New Manga Licenses from Sakura Con and Anime Boston

Been a while since I did a licenses post, but this weekend had two conventions bringing us three publishers announcing a whole bunch of titles. So what exactly is coming soon?

First off, from Vertical, a redone, re-translated, deluxe omnibus version of Ai Yazawa’s fashion romance Paradise Kiss, which first came out, not in Shodensha’s josei magazine Feel Young, but in a fashion magazine for young women, Zipper. I’ve reviewed it before for the Manga Moveable Feast, and it’s a great pick up. Yazawa went on to the even more popular Nana, of course, and fans of that series should like this as well.

Dark Horse announced several licenses that seemed obvious for them, but the one that stood out was the one that didn’t. Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (better known as OreImo, and translated as My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute) started life as a light novel, then (as with most moe light novels) quickly became a franchise, spawning two manga series, two anime series, a web animation series, two games… In any case, Dark Horse has licensed the first manga series, which is four volumes and ran in ASCII Mediaworks’s Dengeki G’s magazine. The series is best described as ‘not quite incest’, and is staggeringly popular among fans of ‘moe’ and ‘little sister’ type anime/games.

The rest of Dark Horse’s announcements look more like something we’d expect from them. Blood-C is a manga adaptation of the anime of the same name, from the Blood the Last Vampire/Blood+ series also licensed by Dark Horse. This current incarnation runs in Kadokawa Shoten’s Shonen Ace. Evangelion: Comic Tribute is a one-volume doujinshi collection featuring popular mangaka doing takes on Evangelion (I imagine it’s similar to Bandai’s Code Geass Knight and Queen anthologies). Emerald and Other Stories is a collection of several short stories written by Blade of the Immortal author Hiroaki Samura, most of which I believe ran in Kodansha’s Afternoon magazine, home of BotI. Lastly, Yoshitaka Amano is doing a new illustrated novel, Deva Zan, which like much of Amano’s recent work seems to be written for the Western market, i.e. Dark Horse will publish it first.

Then there’s Yen Press, who made several announcements as well, and like Dark Horse it was a mix of surprising and obvious. The surprise was the announcement of Thermae Romae, an award-winning manga from Enterbrain’s Comic Beam about a Roman bath designer who time-travels to various places to see what modern bathing is like. The very definition of ‘better than it sounds’, it will be coming out in omnibus hardcover editions.

Kaoru Mori’s A Bride’s Story has done pretty well for Yen, so they’ve decided to license Anything and Something, a collection of short stories that only just came out in Japan a couple of months ago from Enterbrain. Again, hardcover.

Also in an oversized omnibus is a license that many fans had been begging for. Umineko no Naku Koro ni is not so much a direct sequel to Higurashi as it is a thematic one. A group of people gather on a secluded island, and bad things start to happen. Generally thought to be deeper than Higurashi, it’s also more cynical and bittersweet. (For those who missed it, the final two ‘arcs’ of the main Higurashi series, which were 6 and 8 volumes in Japan, will be coming out in omnibus format here as well, starting in September with the Massacre Arc.)

Blood Lad comes from Kadokawa’s Young Ace, and is 5+ volumes. It’s a comedic take on vampires, demons and werewolves, which makes it an obvious choice for licensing over here in the West, where the mere word vampire grants a certain number of sales.

Yen is re-releasing Alice In The Country Of Hearts this June, and they’re picking up the sequels that Tokyopop originally had before they went under. My Fanatic Rabbit ran in Mag Garden’s shoujo magazine Comic Blade Avarus, and seems to focus on Elliot, the “March Hare” of the series.

Another Haruhi spinoff, The Misfortune of Kyon and Koizumi, seems to be another ‘doujinshi anthology’ similar to Dark Horse’s Evangelion one. Needless to say, Kyon and Koizumi will feature. It also seems to be another ‘alternate universe’, similar to that of the also licensed Disappearance of Nagato Yuki.

Lastly, the author of High School of the Dead also has another title, Triage X. It runs in Fujimi Shobo’s Dragon Age (meaning it’s another Kadokawa title), and is filled with high school assassins, violence, and fanservice. But fewer zombies.

So, what has you the most excited? (Also, anyone else noticing that 2-volume omnibuses are the new 1-volume paperback?)

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  1. I’m most excited for ‘Anything and Something’ and ‘Emerald and Other Stories’. Besides the fact that I am a fan of Mori Kaoru and Hiroaki Samura’s other works, these single volume books are right up my ally. Money is tight and I can no longer afford to follow long series.

  2. Kaoru Mora – ALL the way ^^

  3. Thermae Romae sounds interesting. Likely to pick it up since it’s going to be only 2 omnibus volumes. Paradise Kiss is also a major draw owing to Vertical’s standard of presentation, new translation and the bonus color pages

  4. Oriemo for me I loved the anime and any excuse to get more Kuroneko and Kirino is good enough for me. Glad to here Bride’s Story is doing good I didn’t care for it but money in the bank I guess

  5. “Also, anyone else noticing that 2-volume omnibuses are the new 1-volume paperback?”

    I love this trend. Especially when they’re oversized. The length makes for a more satisfying read (one volume of manga is like one potato chip), and the larger trim shows off the art nicely (assuming the Jp publisher provided digital files). Slightly less convenient for carrying on the bus, though.


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