New License Roundup

It’s the start of 2015, and some publishers are just itching to give us some new titles, even though cons in January are thin on the ground. The solution is, of course, social media. This week Seven Seas and Yen Press/Yen On announced titles. Let’s take a closer look.

Seven Seas is gracing us with four new titles. Akuma no Riddle is a newish title from Kadokawa’s Newtype magazine, and it also had an anime series last spring. The most important points about this series, in no particular order, are 1) it’s written by Yun Kouga, the author of Loveless, and drawn by Sunao Minakata, the artist of Pixy Junket. (Oh come now, surely SOMEONE remembers it…). 2) It has a yuri vibe to it, taking place at an all-girls school. And 3) It’s about girls being trained to be assassins. The last may be the most important.

Golden Time is a more comedic title, running in ASCII Mediaworks’ Dengeki Daioh. It’s based off of a light novel, and has everything you’d expect if you hear the words ‘comedy/romance'; childhood friends, one of whom has now forgotten everything; a female lead who is somewhat difficult for fans to like but will clearly be the main romantic option; and lots of angst. It’s by the author of Toradora!, which Seven Seas also releases.

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Orenchi no Furo Jijō (Merman In My Tub) is for female readers what Golden Time might be for male readers. It runs in Media Factory’s Comic Gene, which specializes in oddball shoujo, much like Kodansha’s Aria. The premise sounds a lot like Monster Musume or Ane-Imo, only with a BL subtext couple.

And there’s Mushoku Tensei – Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu. This runs in Media Factory’s Comic Flapper, which already gives it a leg up in my opinion. A middle-aged NEET who’s wasted most of his life get killed trying to stop a truck from hitting three high school students, and is reincarnated in a fantasy world, determined to make better choices and live a life with no regrets. The series has a lot of fans, though I have heard the lead character has a lot of perverted talk. But hey, based on a light novel, what did I expect? In any case, should be fun for fans of SAO or Log Horizon.

Next, let’s take a look at Yen Press, which announced four titles yesterday: one purely manga, and 3 where they announced the light novels on the Yen On line, and the manga (already out in one case) on the Yen Press side.

Oh, yes, there’s some Madoka Magica as well. Let’s start with that. Puella Magi Homura Tamura is a cute slice-of-life spinoff series, for those who like the characters but wished they stopped dying tragically all the time. There’s also Homura’s Revenge, where Madoka joins Homura in going back in time to change things, and I expect it will end badly.

Rust Blaster is the debut work from Yana Toboso, and I believe complete in one volume. It has vampires! And is by the author of Black Butler! Can’t imagine why this was licensed, who would buy such a combination? :)

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On the LN/manga combo side, we first have Strike The Blood, which also has vampires, one of which is our hero. He’s being watched closely by a teenage sword expert who has been sent to follow (indeed, stalk might be more accurate) the vampire and take him out if he becomes a threat. If you guessed their love story is part of the story, you’re right. The manga runs in Dengeki Daioh, and the author is also known for the g-dropping series Asura Cryin’.

Black Bullet looks far more future apocalypse, detailing the world 10 years after being ravaged by a virus, which is being combatted by Cursed Children and their minders. Basically, he’s a high school student who can do Tendo Style Martial Arts (I’m sure it’s a coincidence), she’s a childhood friend with superhuman powers. Together, they fight crime! The manga ended at 4 volumes, and ran in Dengeki Maoh, a Daioh spinoff devoted to games and light novels.

Lastly, and to the horror of Baccano! fans, who keep waiting for their big day, Yen On announced they have licensed the Durarara!! light novels by Ryogho Narita. Yen Press has been putting out the manga for a couple of years, and I suspect this, along with Index, was their most requested license. The story of Ikebukuro and the truly insane weirdos who inhabit it, the 2nd series of the anime is also set to begin soon. By the way, perhaps the biggest news for me: All three of these light novels will have digital versions. After seeing SAO, Accel World, and Index all print-only, I was worried that Dengeki Bunko was a no-go area for digital reads. It’s great so see this.

So which one of these new titles excites you the most?

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.

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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:

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Apollo’s Song – omnibus
Black Jack 1 through 17
Dororo – omnibus
Princess Knight 1 & 2
Ode to Kirihito – omnibus
MW
Ayako
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
Suki
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.

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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.

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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.

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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?