Manga of the Month: The Promised Neverland

The Promised Neverland by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demiz

hisui_icon_4040_round Sometimes you finish all your work for the day but you will have 20 minutes before you can go home. As anyone who has ever worked in an office will tell you that is YouTube time. It is not enough time to start working on anything you need to do but it is also not enough time to waste doing nothing. Finding myself in that sweet spot I loaded up a video that caught my eye about The Current State of Shonen Jump. It was an examination of the magazine since the conclusion of Bleach and Naruto. It is a solid emanation of the state of the magazine after they lost two of the recent Big Three titles. The thing that caught my attention the most was mostly just a footnote in the greater context of the video. One of the most popular titles in the magazine was currently The Promised Neverland. Other than Hinomaru-Zumou I was fairly familiar with all the other titles on the list. Hinomaru-Zumou is a sports manga about sumo without an anime so it is essentially invisible to the English-speaking fandom. I was far more surprised that I had never of heard of The Promised Neverland. That made me immediately buckle down and do some research.

The more I looked into The Promised Neverland the more I was surprised I had not heard at least a bit of buzz about it. Now it started in the middle of the pack rankings wise in Japan s really jumped up in popularity as the series has gone on. Carl from Ogiue Maniax described it has Death Note with tiny orphans. While it is hardly a perfect description it works perfectly as an elevator pitch. Demonic Seraph of the End or a cat and mouse version of Attack on Titan also work as broad overviews that sort of hint at what the series is about. Sufficed to say much like Death Note it feels a little different from the normal fare found in Shonen Jump. If you find that intriguing like I did then you definitely want to read the rest of this.

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Manga of the Month: Cells at Work!

Cells at Work! by Akane Shimizu

narutaki_icon_4040_round If someone told me that my new favorite manga would be about the internal workings of the cells in the human body, I wouldn’t have believed it. But here we are!

In Cells at Work!, Akane Shimizu takes the many cells that keep our bodies running and imagines them as humanoid characters working in complex company systems. For example, the red blood cells are depicted as a shipping company ala Fedex with hundreds of workers running here and there with carts of packages to be delivered.

Our leads are Red Blood Cell  (RBC from here on) and White Blood Cell (WBC from here on), you have to know them by sight since there are hundreds of other red and white cells running around the series. WBC is a no-nonsense, precise, doer who goes to any length to protect and eradicate any threat to the body. RBC a hard-working, bright newbie to the delivery company and often runs into WBC on her errands around the body. RBC is often the point-of-view character to what all is happening.

The stories are episodic with a chapter, sometimes two, taking on various illnesses or other happenings in the human body. I’ve thus far learned about allergies, the creation of cancer cells, what happens when the body gets a scrape, and more! Each chapter has some asides which are no intrusive to explain terminology or give more information about a given subject.

Learning is great! But the thing that makes Cells at Work!, well . . . work, is the comedy. Each character has an over-the-top personality and everyone takes their jobs very seriously. Bickering, side comments, rivalries, mishaps, and everything in between pepper this series with a big dose of humor.

Cells at Work! is a delightful, laugh-out-loud way to learn about the mysterious inner workings of the human body.

~ kate

Manga of the Month: Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer

Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer (パ惑星のさみだれ) by Satoshi Mizukami

hisui_icon_4040_round The title of manga is often the series first foot forward. Much like a beautiful cover or a striking character design the title has the ability to catch a reader’s imagination in an instant. Most titles are functional with maybe a little hook. Just looking at the top manga on My Anime List you find titles like Berserk,  Fullmetal Alchemist,  Monster, One Piece, Slam Dunk that are all slightly descriptive and mildly intriguing but rely much more on their art work and plot description to draw people in. None of those titles hurt their respective series but they also don’t do any sort of heavy lifting. Then you have the infamous super lengthy light novel title that spells out the premise in almost press release levels of detail. I just linked to an article about some of the longer ones because body has time for a list of four of them. Those titles are the very essence of does exactly what is on the tin.

 In contrast Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure almost demands that you pick up the series just to see what it is about. It only gives you the vaguest idea what the series is about and piques all but the dullest curiosity. Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer is one of those titles as well. You have a Judeo-Christian fallen angel and a device for making mochi. Not two things you normally associate with each other. It is a title that invites anyone who see a volume at least a reason to give it a second glance. You probably want to at least know the general plot if nothing else.

I had actually heard about Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer several years back. It was generally one of those titles that had a small but vocal fanbase that usually would throw it out as a series that needed to get licensed. The passion of the fans mixed with the memorable title definitely kept it as something I should remember. When I saw that my local library had the complete series I felt it was finally time to see what everyone had been talking about. I truly think that if the title has been less memorable I might have not had anywhere as strong an inclination to read this series which would have been quite the shame.

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