Tag Archives: licenses

Kodansha USA Becomes More Than a Deadbeat Publisher

It was made public a few days ago that Kodansha USA would be having a launch event today at the NYC Kinokuniya store. Manga fans across the internet were abuzz with excitement and demands that the publisher print what they want or else. I personally set my licensing announcement bar pretty low. All I hoped for was a new volume of manga that had never before been published in English and I’m happy to say that Kodansha  USA delivered that and more!

Lissa Pattillo of Kuriousity has a great comprehensive post up, but I’ll give you the basics. (Also, Scott VonSchilling did a great job of livetweeting the event.)

Kodansha USA will be publishing these former Del Rey titles beginning in May 2011:

Arisa, Fairy Tail, Negima!, Ninja  Girls, Shugo Chara!, Air Gear, Negima?! Neo, Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, The Wallflower, I am Here!

Many of these titles already have another volume listed for release later in the summer, so if you’re particularly worried that Kodansha USA is going to publish one volume more and then ignore the series to focus on others, that won’t be the case. It seems like Kodansha USA has carefully prepared which series it was going to focus on first and will be devoted to giving them a bi-monthly release schedule.

On top of that, Kodansha USA listed a small wealth of new titles to be published (also following a bi-monthly release schedule) including: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Monster Hunter Orage, Deltora Quest, The Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Mardock Scramble, Animal Land, Bloody Monday and Cage of Eden.

Kodansha USA also rescued two titles- GON from CMX and Until the Full Moon from Broccoli Books. Both are series I’ve heard good things about, so I am excited to hear that I’ll get to try them out. Another interesting announcement was that CLAMP favorites Tsubasa and XXXholic would be continued to be published under the Del Rey brand. Perhaps a concession to Del Rey for handing over their entire manga publishing line?

Michelle Smith of Soliloquy in Blue said on Twitter that this is probably the best manga industry news we’ve seen all year. I’m inclined to agree. Hearing that Del Rey’s manga line up was lost to a sort of deadbeat publisher was awful news, but Kodansha USA has now delivered and is on it’s way to becoming a more serious manga publisher. With the loss of multiple other companies this year, the Del Rey/Kodansha USA switch has now turned into a win. In six months, there will now be a bevy of new manga on the shelves and that’s more than enough to make me happy. I’m not terribly interested in any of the titles announced yet, but there is hope for the future and I will be sure to take a look at what’s coming out once I start seeing Kodansha USA at my favorite booksellers.

You may remember that I commented about what Kodansha USA should do next to turn mistrustful fans back into loving fans a few months ago. I asked simply that Kodansha USA hold some kind of informational event ASAP, that they at least publish one new volume of never-before-been-published manga, that they license something big and that they blow our minds. They’ve now delivered on three out of four of those requests. (Kodansha USA rep Dallas Middaugh, formerly of Del Rey Manga, said that they had nothing to say about Sailor Moon yet.) Once again, I’m awfully pleased with them, but I still have some potential next steps:

1. Shape up the website:

This isn’t a potential so much as a necessity. Right now Kodansha USA’s website is one page. To say it is sparse is a vast understatement. Now it’s been updated with the news, but it looks very unprofessional. Once cover designs start coming in, build a proper website with listings of the summer releases and a company news blog. Once that’s done, start on social media, get a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Even if there’s nothing to post now, at least it’s there to play with in the future. Kodansha USA also might want to start looking into digital publishing

2. License something big:

So far, a few of the titles taken from Del Rey have hit the New York Time’s best sellers list, but it would really help establish the company further if an extremely popular title was published. Again, Sailor Moon is a prime candidate, but something already popular amongst U.S. fans would also work. Something with a large enough and loving enough fanbase that there will be sales despite pre-existing scanlations. There are too many well-known titles in Kodansha’s catalog to really pick a few myself and it’s difficult to determine what will spur good sales, but I’m sure Kodansha USA can fish around for something good.

3. Keep announcing licenses:

I imagine the next reasonable time for license announcements would be summer, right when big cons like Otakon, Anime Expo and San Diego Comic Con roll around. Having Kodansha USA at any of these events would be ideal, not only to promote the company and the new releases, but to assure fans that the company isn’t just sticking to what it’s already picked up. Plus, it will be good for Kodansha USA to keep its name in the news. If they could do something like bring over a popular mangaka, that would be even better. (Although I wouldn’t count on it.)

Best of luck to Kodansha USA. I can’t wait to pick up some titles and check out their editorial style!

What are you hoping to see from Kodansha USA next?

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My San Diego Comic-Con 2010: Part 1

Wow, Comic-Con was a blast! I was trying to think of any complaints, but I honestly could not think of any that were actually con-related other than my poor aching feet, which I rested today. I only got to stay through part of Saturday, but I got a lot packed in. Here’s the highlights of what I did:

Preview Night: My night was a little relaxed. I met up with friends at the hotel, got our badges, headed into the dealers hall and bought things that people wanted me to buy before heading out to dinner. In more exciting news than what I ate for dinner, Vertical Inc. announced their license of Lychee Light Club by Usamaru Furuya. If you remember that name, CMX was set to license Furuya’s 51 Ways to Save Her before their sad and sudden closure and Viz has licensed Furuya’s Genkaku Picasso.

Thursday: I started my day with Top Shelf’s Manga For Grownups: Gekiga, Garo, Ax and the alternative manga revolution panel. Comic book writer Sean Michael Wilson and manga scholar Ryan Holmberg led the panel along with Top Shelf’s Leigh Walton. They talked about the beginnings of gekiga back in the 1950’s as an alternative to manga (in other words, the word gekiga replaces the word manga) and how this lead to the famous alternative manga mag Garo and it’s replacement Ax, an English version of which is out this month by Top Shelf. (Here’s my review.) They were also pleased to announce Cigarette Girl by Masahiko Matsumoto will be released by Top Shelf sometime in 2011.

A little while later, I stopped by the Fantagraphics booth to get my copy of A Drunken Dream signed by Moto Hagio. It has to be the most beautiful book I’ve bought in the last few years and I haven’t even gotten a chance to really read it yet. Please, please, please buy this book and let it be known to publishers that we want this kind of quality and these kinds of amazing mangaka on our bookshelves!

Next came the Best and Worst of Manga panel, led by Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter. The panel was a fantastic splash of excellent manga, god-awful manga (including one I worked on, Red Hot Chili Samurai *sob*) and a wishlist of manga the panelists would love to see. (And later in the con, there was wish fulfillment!)+ Unfortunately I was too busy being a fan girl to remember everyone on the panel or take notes, but the panelists included Deb Aoki of About.com, editor Shaenon Garrity of Viz and Jason Thompson of Suvudu.com. It was an excellent panel that filled the room instantly, so if you plan to go next year (which I recommend) make sure you get their early and hopefully it will be in a much larger room. EDIT: Here’s the list of the best and worst manga of this year in it’s entirety.

Right afterward was the Lost in Translation panel run by freelance translator and former Viz editor-in-chief William Flanagan. Panelists included Shaenon Garrity and Jason Thompson again, as well as many other manga industry freelancers. They opened up the floor to questions and gave a lot of helpful advice to people looking to break into the industry and opinions on the future of the industry, translating and scanlations.

That night I attended an anime and manga blogger meet-up at Analog Bar where I did way too much karaoke with Gia Manry of ANN and met awesome people such as Vertical Inc.’s Ed Chavez. If you want to get up close and personal with manga industry people, being a blogger helps a lot!

For brevity, I’m going to stop here and continue on my experiences at SDCC tomorrow. There’s just too much to put in one post!

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Anime Expo 2010: Day Two!

Phew! I’m a little behind on my AX reports, as you can tell. It was such a crazy-busy weekend for me that it couldn’t be helped and now I’m sick as a dog. (I’m sure it’s the Fourth of July’s fault, not the con’s. Stupid America day. Haha.)

I started the day off with the TOKYOPOP panel, run by my mentors  Lillian Diaz-Przybyl and Cindy Suzuki, as well as an intern. They had a few announcements such as the new Zinio online catalog, TP on OverDrive for library systems, the first two volumes of Demon Sacred being priced at $5.99 each. New license announcements included: Kirameki Gingacho Shotengai (The Stellar Six of Gingacho) by Yuuki Fujimoto, Eensy Weensy Monster by Masami Tsuda (the creator of Kare Kano), Sorairo Kaigen by Nanpei Yamada, Gakuen Heaven Endo ~Calling You~ and Gakuen Heaven Shichijo ~SWEET SWEET DARLING!~ by You Higuri, Stray Cat by Halco, Cabin in the Woods: Land of the Rising Terror written by TP editor Troy Lewter, Warau Kanako-sama (The Secrets of Lady Kanako) by Ririko Tsujita and Lives by Masayuki Taguchi.

Lillian also revealed while answering a fan’s question that she knows who has the license to the former TOKYOPOP title Sailor Moon, but cannot reveal who it is or any more details. Good news for anyone who’s a fan of Sailor Moon, I’m sure.

While walking around the dealer’s room with Cindy after the panel and gawking at tons of cute things, I bought myself this adorable Hetalia t-shirt. (The caption says I’m the Hetalia editor, but I’d just like to say that information’s incorrect. Oops!)

The Right Stuf/Nozomi Entertainment panel was next and fans were excited to hear that the company was releasing El Hazard: The WanderersGravitation, The Dirty Pair TV series, Antique Bakery, Sora no Woto, and The Revolutionary Girl Utena TV series (and it was accidentally revealed in another panel on Saturday that they have the Utena movie as well.) Whoo! A lot of the re-releases were either had video or audio remastering done for the new releases, so if you want crisper pictures and clearer audio, check them out!

The Anime News Network panel revealed that the news site is planning on streaming over 150 episodes of anime starting this week. Since anime and manga fans seem to like free goodies, I would suggest checking them out so that they’ll bring even more streaming anime to the site.

The FUNimation panel started off with a bit of interesting information: Dubs were more popular than subtitles for them and the largest group online were 13-17 year olds, putting anime fandom squarely in an age group that most likely doesn’t have solid sources of income yet. FUNi went on to announce the licensing of Master of the Martial Hearts (Looks very funny and fan service-y, like a funnier version of Ikkitousen), rescues of pretty much every Tenchi Muyo series ever made, Darker Than Black season two, Shakugan no Shana season two, Black Lagoon season three, Hellsing Ultimate and Trigun: Badlands Rumble. Simulcasts of the Moyashimon live action TV series, Shiki, Black Butler season two and Sekirei season two.

After the panel, a bunch of anime and manga bloggers and I headed over to L.A. Live for dinner, schmoozing and some beautiful atmosphere, which was a great way to end the busy day.

If time (and my cold) permits, I’ll try to get my day 3 & 4 review up tomorrow. ^_^

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