Saint Seiya, also known as Knights of the Zodiac here in the west, is a series with a long lineage. The main series started in 1985 and was among the titles that helped make Weekly Shonen Jump the power house it was in the 1980s and 1990s. Since the end of original series, there have been some spin offs that are now reaching a conclusion.
I love mysteries and detective stories, so whenever I hear about a new one, I have to talk about it! Shuiesha’s Cocohana magazine has announced that Akiko Higashimura, the creator of Princess Jellyfish and the award-winning Kakukaku Shikajika, will be starting a new detective series in the November issue due on in September.
Fruits Basket was a big license last decade. The shojo about a family cursed to turn into one of the Chinese Zodiac when they hug someone of the opposite sex was credited with such a big seller for Tokyopop that it kept the company afloat for several years. Sadly, the series has been out of print ever since Tokyopop lost the license and ended publishing 2011. Japan however is getting a 2-in-1 collectors edition re-release of the series. To celebrate this, mangaka Natsuki Takaya will launch a sequel series on Hakusensha’s HanaLaLa Online website for free, with new chapters available every Friday starting September 4.
Mythical Detective Loki is a series I have wanted released in the west for years. It’s had a bumpy history here. ADV Manga first licensed the continuation of the series, Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok, and released two volumes before they folded. Jmanga licensed the first series and managed to release five volumes before it folded. A third series, Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok: Gods of the New World, never saw translation here, but has now ended in Japan. The series is about Loki, the Norse god of mischief, who is banished to Earth in the form of a young boy. To return to the land of the gods, he must collect auras of evil, so he opens a detective agency. As well as collecting the auras, he has to deal with other Norse gods who come to visit and/or taunt him, some of whom do not want him returning.
I love boy detective titles, as well as any kind of mythology, so I’ve been dying to read this series. I still have the two volumes ADV Manga released, but lost the Jmanga titles when they went under. But this is a series that so deserves another chance! It’s not the manga’s fault it never finished with either company. Both folded before the manga had a chance to finish. Jmanga was just two volumes away. I don’t think Ragnarok would have done well for ADV Manga anyway, since it was a continuation of the first series, and ADV Manga didn’t provide any background information on the characters or story.
Thanks to the Marvel Avengers and Thor movies, Loki has become a really hot property. Some publisher should really pick this series up. Each titled series is short too. Mythical Detective Loki is only 7 volumes. Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok is 5 volumes, and the final series, Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok: Gods of the New World is 6 volumes. None of the titles are too long for publishers and still fit into the post 2000s requirement. I think the series would be a good fit for Seven Seas Entertainment or Yen Press, and the Japanese publisher, MAG Garden isn’t tied down to any one English publisher.
I know I’ve written a Wish List for this series before, but with all that’s happened since then, it really needed this update. We really need a Japanese manga about Norse gods solving mysteries! There is no such thing as too much Loki! This series needs an English release stat!
Over the years, a lot of titles have been licensed and started, but never finished due to various circumstances, mostly because the company that released them went out of business. One of these companies was CMX, an imprint of DC Comics. The imprint was dropped suddenly after a leadership change at DC. One of the titles cut off midstream was Stolen Hearts, a very cute rom-com.
Stolen Hearts is about high school student Shinobu Okuma, a girl small for her age and Miharu Koguma, the biggest, most intimidating boy at school. Okuma accidentally spills milk on an antique kimono Koguma is carrying for his grandmother, and he has her come to his grandmother’s kimono shop to make up for ruining it. Okuma is put to work wearing kimonos and walking around town handing out flyers about the shop. Not only does she have fun wearing all the cute, coordinated outfits, but she finds out that Koguma isn’t as scary as he seems.
I loved this series from the first volume. Koguma and Okuma make a cute if mismatched couple. Both are rather shy, and Koguma, with his unruly hair and love for small, cute things is a great male lead. Okuma is small and cute, can be rather blunt, but is always upbeat. After she learns how kind Koguma is, she tries to get her friends and classmates to see it too. Once they do though, she finds she might have competition for his affections.
But the character that steals this series is Fujiko Koguma, Koguma’s grandmother. She is the feisty, 76 year-old owner of the kimono shop. She loves money and has no problem smacking her grandson when she thinks he needs it. Even the local yakuza are intimidated by her. She steals practically every scene she’s in, and has no end of money-making schemes to put Koguma and Okuma through.
The second volume introduces the rest of Koguma’s family; his three older brothers and parents. Koguma’s brothers are as big and handsome as he is. His mother is funny, as she makes mountains of food to feed the big-appetited family, but also wants to treat Okuma as a surrogate daughter and dress her in kimonos. They are a tight family who love kimonos as much as the matriarch Fujiko. Oldest brother Miki even makes custom kimonos, and becomes part of another of Fujiko’s schemes to make made-to-order kimonos at her shop for taller women.
But it can’t be a rom-com without situations to get into. Okuma and Koguma get into plenty on their own between misunderstandings and Koguma’s reputation and shy personality. The introduction of the brothers brings in a rivalry between Koguma and Miki, who decides to tease his younger brother but takes it too far. The situations never get too serious, but provide enough drama to balance against the comedy.
This is a title that so deserves a license rescue. It’s six volumes total, though only two volumes made it to print in the US. This title falls into all the guideline most publishers have for manga licenses. It post 2000, and it’s short. It’s complete in 6 volumes. It didn’t get very far in publishing here, with both volumes out of print and difficult to find. It was published by Hakusensha in Japan, so it doesn’t have any associated publishers in the US, so it’s open to anyone. This series would be a good addition to Viz Media’s Viz Select line. It would fit in well with their other sweet Shojo Beat titles, if they wanted to go with print.
Back in September it was announced that Hiroshi Shiibashi’s latest original manga, Illegal Rare was ending, and the final two volumes were to be released in October and November. Shiibashi is the creator of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, a series about Yakuza yokai and ran for 25 volumes.
Illegal Rare is another ensemble series about the supernatural. Humans and supernatural creatures live together in the same world, but these “Rares” are being hunted to extinction. To protect them, the Illegal Rare Counter-Protection Unit was formed. It is championed by Fukumen, a police officer that wears a mask. He goes to Axl, a member of the very rare and highly hunted Black Vampyr clan, to help him. In the first chapter, he rescues a mermaid, Mirror and she joins the unit as well.
Illegal Rare is similar to Nura. It has a big cast, and features supernatural monsters. The monsters have branched out beyond the traditional Japanese monsters, yokai, and now include western monsters such as vampires, mermaids, and werewolves. The lead is a good-looking monster, and the main female is timid by loyal to the lead. Maybe it was too similar to Nura, and that’s why it didn’t succeed. I liked Nura, especially as it got into the later volumes. It’s too bad this series didn’t get the same chance. With Nura‘s final volume coming out in February, maybe Viz will pick up this series as well. I hope so. I’d really like to read it, even only digitally.
I love to do crafts and have dabbled in quite a few, including beading. I’ve made mostly earrings back when my eyes could see the tiny beads and my more nimble hands could hold them and string them on the needle and thread. Now, I am more content to read about it.
Otokomae! Bead Club is a one shot volume by Kyousuke Motomi. Her name is well-known among western shojo manga fans. Two of her titles, Beast Master and Dengeki Daisy were licensed and released in the US by Viz Media. Her newest title, QQ Sweeper has also just been picked up, with the first volume out later this year. This title is an earlier series first published in 2004 in Shogakukan’s Betsucomi magazine. It ran for three chapters, and the compiled volume includes a side story and extra.
The story follows Oikawa Ibuki, a high school girl who has just transferred schools so she can start over. She is very strong and versed in the martial arts, but she wants to be more gentile and feminine, and find a boy who is stronger than her. On her way to her first day, she meets Takumi Urabe, a mysterious boy who carries a shovel and seems able to command crows. In her introduction, she claims to like to do beading, and is then introduced to the beading club, an eccentric group of kids who all share a secret. And Ibuki has just been made a member!
I was drawn to Otokomae! Bead Club just because of the title, but when I learned who the mangaka was, this title became an instant want. I’m really surprised it hasn’t been licensed by Viz yet. It’s only one volume, and features a lot of elements that have proven popular in other titles; a boy who commands crows, a girl who is really tough be wants to be seen as gentle. Throw in Motomi’s fun characters and playful art, and it’s got to be a sure seller! Maybe if QQ Sweeper does well, we can get this title as well.
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.
Shuiesha, the publisher of all the Shonen Jump titles released an app in Japan that allows 30 manga to be read for free. Some of these titles first run in Weekly Shonen Jump, and some in their mobile app Jump Live. This is all well and good for people living in Japan, but no so much for us here in the west. But that doesn’t mean we can’t wish. Going through the list, there are 5 titles that I would like to be able to read, or at least check out a few chapters or volumes.
Rough Diamond: Manga Gakko ni Yokoso (Welcome to Manga School) – This series follows Yuuto Takatsuki, a high school boy who has already had a series published. Just as his series is ending, and he is looking forward to a normal high school, he helps out a fellow mangaka, and ends up missing one day of school too many, and isn’t able to pass his grade. Luckily, he’s offered a teaching position at a manga school. The principal will help me make his absenses disappear for teaching the class, but the only problem for Yuuto is that he has to teach students older than him, and he’s still in the world of manga. On top of all that, he is being haunted by the ghost of a mangaka Akira Tennouji! I’ve become addicted to manga about making manga ever since Bakuman, but this one looks just plain fun!
Nekota Biyori – Being a cat lover makes this series a no-brainer. It is about a cat named Nekota. It follows his daily life with the family he lives with; daughter Ami, house wife mother and salaryman father. I’m happy just watching cats laze around, so a manga of a cat doing the same thing is a must have for me.
Shonen Jump no Tadashii Tsukurikata! (How to Make Shonen Jump the Right Way) – Billed “the shocking documentary manga”, this series is about a manga artist and his editor infiltrating the Shonen Jump offices. Considering how well Bakuman did, another series about the behind the scenes workings at Shonen Jump would no doubt do well as well.
iShojo – This is an anthology series about a magic app that helps people’s dreams of love come true. I might not be big on romantic comedies, but the formula for the series appeals to me, and I do have a soft spot for stories that get couples together. As an anthology, I think I would enjoy it much more that trying to follow a series.
Seiyu Mashimashi Club – This series is a 4 koma manga about girls who want to be voice actresses. 4 komas have been hit and miss with me, much like romantic comedies, but I do enjoy titles about aspiring voice actresses, much like I enjoy titles about aspiring mangaka, so I would like to give this one a try.
I wouldn’t mind having these be digital only, just as long as they are titles that can be downloaded/don’t expire. It’s so easy to get distracted and fall behind on titles (Hello Mangabox, my old friend). Hopefully our friends at Viz Media are giving some these titles a nice look over.
This week I check some stories In the News, the Top Ten Department including the Nielson Bookscan for June, and I advocate for the licensing of an older title, Captain Harlock.
Continue reading Manga Dome Podcast Episode 67: Wish List Captain Harlock
What wonderful news to come home to! Viz Media has licensed Master Keaton the one manga from Naoki Urasawa that I’ve wanted ever since I first heard about it. It combines two of my most favorite things in the world into one title; mysteries and archaeology! I mean, how awesome is it to have a detective who can solve cases and is an archaeologist, always struggling to uncover the truth.
I didn’t think we’d ever get this title licensed in English. It had a few hurdles to get over for licenses today; it’s from the 1990s and is over 10 volumes. Then there was a disagreement over credits for the story, which actually sounded pretty petty of Urasawa to demand his name appear bigger than the original writer. But it looks like that problem has been solved, and Urasawa’s name is now known in the US. His work will sell no matter how old it is.
Another thing that will make this a big seller is that it hasn’t been scanlated by anyone beyond the first few chapters. Trust me, I’ve looked. The only way to enjoy this series previously was the anime licensed by Geneon back in 2003-04. I was lucky enough to be able to pick them up at Rightstuf. With this being the first time the manga is available in English in any format, that will guarantee sales.
It looks like Viz’s edition will be an omnibus of some sort as the original run was 18 volumes and Viz is soliciting this as 12. As part of the Viz Signature line, it is getting the deluxe treatment with 18 color pages , and will retail for $19.99 US. I don’t care. This is a series I have to own, and will pre-order. If only we didn’t have to wait until December! I want my Master Keaton noooowwwwwww!
I’ve been making license requests ever since I started blogging. In fact, one of my first posts was a plea to see City Hunter back in print. I’ve made wishes since then when titles by a creator I know about catch my eye, or certain subjects or other media tie-ins build my interest. Just recently I’ve notices that a few of my wishes have been granted!
Kodansha started things off when they announced Bloody Monday as one of their new licenses at NYCC in 2010. I wished for it a year earlier in October 2009. But I didn’t learn of the manga first. It was through the J-drama that I discovered this title and it’s manga roots. I really enjoyed the J-drama with the plus that is seems to have been faithful to the manga (so far). Another plus about this title is that it written by the same writer as Kindaichi Case Files and Drops of God, two other titles I really enjoyed. I was absolutely surprised and thrilled that this title was picked up. It’s a little over the top sometimes with the drama and suspense, but that’s part of the fun!
Jmanga is becoming a genie with the wish granting. One of their first new licenses was Edo Nekoe Jubei Otogizoshi, a title I learned about from Deb Aoki of manga.about.com after she returned from a trip to Japan. I knew next to nothing about except what she described, but I still wanted it! It was about cats! And Yokai! And Cat Yokai! I really couldn’t ask for anything more. Except to be able to read it. Which Jmanga obliged me with. And it has been just as fun to read as I had hoped it would be.
Then just recently, Jmanga granted another of my wishes. It’s a wish I’ve had for a while, but didn’t get around to writing about it until last July. Mythical Detective Loki has two things going for it that makes a must have for me; detectives and norse mythology. The anime for this series came out several years ago, and ADV manga made an abortive attempt to bring out the second series (only released two volumes that didn’t make much sense since it picked up where the first series left off). So, I’ve been wanting to read this series for about 7 years now. And then Jmanga, waving their magic license wand granted me that chance, making me not only a happy fangirl, but a loyal Jmanga reader for life!
These are three great ticks off my list, but there are still more to come, as well as license rescues, which Jmanga is proving to be a great source of. I will finally get to read more of tactics, from the artist of Mythical Detective Loki, and they promise more from Kodansha later. So I’ll keep wishing and hoping they’ll keep granting.