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!
The Kindaichi Case Files, Vol. 16: The Magical Express
Story: Yozaburo Kanari, Art: Fumiya Sato
Age Rating: Teen
Kindaichi is summoned to examine a mysterious note declaring that a train bound for Hokkaido will be transformed into a “magic train of death.” When Kindaichi boards the train to investigate the threat, he meets members of a magic troupe who perform on the train. But as the magicians go missing before they can complete their tricks, it’s up to Kindaichi to uncover the identity of “Hell’s Puppeteer” — who has announced that he has planted a bomb aboard the train. Is this the end of the line for Kindaichi?
What was supposed to be a trip to police headquarters for a commendation turns into another tantalizing mystery from Kindaichi. A package has arrived at the police station containing a twisted marionette and note promising magic and death on a train to Hokkaido. Kindaichi, Miyuki, Kenmochi and videographer Saki get on the train, where the Magic & Illusion Troupe perform on the way to Shikotsu-ga-hara to the hotel and theater at the end of the line. The first murder happens on the train. The Troupe’s leader, Gentle Yamagami is found dead, and just as quickly his body magically disappears, only to reappear in the hotel. Soon after, other Troupe members are murdered. Who is responsible, and why is he/she doing it?
Continue reading Review: The Kindaichi Case Files: The Magical Express Volume 16
What I’ve been dreading has finally become official: Kindaichi Case Files has been canceled. As part of Tokyopop’s slashing, the January 2009 solicitation of volume 18, Burial Francs, is on the list. I was hoping against hope that this title would some how survive, since it was one of the few good titles Tokyopop had to offer. Even though it’s a shonen title, it’s mysteries could keep an adult guessing. Engaging characters and intriguing mysteries made this a series a must for mystery aficionados.
Even though I love mysteries, I didn’t pick up Kindaichi immediately. Wanna know why? Because Tokyopop can’t market a title properly to save their life! When this series first came out, they advertised it as a Japanese “Scooby Doo”, emphasizing the supernatural parts over the mystery. That was a failure on so many levels. Kids looking for short, quick mysteries with goofy characters would be disappointed, and people looking for a good murder mystery series (like me) would avoid it like the plague. I’m not quite sure what made me pick up the series. I think I just kept seeing it in our local Waldens Books, and finally gave it a real look over. I bought the first volume and was sold! If this title had been marketed as a proper mystery series, and/or put closer to the mystery section, it could have had a chance of selling. But that’s not Tokyopop’s way of marketing it seems. They seem to prefer the “throw it at the wall, and see what sticks” method, which is probably why they are in the position they are in today.
So, Kindaichi, I must bid you a fond farewell. I loved following you on your many adventures with Miyuki and Detective Kenmochi. I’ll miss your lecherous, yet foiled ways, and your swearing by your grandfather’s name to solve the mystery. Reading your adventures was like getting together with old friends, as I had come to know you all so well. I am glad to have been able to know you even for the short time we’ve shared. I will miss you and your 10 remaining volumes. Perhaps we can meet again, if I ever learn to read Japanese.
Or ever better. Kodancha USA picks you up. (Please, Please PLEASE!! ONEGAI!!!!)
There is a lot of speculation going on about Kodansha and it’s reasons for joining the US Manga market. I think it’s a little premature to speculate now, but I guess that’s what bloggers and fans like to do. This is obviously something Kodansha has had in the works for a while. You don’t get $2,000,000.00 in capital without some planning, and to throw in my .02 about this, I would say it’s Tokyopop restructuring that has more to do with things than Kodansha wanting to “cash in” on the US market.
Continue reading Kodansha Potpourri