New License Time

Yes, there are no major cons, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been activity. Let’s go in alphabetical order, starting with Seven Seas.


These have been up on Amazon for a while, but I think it’s safe to say (control your shock) that Seven Seas will have more Alice in the Country of ______ licenses for us this summer. Two are from Ohzora Shuppan, and I think are direct to tankobon releases. Given the publisher has a line devoted to ‘Happy Weddings’, I’d expect more romance and less twisted psychology from these releases. Junk Box looks to be along the lines of Toy Box from earlier this year, i.e. an anthology catch all. White Rabbit and Some Afternoon Tea also looks like it may finally give us what many have been dreading but some will no doubt be pleased by: an Alice/Peter romance book. The other new title is from Ichijinsha, Black Lizard and Bitter Taste, and given the title will no doubt feature Gray as the romantic lead.

The next news is possibly the most exciting, especially if you wanted to get that old Tezuka book from Vertical but couldn’t as it fell out of print. Vertical Comics has announced it will be releasing digital versions of its classic Tezuka titles to digital platforms. This will include:


Apollo’s Song – omnibus
Black Jack 1 through 17
Dororo – omnibus
Princess Knight 1 & 2
Ode to Kirihito – omnibus
Book of Human Insects
Buddha 1 through 8
Message to Adolf 1 & 2
Twin Knights

This is fantastic news for me, as I tend to read manga on the bus into work, and many of these Tezuka titles have been so large I’ve been unable to. Everyone should pick these up as soon as they are able!

Lastly, let’s talk Viz. In case you missed it, Viz has been quietly digitally rescuing a number of old manga titles from Tokyopop and Bandai and putting them out online. There don’t appear to be plans for new titles (unless they sell well, I imagine), but it’s nice to get some of these old series online in any form. They include:

D N Angel
Chibi Vampire
Fate/Stay Night
Future Diary
Trinity Blood
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Lucky Star
St. Lunatic High School
Miyuki-chan in Wonderland
Mad Love Chase
Lagoon Engine
Million Tears
Kyo Kara MAOH!
Zone-00 (later this month)
Mouryou Kiden – Legend of the Nymphs (later this month)

As you can see, it’s a lot of stuff with a built-in fanbase and potential for new readers, but not enough potential to justify an actual print rescue. It’s also mostly Kadokawa stuff, likely in conjunction with their Comic Walker online site.


Viz also announced a new Shojo Beat title, Komomo Confiserie, from Maki Minami, creator of Special A and Voice Over: Seiyu Academy. For those who worry this may go as long as those two series, it’s already over in Japan as of next month, so I suspect it won’t be that big. It involves pastry chefs and power imbalances, a guilty favorite of all shoujo readers.

But wait, Hakusensha fans! We also have a new print license rescue! Yes, one of the most missed of the late Tokyopop line will be returning in omnibus format with an all new translation. Maid-sama! is an amazingly funny series with a wonderful female lead who takes absolutely no guff but also has no idea how to deal with the guy she’s now fallen in love with. The series ended with Tokyopop’s demise, so I look forward to this re-release to see Viz get to the last 10 volumes – it only gets wilder as it goes on. Expect lots of leaping from tall buildings.

What are you most excited about?

Seven Seas New License Roundup

Seven Seas has had a busy week, announcing seven new titles in seven days. The titles ran the gamut from cute slice of life to award winning comedy to some ‘look, boobs!’ works that show their close relationship with Media Factory has not wavered. Let’s take a look at what’s coming out this summer 2015.


The slice of life is Non Non Biyori, one of Comic Alive’s non-fanservice titles. It’s about a young girl who moves to the country and slowly makes new friends and has fun, relaxing times. It’s 7+ volumes, and still running, but sounds like it will be a fun read.

Mahō Tsukai no Yome is a Mag Garden title, as the company has been slowly working its way back into the North American market after Tokyopop’s demise removed their biggest customer. This is a Comic Garden series (the replacement for Comic Blade, which was rebranded last year (supposedly cancelled, but when a new magazine appears that’s exactly the same with a different name…)), seems to be pretty and filled with magic and supernatural stuff, and I suspect is an apology to female readers for the titles lower down on this list. :)

Probably the most intriguing title here is Kōkaku no Pandora – Ghost Urn, a collaboration between legendary “I start series but never quite finish them” author Masamune Shirow and Excel Saga creator Rikdo Koshi. Given it’s Shirow, you’ll be unsurprised to hear that it’s a near-future work with lots of amazing tech. Given it’s Rikdo, expect some ecchi art as well. This is a Newtype Ace series from Kadokawa, and I’ll be checking it out, although I will not be surprised if it gives me mixed feelings.


The title I’m most looking forward to, and have suggested as a license before, is Sakamoto desu ga?, an Enterbrain title from the magazine harta (small caps deliberate). Sakamoto is cool and awesome and amazing at everything, but still finds the time to be helpful and caring, if a tad stoic. This is a comedy along the lines of Cromartie or Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun – if you like seeing weird stuff happening, with a dash of heart, this is a must read, and I cannot recommend it enough. It’s won awards!

When I heard that Mōretsu Pirates was getting a lciense, my nerd personality went over the moon. Not just because it’s a terrific franchise, but because the main manga runs in a magazine from Asahi Shimbun, who do very little business with North America. Sadly, my gushing was cut short – this is the manga adaptation of the movie, and it ran in Comic Alice. Still, Mōretsu Pirates: Abyss of Hyperspace -Akū no Shien- is still recommended, as the cast is awesome, and also, space pirates.

This next license was probably the most controversial. I had been tweeting various Media Factory titles I thought SS would license, but skipped this as the cover looked too pornographic. Silly me. Magika no Kenshi to Shōkan Maō is based on a light novel, has swords and fantasy battles, and no one really cares about that because near-naked girl on the cover. While these titles aren’t for me, there’s no denying they sell like hotcakes, and help pay for things like Sakamoto desu ga?.

Lastly, the biggest license was Freezing, a manga by two Korean creators that runs in Comic Valkyrie, which has not seen too many titles over here at all. It’s a big series, being over 20 volumes, and they plan to do omnibus releases. It’s also had two anime series based off of it. That said, if you’re looking for a description, it would not be too far away from the title before this, although I think Freezing is less ‘wacky near-naked fanservice’ and more ‘action-packed, blood-filled near-naked fanservice’. In any case, it’s always nice to see longer series get a shot over here.

They have a big announcement at the end of the month, but that’s it for now. Which Seven Seas license makes you the happiest?

A Mostly Yen Press License Roundup

I was away for a few days, so naturally the license DELUGE hit. As such, let me ask you to turn to A Case Suitable for Treatment, for the very last in news. :) Let’s see what 17 million titles are coming out soon, however, and talk about them a bit.

First the non-Yen stuff. Seven Seas has three more Alice spinoffs coming, featuring, I believe, Gray, Elliot, and the Twins. They sell well, and there are PILES of the things, so I see no reason why Seven Seas shouldn’t license them till they run out.

Dark Horse just announced today the license of Fate/Zero, the prequel to Fate/Stay Night that runs in Kadokawa’s Young Ace. It’s based on a couple of light novels that tell the story of the ‘fourth Holy grail War’. I admit I didn’t read F/SN when Tokyopop was putting it out, but it’s certainly quite popular, and Fate/Zero seems to be the most respected of the side projects.


Now it’s time for Yen Press. On the manga front, a big recent license is the Karneval manga from Ichijinsha’s Comic Zero-Sum. There’s over a dozen volumes to date, and it’s been a highly discussed series. Featuring two innocents on the run from forces beyond their control who end up with a defense organization called Circus, it’s the sort of title that defines the words ‘fantasy manga for young women’ and should sell like hotcakes.

There’s more Madoka Magica manga, as we get Orico Magica’s side story which posits a different meeting between its leads, which I’m sure will lead to puppies and rainbows instead of tragedy; and Tart Magica, which features Jeanne D’Arc and three fellow pseudo-historical young women as magical girls in the 15th century, thus showing that Kyubey can ruin EVERYTHING.

And on the Disney front, sort of, we have Big Hero 6, which just debuted in Kodansha’s Magazine Special. Based on the film due out this November, it looks to be geared towards the younger set, and is a rare Kodansha license from this publisher.

Now let’s talk light novels. I’d mentioned that I thought Yen was pursuing a surprisingly aggressive approach to the new Yen On line, and it’s clear that if anything I was underestimating it. Kurt says they’re going to go even further next year, with over 2 dozen books out in 2015 alone, from a variety of series. Sword Art Online sold quite well, and has I expect inspired the licensing of the Progressive novels that will debut in April.

I have whined on Twitter about the lack of ebooks for SAO and the upcoming Index novels, and I suspect judging from Kurt’s response in the interview that this is not something that will be changing anytime soon. It seems to be the Japanese side more than our side, as Yen says that they make an effort to get them when they’re available. So perhaps I should whine at ASCII Mediaworks instead.

log horizon

As for the new LN series announced, we have four. The first, Log Horizon, has a plot that may seem familiar to fans of Sword Art Online, as it also has a large group of MMORPG gamers who find themselves trapped in a virtual world. Log Horizon seems to have a broader focus, however, and less romance/harem/fanservice elements than SAO does. Yen has also licensed the manga, though we’re not sure yet which manga they have – there are three possibilities, all from different companies. The novel is from Enterbrain, who also do Book Girl, so I’m hoping for ebooks here.

Speaking of fanservices, No Game No Life seems to be the most ‘otaku-oriented’ title that was licensed in this batch. It’s from Media Factory, and involves (try not to contain your shock), an MMORPG. A brother/sister gaming team, who in real life are basically shut-ins, are transported to a fantasy world where they have to use their amazing gaming skills to save humanity.

The Devil Is A Part-Timer!, aka Hataraku Maou-sama!, is a Dengeki Bunko title (i.e., the SAO/Index company). It sounds like the funniest of the new series, as Satan and his lieutenant are on Earth and powerless, and must find work while scheming to regain their powers. To make things worse, the woman who defeated them in the first place is back to finish the job. Luckily, she’s lost her powers as well. This has fantasy elements in it, but the mere fact that it doesn’t involve an MMORPG makes it the most intriguing of these titles for me.

Lastly, for fans of Pandora Hearts, Yen is putting out the novels which contain side stories from the main manga, which are titled Caucus Race. These are also, I believe, from Square Enix.

Judging by their interview, Yen isn’t done yet, and I suspect we’ll have a few more light novels announced at NYCC. Which unlicensed title do you most want? You are not allowed to say Baccano!. Or Durarara!!. Or indeed any title by Narita. But other than those?