Archives for January 2009

More on those Tokyopop cancellations

Yesterday, Comics Worth Reading posted a list of cancelled Tokyopop titles, but as I pointed out earlier, that list reflects cancelled solicitations, not cancelled series. I just finished a volley of e-mails with Marco Pavia, Tokyopop’s marketing director, and confirmed that indeed, the list reflects a shift in timing. Here’s Marco:

You are correct that we’ve postponed—not cancelled—these series, although the .Hack Manga-Novel Special Edition (a manga & novel combo book of two previously pubbed volume 1’s, at a value price) is something we may not publish, because of some licensing issues.

In general, we have spaced out the release frequency of some slower-selling titles, and as a result, we have fewer releases each month. I believe our release-plan refinement was reported in December.

Yes, it was, although that’s a bit vague. I asked Marco for some books that had been previously listed as cancelled, and he responded with vol. 5 of Love Attack, vol. 2 of StarCraft Frontline, and the Camp Rock Cine-Manga, which I have a copy of right now so I can vouch that it exists. I looked back at the list of cancelled fall titles that Christopher Butcher posted at Comics212 a while back, and I did find some volumes that have made it to print: vol. 3 of Silver Diamond, the Ai Yori Aoshi omnibus. Also, vol. 3 of Jyu-oh-Sei, which is on Johanna’s list, is now scheduled for a June 2009 release.

So, more or less as I reported last August, Tokyopop is slowing their releases. Mathematics as well as economics would dictate that this means some books will never re-appear, and Tokyopop could be more forthcoming about that, but the fact is that a cancelled solicitation does not necessarily mean a cancelled volume or series; in some cases, it’s just a matter of timing.

Previews picks and cancellations

For those who like to think ahead, Ed Chavez lists all the manga in the February Previews.

On the other hand… Johanna Draper Carlson lists the titles that Tokyopop has cancelled from Previews. Much is being made of this, and I have an inquiry in to the marketing director, but in the meantime, I want to point out that cancelling a planned release is not the same as canceling the series; the possibility exists, though I admit it’s growing dim, that these will be resolicited in a later Previews. Danielle Leigh and her commenters have more to say at Comics Should Be Good.

Just why is Naruto so popular? NPR does what they do best: They interview an expert.

Matt Blind looks at the 2008 manga rankings and analyzes the numbers a bit at Rocket Bomber.

The Marin Independent Journal, in the heart of foodie country, takes note of Oishinbo.

Deb Aoki posts her readers’ favorite seinen manga at And the Ani-Gamers bloggers post their three favorite manga of 2008.

News from Japan: ANN reports that Hayate the Combat Butler has sold over 10 million copies in Japan.

Reviews: Ed Sizemore takes an unusually thorough look at the next must-read title from Naoki Urasawa, vol. 1 of Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, at Comics Worth Reading. Ken Haley takes a look at a classic from the 1990s, Spirit of Wonder, at Manga Recon. Lissa Pattillo posts some Manga Quickies at Kuriousity. Evan Krell has a nice review up of vols. 1 and 2 of Mao-Chan at The Gaming Dungeon. At the Daily Yomiuri, Hiroshi Hirai takes a look at Shakariki!, a manga that doesn’t seem to be out in English yet, but that my husband would totally buy if it was—it’s about bicycle racing. Other reviews of note:

Casey Brienza on vol. 1 of Akihabara@DEEP (kethylia)
Greg Hackmann on vols. 1 and 2 of Astro-Boy (
Connie on vol. 3 of Banana Fish (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 2 of Basara (Slightly Biased Manga)
Edward Zacharias on vol. 3 of Black Lagoon (Animanga Nation)
John Thomas on vol. 4 of Blood+ (Comics Village)
Oyceter on vols. 3 and 4 of Bride of the Water God (Sakura of DOOM)
Erica Friedman on vol. 2 of Cream Lemon Escalation (Okazu)
Ikuko Kitagawa on Division Chief Kosaku Shima (The Star of Malaysia)
Snow Wildsmith on vols. 1 and 2 of A Gentleman’s Kiss (Fujoshi Librarian)
Connie on vol. 8 of Golgo 13 (Slightly Biased Manga)
Jason Green on Good-Bye (PLAYBACK:stl)
Connie on vol. 13 of Let Dai (Slightly Biased Manga)
Billy Aguiar on vol. 1 of Martin & John (Prospero’s Manga)
Connie on vol. 1 of Martin & John (Slightly Biased Manga)
Julie on vol. 2 of Nora: The Last Chronicle of Devildom (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Emily on Nousatsu Beat de Utawasete (Emily’s Random Shoujo Manga Page)
Greg McElhatton on Oishinbo: A La Carte (Read About Comics)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 5 of Rosario + Vampire (The Comic Book Bin)
Kris on Shards of Affection (Manic About Manga)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 2 of Slam Dunk (The Comic Book Bin)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 15 of Tail of the Moon (The Comic Book Bin)
Leroy Douresseaux on Tricky Prince (The Comic Book Bin)

Where is Aria?

At Comics Worth Reading, Johanna Draper Carlson reports having trouble getting a copy of vol. 4 of Aria. What’s up with that? I asked Tokyopop marketing director Marco Pavia if he could shed some light, and here’s what he had to say:

As for Aria vol 4, it’s sold out mainly because orders came in much higher than projected — without boring you to tears, we usually print enough to fill projections with enough extra stock for re-orders; occasionally, actual orders come in much higher than projections, which is the case with Aria volume 4. It’s a little unusual, because by volume 4, the audience is usually established, so projections from accts are fairly accurate.

So when I thought a little harder about this, I realized that ADV had published vols. 1-3 of Aria and maybe that’s why the demand was higher for vol. 4—some old fans were picking up the series again. I asked the logical question—do they plan on another printing?—and here’s Marco’s response:

It all depends upon demand—we do monitor our inventory very closely. I’m sure you can understand that we have to be very careful in this economic climate.

Great graphic novels for teens—and everyone else

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has announced their 2009 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list as well as their top ten. Naturally, both lists feature quite a few manga. For those keeping score at home, David Welsh breaks it out by publisher.

Also noted: The Manga Cookbook and Japan Ai: A Tall Girl’s Adventures in Japan both made it onto the 2009 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers list.

I totally missed this when it was posted a few days ago, but Matt Blind has broken out all of manga into a simple pie chart for your convenience. Read and enjoy!

David Welsh looks at this week’s new releases at Precocious Curmudgeon.

Gia Manry talks to Nick Mamatas, the editor of Viz’s Haikasoru line of sci-fi novels. And yes, Chloe, you were right about the name!

The Eastern Edge translates part 2 of a Japanese interview with Naoki Urasawa.

Alethea and Athena Nibley continue their discussion of ritualistic Japanese expressions at Manga Life.

Attention artists: Udon Entertainment is holding a tribute art contest for DarkStalkers. (Via Deb Aoki.)

News from Japan: At Same Hat! Same Hat!, Ryan posts two covers by Kazuo Umezu as well as aerial footage of the manga-ka’s newly legal red-and-white-striped house. ANN has the Japanese comic rankings for the week of Jan. 20-26. Kazune Kawahara (High School Debut) and Aiji Yamakawa (Chocolate Underground) have teamed up for a new manga that will debut in the May issue of Deluxe Margaret. The March issue of that magazine will feature a Love*Com spinoff by Aya Nakahara. A manga adaptation of the Tears to Tiara RPG is in the works. And the Basquash Robot sports anime will get the manga treatment starting in the March issue of Shonen Ace.

Reviews: Lori Henderson reviews vols. 1 and 2 of Sugar Princess: Skating to Win at Good Comics for Kids. Lianne Sentar explains about Japanese games for girls that form the basis of vol. 1 of Togainu no Chi at Sleep Is For the Weak. Tangognat checks out vol. 1 of Otomen. Erica Friedman enjoys another unlicensed yuri title, vol. 4 of Magie Paire, at Okazu. Charles Tan reviews vol. 3 of Real and Katherine Farmar squees over vol. 1 of Junjo Romantica at Comics Village. Connie reads vol. 9 of Hoshin Engi and vol. 2 of We Were There at Slightly Biased Manga. Julie checks out vol. 4 of Venus in Love at the Manga Maniac Cafe. Lissa Pattillo reviews vol. 8 of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service at Kuriousity.

Links for a snow day

You know, 99% of the time, working for the mayor of my city is the greatest job in the world. On snow days, however… not so much, because while everyone else is sleeping in, I have to make an extra effort to shovel out and get in there to answer the phones. Also, when the rest of you see lazy white flakes drifting downward, we municipal folks see big green dollars flying out the window, because plowing, while necessary, is expensive. And just to make things perfect, today is the day the governor announces exactly how much he is going to cut our budget.

Gah! Let’s go read some manga instead!

Johanna Draper Carlson has a meaty preview of Mijeong, a manhwa by Byun-Byung Jun, creator of Run, Bong-Gu, Run, to be published by NBM in April.

God Len lists this week’s new releases at Japanator.

The poll results are rolling in at, where readers have chosen the best shonen and shoujo titles of 2008.

Bill Randall discusses the weaknesses of manga adaptations of the classics at The Hooded Utilitarian.

Tiamat’s Disciple posts an overview of manga publishers at Tiamat’s Manga Reviews.

Reviewer Matthew Alexander lists his top 10 most manly manga at (Via Simon Jones, who has a very NSFW preview up at his blog right now.)

Unlike everyone else in the world, Viz Media is hiring, and they have even set up an RSS feed to alert you to job openings. (Via Deb Aoki, who lists current positions as well.)

Reviews: I’m reassured by the fact that Casey Brienza couldn’t follow the fight scenes in vol. 1 of Wild Animals either; although I did like the book a bit better than she did, I agree with every point in her scathing takedown. Reviewer Baka has good things to say about Tegami Bachi, a new series running in the American Shonen Jump, at The Gaming Dungeon. Johanna Draper Carlson reviews vol. 2 of Papillon at Comics Worth Reading. Nick Mullins gives his take on Solanin at his blog. Lissa Pattillo reads vol. 5 of Heaveny Executioner Chiwoo at Kuriousity. Julie checks out vol. 3 of Basilisk at the Manga Maniac Cafe. Erica Friedman takes a look at the Alice Quartet Obbligato Manga at Okazu. Emily looks at another unlicensed manga, Totteoki no B.G.M., at Emily’s Random Shoujo Manga Page. Edward Zacharias reviews vol. 2 of Black Lagoon at Animanga Nation. Deb Aoki reviews vol. 1 of Oishinbo at At Boys Next Door, Cynthia posts her take on Seduce Me After the Show and vol. 8 of Junjo Romantica. Connie checks out Object of Desire, vol. 2 of B.O.D.Y., vol. 2 of Banana Fish, and vol. 3 of Your and My Secret at Slightly Biased Manga. Tiamat’s Disciple weighs in on vol. 1 of Jyu-oh-Sei at Tiamat’s Manga Reviews. Michelle Smith enjoys vol. 3 of Silver Diamond at Soliloquy in Blue. Brian Henderson reads vol. 2 of Zombie Powder at Manga Xanadu.

PR: Viz launches sci-fi imprint

It’s nice to hear about publishers doing something other than laying people off these days. Viz is expanding its brand a bit with a new line of Japanese sci-fi prose novels under the imprint Haikasoru. Plans are to publish 12 books a year, starting this summer, and the opening lineup includes ZOO, by Otsuichi, which means that Del Rey has unknowingly done a bit of PR for them already.

There’s lots more detail after the cut, including titles and synopses.


First-Of-Its-Kind Imprint Launches This Summer To Publish The Best In Contemporary Japanese Science Fiction Novels

San Francisco, CA, January 27, 2009 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced the launch of a brand-new imprint called Haikasoru, which will publish an array of contemporary Japanese science fiction (SF) and fantasy stories for English-speaking audiences. This is the first time an imprint with a dedicated focus on Japanese SF has launched in North America.

Haikasoru is scheduled to publish twelve books a year and launches in the summer of 2009 with four titles: The Lord of the Sands of Time by Issui Ogawa, All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, ZOO by Otsuichi, and Usurper of the Sun by Housuke Nojiri.

Haikasoru will be helmed by Nick Mamatas, a respected author of science fiction as well as an editor at VIZ Media. Mamatas is the author of two novels, which have been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award and Germany’s Kurd Lasswitz Prize.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of this new imprint,” says Mamatas. “Haikasoru is making history with the future. Finally, SF is going global.”

The Lord of the Sands of Time by Issui Ogawa – Price: $13.99 U.S./CAN $16.00
Sixty-two years after human life on earth was annihilated by rampaging aliens, the enigmatic cyborg Messenger O is sent back in time with the mission to unite the humanity of past eras—during World War II and in ancient Japan, even back at the dawn of humanity—in order to defeat the alien invasion before it begins. But amidst a future shredded by war, love also waits for O. Will O save humanity only to doom himself? The Lord of the Sands of Time was nominated for the prestigious Seiun Award, the leading award for Japanese science fiction, the winners of which are selected each year by members of the Japanese National Science Fiction Convention. Available in July 2009.

ALL YOU NEED IS KILL by Hiroshi Sakurazaka – Price: $13.99 U.S./CAN $16.00
When the alien Gitai invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor called a Jacket and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to be reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On his 158th iteration, he finally sees something different, something out of place—a female soldier known as the Full Metal Bitch. Is she the key to Keiji’s escape or his final death? Available in July 2009.

ZOO by Otsuichi – Price: $13.99 U.S./CAN $16.00
ZOO presents eleven stories of dark fantasy and science fiction by one of Japan’s hottest authors. “The White Hut In The Forest” is the story of a man with a hole in his head and a charming home made from some strange materials. “Song of the Sunny Spot” is a rendition of the classic story of the Earth’s last man…and his charming companion. And in the book’s eponymous tale, a man sees his dead girlfriend’s corpse decompose, one gristly Polaroid snapshot at a time. ZOO sold over 740,000 copies in Japan and was also turned into a successful Japanese film. Available in September 2009.
USURPER OF THE SUN by Housuke Nojiri – Price: $15.99 U.S./CAN $18.99
When a ring appears around the sun, humanity seems doomed. One woman, a brave scientist named Aki Shiraishi, travels to the core of the solar system in a last-ditch attempt to save the world. A compelling new hard SF novel, Usurper of the Sun won a coveted Seiun Award in 2002 for Best Science Fiction Novel of the Year. Available in September 2009.

“Japan has long had a love affair with science fiction. In the wake of the massive international popularity of manga and anime, this is an ideal time to offer some of the best in contemporary Japanese science fiction to a sizeable domestic audience,” says Masumi Washington, Editor-In-Chief, Haikasoru Imprint, VIZ Media. “VIZ Media has been publishing fiction for a while, and now with the formation of Haikasoru it’s like finding a missing piece in a jigsaw puzzle. We are pleased to introduce this unique imprint and look forward to VIZ Media fans and science fiction readers in general enjoying these books.”