April, 2008

According to the Diamond Previews via MangaCast, Aurora Publishing will be releasing Izumi Kirihara's Hitohira volumes 1 and 2 in October and December.

Also, ANN points out that Aurora's BL imprint Deux Press will be releasing four titles in July/August:

  • Heavenly Body by Takashi Kanzaki
  • Maid in Heaven by Hisami Shimada
  • Ruff Love by Tamaki Kirishima
  • Two of Hearts by Kano Miyamoto (announced at Yaoi-Con last October)

From MangaCast comes the Diamond Previews for May 2008, which provides information on new U.S. releases for June 2008.

Voting for the first Anime Blog Awards is now closed, and the results of the nomination can be found on this page.


topAfter more than 6 months of publication, ComiPress' online version of Udagawa-san's Manga Zombie (translated by John Gallagher) has finally ended.

Manga Zombie, written by Udagawa Takeo, was published in Japanese in 1997 by Ohta Shuppan. The book covers a range of thirty-one Japanese manga artists active primarily in the 1960s and 70s. Some of the artists are relatively well-known in the English-speaking world, while others are famous or cult figures only in Japan. However, they are all, in some sense or other, "outsider" artists and figures of the sixties and seventies cultural underground.

To celebrate the conclusion of Manga Zombie, ComiPress has conducted an interview with Manga Zombie's author Udagawa Takeo, as well as its translator John Gallagher:

Of course, the online version of Manga Zombie is different from the print version, with new chapters added and some chapters left out. Currently Udagawa-san is searching for a publisher interested in releasing Manga Zombie in English, if interested, please send your contact information here.

Last but not least, ComiPress would like to thank Udagawa-san and John for giving us this wonderful opportunity to bring to the community something interesting. And finally to the readers, thank you for reading, we hope you enjoyed it!


ComiPress: First of all, please introduce yourself!

Udagawa Takeo: I was born in 1957, and since the 80s I've been a commentator on popular culture, especially the music scene. Since the late 80s I've mainly concentrated on spreading the word about artists who don't get any recognition in the commercial culture industry. The name I give this field is 'Fringe Culture' [which is also the title of Udagawa-san's Japanese-language website].

ComiPress: When you first started writing Manga Zombie, why did you believe the authors featured are not as well-known as you believe they should? Why did you choose this format to promote their work?

Udagawa Takeo: Japanese manga artists have started getting a lot of international attention in recent years, but the spotlight is mainly focused on artists from the 90s onwards. I felt that artists from before then weren't getting their work properly valued by critics and commentators on the scene. So that's why I decided to get an English-language version of Manga Zombie out.

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ComiPress: First of all, please introduce yourself! Who are you? What do you do?

John Gallagher: I'm from Ireland. I've lived in Japan for over ten years. I'm especially drawn to small subcultures (like male geisha) and minor artists (like Miura Jun). I'm a translator and sporadic writer.

ComiPress: How did you first get into the Manga Zombie translation project? How did everything come together? And how did it end up being published on ComiPress?

John Gallagher: I've been researching the male geisha subculture for the last few years. A friend set up a meeting with Udagawa-san because he's well-known as a researcher on everything arcane and offbeat. He showed up with some insanely recondite sound recordings of a male geisha taken in 1969. He also gave me a copy of Manga Zombie, and I decided to translate it during 2007.

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ComiPress Manga Zombie: Author's Postscript

Gentle reader, if you've persevered this far, I'm sure you understand that I'm a pretty unusual manga fan. Maybe that's going too far. Maybe I'm not even a manga fan at all. The thing is, post-80s manga do nothing for me whatsoever. They come out in droves in magazines and book versions, and I scarcely glance at any of them.

During the 80s the manga scene forged ahead in terms of production quality and sales volumes. But the market started to shrink just as the Japanese version of Manga Zombie was published in 1997. Even so, the Japanese manga market is still vast in scale, and the art form gets a lot of hype from the government (and support from the masses) as one of those contents-rich industries that we Japanese can all feel really proud and pleased with ourselves about. Doctorates are written on manga, and have been for a good ten years. There are specialist manga critics, and cetera.

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According to .Anime, Koge-Donbo's name has been changed to Koge-Donbo* "for copyright use."

Source: MangaBlog

From Japanator comes an article titled "Manga growth slows in 2007. Is a crash coming?" that ponders the question of whether the U.S. manga market is on a decline:

We've all heard about the trials and tribulations the anime industry in general is undergoing, but we've also heard that while the market for anime DVDs is ailing, manga sales are active and healthy. Things might be changing fairly soon, However - a recent report from industry analysts at ICv2 indicates that the manga market only grew about 5% last year.

A new manga from Felipe Smith, creator of Tokyopop's MBQ, will debut in Kodansha's Morning 2 vol.10, on sale June 21st. The new series will be the opening manga with 6 color pages, and will also be featured on the magazine's cover (it is quite rare that a new artist will do the cover of a manga magazine).

The following manga appeared on the USA Today Booklist Top 150 (PDF) for the week ending April 20th:

Also, Comicsnob posts the weekly online manga sales rankings:

Jiji Press reports that UNIQLO, a Japanese casual clothing store chain, is planning on bringing its manga and anime T-shirts overseas:

Fast Retailing hopes to boost sales of the manga and anime T-shirts by luring more overseas customers who seek after Japanese pop culture as "Japan Cool." [...] In France, Fast Retailing on Monday opened a time-limited T-shirt shop at Galeries Lafayette, a major department store in central Paris. [...] UNIQLO's adult-size T-shirts are priced between 1,500 yen and 1,900 yen in Japan. [...] In 2008, the company aims at selling more than 12 million T-shirts worldwide. It operates UNIQLO shops in Britain, France, Hong Kong, mainland China, South Korea and the United States in addition to Japan.

Source: MangaCast

From ManagCast comes an article titled "Jump & Fujoshi - The Mangacast Special" that looks at the relationship between the fujoshi culture and Shueisha's Weekly Shounen Jump.

Christopher Butcher's Comics212 is 6 years old!:

It's 6 years to the day since I started blogging at Comics212. I'm a considerably better writer at this point, I think. I actually started writing a column for 212.net in December if 1997, so I guess that was my official serialized writing debut (10 years!), but it wasn’t until April 23 2002 that the blogger software roared to life. :)

Giapet reports that according to a recent poll on Oricon, Gintama was voted as the "funniest manga". The full ranking is as follows:

1. Gintama
2. One Piece
3. Ping Pong Club/Sexy Commando
5. Gag Manga Biyori
6. Nodame Cantabile/Urayasu Tekkin Kazoku
8. Kochira Katsushikaku Kameari Kouenmae Hashutsujo
9. Pyu to Fuku! Jaguar and Lovely Complex

MangaBlog points out that Viz Media is currently hiring for a number of positions.

New Series on DVD Is Based On Popular Manga By The Creator Of RUROUNI KENSHIN And GUN BLAZE WEST

San Francisco, CA, April 23, 2008 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced the debut of a new animated fantasy action series – BUSO RENKIN – to be released as a DVD box set on April 29th. The 3-disc set is rated 'T+' for Older Teen and features the first 13 episodes (of 26 total) with an estimated retail price of $49.98. The second half of the series is slated for release later this year.

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From Manly Manga and More... comes three manga-related news from Germany:

1. Tokyopop Germany has licensed four new manga (2 shounen and 2 shoujo): Love Trouble by Saki Hasemi & Kentaro Yabuki and Claymore by Norihiro Yagi, and Hell Girl by Miyuki Etoo and Nagatachou Strawberry by Mayu Sakai.

2. The result of Comic of the Year Award 2007, an award hosted by Comixene, Comics Info and comic.de, has been announced.

3. Heyne Manga has raised the price of several of their manga (such as Air Gear, Mamotte! Lollipop and Samurai Deeper Kyo), and that the publication of Gacha Gacha, Yagyu Ninpo Cho and Life has been put on hiatus indefinitely.

The Broccoli Books Blog points out that previews for Koi Cupid and sola has been posted on Broccoli's official website:

SAN JOSE, CA – April, 2008 – DrMaster Publications proudly announces the production of the highly anticipated picture book by internationally acclaimed video game designer Yasushi Suzuki (a.k.a. – D-Suzuki), Goths Cage (previously titled Phantoms).

Goths Cage is an enchanting manga-esque picture book anthology of three short stories with a malicious twist of love and romance. It is based on Yasushi Suzuki's art series that was previously released online in Japan under the name Phantoms KADAN. Suzuki-san re-adapts his art series and transforms it into a bewitching picture book with entrancing grace and charm. Each of his gothic tales is exquisitely crafted with elegant detailed illustrations that transport readers into an enchanted world of gothic glory.

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ICv2 has released the February 2008 top 100 graphic novel sales estimates and the top 300 comics sales estimates based on Diamond Indexes and Publisher Title Data. Also from ICv2 is an analysis of the trends in December based on the graphic novel sales chart, and an analysis of Diamond Comic Distributors' October sales.

Also, MangaBlog provides its own look at the data, as well as a list of manga from the Top 100 Graphic Novels chart.

Renowned manga artist and Manga for Dummies author Kensuke Okabayashi presents a character-sketching lecture for all cartoon manga enthusiasts, meets visitors, and signs books.

THE LEGEND OF NINJA KOTARO - is a ninja cosplay spectacle by the Spinnin Ronin Martial Arts Dance Theater. Martial arts, acrobatics, and hip-hop are used to tell a story of adventure and intrigue.

A Japanese nature manga comics library offers families the chance to peruse hundreds of exquisitely illustrated nature-inspired comics provided by AnimeNEXT.

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Hilarious Look Into Japanese Culture And The Geisha World To Screen In Los Angeles, New York And Seattle

San Francisco, CA, April 21, 2008 – VIZ Pictures, an affiliate of VIZ Media, LLC that focuses on Japanese live-action film distribution, has announced upcoming theatrical runs scheduled for New York, Los Angeles and Seattle of MAIKO HAAAAN!!!, a film directed by Nobuo Mizuta.

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