Looking at 9 upcoming shounen/seinen releases from June 2022 and beyond that I find interesting, and maybe you will too!
Without further ado, the list:
First off, none of my picks are in any particular order. At a glance, Seven Seas doesn't dominate my list for once! Surprisingly, Yen Press has stuff that I want to keep my eye on. Besides the publishers, it's interesting to note new entries from known mangaka. I'm hyped about two manga solely based on having read their artist's previous works. Genre-wise, I have a large amount of sci-fi on here, and I'm not, strictly speaking, a sci-fi fan. Additionally, there's a lot of drama titles on here. Finally, there's some stuff that needs to pass the vibe test, but before I dive deeper into my picks, let's see what just missed the cut.
Wandance by Coffee is an ongoing, romance, sports drama about a high-school boy learning hip-hop dance thanks to his classmate Wanda. (Get it?) There's some excitement about this title on social media, which got me curious. I'm not really a sports manga fan, but the art looks great, and I'm a sucker for good art. Kodansha is releasing the manga late June. (Yes, it's in print.)
Touring After the Apocalypse by Sakae Saito is an upbeat, slice-of-life manga about two girls riding their bikes through the empty ruins of Japan. Yen Press says it's for people who enjoy Girl's Last Tour, which I haven't personally read or watched but heard plenty about. I can read some seemingly calm (and funny?) dystopian manga right now so bring it on.
Small indie publisher Glacier Bay books is starting to release ongoing serialized manga now. Back in February, they announced their latest acquisitions. The Other Side of the Clouds by Yoruno Hitsujigumo is a slice-of-life mystery about a young girl who moves to a seaside town. It's a mystery manga so I feel obligated to check it out. Plus, the art looks amazing. No word on the release date yet so follow Glacier Bay Books on socials to stay in-the-know.
Dinosaurs Sanctuary by Itaru Kinoshita is an ongoing slice-of-life, sci-fi manga. It's currently serialized in Comic Bunch, a seinen magazine. The story follows a zoo keeper taking care of dinosaurs, which sounds like a utopian version of Jurassic Park. MANGA. IS. WEEEEIIIIRRRD! Alright, I'm not a dinosaur fanatic or anything, but with the latest Jurassic Park movie in theaters now, I had to mention that this manga exists, and it has been licensed. Seven Seas is releasing the first volume of this wholesome series in September.
Square Enix Manga & Books announced that they will be publishing the sci-fi, action series Tokyo Aliens by Naoe. I'm not a huge fan of sci-fi, but I am familiar with Naoe's works. I've read a 1/3 of Naoe's Aoharu x Machine Gun, an action, comedy shounen that felt like a cross between Ouran High School Host Club and survival games. I fizzled out on Aoharu x Machine Gun at vol. 6, and I can't really pinpoint why. I don't have the urgency to revisit that why, but Tokyo Aliens sounds interesting, and I'm willing to give Naoe another chance. (The artwork is always amazing!) I'll check it out via my library when the first volume drops in November.
Finally, I'm cheating a bit, but Kodansha is re-releasing Noragami as a 3-in1 omnibus! I love omnibus editions! More manga for less money is always a good thing. Noragami is an on-going, supernatural, action-adventure series about a minor god who dreams of becoming hokage. Comedy and drama ensues. This manga has been turned into an anime too. I fell behind in reading this series years back so the omnibus news is tempting me to start reading again and possibly collect the series this time around.
Alright, so let's talk about why I'm looking forward to these upcoming 9 releases.
Yakuza Fiancé: Raise wa Tanin ga Ii by Asuka Konishi
Psychological Romance Drama (6 volumes/ongoing)
Hopefully, the mangaka's name sounds familiar to you. Before Yakuza Fiancé, Asuka Konishi wrote Haru's Curse, a psychological romance drama about a woman grieving her dead sister and starting a relationship with the boyfriend who's been left behind. The manga was released as an all-in-one omnibus by Kodansha/Vertical last year so it's exciting that we're getting another Konishi series so soon. Additionally, I enjoyed Haru's Curse so I'm looking forward to Konishi's new series Yakuza Fiancé. While the genres remain the same, the characters and circumstances are different. We went from a story about working adults overcoming grief and guilt about their relationship to strong-willed, yakuza-raised teenagers being forced into an engagement. Seven Seas describes the story:
Yoshino grew up as the yakuza princess of the Osaka Somei crime family. Everyone left her alone due to her sharp gaze and mobster ties. But when her grandfather signs a truce with the Tokyo-based Miyama crime family, she’s offered for betrothal to the Miyama leader’s grandson, Kirishima. At first, Kirishima seems amiable and polite–but when he shows his dark side, he proves to be more disturbing than any gangster Yoshino has ever met. This engagement is sure to be a wild ride for a tough yakuza princess and her twisted yakuza prince!
Coffee Moon by Mochito Bota
Supernatural Mystery Drama (4 volumes/ongoing)
Yen press announced this manga back in March, and they describe the story:
Pieta leads an uneventful life in a world of black rain. As the rain pours down, as always, she takes her usual route to school, but the typical conversation with her friend Danae doesn’t happen. “Why can I remember...yesterday’s today?”
The art style and European-esque setting remind me of the manga Soloist in a Cage. I'm also intrigued by the time looping and mystery aspect of the story. What gives me pause, yet makes me even more curious, is the fact that Mochito Bota is a hentai artist. 🤯 So, I'm not completely sold on Coffee Moon. The manga will have to pass the vibe test. Yen Press is releasing the first volume in September.
The Geek Ex-Hitman by Ko-dai
Action Comedy (2 volumes/ongoing)
As of this writing, The Geek Ex-Hitman is the only manga I've pre-ordered. (Now, is the time of pre-orders, friends!) Yen Press describes the story:
The Oracle of Florence, Marco, is a legendary, peerless hitman feared throughout the Italian underworld, but now he’s trying to build a new reputation for himself-the biggest geek in all Japan! After getting introduced to the joys of otaku culture while out on a hit, Marco quickly gets so sucked in that he sets down his bloodstained mantle and moves to Japan to peacefully enjoy his new lifestyle. But he’ll soon find that even after turning over a new leaf, there isn’t much he can do about how sinister he seems to other people-especially the government agent on his tail, Viviana, whose skills as a spy are surpassed only by her burning passion for yaoi and BL…!
In short the manga is..."Weeb Wick" as dubbed by @RidicBowe on Twitter.
Last Gender by Rei Taki
Drama (3 volumes/complete)
Recently completed in Japan, Last Gender is one of two entries on my list that have LGBTQ+ protagonists. Kodansha describes the story:
Welcome to “BAR California”, a place where people with different genders, propensities, and sexual orientations gather to find a certain “something”. A transgender bisexual who has been hurt by the voices of others, a pansexual looking for true love, and a person who identities as both male and female. There are as many sexualities as there are people.
Always great to see publishers bringing over more LGBTQ+ content. This sounds like Bartender but with queer people. This series is mature-themed and rated 18+. Kodansha will release Last Gender in print and digital this fall.
Candy & Cigarettes by Tomonori Inoue
Action Thriller (11 volumes/complete)
So the second Seven Seas-published title on my list needs an asterisk by it. Candy & Cigarettes needs to pass the vibe test. The story:
When retired cop Hiraga Raizou gets a lucrative gig working for a shadowy government organization known as the SS Agency, he is in for a rude awakening. The first day on his new job, he comes across a grisly murder and a lone little girl who’s far from innocent. She’s Suzukaze Miharu, an 11-year-old master assassin–and his new partner! The arrangement is simple: she kills, he cleans up and hides any evidence. Sure, the pay is great, but how much blood is Raizou willing to get on his hands?
Seven Seas also describes the story as an "action-packed, neo-noir revenge thriller" and that sounds cool, but I'm wary of this dynamic duo. The creator Tomonori Inoue also wrote and drew Coppelion, which has been published digitally by Kodansha. I'm unfamiliar with Tomonori Inoue's works so...I have a bit of homework to do. I will check out Candy & Cigarettes when I get the chance.
The first volume hits store shelves in October.
Tales of the Kingdom by Asumiko Nakamura
Historical Fantasy Drama (3 volumes/ongoing)
Similar to Tomonori Inoue, Asumiko Nakamura should be a familiar name. Many of her works have been published in English. Examples include Classmates: Dou kyo sei series, Maiden Railways, A White Rose in Bloom, and Utsubora. While I have heard of Asumiko Nakamura, I haven't read any of her past works due to lack of interest. That all might change with Tales of the Kingdom. Yen Press describes the story:
Purple-eyed Adarte, blue-eyed Adolte. One enveloped in light—the graceful son; and one shrouded in darkness—the prisoner. Destined to walk different paths in a kingdom where a beautiful man is lauded as a hero while his enigmatic assistant toils to support him...
Not always a fan of the long-limbed look, but the art is gorgeous, and I am down for reading more historical Middle Eastern-ambient dramas. Finally, this will be a hardcover. Those are enough solid reasons for me to try the first volume when it drops in August.
Shonen Note: Boy Soprano by Yuhki Kamatani
Slice-of-Life Drama (8 volumes/complete)
So, here's a mangaka whose work I have read. I enjoyed reading the coming-of-age drama Our Dreams At Dusk. Our Dreams At Dusk blends magical realism, a supporting cast of LGBTQ+ characters, and beautiful artwork to tell the story of a gay high school boy who moves to a seaside town and finds a place to feel safe and belong. It's short and sweet. Kamatani has other works published in English, and they include: Hiraeth: The End of the Journey and Nabari no Ou. I haven't read those...yet. So, I'm adding those works to my TBR pile along with Shonen Note: Boy Soprano. Kodansha describes the story:
A coming-of-age series equal parts moving and musical, from the creator of Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare! Yutaka Aoi has a talent few boys have: He can sing soprano. But when Yukata’s voice begins to change as he enters puberty, the journey ahead will be one of self-discovery and reflection for not only himself, but also for those around him.
If you're looking for a coming-of-age story starring an LGBTQ+ protagonist, you'll want to add this manga to your list. If you're looking for stories written by a non-binary and asexual mangaka, then you'll want to add the rest of Kamantani's works to your list. The first volume will be available in print and digital sometime this fall.
Skygrazer by Masakazu Ishiguro
Sci-fi Mystery Comedy (1 volume/complete)
Masakazu Ishiguro has two works in English, and they are And Yet the Town Moves and Heavenly Delusion. Unfortunately, I haven't read any of them. So, more homework for me. However, Skygrazer caught my eye for a few reasons. First, it's only a single volume, and single volume releases are great for my shelf and wallet. Additionally, this is a mystery and comedy. I like both genres immensely. Kodansha describes the story:
There are weird people abound in a mysterious structure called the Skygrazer: some boys looking for an erotic book, a space detective, a robot…and then a murder happens?! Agent Saeko Sakuraba begins an investigation to reveal the astonishing truth hidden in the Skygrazer.
The manga graces store shelves in August.
Kowloon Generic Romance by Jun Mayuzuki
Sci-fi Romance Drama (7 volumes/ongoing)
Last, but not least, Jun Mayuzuki's latest work will now be published in English. If the art style or name is familiar to you, then you've probably read or heard of the manga turned anime After the Rain. I haven't read or watched After the Rain, but I've heard of it and have decided to pass for now. However, I'm willing to give Kowloon Generic Romance a read. Yen Press describes the story:
Welcome to Kowloon Walled City—a dystopian townscape full of people brimming with nostalgia and a place where the past, present, and future converge. This vividly drawn tale tells the story of the secret feelings and extraordinary daily lives of the working men and women living in the city.
The first volume hits store shelves in August.
And That's All!
Well, those were my picks. Now, it's your turn. What shounen/seinen releases are you looking forward to? List them in the comments below or tweet them to me @ThatMangaHunter.