Tag Archives: Yen Press

8th Manga Taisho Awards Announced

Manga TaishoBack in January, the nominees for the 8th Manga Taisho awards were announced. This year there are 14 titles, and again, there are several titles manga readers will be familiar with. Koe no Katachi, A Silent Voice has been announced for print from Kodansha Comics, and was streamed digitally on Crunchyroll. Maho Tsukai no Yome, The Ancient Magus’ Bride has been licensed by Seven Seas Entertainment, and Boku no Hero Academia, My Hero Academy has just been announced by Viz Media to run simultaneous with the Japanese releases. The rest of the nominees include Innocent, Osama-tachi no Viking, Kakukaku Shikajika, Kasane, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Kodomo wa Wakatte Agenai, Dimitri Tomkins, Blue Giant, Houseki no Kuni, Ballroom e Youkoso, and Boku dake ga Inai Machi.

nozakikun01Several of these titles look interesting, the problem with most them being they are seinen. One of the titles that isn’t and should be a no-brainer for license is Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. This comedy series follows Sakura Chiyo who tries to confess to her crush Nozaki, a shoujo manga artist, but instead he asks her to help him with his manga. The anime of this series was streamed here and was well received. It’s from Square Enix, so Yen Press really needs to get on licensing this one!

Ballroom e Youkoso is one of those unusual sports manga that might make it here, especially with the popularity of Dancing with the Stars. The story follows middle school student Fujita Tatara who has no goal in life until he is saved from some delinquents by a mysterious man. He leads him to a dance studio where Fujita becomes inspired to join in dancesport. This shonen could be the one to break the sports manga curse. This is from Kodansha.

housekinokuni01Innocent is a historical series about an executioner during the French Revolution, while Osama-tachi no Viking follows a genius hacker and a spoiled rich kid who join forces. Blue Giant appears to be about a school-aged jazz musician who plays the tenor saxophone. All three of these are seinen titles that Viz would have to be convinced to look at. Houseki no Kuni, Kingdom of Gems is a fantasy series about a new life form known as Gems who have to fight to keep from being made into decorations. This seinen series is from Kodansha.

Since three of these nominees have already be licensed, there’s a good chance some of these others will be too. I was pretty good with predictions last year, when the two titles I highlighted ended up getting licensed, so I hope at least a couple of the titles I mentioned will get the nod.

The Manga Taisho Award nominees are nominated by bookstore staff in charge of their stores manga section. Manga titles released in 2014 and that are under 8 volumes are eligible for nomination. There will be second round of voting that will decide the winner, and will be announced later this year.


Spice and Wolf Volume 1-6

Lawrence Kraft is a traveling merchant, going to towns and villages, making deals for items to barter and sell. While passing through the village of Pasloe on day, he picks up a stowaway on his chart; Holo the Wisewolf, the Harvest Goddess of the village. The villagers no longer need Holo, and she wishes to go home, in the north. She and Lawrence strike a deal, and they begin their adventures together on the trip north.

SPICEWOLFm_1Spice and Wolf Volume 1-6
By Keito Koume
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Mature
Genre: Fantasy
Price: $12.99/ea
Rating: ★★★★☆

Spice and Wolf is a series that started out as a light novel and was adapted into both an anime and a manga. After the anime was favorably received by fans, Yen Press licensed both the light novel series and manga. There was a bit of an uproar when the first light novel came out, because Yen Press had chosen to use a cover that would appeal to Young Adult readers more than to anime fans. To appease the fans, Yen Press offered a book cover with the original cover art on it. I’d heard reviews of the first light novel, and while the idea of a series that looks at economics sounded interesting, it didn’t seem to translate as well in practice. After receiving some copies of the manga for review, I gave in and read the first six volumes.

SPICEWOLFMANGA_2Spice and Wolf takes place in a fantasy world similar to late middle ages Europe. There are kings and knights, and a church stretching out its influence to wipe out all “pagans.” There is also a lot of commerce. As a merchant, Lawrence is always on the lookout for a chance to make a profit, so the stories focus a lot on economics and trade. If you’re looking for swords and battles this isn’t the manga for you. If you aren’t interested in the finer details of currency speculation or identifying counterfeit coins, then this title might not be for you either. Honestly, this title nearly lost me after the first volume. It was very slow-moving and the all the economics made me wonder if anything was going to happen. The action started to pick up in the second volume, relieving some of the tedium of the first. But what really grew on my were the characters.

SPICEANDWOLF_3Kraft Lawrence is a traveling merchant. He is always on the move and always looking for something to buy or sell to make a profit. He is young and has been traveling for 7 years. His dream is settle down and own a shop in a town somewhere. He is kind and perhaps a little too soft-hearted when dealing with people, but in business, he is very shrewd, though sometimes becoming overconfident, which puts him into some serious trouble in volumes 4-6. He is also quite likable. He has a dry sense of humor, and easily trades barbs with Holo.

Holo is a little more complex. She is literally a giant wolf and has lived for hundreds of years. She was already old when she settled in the village of Pasloe. Her age, strength and wisdom does make her haughty at times, and she can be vain as she is constantly grooming her tail. But, after years of being alone and disregarded by the village she protected, she is also very lonely. If she fears anything, it is being alone again. I wasn’t sure how to feel about Holo at the beginning. Her haughty attitude did start to sway me toward disliking her. But when she stopped trying to be superior and opened up a little to Lawrence, I started to like her more. She often speaks in an old-fashioned dialect and has her vulnerable moments, which endeared her to me.

SPICEMANGA_4It’s Lawrence and Holo’s relationship that really made this an enjoyable series for me. It builds slowly, as they get to know each other. Just like in any relationship, they have their misunderstandings, but they work them out. Their feelings for each other grow though they both think a relationship wouldn’t be possible. But that doesn’t stop Holo from getting jealous of Norah, a young shepherdess they meet on the way to the town of Ruvinheigen. Lawrence has his share of young men to ward off as well. I really enjoyed the sweet moments between Lawrence and Holo, such as when Holo asks Lawrence to say she’s important to him. It only lasts for a few panels before she laughs it off, but it is a heartwarming moment nonetheless. It’s all of these little moments that really made me want to keep reading the series. I’m torn as to whether I want to see them eventually get together. I think they make a great couple, but at the same time, I like them playing the unresolved tension game as they keep their feelings to themselves.

SPICEWOLFMANGA_5There are all kinds of adversaries for Lawrence and Holo to face as they work for their profit, but the one that is a constant through these volumes is the Church. It appears to be based off the Catholic Church of the late Middle Ages, with all its power, and burning pagans at the stake. Fortunately, they don’t have power everywhere, as there are towns where it doesn’t wield any, but in the ones it does, it’s pretty terrible. Norah, the shepherdess introduced in volume 4, appears to be an orphaned girl who works for the church. But the more she works and succeeds, the more she is seen as a witch and comes under suspicion. And the fact that she works for the church, keeps people away so she can’t live a normal, happy life. I’ve never cared for religion, and this portrayal of it just reinforces my feelings, since this isn’t just written for the drama. Religion has really done and endorsed such things, and sadly still does. I did like how Lawrence is a pragmatist about religion. He doesn’t seem to believe in it, but he knows the rules enough to play along so as to keep him out of trouble and keep him trading. Even with Holo in tow.

SPICEWOLFMANGA_6This series is rate M for mature, has a warning label for “Explicit Content”, but really, all it has is some nudity. Holo, as a wolf, doesn’t give a second thought about going around with no clothes and really the only thing shown are her breasts. I didn’t mind it, and think the warning label might be overkill, since all the nudity is done in a non-sexual way. But, this is the United States, with its over reactive, puritan views of nudity that have to be hidden away from teens, while violence is perfectly acceptable.

It took a volume to for the art to grow on me. It’s the big eyes that took awhile for me to get used to. You’d think as a long time manga and anime fan, I would be used to “big eyes”, but really, there is such a variety of that look in manga, and Koume’s was different from what I was used to. I really liked Lawrence’s design, and he and Holo together make a cute couple. Holo in her wolf form is quite impressive as well. She has some jaws that you do not want your head between.

Once Spice and Wolf stopped lecturing and starts showcasing its charming characters, it became a very entertaining series. I don’t mind the economic elements sprinkled here and there, but the when it over does it, it’s easy to lose interest. If you can get past the slow-paced first volume, there is a lot of fun and action to be enjoyed.

Volumes 4-6 provided by the publisher.

This Week’s Manga: Yen Again

This Week's Manga

Secret_V1_FINALNo matter how I look at it, it’s Yen Press’s fault I’m not caught up reading manga! Look at all these omnibuses that are coming out from them this week. Goong, Ubel Blatt, Umineko When They Cry, and Until Death Do Us Part. I can’t keep up with regular releases, as it is, and with so many omnibuses, my TBR pile just looks worse! There is one non-omnibus title from Yen Press I’d like to check out; Secret Vol 1. I haven’t read Judge or Doubt, but I’m considering giving Secret a try. It looks like it will have more of a mystery element to it than just a psychological thriller. Also new this week from Yen Press is Akame Ga Kill. I know a lot of people have been looking forward to it, but I’m gonna pass on it. It screams harem, with the one country bumpkin guy surrounded by hot girl assassins. I just don’t see the appeal of these harem comedies.

Arpeggio of Blue Steel 3The other publishers aren’t helping much either. Kodansha releases three titles I do enjoy, though My Little Monster and Noragami sit a little higher on the pile than Missions of Love. Seven Seas has the third volume of Arpeggio of Blue Steel, a title I keep bringing up, but still don’t own a volume. If only it was available digitally. I feel the same about Viz Media’s Resident Evil prequel series. Seven Seas has been talking about some changes to their digital strategy. I hope it’s an expansion from Comixology as well as of licensed titles.

Full list per Diamond Distributors:

Missions Of Love Volume 10 GN, $10.99
My Little Monster Volume 6 GN, $10.99
Noragami Stray God Volume 3 GN, $10.99

Arpeggio Of Blue Steel Volume 3 GN, $12.99
Magical Girl Apocalypse Volume 2 GN, $12.99
Zero’s Familiar Chevalier Volume 4 GN, $12.99

Monster The Perfect Edition Volume 3 GN, $19.99
Resident Evil Volume 2 GN, $12.99
Terra Formars Volume 4 GN, $12.99

Akame Ga Kill Volume 1 GN, $13.00
Black Butler Volume 19 TP, $13.00
Goong Volume 17 The Royal Palace GN, $25.00
No Matter How I Look At It It’s You Guy’s Fault I’m Not Popular Volume 6 GN, $13.00
Inu X Boku SS Volume 6 TP, $11.99
Kingdom Hearts 358 / 2 Days Volume 5 GN, $12.00
Melancholy Of Suzumiya Haruhi-Chan Volume 9 GN, $13.00
Milkyway Hitchhiking Volume 2 GN, $30.00
Secret Volume 1 GN, $13.00
Sword Art Online Progressive Volume 1 GN, $13.00
Ubel Blatt Volume 1 GN, $20.00
Umineko When They Cry Volume 4 Alliance Of The Golden Witch GN, $22.00
Until Death Do Us Part Volume 8 GN, $25.00

Zoo: The Graphic Novel

Animals the world over are setting their sights on fresh prey–man. Only biologist Jackson Oz has recognized the patterns in the escalating chain of violent attacks by animals against mankind. And these incidents are just the prelude to something far, far more terrifying. Now Oz is in a race against nature to try to warn humanity about the coming catastrophe. But is it already too late?!

Zoo: The Graphic NovelZoo
Written by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge; Art and Adaptation by Andy MacDonald
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Mature
Genre: Thriller
Price: $25.99
Rating: ★★★½☆

Yen Press has enjoyed a decent success with James Patterson-penned books, and Zoo: The Graphic Novel takes that formula and moves it up to the next level with a title in a deluxe hardcover format and story that could have been ripped from the headlines. While the story brings up some very interesting ideas, that doesn’t keep it from stumbling here and there.

Zoo follows evolutionary biologist Jackson Oz, a man on the fast track at Columbia University until he throws it all away for a pet theory that no one believes. HAC, or Human Animal Conflict, is the theory that different animals around the world were becoming hyper-aggressive toward humans. With little to no support, Oz is on his own, but when male lions start hunting humans together, other scientists start to take notice. It takes a long time to gather evidence and get people’s attention, but it isn’t until pets are affected that it’s really taken seriously.

Zoo is a science thriller, in the vein of Jurassic Park, and is much more thriller than science. It takes a lot of time to build up, as Oz races between Africa, Washington DC and New York, trying to get people to listen to him. Once he finally does get both the scientific community and government to support his research, it’s still another 5 years with no real answer in sight. The tension continues to grow, with the attacks becoming more frequent, and Oz having to keep going to meetings to keep convincing government officials the problem is real. It finally hits home when HAC reaches our own pets; mainly dogs. Presumably cats too, but they are never shown.

All of the attacks and posturing takes up most of the volume. The science is relegated to a small part near the end, but it’s really the most interesting part. Environmental change is responsible, just not in the way no one was expecting. It’s not global warming, but it does relate to the increased use of petroleum products and cell phone radiation. Humans are not only affected by the change in a way similar to the animals, but they are also responsible for it.

Here’s where I start to have problems with the story. The first reaction to the news is a typical knee-jerk military “bomb everything” solution that does nothing to solve it. When the solution is finally given, and it seems to work for 5 days; just 5 days, everyone just assumes the emergency is over and it’s back to business as usual? Really? People are shown what works and they just throw it out after less than a week because it’s inconvenient? I found this twist in the part down right problematic. I know people can be dumb, and there will be people who don’t want to be inconvenienced, but I think this part just crossed the line in underestimating people.

The other problem I had was with the subplot. Oz was caring for a chimpanzee, Atilla, he rescued from a lab that was experimenting on him. Oz spends all of his time running around the globe, and completely ignoring the “wild” animal in his own apartment that was starting to display the same symptoms. He blames himself for his ex-girlfriend’s death at Atilla’s hands, and well he should, though not for the reason he thought. Atilla is shown torn between his relationship with Oz and his instincts. If Oz had just paid him a little more attention, he may have seen the signs earlier, and Oz may even have been able to help him find an answer. Instead, the ex-girlfriend is offed for the new girlfriend to become wife and mother, so Atilla can show he still cares for Oz near the end.

The art is in black and white and more realistic in its renderings. The attack scenes are fairly graphic, though there aren’t too many body parts left strewed around. At least no intestines are shown hanging out. A nose does get spit out. The presentation is very well done, with the book being over-sized, and the paper a heavy gloss.

Overall, I did enjoy Zoo. It was a good thriller with some fascinating science behind it. Oz takes the typical stance that science isn’t to blame, but thankfully also doesn’t look for anywhere else to point fingers. He lays it right out that humanity is to blame for their problems, but the end seems to imply we won’t learn from our mistakes, and I think that’s the wrong stand to take.  Humanity’s strength has always been to learn and adapt, and even if it means two steps back before a step forward, we would find a way.

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.

Secret Manga To End in April

Secret_V1_FINALIt was announced in the second volume of Secret, a psychological horror series by Yoshiki Tonogai, that the series would end in the third volume, scheduled to be released in Japan in April. The series, like Tonogai’s other two titles, Doubt and Judge, is about people trapped in a situation where they must root out a perpetrator to escape.

Secret puts six survivors of tragic bus accident to the test. Three of them are murderers. They all have one week to discover who the murderers are. These three must then show remorse for their crimes and find a way to atone for them, or evidence of their sins will be given to the police. But when everyone has a secret, it isn’t easy to know who to trust.

Tonogai, who contributed to the series Higurashi: When They Cry, seems to be have been strongly influenced by its psychological horror and mystery aspects, as all three of his titles involve these elements. Reception of Doubt and Judge has been mixed here in the West, with Judge just edging out Doubt.

Yen Press, who licensed Doubt and Judge, also licensed this series, and has been simulpubing the individual chapters digitally beginning with chapter 7. I couldn’t find them on the Kindle, but they did show up in the Nook store for $1.99 each. The first volume will be released this month in both print and digital, with the digital pricing being a very reasonable $2.99. If you were curious about this series, this is definitely the way to go.

This Week’s Manga: It All About the Yen

This Week's MangaDemonFromAfarV1_HC It’s the day before Christmas and Yen Press decides to flood the bookstores with their new releases! Don’t they realize most of the money is gone by the 24th? How am I suppose to not only keep up with my favorite regular releases, but also pick up the new ones?! Spice and Wolf Volume 10 comes out this week, and as soon as I get volume 7 I will binge read to catch up. That’s how I got hooked in the first place, binge reading volume 1-6, so another binge can only be a good thing. While not a regular release, it is one that is good to see return. Tena on S-String hasn’t had a volume released since 2010, where the first arc ended, but nothing was resolved just yet. It returns this week in an omnibus 2-in-1, starting up a new arc. I wasn’t enamored by the series, but I grew to like the characters well enough that I wouldn’t mind seeing how the next arc starts.

SpiceAndWolfV10Manga_TPOf the new releases, I do have some interest in the new light novel series A Certain Magical Index, and I wouldn’t mind seeing if Milkyway Hitchhiking read better as a volume instead of serialized, but the two new titles I’m looking forward to  Demon From Afar volume 1 and Love at Fourteen Volume 1. Demon From Afar is by Kaori Yuki, a creator who I have had more hits than misses with. It’s another series that deals with magic, demons and betrayal, but to be honest, I just can’t get enough of her work! I’m thrilled Yen Press was able to get this! Love at Fourteen is another title about teens finding first love. While these titles tend to bittersweet and melodramatic, they are teens after all, I do see some of the appeal to them. This one adds a level of maturity to its leads, which thankfully is just a facade to teens looking for answers.

 Full List per Diamond Distributors:

D-Frag Volume 3 GN, $12.99

Accel World Novel Volume 2 The Red Storm Princess SC, $13.00
Accel World Volume 2 GN, $13.00
Are You Alice Volume 7 GN, $13.00
Barakamon Volume 2 GN, $15.00
Bloody Cross Volume 5 GN, $11.99
Certain Magical Index Light Novel Volume 1 SC, $14.00
Demon From Afar Volume 1 GN, $18.00
He’s My Only Vampire Volume 1 GN, $13.00
High School DxD Asia And Koneko’s Secret Contract GN, $13.00
Is It Wrong Try Pick Up Girls In Dungeon Novel SC, $14.00
Kingdom Hearts II Volume 3 TP, $19.00
Love At Fourteen Volume 1 GN, $15.00
Milkyway Hitchhiking SC, $30.00
Pandora Hearts Odds And Ends GN, $35.00
Soul Eater Not Volume 4 TP, $13.00
Soul Eater Volume 23 TP, $13.00
Spice And Wolf Novel Volume 13 Side Colors III Novel SC, $13.00
Spice And Wolf Volume 10 GN, $13.00
Sword Art Online Fairy Dance Volume 2 GN, $13.00
Sword Art Online Volume 3 Fairy Dance Novel SC, $13.00
Tena On S-String Volume 6 GN, $30.00
Triage X Volume 8 GN, $14.00

New Licenses from Yen Press Outed

SAO girl opsAmazon once again takes the wind out publisher’s sails with some solicitations outing unannounced licenses. This time, Yen Press, who has just recently resolved its issued with the online retailer, had some pre-orders go up for two new manga titles and one light novel. All three new titles are related to existing licenses and just expand on their libraries.

Rebellion_Manga_Vol_1_CoverSword Art Online: Girl Ops just started last year in Dengeki Bunko Magazine and only has one volume out so far. It follows the girls of Sword Art Online: Aincrad in their real life adventures at the SAO Survivor School and their online adventures in ALFheim. This series looks cute, if the cover art is any indication. I liked the manga adaptation of the novel, though I wasn’t enthralled with it. I haven’t checked out the other spin-off, Fairy Dance, but it’s in my to-be-read pile. Sword Art Online has been doing well for Yen Press, so this is a good, if obvious pick up for them. Amazon has it scheduled to be released in May 2015.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Rebellion Story is an adaptation of the movie by the same name and is three volumes. After the end of the TV series/movie recaps, Madoka, Homura, and the rest of the magical girls appear in Mitakihara, fighting creatures called Nightmares. Homura realizes something it wrong, but the truth turns out to be worse than she can imagine. I’ve liked all of the Madoka spin-offs so far. The series is just ripe for alternate universes and spin-offs. This one is based on a scenario by series creator Gen Urobuchi, and isn’t a spin-off but continuation. I hope it connects to the original three-volume series, like the movie does with the TV series. Amazon has the first volume scheduled to be released in June 2015.

khn2.pngKingdom Hearts is a license rescue that Yen Press has truly embraced. They have licensed all of the manga, releasing many in omnibus editions. Now it adds the 2 volume light novel series, which will also be an omnibus and will be released through their Yen On line. The light novel is an adaptation of the original game, following Sora, Donald and Goofy as they battle the Heartless and Disney Villains as they search for their friends Kairi, Riku, and King Mickey. With this license, all Yen Press has left to complete the Kingdom Hearts print collection is to get the Kingdom Hearts II light novel. I’m sure that won’t be too far off. This volume will be released in March, 2015.


This Week’s Manga: No Regrets

This Week's MangaAttack on Titan no regrets 2Yen Press has the lion share of releases this Halloween week, but they don’t have the one title that will make me squee with joy. It’s Kodansha and their release of the second and final volume of Attack On Titan: No Regrets that has me ready to whip open my wallet. I REALLY loved the first volume, and can’t wait to see what is in store for Levi and his friends and see how Levi becomes so loyal to a man he is determined to kill.

Barakamon 1As I said previously, this is the big Yen Press release week, and there are a few titles from them I look forward to reading. A Bride’s Story vol 6, Inu X Boku SS Vol 5, Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Different Story Vol 3, and Umineko When They Cry Episode 4 Vol 2: Alliance of the Golden Witch are all regular reads for me. New this week is Barakamon, a title Yen pushed heavily at NYCC. The story combines the “fish out of water” story element with a Yotsuba&! as it tells of a young calligrapher from the city who moves to a rural island and learns the ways of the island from a first grader. The story looks to have a lot of potential, so it’s one I’ll check out the first volume.

The full list per Diamond Distribution:

Blade Of The Immortal Volume 30 Vigilance TP, $19.99

Attack On Titan No Regrets Volume 2 GN, $10.99
Fairy Tail Volume 43 GN, $10.99

Whispered Words Volume 2 GN, $16.95

Alice In The Country Of Joker Circus And The Liar’s Game Volume 6 GN, $12.99

Garden Of Words GN, $12.95

Case Closed Volume 52 GN, $9.99

Alice In The Country Of Diamonds Wonderful Wonder World Official Visual Fan Book SC, $25.00
Barakamon Volume 1 GN, $15.00
Black Butler Volume 18 TP, $13.00
Bloody Brat Volume 2 GN, $13.00
Bride’s Story Volume 6 HC, $17.00
Celebration Of Haruhi Suzumiya Short Story Omnibus TP, $26.00
No Matter How I Look At It It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular Volume 5 GN, $13.00
Inu X Boku SS Volume 5 TP, $11.99
Judge Volume 5 GN, $12.99
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Volume 4 GN, $12.00
Melancholy Of Suzumiya-Haruhi Chan Volume 8 GN, $13.00
Oninagi Volume 4 GN, $17.00
Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Different Story Volume 3 GN, $13.00
Ubel Blatt Volume 0 GN, $20.00
Umineko When They Cry Episode 4 Volume 2 Alliance Of The Golden Witch GN, $22.00

New Durarara!! Manga Announced

I asked for it and I got it!

durararanewmangaWith the end of the “Yellow Scarves Arc” manga in Japan, I recently lamented that with no new announcement, there weren’t any more DRR manga to look forward to. Square Enix fixed that as they announced a new DRR title would be starting in the December issue of GFantasy Magazine. The series will get a new artist Aogiri. It will continue to chronicle the adventures of our favorite characters in our favorite area of Tokyo, Ikebukuro. The ward is thrown into chaos again with authority from shady places, assassins from overseas, delinquents from Saitama and a underclassman who knows Mikado’s secret. All the while Izaya Orihara watches over the chaos, laughing.

I really hope this is an adaptation of the 4th light novel. I can’t tell, but if Square Enix continues to follow suit, then it should be. I’m also not so sure about the change in artists. I really like Akiyo Satorigi’s work in the last three series’. But, at least he gets on last hurrah, as GFantasy as also announced that Satorigi will be doing a special chapter also in the December issue. This one shot is tentatively titled “Durarara!! Gaiden” and occurs right after the end of the “Yellow Scarves Arc”.

I’m really happy that Square Enix is keeping this series going.  And until the light novels are licenses, I hope Yen Press continues to get the manga. Getting both would be a real boon!

Yen Press Busts Out the Manga Licenses


Yen Press has been pushing out the licenses hard and fast this year. Their last big license announcement a month ago featured mostly light novels for their Yen On line. This last weekend at New York Comic Con it was time to spotlight the manga. Nine titles were announced, most of them being new, with one surprise/not so surprising license rescue.

A Certain Magical Index MangaAs Yen has been want to do, two of the manga titles are adaptations of light novels they have already announced. A Certain Magical Index light novel series got a lot of cheers from fans for Yen with its license, and now its manga adaptation is joining the party. This adaptation started a while ago, back in 2007, and there are 13 volumes so far. It follows Touma Kamjou, a boy made remarkable by his complete lack of ability in a city filled with super powered students. Touma just wants to keep a low profile, but when a nun named Index stumbles into his life, things get more complicated and dangerous than ever! I’d give this first volume a shot.

dungeon MangaIs it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is another light novel series adaptation. It’s only 5 volumes so far and follows Bell Crane, an adventurer trying to make it in the world. His world however is an enormous dungeon filled with monsters below a city run by gods and goddess with too much time on their hands. A roll of the random encounter dice has him meeting the girl of his dreams, a brilliant swordswoman he hasn’t got a chance with,  and possibly even awakening the jealousy of the goddess who sponsors his solo missions. I wasn’t sure about this series based on the title alone, but this description makes it sound interesting enough that I might try the manga.

Trinity 7The first new manga license is Trinity Seven from Kadokawa. It has nine volumes so far, and is a title that fits into Yen’s wheel house well. It’s a harem title that follows Arata Kasuga, a boy who transfers to the Royal Biblia Academy. He wants to solve the mystery of the destruction that is ravaging the world and find his cousin who has been stolen from him by it. Helping him are seven beautiful (and big-breasted) girls who each have mastered a magical art. Just the cover is enough to turn me off from this series.

chaikaChaika – The Coffin Princess is based on a light novel series of the same name. It is 4 volumes so far and runs in Kadokawa Shoten’s Monthly Shonen Ace magazine. It is about Tooru Acura, a soldier having a hard time adjusting to the 5 year peace after 200 years of war. After he saves Chaika Trabant, a silver-haired sorceress with a coffin on her back, he and his sister are hired by her to accompany her on a death-defying journey. Yen seems to like titles that feature characters carrying coffins on their back. This is a series I’d be willing to give a try. The creator, Shinta Sakayama, also created Strait Jacket, an anime OVA I enjoyed.

Prison School 1Prison School is one of three new titles Yen Press has gotten from Kodansha. This ongoing series started in 2011, and currently has 14 volumes out. It won the Best General Manga Award in Kodansha’s 37th  Annual Manga Awards this year. It follows Kiyoshi Fujino, a boy who has enrolled in Hachimitsu Private Academy. Hachimitsu had been an elite all-girls school, and this is the first year boys are being admitted. To Kiyoshi’s dismay, he learns he is only one of five boys who have enrolled in the school, where they are wildly outnumbered. Will it be heaven or hell for the boys? I’m not sure about this title. The description has the a lot of potential for being so not for me. First and foremost it screams “harem”, but with a bunch of girls outnumbering the guys, things will no doubt get weird fast.

First Love MonsterFirst Love Monster is another Kodansha title, this time from Aria magazine, one magazine Kodansha doesn’t seem to mind other publishers pulling from. It’s only 3 volumes so far and follows Kaho Nikaido, a fifteen-year-old who leaves her sheltered home for the first time to live in Tokyo high school dormitory. Nearly hit by a truck, she is saved by Kanade a boy who she falls instantly in love with. As luck would have it, he is the son of her landlord, but–he is also only in the 5th grade! Yeah, this is another series with an iffy/icky premise as far as I’m concerned. I don’t mind wide age ranges for couples, but I’d at least like for both of them to be out of puberty. Unless this series does something amazing in the first volume, it’s probably gonna get a pass.

Alice in Murderland 1Alice in Murderland is a license that shouldn’t be of any surprise for two reasons; 1) it’s by Kaori Yuki and 2) it has Alice in the title and a character dressed like the Disney Alice from Alice in Wonderland on the cover. Members of the elite house Kuonji, a clan with influence all over the world, must meet monthly. At the most recent meeting, the nine siblings are given horrific news straight from their own mother. They must fight to the death to decide the next head of the family. As chaos erupts, the fourth daughter Stella, loses it and a whole new Stella is born, blonde hair and blue dress and all! I like a lot of Kaori Yuki’s work, but this one has me on the rails. A fight to the death for control? Really? This one better really wow me with the first volume, especially since there are only two out so far.

Emma 1The big surprise announcement of the Yen Press panel was a license rescue, something Mr. Hassler said he hates to do. But I’ll let that pass for this rescue. Emma is a 10 volume Victorian Romance by Kaoru Mori that was originally published by CMX and a series that fans have been clamoring to get back.  Set in Victorian England, it is about the romance of William Jones, a young aristocrat, and Emma, the maid of his former Governess. While the couple are drawn together slowly but surely, society means to keep them apart. Mori’s beautiful artwork and charming characters make this a series that well deserved to be back in print. Yen will release the series as 2-in-1 omnibuses. You can be sure this will be on my must have list.

The final series is an original story by Svetlana Chmakova. Awkward is about shy transfer student Penelope-Peppi-Torres who just wants to fit in and not stand out from her fellow students. But when she bumps -literally- into geeky-but-quiet Jamie Thompson, she is branded “The Nerder’s Girlfriend.” Peppi’s first reaction is to push away, but afterwards, she feels guilty and wants to apologize, but she always ends up chickening out. Peppi gets another chance when they bump again -figuratively- but will these two opposites ever attract? I like Svetlana’s original work. I liked Dramacon and loved Night School so I will definitely check this series out. No word on volume count though. It could be one, or it could be three. Who knows?

There were no release dates given for any of these titles, but sometime next year, maybe late in the year is a good bet. This was quite a list of licenses, and including all the titles announced all the back to Sakuracon, that’s a lot of books coming out next year.

PR: Yen Press Announces New Licenses

Yen Press continues its pattern of licensing manga of light novels and vice verse. Along with these crossovers are some surprises that will make almost every fan happy. Read on for the good news!

Yen Press Announces New Licenses at New York Comic Con

YenPress_logoNEW YORK, NY (October 10, 2014) – At its panel at New York Comic Con today, Yen Press announced a number of highly anticipated forthcoming manga publications.

The light novel series Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? and A Certain Magical Index were already on the new Yen On list, specializing in translated light novels. Today, Yen Press announced the acquisition of the manga series as well. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is by Kunieda; the original story is by Fujino Omori and the character design by Suzuhito Yasuda. A Certain Magical Indexis by Chuya Kogino; the original story by Kazuma Kamachi and the character design by Kiyotaka Haimura.

Also announced were Emma by Kaoru Mori, author of the acclaimed A Bride’s Story and Kaoru Mori: Anything and Something, also published by Yen Press; and Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova, author of Nightschool and illustrator of James Patterson’s Witch & Wizard, both also published by Yen Press.

The other announced publications were:

Trinity Seven, by Kenji Saitou and Akinari Nao;
Chaika, The Coffin Princess (manga) by Shinta Sakayama, original story by Ichirou Sakaki, character design by Namaniku ATK;
First Love Monster by Akira Hiyoshimaru;
Prison School by Akira Hiramoto; and
Alice in Murderland by Kaori Yuki.

Yen Press is an imprint of Hachette Book Group’s Orbit division, dedicated to publishing graphic novels for adults and young readers.  Yen Press’ focus is primarily on licensed manga, but also publishes across the wide spectrum of the graphic novel market, including, but not limited to: original manga publications, original American comics/graphic novels, webcomics, licensed adaptations, and children’s graphic novels. For more information, visit www.yenpress.com

Hachette Book Group is a leading trade publisher based in New York and a division of Hachette Livre, the third-largest trade and educational publisher in the world. HBG publishes under the divisions of Little, Brown and Company, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, Grand Central Publishing, Orbit, Hachette Books, Hachette Nashville, and Hachette Audio.