Blast From the Past: Maison Ikkoku and Mermaid Saga

In 2020, we were lucky enough to get 2 classic titles by Rumiko Takahashi printed in beautiful collector editions by VIZ Media. I’m talking about Maison Ikkoku (last printed in 2006) and Mermaid Saga (last printed in 2004)!

When they first came out, I was very new to manga and did not have the wherewithall or ability to find them as each volume was being released. I’m glad they were reprinted again in new editions so newer generations and people that missed them the first time around could get the opportunity to read them.

I have to say these collector editions are really beautiful looking. The colour pages in Mermaid Saga alone, even though they are few, are so pretty. They would make a great addition to anyone’s manga collection.


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Title: Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition, Vol. 1
Written and illustrated by: Rumiko Takahashi

What It’s About: Yusaku Godai didn’t get accepted into college on the first try, so he’s studying to retake the entrance exams. But living in a dilapidated building full of eccentric and noisy tenants is making it hard for him to achieve his goals. Now that a beautiful woman has moved in to become the new resident manager, Godai is driven to distraction!


Note: This series is a romantic comedy, which is what I am always up for reading. The tenants in this housing complex are horribly invasive in each other’s lives and delight in each other’s misery. Especially, Godai’s but he honestly doesn’t help matters much with his inability to focus and his crush on Kyoko. He’s young and this is his first brush with actual love.

Despite some of the jokes feeling a bit dated, the objectification of Kyoko, and some of the men being absolutely gross, which makes the feminist in me want to hulk out, it’s still surprisingly enjoyable. I would read many more books of everyone constantly dunking on Godai.



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Title: Mermaid Saga Collector’s Edition Vol. 1 (Ningyo Shirīzu)
Written and drawn by: Rumiko Takahashi

What It’s About: They say that if one consumes mermaid flesh, one can attain immortality. Unfortunately, the more likely results include becoming horribly deformed or turning into a vicious monster! Even if one were to gain eternal life, however, is such an anomaly a lucky blessing or a terrible curse?

Yuta became immortal when he unwittingly ate mermaid flesh, and now he seeks a way to become human again. Hundreds of years later, he encounters a volatile and determined young lady named Mana while searching for a mermaid. Could this mysterious woman hold the key to saving Yuta’s humanity?


Note: I was not expecting to like Mermaid Saga as much as I did. It’s a horror series that really asks the question…is living forever a gift or a curse? (Spoiler: it’s most definitely a curse.)

I have only read the first volume of the collector’s edition but I really enjoyed it. In this series, I think all the female characters that we meet, whether mermaid or human, are so interesting. Some of the chapters are also so incredibly sad and that emotional pull really makes it a more memorable series for me. I’m looking forward to volume 2!

Warnings though! There is some nudity, extreme violence, and some scenes of attempted assault in the first volume.



Future Reads: Other 2021 Manga to Look Forward To

I remember starting this year thinking that there wasn’t much manga to look forward to. I had a few titles on my list but I really wanted more.

I am so happy to report that waiting a bit longer, especially for those surprise publisher announcements, has given me those new titles to beef up this post and get excited about more upcoming manga. This is going to be fun!


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Title: I Cannot Reach You Vol. 1 (Kimi ni wa Todokanai Vol. 1)
Written and drawn by: Mika

What It’s About: No matter how much time we spend together, I’ll never become special to you.

Childhood best friends. Two halves of a whole. The cool, smart one who’s good at almost everything, and his average, dorky friend who struggles to do anything right­—Yamato and Kakeru. Always by the other’s side, but not together in the way they truly want to be. No matter how hard they try, their hearts cannot reach each other…


Note: This title is set to be released on March 9, 2021. I’m happy to see the official cover art is finally here.


Blue Giant Omnibus Vols. 3-4

Title: Blue Giant Omnibus 3-4
Written and drawn by: Shinichi Ishizuka

What It’s About: Miyamoto Dai, a student with a taste for basketball, changes his life the first time he sees a live jazz performance. The incredible music strikes a chord deep inside him, and he immediately decides to dedicate himself to the saxophone. He has no skills, no formal training, and no idea what he”s up against, but his obsession drives him to play that instrument day after day. Will passion be enough to become the player of his dreams? This award-winning manga from Shinichi Ishizuka, compiled into five omnibus volumes for its English debut, is a pitch-perfect drama about the power of music.


Note: This title is set to be released on April 20, 2021. If you haven’t checked out the first volume, definitely try and check it out.


I Think Our Son Is Gay, Volume 1

Title: I Think Our Son Is Gay Vol. 1
Written and drawn by: Okura

What It’s About: Despite belonging to a family of four, the Aoyama residence is typically home to three due to father Akiyoshi’s job. While he’s away at work, mom Tomoko and her two beloved sons Hiroki and Yuri go about their everyday lives–going to school, making dinner, doing homework, etc. But now that Hiroki’s in his first year of high school, his thoughts are turning ever so slightly to sex and romance…and his mom can’t help but notice his slips of the tongue when he’s talking about who he likes. Supportive Tomoko has an inkling Hiroki might be gay, but she’s going to let him figure it out for himself. Unfortunately, Hiroki has little talent for keeping his “secret,” so he might die of embarrassment before all is said and done!


Note: This title is set to be released on May 11, 2021. I’m very used to reading manga about teen characters from their perspective so this book is especially interesting as it is from a parent’s perspective. I’m looking forward to this release.


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Title: Ride Your Wave
Written by: Masaaki Yuasa & Reiko Yoshida
Drawn by: Machi Kiachi

What It’s About: New college student Hinako moves to a small seaside town to surf and enjoy herself, and finds herself falling in love with firefighter Minato after he saves her from a fire. Their young romance comes to an abrupt end when Minato drowns…but in her grief, Hinako discovers that singing a song they used to perform as a duet summons Minato in the nearest body of water–be it a puddle, glass, or bathtub. Will Hinako be able to reach Minato again?


Note: This title is set to be released on May 11, 2021. I have actually seen the movie this manga is related to and it is…pretty magical. I’m excited to see what the manga offers.


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Title: Mao Vol. 1
Written and drawn by: Rumiko Takahashi

What It’s About: A girl is transported to the past and encounters a Japan teaming with ghosts and demons. She finds an ally in a travelling exorcist named Mao. Together they’ll fight the supernatural creatures they meet and unravel the mystery that connects them.


Note: The cover art is not final! I will try and update it as soon as I see the official one come through. On February 19, 2021, Viz Media announced they were releasing this title sometime in Fall 2021. This series is also still ongoing in Japan as well so there isn’t a final volume count as of yet.


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Title: My Love Mix-Up! Vol. 1 (Also known as Kieta Hatsukoi)
Written by: Wataru Hinekura
Drawn by: Aruko

What it’s About: Mistaken identity leads to a blossoming romance between two boys.

Aoki has a crush on Hashimoto, the girl in the seat next to him in class. But he despairs when he borrows her eraser and sees she’s written the name of another boy—Ida—on it. To make matters more confusing, Ida sees Aoki holding that very eraser and thinks Aoki has a crush on him!


Note: The cover art is not final! Unfortunately, there isn’t much information on this series so I am not sure at this very moment how many volumes there will be. This is another title that Viz Media announced recently, which will be coming out sometime in October 2021. I’m real excited for this one as I have heard that the representation in this one is positive.


Future Reads: Upcoming Manga in 2020 Part 2

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It’s time for another Future Reads post but one focused on the upcoming manga I want to check out.

The list is a bit short this time around but I find that my bookish eye is being drawn to stories that are more diverse and some that are just straight-up adorable looking.


Wave, Listen to Me! 1

Title:  Wave. Listen to Me! Vol. 1
Written and drawn by: Hiroaki Samura

What It’s About:  Minare thought she was just venting to a stranger when she told a guy at a bar about her man troubles. It turns out that man works at a radio station, and the next day she’s shocked to hear her grumbling broadcast on the air! She storms the station in a rage, only to be duped into joining a talk show, and her acid tongue makes her into an instant star!

Note:  This title is set to be released on May 26, 2020.


Satoko and Nada Vol. 3

Title: Satoko and Nada Vol. 3
Written and drawn by: Yupechika

What It’s About: MYSTERY MAN

Abdullah, the mysterious young man who might marry Nada one day, is suddenly in America?! Satoko and her friends (not to mention Nada’s brother) are in a panic, unsure if they should tell Nada or just stall the guy until he leaves. When it comes to Nada’s future, the people who love her will do whatever it takes to make her happy!

Note:  This title is set to be released on June 16, 2020.


Title:  Little Miss P: The Second Day
Written and drawn by:  Ken Koyama

What It’s About: Like clockwork, Little Miss P has stopped by for another one of her energy-sapping, gut-twisting monthly visits! Despite the difficulties brought about by her arrival, women around the world-and galaxy-must find ways to cope with her (ir)regular visits, a task made easier by the support and understanding of those who care about them. Through frank discussion and a heavy flow of humor, this collection follows Little Miss P as she calls on women from all walks of life. No pop star, action hero, or office worker is exempt from Little Miss P’s formidable PERIOD PUNCH!

Note:  This title is set to be released on June 23, 2020.


Title: Love Me For Who I Am Vol. 1
Written and drawn by: Kata Konayama

What It’s About:  Mogumo is a cute but lonely non-binary high school student who just wants a few loving friends. As someone who doesn’t identify as a boy or a girl, however, finding people who really understand can be a big challenge. When fellow student Iwaoka Tetsu invites Mogumo to work at an untraditional maid café, Mogumo is hopeful that things are looking up. Will they finally find friends to call their own—or just more misunderstanding?

Note:  This title is set to be released on June 30, 2020.


Cube Arts Vol. 1

Title: Cube Arts, Vol. 1
Written and drawn by:  Tomomi Usui

What It’s About:  MIND YOUR CRAFT!

High school first-year Takuto has been selected as a beta tester for the new sandbox-style video game Cube Arts, and he couldn’t be happier. As soon as he puts on the game’s VR headset, Takuto finds himself immersed in a sprawling world made entirely of blocks, where he can mine, build, and hunt to his heart’s content. But when a logout error traps him and his friends inside the game, Takuto discovers that even sandboxes can be deadly!

Note:  This title is set to be released on September 1, 2020.


cover for Sue & Tai-chan, 1

Title:  Sue & Tai-chan, Volume 1
Written and drawn by:  Kanata Konami

What It’s About:  Sue is an aging housecat who’s looking forward to living out her life in peace… but her plans change when the mischievous black tomcat Tai-chan enters the picture! Hey! Sue never signed up to be a catsitter! Sue and Tai-chan is the latest from the reigning meow-narch of cute kitty comics, Konami Kanata.

Note:  This title is set to be released on September 15, 2020.


Title:  Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition, Vol. 1
Written and drawn by:  Rumiko Takahashi

What It’s About:  Yusaku Godai didn’t get accepted into college on the first try, so he’s studying to retake the entrance exams. But living in a dilapidated building full of eccentric and noisy tenants is making it hard for him to achieve his goals. Now that a beautiful woman has moved in to become the new resident manager, Godai is driven to distraction!

Note:  This title is set to be released on September 15, 2020.


52604704Title: Yoshi no Zuikara, The Frog in the Well Does Not Know the Ocean, Vol. 1
Written and drawn by: Satsuki Yoshino

What It’s About: A new story about one man’s creative struggles arrives courtesy of Satsuki Yoshino, author of Barakamon! Can a ten-year manga artist with experience only in the fantasy genre pivot to drawing a down-to-Earth story about regular folks? It’s sink-or-swim for Naruhiko Toono and his career!

Note:  This title is set to be released on September 29, 2020.


Extra Notes_


I know the below title isn’t coming out in 2020 but its licensing was announced this year and I wanted to mark it down as a Future Read.  The author’s previous works include Wandering Son and Sweet Blue Flowers, the latter title being one I really liked.

Even Though We’re Adults Vol. 1Title: Even Though We’re Adults Vol.1
Written and illustrated by:
Takako Shimura

What It’s About:  Ayano, an elementary school teacher in her thirties, stops by a bar one day and meets another woman named Shuri. Sparks fly as the two chat, and before the night is over, Ayano even goes in for a kiss. Shuri is intrigued but confused…especially when she discovers that Ayano has a husband! Both Ayano and Shuri are about to find out that love doesn’t get any easier, even as you grow older.

Note:  This title is set to be released on February 9, 2021.

Future Reads: Upcoming Manga in 2020 Part 1

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I could talk all day about how exciting the new manga being licensed, translated, and released are but I won’t.

I’ll save you the time and show you some of the upcoming releases that I can’t wait to see hit the shelves.  Shall we?


Makeup is Not (Just) Magic: A Manga Guide to Cosmetics and Skin Care

Title:  Makeup is Not (Just) Magic: A Manga Guide to Cosmetics and Skin Care
Author and Artist: Ikumi Rotta

What It’s About:  For anyone intimidated by the world of makeup, you’re in luck–a former beauty consultant turned comic artist is here to walk you through it. Join the author as she breaks down the fundamentals of cosmetics and skincare, guided by common questions from her online followers! Learn the basics and develop your own signature style! The perfect illustrated how-to book for fans of makeup tutorials online.

Release Date:  May 26th, 2020.


I Had That Same Dream Again: The Complete Manga CollectionTitle: I Had that Same Dream Again
Author: Yoru Sumino
Artist: Idumi Kirihara

What It’s About:  An unhappy girl who engages in self-harm, a high schooler ostracized by her classmates, and an old woman looking to live out her twilight years in peace–what could three such different people have in common? That’s what grade schooler Nanoka Koyanagi is trying to find out. Assigned by her teacher to define what “happiness” means to her, Nanoka tries to find her place in the world by exploring her relationships with these three strangers, and through them, comes to know herself.

Release Date:  July 7th, 2020.

Note:   If you haven’t already, you can check out Yoru Sumino’s other works like “I Want to Eat Your Pancreas” through several methods as it came out as a manga, light novel, anime, and live-action film.


Title:  Blue Flag
Author and Artist:  KAITO

What It’s About:  An unexpected love quadrangle with a dash of unrequited love as two classmates, a boy and a girl, begin to fall for each other when each of their best friends have already fallen for them.

It’s the last year of high school, and love is in the air. Romantic feelings that have been building up over years of friendship come to light. When Taichi’s classmate Futaba asks him to help her confess to his best friend, Toma, it sparks the catalyst that begins the sweet and heart-wrenching journey of their third and final year of high school.

For some reason, Taichi Ichinose just can’t tolerate Futaba Kuze. But at the start of his third year in high school, he finds himself in the same homeroom as her, along with his childhood friend and school sports star Toma Mita. But one day Futaba opens up to Taichi, admitting she has a crush on Toma and asking for his help in confessing to him! There’s just one problem—Toma seems to already have a secret crush on someone else…

Release Date:  April 21st, 2020.


'Carole & Tuesday' by Morito Y is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The 20 Best New Manga You Should Be Reading in 2020

Title:  Carole & Tuesday Vol. 1
Author: BONES and Shinichiro Watanabe
Artist: Morito Yamataka

What It’s About:  Based on the hit anime directed by Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Kids on the Slope), two girls from different worlds connect through a love of music and a desire to make it big on Mars.

Release date:  October 10, 2020

Note:  There isn’t official artwork for the English translation just yet but it should feature Carole and Tuesday front and center just like the Japanese version above does.


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Title:  BL Metamorphosis
Author and Artist: Kaori Tsurutani

What It’s About: Ichinoi, a 75-year-old woman living a peaceful life, unwittingly buys a Boy’s Love manga one day…and is fascinated by what she finds inside. When she returns to the bookstore to buy the next volume, the high school girl working there–Urara, a seasoned BL fan–notices a budding fangirl when she sees one. When Urara offers to help Ichinoi explore this whole new world of fiction, the two dive into BL fandom together, and form an unlikely friendship along the way.

Release Date:  April 7th, 2020.


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Title: Perfect World
Author and Artist: Rie Aruga

What It’s About:  An office party reunites Tsugumi with her high school crush Itsuki. He’s realized his dream of becoming an architect, but along the way, he experienced a spinal injury that put him in a wheelchair. Now Tsumugi’s rekindled feelings will butt up against prejudices she never considered — and Itsuki will have to decide if he’s ready to let someone into his heart… Yet they may soon discover that, without each other, the world feels imperfect.

Release Date:  April 21, 2020.


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Title: Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku Vol. 4
Author and Artist: Fujita

What It’s About:  A tall, quiet gamer boy and a geeky girl whose life revolves around yaoi manga are old friends, but when they start working in the same office, they decide to date. It’s a relationship of convenience at first, but could it become something more? This manga comedy is now a hit streaming anime!

SUMMER ROMANCE FOR NERDS

Narumi and Hirotaka’s relationship is going swimmingly, so now the two have a new problem: the rumor mill. The couple is going to have to rely on Hirotaka’s reputation as an undateable gamer to quash the gossip, because it’s shaping up to be a busy summer. There’s a double date with Hanako and Taro at a festival, Narumi’s first try at cosplaying, and even that otaku classic: a hot springs episode. Meanwhile, when Naoya’s incredible misunderstanding about his new friend Ko comes to a head, will their friendship survive?

Release Date:  June 9th, 2020.