Several new manga have debuted since my last roundup. Some good, some so-so. Thankfully scanlation groups usually pick up the first chapter of a series before deciding whether to drop it out not.
Like last time, it’s important to keep in mind how difficult it is to judge a new series on the very first chapter. So let’s dive in to three new series.
From the author behind Eyeshield 21 and the creator of Origin and Sun-Ken Rock comes Dr. Stone, a story about rebuilding civilization by two high school boys.
The plot begins pretty simply: MC1 Taiju will confess his love to his five year crush Yuzuriha. He stops by the chemistry lab to inform his BFF and MC2 Senkuu. Just as Taiju is about to spill, a light appears and everyone in the world turns to stone.
3700 years pass. Taiju, after keeping consciousness with incredible willpower, breaks free from the stone. The world has drastically changed and is overgrown with wildlife, but he manages to find Yuzuriha where he left over. She’s intact, but still encased on stone. He vows to save her.
Miraculously, there is a message left for him and Taiju meets back up with Senkuu who also managed to break free, just a year earlier. The two vow to revive Yuzuriha and recreate civilization.
What makes me continue reading a story is answering the questions the series has proposed. “How will Luffy get out of this one?” “When will Fairy Tail wrap up it’s crap?” “Why am I still reading Nisekoi despite knowing who will be final girl?”
Dr. Stone has one huge question that I’ll keep reading forever to find out. Why and how did everyone turn to stone? And that’s just one question. Birds play a big role in the first few chapters, but then we also see other animals weren’t turned to stone. So, why did the stoneification only affect certain animals?? A new character was recently introduced in chapter 3, so how is he going to factor into the plot? Will there be possible love triangles?? How are high school kids going to revive civilization?? And on and on.
The art of Dr. Stone is also wonderfully detailed and beautiful. It’s the kind of art that’s easy to understand. I find there are a lot of series where the art is amazing, but it’s difficult to tell what’s happening on the page. No need to worry about that here. The style is also fantastic, I love the character designs for the boys. Yuzuriha looks a little too moe, but we’ll see what happens there.
Recommendation: Totally check out
Robot x Laserbeam
From the creator of Kuroko no Basket, Robot x Laserbeam is a new sports story focusing on golf.
Every sports series starts out pretty similarly; readers are introduced to the MC and the MC is introduced to the sport in question. Some other supporting cast are introduced, like the sport senior, the other rookies, and a rival.
Robot x Laserbeam is pretty true to the formula. Our MC Roboto Hatohara has a deadpan personality – think One Punch Man’s Saitama but with hair. He’s half Japanese half Scottish, thus why he has red hair and why he is extensively bullied by his classmates. I’m thinking Roboto is a little autistic, because one quirk of his is not being able to pick up on social cues, but I don’t think that will ever be legitimately addressed.
But more importantly, he’s smart. He addresses social issues like math problems and in the first chapter, he expresses a preference for exact numbers versus approximations.
Roboto is introduced to golf by his classmate Tomoya Nakata who is new to the golf club. Only after an encounter with some jerks at a local golf range, Roboto is brought into the golf club by the club senior Shintaro Hiiragi and Tomoya because Roboto has amazing skill at the sport.
I won’t go into the technical details of it all, but I really enjoyed the first chapter, which only came out this week. I believe MC Roboto is likeable, though his name is a little on the nose. The introduced rival looked fun, but I’m a little confused.
See, in the first chapter it is implied that the rival sees Roboto’s skills at a golf range, but they never see each other directly. It is greatly implied it’s Roboto, but with the way the timeline is set out, it doesn’t seem like Roboto. I’m making it sound confusing, but read the chapter and you’ll get what I mean.
Anyway, it’s a standard sports manga plot, but even though it’s the first chapter it’s doing exactly what sports manga do; get the reader interested in the series’ sport. In this case – golf. And a lot of people know that golf is considered very boring. The series tries to get around this by saying ‘power golf’ is a new trend, but it hasn’t been greatly discussed yet.
Recommendation: Check if you enjoy sports manga
Hungry Marie, or Harapeko no Marie
From the Beelzebub creator, Hungry Marie is a battle romantic comedy between two childhood friends. MC1 Taiga and MC2 Anna are neighbours; Taiga’s grandmother runs a temple, Anna’s father runs a church. These two hate each other.
Taiga has been in love with Anna for forever, so in chapter one he confesses. Only to be struck by lightning, take on the form of Lady Marie Therese Charlotte, and undergo short-term memory thereby forgetting he confessed in the first place.
I get big Ranma ½ flashbacks from this series. The main gimmick of the series is that Taiga and Marie Therese share a ‘body.’ It’s Marie Therese’s body but Taiga’s soul, then the reverse. They change when Marie Therese is hungry and after she eats, thus the title.
There’s currently three translated chapters out, and I’m up to date, but I’m not really enjoying it. It’s too heavy for me, too much information dumping. It’s got all sorts of things mixed into it that just makes it complicated. To the point I can’t even describe it accurately. It involves Anna and her father being occultists and resurrecting Marie Therese Charlotte because they’re her descendants and worship her? Something like that.
There is a small dynamic between Taiga and Anna and their romance. Taiga forgets that he confesses, so Anna continues to get embarrassed when they’re around each other but it’s…a little hollow. I don’t know if I’ll keep reading, I’ll see what the r/manga comments say.
Recommendation: Try and see if you like it.