Greetings everyone, and Happy New Year!
My name’s Conner (also go by Oni/OniTasku), and I’m the newest team member to All-Fiction! You’ll generally be seeing manga-related content and posts from me every so often, so I hope you enjoy them! I’m an avid collector of manga and anime, and even figures at times. I tend to spend an inordinate amount of time reading manga and sifting through any various assortments of websites digging for new manga covers and/or manga news. It’s kind of an addiction, I guess you could call it. I’ve been buying and collecting manga since the late-1990′s. Throughout the years, I’ve gone through phases of what I’ve purchased and how much I’ve purchased. Though that’ll be for another post sometime. Enough with introductions, time to get to work.
For my inaugural post, I’ll be talking about a few upcoming manga series that were recently licensed (here in the US) and will be finally released in 2013. Understand, these are new series, and I’m not even going to talk about upcoming releases of continuing series. I could make a series of blog posts out of that. These are some releases that I’ve personally been looking forward to getting licensed, or have simply piqued my interest. Without further adieu, here are my “Top 5 manga to look forward to in 2013“!
#5 – BTOOOM! / Inoue Junya / Yen Press
This manga certainly hasn’t been on my radar for too terribly long, but it popped up on my radar after one of the manga companies here in the US said it had been licensed, but they couldn’t say by whom (ah – the legality and reasoning of the licensing world is a strange and bizarre thing). A few months later, lo and behold, a solicitation came up on Amazon UK and friend pointed it out to me – and by one of my favorite US publishers right now: Yen Press! They’ve been bringing over a lot of great titles in the past few years, and they have a knack for this kind of survival-meets-fanservice thing. Now having watched the 13-episode anime-adaptation just recently, I’m a bit more hyped going into this. Truth be told, I thought it was going to be a cheap gore carnival with tons of fanservice and little to no substance. While I’m not exactly far from the truth, the anime at least gave the series a bit more credit than I’d originally given it. Nevertheless, I’m willing to give it a chance, and I look forward to this entertaining manga — we all need a replacement for Highschool of the Dead, right? So if this survival/gore meets fanservice series is your kind of thing, than you’ll probably enjoy BTOOOM!
Volume 1 is due out on February 26, 2013, with the 2nd and 3rd volumes following in May and August, respectively.
#4 - Wolfsmund / Kuji Mitsuhisa / Vertical
Another relatively unknown title for me, but a few things sold it to me in minutes. Wolfsmund is an historical, action series that runs in Enterbrain’s Fellows! magazine in Japan. The series takes place in 14th Century Europe and recounts the gruesome and hard-hitting reality of the Middle Ages. Not enough? Kuji Mitsuhisa, the mangaka of this wonderful series, was a former assistant of the man and legend himself, Miura Kentaro (Berserk). To push this deal further, my favorite North American manga publisher, Vertical, Inc. licensed it (announcing it at this year’s Otakon anime convention in July). A trifecta of glorious, bloody wonders to soothe the weary seinen-fan. With that in mind, this is easily one of my most anticipated titles of 2013 and I can’t wait to get my hands on it, even if it is quite a ways away.
The first volume is due out on July 2, 2013, and Vertical said future volumes will be released on a seasonal schedule given how slowly the series is released in Japan.
#3 – Knights of Sidonia / Nihei Tsutomu / Vertical
Now this is a manga I’ve been talking about for some time now. Being a relatively big fan of Nihei’s former works (BLAME!, Biomega), his current series, Knights of Sidonia (Sidonia no Kishi – シドニアの騎士). Currently at 9 volumes and going strong, this is somewhat of a departure from the usual Nihei Tsutomu manga. While it does have some similar themes, the art is a bit cleaner (or perhaps softer is a better description) and the story much more coherent/hashed out.
Fans and those familiar of him are likely to identify his style immediately – namely his uniquely sweeping architectural design, use of heavy lines and incredibly quick-paced action scenes. It’s no surprise that this is the guy that once had Q. Hayashida (Dorohedoro) as an assistant and has given us some supremely interesting and unique manga like BLAME! and Biomega. So when I saw a solicitation pop up online for “Knights of Sidonia, volume 1“, you better believe I was jumping up and down. No less, Vertical picked it up. SOLD.
Volume 1 hits shelves on February 5, 2013, so the wait is just about over! Volume 2 and 3 are due out in April and June.
#2 – Vinland Saga / Yukimura Makoto / Kodansha Comics
As of the past few years, I don’t think there are many manga that have been so vocally requested to be licensed than that of Yukimura Makoto’s Vinland Saga. I’d assume that most manga fans at this point are familiar with the series itself, and that it would need little introduction. Currently serialized in Kodansha’s monthly Afternoon magazine, Vinland Saga is easily one of the biggest and popular Kodansha titles around right now. The 12th volume just came out this past November, and the manga has taken some serious turns as of late (if you’re following fan scanlations). Of course, knowing the fame and popularity of this manga, my level of hype for this manga is incredibly high and I expect my appetite to be whetted.
Originally, the manga was set to be licensed and released by Vertical, but now that Kodansha has its own branch here in the US, Kodansha Comics, the contract was canceled and handled with them. Vertical even had some awesome plans to release the series in hardcover-bound volumes, emulating a kind of rustic look. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. Still, at least we’re still getting the manga Stateside. No official solicitation has been issued yet, but the first volume is due out sometime in October 2013.
#1 – Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin / Yasuhiko Yoshikazu / Vertical
IT’S A GUNDAM! And here it is, my top pick for manga in 2013! This is the one series any manga-fan should be looking forward to, and preferably pre-ordered already. It’s also purely coincidental that Vertical has nearly swept this list too. What can I say, they have excellent taste in manga. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin is a re-telling of the events of the original Mobile Suit Gundam. With a fresh imagination and beautiful artwork, Yasuhiko Yoshikazu is a mangaka to be revered. Now, this isn’t the first time Gundam: The Origin has attempted to break into the American manga market, but the approach is completely different this time around. VIZ Media once tried its hand at localizing the series back in 2002, with generally lackluster results and canceled shortly after. Those were different times, however, and 10 years have passed. Vertical is bringing the manga back, and this time with a vengeance.
Using the newly pressed aizoban (or collector’s edition) volumes from Japan, Vertical will be printing a series of premium, hardcover omnibus in a very limited release run. This is being marketed for collectors and Gundam fans, and it is certainly not something you’d want to miss out on. If you have any shred of pride in being a mecha, manga or Gundam fan, this manga should already be on your pre-order list. Vertical will only be doing one print-run of each volume, meaning that once it’s sold it, the volume is gone for good. Basically, unless you savvy scalpers trying to offer it for your arm and/or leg, you’re best off getting orders in immediately. This will be a true treasure to behold, and I doubt we’ll see many more releases like this in the immediate future.
So while you still have a chance, volume 1 is set to be released on March 12, 2013, followed by volume 2 in June. This is going to be a manga many are likely to regret not picking up, and is probably going to be a high-ticket item for OOP-hunters in the manga fandom for years to come.