Anime NYC 2021, Day Two

If the first day was defined by the lines outside, the 2nd day was defined by the lines INSIDE. My schedule for the day had to be adjusted a bit as it became clear that if you wanted to go to a panel, you’d better line up early. The afternoon was filled with staffers screaming “The Fate panel is full!”. Despite this, I was able to attend four excellent panels, and will regale you all with my experiences.

We start off with Yen Press, who had quite a few announcements, which I suspect are May and June 2022-ish. The Geek Ex-Hitman is a Shonen Ace Plus title about a sinister hitman who sees a cute anime figurine and decides to just abandon his entire life and move to Japan to get more. It was described as along the lines of The Way of the Househusband. The Other World’s Economy Depends on the Bean Counter (Isekai no Sata wa Shachiku Shidai) is from Enterbrain’s B’s Log Comic, and combines Isekai with BL. Nights with a Cat (Yoru wa Neko to Issho) is a Comic Walker title that is exactly what it sounds – cat manga. These are the sort of sketchy biographical titles you used to see at the back of seinen magazines but you know they’d never get licensed. Now they are.

After some giveaways, we got the manga version of Chitose-kun Is in the Ramune Bottle (Chitose-kun wa Ramune Bin no Naka), whose light novel has been announced by Yen On already (and will have a digital release as well, I checked). It runs in Square enix’s Manga Up!. Hi, I’m a Witch and My Crush Wants Me to Make a Love Potion (Doumo, Suki na Hito ni Horegusuri o Irai Sareta Majo desu) comes from Kadokawa’s Flos Comic and will be familiar to Cross Infinite World fans, as they’ve been putting out the novels. See You Tomorrow at the Food Court (Food Court de, Mata Ashita) is a 1-volume title from Comic Newtype about two unlikely friends who meet up every day to eat. This one interested me the most of the manga announced. And because its spinoffs are almost as endless as Cells at Work, we get Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka☆Magica Gaiden: Another Story. It’s a spinoff.

Light novels! There were… well, let’s call it 2 1/2 announcements. The Bride of Demise (Shuuen no Hanayome) is a dark fantasy from the creator of Torture Princess, a series I find compelling if depressing. Sasaki and Pi-chan (Sasaki to Pi-chan: Isekai de Slow Life o Tanoshi Mou Toshitara, Gendai de Inou Battle ni Makikomareta Ken – Mahou Shoujo Up o Hajimeta You Desu) has a subtitle from hell but looks quite interesting, about a pet bird who turns out to be from another world and the business of selling isekai’d stuff with the salaryman who owns him. An the reason I said 2 1/2 announcements is the third is that No Game No Life 11 will be coming out over here in chapter installments! The prologue hits digitally November 25th.

The next panel was Dark Horse Comics. They didn’t have any new manga announcements, but did have a fun panel where they reminded everyone how old the company is and how far manga has come since the late 1980s. I remember buying some of those 32-page floppy manga comics, and wish You’re Under Arrest could come back out, despite the bad art at the start. They also mentioned the fact that Japan, of course, imports Western Comics and translates them to Japanese. Adam Warren’s versions of Bubblegum Crisis and Dirty Pair can be seen in stores there translated. They also talked about artists who are well known for Western comics but are clearly manga-inspired, like Wendy Pini with Elfquest.

Speaking of the blend of east and west, Shigeru Mizuki was a huge fan of Hellboy, and wrote blurbs for its Japanese release. And of course Monkey Punch’s Lupin III is famously influenced by the Mad Magazine work of Mort Drucker and Sergio Aragones. And the creator of Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt does doujinshi for Umbrella Academy, which sounds hella cool, not gonna lie. There were a few announcements that were at least new to me. Yoshitaka Amano has two new artbooks that recently came out, and this also led to a discussion of the Vampire Hinter D omnibuses also being released. Good for fans of that author. They are also quite happy with Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!, and the third volume is out next month.

After that I was supposed to meet up with Erica Friedman for a late lunch, but Zack Davisson got to her first, so instead I went to the Localization panel, which also had Carl Horn, Mari Moromoto, and Lynzee Loveridge. In other words, an all-star lineup. It was a very good panel, and the audience actually managed to be engaged and polite about it, which if nothing else shows you the panel did not happen on Twitter. Indeed, Twitter harassment of translators was mentioned at the panel, with Caleb Cook’s being a particularly painful example. The panel had a lot to talk about, but I think what came up most often is that a lot of “correct/wrong” answers depend on the material, the publisher, and the editor. Sometimes end notes are frowned upon, sometimes they’re beloved.

Erica mentioned that the ideal localization for her should be a seamless reading experience. The goal is not to see the mechanics of translation under the hood. There’s also slang – Zack avoids it, but it’s usually there in the Japanese, and Mari uses it. It can date a title, but it also means that the words don’t just lie flat on the page. Naturally, Squid Game also came up, and the kerfuffle over what turned out to be closed-captioning titles. Sometimes it’s not even something the translators can help, as they get overruled by editors, Japanese creators, etc. (I remember how ADV, way back in the day, had to fight tooth and nail to not make Ryo “Joe” Saeba in the City Hunter anime.)

We also got a reminder that Japan can see things differently than we do here. When Scarlet Johannsen was cast in Ghost in the Shell, there was a lot of pushback here. Meanwhile, Japan was like “OMG TOP HOLLYWOOD STAR!!!”. They’re far less stressed in Japan about things that we here in North America freak out over. Mostly as fans still tend to prefer titles be translated as “literally” as possible, usually meaning “I Like ‘Em Big and Stilted” (with apologies to Julie Brown). It was an excellent panel that I am happy I attended, and afterwards I was about to pass out, so I had a very late lunch and then decompressed for an hour or two. This con has 50K people, and even extroverts can get overwhelmed by it.

The last panel I did before I gave in and went back to the hotel (sorry, Manga Magazines panel, I am not 23 anymore) was J-Novel Club, with Sam Pinansky and Kristi Fernandez giving us 10 new titles – all light novels. We started off with Housekeeping Mage from Another World: Making Your Adventures Feel Like Home (Kasei Madoushi no Isekai Seikatsu: Boukenchuu no Kasei Fugyou Uketamawarimasu!), a J-Novel Heart title about an isekai’d woman (though that rapidly becomes unimportant, a with a lot of isekai titles where they clearly want to write fantasy but know what sells) and the adventurer who loves her.

Fantasy Inbound is a title that may have a lot of hardcore fans saying “but what about Campione!?, as it’s by the same author. It’s a story where the isekai comes to OUR world… and things do not go well. After the apocalypse, can a student survivor and an elf girl try to salvage something? Prison Life Is Easy for a Villainess (Konyaku Haki kara Hajimaru Akuyaku Reijou no Kangoku Slow Life) is a short two-volume series where the villainess happily accepts her ex throwing her in prison… because she STILL has all the power. I’ve actually recommended this as a license request, it’s supposed to be hilarious.

To Another World… with Land Mines! (Isekai Teni, Jirai Tsuki) has a class transported to another world and all getting cool powers, but our hero seems to be one of the few people taking it seriously as a real-life (and possible death) matter. Forget Being the Villainess, I Want to Be an Adventurer! (Tensei Reijou wa Boukensha wo Kokorozasu) is what it sounds like a villainess title where the heroine tries to avoid her fate by doing something else. My Stepmom’s Daughter Is My Ex: Why Can’t We Move On? (Mamahaha no Tsurego ga Motokano datta) is a high school romance… well, ex-romance about a middle-school couple who broke up but are now siblings.

Magic Knight of the Old Ways (Furuki Okite No Mahou Kishi) is similar to Fantasy Unbound, as fans will say “But what about Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor?”. Indeed, they may be doubly annoyed as this seems to have a similar premise of magic knights teaches a group of students. Saint? No, I’m Just a Passing Beast Tamer! (Seijo-sama? Iie, Toorisugari no Mamonotsukai desu!) is a series about a chosen one who decides she’d much rather pet furry animals, from the creator of Woof Woof Story: I Told You to Turn Me Into a Pampered Pooch, Not Fenrir!.

My Quiet Blacksmith Life in Another World (Kajiya de Hajimeru Isekai Slow Life) is a slowlife isekai about a guy who (no surprise) finds out he’s super powerful, and also that the cat he asked for is a catgirl. Like most slow life titles, the goal is to keep having it and not get dragged back in. The most surprising announcement (well, almost) came next, with When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace (Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de), an older LN series from the writer of Are You Okay With a Slightly Older Girlfriend? and the artist for The Devil Is a Part-Timer!. What if you got super-awesome powers to help save the world… and nothing happened and you’re still going to school like normal?

Finally, the surprise announcement came via a very familiar voice. We’re getting Slayers in audiobook form, read by the legendary Lisa Ortiz herself! I’m interested in seeing how this goes, as I think Lina in the anime and Lina in the light novel are two very different beasts. In any case, it was a very fun panel but I was wiped, so I went back to the hotel to… well, type this all up. But I am going to go get a late supper now, I promise! And there’s still SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY! Though give the lines from today, I think I will limit myself to two panels.

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