First off, a quick update to my Tokyopop post: the news doesn't get better. The books scheduled for 5/31 apparently are not shipping. This includes Hetalia 3 and Maid-sama 9, as well as the conclusion of Hanako and the Terror of Allegory and Clean Freak Fully Equipped. Obviously, this sucks even more, and I imagine Hetalia fans will be particularly... angry about it on the Internets. ^^;;
Secondly, I took today off to go buy Japanese manga in the city. I do this about 3-4 times a year, usually in a combination of 'I need to get this volume of series I support by collecting it in Japanese' and 'I try to see what stuff Japan reads that will never, ever come out over here. Ever.' types. This trip was no different. In addition, I also categorize stuff into 'worthy' (things I like and enjoy) vs. 'trash' (things I buy to see how truly stupid they can be, or am morbidly fascinated by for some odd reason). Previous trips have led me to such things as Soap Girl Moko (which I blogged about here), as well as even stranger things. Though not as strange as Gantz.
Speaking of which, I got 4 manga magazines at Kinokuniya.
One, Hana to Yume Vol. 8 (2011), I got as I'm a Banri Hidaka fanboy and this had her series returning after she took a short break. It had Akiyoshis! OK, yes, Sugimotos, but it's all part of the Akiyoshi cluster. Definitely worthy.
Another, Monthly Comics @ Bunch (April) I got as I'd never got it before, and was interested. It used to be Comic Bunch, but that got folded and split into two spinoffs. For those looking for Angel Heart, the TOTALLY NON-CANON RYO AND KAORI 4EVAH City Hunter spinoff, it's in Comic Zenon, the other Coamix title. Comics @ Bunch actually has a licensed title, by the way! No Longer Human is still running in it. It also has BTOOOM!, one of the best titled manga out there. A tentative worthy here.
In addition to those, I got issues of Big Comic Spirits and Weekly Young Jump, both magazines for young college age men, one from Shogakukan and one from Shueisha. Spirits manages to be slightly skeezier this time around, despite lacking a chapter of Kono S o, Mi yo!, which must be on break. (I may go over that manga at a later date. It's definitely in the 'trash' category.) Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit also runs in Spirits, as does Oishinbo (albeit irregularly).
As for Young Jump, it's filled with manly manga for men, with surprisingly little cute girl romance. It has Gantz, which this issue had a chapter that was particularly screwed up EVEN BY GANTZ STANDARDS. Yikes. It also has Tough, a 71+ volume martial arts manga that is Shueisha's answer to Grappler Baki when people ask "What can you never license to North America?), and Addicted to Curry, which *is* a romantic comedy with cute girls (and a food manga), but this issue seems to be in 'gripping tragic drama' mode. Both of these are highly variable, but I'd say they're more trash than worthy. But fun trash, with some hidden gems.
From Kinokuniya, I got the penultimate volume of Excel Saga, because EXCEL SAGA. This one seems to be giving us some answers at last. Some.
I also got Vol. 2 of Koi Dano Ai Dano, the sequel to The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko currently running in LaLa DX. It features the adventures of Kanoko and Tsubaki in high school. Both I regard as very worthy.
From Book-Off, I got four used manga. Two worthy, two trash.
In the worthy column, I got Vol. 1 of Shimane no Bengoshi, a Business Jump title that's been running since 2004, dealing with the adventures of a young female lawyer out in the boondocks of Japan, helping folks out. Despite being in Business Jump (a title I associate with Amai Seikatsu, which is 39 volumes of comedy about an underwear company), it's actually clean, and rather sweet and slice-of-life drama.
I also got a volume of short stories by Nakamura Ching, the author of GUNJO, which you may be familiar with from Erica Friedman's reviews at Okazu. These are one-shots she'd done a few years earlier, mostly from Weekly Young Jump. As you might expect from this author, they are quite striking, and I look forward to reading the volume in more detail. (Well, OK, looking at the art and pretending I read Japanese.)
Then we get the trash. One I got for the title, Detective Idol Unit Tricolore (yes, there's an e at the end there). It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like, a mystery manga about an idol group who are also crime solvers. It ran in Young Sunday (which is now defunct) for 18 volumes from 2000-2004, and is by Kitazaki Taku, the author of the Kono S o, Mi yo manga I'd mentioned from Spirits.It's filled with cute young women showering a lot, and is pure light and frothy trash.
Then there's Seishokusha 1, which I grabbed at the last minute without really looking. It's by Morinaga Mayu, who is hopefully no relation to the yuri mangaka Morinaga Milk. It had a silver cover, and looked trashy. Hey, its label was Young Jump, so how bad could it be? Bad. This goes beyond trash into porn, and isn't recommended at all for anyone. On the other hand, it does remind me that the stuff from the 'Young _____' magazines (fill in the blank) in the late 90s seemed to be a lot more ecchi than what we see today. But I may just be reading the wrong ones. Which I suspect is quite fortunate.
I then got home to find an Amazon.jp order had arrived. It contained the 25th volume of Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei (the cover features Nami, doing a pose one could only describe as 'normal'); The 6th volume of Kono S o, Mi yo, which I've now mentioned 3 times, far too many; and the 3rd 'bunkoban' collection of What's Michael?. Worthy, trash, and worthy, respectively.
Now I wait another 4 months or so before I do this again. :)