Looking at 9 upcoming shoujo/josei releases from April 2022 and beyond that I find interesting, and maybe you will too!
Without further ado, here are the new series that I am looking forward to:
First off, none of my picks are in any particular order. At a glance, about half of these series are complete in Japan. Seven Seas dominates this list, and they have won this year for me. (More on that shortly.) There's some smut, romance, and comedy. At least one mystery and surprisingly, one sci-fi title, but before we unpack my picks, let's look at what just missed the cut.
His Majesty the Demon King's Housekeeper by Saiko Wadori and Mika Kajiyama - I swear that I'm not into isekai, but this one sounds funny. It's about a clean freak high school girl who...welll...title. The art looks great, but I'm not liking the volume count. It's at 6 volumes and still ongoing right now. I'll keep my eye on it when it releases in late spring/early summer via Seven Seas.
Moon and Sun by Abe Akane - This is a 2-volume yaoi series that SuBLime will release this summer. It's a comedy, and it has yakuza in it. Plus the art looks great. Sign me up.
Phantom of the Idol by Hijiki Isoflavone - According to Kodansha, it's a story following a lazy male idol and the female ghost that possesses and performs as him. It sounds funny, but since the anime is coming out soon-ish, I'm willing to put this series on the back burner.
Run Away With Me, Girl! by Battan - I'm not a yuri/gl reader but this one caught my eye. It's about two women who had a relationship in high school and went their separate ways only to meet as adults and find out that their feelings haven't changed for each other. This is a short series, only 3-4 volumes long. Kodansha will publish this series in print/digital sometime this fall.
Usotoki Rhetoric by Miyako Ritsu - a supernatural mystery manga about a male detective and his assistant, a woman who can hear lies. I'm not gonna lie. I was reading a little of this one on the dl. I haven't read all of it, but I've read enough maybe up to 3 volumes max to know I wanted it licensed and on the shelf. According to MangaMoguraRe on Twitter, it's getting a physical/digital release via One Peace Books in September. I am super excited. Yes, more mystery manga!
Alright, so let's talk about why I'm looking forward to these upcoming 9 manga.
Romantic Killer by Wataru Momose
Romcom (4 volumes/complete)
VIZ broke the news about licensing this particular title (and Rainbow Days by Minami Mizuno) for its ShojoBeat imprint on Valentine's Day this year. This series was serialized on the Shonen Jump+ website only in Japan. It's not available to read in English, and the story is:
"When gamer Anzu gets transported to a world of hot guys, it’s like she’s in a dream…someone else’s dream!" -VIZ
This begs the question, "How did a manga like this end up on Shonen Jump+ of all places?" I guess I'll have to wait until October to find out. At any rate, Romantic Killer is a shounen manga (technically speaking) but repackaged as a shoujo manga for an American/Western audience. I'm not a fan of that, and the ugly responses on the Twitter announcement don't help things either. VIZ knew what it was doing by filing it under the ShojoBeat imprint by the looks of it. At any rate, I am interested in checking out Romantic Killer. Hot guys, video games, and a full-color release? Sign me up.
Mermaid Scales and the Town of Sand by Yoko Komori
Mystery slice-of-life drama (2 volumes/complete)
Like the first entry, VIZ announced this title on Valentine's Day. Mermaid Scales and the Town of Sand is a coming-of-age drama about mermaids/merpeople. The art looks cool. It's a old josei manga (ran in You magazine in 2013), and it has some mystery in it. I have a feeling that this manga will get the nice VIZ Signature treatment too!
Yep, definitely checking it out. Put this manga on your holiday list because the manga comes out in December.
Star Clock Liddell by Uchida Yoshimi
Historical mystery drama (3 volumes/complete)
This one's a bit unique. Star Clock Liddell is an 80s mystery shoujo by a mangaka whose works never have been translated in English until now. Browsing online, I'm getting some Alice in Wonderland vibes from this one. The story:
"Young American socialite Hugh is haunted by recurring dreams of a silent house shadowed in mystery. Slowly becoming overcome by a premonition of living on the "other side", he turns to his close friends for advice. And then one day, a girl appears in his dream asking for help..." - Glacier Bay Books
Glacier Bay Books will be releasing all three volumes as singles and in print, and they will release the first volume sometime this year. If you're a manga collector "snob," who yearns for quality prints of everything, then you'll want to get acquainted with Glacier Bay Books. They are an indie publisher, but they print everything high quality, which gets reflected in the price tag. They also have cool pre-order bonuses/incentives if you order directly from them. Glacier Bay Books hasn't revealed anything beyond some scans they're working on, but I can't wait. The art is *chef's kiss* perfect.
All Aboard the Seven Seas Steamship!
So, now let's talk about Seven Seas for a bit. Seven Seas has gone from a company I was apathetic about to one I care for now. They weren't the best or the worst. They were just there. Sure, I've read the works they licensed, but I couldn't tell you which ones were theirs unless I read the spine. Prior to 2020, I didn't own any Seven Seas books in print or digital. (My collection is mostly VIZ for print and Kodansha for digital with a smattering of offerings from other companies in between). Well, all that changed in 2020. Besides 2020 pulling me back into actively collecting physical manga again because pandemic. 2020 was the year Fire in His Fingertips dropped, and 2021 was the year Bite Maker dropped, and I was floored.
There's not enough smutty josei out there in print. Kodansha has been quietly releasing all the smut shoujo and josei I could ask for digitally, which kept me reading and helped build up my digital collection since 2016. XD And, since Butterflies, Flowers dropped, I've found VIZ ShojoBeat's smut offerings lacking. None seem to stack up for me. (I've since made peace with that, and now own An Incurable Case of Love and Yakuza Lover, but still.) Then 2022 came, and my ship sailed in.
So, Steamship is like Seven Seas'100th imprint now. Over the past few years, they have made a lot of imprints. They now have Airship (light novels), Danmei (Chinese BL novels), Ghost Ship (smut/ecchi/fanservice manga), Hiveworks (a distributing partnership with an independent graphic novel publisher), Waves of Color (adult coloring books...I guess it's dead now? LMAO), and Webtoons (devoted to publishing manwha and other webtoons in print). Seven Seas describes Steamship as:
"an all-new imprint dedicated to sexy romance for women, with manga in the genres of shojo, josei, Teens’ Love, and beyond." -Seven Seas
They are launching four new titles this year: GAME: Between the Suits by Mai Nishikata (5 volumes/ongoing), I’ll Never Be Your Crown Princess! by Saki Tsukigami, Natsu Kuroki, and Enn Tsutamori (2 volumes/ongoing), Ladies on Top by NEJIGANAMETA (5 volumes/ending soon), and Outbride: Beauty and the Beasts by Tohko Tsukinaga (4 volumes/ongoing). The offerings seem to fit this mold:
So basically, the initial offerings boil down to 2 modern office romances and 2 fantasy romances. Starting with modern office romances, Ladies on Top is a comedy about a woman doing her boyfriend. It has gender roles and femdom stuff going on. Game: Between the Sheets is a title I asked for on Seven Seas' monthly surveys (which you can find on the front page of their website). This story follows a no-nonsense cold female lead who excels at work and won't let her personal romantic relationships get in the way of her career. She starts a relationship with a new work colleague and a cat-and-mouse game of who-will-fall-in-love-with-first begins. Drama and sex galore.
Now for the fantasy series. I'll never Be Your Crowned Princess! is a fantasy romcom (and slight isekai) about a woman betrothed to a polygamous royal family. She tries to duck out of her arrangement by losing her virginity to a mysterious playboy at a masquerade ball. Surprise, the mysterious playboy was the crowned prince, and he falls hard for her. Task failed successfully. If you're looking for a royalty manga set in a European/western fantasy world setting complete with curses, witches, and magic potions featuring adult characters, and don't mind some dubious consent issues in regards to the lady losing her virginity (the prince gives more than she bargained for, you'll see), then I recommend checking this one out. Finally, Outbride: Beauty and the Beast a reverse harem isekai romance about sex and babymaking, and yeah, that's it. Okay not really, but that's what I gathered from it and why I placed it (low) on my list of manga to check out. 🙈
In summary, here's what I am excited for from Seven Seas Steampship line in order:
GAME: Between the Suits by Mai Nishikata (releases in August)
I’ll Never Be Your Crown Princess! by Saki Tsukigami, Natsu Kuroki, and Enn Tsutamori (releases in July)
Ladies on Top by NEJIGANAMETA (releases in September)
Outbride: Beauty and the Beasts by Tohko Tsukinaga (releases in May)
Seven Seas' Steamship imprint gives me hope more shoujo/josei targeted works (and spicy ones at that!) will come to print (and not just digital). I'm curious about the "beyond" part of Seven Seas statement. It leaves the door open for BL and GL. It also leaves the door open for stuff that Seven Seas thinks it can't sell to the guys via its Ghost Ship imprint. (Okay, that's the cynic in me, but whatever as long as most of the works are coming from long-neglected shoujo/josei targeted magazines or were aimed at shoujo/josei audiences, then I will be a happy camper.)
Correspondence from the End of the Universe by Menota
Sci-fi Comedy Romance (5 volumes/complete)
Last Seven Seas entry on my list. I'm not a big sci-fi person, but I can do aliens, space, and an office comedy. I'm digging the synopsis which reads:
"Marko is a young Russian university student who is looking forward to finishing school so he can spend more time with his beloved. However, those plans go out the window when he’s abducted by aliens! These extraterrestrials have a mission for Marko, one that will take ten years. All Marko can do is make the most of it and get to know the strange creatures who are now his co-workers in this offbeat tale of a life far from Earth." -Seven Seas
Sounds fun. No one is hyping it up. I have to at least flip through it when it finally lands in the summer.
I Want to Be a Wall by Honami Shirono
Slice-of-Life (2 volumes/ongoing)
Last, but not least, I am interested in the still ongoing slice-of-life series. The manga follows the life of an asexual fujoshi who marries a closeted gay man. It's a marriage of convenience story. Yen Press will be releasing this manga late April.
And that's all!
For now, anyway. As I was typing this up, I received the news about Usotoki Rhetoric, and no doubt, I'll receive even more news about upcoming releases for later this year. Perhaps, if there's enough of them, I'll do a part 2. But enough about me. Let's talk about you. What do you think? Are you excited for any of the manga that I listed? What are you excited for? Comment below!