US Manga Recap III [Week of January 15, 2013]

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The super-late edition!

Ah, I’m running so late this week. I’m sorry for the delay everyone; truly! ヽ(;▽;)ノ

It’s been another busy week for me, full of work-related complaints and gripes, late-night Pokemon White gaming sessions in anticipation of X/Y, catching up on weekly anime and a good deal of manga. It’s rainy here in Southern California right now, and it incites the feeling of staying inside, staying warm and huddling near your computer for warmth…right?

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Upcoming Releases for the Week of January 22, 2013

It’s a Yen Press kind of week, and I was certainly picking up a few of them myself. After a short delay, Bloody Monday, volume 9 is finally arriving from Kodansha Comics. Dark Horse’s hardcover release of Deva Zan, from acclaimed author and artist Amano Yoshitaka, is set (at least on RightStuf) for this week as well. Vertical has the next volume of LIMIT (Suenobu Keiko) out and this one really pulled me in – strange for a series that didn’t exactly grab me in the first two volumes.

Anyone picking up anything off the list this week?

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Licensing News

The Vertical Winter 2013 license survey is finally live! An informative entry regarding the survey was posted to their Tumblr. Vertical is looking to pick up anywhere between 3-5 manga, 2 novels and either 1 or 2 artbooks. These potential licenses are all for their Spring 2014 window of releases, just to give everyone an idea of when we could see any of these selections (if any are chosen/licensed). A few days following the survey, they posted some early results of the top 10 manga requests they received from fans. It is also further elaborated what theses results mean, and how fans should try to interpret them; the last link I posted is really a great resource/reference for fans that can’t quite make heads or tails of all the information and just need a good explanation on all of it.

The licensing survey isn’t the only thing, Vertical has going on, though. Revealed on the ANN forums, Vertical has two new josei series to announce at Katsucon in February (15-17), and a new license from Hakusensha as well! This will be the first license that Vertical has released from that publisher, and they have some very good stuff.

As I briefly mentioned on the last podcast, Fantagraphics scheduled Asano Inio’s Nijigahara Holograph for a February 2014 release. I had previously predicted a late-2013 release…well, just a bit off, huh? That’s quite a wait, but given how small the manga team is for Fantagraphics and the quality of work they’ve produced so far, I think we can be civil, rational people and be okay with that, right? Right.

As I’m sure you’re all in-the-know now, Weekly Shonen Jump (formerly Shonen Jump Alpha) officially kicked off their simultaneous manga releases with Japan on Monday. Unfortunately there wasn’t a bevy of new titles waiting for us just yet, but I’m guessing there will be plentiful additions in the not-too-distant-future. However, we will be seeing Toriyama Akira’s Kintoki one-shot that appeared in WSJ last year in Japan. That’s pretty cool! Fans will get the chance to read Toriyama’s latest work (next Monday) in the January 28th issue.

proj_logo2

As for the last bit of licensing news, Project-H Books announced some new properties last week, starting off with a batch of 11 new titles, followed by yet another series the following day (big thanks to Chris Beveridge of the Fandom Post for always covering these things). Those links do contain some NSFW images, so probably best you make sure you don’t have any prying eyes around. We’re now getting pretty far into 2014 for licenses for these guys, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon; good news for H-fans!  There was one other thing, but I’ve already dragged my feet enough on announcements for last week, so I’ll save it for next week’s edition, haha. If you’re not already doing so, you can follow all their updates and inquires on Twitter: @projectHbooks

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Manga Solicitations

Alice the First 101st, volume 4 [November 14, 2013] (Digital Manga Publishing)
Animal Land, volume 8 [October 1, 2013] (Kodansha Comics)
Arisa, volume 11 [September 10, 2013] (Kodansha Comics)
Attack on Titan, volume 6 [September 17, 2013] (Kodansha Comics)
Fairy Tail, volume 30 [September 24, 2013] (Kodansha Comics)
Flowers of Evil, volume 7 [October 15, 2013] (Vertical)
Jormungand, volume 11 [May 14, 2013] (VIZ Media) – Final volume
Knights of Sidonia, volume 5 [October 15, 2013] (Vertical)
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, volume 3: Ramba Ral [September 17, 2013] (Vertical)
Negima! Magister Negi Magi, omnibus 8 [October 15, 2013] (Kodansha Comics)
Sailor Moon: Short Stories, volume 1 [September 10, 2013] (Kodansha Comics)
Vinland Saga, omnibus 1 [October 8, 2013] (Kodansha Comics)
Ze, volume 8 [November 12, 2013] (Digital Manga Publishing)

Man, has it been a stellar week for solicitations or what? Looking at the list above, you can probably tell that it was a good week for me. A number of these volumes immediately were immediately pre-ordered and/or taken note of. Of course, the main thing I’d like to point out here is Vinland Saga making its official solicitation debut.

The interesting thing about it, though, is not the solicit itself but the information that went along with it. Revealed on Amazon, it’ll be in omnibus format…and hardcover. This is an unprecedented move by Kodansha Comics, and as I mentioned back on my Top 5 Manga To Look Forward To in 2013 entry, Vertical was originally tied with the license and was planning a fantastic hardcover release. Of course, Kodansha pulled the contract from under them at the last minute…and well, I’m sure most people can put two and two together. So look forward to an official blog post on the Kodansha Comics website sometime soon for more details about Vinland Saga!

I was also overjoyed to see Gundam: The Origin, volume 3 available for pre-order, as this is my most anticipated title of the year after all. By now, it’s also available on Barnes&Noble.com and BookDepository, though no solicitation on RightStuf yet. If you have the ability to do so, go pre-order this from an actual B&N in-store. This helps drive demand for the volume, which makes a larger impact on what the company orders from Vertical (and makes this a bigger print run, rather than super-limited). If not, pre-orders always help publishers out. As far as Vertical goes, we also have more Flowers of Evil and Knights of Sidonia coming in October, which will be a nice feast for the eyes and mind as the year wraps up…and here I am thinking of the end of the year when it just begun. Such is the life of a manga fan, huh?

And way quicker than I’d have thought to see it, but the Sailor Moon: Short Stories, volume 1 solicit (which I covered last week) is already out too! Not only that, but so is the first cover. KC seems on the top of their game lately, and I can’t help but think this is due to some staff changes/new hires. Whatever they’re doing, it is working and I hope they keep this momentum up.

Jormungand, volume 11 was also added to the ranks, and nearly 2 months after the initial VIZ Media batch solicitations were out. I suppose it may have needed some finalizing, as this is the last volume of Takahashi Keitarou’s action/seinen Jormungand. Suffice to say, this is going to be a manga I’ll dearly miss, as it has been a hell of a fun ride so far and things are getting CRAZY. Loco…even. That’s due out in May, so be sure to look forward to that, and make sure you guys all go pester VIZ to either license his new series, Destro 246, or at least get another series for their Signature Series line to replace it.

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Manga Cover Updates

Flowers 5 - Sidonia 2 Gen 3 - Jorm 11 Lim 4 - LH 5 Neg 38 - Neg 6 Oreimo 3 - PK 3 SMST 1

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Manga News

Translator Matt Thorn recently announced that a few lines of text had unfortunately been omitted from the recent release of Hagio Moto’s Heart of Thomas manga from Fantagraphics. The error had first been caught in the first-round of editing, but somehow managed to slip through when the final manuscript was sent to the printers. Bummer. Everyone makes mistakes, though I can only imagine what it feels like to put so much time and effort into a piece of work you admire so and then have this happen. Personally haven’t picked up the manga, though it has always been regarded as a critically-acclaimed work and foundation for modern shoujo/boys-love genre.

Monday, January 21st has come and gone and with that, Shonen Jump Alpha is now Weekly Shonen Jump. Deb Aoki breaks down the fine details of their relaunch and simultaneous jump with Japan, and even gets to talk with Editor-in-Chief of Weekly Shonen Jump, Andy Nakatani.

The biggest change, other than that whole amazing going simultaneous business, is that they’ve overhauled the website and have a new logo even. Check it out:

Weekly Shonen Jump website relaunch

Now call me bias, but that looks a hell of a lot better than it did before. Borderline-tacky background text aside (but hey, it fits the demographic, right?), this is a pretty spiffy new layout and I dig it. In the top-left corner you’ll also notice their new logo, complete with ‘Weekly Shonen Jump‘. They also put up two new polls, one for current readers and another for prospective readers. Publishers thrive off surveys such as these, so let your voices be heard, everyone!

In what can only be explained as a shocking revelation, Kodansha Comics mentioned in passing that they won’t be giving Nonaka Eiji’s hit gag-comedy manga, Cromartie High School, another chance here in the US. Actually, no, this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone really. Gag manga, just like sports manga, share an unfortunate fate in the US. Both genre of manga have historically sold incredibly poorly here, and there are many examples of failures from each type over multiple years and various publishers. Most recently, Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei was put on indefinite-hold by Kodansha Comics after taking the series over from Del Rey. Volume 14 was the last release back in April 2012, and the publisher has since said that due to poor sales, the series would be on-hold until further notice. So giving Cromartie, cult-following or not, another chance after its lackluster sales from ADV Manga would be an unwise decision from a market standpoint.

Going back to some positive news, and once again from KC, it was revealed that their omnibus release of Battle Angel Alita: Last Order will see a plethora of extras from Kishiro Yukito himself. So if there is anyone still on the fence about this manga and not sure if they’ll be picking it up, perhaps this will push you one way or another? Personally, I’m still a bit sheepish on the title, only because it’s been a very long time since I read any of the original Battle Angel Alita manga from VIZ Media, and don’t think I’d be able to truly appreciate the story and characters of Last Order unless I went through the original series again; yes, even with the infamous retconning of later parts from Kishiro.

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This was a really late edition, and as result, this didn’t exactly turn out as nicely as I would have liked. I truly apologize for that. I’m definitely going to be putting in a lot of effort to stepping up the reporting and analysis of next week’s entry; expect to see Edition IV out on Sunday or Monday! See ya next time!

[Dark Horse | Digital MangaFantagraphics | Kodansha Comics | Seven Seas]

[UDON Entertainment | Vertical, Inc. | Yen Press | VIZ Media]

 

Manga Editor- Obsessive manga collector, avid anime fan and spending way too much time on Twitter. Your friendly, neighborhood weeabro.

  • XYZ_JolteonZ980

    Which of the titles on that vertical poll do you think fit the “no chance” category?

    • Conner

      Any light-novel series (Gundam Unicorn/Baccano!), and probably Princess Jellyfish (at least for Vertical). Ed Chavez, Marketing Director at Vertical (and the main guy on their Twitter), has often times said that translation costs are what makes licensing series of novels, or light-novels nearly impossible for them.

      On average, the cost of translating a novel is 5x as much as translating a volume of manga. The cost of translating for them is per word (and novels tend to have a lot of those). The light novel market here in the US is unstable, at best, and there just isn’t enough demand for them right now. He was actually going on about this earlier on Twitter if you want to check that out.

      Only reason I say Princess Jellyfish wouldn’t work for them, is only due to the fact it’s a high-profile manga, and it’s starting to get kind of long (just hit 10 volumes in Japan) and is still-ongoing. But the problem with high-profile manga (as talked about on the following Tumblr entry) is that other publishers are vying to get them. It’s a bidding battle, and Vertical is still pretty small.

      That’s not to say we won’t see a few of these titles, as I’d be genuinely surprised if someone didn’t grab at least a few of them up. Anime tie-ins are a big deal right now, so publishers are definitely taking those into consideration.

      • XYZ_JolteonZ980

        Thanks for the responses. But ah darn, so no hope for Accel World, Sword Art Online, Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere, or Index novels, at least from vertical :(

        • Conner

          No problem!

          Yeah, I don’t think there will be a time that we’ll ever see light novels licensed and published by Vertical. Honestly, if there is a chance for them still in the market, it’ll be up to Yen Press (which is experimenting by distributing them digitally — when Another comes out) or a new company.

          I feel your pain. I’d love to read any of the various light novels out there, but for the time being…better off learning Japanese, German, Italian or French, heh.