Anime NYC 2022, Day One

This year’s Anime NYC had some good points and bad points right off the bat. The size of the panel rooms was an issue last year, so they made sure that the panel rooms are much larger. The downside to that is that there are far fewer panels this year. In addition, most of the really popular panels had a “lottery” system where fans bid to get a place in the audience, so there’s no way for me to, say, drop in on the Kaguya-sama anime premiere this year. I expect this will have a knock-off effect on the other panels as well, as folks unable to get into the Attack on Titan panel decide to go see Dark Horse instead, for example. The gist of all this is that I just have one panel to cover today, though it was a good one.

But first: The Exhibition Hall and Artist’s Alley were packed with folks this year. While I wish masking were better (the con is enforcing masking, but it’s simply impossible to police somewhere like the Exhibition Hall), it’s always fun walking around and seeing folks. Viz and Kodansha have major spaces, and even Yen and J-Novel Club had much larger booths than previous years. Unfortunately, when I walked by the booth devoted to Gundam, there was no Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story merch. Missed opportunity there, I think. Artist’s Alley was also crowded and filled with people buying art and talking to artists, which is what you want to see.

The panel I went to today was a joint one between Denpa Books and their BL spinoff imprint, KUMA. Denpa was, of course, represented by Ed Chavez, and Andrea Donohue joined on the KUMA end. There was only one new license per se, but a lot of their titles are still awaiting release, so it was good to go through everything that we can expect in late 2022 and 2023. KUMA went first, discussing The (Pet) Detective Agency, a detective series with BL and animals; Happy of the End, which sounded like the most “typical” of their BL titles, and a new edition of Canis: Dear Mr. Rain, with new covers and added material. This will gradually replace the older version.

Those were all in the “Older Teen” category. In the “Mature” line, there’s A Home Far Away, a drama with tragic overtones about a sheltered young man going on a road trip with a transient; Crappy Happy Life, a BL comedy that I may honestly pick up, as it sounds hilarious. It’s not often you get to sell a title with flying dildos *and* the “and then they were both bottoms” meme. A Hero in the Demon’s Castle (did the hero kick Princess Syalis out?) involves a demon lord who reluctantly battles people, and the airheaded hero who wants to control his OP tendencies.

Eiji & Shirou: From Zeroes to Heroes is an anthology volume, the main story of which involves two losers in high school who decide to raise their popularity by pretending to be a BL couple. Terano-kun and Kumazaki-kun is an AO3 fic in manga form, as it has a relationship between the student council president and the class delinquent, but the delinquent is the bottom. And the one new license was a Kuma title, The Ruthless Commander & His Reincarnated Warhorse (Shouwaru Boukun Kishu to Nagasare Senba), a reincarnation BL about a guy who is reincarnated as a horse… then when he saved a warlord, is made a war horse! Unfortunately, his true form as a human is soon discovered. This ran in Shodensha’s On Blue.

Ed then discussed Denpa’s recent and future releases. This includes Nana & Kaoru, the wholesome (???) BDSM romance that illustrates why consent is both important and really hot. It’s coming out as six 600-page omnibuses. Inside Mari has just had its final volume with Vol. 9, and if (like me) you want to like Shuzo Oshimi but keep bouncing off him, this is a good one to check out. Under Ninja is a silly-looking comedy which has, frankly,, far too many ninjas. It’s also apparently getting an anime soon. Guyabano Holiday is the new title from the creator of Invitation from a Crab, and is definitely for fans of “indie comics” type manga.

Rakuda Laughs! is an action/noir manga from an artist who’s more known for their fine art, and it’s definitely another title in the Denpa line where the striking art was the reason to get it. Pleasure and Corruption, the BDSM title that is not Nana & Kaoru, also recently wrapped up with its 6th volume. There’s also an artbook coming out from the famous artist JUN, and – easily the title the audience was most excited about – March 2023 should see the first volume of March Comes in Like a Lion, the shogi drama that has won so many awards they had to create new awards just to give it to them. A short Q&A followed, and for those wondering about They Were Eleven, this is the danger of a company run by four people. Kaiji has priority, so until Kaiji 4 & 5 come out, no They Were Eleven just yet.

So a somewhat quiet first day, but at the same time I don’t think they had any major issues like last year’s line problems. Tomorrow is the busy day.

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