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2010 Preview: 25 Hot New Manga

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11. Spice and Wolf

Spice and Wolf Vol. 1
© Isuna Hasekura / ASCII MEDIA WORKS © Keito Koume / MEDIA WORKS

Author: Isuna Hasekura
Artist: Keito Koume
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: April 20, 2010
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Lawrence is a traveling merchant who goes from village to village selling his imported wares. To his surprise, he finds a stowaway in his wagon: a harvest goddess named Holo who has furry ears and a tail just like a wolf. Holo joins Lawrence on his travels and offers her version of "street smarts" along the way.

First came the Spice and Wolf light novels (and the controversy about the 'Westernized' covers) and the anime DVDs from FUNimation. Now the manga version of this story makes this fan-fave trifecta complete.

12. Arata: The Legend

Arata: The Legend Vol. 1
© Yuu WATASE / Shogakukan

Author and Artist: Yuu Watase
Publisher: Shonen Sunday / VIZ Media
Release Date: March 9, 2010
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Arata lives in a mystical world where gods and humans co-exist, but a chain reaction of events brings his world to the cusp of a cosmic crisis. Arata Hinohara lives in modern day Japan where he endures harsh hazing from his classmates. What happens when the two Aratas change places?

Shojo manga readers already know that Yuu Watase (creator of Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play) has a knack for creating compelling fantasy action and drama. Now she wields her considerable storytelling skills by creating a shonen manga adventure series now serialized on ShonenSunday.com.

13. Black Blizzard

Black Blizzard
© Yoshihiro Tatsumi

Author and Artist: Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly
Release Date: April 27, 2010
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When Yoshihiro Tatsumi released his manga memoir A Drifting Life, his descriptions of the early gekiga ("dramatic pictures") movement piqued the curiosity of many readers. Now D&Q is bringing one of Tatsumi's early crime stories to shed light on this seminal period of manga history.

Influenced by Mickey Spillane novels, Black Blizzard is about a young pianist who has been convicted of murder. While on a train ride to jail, he's handcuffed to a career criminal. The pair escape when their train derails due to an avalanche. While on the run, they describe how their lives were changed by crimes of passion.

14. Ristorante Paradiso

Ristorante Paradiso
© 2006 NATSUME ONO

Author and Artist: Natsume Ono
Publisher: VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
Release Date: March 16, 2010
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When Nicoletta arrives in Rome to be reunited with her Mom, she discovers that her mother doesn't want her new husband to know that she has a daughter in her twenties. Nicoletta keeps her mom's secret, but takes a job at her step-dad's restaurant, where she is befriended by an array of suave older gentlemen who run Casetta Dell'Orso.

The Ristorante Paradiso anime began airing in 2009 on Crunchyroll.com, and immediately got fans talking for its stylish depiction of grown-up drama and romance. Ristorante Paradiso is one of four new graphic novels by Natsume Ono that VIZ is releasing this year.

15. Code: Breaker

Code:Breaker Vol. 1
© Akimine Kamijyo / KODANSHA

Author and Artist: Akimine Kamijyo
Publisher: Del Rey Manga
Release Date: July 27, 2010
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Besides publishing the last volumes of Samurai Deeper Kyo, Del Rey Manga is also debuting a new series by Akimine Kamijyo set in modern Japan: Code:Breaker.

Oogami is a high school boy who lives a secret life as a "code:breaker," a vigilante with unusual powers that he uses to mete out his own brand of supernatural justice to corrupt politicians and government officials. His classmate Sakura sees him in action one day, and decides that she's going to help him change his cold-blooded ways.

16. AX: Alternative Manga Anthology

AX: Alternative Manga Anthology Vol. 1
© Seirengosha

Authors and Artists: Various
Edited by: Mitsuhiru Asakawa and Sean Michael Wilson
Publisher: Top Shelf
Release Date: July 29, 2010
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AX is one of Japan's premier alternative comics anthologies. Now Top Shelf is presenting a mega-sized 'best of' collection of stories from AX, giving manga fans a rare look at comics created outside of the mainstream.

First announced at Alternative Press Expo 2008, the first volume of the AX Alternative Manga Anthology has been pushed back a few times in 2009. Here's hoping that 2010 will finally see this much-anticipated sampler of some of Japan's most intriguing, artistically edgy manga in U.S. comic shops and bookstores.

17. All My Darling Daughters

All My Darling Daughters
Aisubeki Musumetachi © Fumi Yoshinaga 2003 /HAKUSENSHA, Inc.

Author and Artist: Fumi Yoshinaga
Publisher: VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
Release Date: January 19, 2010
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Yukiko's a twenty-something office worker who's shocked when her widowed mother Mari announces that she's getting married to a man that's half her age. Sayako's a single girl who is trying to choose a suitor from a series of arranged marriage meetings. Three classmates reflect on their past dreams and how it differs from their twenty-something reality.

Through a series of related vignettes, we see the life-changing decisions and the complexities of love and family relationships in modern Japan, as only Fumi Yoshinaga (creator of Ooku and Antique Bakery) can tell them.

18. Portrait of M and N

Portrait of M and N Vol. 1
© Higuchi Tachibana / HAKUSENSHA

Author and Artist: Higuchi Tachibana
Publisher: TokyoPop
Release Date: February 2, 2010
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Mitsuru is graceful and pretty, but she's also an extreme masochist who gets excited at the mere thought of being injured. Natsuhiko is good-looking, but his problem is that he thinks so too -- he's an extreme narcissist who loves nothing better than to admire himself. When they discover each other's neuroses, Mitsuru (or "M" for masochist) and Natsuhiko ("N" for narcissist) become an unlikely couple.

Portrait of M and N is an earlier work from the creator of Gakuen Alice, but this romantic comedy has more than enough eccentric charms to make shojo manga readers seek it out when it's published.

19. CLAMP in America

CLAMP in America
© CLAMP

Author: Shaenon Garrity
Authors and Artists: CLAMP
Publisher: Del Rey Manga
Release Date: May 25, 2010
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Now that CLAMP has celebrated 20 years as professional comics creators, Del Rey Manga has teamed up with comics expert/editor Shaenon Garrity and CLAMP to create an original retrospective of their impact on the American manga and anime scene.

CLAMP in America promises to give fans an exhaustive look at the femme foursome's creative output, from Magic Knight Rayearth to their current hits xxxHolic and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, interviews with the artists and the editors who have worked with them.

UPDATE: This release has been pushed to February 2011.

20. Kizuna - Deluxe Edition

Kizuna
© Kodaka Kazuma / LIBRE PUBLISHING

Author and Artist: Kodaka Kazuma
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing
Release Date: Fall 2010

The biggest buzz from Digital Manga's announcements from Yaoi-Con 2009 was generated by their plans to publish deluxe double-sized editions of Kodaka Kazuma's yakuza yaoi drama, Kizuna. Only 10 out of 11 volumes of Kizuna were previously published by the new defunct Central Park Media as part of their Be Beautiful imprint, but that has never stopped Kizuna from being one of the most popular boys love manga series published in the U.S.

With its sizzling romance and drama, Kizuna also offers U.S. readers a fascinating glimpse into the world of Japanese crime syndicates, and their strict codes of honor, loyalty and hierarchy.

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