License Roundup – SDCC/Otakon

Summer is always the biggest time for new announcements, and after a huge license post for AX, I took a break to find my newsfeed drowning in new licenses for SDCC, Otakon, and various other places. Let’s see what’s coming soon, OK?

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Yeah, I’m starting with Udon Entertainment. Known over here in North America mostly for their deluxe expensive artbooks, and the occasional foray into children’s titles, Udon quietly blew everyone’s mind at SDCC with the announcement of the Rose of Versailles manga, thought to be one of the impossible licenses (you know, like Legend of Galactic Heroes). Originally running in Shueisha’s Margaret back in the 1970s, if you’ve seen any anime that has a woman with a sword, it’s influenced by this. It is, even with all we have to get through, the most important title we heard about at these two cons.

In more modern manga news, Udon also has the license to Steins;Gate, the annoyingly punctuated manga based on an anime series. It’s a 3 volume series that ran in Media factory’s Comic Alive. And, in a complete 180 from typical Comic Alive stuff, they’ve also license rescued Sugar Sugar Rune, which came out back in the Del Rey days but has since fallen out of print. It ran in Kodansha’s Nakayoshi.

Sekai Project is a translator.publisher mostly of visual novels (such as Clannad, which comes out this October), but they too have decided to enter the manga business, with another anime tie-in. Gate – Jietai Kare no Chi nite, Kaku Tatakeri runs in Alpha Polis’s eponymous magazine, and is 7+ volumes. Not sure of too much about it, but the artist clearly likes drawing ‘wartime’ stuff, judging by past titles.

As is traditional during con season, Seven Seas announced a title online, as they don’t do cons. Secret no Mukougawa is 3+ volumes, runs in Comic Alive, and is the only thing the author has done not tagged in Manga-Updates as ‘Borderline H’. Which is not to say it isn’t trying hard.

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Vertical had three new licenses to discuss. One is a big cult favorite, though I’ve found it difficult to get into: Mysterious Girlfriend X, a 12-volume series that ran in Kodansha’a Monthly Afternoon, and has been available digitally on Crunchyroll. It’s well-written and cute, but there’s a big drool fetish in this series that’s hard to get past if it’s not your thing.

The title I find most interesting is Kami-sama ga Uso o Tsuku, a one-shot that also ran in Afternoon. It apparently features soccer, which always sends warning bells in my head ever since Sasameke. That said, I think this may be more along the lines of Vertical’s recent quiet teenager drama titles. The author may also be known to older fans for Immortal Rain, a Tokyopop title.

And we also have Devil’s Line, a 5+ volume series that runs in Morning spinoff Morning Two, which fans may recall is where Saint Young Men began. I suspect this title will do very well for Vertical, as it has vampires. (resets ‘days since running gag’ counter to zero)

Kodansha announced a few things as well. At SDCC the news was they were releasing Kosuke Fujishima’s Paradise Residence. This has been running for a few years, but it’s always been taking breaks as the artist was more involved with his main title – a little thing called Oh My Goddess!. But that’s over with, so he can now get back to his girls’ dorm manga, which has run in both Afternoon and its sister title good! Afternoon.

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Kodansha had hinted, after Rose of Versailles was announced, that they too had a classic manga announcement, and it ended up being Leiji Matsumoto! Queen Emeraldas will be two hardcover omnibuses, and comes from the 1978 shonen manga that ran in Kodansha’s Weekly Shonen Magazine. If this sells well, maybe someone can get Harlock or Yamato (both Akita Shoten, I think), or perhaps Viz can try Galaxy Express 999 again. Please let it sell well. Space opera manga is desperately needed.

Soredemo Boku wa Kimi ga Suki is also a shonen title, running in Bessatsu Shonen Magazine. It seems to be a romantic drama.

Lastly, Complex Age looks intriguing. The story of a 34-year-old newly married woman who loves to dress up in costume, you’d think this would be more suitable for Kiss or Be Love, but it’s actually a seinen title, running in Morning. This will apparently come out here in a larger format, and I’m really interested.

Viz is the last publisher to talk about, and they had a couple of exciting titles to talk about. The biggest is Oyasumi Punpun, an Inio Asano title that has long been desired by fans, particularly after Viz released Solanin and What a Wonderful World. It’s 13 volumes, ran in Young Sunday, then when that died moved to Big Comic Spirits, and is incredibly well written and incredibly bleak. I suspect this will get a nice Viz Signature treatment.

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I always love seeing titles from Hakusensha’s LaLa DX, particularly as its schedule lends itself to shorter series. Ojou-sama no Untenshu is only 2 volumes long, but should fit right in with those who love Shojo Bat. It also takes place in the Taisho era, and seems really cute.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not mention, if only for Melinda’s sake, that Viz will release a Takeshi Obata art book sometime next year, with Death Note, Hikaru no Go, and Bakuman no doubt included. Art!

Which of these has you most excited? (Rose of Versailles for me, though there’s some competition.)

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Comments

  1. Out of everything, I think I’m looking forward to Obata’s art book the most. For convenience and the sake of future endeavors, I’ve cut back on the number of print titles I regularly add to my shelf, but art books are an exception. It’s not quite the same in a digital format.

    What’s up with Seven Seas and cons?

    • Sean Gaffney says

      I think they just don’t like them very much. They prefer to announce titles online, usually with “can you guess?” contests.

      • SevenSeas_Conner says

        Definitely more a matter of managing resources, rather than not liking conventions. Would love to do more in the convention circuit scene, but at the current time all we stick to is SDCC. Could change in the future, but we’ll see.

        As lys pointed out, we’ve built a pretty decent following online, and doing announcements through our social media feeds has proven very effective. Gets the word out just as well (perhaps better, in some cases) and without the cost of having to attend a convention. That said, there are obviously other benefits (and drawbacks) to attending conventions aside from licensing announcements.

    • Maybe not “don’t like them” so much as “don’t have the resources to prioritize them,” especially since most fans are just as happy to read license announcements on twitter/facebook as in person (and SS does seem to have developed its online presence a lot, so probably reaches a good audience that way). I’ve never been to the big cons myself (other than TCAF: does that even count here?) so I’m at the mercy of online reporting either way, and probably many would say the same.

      I adore Immortal Rain, so The Gods Lie will surely be mine! I am excited for epic historical shoujo manga from the 70s and fluffy historical shoujo manga from the 10s :) And I want to know what Leiji Matsumoto’s all about (and see a revival of 70s manga in general?) so Queen Emeraldas went right on my to-buy list.

      • I assumed as much and I think it’s a good decision. I’m glad they don’t feel forced to make an appearance, especially since it is a matter of resources. I’d much rather they put money towards more stellar releases than cut corners to pay for a weekend on the road.

        A friend of mine is completely gaga for Immortal Rain, so I have to remember to see if she’s heard about The Gods Lie. I haven’t read it myself, but I’ve never really seen her so enthralled by anything, so it’s definitely on my to-read list.

        A revival would be interesting, though I wonder if it’ll just be old heads scooping up the titles or if newer readers will be interested/see the value in them.

  2. Work has been eating me alive so I missed all the announcements when they happened, but OMG ROSE OF VERSAILLES! This is awesome, just in general but also because it will save me from having to decide whether to import the rest of the very nice but expensively out of print first-round French edition, or switch to the new French edition with the minimalist covers I don’t like.

    Also, did you know there was a “RoV characters as kids” spinoff series? I didn’t know that until I saw it in French… haven’t got my hands on it yet but I’m very curious!

  3. Lots of fascinating stuff, I was caught off guard in the best way that Viz licensed PunPun, I absolutely can’t wait for that to come out! I’m also pretty excited for The Gods Lie from Vertical and Forget Me Not from Kodansha, those two titles seem right up my alley.


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