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A short checklist for the self

Del Rey is one of the few companies bringing out translated manga titles regularly, and maybe because it’s a part of Random House publishing, distributors in India have been getting fairly steady supplies of the titles they publish. I have been following primarily two titles – Negima and Genshiken. Both of them span different genres – Negima is a riff on the apprentice-magician-in-training archetype, in which the lead character is a 10 year old prodigy who is the English teacher for a bunch of high school girls, and also bunks with one of them. Twelve volumes have been released so far in the US, with the continuing storyline going on until volume 18 in Japan. Genshiken, on the other hand, is about a college otaku club and its members, all of whom are hardcore manga/anime/cosplay freaks – it ends at volume 9, and just one volume is left to release in the US.

Which brings me to this – the Del Rey catalogue has sufficiently expanded over the last two years, and quite a few new series have come out. I was looking through the list of titles they are publishing as of now, and a couple of them sound interesting and worth a buy.

Basilisk is a series that has a long history. It was based on a 1958 book by Futaro Yamada called The Kouga Ninja Scrolls, and published in Japan in 2003-04, winning quite a few awards because of its storytelling. I checked out the first two volumes, and the artwork is extremely cool. I also happened to check out the movie called Shinobi: Heart Under Blade recently, which is based on the same novel. The storyline is mostly faff, about two warring Ninja clans whose representatives must fight it out so that the winning clan gets to represent the new Shogun. Pretty straightforward except the heirs of the clans – Gennosuke and Oboro are secretly in love with each other. I am looking forward to buy all 5 volumes of the series, the last of which will be out by May 2007. Note to self: there is also a 24-episode TV series, well-worth checking out, according to the grapevine.

ES or Eternal Sabbath is by Fuyumi Soryo, whose manga Mars I read a few volumes of. This one’s about a genetically engineered immortal who has the power to control minds. Eight volumes in all, and four volumes out already.

Kagetora: The young ninja Kagetora has been given a great honor—to serve arenowned family of skilled martial artists. But on arrival, he’s handeda challenging assignment: teach the heir to the dynasty, the charmingbut clumsy Yuki, the deft moves of self-defense and combat. And yet, Yuki’s inability to master themartial arts is not what makes this job so difficult for Kagetora. No,it’s Yuki herself. Someday she will inherit her family dojo, and for aninja like Kagetora, to fall in love with his master is a betrayal ofhis duty, the ultimate dishonor, and strictly forbidden. Can Kagetorahelp Yuki overcome her ungainly nature . . . or will he be overcome byhis growing feelings?

Kurogane – Avenging his father’s murder is a matter of honor for the young samuraiJintetsu. But it turns out that the killer is a corrupt governmentofficial-and now the powers that be are determined to hunt Jintetsudown like an animal. There’s only one problem: Jintetsu is already dead. Torn to pieces by a pack of dogs, Jintetsu’s ravaged body has beenfound by Genkichi, outcast and master inventor. Genkichi gives the deadboy a new, indestructible steel body and a talking sword-just what he’ll need to face down the gang that’s terrorizing his hometown andthe mobster who ordered his father’s hit. But what about Otsuki, thebeautiful girl he left behind? Steel armor is defense against any sword, but it can’t save Jintetsu from the pain in his heart.

Yups, these are the ones I think I will be buying. The rest of them look like teen-friendly love stories and cute-fantasy types, not really my thing.

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