Christmas came early for this nerd when my Yen Press (@YenPress) new release box arrived on my doorstep bright and early on December 1st, and the titles inside had me giggling like a kid opening gifts from Santa. So, get your gift lists updated and start dropping those hints to your loved ones because you won't want to miss these upcoming releases! And, great news, EVERY title on this list drops on 12.12.23 so you'll be leaving the bookstore with full arms!
THE TITLE YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS
The Geek Ex-Hitman, one of my favorite recent titles from Yen Press, returns with a hysterical and satisfying conclusion to the series. Vol.3 picks up where the last volume ended as we delve into Marco's past and learn about his journey from innocent kiddo to cold hearted hitman. It's a well done flashback sequence that gives you just enough insight into what led to him becoming the infamous assassin without feeling like an exposition dump, and it makes the final few chapters feel oh-so satisfying. Watching the formerly lonely Marco find a home and family in Japan while enjoying his newfound otaku-identity is such a sweet and relatable feeling.
This title is excellent for anyone who loves anime, manga, video games, Japan and its culture, and otaku life, and its comedic - yet oddly heartwarming - storyline about friendship founded on fandom is simply one you have to read and enjoy for yourself. I once described it as "John Wick if he were a waifu guy", The Geek Ex-Hitman is hands down one of my favorite whacky slice-of-life titles that I will be recommending until the day I die.
Of course the most recommended returning title this December is the excellent Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun with its 19th volume. For those of you who have been around a while, you'll know this is one of - if not the most recommended - title of mine, and even this far into the story it's just as captivating, funny, and haunting as ever.
Bungo Stray Dogs fans will be happy to know that we've got TWO new entries in the ever expanding universe arriving. The first vol. of Bungo Stray Dogs: Dazai, Chuuya, Age Fifteen is a brand new prequel series set seven years before the main storyline, and Anime Bungo Stray Dogs: Novel Version is a great light novel adaptation of the beginning of the anime. Both are highly recommended for long time fans of the series!
The stellar sci-fi superhero series Shy comes back with vol.5, and I can tell you right now, if you're sleeping on this series you are missing out! This is one of the freshest, most unique takes on superheroes you'll find and fans of Overwatch and Big Hero 6 will love it.
WE LOVE BOYS LOVE
Hirano and Kagiura, spin-off of the worldwide phenomenon Sasaki and Miyano, returns with its 4th vol. and it's adorable (and, hot take, I prefer Hirano and Kagiura over Sasaki and Miyano, so I was happy getting this in my box). Though it's not anything unique or special since the S+M franchise is pretty cut and dry nowadays, it's a nice comfort series to return to again and again that is consistent in quality and charm.
The unique M-rated Omegaverse BL title My Mate is a Feline Gentleman: UK Arc OVER continues the historical drama and brings the story to the United Kingdom, and it is a heartbreaker! I was raging at the end of it, so if you're looking for a fresh BL title, this is a series you'll want to grab.
Part of the ever expanding collection of WEBTOON titles that are collaborative works with heavy-hitting Kpop bands, Dark Moon: The Blood Altar vol. 1 is brought to us by the HYBE and Kpop group Enhypen. This dark academia vampire story is a fun ride that's a must if you've already grabbed similar titles like The Star Seekers and 7FATES: Chakho.
The heavy hitter this month is the long-awaited print edition of volume 1 of Omniscient Reader's Viewpoint, which is one of the most well known and loved webtoon titles out there. Usually paired next to epic stories like Solo Leveling, this action-packed thrill-ride is a must for fans of high-octane reads with stellar artwork that feels ripped straight out of a high-budget anime.
It's a bug-eat-bug world in the second volume of the absolutely insane Jungle Juice and I have to say, I'm obsessed. It's hard to even put into words how chaotic, energetic, and beautifully illustrated this title is and it looks even better in print.
My Poison Princess is Still Cute vol.1 is hands down one of the funniest manga titles I've read in recent memory. Following an immortal knight and his new wife, a demonic princess who emits poison whenever she gets emotional, this hysterical little fantasy slice-of-life had me in tears and I cannot recommend it enough.
The Illustrated Guide to Monster Girls vol.2 is an insane ride that fans of Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun, Spirited Away, and Disgaea will absolutely love. Not for the faint of heart, this macabre yet adorable series is a must for you spooky-cute souls out there.
The second volume of the unique sci-fi fantasy mystery series Glitch is an immensely captivating one that must be read with as little spoiled as possible. It's a story that continues to draw readers in with intrigue, a blend of tech and supernatural elements, and beautiful illustrations.
SOME LIGHT READING
The light novel adaptation of the stunning anime feature film Suzume arrives in a beautiful hardcover edition that is a must for fans of the movie. It's written in a first person POV from Suzume's perspective, which gives the story a unique and fresh spin, and features a stunning cover illustration of Suzume approaching the infamous door that is one you'll want to have prominently displayed on your shelves.
It is written by Makoto Shinkai, the writer behind the Suzume film alongside iconic anime titles like your name and Weathering With You. It comes highly recommended from someone who was moved to tears by watching the film in theaters, and any anime fan will find it an enjoyable read.
Blade & Bastard, vol.1: Warm ash, Dusky dungeon is an insane ride that had me feeling nostalgic for my hardcore JRPG days. Coming from Yen Press' J Novel Club imprint, this 200+ page hardcover dungeon-crawling light novel is a blast to read if you like those kinds of video games.
FOR THE KIDDOS
Canine Detective Chris, Vol. 1: The Shiba Inu Detective Tracks Down the Stolen Jewels! is one of the most adorable things I've ever read (and I don't even like dogs). This cute story about a shy boy who is gifted a retired police dog and their adventures as they go around town solving mysteries feels reminiscent of early Pokémon stories and I'm literally buying multiple copies for family members for Christmas. This new series is part of Yen Press' JY imprint aimed at middle-grade readers!
Amy's Big Brother is a darling slice-of-life, full color graphic novel that is listed under the JY drama category and follows a set of siblings as one of them transitions into middle school and his excitement for finally having a space just to be himself without his bothersome little sister ruining his fun. It's sweet, the art is darling, and any older sibling will immediately relate to the storyline.
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