Category Archives: News

Keep up with the weekly happenings in the world of manga.

Weekly Shonen Jump Math

WSJ My HeroWeekly Shonen Jump, both the US digital and the Japanese print magazines have announced titles to begin and end in their respective magazines in the coming weeks. Starting in the US, Viz’s Weekly Shonen Jump will debut My Hero Academy by Kohei Horikoshi, the creator of the short-lived series Barrage. My Hero Academy follows Izuku Midoriya, a boy with no powers in a modern-day world where people with super powers have become common place. The series started in July of 2014, and Viz will run the first chapter in the February 2 issue, and begin simultaneous release in the next issue out February 9. Both of these issues will be free to read as part of Viz’s Weekly Shonen Jump Third Anniversary.

Over in Japan, the sports medical manga Sporting Salt ends in the first issue of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump out in February. It will end at three volumes. The story follows Hiroyuki Shioya, a high school student who decided to become the best sports doctor in Japan, and starts out by helping athletes in trouble with their issues and improving their performance. Sporting Salt was the first series run in the Viz’s “Jump Start” initiative, but didn’t make the cut as a regular series.

While one series ends, another four begins. Starting in the issue out February 9, four new titles will debut over the next four weeks. Kagamigami, Mirror God, is by Toshiaki Iwashiro, the creator of Psyren. His detective story will debut that week. Black Clover by Yuki Tabata will debut February 16. Kaizo Ningen Rogy, Cyborg Rogy by Yuu Miki will start in the issue out February 23, and Ultra Battle Satellite by Yusuke Utsumi will debut last on March 3. There’s been no announcement, but hopefully some of these titles will be previewed in Viz’s Weekly Shonen Jump as part of their “Jump Start” initiative. Kagamigami is the title I’m most interested it. We can’t have enough detective manga.

DMP Kickstarts Tezuka’s Alabaster

AlabasterDigital Manga Publishing has announced the next Osamu Tezuka Kickstarter. It’s been a month since the last Kickstarter for Ludwig B ended. It’s another two volume series, and was featured as a stretch goal in the failed Tezuka World Kickstater; Alabaster.

The story follows former athlete James Block, now a famous villain who is out for revenge against all things “beautiful.” While in prison, he learns of a weapon, the F-Laser, that can turn any carbon based organism invisible. When he gets out, he steals it, and tries it on himself. Instead of turning invisible, only his skin is affected. He then takes on the name Alabaster, and is joined by Ami, the granddaughter of the scientist who invented the laser, who is also completely invisible thanks to experiments her grandfather did on her mother while she was pregnant. They go on a vicious revenge spree, pulling off several heists, but Ami’s innocents could be Alabaster’s downfall.

This Kickstarter is a little more than Ludwig B. Digital copies of Alabaster are $8 each. For an additional $11 you can get the digital companion. To get print copies you need to pay $36, or $18 a volume. The reason of for this higher price seems to be for better paper quality. It sounds like this came up in the survey they did after the Tezuka World Kickstarter failed. What seems odd is that this puts the print books $6 above the reported MSRP, which for both volumes is only $29.90. If you look at this tier as a pre-order, it seems DMP is making you pay for the privilege of pre-ordering or their Free Shipping is built into it.

Once again there are plenty of incentives for the higher tiers with more Tezuka goodies, including Black Jack toilet paper, an Astro Boy tote bag, and wooden coins commemorating Alabaster‘s printing. The tiers I really like though, are the ones that donate sets to a library of the backers choice. If you’re going to spread the Tezuka love, there is no better way!

There is one stretch goal on this Kickstarter. For an additional $9,800 DMP is looking to reprint Swallowing the Earth on the same better stock paper. No rewards this haven’t been announced yet other than a color wallpaper for backers. I have doubts about this stretch goal being met. The number of people who want to see Swallowing the Earth on higher grade paper probably aren’t $9800 worth. Ludwig B didn’t go very far past its initial goal, and it took to the last 4 hours to get there. These Tezuka Kickstarters seem to be about Tezuka fans getting books, not subsidizing DMP’s print runs.

After only a day, the Kickstarter is already at $8,455, with 165 backers. Both pledges and backers are up from Ludwig’s start. Most of the backers are on the pre-order print tier. But it’s kind of surprising that two of the limited tiers over $100 are already gone, but they were very limited, only needing 6 backers to get them. Still, Alabaster seems to be off to a good start. Fans really do seem to be looking forward to this series. We’ll see how consistent the backers keep pouring in.


Kodansha’s Kinokuniya Event Yields New Licenses


Earlier this month Kodansha held an event at the Kinokuniya Bookstore in New York, a popular venue for East Coast publishers, and announced 7 new titles to be published this year. There are plenty of familiar faces in this bunch, as well as at least on Attack on Titan license. I don’t think it’s possible for Kodansha to make license announcements without at least one from that series.

appleseedaMasamune Shirow’s Appleseed starts the batch with a series that is not written or drawn by Shirow. Appleseed α is a prequel to the original series, and follows Deunan’s and Briareos’ early days searching for the legendary city of Olympus. Iuo Kuroda, the creator of Sexy Voice and Robo, launched the series just this year in July in Kodansha’s Morning Two magazine. Just when you thought they couldn’t do anything more with Appleseed…though this title could be interesting is you liked Deunan and Briareos as a couple. And I seem to recall I did. Kodansha does not have a release date for this series yet.

mariaexhibition Maria the Virgin Witch Exhibition is the sequel to the Kodansha license Maria the Virgin Witch. It started in July of this year in Kodansha’s Good! Afternoon and just ended in December, with its only volume releasing in Japan earlier this month. Creator Masayuki Ishikawa is best known to US readers for the short-lived Del Rey release of Moyashimon. It will be released in August after all of the original series volumes have come out. I couldn’t find any information about what the sequel is about or if it picks up any particular story line from the original. It’s a mystery right now.

fairygirlsFairy Girls is a shonen spin-off of Fairy Tail and is drawn by BOKU. It focuses on the “two strongest girls in the world,” and follows Erza, Lucy, Wendy, and Juvia. The series just started in Kodansha’s Magazine Special, a monthly shonen magazine in November. The first volume will be out in the fall. I like that there is a series that focuses on the women of Fairy Tail, but the fact that it runs in a magazine for teenage boys does have me concerned about how dominating the male gaze element will be, but I’ll just have to wait and see. I will at least check out the first volume.

diewergelderDie Wergelder is another series that features women. Hiroaki Samura of Blade of the Immortal fame started the series in 2011 in Kodansha’s quarterly magazine Nemesis. It is an action story that revolves around battle for money between three women: Nami, the passionate, psychedelic revenger, Je-Mao, the Chinese-dress wearing killing machine, and  Shinobu Aza, a female gang leader. The main story arc of this series ended last year, and Kodansha will release the first volume in the fall. I never got into Blade of the Immortal, so I don’t know if this series will appeal, but readers hungry for more Samura, now that BotI is over, will no doubt pick this one up.

livingstoneLivingstone is a fantasy adventure series written by Tomohiro Maekawa with art by Jinsei Kataoka, the creator of Deadman Wonderland. This supernatural series follows two men, Sakurai and Amano, who try to stop people from dying deaths not decreed by fate, or in failing to do so, collecting the “living-stones,” the soul stone that is created. There are three volumes so far, and the first will be released in the west in the fall. This series sounds really interesting, with supernatural and murder mystery elements. And it features two good-looking guys.

kisshimKiss Him, Not Me is by Junko, a BL creator known here for the series Mr. Mini-Mart. It was first announced by Crunchyroll and is being simulpubed digitally through them. The series follows Kae Serinuma, a fujoshi. She like to imagine boys she likes getting together instead of getting with her. After her favorite anime character dies, and she loses a ton of weight from the trauma, she becomes popular with four good-looking boys at school. But she would rather see them go out with each other than try to court her. There are five volumes so far, and the first volume will be released here in print in the fall. I don’t see the appeal of fujoshi, so I don’t think I’ll find much in this title either.

science-aotFinally, it’s the new Attack on Titan title. It’s not another manga, but a tie-in. The Science of Attack on Titan is filled with facts and illustrations about the Attack on Titan universe such as how hot a 60 meter titan would be, and who would win in a fight between a titan and Ultraman. It’s mostly fun but useless facts that die-hard fans of the series will enjoy. The book will out in June. Also announced was the second Colossal omnibus of the main series, which will collect volumes 6-10. It will be out in September and cost a titanic $49.99

This is an interesting mix of titles that Kodansha has announced. What I like most about them is that they don’t lean heavily on one genre or demographic. There’s shonen and seinen, fantasy, action, and adventure. It it shaping up to be a really good fall for reading manga, but bad for pocket books.

PR: Yu-Gi-Oh Manga Goes Big

Viz Media continues its omnibus re-releases with another oldie-but-goodie. I was never impressed with the Yu-Gi-Oh anime, but when Viz started serializing it in Shonen Jump, I found I enjoyed the series. At least the first arc of the first seven volumes. As 3-in-1’s you won’t be able to get the arcs cleanly, but after reading one or two, you may decide to get them all anyway. The only obstacle for these are space!

Continue reading PR: Yu-Gi-Oh Manga Goes Big

Battle of the Brides

Shokakugan’s Monthly Cheese! is announcing in their March issue out today that mangaka Rei Toma is starting a new manga titled Suijin no Hanayome, Bride of the Water God. This new title has the same name and basic premise as the Korean manhwa being published by Dark Horse here in the US. A young girl is chosen as a sacrifice to the water god by her village to appease him.

Bride of the Water God 1I’m intrigued by this announcement. There are often titles that follow the same basic premise, and Bride of the Water God really is pretty basic, but it’s rare that you get them also using the same name. Of course Toma’s title may be completely different, especially with the characters and plot beyond the premise. But the similarities are far too close to avoid comparison. I wonder if this series does well, if Viz will consider bringing it over. Viz just finished Toma’s other series, Dawn of the Arcana in September, and it certainly got a lot of buzz among fans and critics online. I don’t think Bride of the Water God has done well for Dark Horse, but that could be because of demographic, and not necessarily the title. I’ll give them credit for continuing to release it even if it is on a glacial schedule.

But I wonder if Viz did decide to pick it up, would it keep the original name? I’m sure they wouldn’t want their title to be confused with the Dark Horse title. I know this is all purely speculation, since the first chapter won’t be out until next month, but with such a similarity, I can’t help myself!

PR: Weekly Shonen Jump Celebrates 3-Year Anniversary

Even though it’s Weekly Shonen Jump‘s anniversary, readers get the presents! I’ve been moving away from shonen manga mostly, but I’m definitely going to check out the special they’re running for the next few weeks. I don’t know if it will be enough for me plop down the money for a subscription, but it’s definitely worth a look.

Continue reading PR: Weekly Shonen Jump Celebrates 3-Year Anniversary

Super Powered License Joins Vertical Comics

Tokyo ESPVertical Comics, the comics imprint of Vertical, Inc., announced through their Tumblr that they had acquired a new manga license, Tokyo ESP.  Vertical had the title confirmed since just after New York Comic Con, but retailers were starting to put solicitations out for the first volume, so there was little reason to sit on it any longer.

The story follows Rinka Urushiba, a high school student who works a part-time job to help her father make ends meet. One day she sees a penguin chasing some glowing fish flying through the sky. She is touched by one of the fish and loses conscious. When she wakes up, she has a supernatural power; she can walk through inanimate objects. She is not the only one to gain powers, and she joins up with another high school student, Kyotaro Azuma who can teleport. They take on other powered people who have decided to use their powers for evil. The series is published by Kadokawa Shoten in their magazine Shonen Ace and is currently 11 volumes.

There is an anime adaptation that ran last summer that Crunchyroll streamed and Funimation licensed. This title was also one of the debut titles in Kadokawa Shoten’s Comic Walker app with an English translation. I read the first chapter and thought it had potential, so I’m thrilled Vertical has licensed it. They will be releasing the title as two-volume omnibuses and first volume will be available in the Fall.

Yen Press New Manga and Light Novel Licenses

Yen Press-On Logo

On Friday Yen Press announced new licenses for their manga and Light Novel lines through their Twitter account. There are a total of 8 titles; 3 Light Novels and 5 manga, but two of those are adaptations of the light novels. Still, that is a lot of content to commit to in 2015.

RustBlasterThe first manga announced was Rust Blaster. This was the debut work of Yana Toboso, the creator of the very popular Black Butler series that Yen Press also publishes. The story follows the most unvampire-like vampire Aldred and a human transfer student Kei. They meet by chance at a vampire academy, but there meeting wasn’t just an accident, it was fate. The one volume series ran in Square Enix’s G-Fantasy. There was no release date announced. Vampires are really my thing, but at one volume I’d be willing to give this series a go.

homura-revenge homura-tamuraThe next two manga titles are from the Puella Magi Madoka Magica series. Puella Magi Homura Tamura is a slice of life 4 koma comedy series. This spin-off is based on the main manga series by Magical Quartet. It ran in Houbunsha’s Manga Time Kirara Magica and there is one volume available. Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Homura’s Revenge has both Homura and Madoka traveling through time. This series also ran in Houbunsha’s Manga Time Kirara Magica, and is complete in two volumes. No release date was announced for these titles. I will definitely be checking out these titles. I love the Puella Magi * series and spin offs. The 4 koma sounds especially fun.

blackbulletBlack Bullet is a light novel series that also has a manga adaptation. The series follows Rentaro, a boy growing up in a world where an alien parasite, Gastrea, has killed most of the human population. Rentaro is a high school student living near Tokyo 10 years later. He is a member of the Civil Security, and with his childhood friends Enju Ahari and Kisara Tendo, fight against the Gastrea, using the special powers they gained by being infected by the virus at birth. The light novel series has seven volumes and is ongoing, while the manga adaptation only went four volumes. It also had an anime adaptation which was licensed by Sentai Filmworks. No release dates were announced for either format. I can’t say this title sounds interesting to me. I’m not big on post apocalyptic titles.

Strike the BloodStrike the Blood is another light novel series with an ongoing manga adaptation. This series is about Yukina Hirameki, an apprentice “sword shaman.” She was selected to watch over, and possibly hunt, Kojou Akatsuki, the “fourth-progenitor”, a vampire from legend that is said to be the strongest and will bring disaster to humanity. Armed with a powerful anti-progenitor spear, she goes to Itogamijima, a demon city located in a special zone to find him. There are eleven volumes of the light novel and the manga has five volumes. No release dates were announced for either format. I’m not seeing any fireworks with these titles either.

DurararaThe last light novel series announced is one that we’ve been waiting to hear about for a while. Durarara is a manga series that Yen Press has been releasing for a while. It is based on a light novel series, and so far the manga has only adapted 3 of the 13 volumes currently out. But now, we won’t have to rely on the manga adaptation since Yen Press has FINALLY announced the light novel series! Of all the light novels that have been announced for the YenOn line, this is the one series I am most excited about. I fell in love with Durarara after the end of the first manga adaptation, and now do not want to wait to read more. This is so exciting and the best news that Yen Press could give. The first novel is scheduled to be released in July, 2015.

That’s quite a windfall to start the new year with. Yen Press is fully behind their YenOn line, and Durarara could be their cash cow that helps carry the rest of the line. All of the titles announced fit perfectly with their catalog, so no fan will be disappointed.

PR: Viz Media Updates Digital For the New Year

Viz picks up more of the former publisher Tokyopop’s catalog. Two CLAMP titles join the Viz Select line, including Duklyon: CLAMP School Defenders. I’ve been interested in this title, as a lover of tokusatsu shows. Also added is The Third, a series that is based on an anime that was well liked back in the day.

Continue reading PR: Viz Media Updates Digital For the New Year

PR: Viz Media Showers Shojo Fans with New Series

While the premise of this series doesn’t wow me, seeing who the creator is makes me reconsider. Meca Tanaka has created several titles, some of which has been licensed by publishers no long in business. The title I am most interested in is Omukae Desu which was published by CMX. If this series does well, it would be great to see Omukae Desu return as a Viz Select title.

Continue reading PR: Viz Media Showers Shojo Fans with New Series

Seven Seas Announces Fall Licenses

On Wednesday, Seven Seas Entertainment announced on their Twitter feed several new licenses set to be released in October and November of this year. Four titles were announced, all either having an anime adaptation, or are an adaptation of a light novel series, a trend that is continuing from last year.

 riddleAkuma no Riddle: Riddle Story of Devil follows Haru Ichinose, an ordinary student at an all female boarding school filled with assassins. She is the target of the other students; “The Hare.” Tokaku Azuma, an assassin who transfers into the school to join the hunt, but after meeting Haru, is drawn to her, and begins to protect her. The series is published in Kadokawa Shoten’s Newtype and is currently 3 volumes. It has a 12 episode anime adaptation that has been licensed by Funimation. This description doesn’t move me, but it doesn’t sound bad either. It was written by Yun Kouga, the creator of Loveless and Gestalt, neither series that I had much interest in, but a lot of other people have. It also has a lot of elements that make it fit the Seven Seas library.

golden-timeGolden Time is a light novel series by Yuyuko Takemiya, the creator of Toradora. It follows Banri Tada, a college student who lost his memories after graduating High School. He goes to a private law school in Tokyo and meets Mitsuo Yanagisawa and Kouko Kaga. Kouko and Mitsuo are childhood friends, and as children promised to marry. Mitsuo seems to have second thoughts and goes to the college to escape Kouko, but she has followed him and enrolled as well. This romantic comedy follows them and their friends at the college. It is published in Monthly Comic Dengeki Daioh, and there are seven volumes out. An anime adaptation was licensed by Sentai Filmworks. This series seems to lean toward male-gaze and romantic comedies rarely appeal to me, so I don’t see this series calling to me.

mermanMerman in a Tub is a 4-koma slice of life series. Tatsumi is a high school student who lives by himself. Wakasa is a handsome merman who moves into Tatsumi’s bath tub. Wakasa is a cute but self-centered, while Tatsumi is the cool but caring busybody. The series offers a peek into their life together. It is published in Comic Gene, and the collected volumes by Media Factory, and there are currently 5 volumes. Crunchyroll streamed the anime adaptation last season. I like the sound of this one. It looks like it will have a lot of humor, and I’m certainly not against seeing hot mermen.

joblessMushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation is a fantasy series based on a light novel series. It follows a 34-year-old virgin NEET who is kicked out of his house. Penniless, he comes to regret the decisions he’s made over his life. While saving some high schoolers from a speeding truck, he is killed . He is then reincarnated into another world of sword and magic. He resolves to live his new life to the fullest and use his knowledge from his previous life. He is joined by a small girl who is a magic tutor and a beautiful quarter-elf with green hair. The series is published in Comic Flapper, and the first volume was just released in November. This series has some potential, but it can easily fall into harem territory. I’ll just wait and see.

This is a good Fall line-up for Seven Seas.  It will appeal to a variety of readers, as well as their core. I’m happy to see this list even if they aren’t all titles I’m personally interested in.

Secret Manga To End in April

Secret_V1_FINALIt was announced in the second volume of Secret, a psychological horror series by Yoshiki Tonogai, that the series would end in the third volume, scheduled to be released in Japan in April. The series, like Tonogai’s other two titles, Doubt and Judge, is about people trapped in a situation where they must root out a perpetrator to escape.

Secret puts six survivors of tragic bus accident to the test. Three of them are murderers. They all have one week to discover who the murderers are. These three must then show remorse for their crimes and find a way to atone for them, or evidence of their sins will be given to the police. But when everyone has a secret, it isn’t easy to know who to trust.

Tonogai, who contributed to the series Higurashi: When They Cry, seems to be have been strongly influenced by its psychological horror and mystery aspects, as all three of his titles involve these elements. Reception of Doubt and Judge has been mixed here in the West, with Judge just edging out Doubt.

Yen Press, who licensed Doubt and Judge, also licensed this series, and has been simulpubing the individual chapters digitally beginning with chapter 7. I couldn’t find them on the Kindle, but they did show up in the Nook store for $1.99 each. The first volume will be released this month in both print and digital, with the digital pricing being a very reasonable $2.99. If you were curious about this series, this is definitely the way to go.