My name is Al, I am the Webcomics and Manga Editor for Comic Book Yeti, and I recently received an amazing package of upcoming manga and manhwa titles from Yen Press (@YenPress)! I have had an absolute blast reading these brand new titles, all of which are releasing on May 23rd! So, I wanted to share some initial reactions and reasons why you should pick up these great titles if you're in the mood for some new favorites.
1: Magical Girl Incident by Zero Akabane, rated OT
We all had our Power Ranger and Sailor Moon phases, fantasizing about daring heroics and flashy costumes, wishing we could be something more than we are. That’s exactly what life for salaryman Hiromi Sakura was like until he had his soul sucked out of his body by adulthood. Overworked, underpaid, and severely stressed out, Hiromi is about at his wit’s end with his overbearing boss and insane work hours.
While walking home from work one night, Hiromi finds a young girl in distress at the hands of a massive monster and, without a second thought, he rushes in to save her… only to find that he’s suddenly transformed into a magical girl! With the quick removal of his tie, Hiromi transforms into his bouncy magical girl persona “Sakura” and must fight the supernatural entities that dare disturb his hard-earned weekend. This is an incredibly funny series that taps into that childhood dream of waking up one day with magical powers and super strength. It’s relatable in so many ways and charming as hell, and quickly became my favorite new release in this batch.
2: Manner of Death by Yukari Umemoto and Sammon, rated OT
As someone who collects manga titles about coroners/embalmers/morticians, I was immediately invested in the concept of a cat-and-mouse police drama about a coroner and the twisted case of foul play and murder he finds himself wrapped up in. This nearly 300 page introductory volume, based off of a novel and drama of the same name, tells the story of Bunnakit, a coroner who is called to investigate the body of a woman who allegedly hung herself and immediately suspects that something more sinister happened. That night, he’s confronted by a masked stranger who threatens him and demands he rule the cause of death as a suicide, or face dire consequences.
What follows is a winding narrative filled with intrigue, forensic goodness, boys’ love elements, and dark mafia family business. Set in Thailand, this dark page-turner is full of twists and turns, with each chapter building upon that last to weave a tale of betrayal, crime, and lust. It’s an immensely detailed manga that isn’t afraid to pull punches, and though the pacing does seem a bit rushed in places, I devoured it all in one sitting. I’m already itching for volume two and can’t wait to see what comes next!
3: Me and My Beast Boss by Shiroinu, rated OT
Office worker Saki Oki is struggling to be seen, both in life and her career. Living as a human in a world where her kind is considered inferior to that of the beastfolk, she receives constant criticism and ridicule from everyone around her. When the powerful and intimidating CEO of her company, a Barbary lion named Atlas, decides to hire her as his personal secretary, she finally has a chance to prover her worth and make something of herself. That is, if she can overcome her nervous nature while in his presence.
Me and My Beast Boss is a fairly trope-filled series with a lot of non-consensual petting (literally, they’re animals, they like pets and scritches) and there's nothing overly original about its narrative, but it's a refreshingly honest office drama that feels part Zootopia, part Aggretsuko, and the charming cast of characters made up of loners just looking to find people who understand them really makes for a captivating read. It’s a good choice for the monsterlover who wants a more grounded narrative to dive into.
4: Yokohama Station SF by Yuba Isukari and Gonbe Shinkawa, rated OT
Yen Press is blessing us with yet another stunning manga illustrated by the iconic Gonbe Shinkawa, and I am stoked to have found that it leans more into the sci-fi genre than The Wolf Never Sleeps and The Witch and the Knight Will Survive. Shinkawa’s previous titles published by Yen Press lean more heavily into the high fantasy genre, so this sprawling, dungeon-crawling style story about a semi-sentient train station that’s overwhelmed the country of Japan was something that immediately caught my attention. Based off of the light novels by Yuba Isukari (which are also available from YenOn if you enjoy the story and want to dig in further), this series follows Hiroto, a young man looking to infiltrate the Yokohama Station after receiving a coveted ticket that allows him five days of access into the station.
This is an incredibly unique and daunting series. As with most manga illustrated by Shinkawa, there’s a LOT of lore, exposition, and world building that would take me an entire essay just to cover, so you’ll have to trust me when I tell you it’s best experienced on your own without spoilers. The concept is immensely unique, the artwork is dystopian, and the mystery of the ever-evolving Yokohama Station is one you’ll want to experience for yourself.
5: What This World is Made Of by Shin Yamamoto, rated T
Though the volume is quite small, this introductory look at Shin Yamamoto’s What This World is Made Of had me feeling like I was deep into an Adult Swim anime binge in the mid-2000s. Something about it felt immensely similar to FLCL and .HACK//SIGN, and I love how it unapologetically thrusts you into the chaos without remorse or much explanation. What This World is Made Of follows brothers Kanade and Kaname Nakata as they try to find a way to survive after losing their grandmother, their income, and their home. Desperate to find some sliver of hope in the form of a paycheck, a mysterious app called “Six” offers them a mission with the promise of a high reward.
The Nakata brothers have no idea they’ve just unlocked a brand new world of money-making madness as Six begins giving them odd jobs in the form of hunting monsters called Worlds, and each new task tempts them with higher paychecks they simply can’t refuse. This series is incredibly original in its execution, the action is fast-paced and the main characters - made up of a bunch of down-on-their luck losers with horrible personalities - really help amplify the desperation for cash and the reckless aesthetic of the series. This was an unexpected favorite of the bunch.
6: A Business Proposal by Haehwa, Narak, and Perilla, rated OT
After the release of What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim? last month (another office romcom webtoon turned manhwa about a jerk CEO and a stressed out office worker), it would seem that Yen Press is really diving into the office drama world with a fervor. The webtoon and original novel by Haehwa are both published for western audiences by Tapas. It tells the story of an office worker named Hari Shin who seems to struggle in every area of her life. When her rich friend asks her to go on a blind date in her place, she does her best to get the handsome yet stone-cold stranger to give up and forget about their meeting. Too bad her blind date is a marriage-obsessed psychopath who also happens to be the new CEO of her company. Now, she must don a disguise each time they meet and hope she can talk him out of his laser-focused intent to marry her, all the while hiding her true identity as his employee during business hours.
Honestly, this series didn’t catch my attention all that much. All of the characters are insufferable and the intense, over-the-top mistaken identity drama feels forced. Everyone is horribly selfish to the point it becomes unfunny and feels a bit problematic. Unlike What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? the main “love interest”, Taemu (the CEO), comes across as manipulative, forceful, and mean instead of naive and air headed. Hardcore K-drama and office romance fans will probably enjoy this series since it hits all of the right tropes, pacing points, and character quirks - and longtime fans will enjoy having a physical edition - and many may find it addicting with it's delightful artwork and over-the-top drama, but honestly I found it inferior to other offerings of the same style.
7: My Dear, Curse-Casting Vampiress by Chisaki Kanai, rated OT
This series is a hot mess and a half, and I'm obsessed with it. It starts of like many other vampire focused manga, similar to the likes of Mars Red and Devils' Line, where we're introduced to a world filled with vampires and the military presence that deals with them. This one focuses on vampire task for specialist Isuzu Osaka, who desperately wants to find a way to keep his companions and co-workers safe from the ruthless vampires who roam the streets of Japan. After hearing about the legend of a beautiful vampire who protects humans named Baroque, he finally finds a solid lead on her location and decides to break her out of her prison in the hopes that she can help him put a stop to the bloodshed.
After discovering this incredible vampire wears a visage similar to that of a young girl, Isuzu and Baroque must face off against a vampire who ruthlessly murdered his squad mate, sending them down a path of cooperation and teamwork under the watchful eyes of the big brass who run the country. This series a bit chaotic, bouncing between deathly serious and weirdly comedic, struggling to find what genre it wants to be in, and it has a lot of common modern day manga tropes when it comes to vampire stories, but dammit it's hella charming and witty despite its flaws. I enjoy how ridiculous it was and Isuzu and Baroque are a dynamic duo I just couldn't help but love.
8: Elden Ring: The Road to the Erdtree by Nikiichi Tobita, rated OT
Due to my sordid and painful history with FromSoftware games, I am the least qualified person on the planet to give rave reviews of an Elden Ring manga, but the fact that Aseo the Tarnished, our horribly unlucky protagonist, shows up butt naked and is immediately made fun of by literally everyone who sees him definitely got me to laugh way harder than I should have. This entire volume felt like a troll-run of the game, where you create the least useful hero you can and hope to God you survive the first enemy encounter, and I can definitely see fans getting a kick out of it, especially with how insanely serious the artwork is.
Going for a comedic approach to a very serious title like Elden Ring was a brilliant choice for this story. When you’re given a game with such an open-ended narrative and so many sprawling paths, one that you customize and build your own hero as you see fit, makes it hard to create a story set in that world due to everyone’s play through being so drastically different. Expectations will, undeniably, be high. So, creating a bumbling hero that offers a new perspective on the lore is a top tier choice. My brother, who is a hardcore Elden Ring fan, read my advanced copy and he said it was one of the best manga titles he’s read in a long time, so if you enjoy the game definitely consider picking this one up.
Bonus BL: May 23rd will also see the release of vol.3 of The Other World’s Books Depend on The Bean Counter, a charming isekai story about a hardworking accountant who gets whisked away to a magical realm, and vol.8 of the mega-hit coming-of-age series, Sasaki and Miyano, which continues the slow burn romance between a BL fanboy and his extroverted senpai’s schooldays. These are both AMAZING entries in these franchises so definitely pick them up if you’re needing some boys’ love in your life.
If YOU would like to see full reviews of any of these titles, let us know! Tweet at us, hit us up on Insta or TikTok, or send us an e-mail like a granny, and we’ll put it on the to-do list!
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