Before (or possibly while) the holidays were swamping everyone, Dark Horse Comics announced that they had picked up a new manga license.
Yen Press recently announced through their Twitter account that they had licensed the fourth manga adaptation of Durarara!! known as the “Re; Dollars Arc” with new artist Aogiri.
On their Twitter feed this last Friday, Seven Seas teased they had more licenses to announce before the end of the year, and threw a bone to fans with their announcement of Monster Musume: I ♥ Monster Girls Anthology.
Seven Seas Entertainment is a publisher that doesn’t go to a lot of cons, but they still make sure you remember them during con season. A few days after the hoopla of SDCC was over they made another new license announcement.
The Other Side of Secret is from Kadokawa’s Comic Alive manga magazine. Several of Seven Seas’ titles have come from there, such as Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends, Girls und Panzer, and Non Non Biyori. This senien series follows Yuto, a boy, who seven years earlier watched his sister disappear through a strange portal. When he said the door appear again, and two girls go through it, he follows them, intent on finding his sister. He is transported to a strange and dangerous world, where he does find his sister, but at a price. He causes a terrible tragedy that costs the lives of many of the world’s inhabitants. It’s up to Yuto to find a way to atone for his actions and bring his sister back home.
The series just stated last September, and there are three volumes out so far. Seven Seas has announced a release date in a little under a year; July 7, 2016. This is another male-gaze heavy title for their library that I will be passing on. But something I’m noticing about Seven Seas’ library is that they are very eclectic in what they pick up. They seem to cater to genres that the big publishers like Viz and Kodansha steer away from, and that Yen Press has dabbled in. While they seem to have plenty of titles I wouldn’t touch, they take chances on a lot of other titles I would like, making them a great publisher to have around.
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.
Angel 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.
Persona is a video game franchise that has built quite a following here in the west. It has also received quite a few manga adaptations, most notably for Persona 3 and Persona 4. Kodansha recently licensed the manga adaptation of the 3DS game adaptations Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth P3/4 which crosses over the two incarnations. But there are also adaptations of the original games. This is what Udon Entertainment announced picking up.
Persona 4 follows a group of high school students in the rural town of Inaba who start out forming a group to investigate a series of grisly murders. As they work to uncover the truth and stop any more murders from happening, they discover they might be connected to an urban legend of about a paranormal television phenomenon called the “Midnight Channel.” Their simple investigation turns dangerous, as they go on an action-packed journey of self discovery that crosses two worlds, and dark truths will shake our heroes to the very core, while helping them discover an inner strength they never had.
My daughter was really into Persona for a while, and told me most of the video game’s plot. If the manga is a faithful adaptation, then the series will be filled with plenty of suspense, horror, comedy and drama. I’m really curious to check this out, after hearing so much about it. I’ll never play the game, so this is the next best thing.
There are currently 10 volumes of Persona 4 out in Japan. Udon Entertainment will begin their releases in September, and the series will come out bimonthly. Maybe if this series does well, we will see the manga adaptation of Persona 3, done by the same artist, Shuji Sogabe, which was teased as ending with volume 9 back in March.
Publisher Seven Seas Entertainment recently made another license announcement on their Twitter feed and Tumblr blog. They have picked up another title that fits into their “dark and violent take on kid’s franchises” line.
Tomodachi x Monster is a recent series by Yoshihiko Inui and is published in Futabasha’s seinen magazine Manga Action. The story follows middle school student Wataru, who hears a mysterious voice after wandering away from school in his mountainous village in rural Japan. He discovers a new “friend”, a monster from the mountain, and one of many that want to befriend young kids like Wataru. This new friendship may transform Wataru’s life, or it may shorten it, as he is needed for his “friend” to participate in a horrifying death match.
If you’ve ever dreamed of being able to kill the Pokemon, or trainers in the video game, then this is probably the series for you. Tomodachi x Monster is described as an “ultra-violent, dark parody” of the Pokemon series, as if the blood-splattered cover wasn’t enough of a clue. It fits in with Magical Girl Apocalypse, taking on the kids-with-monsters genre in a smiliar fashion. Kids with no conscience get a hold of monsters. What could possibly go wrong?
There are two volumes out, with a third scheduled for release in Japan in June. Seven Seas plans on releasing their first volume in February 2016. I don’t know if this is a series I’ll be picking up. I’ve never wished Pokemon any harm (but I’ve never played the video games either), and I do like the Pokemon manga. Really I just don’t know how to feel about a series whose description can put “cute” and “gore” not just in the same sentence, but connected as well! Maybe I’ll have to give this series a pass.
At the beginning of March, Yen Press announced three new manga via their Twitter feed. They had teased the announcements in February and finally ended the suspense with the official announcement on March 1.
The first title they whipped out was Rose Gun Days Season One. This is another series by Ryukishi07, the creator of the visual novel games Higurashi When They Cry and Umineko When They Cry, both of which Yen Press has licensed and published the manga adaptations. Rose Gun Days is another visual novel game adaptation. This time, the story takes place just after the end of World War II. Devastated and defeated, the Japanese government accepts the allies’ reconstruction plan. Japan begins to recover, but the United States and China taken control through the local governments. Chinese and American immigrants flood in, making the Japanese a minority in their own country. Rose Haibara works at Club Primavera, helping out her countrymen. Leo Shishigami is an repatriated soldier with a reputation with the ladies. Everything begins to change when Rose and Leo meet in the spring of 1947. This series is different from Ryukishi07’s other works, as it is more of an action romance. The first season is 4 volumes long, and the first is scheduled to ship in the fall. I like the sound of this series. It looks like it will be a nice change from the mystery and horror of Higurashi and Umineko.
The second volume picked up was Final Fantasy Type 0 Side Story: The Reaper of the Icy Blade. This is a prequel to the video game Final Fantasy Type 0 for Playstation Portable. The story takes place nine years before the events of Final Fantasy Type 0. It follows Kurasame Susaya and his time as a student at the magic academy Peristylium Suzaku and as a member of the “Four Heavenly Kings of Suzaku.” The series is five volumes with the first volume scheduled to ship in July. The release of the remastered game coming out this month, hype for the series should build up to a nice launch in the summer, where fans hungry for more will want to pick it up. I don’t know if I’ll be one of them. I’ve never had much interest in the Final Fantasy franchise.
The third series was a confirmation, no doubt from an early solicitation by Amazon. Horimiya is a spin-off of the 4koma manga Hori-san to Miyamura-kun. This manga follows the same basic premise of the original. Hori is a pretty and popular girl at school. Miyamura is a glass-wearing, introverted boy. But both have another side to themselves that they don’t want to get out. Hori is actually a laid-back, family oriented girl, while Miyamura is a handsome boy with pierces and tattoos. When they discover each other’s secrets, an unexpected friendship develops. The series is currently at 6 volumes and ongoing. The first volume is slated for release in October. I haven’t found a shonen rom-com that I like as of yet, but this series looks like it might have potential. It’s at least worth checking out.
Just over a week later, Yen Press is back with two more titles to announce, a light novel and manga. This has become a norm for Yen Press, to get both the light novel and manga adaptation. Well, almost in this case.
Irregular at Magic High School is a light novel series that started in 2008. It takes place in a world where magic is recognized as a technology rather than the occult or lore. The story follows Tatsuya Shiba, an underachieving student, as he tries to navigate school life at the National Magic University First Affiliate High School where he is looked down upon by the higher performing students except for his sister Miyuki, who might more than sibling love for him. The series is still ongoing and the 16th volume will be published in Japan in May. There is also a 2014 anime series which was licensed by Aniplex America. Yen Press will release the first volume in October.
There are a few manga adaptations of this series, but the one that Yen Press licensed isn’t the usual retelling of the main story. Mahoka Koko no Yutosei is a side story that focuses on Miyuki’s viewpoint and experiences of the events that take place in the main story. This is an interesting choice for Yen Press. Instead of having the two titles compete against each other, the manga and light novel compliment each other, giving two different perspectives of the same events. This can actually be pretty cool. The Gundam Seed Astray manga did this with the main Gundam Seed story and it worked out really well. The manga is at 5 volumes and ongoing. No date was announced for the manga, but it will probably be in October as well. I don’t know if I’ll be picking up either of these titles. I’m not a fan of the “more than sibling love,” but I might check out the manga. If I like it, it might be worth checking out the light novel.
Vertical Comics is a publisher that likes to appeal to the more adult manga reader, and their newest license, announced at Genericon a few weeks ago, will do not just that, but will also appeal to the alt comics/manga reader.
A Girl On the Shore is by alt manga creator Inio Asano. Previous works by him have been released by Viz Media (Solanin, What A Wonderful World) and Fantagraphics (Nijigahara Holograph). This two-volume series looks at the themes of love and sex as it follows two teenagers, Koume Sato and Kosuke Isoba. Koume was used and dumped by her crush, and now wants to start a purely sexual relationship with Kosuke. Their attempt at sex with no strings attached leads to unexpected complications not just between them, but with the people around them.
Vertical will be publishing this series as a single volume omnibus. Because the content is very adult, it will come shrink-wrapped and will be shipping early in 2016. While the title comes from an alt magazine, older fans of Flowers of Evil and Vertical’s josei titles should check it out as well. While I know Vertical always picks excellent titles, they are not always easy reading. With this title being billed as “very, very Vertical,” you can count on it not only being a great read, but also a challenging one.
On their Twitter account this week, Seven Seas Entertainment announced a new manga license after dropping some hints for followers to try to guess.
A Certain Scientific Accelerator is another spin-off manga of the light novel series A Certain Magical Index. It follows Accelerator, the most power esper in Academy City. He starts out as an antagonist in both the main series and the spin-off manga A Certain Scientific Railgun, until he is defeated by Touma Kamijou, the protagonist in Magical Index. Accelerator’s story starts after this defeat and at the beginning of his journey to be more “heroic” in the story. The series is currently at 3 volumes and is ongoing. The first volume is set to be released in October of 2015, with volume 2 following up in January 2016.
Seven Seas already publishes A Certain Scientific Railgun, so adding another Scientific title makes perfect sense. Yen Press holds the license to the main series A Certain Magical Index, both the manga and the light novel. I liked the first two volumes of Railgun that I’ve read, so I may consider this series as well. Stories with redemption arcs are popular right now so this could do well for Seven Seas, especially as Magical Index comes out and more of the story is available.
Vertical 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.
Just in time for year-end, Kodansha announced one last title on its Tumblr account. Your Lie In April is by Naoshi Arakawa, a relative unknown to Western readers, and currently has an anime airing in Japan that is also streaming on Aniplex Channel, Hulu, and Crunchyroll.
Your Lie in April is about Kosei Arima, a piano prodigy until his cruel taskmaster of a mother dies suddenly. His life forever changed, he abandons piano, and resigns to live in a colorless, monotonous world. His bland world is shaken when he meets Kaori Miyazono, a violinist with an unorthodox style, and possibly the only one who can teach him not only to play, but to live again.
This series is currently at 10 volumes, with the 11th due out in May 2015. Kodansha plans to publish the first volume here in Spring 2015. This series looks really cute, and it features music, so it’s got my attention. It also won the Best Shonen Category at Kodansha’s 37th Annual Manga Awards last year. With the anime preceding it, it will at least have some name recognition when it comes out to draw people in and good writing to keep them. I’m looking forward to it.