It was recently announced in Shueisha’s Bessatsu Margaret magazine that the series, Aozora Yell by Kaume Kawahara, will end in the issue out October 13.
I read some back volumes of Case Closed – Detective Conan recently, and it’s sparked by desire to read more mystery manga. The problem is, of course, is that there just isn’t a lot of other titles available. Seven Seas Entertainment had Young Miss Holmes, and Kodansha had Sherlock Bones, but both are complete. Kodansha does have another mystery series that Western fans are familiar with; Kindaichi Case Files.
Tokyopop originally licensed Kindaichi Case Files, and published the volumes as complete cases, squeezing 22.5 Japanese volumes into 17. While Tokyopop had put the title on “hiatus”, Kodansha pulled the license soon after, killing any fan’s hopes of seeing the series complete. There were only 5.5 Japanese volumes left. That was probably only 2-3 stories!
Now, I know Kodansha doesn’t rescue their older titles, and the 1992 Kindaichi series didn’t sell enough to justify bringing the series back or even completing it, but, there was a second series published in 1998, The New Kindaichi Case Files. This series is only 10 volumes, and continues the adventures of Hajime Kindaichi, his childhood friend Miyuki, and Detective Kenmochi, as they investigate mysteries and murders involving ghosts, monsters, the supernatural and folklore. Tokyopop had originally likened the series to Scooby-Doo, which, with the revelations of the all seemingly supernatural events to be very natural isn’t too far off the mark, also didn’t do much to pull readers in.
Now, if even this 10 volume series seems like too much of a risk to Kodansha, I would be happy with any of the sequel titles that have been released since then. Most of these titles are 1-2 volumes long, with one or two actually making it up to 5. Along with these sequel and short stories, there have been a few spin-off titles. Some give other characters the spotlight such as Inspector Akechi and Takatou, an evil puppet master that Kindaichi faced off against. This title as well as the comedy Mini Vacation are/were released in English on the digital app Manga Box. But since you can’t keep the chapters and they are only around for 12 weeks, it would be nice to be able to get full volume copies, in print or digital. Kindaichi is fairly fresh in fan’s minds with the latest anime having been streamed on Crunchyroll. They could have started releasing the newest series, Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo R with it. It would have been the perfect tie-in!
Welp, there you go Kodansha. A whole slue of options for bringing Kindaichi back to US shores. I really wish Kodansha would consider this. Even a digital only release would be welcome. I do so miss my dose of boy detective shenanigans.
It was announced in the first 2015 issue of Shueisha’s Weekly Young Jump that Yasunori Mitsunaga was launching a new detective series, Kako to Nise Tantei. This mystery series follows a genius boy detective with a shocking secret, and the first chapter featured a color opening page. It just came out on December 11, so not a lot of information is out about it but, I love boy detective stories and am always happy to see more of them. It would be great if Viz Media would consider it once it’s got some chapters under its belt. It’s too bad it’s not a Weekly Shonen Jump series, otherwise we could have gotten a Jump Start on the first three chapters.
This isn’t Mitsunaga’s first mystery series. Back in 2011, he launched another detective series, Kan Tantei D&W for Shonen Gahosha’s Monthly Young King. It features two characters, Juro, a man who is very sensitive to the smell of blood, and Hisato, who is a reclusive shut-in, for his own reasons. In the first story, Juro finds the body of an idol. After a run-in with the police, he goes to Hisato, who has his own mysterious powers, for help. This series is at two volumes and still ongoing. I would love to see this series brought over as well. According to Organization Anti-Social Geniuses‘ very helpful article “What Manga Publishers Can License in the US”, Seven Seas Entertainment would be the most likely company to bug—ask nicely to look into licensing.
Mitsunaga is no stranger to Western readers. His long running series, Princess Resurrection, Kaibutsu Oujo, was licensed by Del Rey Manga, who published the first 7 of the 20 volume series. I really liked the first three volumes, until things seemed to get a little weird at the end of the third, but I wonder if I should have checked out further volumes. Not that it seemed it would have mattered since Del Rey dropped it, and Kodansha doesn’t seem interested in continuing it. But I did like Mitsunaga’s art and writing, so seeing more of his work would be most welcome.
So, you’ve seen the movie Thor, and you hunger for more Norse Gods mischief, but you’re not looking for get buried in decades of superhero back log? Worry not my manga-mythology loving friend! There is a manga out there that does just that….it’s just not licensed.
Vertical is a publisher that never fails to surprise, or deliver. Whenever licensing time comes up, Marketing Director Ed Chavez would get on Twitter and ask for license requests. In variably, there would be several people who would pipe up with Princess Knight, Osamu Tezuka’s first shojo, and invaribly, Ed would shoot the request down. Now we know why. On Anime News Network’s AnnCast, Ed was a guest where he announced not one, but two licenses, one of which was the oft-requested Princess Knight. The other was Drops of God, a wine manga that has been getting some press in the media for the affect it can have on a wine’s price that is featured in the title. It was hinted at last April by the creators that the manga had been licensed in the US, but no publisher had stepped up. Now we know why.
I have to give Ed a lot of credit. He has quite the poker face/text. From his tweets in the last wrong, I got the distinct impression that Princess Knight was off the table as a request. He had said they were working on a Tezuka license, but with his catalog, that could mean just about anything! From the reaction to the news when it broke on twitter, I don’t think anyone suspected Vertical would get either of these titles! That is being a good marketing manager. Vertical really scored when they got Ed for that position.
I myself am looking forward to Princess Knight. I read the preview that was run in Shojo Beat for it’s 5(?) anniversary, and I really liked it. It definitely has a lot of merit beyond its historical significance. Drops of God….I’m not so sure about. I don’t drink wine. I have no interest in wine, so a manga devoted to going out and finding the 13 best wines doesn’t sound all that interesting. But, I’ve been wrong before. Most of the praise that it has gotten is for its detail about the wines, but according to one twitter-er, the title is written by the same time as writes Bloody Monday, another title that I’m really looking forward to, so this is a wait and see.
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 Monogatari – David 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.
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.
The 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.