Upcoming 4/2/2008

April 1, 2008

I’m having a weird week, so today’s look at Wednesday’s arrivals is going to be a little perfunctory. Still, there were a few titles I wanted to mention.

First up is the tenth and final volume of Minetaro Mochizuki’s Dragon Head (Tokyopop). I have no idea how this series is going to end. Will the survivors finally be rewarded with safety and rescue, or will they succumb to the dangers around them? Will Mochizuki explain precisely what happened to Japan and place it in context of the rest of the world? I don’t know, and I’m enough of an admirer of Mochizuki’s work that I’m perfectly willing to trust in his execution of whatever conclusion he derives. This book has received critical acclaim but not much in the way of sales. Maybe now that the whole shebang is available, more readers will take an interest.

I’m very intrigued by the premise of Lars Martinson’s Tonoharu (Top Shelf), which focuses on an American teaching English in a rural Japanese village. Martinson won a Xeric Award for the work, which is generally a good sign, and I like the look of the preview pages.

Last, and least, is the first volume of Nobuhiro Watsuki’s Gun Blaze West (Viz). It’s a perfectly competent example of “young man with a dream” manga, but it never quite transcends its familiar formula. Its Old West setting just about provides sufficient novelty, but I’ve never been a fan of gunslinger stories, so I’m left to amuse myself with nitpicking about the period and setting. (Why doesn’t his sister wear petticoats? What kind of schoolmarm is she, anyways? How come I never knew that Illinois had mesas, and where did they go?) I also found myself feeling like a grandpa as I thought that nine-year-olds probably shouldn’t be given a gun, no matter what their destiny may be. I kind of get the feeling that I’m missing the bus on this one, and that Watsuki’s reputation for Rurouni Kenshin will carry the book to healthy commercial heights.