything out there.

In the eighth volume of Knights of Sidonia a new generation of mechs are almost ready for combat and this new advancement in technology is just in time as a Gauna clustership has recently been spotted devouring a moon of a potential colony planet. With a new more aggressive stance to take the battle to the space monsters, and a new hybrid ally among them, the crew of the Sidonia may soon find themselves taking Planet 7 from the Gauna’s collective grasp.

As the manga moves towards a more action intense arc of this series, and with a new anime changing the scope of Japanese sci-fi animation, now is the time to dive into Tsutomu Nihei’s new flagship work. The culmination of more than a decade of comic work is now redefining many genres for this generation of seinen readers.

Mangia! Manga!

What Did You Eat YesterdayOver the last decade few new manga artists worldwide have received as much critical acclaim as Fumi Yoshinaga. After making a splash with her josei (women’s comics) baking-themed mystery Antique Bakery, she repeated surprised and thrilled the world with her subtle romances, innovative views on history, and honest take on gender issues. And in a very unique way, she has branched far outside the limited reach of the international manga community as she has received honors from the American comics industry and LGBT circles, as well.

Her latest work may be her most intriguing work yet. Combining her passion of food and her insights towards Tokyo’s gay community, What Did You Eat Yesterday? is a somber, subtly comical, but honest slice-of-life look at what it is like to be a gay couple in modern day Tokyo. Yoshinaga presents a couple with contrasting views on their privacy: one openly out but rejected by his family; while his partner is partly in the closet as his parents awkwardly try to be supportive. Presented without the titillation or graphic sex typically found in comparative works from the boys love genre, Eat at its core is a look at the couple’s struggles and their catharsis expressed over the finely prepared meals they share each and every night.

Packed with thoughtful writing, insightful and timely commentary and a recipe or two with every chapter, Eat is like a wonderfully prepared full-course meal by one of manga’s finest. And this volume will not only whet the appetite for more, but should satisfy the hunger of most manga gourmands desperately looking for some more substantial manga to consume.

Ota-King and Queen

Insufficient DirectionOur latest manga is a bit of an albatross in the world of translated manga. Biographical manga, while not extremely popular in Japan, has a significant place in Japan, but has been a rarity in the United States and beyond. And in the case of Moyoco Anno’s Insufficient Direction this biographical comedy not only covers the famous women’s comic artist but it also peels back the curtain on the life of one of anime’s most well-known directors, her husband Hideaki Anno.

In Insufficient Direction Anno, Moyoco, shares with her readers a touching and hilarious look at the couple’s marriage. Detailing what it is like to be engaged to one of the “top four” otaku of all time, Moyoco reveals a side of Hideaki that has not really been accessed as the director of Neon Genesis Evangelion, His and Her Circumstances and RE: Cutey Honey. In this comic, we do not see the hard working artisan with an obsessive compulsive streak, instead we see a fan of science-fiction, tokusatsu and classic anime. And as readers find out more of Hideaki, more of Moyoco is revealed as well. We see her admit to her knowledge of manga and her love of anime theme songs!

Never before have anime and manga creators been so accessible and approachable! And possibly like few biographical manga ever translated have they been this funny and smart.

A Glimmer of Hope

Wolfsmund 03As the arctic vortex continues to loom heavily over most of North America this winter, many of us should be thankful we have it somewhat better than the cast of Mitsuhisa Kuji’s historical fantasy Wolfsmund. If previous volumes have been an indication for what is in store for the rest of this series, things are quite bleak in the Swiss Alps. With the Wolf’s Maw leading a cold war against the Alpine Cantons, hearts and economies are in desperate need of thawing.

Yet even with Bailiff Wolfram’s smile haunting the cast’s dreams, somehow, In the third volume of Wolfsmund hope is in the air. The time has come. The Cantons are now ready to take back what was taken from them. And they will be undertaking all this from all imaginable fronts. And Kuji goes through tremendous lengths to present the vanguard in a bright light.

Now this would not be Wolfsmund if everything came up roses, would it? I doubt Kuji’s mentor, Kentaro Miura, or their collective fans would appreciate taking such simple measures. So there will be a bit of heartbreak to endure. But what does change for the positive is an outlook that is not as oppressive. Instead, what we get to witness is revolution…manga style!

Read You Like a Book

Flowers of Evil 8As the old year came to a close, one title shined brightly as a unique visual and narrative experience – The Flowers of Evil anime. With its unusual artistic direction, thoughtful soundtrack and cloy pacing the work caught the attention of a significant segment of the animation community and also rekindled America’s fascination with Shuzo Oshimi’s source material.

Now in its eighth volume, the current cast of Oshimi’s shonen drama briefly takes a turn away from the angsty tension that was so thick for the first six or seven volumes in favor of a slightly more optimistic outlook. And at the core of this new perspective is Takao, who has found a new reason to come out of his shell. Once again motivated by the written word, his hunger for storytelling has opened his eyes to those around him. And all the while those around him who are witness to his blooming are seeing him in a different light. But has he learned anything from his past? Can the youth, who has experienced so much already, fully comprehend where he previously went astray? Will he continue to be a ghost and tail shadows those around him, or will he make a new narrative in his life’s story when adversity raises its head again?

Now moving into its final arc, The Flowers of Evil continues to inspire debate amongst comic readers globally. While not standard shonen material, its cast and the way they gradually grow and mature has captivated a community looking for the next evolution in manga.

Summer Countdown

Summer Wars Part 2It may be the heart of winter in the Northern Hemisphere right now, but that will not prevent us from releasing works that will remind us of the warmth and excitement that is bound to come around once summer returns. And this time Vertical will inspire hope and heat by releasing the final thrilling volume of Mamoru Hosoda and Iqura Sugimoto’s SUMMER WARS.

Inspired by the multiple award-winning animated feature film, the Summer Wars manga takes many of the anime’s cues but builds on them by diving a little deeper into the cyber-world of OZ. Drawn in heartfelt detail by Sugimoto and full of the many critical beats that made the original so timeless, the two-part Summer Wars manga stands well on its own as entertainment more than capable of warming hearts and creating smiles in this coldest time of the manga calendar.

Reconfiguring the Space Opera

Knights of Sidonia vol. 6Now in its sixth volume Tsutomu Nihei’s science-fiction showpiece Knights of Sidonia continues to shock and inspire, through its thoughtful artistry and well-plotted story-building. And as the series begins to place on many Best of 2013 lists while videos of its animated TV series are repeatedly distributed on the internet, readers of the source material can experience a turning point in this epic’s narrative.

Nagate Tanikaze and his fellow Garde pilots know they are the vanguard in the fight for survival against the Gauna. Every time they sortie, the likelihood they will return to their homes becomes less and less likely. And when dealing with whole clusters of Gauna the odds become even more minute. So when Nagate and crew face off against the most recent evolution of the Gauna defense mechanism, it does not come as a shock to see mass destructions on both sides of the conflict. How the survivors deal with the tragedy and the aftermath will be critical as repairing a mobile suit, which adds plenty to this already engrossing drama.

Whether being read for the space opera or the unique twist on a gender-bending harem comedy, Nihei’s Knights of Sidonia satisfies in ways photosynthetic organisms can never fully realize.

Beauty and her Beast

pinkOver the last year plus, Vertical has embarked on a very unique publishing endeavor. With an aim to continue to challenge and grow the market, Vertical took it upon themselves to branch out to a segment of the Japanese market that has long been underserved within the English reading manga community – josei manga (Japanese women’s comics).

Our latest is a gem from the early days of josei. Originally penned in the late 80’s, PINK is Kyoko Okazaki’s first breakthrough and is often credited by critics globally as one of the most important women’s comics of its time. A product of the conclusion of the Japanese economic bubble PINK delves into a life of a young office lady with ambitions of living an ideal life – a comfortable life with some luxuries, some romance, wealth, health, independence and a pet crocodile.

To accomplish this lead character Yumi splits her time between working in an office and working under the sheets. But having everything you wish does not make a happy life. And when family and financial matters impact her oh so comfortable life improvisation is required. The results may seem to come up roses on the surface, but inside may not be so pretty.

Thoughtful, shocking and full of melancholy, PINK is as colorful as it was twenty-five years ago. And given the state of manga in English is needed here more than ever!

Fantasy Unleashed

From the New World vol. 1In 2006, Vertical introduced the English reading world to Yusuke Kishi. Already an established horror and science-fiction author having earned a number of awards in his native Japan, Kishi’s star has begun to rise exponentially as of late. Not long after the English release of his work Crimson Labyrinth, Kishi’s works would reach new heights with the release of From the New World. This two-part fantasy novel would take the sci-fi and fantasy world by storm, culminating in the author receiving the Japan Science-Fiction Grand Prize in 2008. Now a few years later, Vertical is proud to release the manga adaptation of this renowned work, penned by Toru Oikawa.

In From the New World Kishi introduces readers to a dystopian future. Mankind is near its brink, and society has declined over the past thousand years. However, even though the population has been decimated, over those many years humanity has developed something that may eventually prevent it from losing more ground – magick. Akin to ESP but much more advanced, magick is a form of psychokenisis that has developed in most of this era’s youth. Magick protects the small communities that remain from enemy attacks; it aides in technology development; and is critical to the education of those who survive.

In this first volume of the manga series, readers will follow a group of six youths as they begin their magick training. While their exams are not very complicated, how they each are able to control their abilities will eventually determine their futures in this world were only the strong are allowed to survive.

Rendered with detail, and purposed for action and excitement by Toru Oikawa, the From the New World manga brings the prose of Yusuke Kishi to life as we have never seen before. It is a must read for fantasy readers and shonen manga fans alike!