As you may have noticed from my postings this year, manga has sort of fallen through the cracks with very few reviews and only a couple of spread out posts. This is something I am aiming at rectifying next year at least in the news department, but the issue I find is that asides from Madman Entertainment there are no notable manga publishers in Australia and importing can get quite pricey.
While it is a big effort to find a means of importing manga without a pricey shipping fare (Not helped by the Australian Dollar continuously dropping in value), there have been a few manga series I have continued reading. Therefore I am happy to confirm that my Manga of the Year 2013 is Yen Press’ release of Umineko: When They Cry. With its first volume of the “Legend of the Golden Witch” arc being released in November 2013, the next three volumes released in February, May and August this year with the first volume of the third arc “Banquet of the Golden Witch” launching in January 2014.
Given how long each of the eight visual novel arcs were, it would not be practical to cover all the events in only a few manga volumes. Umineko: When They Cry however does a better job of tying in with the source material than the anime did, while also offering some strong artwork by Kei Natsumi and Jiro Suzuki in “Legend of the Golden Witch” and “Turn of the Golden Witch” respectively. It is a solid middle-ground between the storyline of the visual novel and the animation present in the anime series currently available for purchase by NIS America.
As Yen Press also did with the answer arcs of Higurashi, the publisher has also opted to go with Omnibus releases comprising of two original Japanese volumes each. While this may potentially add a bit to the price tag, it certainly helps continue the storyline along quicker and gives more to read given the usual several month wait until the next volume.