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!

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.