Anime NYC 2023: Remote Musings, Sunday

Sunday is traditionally the quietest day at a con for press who do industry stuff like me, and so it is this year. I also feel a bit guilty, because if I had been an Anime NYC this year, I’d have attended neither of the industry panels, but gone to the My Next Life as a Villainess movie premiere. (Which I hear was underwhelming, not a surprise, but oh well.) That said, I was not at Anime NYC, so I will wait for reviews of the movie and instead talk about Akuzi and Starfruit.

I don’t cover the digital manga publishers quite as much as the “majors”, especially now that Amazon has made it harder to search for manga by lumping it in with all comics media. But Azuki are certainly among the top tier of the apps out there. They announced two new series debuting on their app.

Our Aimless Nights (Yoru no Manimani) runs on Futabasha’s Web Comic Action site. An upbeat girl and a shy guy meet once a week at the convenience store and talk to each other. Can love grow from this?

You’re So Sloppy, Hotta-sensei (Darashinai desu, Hotta-sensei!) runs in the print Manga Action, a comedy about a high schooler who does housekeeping for his teacher. In school she’s the ideal teacher… at home she’s a slob. I’m told this falls under the “ecchi sex comedy” genre, so expect a lot of underwear lying around the place.

They also announced a number of titles on the service that are also released by MediBang. I won’t go into MediBang too much, except to say that I hear their rates are so low for translators that the mind boggles. And two titles from Media Do, which I also know little about. I did notice that one of the titles picked up was My Sadistic Boyfriend, which was originally released on the old JManga site way back in the day. It reminds me that Futabasha still struggles to this day to get a large-scale English publisher to notice them, especially with the demise of Dr Master. A lot of their titles have gone with the new digital companies. I will say that the MediBangs and Media Dos of the world are a good way for the tiny companies that would otherwise get nothing translated to get their josei romance and supernatural fantasies out over here.

The other panel was Star Fruit Books, who tend towards smaller books licensed from the authors. They announced Virginia Inferno (Otome Jigoku), a horror anthology; I’ll Quit Traveling… (Watashi, Tabi o Yamemasu…), a slow-moving fantasy; Clan Under the Moon (Gekka no Ichizoku), a horror title that I think originally ran in Horror House in the early 90s, and is 2 volumes; The Red Snake (Akai Hebi), a horror title from the early 80s by the legendary Hideshi Hino; and His Ankle (Kare no Kurubushi), a BL title. Star Fruit has been putting out a lot of classic horror from the 80s and 90s, as well as BL and yuri titles. Get excited!

And that’s a wrap! I am hoping to get to the next Anime NYC in the summer. Hopefully my next report will be from the con. That said, it’ll still be “written as one big post the evening after), so not too different from this.

Anime NYC 2023: Remote Musings, Saturday

The second day of Anime NYC, were I there (which I am not), would have likely begun with me feeling very awkward at the Ize Press panel. I will admit, I don’t cover Ize Press much in the Manga the Week of posts. There are a few normal reasons for this (I have enough trouble adding all the Japanese releases; I just don’t vibe with the Korean romances as much; I never got the “long strip” webtoon format), but the real reason is likely far more nerdy. See, I started the Manga the Week of lists on Livejournal so that I could point to which series were in Hana to Yume, or Weekly Shonen Jump, or “whatever Wings is”. And, y’see… I can’t do that with the Korean titles! Basically, I suck, and this is why I would be feeling awkward at the panel.

But I’ll still point out what they announced. The big one, which even I have heard of, is Beware the Villainess!, an insanely popular webtoon title that’s been translated into umpteen languages. As for the plot, well, imagine if Bakarina decides to beat the crap out of all the male leads instead.

The Villainess Is a Marionette is a webtoon about, well, a villainess who’s now died multiple times, and decides to be the puppeteer, not the puppet.

Marriage of Convenience is a loop novel, where the horrible villainess realizes, right before she’s killed, the error of her ways, and gets sent back in time to try to do it right.

My Secretly Hot Husband is in the genre of “I was married off to a scary man, but he turns out to be really nice”.

SSS-Class Revival Hunter is NOT a villainess book, but it does involve the hero gaining the power to go back in time after he’s killed, so it’s sort of Re: Zero meets dungeon crawler.

Tied to You is a BL title, a first for Ize Press, and is a “red string of fate” book – except the red string is going to the wrong brother!

After this we get Yen Press’s panel. First of all, they announced three “media tie-in” manga the day before, as a treat. Days with My Stepsister manga, based on the light novel (Shonen Ace plus), Sword Art Online Re:Aincrad, which seems to be an attempt to reboot the (very rushed) original manga adaptation (Dengeki Daioh), and The Kept Man of the Princess Knight, the manga based on the upcoming light novel, also from Yen (Comic Walker).

At the actual panel, they started with the Bungo Stray Dogs Official Comic Anthology. These have been around in Japan since forever, but rarely get released over here. It’s by various artists.

Goblin Slayer: A Day in the Life is a manga spinoff of the main series that adapts short stories from the light novels that were skipped in the main adaptation. It runs in Big Gangan.

No Game, No Life Chapter 2: Eastern Union reminds us that this manga runs on a “one arc every ten years” schedule, so adapts the 2nd arc of the light novels. It runs in my nemesis, Comic Alive.

We then got some light novels. Guillotine Bride (Dantōdai no Hanayome: Sekai o Horobosu Futsutsukana Tatsuki Desu ga) is from the creator of Demon Lord 2099. A dragon princess on her way to execution finds herself blown up and lands in front of a young man. He’s even more startled when she asks him to marry her.

Brunhild the Dragonslayer (Ryū-goroshi no Brunhild) was probably the biggest “name” of the panel – it’s a very acclaimed series, and J-Novel Club recently got the rights to release it in German. A girl is raised by a dragon to never harbor hatred in her heart… then her dragon parent is killed by humans. Will she fall to vengeance?

The God of Nishi-Yuigahama Station (Nishi Yuigahama-eki no Kami-sama) is a novel about a train disaster that claims many lives… or rather it’s about what happens after, as a rumor of ghosts of the dead passengers has brought their loved ones there to see if they can see them once more.

Back to manga for She Likes Gays, but Not Me (Kanojo ga Suki na Mono wa Homo de Atte Boku de wa Nai), a manga based on a critically acclaimed novel that ran in Comic Bridge. A gay high school boy hiding his sexuality discovers a young woman with a huge love of BL manga. Can he have a “normal” life with her?

Friday at the Atelier (Kinyōbi wa Atelier de) is probably the manga announcement that most interested me. It runs in Harta, and features a bored woman who agrees to be a nude model for a famous painter. Indeed, she agrees a little too easily. What’s up with her? This honestly looks pretty cute.

Yen Press also announced some new audiobooks, for Reign of the Seven Spellblades, Bungo Stray Dogs… and Baccano!. The last one has me delighted, as the Baccano! fandom is small but fierce.

After this, I would have gone to Dark Horse’s panel, but it appears they didn’t license any new titles. They did say they’re reprinting some Berserk volumes, so that’s nice.

Kodansha Manga began with a big announcement: a new manga, The Spellbook Library, from the creator of Is Love The Answer. And it’s coming out in English first, on the Kodansha app. It kind of sounds like a cuter version of Magus of the Library.

Speaking of that same creator, coming out digitally next month is Sayabito: Swords of Destiny, a post-apocalypse drama about human weapons. It ran in good! Afternoon.

Also out digitally in December is Don’t Tempt Me, VP! (Amayakasanaide Fuku Shachou: Danna-sama wa SSR), a josei title from Ane Friend about an OL, deep in debt thanks to her horrible ex, getting a proposition from her company’s vice-president: marriage.

Next we get a bunch of new licenses out next year. Versus has a story from the creator of One-Punch Man, and runs in Shonen Sirius. A group of humans try to make a stand against the evil demon lords.

Pupposites Attract (Seihantai na Watashitachi) is from Comic Pool, and is a romance between two humans of opposite personalities who have two dogs that are also very dissimilar.

The Boy I Loved Became the Jaded Emperor (Mukuchi na Koushaku Reijou to Reitetsu na Koutei – Zense Hirotta Kodomo ga Koutei ni Natte Imashita) is from Comic Zero-Sum. A prince whose life was saved as a child by a mysterious woman grows cold when she’s killed, however, he discovers her reincarnation is a duke’s daughter.

Snow & Ink (Yuki to Sumi) is a seinen title from Comic Days. A criminal accused of murder is purchased by the daughter of a rich family, and takes him on a journey to the north. Can they both escape their sordid pasts?

Home Office Romance (Telework Yotabanashi) is a one-shot from the creator of Sweat & Soap. It ran in Weekly Morning. A man whose life has been turned around by remote work falls for his grad student neighbor. But what about the poor office building landlords?

Kusunoki’s Flunking Her High School Glow-Up (Kusunoki-san wa Koukou Debut ni Shippai shite Iru) is a josei title from Comic Pool, about two high school students who each completely redid their look and personality for high school. Will they be able to hide everything?

Spoil Me Plzzz, Hinamori-san! (Amaesasete Hinamori-san!) is a yuri title from Comic Yuri Hime. Our heroine looks up to the “perfect maiden” of the school… only to find she’s a childish brat who needs to be spoiled or else.

Sheltering Eaves (Koboreru Yoru ni) is a josei title from Kiss (!) from the creator of Perfect World. A young boy who was abused by his mother ended up at an orphanage, cared for by another orphan. Now they’re both in high school, and he’s trying to wrestle with his past and his feelings.

Lastly, they’re doing an omnibus release of Your Lie in April, for those who just like to cry a lot.

Today has just two Industry panels I’d be attending – Azuki Manga and Star Fruit. Hope the last day is a good one!

Anime NYC 2023: Remote Musings, Friday

So it’s Anime NYC! And I am… not there this year, taking a year off for various reasons. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have things to say. So this is not so much news as “what does Sean think of the new licenses?”, consider it news lite. And of course it is missing the pithy remarks of the panelists themselves, alas.

Were I going, I likely would have started the con with Viz Media… but I don’t know what happened at their panel, as they had no new announcements. This happens sometimes, especially with New York Comic Con a month earlier. I suspect the panel was mostly about Undead Unluck and Jujutsu Kaisen.

Crunchyroll also had a panel, but it was mostly about streaming dates for upcoming anime and new dub casts, rather than, say, Blu-Ray news for Birdie Wing. There was no news about that. Alas.

The big panel of the day, at least in terms of Sean-related things, was J-Novel Club. They always bust out a lot of new licenses for the con, and this year is no exception. They started off with a few manga titles, beginning with Duchess in the Attic (Yane Urabeya no Kōshaku Fujin). This is based on a light novel of the same name, which did not get licensed but, as we’ll see later on, there’s always hope it might in the future. A duchess with a bad reputation for no real reason is marries off to a duke who also treats her coldly. Heck, there’s a childhood friend of the duke everyone loves far more than our heroine. How can she reverse her fortune? This runs in Flos Comic.

Next we have Through the Viewport: Child of a Ruined World (Shūmatsu Sekai no Hakoiri Musume), a MAGCOMI title about a post-apocalypse girl and her robot. This sounds like a few other “girl and companion travel across desolate post-apocalypse landscape” titles we’ve seen recently.

A Livid Lady’s Guide to Getting Even: How I Crushed My Homeland with My Mighty Grimoires (Buchigire Reijō wa Hōfuku wo Chikaimashita. Madōsho no Chikara de Sokoku wo Tataki Tsubushimasu) is also based on an as-yet unlicensed light novel, and runs in Comic Fire. You’ve seen this story before. Duke’s daughter, engagement broken, imprisoned, etc. This one, though, decides “to hell with it” and sets off to get her revenge.The artist also did the Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop manga.

Butareba -The Story of a Man Turned into a Pig- (Buta no Liver wa Kanetsu Shiro) is the manga version of the light novels J-NC is already releasing. It runs in Dengeki Maoh.

Now we move on to light novels. Nia Liston: The Merciless Maiden (Kyōran Reijō Nia Liston: Byōjaku Reijō ni Tenseishita Kami-goroshi no Bujin no Kareinaru Musō Roku) is one of those rare titles where our “reincarnated into another world as a child” protagonist is not from Japan, but was a great hero in her previous life! Alas, there was a bit of Red Sonja to her, as she kept looking for a warrior to defeat her, but never found one. Now she has a new life… and she’s frail and sick. Well. That simply won’t do. For fans of Reborn to Master the Blade. The author also writes Kunon the Sorcerer Can See Through.

The Exiled Noble Rises as the Holy King: Befriending Fluffy Beasts and a Holy Maiden with My Ultimate Cheat Skill! (Tsuihō Kizoku wa Saikyō Skill “Seiō” de Henkyō kara Nariagaru: Haikyōsha ni Nintei Sareta Ore da kedo Cheat Skill de Mofumofu mo Seijo mo Nakama ni Shichaimashita) is a “the title is the plot” sot of series, as our protagonist is excommunicated (that’s new), but he has a powerful cheat skill (that’s not new), and befriends cute fluffy beasts (also not new) and cute holy maidens who have been sent to kill him (very not new). If you like your light novels with a ratio of 1 new to 3 not new, check this out. It’s from the creator of The Unwanted Undead Adventurer.

The Oblivious Saint Can’t Contain Her Power: Forget My Sister! Turns Out I Was the Real Saint All Along! (Mujikaku Seijo wa Kyō mo Muishiki ni Chikara o Tare Nagasu: Imadai no Seijo wa Anede wa Naku, Imōto no Watashi Datta Mitai Desu) is the light novel whose manga J-Novel Club licensed previously. The plot? Noble lady looked down on by everyone in favor of her sister is married off, moves to another country, and turns out to be SUPER POWERFUL!

The Otome Heroine’s Fight for Survival (Otome Game no Heroine de Saikyō Survival) is a TO Books title (Bookworm, Tearmoon), so has my attention. A young orphan runs away, only to find someone trying to kill her. She realizes she’s meant to be an otome game protagonist… but has to fight for survival in this dog-eat-dog world. If you wanted more death game in your villainess books, great news.

The Water Magician (Mizuzokusei no Mahōtsukai) A reincarnated boy is trying to be the protagonist of a Slow Life novel, but – .like many other Slow Life protagonists – deadly attacks and large battles keep getting in the way. He also just keeps getting stronger and stronger. J-Novel Club also licensed the manga for this title, which runs in Comic Corona. So also TO Books, then.

I had been one of the few people watching Management of a Novice Alchemist (Shinmai Renkinjutsushi no Tenpo Keiei) in Fall 2022, and I found the anime very appealing. I am therefore delighted to see J-Novel Club licensed the novels. (The author also writes To Another World… with Land Mines!, and the illustrator also works on The Invincible Little Lady.) Sarasa has just become a state alchemist, and her master gives her the graduation gift of her own shop. But… it’s in the middle of a tiny village. And also pretty dilapidated. This is a Cute Girls Doing Cute Things series, provided you don’t mind some of the cute things are killing bears made entirely of fire.

Sword Saint Adel’s Second Chance (Ken Seijo Adel no Yarinaoshi) is a new series from the creator of Reborn to Master the Blade, and in fact has almost the exact same story. Only this powerful warrior who regrets his life choices is not reincarnated in the future but in the past. That said, they’re both reincarnated as gorgeous young women. Anyay, now he can protect the princess. Possibly yuri? Eh. I doubt it.

The Banished Former Hero Lives as He Pleases (Dekisokonai to Yobareta Moto Eiyū wa, Jikka Kara Tsuihōsareta node Suki Katte ni Ikiru Koto ni Shita) is from the creator of I Surrendered My Sword for a New Life as a Mage. It’s also getting an anime next year. A young man is deemed useless and banished… but in his past life, he was a hero! Now he can do what he likes… except he can’t seem to stop helping people. This one is also TO Books, exciting!

The best title of yesterday’s licenses goes to RVing My Way into Exile with My Beloved Cat: This Villainess Is Trippin’ (Akuyaku Reijō wa Camping Car de Tabi ni Deru). I had seen this on Drecom’s site a few months ago, and was eager to see J-NC pick it yup. Are you a villainess who’s been exiled and shamed? Why not take with you a magic camper van that evolves as you travel!

The big news of the panel, though, was the long-awaited license rescue of Chivalry of a Failed Knight (Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry). This light novel was originally released by Sol Press, but when they went under it seemed to be the only un-rescued title. Now it’s back, and you can enjoy the series beyond the first few volumes. The plot… is very similar to The Asterisk War, something I have made a bit of a running gag, so I’ll just note it here.

J-Novel Club also announced that their light novel contest would be judged by Akiko Fujita, Kadokawa’s head editor, and Carlo Zen, author of The Saga of Tanya the Evil. And Bookworm audiobooks are coming, with the dub actress for Myne doing the narration.

Denpa Books was the next panel, and they had two new announcements. Wolf Pack will come out on their KUMA imprint, and runs in Daria Comics e. Two alphas have to find a way to get along, despite seemingly being opposites.

ODDTAXI got a very popular anime last year, and the manga runs in an offshoot of Big Comic Superior, Superior Darupana. It’s the story of a taxi driver who also happens to be a walrus, and how he gets mixed up in a much bigger plot.

Honestly, after Denpa I likely would have left to go back to The New Yorker hotel and type this up, but there was also a Comikey panel. I don’t follow the new streaming manga services as much as I should, mostly as the micropurchases for chapters are not my bag. They announced a bunch of stuff that is already available on Square Enix’s online platform, as well as a few new manga from a new company which I can’t find a lot of info about.

As for today, we should see titles from Kodansha, Yen Press, and Dark Horse. Hope everyone is having a great time!