Day 2 of NYCC started off with Vertical’s Moyoco Anno panel. For those unaware, this is the artist behind Sakuran, as well as Happy Mania, Sugar Sugar Rune and Flowers & Bees. Josei is still struggling to find a voice over here in NA, so it was nice to see Anno-san tell us about her career. She notes her uncle is also a manga artist, and she wanted to draw from a very young age. She also learned about the nuts and bolts of the business from him. She started submitting to magazines at 15, and was published at 17. Mostly teenage romance, which was what she knew – the boyfriend in her first story was based off of her own.
She moved away from shoujo as it felt too unrealistic and no one really made mistakes or screwed up. Josei gives you more leeway in that regard. Ed noted her characters tended to dress fashionably, but Anno noted that’s because they cared about it. If she had a slob she’d dress them as a slob. She’s also written seinen manga for men, such as Flowers and Bees. She tries to make it less internal as men tend to get bored more easily and don’t like the emotional monologues. When asked about future licenses, she mentioned Jelly Beans and Love Master X, two of her earlier titles, as well as her current series, Ochibisan.
Question and Answer period discussed her work habits, inspirations for the lead in Happy Mania (she was quick to note it wasn’t based on her own experience). She was asked about researching Sakuran, and noted that her husband (that’s Hideki Anno, in case you were unaware) got her a book of poetry about customers at a teahouse that she found inspiring. I asked her about writing flawed characters but making them lovable, using Happy Mania as an example. She notes she made sure to give the heroine a more down-to-earth best friend to help ground that.
After this, I went to the premiere of the Rose of Versailles anime, and we saw episode 1. My favorite moment was probably, after Oscar’s father declares stridently he will raise her as a boy, seeing all the townspeople ask about the beautiful girl Oscar who was raised as a boy. Clearly hiding her gender is not something that needs to happen quite yet. Also, that big fight between Oscar and Andre was so subtextual you needed a smoke afterwards.
After the screening, scholar Susan Napier discussed the show as well as the manga, and noted its influence on so many Japanese girls – and boys, who would steal their sister’s manga and read it. Oscar was a unique heroine at the time, and paved the way for series like Sailor Moon and Utena. The manga also has yuri subtext, as well as a scene with a couple in a bed – still mostly forbidden when it first ran.
I got to Kodansha about 2 minutes late, but managed to see most of their big announcements. A Sailor Moon art book is due out in 2013. Japan is putting together this one with material from some of the previous artbooks, along with new art. It’s coming out in different countries, each of which will have country-specific art. Including North America. There’s also a box set collecting Sailor Moon 1-6 for those who haven’t gotten it yet. (Due to differing paper stock, they can’t offer it as a box only.) I also asked about the two short story volumes – Dallas said they will be releasing them after the series proper finishes. So rest assured Minako will be farting soon.
Fairy Tail is getting a speedup, it’s going monthly in print starting with V. 24, and faster in digital form, so it can catch up with Japan.
Then we got the new licenses. No. 6 is the first, a shoujo/josei manga from Kodansha’s Aria, which has some interesting alternative titles for young women. It’s a sci-fi dystopia with lots of conspiracy and thriller elements. Sankarea, a zombie romantic comedy from Bessatsu Shonen Magazine was also announced. I don’t know much about it, but it apparently has a cute if disturbing pillow plushie out in Japan already. And – at last – there is Vinland Saga, a seinen title from the author of Planetes that runs in Afternoon. Fans have been begging for this for years.
Kodansha also noted that Air Gear is going to get omnibused starting in May, with three to a volume. Lastly, for those who were wondering about the reissue of Battle Angel Alita Last Order (which moved from Shueisha to Kodansha, and this from Viz), it will have some new content for every volume as well.
JManga was next up, and Robert Newman had plenty of giveaways that kept the audience excited – even screaming. Luckily, he also had plenty of new things to talk about. JManga 7 has debuted, with 40 volumes available and 80 by the end of the year. It will have new chapters before the volumes come out for some selected titles, and they are trying to make it as un region-locked as possible.
They announced four more Del Rey license rescues, which they note they will finish. My Heavenly Hockey Club, Gakuen Prince, Fairy Navigator Runa, and Yozakura Quartet. I was pleased to see Gakuen Prince, as I wonder just how low it can go after the first three volumes.
A new title from Shodensha, Omae ga Sekai o Kowashitai nara, which will be released translated as If You Wanna Destroy the World. It debuted in Sony Magazine’s Kimi to Boku, but was picked up by Shodensha and moved to their Feel Young josei magazine.
Some more shoujo from Shueisha! In addition to the previously announced Pride and Crazy for You, they announced My Sweet Dragon, a 7+-volume shoujo series from Betsuma, about a priestess’s daughter who awakens a sleeping dragon – or dragon boy, at least. There’s also Yasuko to Kenji, another Betsuma series about a feuding brother and sister and their intertwining love affairs.
Robert Newman from JManga then put up a quick ‘and also these!’ slide, but only mentioned a few. One I noticed was Teekyu, an Earth Star title I’d mentioned in my license request last week. The biggie was probably Aoi Hana (Sweet Blue Flowers), a yuri title that many have been waiting for that runs in Ohta Shuppan’s Manga Erotics F. Neko Ramen and Elemental Gelade are both license rescues. There was also a few titles Robert just showed, which looked to me to be various BL and yuri one-shots.
Robert discussed the Manga Translation Battle, which is now closed, and noted how popular it was. He then called for questions. Kadokawa’s titles were asked about, and Robert admitted they were there for informational purposes only – there aren’t any to purchase as of yet. My favorite question was about why they shouldn’t just go to Onemanga. I suppose you have to admire the gall. The answer was essentially “because that’s stealing”, only far more polite.
A break to recharge, and then off to Yen Press. Yen had a few issues before they even began. Due to various snafus, their panel was last minute. As a result, they were on the open-air unbound stage, and thus competing with some very loud competition. The panel also conflicted with Shonen Jump Alpha, so I only caught the first 10 minutes. Luckily, their announcements were all at the front, and I thank them for tolerating me taking off so fast.
Among the Japanese acquisitions were Doubt (which had previously been busted via an Amazon solicit), a horror/thriller with rabbit masks. It will be released in 2 omnibuses. Madoka Magica did incredibly well for them, one of the best sellers of the year, so they’ve managed to get the two spinoff sequels, Kazumi Magica and Oriko Magica, both of which ran in Houbunsha’s Manga Time Kirara Forward. Speaking of Houbunsha, they’ve announced the 2 remaining K-On! volumes, one dealing with Yui and friends in college, the other with Azusa’s new band in high school. Seeing that Alice in the Country of Hearts did well, they also found another Wonderland-style manga from Ichijinsha’s josei magazine Comic Zero-Sum. This is called Are You Alice?, and stars a young boy who ends up taking the name of Alice and getting embroiled in assassinations.
They’re doing a Soul Eater artbook, which will also have some B-Ichi stuff in it, and will have all the color pages from Gangan’s magazine chapters. They also noted the Collector’s Edition hardcovers of High School of the Dead were so popular they’re finishing the series, with help from Japan and also featuring some artbook-like extras. Lastly, they announced Square Enix was partnering with them to release titles digitally outside of SE’s own page, and so we can look forward to that soon.
I then booked over to the Shonen Jump Alpha panel, which had a long line, so it was likely for the best. The only new announcements were what we already knew about, Takamagahara and Cross Manage. That said, the BIG news was they are finally going day/date with Japan, and once that happens we should see more new titles. So don’t give up all hope, Medaka Box fans! They also discussed their digital starter packs, the 2013 Yearbook which goes out to subscribers this December, and some Yu-Gi-Oh cards.
I had mentioned I was gong to ask Katsura-san about why he’s so fixated on asses. Turns out I didn’t need to – once introduced, the panel brought it up constantly, and even said Dragon Ball’s creator Toriyama said he was famous for them. I was really starting to burn out at this point, so my notes are sparser. But I was impressed with his telling potential manga artists not to read manga, as it might make them too influenced. He also suggested reading manga they hate! He was asked about writing for shonen, and talked about Jump’s known obsession with the popularity rankings in the magazine. With seinen titles like Zetman, he doesn’t have to worry about that so much. He doesn’t use his own experience for his romance manga, but just tries to imagine how real teenagers would think. The panel also had heard that he was a fan of Western Comics, but this wasn’t true – he just watches the movie adaptations!
And then I staggered to the hotel to type this all up. Tomorrow is a very small day, but stay tuned to see what Viz Media has to say.