Welcome to another installment of On The Shelf! We've got a count of thirteen books out there for the superstition-inclined—could that have anything to do with the darker themes permeating my top picks this week? Who knows... yet even if the content falls on the grim side sometimes, it rarely errs on the side of boring.
Like moving through the levels of a video game, the Gantz teams are fighting for survival against their alien enemies in Gantz (Vol.23), published by Dark Horse. Experienced as they are, the Osaka Gantz team may have met their match against the beautiful, shape-shifting boss they face next. Those who make up Tokyo Gantz can only watch what seems like an inevitable loss. Based on what we've seen in Gantz each and every volume, there's a high likelihood that it'll be a brutal finish regardless of who lives through it.
• Gantz (Vol.23), ($12.99/US, $14.50/CAN)
Hitting the halfway point of the series, the mystery continues to unravel in Kodansha Comics' Bloody Monday (Vol. 06). Fujimaru is still trying to use his hacking skills to discover the identities of terrorists responsible for what was dubbed the Christmas Massacre. To no surprise, however, the closer he gets to his targets (or should we say the closer he realizes he already is), the further away it feels like he gets from the ultimate goal of stopping them from unleashing a deadly virus on the citizens of Tokyo.
Everything is a whole lot simpler in Gon (Vol.06), where we follow the silent little dinosaur who impacts the world around him in a big way. What will Gon do today...? Save some babies? Lead the charge through a raging forest fire? Or maybe help carry an elephant up through cliff and cold? Whatever he does, Gon always manages to look both adorable and terrifying when he does it. Does he scare me or do I love the little fanged powerhouse? Six volumes in and I'm still not sure, but I don't feel ready to stop trying to find out.
• Bloody Monday (Vol.06),
• Fairy Tail (Vol.19),
• Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (Vol.03), ($10.99/US, $11.99/CAN)
• Gon (Vol.06),
Viz Media is all about the on-goings this week and has eight new volumes of continuing titles. First up is Bokurano Ours (Vol.06) and it's a doozy now that the child pilots know the truth about their opponents. No spoilers here yet as the series creeps to its close, the already bleak and suspenseful story starts getting even weirder. The remaining survivors continue to fight on in the hope they can escape the horrible fates met by the young pilots before them.
In Jormungand (Vol.09) things get even more heated than usual when Koko's team of talented mercenaries find themselves forced to work together with a far less 'together' group. Koko has bigger things on her mind, however, as she plans one of their biggest jobs ever, yet elsewhere her brother is doing much the same thing with some enterprises of his own. Only two volumes left starring these gun-toting mercenaries!
For something considerably more lighthearted than the aforementioned, there's also a new volume of Kamisama Kiss – a supernatural romance where the shoujo lead Nanami needs to worry more about being accepted by the Gods she finds herself in the company of than her romantic feelings for the frowning fox-spirit who serves her. Well... that was the way it was anyway. After eight volumes, Nanami has finally been accepted by the spirit world's head honchos, but that still leaves Tomoe to deal with (and the stresses of a double-date!). This series is full of funny situations and interesting characters, things I'm grateful haven't diminished since the story upped its romantic focus.
• Bokurano Ours (Vol.06),
• Devil & Her Love Song (Vol.03),
• House of Five Leaves (Vol.07),
• Jormungand (Vol.09),
• Kamisama Kiss (Vol.09),
• Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan (Vol.09),
• Slam Dunk (Vol.22),
• We Were There (Vol.14),
That does it for this week's On The Shelf – what on the list are you most eager to buy? Any must-have recommendations? Share your thoughts in our handy comment area for all our readers to see!
* All dates are based on distributor listings and may not necessarily reflect exact release dates. Some books may ship prior to or after the date listed above varying by location and availability.