Anime NYC 2022, Day Three

The third and final day of Anime NYC, like the first, was quiet. The main issue was that half the subway lines weren’t working, which is not the con’s fault. I did note that masking was more optional than I’d hoped, but did see a lot of masked people, and they did require masks walking into the panels, which was good. The main panels I attended was Kodansha Manga, whose site may still be under maintenance, and whose Kodansha Books line was eerily silent, but they still had a lot to announce.

They started off with the November digital debuts, including Matcha Made in Heaven, which is already out. The other debut is The Food Diary of Miss Maid, a seinen title from Comic Days about an English maid who ends up living by herself in Japan, and decides to immerse herself in Japanese cuisine. They then moved into 2023 print titles, and there certainly were a lot of them.

Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Chat Noir is a manga based on the popular French cartoon, which runs in Shonen Sirius. It seems to loosely adapt the original, with some changes. I’m Giving the Disgraced Noble Lady a Crash Course in Naughtiness: I’ll Spoil Her with Delicacies and Style to Make Her the Happiest Woman in the World! wins the prize for the longest title announced at Anime NYC. This Comic Pash! manga features a wizard running across a disgraced noble who has collapsed near his place. After hearing her sad story, he decides to teach her naughty things… like cake eating! And late night ramen! In other words, sweeter than it sounds. The light novels it’s based on were written by the author of From Toxic Classmate to Girlfriend Goals.

Origin is a manga by Sun-Ken Rock and Dr. Stone artist Boichi. Running in Young Magazine, it features androids trying to destroy humanity, and sounds a lot darker than Dr. Stone – more for Sun-Ken Rock fans. Virgin Love is a josei title from Shufu to Seikatsusha’s magazine Ar (Kodansha Manga has been branching out beyond their own name), with six strangers with love troubles living together at the ‘Love house’. And two new titles in the Maiden’s Bookshelf series were announced: The Girl Who Became a Fish and Spring Comes Riding in a Carriage, both based on classic (and depressing) Japanese stories.

The Darwin Incident runs in Afternoon, and stars Charlie, a half-human half-chimpanzee hybrid who was rescued by terrorists from an experimental lab. 15 years later, he’s trying to live a high school life and get to know the misunderstood girl, but terrorism still lurks around him. The Moon on a Rainy Night is a yuri title from Comic Days, about a girl who (literally) runs into a classmate. Her classmate is deaf, but they can still bond through music. Ogami-san Can’t Keep It In is another Afternoon series, about a girl who simply can’t stop thinking about sex and a boy who forces people to say what they think when they touch him.

On the BL front, we get My Ultramarine Sky, a one-shot title from Gateau about two boys who realize their romantic feelings after being put in different classes. It’s by Nagisa Furuya, who also gets The Summer with You: The Sequel licensed, showing college life for the main couple from that series. It also ran in Gateau. Also in Gateau is Super Morning Star, a BL comedy about a boy who has to hide his identity and his relationship. Sentai is also involved.

My Lovesick Life As a 90s Otaku is a josei series from Kiss. A divorced woman with a daughter flashes back to the mid-90s, when she was a secret otaku, because it was a lot less accepted at that time. How I Met My Soulmate is the new shoujo series by the author of Waiting for Spring, and it runs in Dessert. College student who has misconceptions about love meets a bad boy. King in Limbo is a josei title from Itan, a thriller about a virus that kills people by feeding on their traumatic memories, and a soldier who has to help fight it off. Lastly, and getting the biggest reaction of the panel, Witch Hat Atelier Kitchen, the spinoff manga from Morning Two that focuses on Qifrey and Olruggio… but really it’s about food.

There’s also some re-releases and box sets coming. Vinland Saga is getting nice hardcover omnibuses. Cells at Work is getting 2 omnibuses. Blue Period is getting a box set. Magic Knight Rayearth is getting a paperback release, and I aged visibly as I watched Kodansha talk about how old the series was. And some digital-only series are getting print – though not, alas, Medalist, my current favorite, which I asked the company to shill during Q&A. Instead we’ll see print for Wind Breaker, Tying the Knot with an Amagami Sister, Nina the Starry Bride, and She’s My Knight.

Anime NYC seemed to run far smoother than last year, and the Anime NYC crew were all friendly and helpful. (The Javits crew less so, but hey.) If you enjoy New York City and conventions, it’s always a great place to go.

Anime NYC 2022, Day Two

The second day of Anime NYC is traditionally the busiest, and this year was no exception. The publishers were announcing PILES of titles, and pretty much when I was not at a panel I was eating or trying to avoid collapsing in fatigue.

We start off with Yen Press, who had so many announcements that they only did half of them at the panel – the other half were livetweeted afterwards. I’ll start with the panel announcements. But before that, they brought out the author TurtleMe, creator of The Beginning After the End, a webseries that was picked up by Yen about a King who dies realizing that power isn’t everything, so in his reincarnated life he tries to experience different things. The author was extremely happy to be published and available in bookstores, though he admits the name “TurtleMe” is a username that followed him around.

We then went to manga announcements. Appare-Ranman! is based on the light novel, and will be coming out as a 3-in-1 omnibus. Described by Yen as similar to the old show Wacky Races, it has an inventor and a samurai trying to win a cash prize with a steam powered car. It was in Young Ace. Manner of Death is based on a Thai novel, and is apparently a BL murder mystery. It looked pretty cool from the cover. It runs in Enterbrain’s B’s-LOVEY. Magical Girl Incident features a salaryman who finds one day he can transform into… a magical girl! Of course, only one person knows the secret. It’s also from Young Ace.

Elden Ring: The Road to the Erdtree is already being published by Bookwalker, and is based on the popular game. It can best be described as “What if Elden Ring were a comedy? The announcement is that it will be getting a physical release. It’s in Kadokawa’s Comic HU. Then very exciting news for me personally: Higurashi When They Cry Gou! I may have mixed feelings about the anime, but the manga is usually more solid in the Higurashi series. It’s 4 volumes, and ran in Young Ace Up. In addition, the original manga is coming back into print!

After a prize break, we moved to light novels. My Summoned Beast Is Dead looks quite amusing. A guy at a magical school where the most powerful students summon great magical beasts summons… a giant corpse. And now has to figure out how to succeed in school… with a corpse. Associate Professor Akira Takatsuki’s Conjecture is a series about a college kid who can tell when people are lying, which as you can imagine makes him unpopular. He meets up with the title character, a professor who has a love of anything weird, which includes our hero.

Yami-Hara is a creepy sounding novel about people who have darkness (yami) in their hearts, and how that darkness can influence other people. How to Win Her Heart on the Nth Try is a slow-burn romance about an office lady unlucky at love who runs into her childhood friend. He’s been in love with her forever, but she sees him only as a friend. How can he make his feelings known? Lastly, in the same vein as Spice and Wolf, we get A Certain Magical Index Old Testament. This will have all 24 books in the Index series in one massive, massive TOME, similar to the Spice & Wolf one.

(No, they did NOT announce New Testament, but the fact that they’re using “Old Testament” as a prefix tells me it’s probably only a matter of time.)

More manga! Scribbles, by Kaoru Mori. A sketchbook with annotations or her drawings and ideas, from the creator of Emma and A Bride’s Story. Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun will be getting a box set (that looks like a bathroom stall) of the first ten books. And they have a Korean webtoon, Bloody Sweet, about a weird daughter of a shaman who happens to come across a weird vampire in a haunted house, and they are weird together.

Lastly, we have Ize Press, who announed a new title from the creator of The Boxer. The Horizon is about a boy who loses his mother and decides to simply start running. They also have A Business Proposal, a Korean tapas series that also has a live-action version. A girl who agrees to go on a blind date by pretending to be her friend finds… her date is the CEO of her company! And now he wants to marry her! How can she convince him to forget her… because otherwise she’ll be fired!

While the panel was going on, Yen also announced MORE titles on Twitter, which still amazingly exists. Sword Art Online: Progressive – Scherzo of Deep Night is the new continuation manga for the Progressive series, and runs in Comic Walker. Yokohama Station SF came out from Yen as a novel, and now they have the manga, which is three volumes total and runs in (again) Young Ace Up. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Memoria Freese is a manga based on the DanMachi spinoff game, and runs in Manga UP! (no relation to Young Ace Up).

Handyman Saitō in Another World is a 7+-volume manga from Comic Walker, about a guy who discovers “handyman” is a lot more useful and valued in a fantasy world than it is in Japan. A Reincarnated Witch Spells Doom is from Flos Comic, and is 5+ volumes. A shut-in decides to try to go out in the real world and immediately meets Truck-kun. Now reborn, everyone thinks she’s a witch! I Want to Be a Receptionist in This Magical World is a manga version of the light novel The Sorcerer’s Receptionist, which came out here a couple of years ago. It’s also from Flos Comic.

What This World Is Made Of is a 3-volume manga from Dengeki Maoh. Two brothers desperate for money try a shady app and now end up monster hunters. Me and My Beast Boss is a josei title from B’s-LOG Cheek, about an OL who endures harassment just because she’s a human… till one day she’s made the private secretary of the beastman CEO! My Dear Curse-Casting Vampiress is a Shonen Gangan title from the creator of When a Magician’s Pupil Smiles, about a powerful vampire hired by humans to battle other vampires. The Essence of Being a Muse is a Comic Beam title, already good news. It’s about a woman rejected from Art School who decides to give in and do what her mother wants. It sounds soul-crushing, but I’m sure that’s merely at first.

Additional light novels announced: Even If These Tears Disappear Tonight is a sequel to Even If This Love Disappears Tonight, and is for those who like to read books and cry a lot. Maiden of the Needle seems to combine about four different popular genres, as we see a girl reincarnated in a fantasy world, who can speak to fairies, but who can’t do the RIGHT seamstress magic, so she’s disowned and taken in by another nobleman. And The Ephemeral Scenes of Setsuna’s Journey is a story of a man summoned as a hero… but he’s weak and sickly, so they give up on him. That said, guess what? He actually has the inheritance of the original hero!

Lastly, there’s a new omnibus of Puella Magi Suzune Magica, because how better to wrap up nearly 30 titles than with another Madoka Magica spinoff?

The second panel I went to was Dark Horse, which only had one new manga announcement, but it’s a doozy. Before that, Carl Horn discussed the history of the company, going back to the Godzilla manga they did in 1988, as well as Outlanders. (Remember Outlanders?) They also announced a new artbook, The Art of Octopath Traveler, which is a Square Enix video game series. The big news, though, was Innocent, the 9-volume series from Weekly Young Jump, which is the English debut of acclaimed author Shin’ichi Sakamoto. The story of a family of executioners in 18th Century France, it has won PILES of awards. It’s going to be coming out in 3-in-1 omnibuses.

They had other things to discuss, of course. Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Serviced is back, with Vol. 15 out as part of the 5th omnibus. They’re also finishing up Psycho-Pass after a long hiatus. Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! 4 is the first one that has stuff not in the anime. (The series is also apparently an absolute bear to translate.) The Art of Star Wars Visions is self-explanatory, but it was interesting to hear about how the creators were able to play with the original Star Wars characters but chose not to, as well as how they were NOT influenced by Ghibli. The creator of Vampire Hunter D, meanwhile, is living the good life – he was at an Italian convention 3 weeks ago that was held in a cathedral!

The last panel I attended was J-Novel Club, and they had almost as much to announce as Yen, with several new partnerships. Karate Master Isekai is a new manga from Comic HU, and is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. They’ve licensed rescued Let This Grieving Soul Retire! from the Sol Press dungeon, and will be re-translating Vol. 1 and releasing past Vol. 1, just to spite the late unlamented original publisher. Grand Sumo Villainess: This Reincarnated Rikishi’s No Pushover! is a new Villainess light novel, asking “what if the villainess could solve everything through Sumo mastery?”.

Peddler in Another World, which J-NC already does the light novel for, is getting a manga license as well. The manga runs in Comic Fire. Enough with This Slow Life! I Was Reincarnated as a High Elf and Now I’m Bored is another one of those “the title is the plot” light novels, but is apparently more of a “I travel the road” wanderer series. I’m Capped at Level 1?! Thus Begins My Journey to Become the World’s Strongest Badass! is a new manga title that runs in Comic Walker, which sounds like a standard “weak to strong” series, but the ability to gain powers from the corpses who had those powers might be interesting.

The Disowned Queen’s Consulting Detective Agency is from the creator of I’m the Villainess, So I’m Taming the Final Boss, and is in a similar vein, as the disowned noble lady decides to follow in her late grandmother’s footsteps and be a detective. I Parry Everything: What Do You Mean I’m the Strongest? I’m Not Even an Adventurer Yet! is a light novel series from Earth Star Entertainment (as indeed most of these license announcements were) about a guy who’s trained to be #1 at parrying. He just can’t do anything else. But who cares? PARRY! Their last “regular” announcement was a “gaiden” sequel to Outbreak Company, taking place after the end of the series. This will be one volume.

They then announced a pile of new audiobooks, thanks to two new partnerships with both RB Media and Podium. We’ll see audiobooks for By the Grace of the Gods, Reborn to Master the Blade, Black Summoner, How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom, Faraway Paladin, Hell Mode, My Daughter Left the Nest and Returned As an S-Ranked Adventurer, Min-Maxing my TRPG Build In Another World, and, inevitably, In Another World with My Smartphone. And, of course, the Slayers audiobook is finally out, with narration by the original Lina Inverse, Lisa Ortiz!

J-Novel Club is also partnering with Yen Press to do some physical releases of popular digital light novel titles. Yen will release, in print, The Misfit of Demon King Academy, Hell Mode, and My Instant Death Ability is So Overpowered, No One in This Other World Stands a Chance Against Me! (both the LN and the manga). J-Novel Club actually asked me at their booth if I would give Hell Mode, which I skipped when it first came out, another try, and so I might pick it up and see how it is.

The biggest partnership announcement was with Drecom, a company that just started a light novel line last month. They’re debuting – in Japanese and English the same day – a new series by the creators of Goblin Slayer (author) and Overlord (illustrator). Called Blade & Bastard – Warm Ash, Dusky Dungeon, it’s a novel based on the RPG game Wizardry. I’ll be honest, absolutely nothing about this series interested me until Sam casually said “Oh, yes, the nun also has a sword”, and that made me sit up and pay attention. That said, it’s definitely more for Goblin Slayer fans than for me.

They have a number of titles already out in Japan the last two months, and we will also be getting these sometime in 2023. Official titles are not available yet, so I won’t go over all of them, but there’s a time loop villainess story, a noble dumped by her fiancé gets a better deal story… actually, there are TWO titles for each of these genres… and, perhaps best of all, “I’m a Pharmacist Witch and a part-Time Divorce Attorney”, a title that sounds like it was written specifically for me personally. They’ve also got a new series from the author of Unnamed Memory, which I know will make some people sit up and take notice.

Drecom had some of their executives there at the panel, and they also talked about the various multimedia strategies they would be doing (which include NFTs, but this was not mentioned at the panel itself, probably with good reason – I think it would have been booed). Sam noted that the fact that they’re so closely partnered does mean we may see some series cancelled, but it was mentioned that English-language sales may help stave that off even if it’s doing badly in Japan.

This was a lot of stuff. If this sounds more like a list of things than previous years, it’s probably due to the fact that there were less panels that are more “fan-oriented” this year. However, there are a few of those on Sunday, along with Kodansha Manga. We’ll see you there.

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.