On the mysterious island of Barbara, Aoba lives in peace with her guardian and other strange beasts. But in the near future, the dream investigator Watarai struggles to understand why Aoba ate the hearts of her parents (who committed double suicide) and fell into a coma. This is just the beginning of Otherworld Barbara, the newest translated work of 70s manga goddess Moto Hagio and one of the weirdest comics I’ve read in quite some time! There are easier places to start (I’d recommend her classic Heart of Thomas) but there’s a reason this book was the first comic in twenty-three years to win Japan’s coveted SF Taisho Award.
Hideo Suzuki's life is rough: by day he toils away as the assistant to a comics artist, while by night he struggles with mental illness and tries to be there for his girlfriend. Then one day, zombies attack. I Am A Hero is a psychological thriller, a good old-fashioned action shoot-em-up starring a less than fit protagonist, but more than anything it's the story of a generation adrift in Japan, who in the midst of the quietly apocalyptic tenor of their lives are suddenly made to confront real apocalypse.
Published for the first time in English, Inio Asano's A Girl on the Shore is a quiet, emotional coming of age story. Koume and Keisuke, two middle school kids living in a small coastal Japanese town, enter a casual physical relationship that develops into something that changes how they view themselves and the world around them. The plot is minimal; what truly drives the story is the characters and their relationships, both physical and psychological. The characters teeter on the edge of adolescence, and Asano explores their feelings with a depth and understanding that is rare and wonderful to see in depictions of middle schoolers in fiction. While the manga is a relatively short read, you'll find yourself wanting to go back and read it over and over again.