Release Date: December 22
Creator: Junji Ito
Age Rating: Teen Plus
What It’s About: Horror seeps into everyday life in these 12 short stories featuring two girls who look alike but are not twins, a nightmare becomes reality, and, in the title story, a family shelters a deserter from World War II, but they maintain the illusion that the war is still going on.
Why It’s a Pick Hit: Junji Ito is a can’t-miss manga-ka; when we looked at which manga performed best for retailers, Ito’s books came in first (see “Most Efficient Manga Series for Retailer Shelves”). Plus his books are self-contained, so while this 392-page hardcover offers a lot of story, it’s not the same level of commitment as a series.
Release Date: December 8
Creator: Naoyo Matsumoto
Age Rating: Teen (13+)
What It’s About: Kafka Hibino has the unglamorous job of cleaning up the corpses after kaiju attacks, but he yearns to join the Japan Defense Force and actually fight the giant monsters. When he finally gets his shot at battling kaiju, something weird happens and he becomes one himself!
Why It’s a Pick Hit: This is a Shonen Jump title that has been available digitally in their app, so presumably Viz knows it has an audience. Otherwise they wouldn’t be bringing it to print. The Shonen Jump folks have a winning formula, but with its the-hero-is-the-monster twist, it’s a natural for fans of Attack on Titan, as well as anyone who simply likes giant reptiles.
Publisher: Seven Seas
Release Date: December 15
Creator: Shotaro Ishinomori
Age Rating: 10+
What It’s About: A masked vigilante on a motorcycle fights the shadowy terrorist organization that kidnapped him and subjected him to scientific experiments that left him with superpowers.
Why It’s a Pick Hit: Kamen Rider spun off a series of live-action tokosatsu shows that are hugely popular in Japan, and Toei is celebrating its 50th anniversary by running the original shows on its YouTube channel (see “Seven Seas Licenses ‘Kamen Rider’ Manga”). This 832-page tome contains the entire original manga series. Ishinomori is a legendary creator whose work is only now beginning to come out in English; Seven Seas also published his Super Sentai Gorenger manga (see “Seven Seas Licenses Shotaro Ishinomori’s ‘Super Sentai’ Manga, Others”).