Category Archives: Wish List

Titles that I would really like to see licensed.

More Wanting

ANN has two news stories today that make me go “Want Want Want Want!” Two new manga series are starting, or more accurately, re-starting in Japan. And there’s probably a better chance of a snowball fight happening in hell before we see either of them in English.

Kindaichi Case Files is a murder mystery series that was originally licensed by Tokyopop. They released 18 volumes and then put the series on hiatus. Then Kodansha yanked the license back, along with all their other titles, leaving fans (few as we may have been) sad and bereft. Another 18 volumes of manga exist that we will probably never see in English since the first attempt did so poorly. Though, I would lay some of that blame on Tokyopop, as they did not market the manga very well. Now, as the series turns 20, the title is returning to the pages of Weekly Shonen Magazine with the same writer and artist team. It was bad enough that I had to lament not being able to read the original series, but now there will be MORE that I won’t be able to read?! Kodansha! Bring back Kindaichi Case Files! Even if you just pick up where Tokyopop left off, or even go digital only on Jmanga! Kindaichi Case Files is a fun whodunnit with great characters and mysteries that appeal to the supernatural, but always have a natural explanation. We deserve to get to read more of it!

Master Keaton is a manga series I have wanted ever since I first heard about it. The son of a Japanese zoologist and well-born English woman, studies to be an archeologist and solves mysteries. A mystery solving archeologist is sooooo up my alley! Add Naoki Urasawa to the mix, and you have a manga made in heaven! But due to some posturing by both Urasawa and a friend of the original writer, we will probably never see this series in English. It is such a dumb reason to be deprived of what looks like a great series. And now, to add insult to injury, a sequel, Master Keaton Remaster, will be starting in Japan, in Shogakakun’s Big Comic Original, 18 years after the first series ended serialization. This is so unfair! Not only is Urasawa returning to draw the manga, but Takashi Nagasaki, who supervised Pluto, another awesome series, will be writing the story. This is just awesome piled on top of awesome! Can I have some hope that since the series is getting a sequel, it might be available for licensing? Do I dare hope such a thing? Viz, omnibus editions of Master Keaton would look so good on my bookshelf. If it is possible, you must make this happen! The English-speaking world should no longer be deprived of this series!



Wish List: Pet Diary

Say what you will about scanlations, there is one thing they do really well, and that is to be an eye catcher. Just like the billboards along the sides of freeways, the right title or group name can draw a potential reader in. Case in point: I was over at Baka-Updates Manga when I found the title Pet Diary. Always being interested in titles about pets and looked at the description. There wasn’t much to it.  There is a school where they only way to be accepted into the dormitory is to adopt a pet. This title follows four students who adopt different pets in order to stay in the dormitory.

Looking over the first few chapters, it looks to be a pretty fun title. In the first four chapters, we are introduced to the four main characters and their animals of choice, a hamster, a rabbit, an older dog and a cat. How they came to choose their particular animal (or human) is funny in and of itself, and the pairings are very appropriate. The series is from Korea and is a webcomic, or webtoon as they are known there.

I really liked what I saw in the first few chapters and would love to see this title brought over officially. A glance at some of the other titles on the site looked interesting too, such as Welcome to the Convienence Store and Supernatural Investigation Department. Since they are already digital and made for the medium, it would be great to see them on Yen Press’ Yen Plus digital magazine. Their selection for the Korean/OGN side has always impressed me more, and seeming more color titles like this would be a great way to take advantage of the digital format. And they could be easily made into apps too! (And PLEASE, not just i* devices!)

Wish List: Ai Yazawa’s Shared Universe + 1

Finally getting to read another Ai Yazawa series and seeing how connected her characters are in her world, really makes me crave more! There are at least 3 of her previous titles that I would love to see licensed, two in her shared universe and one with a supernatural twist.

Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai – This series was originally serialized in Ribon magazine starting in 1991 and was the beginning of the shared universe that would soon grow. It’s a high school slice of life/romance about Midori Saejima and Akira Sudo that chonicles their four years in school, both their relationship and adventures with friends. Seeing how addicting Nana is with young adults as the leads, I would love to see what she does with teens.  This title kicks off what becomes a series of connected titles through its characters without being a sequel or focusing on the characters. It’s 8 volumes and in 1994 got an anime OVA adaptation. It’s the start of Yazawa’s world, where characters get to roam and mess with each other in and out of the stories.

Gokinjo MonogatariDavid Welsh of Manga Curmudgeon has already made a plea for this series, but I’d like to do it in the context of its relationship to both Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai and Paradise Kiss. This series also ran in Ribon and went from 1995 to 1998. It ran for 7 volumes. Even though this series is about a whole new cast of characters with Mikako Koda and Tsutomu Yamaguchi as the leads, the main characters from Tenshi Nanka Ja Nai make an appearance, and the lead vocalist Tsutomu is supposed to resemble, Ken Nakagawa, was Midori’s friend. It’s another slice of life/romance which Yazawa has shown to have a such a good grasp of. It got a 50 episode anime series in 1995.

Kagen no Tsuki – This series doesn’t connect to the universe of the other two. It’s just a 3 volume series that ran in Ribon between Gokinjo Monogatari and Paradise Kiss from 1998-1999. It’s a supernatural romance that straddles the line between dream and reality. Only read the wikipedia entry if you want to be spoiled about this series, but even so it sounds to be an intriguing read even before meeting Yazawa’s characters. It got a live action movie made out of it, which was licensed here by Geneon. It seems to be out of print unfortunately.  A search for used DVDs in the usual places should bring it up.

I really hope publishers give these titles some serious consideration (I’m looking at you Viz!) Ai Yazawa has a real gift for creating engaging characters and interesting situations. It would be so cool to see her shared universe all in English, so an omnibus of Paradise Kiss would be in order, so they all look so nice lined up on a bookshelf. With Nana doing so well, and Paradise Kiss getting so much love recently, it’s hard to believe that more of Ai Yazawa’s work hasn’t been licensed yet. That really needs to be fixed.

Wish List: Appare Jipangu!

AppareJipangu_vol1One of the fun things about writing this blog is the little surprises that pop up unexpectedly.  I stumbled onto this title while researching Yuu Watase for my Noted Women of Manga postAppare Jipangu! is a short series, only 3 volumes long.  It was published straight to tankoban form instead of being serialized in a magazine.  It ran from 1998-2003, at about the same time as Watase’s more popular series Ayashi no Ceres (Ceres: Celestial Legend).

Yusura was abandoned as a baby and was found under a cherry tree with the Kogoumaru, a staff that turns blue when it is around people who are sad.  Fifteen years later, Yusura is now known as the Hikeshiya, or “extinguisher of sorrow”.  She wields the Kogoumaru to take away people’s sorrow and redirect it at the people who caused it.

What make this series sound so appealing to me is that it’s a lighthearted adventure with the romance secondary to the story the story.  The characters might seem typical for a manga.  Yusura is hot-headed and tomboyish, and Samon, a guy she rescues from assassins, is practically blind with out his glasses, often mistaking objects for Yusura.  But the whole set up sounds like a lot of fun, and with the more shonen style romance, there’s no melodrama over their relationship.

With Arata, Watase’s first official shonen coming out in the US, this shorter, similar in style series would make a great companion to it, as well as contrast with all of her shojo already available.  So how about it Viz?

Wish List: Blood Hound

Since I started the week with a Kaori Yuki title, let’s stay with that theme.  And since vampires are all the rage this year, let’s make it a vampire manga.  Yorugata Aijin Senmonten – DX aka Blood Hound is a one shot volume that was serialized in Hana to Yume from January 2003 to June 2004.

BloodHound(manga)_CoverBlood Hound is about Rion, a loudmouthed teenager who goes to a host club full of vampires looking for her best friend.  She believes the vampires are behind her friend’s disappearance, as well as of those around the neighborhood.  During her investigation, she begins to befriend them, including their leader, Suou.  He believes that Rion is the re-incarnation of Ellone, “the one with the purest blood”, and a woman he once loved.  A romantic relationship starts to develop between the pair.  The volume ends with Rion discovering who is behind the disappearances.

This title was made into a J-Drama as well, called Vampire Host, that ran on TV Tokyo from April to June, 2004.  It went for 12 1/2 hour episodes, which made 6 1 hour stories.  It’s loosely based on the manga, and has a much more humorous vibe to it.  Suou isn’t the angsty vampire type.  He seems satisfied to work at the host club.  Rion is strong-willed and their relationship revolves around him trying to threaten her with being bitten, and she smacking him.  I’ve only seen a few episode of this series, but it was really fun.  It was licensed by Bandai Entertainment in 2007 and is available under the name Blood Hound: Vampire Gigolo.

While this is only a single volume and a lot of things remain unresolved (namely Rion and Suou’s relationship), it still looks to be a good title.  The lack of vampire angst and having a mystery to solve definitely raises my interest level.  It’s been licensed in France and Germany.  So why not us too?  At one volume there isn’t a lot of risk.  And the more non-angsty vampire manga we can get to balance out against what’s already out, so much the better.

So Jealous!

I make no bones about it.  I love cats.  I will read just about any manga that has cat in it, even that peripherally revolves around them.  What’s Michael, Free Collar Kingdom, Cat Paradise, even Backstage Prince, Dragon Ball and Ranma 1/2 that only have supporting characters that are cats I’ll read and enjoy.  But there just isn’t nearly enough to sate my appetite for titles about the four-footed furries.  Vertical’s license of Chi’s Sweet Home is a BIG win, and I can’t wait to get my hands on Viz’s Natsume’s Book of Friends.  But then, over on Twitter, Deb Aoki had to start showing off her cat manga purchases from Japan.

Neko Mocchiri is a 1 volume collection about a 20-something and her cat, and was published in Ikki.

Junjo Ito’s Cat Diary is also a 1 volume collection, and looks cool in a weird way.

Nekoe Juubee Otogi Soushi is two volume so far and is about a painter and his yokai cat companion.

And I want to read them all!  Especially Nekoe Juubee, since I love yokai so much, and yokai cats all the more!  Ed Chavez commented:

There is a saying in the Japanese manga world… CATS SELL. Simple. Oh and always launch cat manga in the spring.

Oh, how I want the same to be said in the US!  I need more cat manga!  Come on Viz!  Get Neko Mocchiri on the SigIkki site. I Am A Turtle is not enough!  Someone, ANYONE, license the other two!  There can never be too much cat manga!  Want! Want! WANT!!

Wish List: Bloody Monday

I learned about this title from a review on a podcast of the live action j-drama tv series.  My husband and I watched the j-drama and enjoyed it a lot.  It’s 11 episodes and was filled with great action and dramatic scenes, and lots of unexpected twists to keep the story moving.  Having enjoyed the j-drama, I had to find out about the manga.

Bloody_Monday_mangaThe manga, complete at 11 volumes, is about Fujimaru Takagi, a second year high school student and member of the Newspaper Club.  Unknown to everyone but his father, the PSIA (Public Security Intelligence Agency) and the newspaper club, Fujimaru is also known as Falcon, a prodigy hacker who exposes corrupt people’s crimes to make them pay.  The series starts with Fujimaru being recruited by the PSIA to help them decode a memory stick that may have information on an incident in Russia where a segment of the population was killed off by a possible poison gas.  And that gas may be now in Japan.

The story follows Fujimaru as he gets pulled further into the investigation and conspiracy.  His father is accused of murdering his superior.  A teacher at his school is trying to stop him from finding out what’s on the chip.  His sister and friends are put in harms way to try and stop him from finding the truth and ending the threat.  There are conspiracies and religious fanatics, and plot twists to make any good mystery thriller proud.  Fujimaru is a great character, who gets pulled in even though he wants nothing to do with it, and just be a normal high school kid.  Both he and his friends react to the threats, the way any normal kid would.  They freak.

This title was published in Weekly Shonen Magazine by Kodansha and ended it’s run in December 2008.  But just recently, a second series was announced and it started again in Weekly Shonen Magazine last week under the name Bloody Monday Season 2: Pandora’s Box.  With the success of titles such as Monster and Death Note, Bloody Monday would be a great addition to Viz Media’s line up, and help bolster the sadly lacking mystery-thriller genre.

Wish Granted: Natsume’s Book of Friends

A quick glance through the manga solicitations for this month revealed a title I’ve been waiting quite a while for.  I first learned about this series when I heard about the anime.  The first series ran in 2008 in Japan, and went 13 episodes.  The premise and the picture of a fat, rolly-polly cat on the series’ promotional art got me interested.

Continue reading Wish Granted: Natsume’s Book of Friends

Want! Want! Want!

majin_tantei_nogami_neuro_volume_1ANN has reported that the Japanese supernatural mystery manga, Majin Tantei Nogami Neuro will end this month.  Starting in 2005, it’s racked up 21 volumes.  The only thing I want to know, is WHEN ARE WE GONNA GET THIS?!

I’m a professed lover of supernatural and mystery manga, so where there’s one that combine these two great tastes, I want to taste them together.  I’ve seen some of Nogami.  The anime was fansubbed, and being a mystery series, I had to check it out.  And I loved it.  Neuro is a demon who eats mysteries.  The stranger the mystery, the better the taste.  He teams up with (enslaves more accurately, he is a demon after all) a high school girl Yako Katsuragi.  She loves to eat, and has an unsolved mystery about the death of her father.  Neuro will help her solve the mystery if he can eat it.  Neuro uses Yako as his “public face”.  He solves all the mysteries, and she takes the credit.  They are joined by Godai Shinobu, a yakuza who is roped into working for Yako and Neuro after he wins a bet and takes over the Yakuza’s small office, and Akane, a disembodied braid of hair who is a wiz on the computer.

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The characters ranged from quirky to downright weird to disturbing.  Neuro can switch from gentle to psycho in .01 seconds!  He is just awesome in both his human and demon form.  He constantly refers to Yako and Godai as worms, and looms over them ominously if they don’t do as he says immediately.  Yako loves to eat, and seen most of the time downing several bento boxes.  Though any time it comes to her father’s death, she gets serious and meloncholy.  Godai was just funny as he’s forced to do Neuro’s bidding, and complains about it the entire time, but doesn’t mind help Yako.  Kind of the Yakuza with a good heart.

Neuro is actually a good detective, much the chagrin of the police officers who’s cases he and Yako always solve.  The mysteries were interesting, and the plot got more serious as the series went on.  Don’t know if it’s the same as the manga, since liberties can and often are taken, but I still love the characters and mystery, and that’s all I need.

So, someone, ANYONE that can bring out the full series, (Viz, Yen, Del Rey, I’m talking to you), please license this in the US!  It’s too good of a series to be passed up.  There just aren’t enough fun mystery titles to read!  It would make a great SDCC announcement/gift.  **wink wink**

Viz! Rescue City Hunter!

Some company needs to step up to plate and rescue the City Hunter manga from license hell.

This series, written and drawn by Hojo Tsukasa, ran in Shonen Jump from 1985-1992, and has a total of 35 volumes. It’s about Ryo Saeba, a sweeper, or gun for hire, working inCity Hunter Vol 1 Tokyo. He is known as The City Hunter, the best shot in the Underground World, where he worked as an assassin for my years before becoming sweeper. Now, he works with a partner, Kaori Makimura, who is the younger sister of his former partner, Hideyuki Makimura. Hideyuki died, and asked Ryo to take care of Kaori. Together, they take on work to help people as body guards or private detectives. And even though he is wanted by the police, he sometimes helps out Saeko Nogami, a pretty detective wtih Tokyo Metro Police. There is alot of action in this manga, and lots of sharp shooting from Ryo, making nearly impossible shots to save the day. Ryo is a well muscled, good looking man, and the women are all shapely beauties. Sound like a typical shonen series? Well, it isn’t! This series is freaking hysterical!!

What makes City Hunter so funny? Ryo, for all his cool looks and serious demeanor has one weakness: beautiful women. When he sees a beautiful woman, he looses all control and his homones completely take over. The manga is more graphic about this, with Ryo getting a very visible erection, but in the anime, (which is what I’ve seen), but just acts goofy. But it’s not how Ryo acts that’s so funny. It what the women around him do to him. Most notable is Kaori, who is able to pull out a large mallet (min. 100 lbs.) to hit Ryo with. Not that other women don’t get him in their own way, usually with them just moving out of Ryo’s way so he hits a wall or something hard. If anyone said women shouldn’t watch this because of the womenizing, doesn’t realize the pure pleasure we can get from a man getting hit with a huge mallet engraved with the words “National Shame”.

This manga was brought to the US by Gutsoon! Entertainment, a company now bankrupt. Only 5 of the 35 volumes of City Hunter were ever released, and they are incredibly hard to find now. No word has come out about what became of the licenses they held, but Viz was able to acquire another series once held by Gutsoon!, Slam Dunk, and will start releasing it next year. Why should City Hunter remain in License Hell, never to see the light of day? This is a series that could so easily find a loyal core audience. If it is marketed right, it could even pick up some women fans! With an excellent balance of drama and comedy, both men and women can enjoy it.

Why do I call on Viz to do this? They have the connections to make this happen. Shueisha, the original publisher of the manga is a partner in Viz. They also have the money to subsidize a slower selling series. The Viz Signature line would be a perfect place for it, balancing against the mindless sex and violence of Golgo 13, and disturbing drama and horror of Monster and Drifting Classroom.

Viz, do the right thing! Rescue City Hunter from the darkness! Let him see the light of day again!!