All posts by Lori Henderson

Lori Henderson is the writer and reviewer for the manga blog, Manga Xanadu. She also keeps a personal blog at Fangirl Xanadu, and a writing blog at Muse of Xanadu. She contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. As the mother of two teen daughters, she needs all the escape she can get, which reading and writing about manga gives her.

Manga at San Diego Comic Con 2015

san-diego-comic-con

This year SDCC was held earlier than usual. It is usually in the last two weeks of July. This year, it was the second week in July, one week after Anime Expo. Manga publishers were at SDCC too, with only a two-day break before the five days of geeky madness began down south. While they had more announcements, they weren’t quite as numerous or as ground breaking as AX. Mostly.

Gakkyu Hotei print  Viz started the con again with their panel on Thursday. The only new announcement they had was that they would be releasing a print edition of Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment. The series originally ran simultaneously with Weekly Shonen Jump and sadly ended with it as well. Written by Nobuaki Enoki and drawn by Takeshi Obata, the series followed Abaku Inugami, a defense attorney at his elementary school. Under the new School Judgement system, students accused of crimes are now tried by their peers, and Inugami is the best for the defense, but when the prosecutor is the cute and rich Hanazuki, things might get tough. I enjoyed the few chapters I’ve read in WSJ, so I will be looking forward to the first volume set to come out in February, 2016.

boti-2Dark Horse had its panel on Friday, and had one announcement, but for nothing new. It would be releasing omnibus editions of Blade of the Immortal, its longest running manga series which just ended in March. The omnibuses will be 3-in-1, with the final volume including the novel Blade of the Immortal: Legend of the Sword Demon. The omnibuses will also retain the original release’s left-to-right orientation and trim size. Considering how much work went into creating them, it’s not surprising. The manga follows Manji, a ronin warrior in feudal Japan who is cursed with immortality until he kills 1000 enemies. He is joined on his quest by Rin, a young woman looking to avenge her parents’ deaths. There wasn’t a planned release date announced.

paradise-residenceOn Saturday, Kodansha was the first publisher with a new license announcement. Paradise Residence is by Kousuke Fujishima, the creator of the very long running Oh! My Goddess. This series is about tomboy Hatsune Takanashi and her life in an all girls dorm, and will give a behind-the-scenes look at life in the all girls school and dormitory. It’s slice of life series and shows Hatsune’s battle with waking up, her grade school aged dorm mother, and her desire for conquest! The series started in 2008 and was put on hiatus in 2012, but just came back in May of 2014. There are two volumes available, a vol 1 and 0. There was no released date announced for the first volume here. I’m not too sure about this series. A man writing a series about the life of a high school girl for an adult male demographic? Yeah, it not hitting any buttons here.

Kodansha also discussed the disruption in their digital manga distribution. With the creation of Kodansha Advanced Media which was announced back in February, the transfer of the digital manga to them has caused some delays. But things have purportedly been resolved and digital titles should be back on Amazon and Barnes and Noble in the next month.

Later on Saturday, Udon Entertainment had their panel. The boutique publisher has dabbled in manga in the past, though they mostly do Art Books and Street Fighter comics. They announced three new manga licenses.

steins-gate-udonSteins;Gate is the manga adaptation of the video game of the same name. It is the second of the “scientific adventure game” series. The story is about eccentric college student Rintaro “Okarin” Okabe and his circle of friends who turn their microwave into a machine that can send texts to the past in a realistic Akihabara. Their activities attract the attention of SERN, an organization that has been studying time travel and now want Okabe and his friends. The series is three volumes with the first set to be released this August along with the first volume of Kill la Kill. Both the video game and anime based on it have been released in English. It looks like an interesting series, and with only three volumes not too big of an investment to just try out.

sugar-sugar-rune-udonThe second announcement was Sugar Sugar Rune, an all ages license rescue by artist Moyocco Anno. Del Rey originally licensed and published all eight volumes starting in 2005, but the series has since gone out of print, and finding volumes is difficult at best. The series is about two young witches, Vanilla Mienux and Chocalat Meilleure, who have been chosen to be candidates to be the next Queen. They are sent to the human world where they must compete to capture as many boys’ hearts as they can. The one that wins the most becomes Queen. They are assisted by guardian and mentor pop idol witch Rockin’ Robin and familiars Bianca the mouse and Duke the frog. The two girls must figure out how to keep their friendship while not only competing for hearts, but also dealing with the strange boy Pierre who looks just like the evil king Glace, and seems to be going for Chocolat. The first volume will be released in the first quarter of 2016. The series was well received the first time around, and Moyocco Anno is well known for writing good stories with great female leads. This is also a boon for teachers and libraries looking for all ages titles to add to their graphic collection.

rose-of-versailles-udonThe third announcement was all the biggest for the manga community and really rocked their world. Rose of Versailles is a classic shojo manga. It was first launched in 1972 and takes place in the intrigue-filled court of Queen Marie Antoinette before and during the upheavals of the French Revolution. It revolves about Oscar Francois de Jarjayes, a woman raised as man to serve and eventually take over as leader of the Palace Guard. She becomes torn between class loyalty and her desire to help the impoverished, as well as her conflicts between wanting to live as a militant and a regular woman. She must also deal with her relationships with Marie Antoinette, Count Axel von Fersen and best friend Andre Grandier. Originally there were 10 volumes, but creator Riyoko Ikeda started penning one-shots for Shueisha’s Margaret magazine in 2013 and will release the 11th volume in August with includes the first 4 stories. Udon will print it as 2-in-1 omnibuses, with the first volume set to come out in second quarter 2016. This series as long been a holy grail for fans, and few thought it would ever see publication in the US due to age and licensing costs. Udon had touted that they would have a classic manga announcement at their panel, but this title was only ever brought up in jest. Now, Udon has a lot of people’s attentions. I would like to check out this series, both as shojo, and as a classic that inspired a lot of artists today.

The final publisher panel was Tokyopop on Saturday night. Like their Anime Expo panel, they didn’t have any titles yet to announce, but they did tease a possible deal with Disney to create original “manga” for the properties Star Wars and Frozen. The stories would be original and would possibly feature Japanese artists. This isn’t new territory for Tokyopop. Before closing, they had published original stories for properties such as Star Trek, Warcraft and Spacecraft. They have also worked with Disney, creating “Cine-manga,” of TV shows such as Hannah Montana. While it’s nothing I’d get excited about, I’m sure there are still plenty of Frozen fans dying for new stories of their favorite princess sisters Anna and Elsa. Books and manga are still the better way to reach a female audience, though comics publishers may finally be seeing the light.

Not as announcement heavy as Anime Expo, but July isn’t done with manga publishers and possible announcements yet. Coming up this weekend is Otakon out on the East Coast. Several publishers will be there, with some hinting at more exciting licenses. After AX and SDCC’s big surprises, can the manga community handle any more?

PR: One-Punch Man Finally Punches Up a Print Edition

It’s been a long time coming to finally see this series in print. New digital volumes always did really well on the Vizmanga site, so it’s surprising it’s taken this long to get it in print. I’ve heard a lot of people go on about how great and funny this series is and since it does do well even as a digital only release I shouldn’t be surprised, but I can’t say I was impressed with the few chapters I read in WSJ back in January. Maybe that just wasn’t a good place to start.

Continue reading PR: One-Punch Man Finally Punches Up a Print Edition

Weekly Top Ten – July 18, 2015

This Week's Manga

Every week, the New York Times and Amazon posts the top ten bestselling books. The New York Times gets their numbers from print sales from retailers, while Amazon and Vizmanga.com calculates their own numbers. Once a month the Nielsen Bookscan posts their top twenty graphic novels of which manga is included. Offered here is a listing of these books with their status this week compared with the previous week, and some way-off analysis of the activity.

NYTBS

 

New York times Bestseller List for the week ending July 11, 2015

  1. TokyoGhoul-GN01Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1     ↑ 1
  2. Bleach Vol 64     
  3. Sword Art Online: Progressive Novel Vol 2     ↓ 2
  4. Big Hero Six Vol 1     ↔
  5. Assassination Classroom  Vol 1   ↑ 3
  6. Naruto Vol 70     ↓ 3
  7. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↓ 1
  8. Assassination Classroom  Vol 3     ↵ 4
  9. Pokemon Adventures Vol 29     
  10. Noragami Vol 5     ↔ 1

After only getting one week at the top, Sword Art Online: Progressive Novel Vol 2 gets the boot as Tokyo Ghoul returns to the top, and is followed by Bleach Vol 64 making its debut at #2. Also debuting is Pokemon Adventures Vol 29, but it doesn’t do as well, only coming in at #9. Big Hero Six Vol 1 and Noragami Vol 5 stay the course, holding fast at their respective spot while Assassination Classroom gets a double dose with Vol 4 returning while Vol 1 moves back up the list. Viz dominates the list this week with 6 of the 10 spots, but Yen Press and Kodansha have their best sellers fighting back.

Amazon

 

Amazon.com for the week ending July 18, 2015

  1. TokyoGhoul-GN01Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1     ↔ 5
  2. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past     ↔ 1
  3. Naruto Vol 71     ↑ 7
  4. Tokyo Ghoul Vol 2     ↵
  5. Naruto Vol 70    
  6. Sword Art Online Progressive Novel Vol 2     ↔ 3
  7. Uzumaki 3-in-1     
  8. No Game No Life Novel Vol 2     
  9. Akame ga Kill Vol 3     
  10. Prison School Vol 1     ↓ 5

Tokyo Ghoul holds on to the top spot for the 5th week in a row now, along with a few other titles that are holding on to their spots; Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past and Sword Art Online Progressive Novel Vol 2. There were a few returning titles as well as couple of debuts. Many of these are also pre-orders. Tokyo Ghoul , No Game No Life Novel Vol 2, Akame ga Kill Vol 3 and Prison School Vol 1 all have future release dates, with the last three scheduled for this week. Gotta get those last-minute deals with pre-order!

nielsen-bookscan-logo

 

Nielsen’s Bookscan Top 20 for June 2015

Naruto 701. Naruto Vol 70     
5. Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1     
8. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past     ↓ 4
12. Attack on Titan Vol 1     

Manga doubled its presence on the Bookscan for June. One title, Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past, was able to hold over dropping to #8. It also took the top spot with Naruto Vol 70 debuting at #1, and Tokyo Ghoul making the top five by debuting at #5. Attack on Titan vol 1 made a return, just missing the top ten by 2 spots. It’s good to see manga’s presence increase, something that will hopefully happen more as Barnes and Noble increases their manga shelf space.

∗ = New Release
↑ = Title moved up specified # of spots
↓ = Title moved down specified # of spots
↔ = Title didn’t moved from previous week with total # of weeks
↵ = Title returned after dropping off list with total # of weeks (when available)

Tokyopop: Rising from the Ashes or the Grave

TokyopoplogoTokyopop, the former manga publisher that ceased publication and closed its doors in 2011 has been slowly coming back to life. In the last few years it has begun showing signs it might want to return to the stage, starting with a newsletter soon after shutting down, publishing more Hetalia in conjunction with Rightstuf, and the bringing back their website and making the OEL titles they still held rights to available as eBooks. In June, the website made mention of Tokyopop “evolving”, and that evolution was revealed at their panel at Anime Expo.

The panel was headed by founder Stu Levy, who announced the company would start publishing manga again in 2016. They had no titles to announced, but claimed they were looking to license “hidden gems that are not yet noticed” from small and independent publishers. They also planned to publish art books and will consider light novels.

On the multimedia side, Levy said the company had 20 properties lined for both animation and live action, and highlighted Knockouts, a Ikkitousen knockoff with a live action concept trailer, and Riding Shotgun, one of their OEL properties that only got two volumes, which already attempted an indigogo crowd-sharing project to create an animated series. Also announced was a youtube series of anime reviews.

The final announcement was a comics app for iOS and Android called “POP Comics”. The app would be free to readers, and would allow users to upload their own comics to share, while retaining 100% of their copyright and creative control, and getting a 70/30 split of any ad-generated revenue.

tpop-rebornAd-opt3fIt all sounds reasonable. Sure, there are plenty of titles out there being ignored by the big publishers with ties to Japanese companies. Yes, there are fans who would love to see manga and/or manga inspired stories adapted to animation and/or live action. Yes, there are lots and lots of creators who want to get their works out to a wider audience. It appears that Tokyopop has learned from their past and are trying to make up for the bad reputation they got in the manga and comics community. Not a lot of people are buying it though.

As soon as the tweet went out about POP Comics and Tokyopop doing portfolio reviews, creators who had worked with Tokyopop previously came out and started tweeting warnings and telling their stories. Every single one had the same message. Don’t trust Tokyopop or Stu Levy. Blog posts and articles came out written by creators or that interviewed creators, mostly warning NOT to give up any of their rights. No one seemed to believe Stu when he said at the panel creators will keep their copyright and creative control. But when you read about what a lot of them went through, you can’t really blame them for their mistrust.

And with some of the statements Levy made, it’s easy to see why fans would feel the same way. For many people, Tokyopop was their introduction not just to manga, but to comics in general. Their website, before they went to that awful “3.0 update,” was where a lot of manga bloggers like Kate Dacey got their start, talking about manga and building an audience. They introduced a lot of creators that went on to do bigger and better things; Svenlana Chmakova, Amy Reader Hadley, Becky Clooney, and Sophie Campbell. They did do a lot of good things for the budding manga community, which I think is what made some of Levy’s statements feel like a betrayal. The most memorable for me was, after another round of layoffs were announced, Levy posted on his twitter feed:

Wow #GDC2011 is blowing my mind. Why have I been stuck in such an old-school, out-of-touch industry for so long?! (yes I mean books!)

Levy has always been his own worst enemy. He seemed to have ADD when it came to initiatives at Tokyopop. He would jump on one idea and stay with it for a while until a new shiny came along and he was jumping on that, leaving the previous unfinished. Everything Tokyopop did at the time seemed half-assed. If something seemed to be going somewhere, it would be left to its own devices, whether it could stand on it own yet or not to chase down the next, “big thing.” Always seemed to be about what ever Levy was excited about at the time, whether it was writing kids books, making movies, or social media, what really mattered, the books became less and less important to the company as Levy lost interest. He burned a lot of bridges with fans the closing of publishing in 2011. It’s going to take a lot to rebuild them, if they can be rebuilt at all.

With these new announcements, it seems that Tokyopop will try to balance their different interests instead of jumping from one to another haphazardly. They encompass everything that Levy tried to do previously, but not so ostentatiously. Manga, multimedia and social media. The next several months will be crucial for the company as they (hopefully) announce titles and launch their app.

san-diego-comic-conBut what I really wonder is, has Levy really learned from the past? Brigid Alverson talked with Levy at San Diego Comic Con for Comic Book Resources and some of the answers he gave really feels like the doesn’t think any *he* did was to blame for the company’s downfall. He admits mistakes were made, but not by him. He boils it down to too much too fast, creators weren’t ready, audience wasn’t ready. Not once does he address or even acknowledge the lack of editorial for many creators that no doubt led to books being created poorly and audiences not liking. He tried to spin the “too much too fast” as he was too big-hearted and wanted to help creators get published. Come on Stu, step up. It’s time for some personal accountability.

Another think I don’t like that he said was about the creators not being given their properties back. He claims it was purely business and that most didn’t make back their advances, but if they wanted to pay, they could have them back. Well as to why most didn’t sell, see above. Also marketing is usually required for books to sell, and that seemed to be missing too. It really looks like a lot of creators were set up to fail just so Tokyopop could get a bunch of properties cheap that they could sell the IP for. Though, if they didn’t sell, who would want to buy those IP, which makes Tokyopop holding on to them make no sense. I’m certainly not going to buy into an IP without the original creator, or that was a proven failure in the market.

So, is this new Tokyopop a phoenix rising from the ashes, or zombie shambling out of its grave? I’m really not sure yet. I want to be optimistic about the former, but the more hear about Tokyopop’s practices under Levy’s direction, the more I fear it will be the latter. The question that really needs to be asked, is, does Tokyopop in general, and Stu Levy specifically, deserve another chance? The old adage, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me,” comes to mind. Tokyopop fooled fans once that they were serious about a come back after the 2008 restructuring. We do not intend to be fooled again.

This Week’s Manga: Manhwa Magic

This Week's Manga

My Neighbor Seki 3Netcomics has a strong showing this week, with five volumes, two of which are debuts. It think it’s great to see manhwa (Korean comics) being brought back to the US. Yen Press was the last publisher to make any kind of push when they took over Ice Kunion, but haven’t done anything new since. I’m less likely to check out the new volumes Behind Story and Core Scramble as they are BL, but Chiro, which is a rescue from Udon, and Give To The Heart are both titles I would definitely try out. One volume I will have to get is My Neighbor Seki Vol 3. I adore this series so much, that every volume is a must have. Bravo to Vertical Comics for licensing such a fun manga.

Viz Media releases their Shonen Sunday titles this week. I still love Case Closed and get sucked in everything time I pick up a volume no matter how many I’ve missed in between. I do kind of hate seeing a volume where the first chapter ends a case, but  no matter how ludicrous the setups or solutions may seem to others, I still adore them!  Tiger and Bunny is a series I didn’t expect to like, but now really enjoy. I would enjoy it even more if it were available digitally, but all in all, I’m just glad we got it here. It a Takahashi double-header with both Ranma 1/2 and Rin-Ne releasing new volumes. Ranma 1/2 is another series that I would love digitally, if only Takahashi would allow it.

Full List per Diamond Distributors:

NETCOMICS
Behind Story Volume 1 GN, $11.99
Chiro Volume 2 The Star Project GN, $11.99
Core Scramble Volume 1 GN, $11.99
Give To The Heart Volume 4 GN, $11.99
Sweet Blood Volume 2 GN, $11.99

SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT
Arpeggio Of Blue Steel Volume 5 GN, $12.99

SUBLIME
Love Stage Volume 2 GN, $12.99
World’s Greatest First Love Volume 2 GN, $12.99

VERTICAL COMICS
My Neighbor Seki Volume 3 GN, $10.95

VIZ MEDIA
07-Ghost Volume 17 GN, $9.99
Case Closed Volume 55 GN, $9.99
Ranma 1/2 2-In-1 Volume 9 TP, $14.99
Rin-Ne Volume 18 GN, $9.99
Tiger And Bunny Volume 7 GN, $9.99

Seven Seas Announces Angel Beats! Prequel

sevenseaslogo

Seven Seas wasn’t at Anime Expo, but it still managed to announce a new license during the con. Through their Twitter and Tumblr, they announced that they had licensed the manga Angel Beats!: Heaven’s Door on Friday, the second day of the con.

angelbeatsAngel Beats!: Heaven’s Door is a manga adaptation of the light novel Angel Beats! Track 0, which is a prequel to the original anime Angel Beats! There is a world between the living and heaven known as limbo. It is where spirits go to learn to let go of any lingering attachments they may have to world of the living. The story takes place in a high school in this afterlife for students sent there where they can still feel pain and can die again, only to awaken without their injuries. Not everyone is happy about being there, or even how they got there. Yuri is the leader of the Afterlife Battlefront who leads the battles with the powers-that-be represented by Angel, the Student Council President who uses her supernatural powers against the Battlefront’s mass-produced conventional weapons. The manga follows the formation of the Afterlife Battlefront and its actions before the start of the anime.

There are 8 Volumes so far and the series is still ongoing. Seven Seas has announced that they release the first volume in February 2016. I’d probably be more interested in this title if I had seen the anime, which actually does look interesting. But, the parts that look interesting probably won’t be in the manga, so I think I will give it a pass.

 

PR: Viz Media Acquires 6 New Titles for 2016

I already discussed these new licenses in my Anime Expo manga roundups. I’ll give the two new shojo manga, Behind the Scenes and Shuriken and Pleats a try. It would be nice to find a good Drama club manga. I could do without another Dragon Ball Z release just to add some color. I also really want to read School Judgement: Gakkyu Hotei. I really enjoyed the few chapters I read in Shonen Jump back in January, so I’m thrilled it’s coming out in print.

Continue reading PR: Viz Media Acquires 6 New Titles for 2016

Manga at Anime Expo 2015 Part 3

anime_expo_logo

Anime Expo occurred over the Fourth of July weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and there were certainly a lot of fireworks as publisher exploded with new license announcements. Over the four-day holiday weekend, Viz, Vertical, Crunchyroll, Kodansha Comics and Yen Press all announced titles, some of which nearly had fans swooning from shock and excitement.

Yen Press started out the last day of the con with an overload of licenses and announcements. They just piled on the titles, some digital only, some digital going print, some light novels, and plenty of manga.

HanadaKunStarting with print, a title that had been previously announced as a digital only at Sakura Con has moved up to print before even coming out. Handa-kun is the prequel series to Barakamon, which as been doing really well in Japan, reportedly better than the main series. I really liked Barakamon. I binge-read the first four volumes, so this series has moved up from a wait and see to a want. It was also announced to be a simul-pub which Yen Press will begin in October with several other Square-Enix titles.

My Youth My Youth Romantic ComedyRomantic Comedy is Wrong As I Expected started as a light novel series. It follows antisocial high school student Hachiman Hikigaya who has a distorted view of life. He has no friends or girlfriend and has a very pessimistic view on his classmates and his future. In order to change his twisted outlook, he his forced by one of his teachers to join the volunteer service club, which also has Yukino Yukinoshita, the school’s prettiest girl as the sole member. There are 11 volumes of the light novel series and four of the manga series, both of which Yen Press has licensed and scheduled for release in 2016. Despite the long and awkwardly worded title, this series sounds interesting as it looks at the psychological motives behind teen interactions in high school.

Log Horizon West WindLog Horizon: The West Wind Brigade is a side story to Log Horizon and follows Sojiro and the members of the West Wind Brigade. Yen Press already has the main manga and light novel series of the users of the online game Elder Tale being trapped in the game and having to fight to survive. There are 5 volumes so far, but no release date was announced. Fans of Log Horizon or this genre will enjoy the side story. I will pass.

SAO PhantomThese next two titles are no brainers. Sword Art Online: Phantom Bullet and Mother’s Rosario continue the 3rd and 4th story arcs of the light novel series Sword Art Online. Yen Press has already licensed and released several other manga adaptation and side stories, so these next to arcs should come as no surprise. Phantom Bullet is at one volume so far which will be released in September 2015 and Mother’s Rosario is at two with the first to be released in December 2015. I wasn’t impressed with SAO, so I don’t think these two titles will do anything to change that.

Demonizer ZilchDemonizer Zilch is a supernatural series that follows Io Haruomi. He is haunted by his past where his sister and friend died and he was powerless to help them. Despite his guilt, he tries to live a normal life as an average high school student, until he meets a girl with glowing red eyes known as an Eda. She has escaped from the “Seven Great Gospel Organizations” and shows Io that he is an Eda too, throwing him into the midst of the battle between humans and the devil. There is only one volume so far, and Yen did not announce a release date. I’m getting a “meh” feeling from this one.

Taboo TattooTaboo Tattoo is an action title about Justice Akazuka, aka Seigi, a young man who is good at martial arts. He rescues an old homeless man from some thugs and is given an object by him that imprints a tattoo on his palm. The tattoo imbues Seigi with supernatural powers such as warping space-time. He is then pursued by Ijii, a female American agent sent to retrieve the tattoos, which are actually secret weapons in an arms race. Seigi offers to help Ijii, and becomes entangled in a cross-nation conspiracy. This title sounds interesting, but has a lot of male-gaze potential as well. I hope the former will be greater than the latter. I’d give this one a read. I love conspiracy stories.

How to raise a boring girlfriendHow to Raise a Boring Girlfriend is a manga adaptation of a light novel series that surprising Yen did not license as well. It is about otaku Tomoya Aki who meets a beautiful girl over summer vacation. He models her after the heroine for his own doujin game he is working on for Comiket with two of his fellow students helping with the art and writing. She turns out to be his classmate that no one seems to notice. There are five volumes so far. I’m not seeing the point of this series. Tomoya has no talent for writing or art, and yet he wants to create this game? Is he the coder then? This is too much of a head scratcher for me to get behind.

another ep sAlong with My Youth Romantic Comedy, Yen Press licensed two more light novels. Another: Episode S is a spin-off of the horror novel Another, of which both the manga and novel was released by Yen. Episode S features the story of Mei and her cousin Fujioka Misaki before the start of the novel. It will be a hardcover like the first novel and will be bundled with manga Another 0, which is a prequel that tell the story of Kouichi’s mother’s time in Class 3. I loved Another and am totally looking forward to this, especially with the manga bundle. No release date was announced unfortunately.

BaccanoThe final OMG of the con was Yen Press’ license of Baccano!, a light novel series by Narita, the creator of Durarara!! The story takes place in America, 1930. Each story in the series involves unrelated plots that intersect, causing events to spiral further out of control. Rooted in a desire for immortality by some alchemists 300 years about, they have scattered around the world, and the incident on the soon-to-be-retired train Pussyfoot starts the chain reaction of atrocities. This series had an anime back in 2007 which propelled it to the top of many fan’s wish lists. The series is currently at 21 volume and is still ongoing. No release date was announced.

Yen Press then announced eight digital only titles. Aphorism is a school survival story where the students of Nara Shika High School must fight to survive everyday. There are currently 13 volumes. It’s first volume will be out in November. Pass. I am so done with all the high school survivor titles. Sekirei is a male-gaze battle series that follows Minato Sahashi, a total loser until he discovers he is an Ashikabi, one who can master the 108 human-like creatures, who all turn out to be girls. It is 18 volumes and will also be out in November. Another pass, not doing a title where the girls are constantly getting their clothes ripped off.

sakiSaki is a game manga about Saki Miyanaga, a high school student who hates mahjong, but due to circumstances has learned to play a zero sum game. She gets dragged to her school’s mahjong club by an old friend. There are currently 14 volumes and the first volume will be out in November. I love gaming manga, and this is a series I’ve been interested in for a while. I will definitely be checking the first volume at least. Corpse Princess is about Makina Hoshimura an undead girl who must hunt down 108 corpses in order to go to heaven. It is complete at 23 volumes, and the first will be out in November. It’s about zombie killing, so I’ll give this a pass.

kurotanteiCrimson Prince is a romantic comedy about Kojiro Sakura, a demon prince who has come to Earth to start taking souls. Due to circumstances, he ends up meeting Hana Koumeda, starts living with her, and maybe having a change of heart. There are 16 volumes, but it has gone on hiatus indefinitely due to the artists’ health. The first volume is slated for November. This series looks sweet so I would give it a shot. I love detective stories, so Black Detective is another title that needs to go on my must have list. It is about naive Arata Toiro who is tricked into become the assistant to Yu Kuroba, aka The Black Detective, who likes to use his deductive powers to destroy his targets physically and mentally. There are six volumes so far, and the first volume will be available in December.

reneveAoharu x Machine Gun follows high school student Hotaru Tachibana, a girl disguised as a boy who gets drawn into the world of survival games by host Matsuoka and his childhood friend ero-manga artist Tohru Yukimura. There are seven volumes available, and the first will be released in December. Again, survival games, not interested. Renaissance Eve is a supernatural title about people who have strange blood that bestows special abilities. The story follows Chiaki Kaminaga who has blood type “C” for clairvoyance, and his friend Kaguya Daidoji who has blood type “D” for death. This is a short 4 volume series and the first volume will be out in December. This series looks interesting so it’s another I’d be willing to check out.

The final announcements from Yen Press was several titles would be starting simultaneous release with Japan starting in October. The titles include Black Butler, Today’s Kerberos, The Royal Tutor, and three new titles: Kake Gurui, a psychological drama that is currently at 3 volumes. My Monster Girl’s Too Cool for You is a comedy about a boy attending a human-yokai co-ed school who gets dumped by a Yuki Ono. There is only one volume out so far. Demon King Ena-sama Goes to Manga School is another comedy with two volumes out so far. I can’t find anything else about it.

None of these simultaneous releases really stand out which really makes me wonder why Yen Press is doing it, especially for the titles that are 2-3 volumes in and haven’t been released yet. And how are the releases going to work? I hope they aren’t going to continue their $2.99 a chapter like Secret was. It not worth it to buy chapters at $3 when the collected volume will be $10 in print or less in digital. But Yen Press has said so little about their digital initiative other than pile on the titles, it’s really hard to say where it will all go.

 

 

Weekly Top Ten – July 11, 2015

Weekly Top Ten Manga

Every week, the New York Times and Amazon posts the top ten bestselling books. The New York Times gets their numbers from print sales from retailers, while Amazon and Vizmanga.com calculates their own numbers. Once a month the Nielsen Bookscan posts their top twenty graphic novels of which manga is included. Offered here is a listing of these books with their status this week compared with the previous week, and some way-off analysis of the activity.

NYTBS

 

New York Times Bestseller List for the Week Ending July 4, 2015

  1. SAO Progressive 2Sword Art Online: Progressive Novel Vol 2     
  2. Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1    
  3. Naruto Vol 70    
  4. Big Hero Six Vol 1     ↑ 6
  5. Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon Vol 1     ↑ 1
  6. Attack on Titan Vol 1     ↓ 2
  7. Seraph of the End Vol 5     ↔ 2
  8. Assassination Classroom  Vol 1    ↵ 14
  9. Seraph of the End Vol 1     ↵ 3
  10. Noragami Vol 5     ↓ 2

The debut of a new Sword Art Online Progressive has sent the to the top spot. Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1 and Naruto Vol 70 stay steady at #2 and #3 respectively. The predicted fall of Big Hero Six vol 1 seemed to have been premature as the title rockets back up to take the #4 spot. Seraph of the End does well as its first volume returns while the newest volume holds steady. Assassination Classroom vol 1 also makes its return while Noragami Vol 5 falls dangerously close to falling off, stopping just short at #10. It’s interesting to see a whole new generation of titles dominating, led by Attack on Titan, after Bleach and Naruto did so for so long.

Amazon

 

Amazon.com for the Week Ending July 11, 2015

  1. TokyoGhoul-GN01Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1     ↔ 4
  2. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past     ↑ 2
  3. Bleach Vol 64     ↑ 7
  4. Attack on Titan Vol 1    
  5. Prison School Vol 1     
  6. Sword Art Online Progressive Novel Vol 2     ↔ 2
  7. 12 Beast Vol 2     
  8. The Demon Prince of Momochi House Vol 1   
  9. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1: Phantom Blood Vol 3     
  10. Naruto Vol 71     ↓ 2

Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1 keeps its killer grip on the top spot for the fourth week in a row. Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past shows its got some stamina as it moves back up to the #2 spot. Pre-orders Prison School Vol 1 and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1: Phantom Blood vol 3 make the list while Naruto Vol 71 falls dangerously close to dropping off. Bleach Vol 64, on the other hand, rockets up the list to land at #3. I’m happy to see shojo The Demon Prince of Momochi House Vol 1 chart this week. Shojo titles don’t make it often enough.

∗ = New Release
↑ = Title moved up specified # of spots
↓ = Title moved down specified # of spots
↔ = Title didn’t moved from previous week
↵ = Title returned after dropping off list with total # of weeks (when available)

Manga at Anime Expo 2015 Part 2

anime_expo_logoAnime Expo occurred over the Fourth of July weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and there were certainly a lot of fireworks as publisher exploded with new license announcements. Over the four-day holiday weekend, Vertical, Viz, Crunchyroll, Kodansha Comics and Yen Press all announced titles, some of which nearly had fans swooning from shock and excitement.

shuriken-and-pleats-largeThe first manga panel on Saturday was for Viz Media’ Shojo Beat. The imprint is celebrating its 10 year anniversary which included tea with mangaka Julietta Suzuki, the creator of Kamisama Kiss. They announced two licenses, sadly one of which was NOT Suzuki’s Karakuri Odette. It would make a great Viz Select title. Instead, Shuriken and Pleats by Matsuri Hino, the creator of Vampire Knight, was announced. It is about school girl Mikage, who has trained as a ninja to work in her family’s security company, which is a front for her clan’s ninja activities. She worked as bodyguard for an English businessman, who cared about her like a daughter. When he is killed, she learns he has bought her freedom from the clan, and follows his wish to go to school in Japan like a normal girl. The series started in September of 2014 in Hakusensha’s LaLa magazine, and will end in the September issue this year. The series will be two volumes, with the first coming out in Japan this month. Viz will release the first volume in Winter of 2016. I’ve been hit and miss with Hino titles, but for such a short series, I’d be willing to give the first volume a try.

Behind the Scenes -urakata- The second license was also from a well-known mangaka to western readers. Behind the Scenes is by Bisco Hatori, the creator of Ouran High School Host Club and Millenium Snow. It is about Ranmaru, a super negative college student. He runs into a mysterious drama group on campus who end up turning his life into turmoil. There’s only one volume out so far. Viz will release their first volume in the spring of 2016. I’ve only read Millenium Snow by Hatori, and first two volumes were a lot stronger than the final two, so I’m not sure where to stand on this one. I guess I’ll just wait and see.

princess-jellyfish-1-eng Kodansha was the second manga panel of the day, and announced three new titles. They also dropped the second bomb of the con by announcing that they would be releasing the Princess Jellyfish (Kuragehime). This title has been on people’s wish lists for several years now, especially after the anime was released. It is a josei series, and follows Tsukimi, a young woman who lives in a “fangirl-only” dorm. She has come to Tokyo to be an illustrator. She has loved jellyfish from a young age, and sees one in danger at a local pet store. A beautiful woman comes to its rescue, and they go back to the dorm, Amamizukan, together, where Tsukimi discovers the woman is really a man. Kodansha has licensed the first 12 volumes of this title, and will release them as 2-in-1 omnibuses starting in February 2016. Whether or not they pick up the remaining 3 volumes will depend on sales. At least they are being up front about it this time. I’ve heard this title bantered about, but never really looked into it since is seemed so unlikely to be licensed. But now that it has, it sounds really interesting. It’s one I’m definitely going to want to check out.

real-account-1Real Account is another “virtual game becomes deadly in real life” series. This time, it’s a Twitter like game, where members of a social networking site known as Real Account find themselves inside a virtual world. The rules of the game are simple, if you die, all of your followers die too. If you lose all your followers, you die. There are currently 5 volumes, and Kodansha will release the first volume in March 2016. I am not a fan of these virtual reality becomes deadly titles, so it’s not one I’m looking forward to.

magatsuki-1Kodansha’s third license fits with their male gaze titles. Magatsuki is about 15-year-old Yasuke Arahabaki. He wants to ask out his childhood friend and crush Akari Inamori. While rushing to do the chores at his family’s shrine, he accidentally breaks a mirror and is cursed by the goddess it releases, Seoritsuhime, a goddess of misfortune. Now, Yasuke must stay close to Seoritsuhime, or he will die, and the only way to life the curse is to help her achieve happiness, even though she is constantly surrounded by bad luck. The first volume will be published in February of 2016, but if you want to check it out first, Crunchyroll is simu-pubbing the series. I’m gonna pass on it though. It doesn’t sound like it would pass my standards on rom-coms.

Two other tidbits announced at the panel; Noragami will begin publishing monthly starting in October 2015 to catch it up with the Japanese releases, due to “excellent sales.” See? Buying pays off! Fairy Tail will also start to see omnibus editions. The first was announced for September and will collect he first 5 volumes. Build up those hand muscles now. That is going to be a killer book to try to hold.

amamaCrunchyroll Manga had the final panel of the con, and added 5 new titles to their streaming service, one of which will sound familiar. Princess Jellyfish will be streamed starting July 15 with the first 4 volumes. If you can’t wait for Kodansha’s print volumes, then check out the digital, and then go buy the print ones. Also out July 15 is Sweetness and Lightening. It’s another “single dad must cope with raising a child alone” title. This time it’s math teacher Kouhei Inuzuka who has lost his wife and must raise his daughter Tsumugi by himself. He’s not a very good cook, but with the help of one his students, Kotori Iida, cooking becomes a new homemade adventure. There are currently 4 volumes available. It looks like something foodies will enjoy.

takahashiAlready available is Takahashi-san is Listening. This gag-manga is about high school student idol Ena Takahashi. She has a hobby she can’t tell anyone about; she likes to listen in on the ridiculous conversations of class representative Nara-kun and plain-boy Mikage-kun. She wants to retort, but if anyone found out about it, everyone’s trust in her would be destroyed! There are currently five volumes available. This title sounds like shades of My Neighbor Seki, so it might actually be fun, depending on what the conversations she eavesdrops on are about. I think it would be fun to try out at least.

scumCrunchyroll’s description of Scum’s Wish doesn’t do the series justice. The description and cover makes the series sound like something dark and dirty. It’s about a couple, Hanabi and Mugi, who seem perfect for each other but have a secret they are hiding from the rest of the world. They are both in love with other people. They are drawn together by loneliness and a need to share their hopelessness. Crunchyroll only used the first sentence to describe the series, it the remaining two that make this manga appealing. It’s currently at 5 volumes, and sounds like something I like to read. Get it together Crunchyroll! Series descriptions should attract readers, not repel them!

monokeanMorose Mononokean is a title that is definitely up my alley. It follows the a mononokean, the owner of a small tea room that helps to guide yokai that wander into this world, to go to the next. We meet him through Ashiya, a boy who missed the first 5 days of school after a yokai attached itself to him, and he has to go see the Mononokean to ask for help. There are currently 4 volumes. I love yokai, and will always be interested in checking out a new series about them. This title also has the plus of having bishonen as the leads. It’s definitely one I want to check out.

I was hoping to only do two post about the manga licenses at Anime Expo, but after seeing how much Yen Press announced, I’m gonna need a third post just for them to cover it all! And I haven’t forgotten Tokyopop’s announced return. That is another thing that needs its own post. With them reportedly having a panel at SDCC as well, I am very interested to hear if they have anything new to add.

Manga at Anime Expo 2015 Part 1

anime_expo_logo

Anime Expo occurred over the Fourth of July weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and there were certainly a lot of fireworks as publisher exploded with new license announcements. Over the four-day holiday weekend, Viz, Vertical, Crunchyroll, Kodansha Comics and Yen Press all announced titles, so of which nearly had fans swooning from shock and excitement.

NichijoVertical Comics got their announcements out early, with their panel on Thursday. They first added to their comedy line with a title that has been showing up in their surveys; Nichijou. US fans are familiar with the title through Crunchyroll streaming the anime, and Jmanga having published the first four volumes. It follows a group of female students living what should be a normal high school life, except for all the talking cats, robots, and deer wrestling going on. Vertical did good with their pick of My Neighbor Seki, so I’m gonna trust them with this one too. Actually, they had me at talking cats. It is currently 9 volumes. The first will be out in Spring 2016.

Kitten TalesTheir second manga license was Fuku Fuku: Kitten Tales by Kanata Konami, the creator of Chi’s Sweet Home. This title is a spin-off from an earlier series, Fuku Fuku Nya~n, a story about the everyday life of a domestic cat and owned by an old lady who runs a local provision shop. Kitten Tales is also about the everyday life of an old lady, but this time it’s with a new kitten. This is so a must have! Just getting more cat manga is great, but getting more Konami cat manga is a boon! Maybe if Kitten Tales does well we can get Nya~n too! The first of the two currently available volumes of this series will be in the spring of 2016 as well.

In the prose department, Vertical picked up another Attack on Titan novel. Lost Girls is another spin-off and is composed of three short stories. They center around Mikasa and Annie, the two butt-kicking girls from the first half of the manga. “Lost in the Cruel World,” “Wall Sina, Goodbye,” and “Lost Girls will make up the 220-page volume and will be out in the Summer of 2016. I’m not too crazy about Annie, but I would totally be up for some stories about Mikasa. I’m glad Vertical is keeping with the Attack on Titan novels. They’ve worked out well filling in story and time wise while waiting for new volumes of the main story.

loghViz Media had their first panel on Thursday, for their non-imprint titles, and gave fans their first OMG moment, when they announced they had picked up the novel series Legend of Galactic Heroes for their Haikasoru line. Please notice that is novel and not light novel. Legend of Galactic Heroes is a title a lot of old school fans will be familiar with, it had a 110-episode OVA series that began in the late 80s. It is an epic story of political intrigue and war as the story follows the conflict between the Galactic Empire and the Free Planet Alliance. It is space opera at its finest as it focuses on the personal stories of Admiral Reinhard von Lohengramm and the Alliance’s Yang Wen-Li. Now, the source material for the series, something at most fans thought was a long shot at best, has been licensed. The series is 10 volumes long as well as 4 volumes of side stories. They were written by Yoshiki Tanaka, who also penned the novel for Heroic Legend of Arslan, which is basis for the manga and anime out now. The first volume will be out in the spring of 2016, and remainder of the series will depend on the success of the first three volumes, so be sure to pre-order if this sounds like your kind of thing.

naruto-gaidenOn Friday, Viz had their Shonen Jump panel that didn’t have anything really new to announce. The closest they came was to announce that the Naruto manga spin-off, Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring that has been running in Shonen Jump would be collected and released as a print volume. It ran for a total of 10 chapters, the final of which came out in the issue that was released on Monday. The story takes place several years after the end of Naruto, and follows the new generation of ninja, including Naruto’s son Baruto, and Sakura and Sasuke’s daughter Sarada. I liked Naruto enough that I would check this volume out despite not knowing how the series ended. It will be released in the winter of 2016. If you can’t wait that long, check the Shonen Jump back issues, or watch for a possible early digital release.

That’s it for the first two days. Things are starting off slow, with Vertical having the most titles announced so far, but fans got two good OMG moments with LoGH and Nichijou. I’m still thrilled for more cat manga. There can never be too much cat manga. But Saturday is the big day. It the day when all the biggest announcements are made, and Yen Press, Kodansha and Crunchyroll do not disappoint. I will get to those, as well as Shojo Beat tomorrow.

This Week’s Manga: What Did You Read Yesterday?

This Week's Manga

Pandora in the Crimson Shell 1The week of San Diego Comic Con is usually a slow and sparse one, but this week is ripe with new releases, including several debut titles. Seven Seas Entertainment releases two new titles this week. Magika Swordsman and Summoner is an ecchi, harem story that sets up the male protagonist as the only male student at an essentially all-girl school to no doubt get into lots of trouble and have girls fight over him as he becomes the only hope to stop some evil. Can you tell I’m not impressed with this premise? It does however fit into Seven Seas’ line quite well. Pandora of the Crimson Shell Ghost Urn is another ecchi title that goes the sci-fi route rather than fantasy. It features two young cybernetic girls with amazing combat skills who must work together against a world in turmoil It is by the creators of Excel Saga, Koshi Rikdo, and Ghost in the Shell, Masamune Shirow. This series sounds a little less slapstick, and may have more drama, but with these two creators, there will definitely be male gaze.

Demon Prince of Momochi House 1Viz Media lets loose its torrent of shonen and shojo titles this week, including two debuts as well. Demon Prince of Momochi House is a shojo that got some presales last week at Anime Expo, but is officially out this week. It is about an orphaned girl who inherits an estate that sits on the border between the human and spiritual worlds. In the house, Himari finds three boys, two spirits and one human who can also change into a Nue, and who is determined to protect Himari. This is a title I’m very interested in, and may see if I can get someone going to SDCC to pick it up for me. Twin Star Exorcists on the other hand is a shonen title about Rokuro, an exceptionally gifted exorcist who wants to me anything but. His competitive side is fired up when he meets Benio, a rival. She also turns out to be fated to be his wife so they can birth the ultimate spiritual warrior. Probably not what he signed up for. I’m not as interested in this title. Shonen has worn thin on me, and a title has to be really good to get my attention, like World Trigger did, which has a new volume out this week as well.  Other notable titles are My Love Story Vol 5, Yukarism Vol 3, and What Did You Eat Yesterday Vol 9 from Vertical Comics. It’s time to binge read this title again!

Full List per Diamond Distributors:

KODANSHA COMICS
UQ Holder Volume 5 GN, $10.99

SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT
12 Beast Volume 2 GN, $12.99
Kokoro Connect Volume 4 GN, $12.99
Magika Swordsman And Summoner Volume 1 GN, $12.99
Pandora Of The Crimson Shell Ghost Urn Volume 1 GN, $12.99
Sacred Blacksmith Volume 8 GN, $13.99

VERTICAL COMICS
What Did You Eat Yesterday Volume 9 GN, $12.95

VIZ MEDIA
Bleach GN Box Set 2 Volumes 22-48 With Premium, $214.99
Bleach Volume 64 GN, $9.99
D.Gray-Man 3-In-1 Volume 7 TP, $14.99
Demon Prince Of Momochi House Volume 1 GN, $9.99
Kiss Of The Rose Princess Volume 5 GN, $9.99
LBX World Battle Volume 6 GN, $9.99
My Love Story Volume 5 GN, $9.99
Naruto GN Box Set 2 Volumes 28-48 With Premium, $174.99
Nisekoi False Love Volume 10 GN, $9.99
Pokemon Adventures Black And White Volume 8 GN, $9.99
Pokemon Adventures Volume 29 GN, $9.99
Skip Beat 3-In-1 Volume 11 TP, $14.99
Twin Star Exorcists Volume 1 GN, $9.99
World Trigger Volume 6 GN, $9.99
Yukarism Volume 3 GN, $9.99