It’s begun. Ed Chavez posts on the first manga panel of the San Diego Comic Con: Del Rey Manga. And he’s impressed. The new titles:
Kitchen Princess by Kobayashi Miyuki and Andou Natsumi
Mushishi by Urushibara Yuki
Mamotte Lolipop by Kikuta Michiyo
Shugo Chara by Peach-Pit
Parasyte by Iwaaki Hitoshi
Ed has cover scans if you want to get a sense of the art. Kitchen Princess and Mushishi are both Kodansha Award winners. Back in May, Ed wrote
Considering the history I wonder when we will be seeing either TOKYOPOP or Del Rey announce Insect Master and Kitchen Princess.
Now that’s what I call eerily prescient! There’s not much available on the web about Kitchen Princess, but I did find this Wikipedia article about Mushishi. It’s about supernatural creatures called Mushi that are invisible to most humans but not to the main character, Ginko, who studies the Mushi and helps people who are afflicted by them. Del Rey plans this to be a little nicer than your average manga, with flaps and better quality paper, and priced a little higher at $12.95. I’m not sure I like that; I’m all for quality, but I spend enough on manga as it is.
Mamotte! Lolipop is shoujo; according to the Manganews review, it’s about a girl who swallows what she thinks is a piece of candy but is actually a crystal ball.
now she’s the new object of the Pro Exam for the Magic World; whoever has Nina in their possession at the end of 6 months will be the only ones to become professional wizards!
Humorous and possibly romantic complications ensue.
According to ComiPress, volume 1 of Shugo Chara came out on July 6 in Japan, so the U.S. release won’t be far behind the originals. This page is in French but includes some scans of the characters. The story seems to involve a rebellious (but sweet) student, Amu, who possesses three mysterious eggs. There’s also a handsome “prince” and some less benign character who wants to get the eggs. Each character is accompanied by guardian angels who represent their character traits (Amu gets three). Peach-Pit is actually two manga-kas whose other work includes DearS and Rozen Maiden.
If Parasyte sounds familiar, it’s because it was an early Tokyopop title. Tokyopop wiped the pages off their site, so the link is to a Google cache of their original page. It’s about alien parasites infecting the world, and one man who is able to get along with his parasite rather than let it destroy him. The Del Rey version will be unflipped and in the wideban format, which means about 400 pages, and will be priced at $12.95.
At the Anime on DVD forums, they’re all excited about Mushishi and Parasyte.
In addition to the new title announcements, Del Rey said they will change the cover of vol. 2 of Air Gear:
The leggings will now cover up the exposed thong. Dallas promised that will be the only change to the series.
Del Rey will be holding a focus group on August 11 in Los Angeles.
Toon Zone also has a report on the panel.
UPDATE: Here’s David Taylor’s take on the new Parasyte:
I’ve got some of the original Tokyopop volumes but to be perfectly honest I would trade those in a heartbeat to get a Del Rey version. You know what your going to get, you know the quality is going to be fantastic, care is going to be taken over the product. This isn’t a hard choice.
In the comments, Jarred Pine wonders if this new version has anything to do with the Parasyte movie, now scheduled for 2008. Hmmm.
SECOND UPDATE: Comic Book Resources has more information, including better plot summaries, in their panel report.