Licensing Round-Up – Anime Expo 2013

I’m not at AX, but through the magic ability of being able to follow the tweets of those who are, I can give you my thought on what’s happening over there! There’s actually quite a bit of stuff brewing.


We started off with our friends at Vertical, Inc. They only had one license, but it looks like a lot of fun! Moyoco Anno is not only an award-winning mangaka, but she’s also married to otaku legend Hideki Anno. The one-volume Kantoku Fuyuki Todoki ran in Shodensha’s Feel Young magazine, and is a comedic yet heartwarming autobiographical look at what it’s like to be married to such a legendary otaku. Vertical will put it out under the title Insufficient Direction.


Digital Manga Publishing had some of the biggest news of the con, as they announced an agreement with Tezuka Pro for digital release in North America of the unlicensed Tezuka titles – all of them, supposedly. I admit, I’m not expecting some of the weirder, more adult or ‘problematic (antisemitism, etc.) titles anytime soon, but for the Tezuka fan this has to be an incredibly happy day. Much of his work had been released lately through Vertical, but DMP has been doing a few as well, including the Kickstarter projects of Barbara, Unico, and Atomcat. Given that it’s DMP, I’m also hoping these will be downloadable rather than cloud. Looking forward to more about this.


Most of Right Stuf’s announcements were, understandably, in the anime arena. But they surprised us at the very end by announcing, in partnership with Tokyopop (still around, in case you were wondering) the release of Axis Powers Hetalia Books 4 & 5 before the new year! I’ve made no secret that I really enjoy this goofy gag manga about anthropomorphic nations, which has moved beyond its sketchy WWII origins and embraced exaggerated stereotypes of every era! If you pre-order, you’ll get color pages as well, which are only available in the first printing.


Kodansha Comics didn’t have any new titles to announce (they indicated that SDCC in two weeks might be a different story), but this did not stop them from having a few big things to say anyway. It’s no secret that Attack on Titan has EXPLODED in fandom, particularly with the release of the anime. Kodansha, therefore, has decided to speed up the releases, similar to what they’re doing with Fairy Tail, till they catch up with Japan by the start of 2014. One a month, that’s a lot of titans.

Bigger news, though, particularly for me as I’ve been begging for it, is that they will be releasing their titles digitally on Nook, Kindle, and Google Play (and, in fact, shuttering their iTunes app, though you get to keep the books you have on it.) They’ve been Apple only for years, so this is fantastic news, as they were the last holdout (bar Seven Seas, who don’t have digital for their Japanese titles yet). Now Android users (such as myself can enjoy the following titles digitally:

@ Full Moon
Attack on Titan
Bloody Monday
Cage of Eden
Fairy Tail
Genshiken (omnibus)
Genshiken: 2nd Season
I Am Here!
Kitchen Princess (omnibus)
Mardock Scramble
Missions of Love
Ninja Girls
No. 6
Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei
Until the Full Moon

In other words, most of their current lineup, with the major exception of Sailor Moon, which I suspect would require a lot more negotiating with Naoko Takeuchi. In particular, it’s great to see Zetsubou-sensei there. By the way, Kodansha still insists it’s not cancelled, but it’s still on hold due to low sales and being a pain in the ass to translate. Having tried my hand at the endnotes for Vol. 10, I can sympathize.


And that leaves Viz Media. They did not disappoint. There is a new seinen title (I am assuming it will be in the Signature line) called Gangsta, that runs in Shinchosha’s Comic @ Bunch magazine. It’s apparently very similar to Dogs: Bullets & Carnage. Nisekoi, which has its first three volumes out digital only, will start to run in print in January. They are re-releasing Dragon Ball in larger trim, around the size of US comics.


Deadman Wonderland is not only a Tokyopop license rescue, but also more than 10 volumes and still running, making it a surprising pickup in my mind. It’s a Shonen Ace series from Kadokawa that is another in the ever popular survival game genre… this one set in a very strange prison. And, big news for us old fogies… Ranma 1/2, back in print, unflipped! 2-in-1 omnibus volumes, starting in March! Given the digital app doesn’t do flipped, I wonder if this is a way to get it out digitally. In any case, great news for old-school fans!

Lastly, some hope for fans of cancelled Jump series Gintama and Reborn – SJ is looking into bringing them back digitally, though no promises just yet. I imagine if they do well they may look into continuing them digitally as well.

What in this list excites you the most?

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  1. I’m actually pretty “meh” over the AX announcements. With the Tezuka thing, I don’t do digital, and I know they intend to do Kickstarter for print on some of them at some point, but I’m wondering if DMP is getting a monopoly on Tezuka titles. It’s not that I don’t like their Tezuka outputtings, they’ve done really nice books, but I also really like Vertical’s Tezuka releases, would this mean the end of that? Or would this only be for the digital side and print rights might still be up for grab? But that seems unlikely. But Kansai Club got into it with a Tezuka series, would this axe their plans to get more Tezuka?
    Gangsta I’ll have to rent from the library first, but it could be interesting.
    I totally forgot Moyoco Anno was married to Hideki Anno (clearly having the same last name never registered with me before now). Seeing how the guy has been legit crazy in the past, that could be interesting to see.
    I’m kinda annoyed Viz didn’t rescue Future Diary, also left unfinished by Tokyopop (and it had two volumes to go, dammit!) but maybe airing on Toonami and being out on DVD right now works for Deadman’s favor (Future Diary won’t be out on DVD til later this year)
    For RightStuf’s anime news, Cat’s Eye is an old series, so that’s automatic win for me, and I might look into Princess Nine. Of course, I was expecting something of Rose of Versailles levels of awesome, but I now realize that’s almost impossible to top. I’m more curious what Tatsunoko series Sentai got. More old series=more win for me, except Tatsunoko can be kinda hit or miss with me (Tekkaman Blade and Macross are awesome). The only ones we know they got were 70s Casshan and Gatchaman, I’m rather hoping they got Yatterman.

  2. Insufficient Direction is actually the one title that intrigues me so much because it must be quite lively being with a man who can be complex.

    Also, props to Kodansha for pumping out the Titans in numbers. The walls are going to break down even more!

    GANGSTA…I remember seeing cosplayers from the series and that just drew me in. Also, my love for bad boys.


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