I don’t know about you, but for me summer’s always been about escapist media and pure fun. You know, reading comics out on the patio, still in your swimsuit from going to the pool that morning or playing in the sprinkler with your friends. Then everyone goes home for lunch and decides individually It’s way too hot and humid to do much else but laze around until after supper when the fireflies come out. Or maybe you go see some big blockbuster at the cinema multiplex. You like Star Wars, right? Guess what? So does Viz Media.
I’m guessing Viz Media also likes summer because they’re sure stocking it with escapism of their own, manga-style. So let’s check out some upcoming hot weather delights. There’s no time to lose. You know how fast summer vacation blows by. It’ll be gone even before it gets here…
Devil’s Candy, Vol. 1
By REM and Bikkuri
At Hemlock Heart Academy, science wiz Kazu Decker shows off his skills by creating a humanoid girl named Pandora. But in a world of monsters and mayhem, surviving high school is harder than getting good grades and lessons often turn violent at Hemlock. Fortunately for them, Pandora’s stoic nature and seemingly limitless strength, paired with Kazu’s luck, knowledge and friends, get them out of trouble almost as often as it gets them mixed up in it!
Brand new to print, this one is also a web comic. Maybe you’re familiar with it already. They have it listed for the “teen +” audience and the artwork is adorable.
No. 5, Vol. 1
By Taiyo Matsumoto
In a world where most of the earth has become a harsh desert, the Rainbow Council of the Peace Corps has a growing crisis on its hands. No. 5, one member of a team of superpowered global security guardians and a top marksman, has gone rogue. Now the other guardians have to hunt down No. 5 and his mysterious companion, Matryoshka. But why did No. 5 turn against the council, and what will it mean for the future of the world.
This isn’t the first time we’ve encountered this desert earth. Viz first published two volumes of No. 5 way back in 2002 and 2003 but sold fewer than a thousand copies of both. That’s too bad. Looks like it carries a heavy Moebius influence and I’m all for that. Creator Taiyo Matsumoto is a past Eisner winner, too. Definitely one to watch out for this time around.
RIN-NE, Vol. 40
By Rumiko Takahashi
Emotions are running high in this final volume of everyone’s favorite after school (and Afterlife) comedy! Rinne wins a day trip in an Afterlife lottery and asks Sakura to join him, since he’s so indebted to her. Aftera messy beginning, the trip ends on a high note with two matching bracelets for the pair…but later on those same matching bracelets will lead to a shocking outcome that neither of them could have anticipated!
This series by one of the all-time great creators comes to a close. Anything by Rumiko Takahashi is a celebration and so let the farewell party begin for yet another major work in 40 volumes, one she took up right after completing 56 installments of Inuyasha. Rin-ne ended in 2017 here in Japan and she’s currently hard at work on Mao, which runs in Weekly Shonen Sunday.
Pokémon Adventures: Black 2 & White 2, Vol. 4
Story by Hidenori Kusaka
Art by Satoshi Yamamoto
It’s the exciting final volume of the Black 2 & White 2 series! Blake catches up to Colress, the current leader of Team Plasma, while Whitley, accompanied by the reformed Team Plasma member N, corners Ghetsis, whose plan is to self-destruct, destroying everything around him. Both Trainers must defeat their enemies and save the world, but it won’t be easy. Can the four Pokédex holders Blake, Whitley, Black and White handle the greatest crisis ever to hit the Unova region?!
Yet another finale. It’s hard to believe Pokemon has been around for a quarter of a century already. You know who else has a 25th anniversary? The rock duo Puffy, known in the US as Puffy AmiYumi. They dropped their debut single “Asia no Junshin” on May 13, 1996, just a few months after Pokemon appeared. And like Pokemon they also had their own animated adventures and continue to rock to this day. In fact, they released a new English-language single and video, “Pathfinder,” just this past April 30th.
Splatoon: Squid Kids Comedy Show, Vol. 4
By Hideki Goto
Fourth time around is the charm! Inklings Hit, Maika and Kou return for even more silly stories and fun adventures in the world of Splatoon!
By contrast with Pokemon and Puffy, Splatoon has only been around since 2015 and it’s quite the multi-media force with which to reckon. This looks colorful and energetic.
Persona 5, Vol. 7
By Hisato Murasaki
Based on the video game by Atlus
The Phantom Thieves are celebrating successfully reforming mob boss Kaneshiro when they are suddenly called out by the international hacker group “Medjed”! Caught off guard, Akira is further confused when he receives a mysterious message from a person claiming to know Medjed, who offers the Phantom Thieves a special deal to help them out with their predicament…
Another volume in the video game adaptation. Oh wow, also a 1996 debut and like Pokemon and Puffy, still tearing it up. The latest game in the series was Persona 5: Strikers, released for Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4 and Windows in February 2020. More to come? There must be.
Case Closed, Vol. 79
By Gosho Aoyama
The elusive jewel thief known as the Kaito Kid has eluded the law every time… but can he nab a gem attached to the shell of a turtle in an aquarium? Conan wants to make sure that this time the Kaito Kid is all wet! ThenH arley Hartwell investigates a string of suspicious suicides, believing them to be the work of a serial killer. But how could a man be murdered while alone in an elevator? Then, when Conan and Harley investigate a supposed vampire cure, they find a case they can really sink their teeth into. Someone is eliminating a horror writer’s family using methods straight out of a Dracula movie!
Now I’m feeling stuck in the ’90s. Gonna listen to The Muffs and maybe some Frente. Also going to enjoy this long-running detective manga that’s spun off into live action and animated movies and a TV show that’s become a weekend staple for millions of viewers. Shinichi Kudo, star of Case Closed, or Detective Conan as it’s known in Japan, has been solving mysteries and fighting crime in comics form since 1994. The TV anime hit screens in 1996 and continues on Saturday nights at 6:00pm on YTV here to this very day, spanning over 1000 episodes.
My Hero Academia: Vigilantes, Vol. 10
Story by Hideyuki Furuhashi
Art by Betten Court
Original Concept by Kohei Horikoshi
Pop has emerged as the new Queen Bee, her transformation forced by the villainous Nomura, a.k.a. Number 6. At his direction, Pop begins to rain destruction down on Naruhata. With a villain on the loose, it’s only natural for heroes to be called in to deal with the situation, but Koichi knows his friend’s life and soul are at stake. Will inspiration from his old master and training with past foes help him find the hero within?
Out of our ’90s rut! My Hero Academia has been around since just 2014 and while seven years can pass by in a flash it looks likely at this point to match Pokemon and Cased Closed for longevity.
July sees Viz Media dropping lots of other fun titles including Asadora!, Vol. 3 by Naoki Urasawa; Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku, Vol. 9 by Yuji Kaku; RWBY: Official Manga Anthology, Vol 5, original concept by Monty Oum & RoosterTeeth Productions, story and art by various; and even a book on how to create Disney-styled Japanese lunchboxes titled Disney Bento: Fun Recipes for Bento Boxes! By Masami Miyazaki. An Anna/Elsa-themed bento would make a fun indoor project to beat the heat on a particularly torrid day.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Vol. 23
By Koyoharu Gotouge
In an epic confrontation, Tanjiro and his fellow Demon Slayers have fought on through the night, suffering terrible losses against the King of Demons, Muzan Kibutsuji. Dawn is breaking soon, and if they can keep Muzan at bay just a little longer, it will be the end of the centuries-long struggle. But Muzan will stop at nothing to destroy the Demon Slayers and unleash his most terrible powers. And if he can’t defeat them, he may even be able to cause the Demon Slayer Corps to destroy itself from within. All fates and destines will be decided as the sun begins to rise…
How popular is Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba right now? It’s won all the awards, sales have surpassed the $2 billion mark in Japan and it became 2020’s highest grossing film. Not anime. Not simply in Japan. The world’s highest grossing film of 2020, barely edging out Guan Hu’s The Eight Hundred but comfortably ahead of My Country, My Homeland and Bad Boys for Life. That kind of success will slay a lot of demons.
Haikyu!!, Vol. 45
By Haruichi Furudate
With the Adlers and Black Jackals match in full swing and years of rivalry and friendship thrown out into the open, Hinata and Kageyama continue to duke it out on the court. Will Hinata finally get to declare a major victory over Kageyama? Don’t miss the exciting finale!
I can’t believe Haikyu!! has reached its end. Here in Japan the story sort of continues with a “high-tension club activity comedy” series set at a rival school, every Monday online at the Shonen Jump Plus website. Even this one has 70 episodes so far!
One Piece, Vol. 97
By Eiichiro Oda
The battle for Wano commences for real as the Straw Hats and their allies invade Kaido’s base on Onigashima. Luffy may have gotten stronger, but he’s gonna need all the help he can get against Kaido’s powerful forces!
One Piece is an entire entertainment industry unto itself. One Piece is forever. At number 25 on the list of all-time longest manga it has a chance of catching up with Dokaben, which still holds the top spot despite ending in 2018. But number 2 Golgo 13 and number 9 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure both continue and number 24 Detective Conan is also likely to remain a major longevity rival.
This may be slightly off topic but you know what I don’t get? Universal Studios Japan still has a spectacular water stunt show based on the 1995 Kevin Costner science-fiction film Waterworld. It seems like redressing that as a One Piece show would be its natural evolution. In fact they’ve done just that on a temporary basis, including in 2020. Unfortunately the pandemic struck and the park closed from February to June that year, wrecking the event schedule. But how many Waterworld fans are there compared to One Piece fans at the moment? I could probably walk outside, knock on someone’s door and ask them and they’d be a One Piece fan while I wouldn’t find a single Waterworld supporter between here and Costner’s front yard.
Star Wars: Guardians of the Whills
Adapted by Jon Tsuei, Illustrated by Subaru
Based on the novel by Greg Rucka
The Force is with me, and I am one with the Force. – Chirrut Îmwe
Presiding over the Kyber Temple on Jedha, the Guardians of the Whills, Baze Malbus and Chirrut Îmwe, had hoped to maintain a peaceful balance despite the growing presence of the Empire in their Holy City. Yet they struggle to stay true to the Force as stormtroopers threaten to take over. When a rebel named Saw Gerrera appears offering them a chance to help Jedha, Baze and Chirrut must decide if they’re willing to compromise for peace, or if Saw’s plan is too dangerous to risk?
Star Wars: Guardians of the Whills introduces Baze and Chirrut before they meet the Rebellion members who turn the tide in the fight against the Empire in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Writer Jon Tsuei and manga artist Subaru bring the origin story of this fan favorite duo to life in a new manga adaptation based on the novel by Greg Rucka.
People really seem to love those Star Wars movies, don’t they? And Rogue One, the film in which we first meet Baze Malbus and Chirrut Imwe, is like the stealth favorite, the film series “deep cut” you can use to test your friends to discover how refined their Star Wars tastes truly are. You know as well as I do this isn’t the first time Star Wars has become a manga and sure as the Force penetrates all things and binds them together we’ll see more.
Story by Hachi Ishie
You don’t become a legend by being nice.
She wasn’t born Cruella. Gifted with talent, innovation, and ambition, Estella dreamed of becoming a fashion designer, but the world seemed intent on making sure her dreams would never come true.
The life of an amateur thief is hardly a glamourous one, but in 1970s London, at the crossroads of fashion, Estella has a vision for herself and her designs, if only she can afford it! Witness Estella’s life on the streets with her best friends and partners in (petty) crime, Horace and Jasper, before the infamous diva Cruella emerges to make sure no one gets in her way!
This could prove fun. Origin stories can be tedious but this one has a unique setting- the fashion world of 1970s London. Guess we should expect young Cruella (or Estella) to meet up with Vivienne Westwood. One would hope, right?
Also known as Zakk, Hachi Ishie has been making slice of life and yaoi manga with a heavy dose of fashion world aesthetics since at least 2012. Her bibliography isn’t exactly packed but with creator and material making such a perfect match this could be the start of something big. One would also hope, right?
Pokémon: Sword & Shield, Vol. 1
Story by Hidenori Kusaka
Art by Satoshi Yamamoto
Excitable Casey and easygoing Henry share a dream of participating in gym battles. For Casey it’s a chance to become reunited with her missing Pokémon. For Henry, it’s a chance to search for the legendary Rusted Sword and Rusted Shield.
A brand-new Pokemon series based on the 2019 video game release.
By Junji Ito
Did she wander in? Or was she drawn in…?
A woman walks alone at the foot of Mount Sengoku. A man appears, saying he’s been waiting for her, and invites her to a nearby village. Surprisingly, the village is covered in hairlike volcanic glass fibers, and all of it shines a bright gold. At night, when the villagers perform their custom of gazing up at the starry sky, countless unidentified flying objects come raining down on them, the opening act for the terror about to occur.
Yikes! After having experienced a number of Junji Ito horror stories it’s hard for me to read even the most innocuous-seeming words in a description like this without an overwhelming sense of doom, much less the phrase “the village is covered in hairlike, volcanic glass fibers.” Details like that seem so much like some of those oddly specific things we manage to remember from nightmares that otherwise vanish upon waking. “And the village was covered in hairlike, volcanic glass fibers.” “Stop! I don’t want to hear anymore!”
Except I do. It’s Junji Ito, so I really do!
Urusei Yatsura, Vol. 11
By Rumiko Takahashi
Once again, Lum has introduced a bizarre menace to Earth, causing her classmates to quake with fear—a judge who “vanishes” performers whose New Year’s Hidden Talent Show acts are deemed subpar! Later, Mendo is shocked by the sudden announcement of his arranged marriage to a bride so secret even members of her own family don’t know her!
Oh, it’s another knockabout comedy manga from Rumiko Takahashi. Nothing to fear here… Oh no! A “bizarre menace” which turns out to be a judge who “vanishes” subpar performers! Whatever could that mean? It sounds dreadful! Yikes again!
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead, Vol. 3
Story by Haro Aso
Art by Kotaro Takata
One by one, Akira has been checking little items like cleaning his room and snagging a new TV off his bucket list. Now, having grown weary of the hotbed of infection that is Tokyo, Akira makes the decision to head to his parents’ home in Gunma. But to get there, he needs to get past his former boss!
Ah, some zombies. Nothing to fear here.
Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt, Vol. 16
Story and Art by Yasuo Ohtagaki
Concept by Hajime Yatate and Yoshiyuki Tomino
Daryl Lorenz and his support crew have made it back into space, but they’ve got the entire Earth Federation fleet between them and the Nanyang Alliance rendezvous point. Renegade Zeon General Galle can help, but his assistance comes at a price, and getting through the blockade will require an audacious plan that only Daryl Lorenz can pull off—stealing an advanced Mobile Armor equipped with the advanced Psycommu control system right out from under the Federation’s nose!
The Gundam franchise may not be quite as old as Star Wars but they are contemporaries and its influence on anime, manga and video games is comparable to what George Lucas’s space fantasy did to summer movies.
Also arriving from Viz Media in August is a whole spate of books including Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 5—Golden Wind, Vol. 1 by Hirohiko Araki; We Never Learn, Vol. 17 by Taishi Tsutsui; Chainsaw Man, Vol. 6 by Tatsuki Fujimoto; Jujutsu Kaisen, Vol. 11 by Gege Akutami; Black Clover, Vol. 26 by Yūki Tabata; and Fullmetal Alchemist: Fullmetal Edition, Vol. 14 by Hiromu Arakawa.
For more information about these and other July and August manga and media releases plus their release dates, visit viz.com.