Tag Archives: new licenses

Seven Seas License Roundup

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For the past two weeks Seven Seas Entertainment has been raining down manga license announcements. Four titles have been announced. Some were surprising not just for Seven Seas to get, but just to plain see in print in the US. The collection does have a little something for everyone.

Franken FranThe first title announced was Franken Fran. This dark parody series is about Fran Madaraki, the “daughter” of a highly skilled surgeon who has disappeared. Fran, takes up the family profession by performing surgeries in her secluded gothic home with her “sister” Veronica and a monstrous entourage. If you are willing to pay her price, Fran will perform any operation, including bringing back the dead. Her creed, “Lives must be saved, no matter the cost,” means the end justifies the means when fulfilling her duties. The title will be released in 4 2-in-1 omnibuses and will include color inserts. This title has gotten a lot of good word of mouth recommendations, so I’m looking forward to checking out the first volume at least. It will be coming out February 16, 2016.

Not Lives Their next pickup was Not Lives, a “virtual gender-bender” manga. It is about game designer genius and high school student Mikami whose next big project is a romance game. Among the materials he received for research was a game he didn’t remember getting. Curiosity gets the better of him and his plays it, only to find himself thrust into a survival game and transformed into a girl. And in this game, it isn’t just his character on the line, but also his own life. This series sounds a like BTOOOM! meets Sword Art Online meets any generic gender-bender series. None of these titles really interest me so this looks like a series will pass up on. There are currently 7 volumes and the series is ongoing. The first volume will be released with color inserts on March 29, 2016.

OrangeThe third license announced was Orange, a time-travel shojo. In this series, 16-year-old Naho Takamiya receives a letter from herself 10 years in the future. In the letter, she tells of an incoming transfer student named Kakeru Naruse, and that her biggest regret was that Kakeru was no long with them. She asks her past self to look after him. Naho didn’t believe the letter at first, but as things in the letter start to come true, including Kakeru’s transfer, she has to decide what the letter means for herself and Kakeru’s future. The series will be printed as 2 omnibus volumes with wraparound covers and color inserts. They will each be 380 pages long, or the equivalent of 2.5 Japanese manga, confirming the length of the series at 5 volumes. There are currently 4 in print. I was intrigued by this series when Crunchyroll announced it would stream it digitally. But now that it’s coming out in print, I will definitely be checking it out. The first volume will be released January 26 and the second in May, 2016.

hourofthezombieThe final series announced was Hour of the Zombie. Guess what genre this title is from. The story is about Akira, a typical high school student who has dreams and aspirations like everyone else, an unrequited crush on his childhood friend Kurumi, who seems to be more interesting in his best friend Umezawa. Their love triangle is trival in comparison to the drama that hits their school. Students start to turn into zombie, eating their friends and fellow students alike, and just as quickly, stop. Soon the school is divided between the turned and the unbitten, with unanswered question looming; how long will this peace last, and why did the students turn in the first place? I’m not normally interested in Zombie manga. Much like vampires, I feel they’ve run their course, but this series has some intriguing aspects that I might just want to check out. There are two volumes out and it is ongoing. The first volume will be released with color inserts April 5, 2016.

New License and Rescue Roundup

With Con Season is full swing, the license announcement are coming at a fairly steady rate. Whether in between cons, or publishers not planning on panels, the word of new licenses and rescues still make the steady rounds of news sites, and especially social media like Twitter and Tumblr.

Shield HeroOne Peace Books is a boutique publisher that has been dabbling in manga with such titles as Whispered Words, Aquarion Evol, and Crayon Shin Chan. This time, the publisher picked up a light novel series and its manga companion. The Rising of the Shield Hero is a light novel series that is currently at 10 volumes and ongoing. It is about Naofumi Iwatani, an otaku who is whisked away to a parallel dimension where he discovers is he one of four heroes equipped with a legendary weapon and tasked with saving the world from its prophesied destruction. Naofumi starts out as the Shield Hero, the weakest of the four, and soon finds himself alone, penniless and betrayed. He must now start his journey to become the legendary Shield Hero the world needs. The first volume will be out September 15 with the second being released October 20. The first volume of the manga, which is at 3 volumes and ongoing, will be out in November. This plot is very standard for fantasy novels, so unless it does something really interesting, I will probably skip it. I would be more inclined to check out the manga first, since I wouldn’t be as much as a time suck for me.

planetesDark Horse isn’t know for making license rescues, until it’s a CLAMP title. So their announcement that they picked up Planetes came as a bit of a surprise. Planetes was originally published by Tokyopop back in 2004, and even back that it was a difficult title to collect. It’s by Makoto Yukimura who is also the mangaka of Vinland Saga, which Kodansha is currently publishing in 2-in-1 deluxe hardback editions. Dark Horse will publish Planetes as 2 omnibus editions complete with bonus color pages. The story centers around Hachimaki, a member of a space-garbage crew, who collects everything from satellites to screws, anything that could damage a spacecraft when traveling at high speeds. Hachimaki dreams of owning his own spaceship, and decides there’s better money in joining the first manned mission to Jupiter. It’s been a long time since I last read Planetes, but it was a fun short series and very good sci-fi. The first omnibus will be out in December, just in time to put under the Christmas tree.

School LiveYen Press just popped up with two new licenses on their Twitter feed, both of which fit right into the publisher’s catalog. School-Live! is a horror/slice of life series. It follows four girls, Yuki Takeya, Kurumi Ebisuzawa, Yuri “Riisan” Wakasa, and Miki “Miikun” Naoki, who camp out at their school and end up the only survives of a zombie attack. They decide to stay at the school and make it their home. Yen has really embraced the zombie/school survival titles, starting back with Highschool of the Dead. This series appears to feature cute little girls, but the premise may have a darker edge to it. There are currently five volumes and the series is ongoing. It might be interesting to check out the first volume, which will be released in November.

The second series is Of the Red, the Light and the Ayakashi. It’s basedOf the Red. on a doujin game released in Japan back in 2011. The manga adaptation started in 2012. It is about Yue, a boy born and raised in a certain shrine on the outskirts of Utsuwa City. His close childhood friend, Kurogitsune takes him to the winter festival, where he experiences the outside world for the first time, and meets a mysterious boy. Seven volumes have been released so far. Yen Press also loves their visual novel stories, from Higurashi and Umineko. This series is a must read. I had it on my wish list at Baka-Updates Manga for who knows how long, but I enjoy titles with spiriting away themes and supernatural mysteries. This first volume will debut in December.

 

 

Yen Press at Sakura-Con

YenPress_logoEaster weekend was a busy one for conventions. On the east coast was Anime Boston, and on the west coast, Wondercon was held in Southern California and Sakura-Con up north in Washington State. Manga publishers split up to cover the anime cons, with Yen Press taking Sakura-Con.

Yen Press has already been busy this year with the manga and light novel announcements, and their appearance at Sakura-Con was no different. They stuck with just manga licenses this time, announcing a whopping 13 titles to be released in either print of digital.

YowamushiPedalStarting with print manga, one of the biggest announcements and surprise was Yowamushi Pedal. This is not only a sports manga, but also a long running series, currently at 39 volumes, features that tend to make publishers shy away from a title. Yowamushi Pedal though is already fairly well-known among Western readers. The anime was streamed by Crunchyroll, and fujoshi have been obsessing over the manga for a while. The story is about Sakamichi Onoda, an otaku whose passion for figures and anime was so great that he would ride his bicycle 60-miles round trip to Akihabara to shop there. His bicycling skills get him into competitive bike racing. I’ve seen plenty of references to Yowamushi Pedal on my Twitter feed, but I never knew what it was about, nor had much interest in finding out. Now, I think I’d like to check it out. It will be published in 2-in-1 omnibuses.

MonthlyGirlsMonthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun is another manga that fans have been clamoring for. The anime was also streamed by Crunchyroll, and quickly became popular with viewers. It is about high school girl Sakura Chiyo, who confesses her feeling to classmate Nozaki. Nozaki mistakes her as a fan of his shojo manga, and ends up recruiting her to help him with it. The series is at 6 volumes and is just as much about creating manga as it is a rom-com, so there’s little wonder it was popular. This is a title I’ve been waiting and hoping would be licensed, and figured it was just a matter of time.

SakuraNoHimegoto Sakura no Himegoto is a short two-volume shojo. It is about a girl, Aoi, who comes from a prestigious family, and Kei, a boy with a mysterious background. Thanks to a debt Aoi’s grandfather owes to Kei, Aoi is stuck repaying it as she gets pulled into a master-pet relationship with him. While this is a short story, it doesn’t hold a lot of interest for me. I don’t care for the master-pet/rich girl under poor boy’s power plots that seem to pop up in shojo manga lately. I will probably give this one a pass unless some of my fellow bloggers rave about its virtues.

DragonsRiotingDragon Rioting is another titles I think I can do without. It centers around Rintaro, a boy who has been diagnosed with a disease that could kill him if the gets too sexually aroused. So, what happens to him? He gets accidentally enrolled in an all girls school and has to deal with the three “Dragons”, the three girls who control the school. If the cover wasn’t enough to make me back away, the “getting sexually aroused could kill disease” certainly did. There are five volumes out that will be passing up.

AldnoahZeroAldnoah.Zero Season One has a lot more potential. It also has an anime. It is a sci-fi mecha series about a hypergate to Mars being found on the moon. Colonists to Mars discover advanced tech on Mars and form an Empire that declares war on Earth. The Moon is destroyed in the war, creating a debris field around the Earth. Martian fighters set up bases in the debris field and a truce is called, until 15 years later the life of Vers Empire Princess is threatened and the Empire declares war again, intent on taking Earth this time. This title sounds really interesting, and fits historical context really well. It has three volumes out so far that I’m looking forward to reading.

HanadaKunOn the digital side, 8 Square-Enix titles that have not appeared in English previously were announced. Handa-kun is a spin-off of Barakamon, another Yen Press title. It is about Sei Hanada, a second year high school student and calligrapher. His is admired around his school for his cool charisma, but he thinks everyone at school hates him. It is three volumes so far. I want to check out Barakamon before I pass any judgement on this title, but so far it sounds like it has potential.

Today’s Kerberos is a title I’ll give wide berth. It a harem comedy, a genre I rarely find funny. Chiaki is a boy who no longer feels joy or fun after a childhood incident. His traveling father sends him a gift. Inside is a girl who calls herself Cerberus, and has three personalities. She vows to protect Chiaki from all harm. It’s currently three volumes and is ongoing. This will be an easy title to pass up.

Shut-In Shoutarou Kominami Takes on the World is a senien series about shut-in Shoutarou Kominami who, instead of getting the allowance he was expecting from his mother, gets a note telling him he’s been cut off. Shoutarou hasn’t left his place in months, but must now go out into the world and get a job. The series is complete in three volumes and sounds interesting. I’d be willing to read the first volume.

Servant X Service is a 4koma as well as being another senien. This slice of life comedy follows the staff of the Health and Welfare section of a ward in the fictional city of Mitsuba, Hokkaido, and their everyday hijinks in the office. It is complete in 4 volumes. I’m really intrigued by this series. It seems to be aimed at an older working person like me.

UnknownUnknown is a supernatural shonen action series. It follows Ox and Ivan, a pair of “wisemen”, who collect “wisdoms” that are too powerful and too dangerous in the wrong hands. The series is complete in 4 volumes, and is a title that would like to check out.

When a Magician’s Pupil Smiles is about Ouka Namae, a boy devoid of emotions. He must learn what it means to be alive, and to feel. The cover art work and hint of a mystery makes this a title I’d be willing to check out. It is complete in 3 volumes.

The Royal Tutor is about Haine, a newly minted Royal Tutor ready to get to work. But he’s in for more than he expected when his new charges, four princelings are more interested in testing his patience than their knowledge. This series could be interesting, but I don’t know. I’ll have to read the first volume to see. It is ongoing and there are 3 volumes out so far.

ScarletEmpireScarlet Empire is a time-bending historical, martial arts shonen. Souzou Sagara is the leader of the Sekihoutai in the Bakumatsu era. Kotetsu Miyasaka is a kendo student in the modern era aiming to be at the top with his younger brother. These two men are connected by the red string of fate as their struggle to protect and change their prospective worlds transcends time. Key words historical and martial arts are enough to pull me into this series enough to check out the first volume. It is at 3 volumes and going.

While no release dates were given with these announcements, I think we can expect titles to begin coming out in late 4th quarter or early next year. The digital titles could come out even sooner. Hopefully Yen Press will update their site with direct links to the digital titles. The easier they make it for reader to find, the quicker they’ll make the sale.

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Kodansha at Anime Boston

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While Yen Press was kicking it up in Seattle at Sakura-Con, Kodansha was staying cool at Anime Boston. They had announcements for 5 new titles as well as news about current titles.

ninja-slayer-kills  Starting with the new titles, Kodansha picked up Ninja Slayer Kills. This is another adaptation of the novel series Ninja Slayer, about salary man Kenji Fujikido, who is possessed by the Ninja spirit Naraku. Kenji’s wife and child was killed in a ninja turf war, and his thirst for vengeance matches Naraku’s lust for killing. Together they become Ninja Slayer. Veritcal Comics already announced another adaptation, Machine of Vengeance. It’s not surprising Kodansha picked up one as well, especially with an anime set to run this year. This series has two volumes out so far and is ongoing. I will probably pass on this one, since ultra violence just isn’t my thing.

Cat DiaryA title I am excited about is Cat Diary: Yon and Mu by horror manga creator Junji Ito. A semi-autobiographical comedy, it is about a horror manga artist and his fiance’s cats. I’ve been interested in this title since I heard about it in 2009. Ito’s creepy art combined with the mysteries of cats who are probably planning our demise anyway, just seems to be the perfect combination. I will definitely be picking this one up. It’s about cats, you shouldn’t be surprised. It is complete in one volume.

Persona Q P3Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth P3/P4 are adaptations of the Nintendo 3DS game. Each title features the protagonist from Persona 3 and Persona 4 and their friends attending a school cultural festival when a mysterious bell rings out. Each title starts out as their own story line, but they begin to merge as the story progresses. I’ve been learning a lot about Persona Q, as my oldest daughter as been obsessed with it, and has played it through twice now. It will be interesting to see how the manga handles the merging of the storylines. Kodansha has pretty much guaranteed sales for both these titles. The titles just began at the beginning of this year, so there is no volume count or release date, but for those who can’t wait, Crunchyroll has both titles available for streaming. I’ll be happy to wait for the print books.

devil-survivorRelated to Persona Q indirectly is Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor. This title is also the adaptation of a Nintendo 3DS game. The Persona series is also a spin-off from the Shin Megami Tensei series. The Comp is a popular portable game system that doubles as a smart phone. It has also become a portal for demons to come to our world. Protag Kazuya receives three Comps from his genius programmer cousin, and he and his friends must learn to use them to fight and capture the demons before they take over Japan. I’m game to check this title out as well. I was interested in the Shin Megami Tensei that Tokyopop had licensed back in the day, but only one volume was released. There are currently 5 volumes out of the ongoing series.

Kodansha also had two bits of news. First, Vinland Saga, which had gone on a sort of hiatus was given release dates for Volumes 6 and 7. Volume 6 will be out in September and Volume 7 will be out in December. They also warned these would be the last two volumes in English if sales didn’t improve. When the original release date for Volume 6 was pulled, there were lots of thoughts that is was because of low sales. Kodansha has now confirmed that, but the series hasn’t been abandoned as was also thought. It is now in the fans’ hands if this title lives or dies. Pre-order if you want Vinland Saga in English to continue.

The second bit of news was a new limited edition of Attack on Titan Vol 16. It will be released in August on the same day as the regular edition, and will include a set of playing cards printed by US Playing Card Company. Each card will have different full color art. There will also be a variant dust cover by an American Artist that is yet to be announced. All of this, and it will only cost $19.99 MSRP. Attack on Titan fanatics will definitely want this.

New Licenses Announced for Shojo Beat

There has been plenty of new titles announced for Viz’s Shonen Jump line, especially with the new Jump Start for Weekly Shonen Jump, but this week Viz Media let Shojo Beat shine with the announcement of two new titles to join the drama-based line.

bloody-mary The first title announced was Bloody Mary. This supernatural series is about 400-year-old vampire “Bloody” Mary who has tired of life and just wants to die. He has been searching for one who would inherit the “Blood of Maria”, that would give them the power to kill him. He finally finds an exorcist  who has inherited the power, but he doesn’t know how to use it. But because he possess the power, he becomes the target of lots of other vampires. Mary makes a deal with Maria. He will be his body-guard until Maria can figure out how to use his power and end Mary’s life. The series is only four volumes so far, and will be published quarterly starting in December 2015. This title has two potential strikes against it. One, it’s about vampires. I really am done with the whole vampire thing. Two, the series is a shounen ai/BL series. It’s only four volumes in, and so far the story has pushed the shounen ai and not stumbled into full BL territory. So far. I’m more tolerate of shounen ai that of BL. I don’t mind the flirting and the tension, so as long it keeps on that track I might like it.

honey so sweetHoney So Sweet was the second series and is the kind of teen romance one would expect from Shojo Beat. It is about Nao Kogure, who in Middle School left an umbrella and bandages for injured delinquent Taiga Onise. They meet again in High School, and while Nao doesn’t want anything to do with violent Taiga, he surprises her with a bouquet of flowers and request that she date him. It’s a bad-boy-with-a-heart-of-gold series, but that’s not so bad.  It’s a romantic comedy about love and friendship with an ensemble high school cast. The art looks cute too. Viz has done well with this genre with titles such as Kimi ni Todoke and Strobe Edge, so the chances of this one being just as entertaining is very good. There are six volumes available and this series will also be published quarterly starting in January 2016. I’m more inclined to try out this series as I’m more attracted to the gentle romances than vampire dramas.

Both of these titles will be available in both print and digital as same day releases.

Seven Seas Announces Two New Licenses for 2016

This last Wednesday, Seven Seas Entertainment announced two new licenses on their twitter feed for calendar year 2016. Both titles fall into their wheelhouse, though one doesn’t so too bad.

New TestamentThe Testament of Sister New Devil is an adaptation of the light novel series. It is about Basara Tojo, a high school student who suddenly gets two new sisters when his father announces he has decided to remarry, and then promptly leaves for an overseas trip, leaving the trio alone. But Basara’s new step sisters, Mio and Maria are not what they seem. They are actually a novice Devil and Succubus. After trying to get Basara into a master/servant relationship with a Mio, an error occurs and Basara becomes the master, throwing him into all kinds of erotic situations. On top of all this, Mio is being hunted by both monsters and heroes. This series doesn’t interest me at all with its harem, male gaze elements, but it does fit perfectly in Seven Seas’ catalog. There are four volumes so far, and an anime adaptation is being streamed by Crunchyroll. The first will be available here in February 2016.

My Monster SecretMy Monster Secret is a romantic comedy that follows Asahi Kuromine. He has a crush on Yoko Shiragami, a cute but mysterious girl at his school. Asahi can’t keep a secret, but everyone has them, including Shiragami. Asahi learns her secret, that she is a vampire, but he is determined to keep it for her. This is another “monster girl” series, but doesn’t fall into the heavy male gaze category thankfully. It does seem to make the harem side, but it sure seems shonen rom-coms can’t be successful without it. The art looks cute though, so I might be willing to check out a volume or two. It currently has 10 volumes available, and the first volume will be released in January of 2016.

Seven Seas has been making some interesting choices with their licenses, and have been sticking with some genres that sell. These titles certainly do fit with their male gaze/monster girl categories, but at least with My Monster Secret appear to be looking to mix it up with the latter category. It’s something to look forward to in 2016.

Vertical Comics Adds Three New Licenses

At their panel at Katsucon over Valentine’s Day weekend, Vertical Comics showed readers the manga love with three new licenses; 1 manga and 2 light novel series.

Kizumonogatari Kizumonogatari is part of the Monogatari light novel series by writer NisiOisin. While Kizu is the third novel in the series, it is a prequel to the first, Bakemonogatari. It tells the story of how protagonist Koyomi was turned into a vampire by the female vampire Shinobu, and his journey to return to being human. I’ve heard about the Monogatari series, but never knew what they were about. With the description of mystery and supernatural, I’m now interested. So far, only this volume of the 18 available so far has been licensed. More will depend on how well this one does. It will ship in November of this year.

Seraph Light Novel Seraph of the End is a series already familiar to manga fans. Viz Media has been releases the manga and running concurrent chapters with Japan in Weekly Shonen Jump. This license from Vertical, Guren Ichinose, Catastrophe at 16, is another prequel to the main story. It follows Guren Ichinose in his early days, before he became a Lieutenant Colonel in the Japanese Imperial Demon Army. There are currently 4 light novels, and Vertical plans to publish them as 2-in-1 omnibus editions. I have to read more of the manga to see if these light novels will hold any interest for me. I wasn’t impressed with the first volume, but the first three volumes made it to the YALSA GGNT list, so I’m going to give the series a second chance. No release date was announced for omnibus editions, but I would expect another end of the year release for it.

Ninja SlayerNinja Slayer: Machine of Vengeance is the final license announced by Vertical Comics. It is a manga based on a light novel series originally written by Americans Bradly Bond and Phillip Ninj@ Morzez and translated and published in Japan. This is the first of two manga adaptations published. Ninja Slayer takes place in a dystopian future where ninja souls have been resurrected and now wreak havoc on the city of Neo-Saitama. The story follows Kenji Fujikido, a salary man who lost his wife and daughter to a ninja turf war, and in nearly losing his life, is possessed by an enigmatic ninja soul. Fujikido survives and becomes a Ninja Slayer, destined to kill evil ninja and takes on the Soukai Syndicate. Ninja Slayer sounds like a title fans of sword wielding story like Blade of the Immortal or Crying Freeman would enjoy. It’s not really my cup of tea, so this is one I will pass one. It is scheduled to be released in October.

It’s an interesting selection from Vertical. Light Novel fans have much to rejoice, but they will only see more if they put their money where their mouth is. More titles are promised to be on the way, so here’s hoping there will be more manga announcements this time around.

 

 

Viz Licenses Shojo Titles Old and New

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Viz Media has announced several licenses, with a bit of “something old, something new” to them. Three of the titles are Tokyopop rescues for the Viz Select line, and two are brand new licenses from mangaka who have already had titles released in the West to quite a bit of success.

The_One_I_Love_GN1 From Tokyopop, Viz Media continues their CLAMP releases with two of their titles returning; The One I Love and Wish. The One I Love is a one-volume collection of 12 short stories that tell stories about the many sides of love.  All of the stories are told from a woman’s perspective, and deal with the doubts, insecurities and ultimately the joy of love. It sounds like a fun series, though perhaps best taken in smaller doses. The romance may get monotonous, even for romance lovers. It will be released February 10th.

Wish_GN1 Wish is a four volume series that follows Shuichiro, who after saving an angel, Kohaku, from a tree one moonlight night, is offered a wish as a reward. Shuichiro refuses the wish, saying he can get what he wants on his own. But he and the angel soon find out there are some wishes that can not be granted on their own. This series is a typical bitter-sweet romance that has a happy ending of sorts, but the kind that Western readers are used to. The first volume will be released February 17th.

somedaysSomeday Dreamers is a two-volume series, and is not done by CLAMP. It is about Yume, a girl who wants to follow in the footsteps of her mother, and become a magic user. She practices her magic by helping people she finds in need; a struggling soccer player, the wrongly accused, and a student who wants to share a lunar eclipse with his teacher on cloudy night. While the story is about Yume working to be a full mage, there is a current of romance that is left unresolved. The art is as gentle as the story, and is one I’ve considered picking up several times. The first volume will be released February 24th.

qq-sweeperThe two brand new titles have not gone completely unnoticed. The first title, QQ Sweeper, is by Kyousuke Motomi, the creator of Dengeki Daisy. It was almost exactly a year ago when this new title was announced in Shogakukan’s Betsucomi magazine. The cleaning and sweeping of the series’ title seems to have a supernatural bend. Kyutaro Horikita is the cleaning expert of Kurokado High. The tall, dark, and handsome cleaner meets transfer student Fumi Nishioka, where he shows her how to clean the spirits from the school and also maybe her heart. I was already interested in this series because it was from Motomi, but the addition of a supernatural element only makes it more appealing to me. The first volume will be released in October.

idreamIdol Dreams is by Arina Tanemura, a very popular shojo artist. Viz Media has already published at least 7 of her titles. This series turns the premise of some old school magical girls on their ear. Chikage Deguchi is a 31-year-old office worker who feels she’s missed out on her chances for love and success. She wishes she could go back to a time when she was young and popular, and is given that chance when she takes an experimental drug that changes her appearance to that of a 15-year-old. She takes the opportunity to re-do things in her life, including becoming and idol. Besides changing up the old school magical girl formula, Idol Dreams appears to borrow from Case Closed, though that series doesn’t hold the license on getting younger, it’s just the first thing that comes to mind. I’ll check out this first volume if I get a chance when it comes out in November.

These were some good titles for Viz to pick up. I’m happy to see the new Motomi title. I was really hoping it would get picked up. Idol Dreams is new to me, and has my attention by starting the series with a mature woman as the lead. It will be interesting to see how her older self deals with the younger problems of a new generation. I’m looking forward to this round.

 

Kodansha’s Kinokuniya Event Yields New Licenses

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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.

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.

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.

Viz Select Strikes Again

Viz Media has been bringing back a lot of older titles that have gone out of print. Most of the titles have been from former English publisher Tokyopop through Japanese publisher Kadokawa Shoten. Last week Viz announced another three titles from the Toykopop/Kadokawa Shoten licenses.

Mikansi_GN1Mikansei No. 1 is a two-volume series by creator Majiko, whose other titles include St. Lunatic High, which was also published under Viz Select, and Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion originally published here by Bandai. I really wouldn’t surprise me to see that one show up at some point. Mikansei No. 1 is about a girl named Neo who was born into the wrong century. She loves to sing and wear short skirts despite the more modest fashion of the 23rd century. Accidentally transported back in time to the 21st century, she teams up with the handsome Saya, and becomes half of singing duo. But to make it big, they need to put on a concert. It’s up to Neo to keep time on their side. At two volumes it might be interested in checking it out. I didn’t care for St. Lunatic High, her only other original title I’ve read, but this one sounds like it has potential.

Hands OffHands Off! is an eight volume shojo series by Kasana Katsumoto, whose other works lean toward the smutty side of josei, so needless to say, we won’t be seeing anything else from her any time soon. Hands Off! follows Kotarou Oohira, a boy with a clueless touch-he can transmit a kind of ESP through physical contact. He accidentally give it to his cousin Tatsuki, and comes to realize there more to his gift than he imagined. I’m not quite sure what to think of this series. I’ve seen volumes of it go by on trading site such as Paperback Swap, so it definitely got around. The action and intrigue does sound interesting, the gentle boy touching, not so much. This series also had a prequel, Hands Off: Don’t Call Us Angels.

SgtFrog-01The title I’m most excited to hear about it Sgt Frog by Mine Yoshizaki. Tokyopop released 21 volumes, with the 21st being among the last titles released by the company. Sgt. Frog follows the misadventures of Sgt. Keroro, a frog-like alien and his platoon of misfits from the planet Keron. Sent to Earth to conquer it, instead, Keroro blows his cover and loses his top-secret weapon, cutting him off from his home world. On top of that, he’s lost his platoon!  He makes a deal with the Hinata family, and in exchange for doing chores around the house, he gets his own room from which to plot his next secret plan to take over the world. And build Gundam models. Sgt. Frog is a great gag manga with a crazy cast of characters. I will definitely pick up the volumes I’m missing of this series. Maybe I’ll go back and read all the previous volumes in order to be ready!