License Roundup: Japan Expo

Another weekend, another con with tons of new licenses. I’ll actually be at the next major con (NYCC in October), and hope they saved something for those panels, or else I’ll feel very foolish and East Coast-ey.


Yen Press had a panel on Friday, and had several intriguing announcements. Including two that took me very much by surprise. Not the titles themselves, no, I am aware that both Sword Art Online and Accel World were very popular animes, and can see why the two Sword Art Online manga stories were announced. (That’s Sword Art Online: Aincrad and Sword Art Online: Fairy Dance for those following along at home). No, what surprised me was the announcement of the Sword Art Online and Accel World novels. Yen says they will release all the SAO novels (13+ volumes to date), and at least the first four Accel World novels. This is quite a light novel investment. Admittedly, Yen has had success here before, what with Haruhi Suzumiya and Book Girl.

Sword Art Online and Accel World are both by the same author, Reki Kawahara, and both are published by Dengeki Bunko (which also put out the SAO manga titles), and both have similar plotlines, as our heroes get caught up in online roleplaying world that turns out to be far more serious than they may have imagined.

Also from Yen, we have Bloody Brat, a cute comedic spinoff of the Blood Lad manga. And another Puella Magi Madoka Magica spinoff, The Different Story, which focuses on Kyouko and Mami, but promises to be just as depressing as Madoka Magica fans want and crave. (Kidding, kidding…)

Dark Horse’s panel was mostly a retrospective on the manga they used to publish, but they did announce a new Masamune Shirow artbook, Battalion. Given we’re unlikely to get any new manga drawn by Shirow, this is probably the next best thing.

Lastly, Viz Media had their Shojo Beat panel today, which had a few new announcements! First of all, expect more old-school shoujo titles returning digitally from the world of out-of-print, including the much-desired Basara! Skip Beat! is coming soon as well. And High School Debut will get a 3-in-1 release, which is cool enough on its own, but may have the extra chapters that came out after the manga was finished but weren’t collected in the first edition. Which is awesome.


We also had two brand new announcements today, one a license rescue. Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne was initially published over here by CMX back in the day. Viz has rescued it and will be republishing it with new translation and everything – I think they’re even using the thicker “bunko” editions. Jeanne is a fascinating title that combines both the ‘phantom thief’ and ‘demon hunter’ genres, and is also the breakout hit of Arina Tanemura, who has had much success over here with every other titles she’s released (Gentlemen’s Alliance Cross, etc.). It’s an absolute get when it comes out this March.

Viz has had success recently with licensing Petit Comic titles and marketing them as mature Shojo Beat titles over here. Indeed, Midnight Secretary, out next week, has gotten really amazing buzz. So much buss, in fact, that Viz has now licensed Tomu Ohmi’s current work for Petit Comic, Majo no Biyaku (released here as Spell of Desire). As you’d expect given Midnight Secretary, this too is a combination of the supernatural and highly erotically charged romance. There’s apparently a LOT of supernatural to it as well – magic, witches, unicorns, etc. (No vampires, as far as I can tell, but that’s why we have Midnight Secretary, right?) It should debut a year from now, August 2014. I approve of Viz reaching out to older female readers with these works.

What title excites you the most from this list?

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  1. There are actually a few things on the list to make me happy, but none so much as the prospect of getting the extra High School Debut material!

  2. I *might* try the Accel World novels (in the anime, they did that weird thing where they seem to interpret overweight characters as being chibi, I can’t possibly imagine seeing that without it being jarring as all hell) and I hear the SAO novels were good, so I might go the novel route here.
    But I am super psyched to hear that another out of print shojo manga is at least going digital! It seems to help From Far Away get some reprints, so hopefully in the future? I’m still waiting for Banana Fish and Firefighter Daigo to be digital though (grrrrr!) Obviously I’m a huge Banana Fish fan (based on the username I use), and Firefighter Daigo is the best shonen no one bothered to read. You think enough people didn’t read Hikaru no Go (enough people didn’t btw)? Even fewer people glanced at Daigo!

  3. I can start reading Basara now(/soon)!! I have a sparse assortment of volumes I’ve found used, but I didn’t bother reading any because getting all into the series and then having to put it on hold indefinitely while searching for OOP volumes did not sound like fun times. But I will totally fill in the gaps with digital editions for a legendarily awesome and legendarily hard-to-find title like this.

    I’m kinda excited for KKJ’s rerelease. Sailor Moon was my first shoujo manga love, but I think Jeanne is what kicked off my love for the genre/demographic as a whole (even though I never read another series by the author after that… somehow). It’ll be fun to revisit :D

    The hint of some previously-unreleased High School Debut is great!! I don’t know how they worded the announcement, but checking MangaUpdates, it looks like there were two additional volumes of HSD that came out after the official ending? And now there’s a sequel currently being serialized…? So I’m curious and hopeful for what, if any or all, might eventually make its way over here!

  4. It’d be nice to give Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne a try since I’ve read almost everything of Arina Tanemura that’s been released over here although since I am a huge MAdoka Magica fan I’d really want to see what this spin off series is like but I’m a little gun shy having been burned on those other two spin off series though.

    I liked Sword Art Online as an Anime but I don’t know if I’d really want to read that or Accel World, Spell of Desire sounds good the decided lack of vampires and fact that there’s a Unicorn raises my hopes.

  5. Hmm, tempted to pick up KKJ again – I did get it all when CMX released it, but if Viz were to release it in digital, that’d be a bit tempting. Think it’s a sharp business move on their part to release it as ‘Phantom Thief Jeanne’. I was utterly shocked when CMX used the original title given what a lightning rod ‘kamikaze’ is as a word, and I do wonder if that hurt sales of it.


  1. […] Manga | Sean Gaffney rounds up the manga license announcements from this past weekend’s Japan Expo, including two Sword Art Online manga from Yen, a Masamune Shirow art book from Dark Horse, and the return of Arina Tanemura’s Phantom Thief Jeanne (originally released here by CMX under the title Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne) from Viz. [A Case Suitable for Treatment] […]

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