Category Archives: Manga Monday

Yen Press Expands Distribution Deal with Diamond to Include International Markets

Effective June 5, 2017, Diamond Comic Distributors will assume exclusive sales and distribution for Yen Press outside of the North American market in traditional and non-traditional book channels, a deal that was announced at the London Book Fair 2017. This is a significant expansion of Yen’s existing relationship with Diamond for the comic book specialty market, and, most importantly, gives Diamond exclusive rights to offer Yen Press titles in the UK and Ireland book markets.

Yen Press, LLC is a joint venture between Kadakowa Corporation and Hachette Book Group, dedicated to publishing manga and graphic novels for adults and young readers. Founded in 2006, Yen Press has quickly risen to become one of the largest and most prolific publishers of manga and original graphic novels in the North American marketplace and has become a driving force in the introduction of light novels to new readers through its Yen On imprint.

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Award Winning Sci-Fi Novel Orbital Cloud Debuts from VIZ Media’s Haikasoru

VIZ Media’s Haikasoru literary imprint expands its catalog of works by the renowned Japanese author Taiyo Fujii with the publication of his celebrated novel Orbital Cloud on March 21st.

The gripping near-future thriller will be released in print with an MSRP of $16.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN. An eBook edition will debut on March 21st in the Amazon Kindle, Apple’s iBooks Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Book Store, the Kobo eBooks Store, and the Google Play Store. Taiyo Fujii is a winner of the Nihon SF Taisho Award as well as the prestigious Seiun Award and Japan’s “Best Science Fiction” Award, a rare triple-crown victory that has propelled the author to the country’s top echelon of SF writers and also garnered him wide international acclaim.

Orbital Cloud is set in the year 2020. Kazumi Kimura, proprietor of shooting star forecast website Meteor News, notices some suspicious orbiting space debris. Rumors spread online that the debris is actually an orbital weapon targeting the International Space Station. Halfway across the world, at NORAD, Staff Sergeant Daryl Freeman begins his own investigation of the threat. At the same time, billionaire entrepreneur Ronnie Smark and his journalist daughter prepare to check in to an orbital hotel as part of a stunt promoting private space tourism. Then Kazumi receives highly sensitive, and potentially explosive, information from a genius Iranian scientist. And so begins an unprecedented international battle against space-based terror that will soon involve the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, NORAD, and the CIA.

Orbital Cloud won Taiyo Fujii the 2014 Nihon SF Taisho Award as well as the Seiun Award, and took first prize in the “Best SF of 2014” in Japan’s SF Magazine.

Taiyo Fujii is the author of the mystery thriller, Gene Mapper, and won a 2014 Nihon SF Taisho Award by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of Japan. Gene Mapper was Fujii’s first novel and became Amazon Japan’s Number One Kindle bestseller for 2012 when it was originally published. The novel was later revised and republished in both print and digitally in Japan as Gene Mapper – full build – by Hayakawa Publishing in 2013 and was nominated for the Nihon SF Taisho Award and the Seiun Award. Gene Mapper is published in English by Haikasoru. Orbital Cloud is Fujii’s second novel.

Manga Monday Review: Big Hero 6 Vol. 1

When Hiro’s kindhearted brother, Tadashi vanishes through a portal to save him, the boy genius is devastated. But his big brother left something to help Hiro cope with his loss – a personal health-care robot named Baymax. And when what Hiro needs more than comfort is an explanation of his brother’s disappearance, Baymax – with a few upgrades – may be just what the doctor ordered! With new friends and Baymax 2.0 by his side, Hiro is determined to get to the bottom of everything… and he might end up saving the world on his way!

I’m a big fan of Big Hero 6. I enjoyed the original Marvel comics, but love the Disney animated film. This manga adaptation by Haruki Ueno is a spin out of the movie though takes enough liberties that though it’s similar, it’s different as well. This first volume feels like it condenses the film in some ways ending with a confrontation with the main bad guy. It could be the first or final confrontation, I have no idea, since I haven’t read the second volume. But, what’s interesting to me is how this version has changed.

Unlike the films, Tadashi is the one that’s sucked into the portal. Hiro has a bit more attitude and much less likeable, especially when it comes to the interactions with Tadashi’s friends like GoGo, Honey Lemon, etc. In the film the friendship when it comes to them is very natural but in this manga it’s a bit more abrupt. While we feel for Hiro in the film this manga has his attitude and personality so different, it’s hard to be totally behind him. He’s a bratty child in many ways. The heart, in other words, is lost.

Ueno’s art is pretty interesting blending the film’s art with a bit more of a manga influence and it generally works. There’s so decent action sequences, but again something is missing. Even what should be exciting action is either presented in ways that’s confusing, or the energy you might so in other manga is present. It’s a dulled version of a fun, full of energy, movie.

Maybe it’s because I’m such a fan of the movie, but this manga is just a dud to me. It misses the heart of the film, the action of the film, the fun of the film. What’s changed isn’t changed for the better. What’s added while interesting, isn’t interesting enough. When it comes to the original Marvel comic, the movie, or this manga, the manga comes in a distant third.

Story: Haruki Ueno Art: Haruki Ueno
Story: 5.0 Art: 6.0 Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V is Out this April from Viz

VIZ Media expands the world of YU-GI-OH! with the launch of Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V on April 4th.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V features story by Shin Yoshida and artwork by Naohito Miyoshi. First printings of the latest incarnation of the iconic series will include an ultra-rare trading card that will be highly prized by collectors and game players. The series is rated ‘T’ for Teens and will be published under the Shonen Jump imprint with a print MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN. Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V also launches digitally via VIZ.com and the VIZ Manga App, as well as in the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, comiXology, and Google Play stores. Subsequent volumes of the ongoing series will be published in English bi-annually.

In Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V, action duels have become a global sensation, but what is the dark secret behind them that threatens to destroy the world? In the opening volume, Yuzu Hiiragi and her father run a Dueling school that’s seen better days. If only they had a star teacher to bring in new students! When a rogue Duelist known as Phantom appears in the city, Yuzu may have found a savior, but Phantom will have to deal with the Leo Corporation’s special forces before he can get into any community service!

Manga Monday Review: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Vol. 1

Once upon a time, wizards tried to conquer the Sacred Realm of Hyrule. The Spirits of Light sealed the wizards’ power within the Shadow Crystal and banished them to the Twilight Realm beyond the Mirror of Twilight. Now, an evil menace is trying to find Midna, Princess of the Twilight Realm, and the fragments of the Shadow Crystal to gain the power to rule over both the Twilight Realm and the World of Light.

Link once trained in swordsmanship, hoping to protect the world of Hyrule. After a fateful meeting, he sought out the anonymity and peace of life in a small village. But danger and adventure always find heroes to set things right, and when the dark minions of the King of Shadows threaten his new home, Link answers the call!

Akira Himekawa is really two women, A. Honda, and S. Nagano, who together have adapted this modern classic video game for the manga page. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Vol. 1 is all set up taking us into this new world of Link introducing us to the light and the dark and hinting at the adventure to come. The first volume is very much a set up with the action coming at the very end, so if you’re looking for a story to dive right into Link’s adventure, that’s not it. But, that slow start feels like a classic Link story and it’s hard to not read each page with the classic Legend of Zelda theme song playing in your head.

The art is fantastic and perfectly captures the video game’s imagery on the printed page. Characters look familiar and there’s so much detail without overwhelming the page. The manga’s art feels like it captures the video game series and is just a perfect translation. The balance between the light and dark is emphasized in the art and uses of grays and blacks on the page. We’re transported from one to the other with just a flip of the page. For as fun as the manga is the read, the art is just as fantastic.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Vol. 1 is perfectly timed to be released with Link’s latest video game adventure. It extends the fun to the printed page to relax and read when you’re not guiding the excitement yourself with a joystick. All these years later, the manga feels familiar and like home in many ways. For fans of this franchise, or those who enjoy a fantasy epic, this is a must get.

Story: Akira Himekawa Art: Akira Himekawa Translation: John Werry and Stan!
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Viz Media provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Kodansha Releases New Digital Sports Manga on March 7

ace-of-the-diamondDuring its panel at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle today, Kodansha Comics announced the digital publication of the holy trinity of fan-requested sports manga: Ace of the Diamond, All-Rounder Meguru, and Giant Killing. Volume 1s of all 3 titles will go on sale March 7 on all of Kodansha’s digital retail channels.

Yuji Terajima’s Ace of the Diamond, a hot-blooded, epic-length bestseller in Japan about the travails of a gifted left-handed pitcher who comes to the big city to play premier-level high-school baseball, was the basis of the hit anime series that streamed on Crunchyroll.

All-Rounder Meguru, a stirring drama about a determined young man looking to escape the bleak prospects of home by making it in the brutal world of Shooto MMA (mixed martial arts), is the latest work from acclaimed creator Hiroki Endo (Eden: It’s an Endless World!, published by Dark Horse Comics).

all-rounder-meguruMasaya Tsunamoto and Tsujitomo’s Giant Killing, about an eccentric-genius soccer coach who returns from abroad to bring success to an underdog team, is one of the all-time-favorite and long-running (still ongoing in Japan) manga about the beautiful game. It was also adapted into a hit anime series.

In addition, the panel at ECCC announced Natsumi Eguchi’s Hozuki’s Coolheadedness (adapted into the anime available from Sentai Filmworks), Kotono Kato’s Altair: A Record of Battles, and Ryosuke Tomoe’s Museum, which will see digital publication on March 21. Kodansha Comics has been steadily bringing out new, off-the-beaten-path manga series in digital format since the start of 2017.

Volume 1s of Ace of the Diamond, All-Rounder Meguru, Giant Killing, Hozuki’s Coolheadedness, Altair: A Record of Battles, and Museum will be available for sale or preorder across all Kodansha Comics digital book channels: BookWalker, comiXology, Google Play, iBooks, Kindle, Kobo, and nook.

VIZ Media Launches New Shojo Manga Series Anonymous Noise

anonymousnoise-gn01-3dVIZ Media has announced the launch of a powerful new shojo manga series about passion, music and unrequited love with the launch of Anonymous Noise on March 7th.

The series, by creator Ryoko Fukuyama, is rated ‘T’ for Teens and will be published under the Shojo Beat imprint. Volume 1 will carry a print MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN. Anonymous Noise also launches digitally via VIZ.com and the VIZ Manga App, as well as from the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, comiXology, and GooglePlay stores. Subsequent volumes of Anonymous Noise will be published in English on a bi-monthly basis.

In the series, Nino Arisugawa, a girl who loves to sing, experiences her first heart-wrenching goodbye when her beloved childhood friend, Momo, moves away. And after Nino befriends Yuzu, a music composer, she experiences another sad parting! Both boys promised Nino that they would find her one day through her singing, so she holds on to that hope and continues to reach out with her voice. Now in high school, Nino serendipitously reunites with Yuzu, but she yearns to see Momo again…

Creator Ryoko Fukuyama is the author of Nosatsu Junkie, Monochrome Shonen Shojo and Shinzou ga Tarinai (Not Enough Heart). Her series, Anonymous Noise, will be adapted into an anime in the spring.

New Hatsune Miku Volume From Dark Horse Manga

Hatsune Miku is a musical legend around the world—but now Earth is not enough, as the singing star goes to the stars! Her first science-fiction manga, the trade paperback Hatsune Miku: Future Delivery Volume 1, is slated for release from Dark Horse Comics on October 4, 2017.

Writer Satoshi Oshio and artist Hugin Miyama tell a tale set in the distant future, where Asumi—a girl who has no clue to her memories but a drawing of a green-haired, ponytailed person—finds her only friend in Asimov, a battered old delivery robot. The strange companions travel the stars together in search of the mysterious “Miku,” only to learn the legendary idol has taken different forms on many different worlds!

Hatsune Miku: Future Delivery features several full-color pages. Catch the J-pop superstar in Hatsune Miku: Future Delivery Volume 1 (of 2) and let the Vocaloid of Crypton Future Media sing!

hatsune-miku-future-delivery-volume-1

Tsutomu Nihei’s Aposimz Gets Simulpub from Kodansha

kodanshacomics_logo_bubble_blktxtKodansha Comics’ newest digital simulpub manga to debut on Kindle and comiXology is Aposimz, science-fiction manga master Tsutomu Nihei’s follow-up to his cult hit Knights of Sidonia (which was adapted into a Netflix Original series). Nihei is also the creator of the manga classic (and recently reissued) BLAME!

The first chapter of Aposimz debuted February 24th as a digital edition only on comiXology and Kindle. New chapters will follow on the 24th of every month thereafter (the same day they appear in Japan). Chapters will be priced at $1.99 each.

With Aposimz, Nihei takes us into at-once familiar and disorienting territory: a towering “City” built upon the ruins of a mysterious device from the distant past, a “Country of Dolls” of people afflicted with a disease that slowly turns them into machines. A prologue chapter from Aposimz was previously available only through Tsutomu Nihei’s limited-time Humble Bundle offering.

Also, adding to Kodansha Comics’s digital manga ramp-up for 2017, a trio of highly anticipated shojo manga will make their debuts on February 28th.

House of the Sun (Taiyo no ie, in Japanese) is Taamo’s moving account of a young woman who reconnects with a childhood friend as she puts together the pieces of her life following her parents’ broken marriage.

Peach Heaven is a racy tale from Mari Hoshino, detailing the life of an ordinary high-school teenager with a secret identity as … an erotic novelist! What happens when the new transfer student/male supermodel discovers her secret?

Finally, The Full-Time Wife Escapist (aka Nigeru wa haji da ga yaku ni tatsu) brings us Tsunami Umino’s romantic comedy that was recently adapted into a hit Japanese television drama. Mikuri is a recent grad without a whole lot of job prospects, so out of desperation when her housekeeping gig is about to come to an end, she comes up with the idea of becoming the wife of her single salaryman boss—as a job!

Kodansha Comics has been steadily bringing out new manga series in digital format since the start of 2017. More announcements of upcoming titles for the spring will be made at the Kodansha Comics panel at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle on March 4.

aposimz

Monday Manga Review: Yowamushi Pedal Vol. 1

yowamushi-pedal-coverFor the love of all things otaku–anime, video games, figures, you name it!

Power-pedaling Sakamichi Onoda has long been conquering the steepest slopes and regularly making the ninety-kilometer round-trip to Akihabara on a mommy bike!! But when his bike commute to his new high school lands him in a confrontation with the serious first-year road racer Imaizumi, Onoda has a major showdown on his hands! Can this meek geek really out-pedal the future ace of the school road-racing team?!

A manga about bicycling? Wataru Watanabde gives us Yowamushi Pedal a fantastic series that delivers in a hell of a lot of ways.

Focused on Sakamichi Onoda the first volume is a simple tale of a young boy who heads to high school where he feels like he can finally fit in by joining the anime/manga club, but it’s canceled. For a long time now he’s been heading to Akihabara to get the latest releases and due to the distance and the bike he’s been using he’s really good at biking. Challenged by a die hard bicyclist Imaizumi, this is a chance for Sakamichi to prove he’s more than an anime/manga otaku.

The series is a fun that’s relatable as it dives into the geek vs. jock dynamic so many of us are familiar with. But, it also has a lesson that appearances can be deceiving and even though he might look like a stereotypical geek, he’s really good at biking.

The first volume is a hell of a setup giving us reasons as to why Sakamichi is so good and more than enough to relate to him as well. Watanabe nails it as far as story and art drawing us in.

The art is fantastic with a great mix of action of quieter moments, but all of them in a way that’s engaging. What I personally really enjoy about this particular volume is that some of the translations and explanations of the original Japanese are in the margins on the page as opposed to being in the back of the manga (though there’s some of that too). So, you can spend a bit more time on the page appreciating everything and helping to understand some of the details.

While the lessons and themes of this first volume or simple, they’re also familiar, and due to that it makes this series relatable and one I can’t wait to read more of.

Story: Wataru Watanabe Art: Wataru Watanabe
Story: 8.85 Art: 8.85 Overall: 8.85 Recommendation: Buy

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