Like a starving (wo)man standing before a feast:
Berserk Vol.8 by Miura Kentaro
Escalation. Griffith and his band have won the final battle and ended the hundreds of years long war with Chuder. Naturally, this puts Griffith all the closer to his dream, and he's not adverse to getting his hands dirty furthering his goal in less noble ways. This volume has the great, dramatic scene between Guts and Griffith, where Guts decides he wants to leave and must fight with Griffith in order to do so. Indeed, the homoerotic charge is nearly palatable; Griffith coolly informs Guts that he belongs to him, and Guts wants to leave in the first place so that he can earn the respect of Griffith and be his friend. Moreover, Griffith hints that he cares about what Guts thinks of him and does not want to appear soiled in Guts' eyes. Tangled webs of envy, desire, and, as the Japanese say, akogare. I love this title. ^_^
Hunter x Hunter Vol.3 by Togashi Yoshihiro
More literal tournaments, and I am reminded of Yu Yu Hakusho. That's not necessarily a good thing, but I must admit that I like Gon more than I like Yuusuke. Idiot savants are more appealing than tough guys in shounen manga, particularly if you aren't as funny as Onizuka. Togashi skillfully weaves little bits of background information about the characters as we go along so that the manga doesn't read as one-sidedly as it might. By the end of this volume, we have Gon hunting Hisoka. A dangerous prospect at best but entertaining for the reader of course; Hisoka one very fun villain. In some ways, he reminds me of Tokyo Babylon's Seishiro with his emotionless but elegant brutality.
I"s Vol.2 by Katsura Masakazu
Okay, now this title is *really* looking like a reincarnation of Video Girl Ai with it standard love triangle. Iori is shy Moemi, and newcomer Itsuki is a cheerful Ai. *sighs* As this is one of those slice-of-life, relationship shounen manga, you know that there won't be real progress in the relationships until right before the series ends. And this is a long one. Will I survive the haul or say uncle before the end? I'm not sure yet, but I'm leaning toward the latter already, and that does not bode well. In spite of Katsura's gorgeous art. There are only so many breast and panty-shot riffs that I can tolerate. Already, we're on a summer vacation so let's go to the hot spring storyline. *rolls eyes* How many damn manga have I seen that one in, anyway?
Immortal Rain Vol.6 by Ozaki Kaori
*drools* Why do all of Ozaki's males ooze sex appeal? The long-tressed Rain is looking stunning as ever, particularly when he is overturning trucks and hauling in blimps with his bare hands, and Yuca in his new incarnation is making doeful eyes at Rain and otherwise ratcheting up the tension between them. Even Eury is appealing, alternately innocent and oversexed. Vol.6 also nets us Dora Folk, swarthy, chain-smoking bad guy a la Saiyuuki. Now that Rain and Machika know that the other is still alive and kicking, they'll stop at nothing to be reunited. If you're not reading this manga, what are you waiting for??? This is a Wings title, and its sensitivity and maturity, in spite of the Digimon-like artistic sensibility, will certainly appeal most widely. Get on it already!!!
The Wallflower Vol.4 by Hayakawa Tomoko
Okay, you have to admit that having four boy band wannabes trying to rehabilitate an irredeemable horror otaku is a funny premise, but the feminist in me is really starting to rage. Two, count 'em TWO, storylines involve the four boys lounging around the house doing absolutely nothing while the laundry piles up, mold grows in the bathtub, and the fridge empties...because Sunako is having *coughs* issues. I mean, Sunako works like a slave, cooks all their meals, does all their laundry, cleans the mansion and picks up after them. And then, God forbid they try to help with the chores! *sounds of dishes and windows breaking* It's pathetic. As if a woman's worth is measured in her talent for household chores. The series is supposed to be a comedy, so it's difficult to take anything too too seriously, but the author nonetheless ought to be beaten over the head with a mallet of visionary feminism.