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?


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.


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.


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.


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.)

AX 2015 Licensing Roundup

So AX 2015 has come and gone, and everyone remembers it as the con where everyone’s dreams came true. Each company had a title that made everyone’s jaw drop, down the line. The ‘impossible’ titles. And there were lots of others as well. Particularly from Yen Press, who dropped 22 titles on us.

I will start with Tokyopop, who had a panel to announce they were back, sort of, and might be getting back into manga, sort of, but had no titles to actually announce. As for its attempting to get creators to sign up with them again, see this.


Let’s move on to Viz Media. The big, BIG announcement here was from Haikasoru, Viz’s science-fiction novel imprint, who announced the acquisition of the first three Legend of Galactic Heroes novels, with more coming if sales are good. It’s possible that this may be too old a property for many readers, but for anime fans of a certain age, this is HUGE. One of the most famous space operas out of Japan. Oh yes, and the anime was licensed as well.

Viz’s Shojo Beat imprint also had two licenses, by some of its more famous mangaka. Bisco Hatori’s Urakata!! is her newest LaLa series, about a drama club. And Matsuri Hino has Shuriken to Pleats, about a young ninja girl who has to start over as a normal high school student, also running in LaLa. Neither of these is particularly surprising, but both are welcome returns for best-selling authors.

Seven Seas was not at AX, but took the weekend to announce a new title of their own. Angel Beats: Heaven’s Door is a prequel to the anime series, and is apparently by the folks behind Air, Kanon, and Clannad, so I expect it might be depressing. It runs in Dengeki G’s magazine, and is ongoing with 8 volumes in Japan.


Vertical was next, and I will admit that their big surprise was possibly the least shocking of the big con surprises. But still made me very happy. Nichijou is a gag manga famous for being wonderfully strange, and inspired an equally strange yet adorable anime. It runs in various Kadokawa magazines, including Shonen Ace, and is 9+ volumes. It is worth the purchase, especially if you enjoy My Neighbor Seki.

There’s also Fuku Fuku Nya~n, which is the latest in a series of Nya~n titles about an old woman and her cat that technically is a josei title, but really is more of a cat lover’s title. It’s by the author of Chi’s Sweet Home. Lastly, Vertical announced a new Attack on Titan novel, Lost girls, which has short stories focusing on, among others, Mikasa and Annie, who also get the cover.

Mangagamer is not a manga company, but I would feel remiss if I did not mention that they have licensed the Umineko When They Cry visual novels, which will be released arc by arc on Steam. They’re working with Witch Hunt, the Umineko fan translators, to refine and improve translation, and will, again, have an option of updated sprites. No release date set yet that I saw. Umineko is more cynical and difficult to read than Higurashi, but also has more depth and better writing.

Kodansha Comics had three announcements. In the non-earth-shattering ones, Real Account is a Weekly Shonen Magazine series combining the increasingly popular survival game genre with social media. Maga-Tsuki is a harem comedy from shonen Sirius that will likely fulfill every fan’s fanservice needs. And oh yes, one more thing, Kuragehime.


Kuragehime, aka Princess Jellyfish, has been one of THE most demanded josei series of the last few years. It runs in Kodansha’s KISS magazine, and involves a shy girl who loves jellyfish and her meeting with a beautiful young… woman? It inspired a popular anime, and everyone assumed it would not be licensed here as a) it’s josei and b) it’s 15 volumes and counting. Kodansha is doing it in 2-in-1 omnibuses, with a larger trim size. And Crunchyroll Manga also announced it will have it digitally, starting July 15.

That’s a lot of stuff. What could be left? Oh right, Yen. Let’s break this down into three waves.

First, digital-only series. There’s supernatural/horror titles (Aphorism, Corpse Princess, Renaissance Eve), another survival game series (Seishun x Kikanjuu), harem comedies (the popular yet polarizing Sekirei), straight-up mysteries (Black Detective), and even gambling manga (Kakegurui). There’s also series where I have no idea at all: Ore no Kanojo ni Nani ka Youkai is by the Working! author, and Manzen Maou Shoujo Ena-sama… I don’t even know. The big one here, though, even if it is only in digital format, is Saki. This long-running mahjong manga with yuri subtext has been an underground favorite ever since the anime came out, and it’s nice to see it getting a NA release.

In actual print, we’ll start with Handa-kun, the prequel to Barakamon. It had been previously announced as digital only, but I guess is popular enough that it’s now getting a regular release. For Log Horizon fans, the popular spinoff West Wind Brigade has been licensed. Sword Art Online’s manga continuations have been licensed – both Phantom Bullet and Mother’s Rosario, which run concurrently in Japan. Phantom Bullet’s artist also does Sacred Blacksmith.

There are a few Dragon Age titles, which usually are a bit more fanservicey than most. Kamigoroshihime Zilch seems to be about a teen who’s told he’s secretly incredibly powerful. And Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata, better known as Saekano, is based on a light novel, though Yen have only announced the manga, which is an odd combination of harem manga and visual novel creation. Fans of Genshiken might like this. Lastly, as it wouldn’t be a con without something from Comic Alive being licensed, Taboo-Tattoo seems to be a manga with lots of girls fighting – indeed, I can’t really find much else about it except that.


But Sean, you’re thinking, where is the jaw-dropping Yen Press title? Well, for that, let’s turn to the light nvoel imprint, Yen On. First, there’s a sequel to the horror novel Another, called Episode S. The second one, Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabu Kome wa Machigatteiru, is very surprising for two reasons. First, it’s owned by Shogakukan, who usually do not let their books fall outside Viz’s purview, even if Viz isn’t actually doing novels at the moment. Secondly, it’s the first Yen On title to be announced that does not involve some element of fantasy or supernatural – it’s a straight up romantic comedy. It also sells like hotcakes in Japan, and has a very popular anime, which likely explains why Yen moved past 1 and 2 above. They’ve also licensed the manga.

But there is also Baccano!. From the author of Durarara!!, this is actually Narita’s first series, about a group of mobsters in 1930s New York who get caught up with a group of immortals. Baccano! is one of those series whose anime was FAR more popular in the West than in Japan, where it bombed. It has a huge online fandom in areas such as Tumblr, and fans had been begging Yen for the novels. I was not expecting this at all – I love Baccano!, particularly the characters of Isaac and Miria, who are very… themselves. Everyone is flipping out over this, and I really hope it sells incredibly well.

Lastly, there is Crunchyroll manga. In addition to the Princess Jellyfish release I mentioned above, we have Fukigen na Mononokean (another supernatural title), Takahashi-san ga Kiite Iru (a gag comedy about an eavesdropping girl), Kuzu no Honkai (a romantic drama seinen series about pretend lovers), and Amaama to Inazuma (a child-rearing manga which should interest those who enjoyed Bunny Drop but disliked the road it went down). I like the variety of series they’re getting, and will definitely be checking these out.

There’s also SDCC next week, but I expect, while there will certainly be some titles announced there, it will be quieter than this week. AX has let everyone exhausted but happy, even those who didn’t attend it.

Spring License Roundup: Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun (and others)

There were a pile of announcements made yesterday in regards to manga (no, no light novels. Admit it, they have enough on their plate now). But let’s not fool ourselves, there is one announcement that is head and shoulders above everything else. The excited fan in me is warring with the pedant who says I should cover Kodansha first as their licenses were announced earlier. Sadly, it says a lot about me that the pedant wins.

The Kodansha license that most interests me is Itou Junji no Neko Nikki: Yon & Mu, which is a cute slice-of-life cat manga from the author of famed horror manga. The mangaka also stars, and if you wonder what his style would be like when he’s not drawing terrifying things, this is what you need to read. It’s only one volume, and ran in Magazine Z.


Devil Survivor runs in Shonen Sirius, and is based on the Shin Megami Tensei video game. Expect action, fantasy, and demons.

Speaking of based on the video game, we not only get Persona Q – Shadow of the Labyrinth – Side: P3 (which runs in Bessatsu Shonen), but also Persona Q – Shadow of the Labyrinth – Side: P4 (which runs in Shonen Sirius). Crunchyroll is doing both of these digitally, but Kodansha has been the publisher most likely to pick up the print license anyway, so that’s fine. As for the manga, haven’t played Persona 3 or 4, so no idea.

Lastly, we have Ninja Slayer Setsu, which is the second Ninja Slayer license in the last couple of months. It ran in the obscure Suiyoubi no Sirius, which I think may have just died, so I’m not sure how many volumes it will be. It looks like it takes its ninjas very seriously indeed.

On to Yen Press, which had a giant pile of licenses (Sakuracon is one of their biggies), the surprise being that several of them are digital only. Let’s run through those first.

Handa-Kun is a prequel to Barakamon, following our hero when he was in high school. It runs in Shonen Gangan.

Kyou no Cerberus is also in Shonen Gangan, and looks to be somewhat silly. One day a boy meets a dog-like girl with three different personalities, who resolves to keep him from harm.

I have no idea what Kominami Shoutarou, Ie o Deru o Hajimemashita is about, but with the NA title Shut-In Shoutarou Kominami Takes on the World, it sounds like it will be awesome. It runs in Big Gangan, a seinen magazine.


Speaking of Big Gangan, Servant x Service runs there as well. It’s from the creator of Working!, one of those ‘why was this never licensed’ manga with 83 seasons of anime. It seems to be a 4-koma about office life, and also has an anime.

Unknown runs in Shonen Gangan, and yes, that is its title. It’s complete in four volumes, and I’m told reminded many folks of Fullmetal Alchemist.

Mahou Tsukai no Deshi ga Warau Toki is complete in 3 volumes, ran in Shonen Gangan, and looks depressing as hell, to be honest.

Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine runs in GFantasy, and I can’t really tell how fantastical it is, but there’s royalty and things in it, as you may have gathered. The mangaka is better known for the series Sougiya Riddle.

Koukoku no Hiiro is also GFantasy, and may be the most interesting of this whole bunch. Samurai, kendo, time travel… cool things indeed.

So, to reiterate, all those above seem to be Digital Only, with no print plans at this time. What did they license for print? Well…


I can’t hold back anymore. They have finally licensed, as we’ve been begging them to, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun! This amazingly funny 4-koma from Gangan Online is by Izumi Tsubaki, author of Oresama Teacher and The Magic Touch. If you love the facial expressions in Oresama, these are even better. It also mocks every single cliche in the book. It’s basically fantastic, and the convention room exploded when it was announced.

The other major surprise has to be Yowamushi Pedal, an Akita Shoten title from Weekly Shonen Champion. A cycling manga (so technically sports… more myths busted!), it’s at 39+ volumes in Japan. Needless to say, expect this in omnibuses. Between this and Index, I wonder how much Kurt is enjoying seeing what we say is impossible to license, and then just doing it. (The creator, by the way, also adapted one of the many Train Man manga… the CMX one, I believe.)

Hakusensha is not forgotten either, as we get Sakura no Himegoto, a 2-volume LaLa series. I note warily that this involves a girl with debt being “owned” by a rich high school boy, but I’m told it’s not as skeezy as it sounds.

Dragon’s Rioting also makes me wary, mostly as it runs in Fujimi Shobo’s Dragon Age, and thus I expect the breasts to be more important than the plot. It seems to involve a boy who will die if he gets sexually aroused, and surrounding him with women who will no doubt do that very thing.

Lastly, Aldnoah Zero has an anime as well, and runs in Houbunsha’s Manga Time Kirara Forward. It’s a sci-fi mecha series, so I’m fairly sure will end with the entire cast dead. If not the entire Earth.

Aside from Nozaki-kun, which everyone will be buying of course, what license here most interests you?