Archives for August 2009

Kodansha to let Tokyopop licenses lapse

LoveHina3The Japanese publisher Kodansha has decided to let its licenses with Tokyopop expire, according to Marketing Manager Kasia Piekarz, which means that series in progress will not be completed by Tokyopop and existing volumes will not be reprinted. Accordingly, a number of series have been put on the Out of Print list. Tokyopop made the following official statement:

The Japanese publisher Kodansha, from whom TOKYOPOP has licensed many terrific series over the years — Chobits, Love Hina, Samurai Deeper Kyo, Rave Master, Initial D, Kindaichi, Life, GetBackers, and Love Attack, to name a few — has decided to let all existing contracts with TOKYOPOP expire on all manga series that they have licensed to us. As a result, Kodansha will not renew any licenses with TOKYOPOP for any new manga volumes. What does this mean? TOKYOPOP will not be allowed to complete the publication of any series that is currently in progress; in addition, TOKYOPOP will not be allowed to reprint titles after the current inventory has been sold out, so once these series are sold out at retail, they will not be available for consumers to purchase. The reasons for Kodansha’s decision were not communicated to TOKYOPOP.

We have received many emails and phone calls about titles related to this announcement, and given the nature of the negotiations, we could not definitely answer any of those questions until now. We love all of these series, and we are disappointed that we will not get to enjoy the outcome of some of our favorite manga. We hope to see these series completed some day…. However, if they are ever published again, they will not be published by TOKYOPOP.

Given that Tokyopop seems to have turned the corner lately, I wonder what Kodansha is up to. Remember they refused to renew their licenses with Tokyopop Germany earlier this year.

ETA: David Welsh has a list of affected titles at Precocious Curmudgeon.

ETA2: And here’s Tokyopop’s full Out of Print list, which includes some non-Kodansha titles.

New manga, news from Deux, the annotated bookshelf

Lori Henderson has a thorough roundup of the week’s manga news at Manga Xanadu, and Erica Friedman checks in with the latest edition of Yuri Network News at Okazu.

The Comics Village clan makes their picks from this week’s new releases.

David Welsh, meanwhile, contemplates the upcoming titles featured in the September Previews.

Gottsu-Iiyan posts some Naoki Urasawa sketches from a Japanese magazine at The Eastern Edge.

The Daily Yomiuri reports that Japanese publishers are putting more of their works online to beat scanlators, since legal means have had limited success.

Things were looking kind of bleak at Deux Press a few months ago, so it’s nice to hear some good news, via Kris at Manic About Manga: Spicy but Sweet and Cigarette Kisses will be out in September, and another special sale is in the works.

Coming this fall: The Rough Guide to Manga, authored by a frequent linkee on this blog, Honolulu Star-Bulletin columnist Jason Yadao. Congratulations, Jason!

This is pretty cool: LJ’er st-aurafina posts an annotated photo of her manga-filled bookshelf.

Jason Thompson is going to be at Kumoricon in Portland, Oregon, on Labor Day weekend, and he has a full schedule of activities planned.

Viz Media’s Japanese parent companies Shogakukan, Shueisha, and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions have acquired two European companies and will fold them into their European arm, Viz Media Europe.

Reviews: Kate Dacey reviews three kid-friendly manga at Good Comics for Kids. Jeet Heer joins the Robot 6 staff, including me, in this week’s What Are You Reading column. My picks include 20th Century Boys, which I’ll write a real review of one of these days. Lori Henderson checks out the SIGIKKI lineup at Manga Xanadu. Ed Sizemore reviews a handful of recent volumes from Del Rey at Comics Worth Reading. And the Manga Recon team has another set of Manga Minis up for your reading pleasure. Other reviews of note:

Julie on vol. 2 of Animal Academy (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Snow Wildsmith on vol. 1 of Aoi House (omnibus) (Fujoshi Librarian)
Diana Dang on vol. 1 of Ballad of a Shinigami (Stop, Drop, and Read!)
Dan Polley on vol. 1 of The Battle of Genryu (Comics Village)
Lorena Nava Ruggero on vol. 3 of Beauty is the Beast (i heart manga)
Danielle Van Gorder on vol. 28 of Berserk (
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 6 of Bizenghast (Comics Worth Reading)
Deb Aoki on Black Bird (
Connie on vol. 1 of Bloody Kiss (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 2 of Choco Mimi (Slightly Biased Manga)
Johanna Draper Carlson on CSI: Intern at Your Own Risk (Comics Worth Reading)
Connie on Cut (Slightly Biased Manga)
Michelle Smith on Dining Bar Akira (Manga Recon)
Lissa Pattillo on Dystopia (Kuriousity)
Danielle Van Gorder on vol. 3 of Gantz (
Snow Wildsmith on Golden Prince & Argent King (Manga Jouhou)
Julie on Junior Escort (Manga Maniac Cafe)
D.M. Evans on vol. 1 of Knights (Manga Jouhou)
Lorena Nava Ruggero on vols. 5 and 6 of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (i heart manga)
Erin Finnegan on vol. 1 of Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu (Manga Recon)
Erica Friedman on vol. 1 of Lucky Star (Okazu)
Johanna Draper Carlson on The Manga Guide to Calculus and The Manga Guide to Electricity (Comics Worth Reading)
Melinda Beasi on vol. 7 of Monkey High (There it is, Plain as Daylight)
Connie on vol. 9 of MPD-Psycho (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 32 of Oh My Goddess (Slightly Biased Manga)
Michelle Smith on vol. 2 of Phantom Dream (Soliloquy in Blue)
Julie on vol. 2 of Rasetsu (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Connie on vol. 6 of Slam Dunk (Slightly Biased Manga)
Lissa Pattillo on vol. 22 of Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle (Kuriousity)
Shevaun Morrison on vol. 1 of Welcome to Wakaba-Soh (Kuriousity)

Review: CSI: Intern at Your Own Risk

51QCECk36RLCSI: Intern at Your Own Risk
Story by Sekou Hamilton
Art by Steven Cummings
Rated T, for Teen, 13+
Tokyopop, $12.99

I’m going to confess up front that I have only watched the CSI TV show a few times, and I didn’t really care for it; the close-up shots of innards always struck me as a bit cheesy. My tastes lean more toward Law and Order, Bones and NCIS, which go a bit lighter on the bodily fluids.

Fortunately, Tokyopop’s CSI manga doesn’t lean much on the TV show. Instead, it’s geared for teen readers with a group of high-school students who get the awesome experience of being interns at the Las Vegas CSI labs, with the characters from the show playing the part of their kindly but distant instructors.

If you haven’t already suspended disbelief, please do so now.

Having had the experience of watching real detectives work on cases (not murders, but robberies and a rape), I know that CSI isn’t very realistic, and this manga is an even worse offender. Standard procedures get violated all over the place, and the timeline is off. The plot here relies on the old “The murderer is one of us!!” routine, but it assumes a person can commit a crime of passion and then revert to everyday life as if nothing ever happened. Even for fiction, that’s a stretch.

As entertainment with a bit of science thrown in, the book doesn’t do too badly. It starts out with the murder itself, of course, and then we shift to the interns’ point of view. The lead character, Kiyomi, is the poor-but-happy daughter of a cab driver. She’s smart, too. The other four interns are the usual types: The geek, the jock, the creepy guy, and the cute guy. The creators do a nice job of introducing them by showing the entrance interviews, including their varying reactions to the question “Are you bothered by the smell of decomposing flesh?”

After passing a rigorous test (in which the instructors let Kiyomi through because she’s a girl, even though she scored lower than the guys) everyone gets to work. In my office, interns get coffee, shred paper, and take the blame when the copier breaks down, but the CSI interns get to attend a real autopsy and walk around the crime scene of an open case. Naturally, they start formulating their own theories of the crime. There are a few logical leaps (i.e., the fact that the criminal cleaned up the crime scene leads indisputably to the fact that he is one of the CSI interns), and the astute reader will have no trouble figuring out who the culprit is before the big reveal. But that’s part of the fun—it’s always nice to outsmart the detective.

Unfortunately, the story reads like a first draft. The characters and their dynamics are all in place, but their interactions are a bit too obvious. A worse flaw is the big chunks of expository dialogue that fill in pieces of the plot or information about crime scene techniques. It’s interesting material, but it could have been presented more gracefully.

As a parent, I question the 13+ rating, given that the opening scenes include shots (including one looking right up the crotch) of a bloody, staring corpse. On the one hand, a lot of 13-year-olds see worse on TV every day, on shows like CSI and Bones and NCIS. On the other hand, the natural audience for a 13+ book is 10- to 12-year-olds, and the content of this story backs that up—the dialogue and art are fairly simple. I would have toned down the corpse scene a bit, knowing that kids tend to read a little ahead of the age ratings.

The art is competent, if not outstanding, and it looks like a lot of Tokyopop’s other global manga titles. Cummings has a nice, clean line and doesn’t overuse toning. The biggest flaw is that the elements of the panel don’t always fit together properly: Sometimes two characters will seem to be out of scale with each other, and the backgrounds always look cavernous. The cover art is pretty nice, though.

The book seems a bit slim for $12.99, but the creators have plenty of room to tell their story—it doesn’t feel rushed. The format is bigger than standard manga, which I feel makes the book a bit easier to read. A few character sketches and a chapter from an upcoming CSI novel are the only extras.

Anyone over 16 will probably find CSI: Intern at Your Own Risk to be too elementary, but this is a decent read for younger teens, with the sort of crime-scene science that some people (myself included) find fascinating. While it could use a bit more polish, it also skips the cheesy camera work and graphic violence of the original, leaving a palatable, if rather earnest, little story.

(This review is based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.)

New manga on the way

Lori Henderson lists this week’s kid-friendly manga and comics at Good Comics for Kids.

Digital is going to publish the Maiden Rose manga.

At The Eastern Standard, David Goodwin does a bit of hunting and notes that almost all of Viz’s Sigikki titles are slated for print, while Del Rey and Dark Horse are slowing down their releases. Interesting discussion of Alive in the comments. Also, here’s a peek at the cover of the first volume of Moyashimon.

News from Japan: Gia has a peek at a horror manga by Nagaru Tanigawa, the author of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. ANN reports that The Legend of Kamui, Yubisaki Milk Tea, and I’ll Give It My All… Tomorrow are all returning from hiatus, and they also post the latest comics rankings from Oricon and Tohan.

Reviews: At Manga Recon, Chloe Ferguson liked vols. 1 and 2 of Crown a lot less than I did. Elizabeth Shupe continues her look at Mitzukazu Mihara’s early works at Girlamatic. Tangognat has some short takes on the Sigikki series.

Greg McElhatton on vol. 4 of 20th Century Boys (Read About Comics)
Danielle Leigh on vols. 1 and 2 of Bamboo Blade (Comics Should Be Good)
Lori Henderson on vol. 1 of Children of the Sea (Manga Xanadu)
Anna on The Color of Water (2 screenshot limit)
Alain Mendez on vols. 1 and 2 of Dazzle (Comics Village)
AstroNerdBoy on vol. 8 of Gakuen Alice (AstroNerdBoy’s Anime and Manga Blog)
Michelle Smith on vol. 6 of Goong (Soliloquy in Blue)
Billy Aguiar on vol. 1 of Mad Love Chase (Prospero’s Manga)
David Welsh on vol. 1 of Nightschool (Precocious Curmudgeon)
Melinda Beasi on vol. 7 of Nora: The Last Chronicle of Devildom (There it is, Plain as Daylight)
Lorena Nava Ruggero on vol. 5 of The Palette of 12 Secret Colors (i heart manga)
Casey Brienza on vols. 2-4 of St. Dragon Girl (ANN)
Julie on vol. 1 of Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Deb Aoki on vol. 1 of X-Men: Misfits (
Emily on Yami no Purple Eye (Emily’s Random Shoujo Manga Page)
Carlo Santos on vol. 2 of Yokai Doctor (ANN)

PR: Digital's omnibuses and Yaoi Con exclusives

littleyellowadI’m catching up with my in-box after a busy week, and I can see that everyone has returned from vacation and started gearing up for fall. The folks who post the new releases lists have been commenting that pickings have been rather slim lately, but from the looks of things, that’s about to change.Digital Manga Publishing is reissuing Hinako Takanaga’s Little Butterfly in omnibus format; you may remember from the last post that Tokypop is publishing Takanaga’s Liberty Liberty, so this is a banner year for her fans. Also on the menu at Digital is an ominbus edition of Makoto Tateno’s Yellow, and DMP will have advance copies of both omnibuses (omnibi?) available at Yaoi Con, whiere Tateno will be making a guest appearance. Read on for more.

Gardena, CA (August 27, 2009)- Digital Manga Publishing is proud to present their newest reissue, the Little Butterfly Omnibus! Collecting the now out of print three volumes of Little Butterfly, the omnibus edition spans over 560 pages! Hinako Takanaga has long been a fan favorite and her Little Butterfly manga, one of the early yaoi titles printed by Digital Manga Publishing, quickly became a top seller, and has continued to be one of the most requested manga series in the Digital Manga library. Finally, the three beautiful issues of Little Butterfly will be available in this limited omnibus edition!

As a special thank you to our fans, Digital Manga Publishing will make exclusively available at Yaoi-Con only, a limited number of the Little Butterfly Omnibus for purchase! The street date is not until February 2010, and we will only be making the book available for Yaoi-Con attendees! After Yaoi-Con, the book will not be available until it ships to stores next year. So come to Yaoi-Con to own this beautiful title, way, WAY ahead of it’s ship date!

Also at Yaoi-Con, in honor of our amazing guest, Makoto Tateno, Digital Manga Publishing will have early advances of the Yellow Omnibus: Volume 1 AS WELL as early advances of Yellow 2: Episode 1 for con attendees! Yellow has remained one of Digital Manga’s best selling titles, and Yellow 2: Episode 1 is a special series of short stories written exclusively for cell phones in Japan. Never before published in print, Yellow 2 will be a three episode series of short 64 page booklets following additional adventures of Taki and Goh. Come and get these amazing advances, and then have them signed in person by the amazing Makoto Tateno!

Yaoi-Con takes place over the Halloween weekend, October 30-November 1, in beautiful San Mateo. For more information on Yaoi-Con, including location, hotels, and registration, please visit their site at:

LITTLE BUTTERFLY OMNIBUS, Rated M+ (for ages 18+), MSRP: $29.95, Available: February 15, 2010, 5.87″x 8.25″, 560 pages!, June’ Imprint

Kojima’s friendly attitude and upbeat, playful innocence help to guarantee his status as a well-liked boy. But the brooding Nakahara is the exact opposite! A shy wallflower, he seems aloof and is constantly alone…until Kojima suddenly steps into his dark, painful world. When the time comes to take flight, will the two boys simply escape to a fantasy free of pain and suffering, or can they break out and soar into a bright, exciting future of their own? Little Butterfly spreads its wings and sets off on a flight path full of love, longing and plenty of tender moments. Watch as a brand-new friendship slowly grows from a fragile bond to a forceful partnership between two distinct and special souls. Even the smallest of creatures dream of soaring beyond the mundane world!

YELLOW: OMNIBUS EDITION VOL. 1, Rated M+ (for ages 18+), MSRP: $19.95, Available: November 18, 2009, 5.87″x 8.25″, 385 pages!, June’ Imprint

Taki and Goh share just about everything – their apartment in the city, their job as elite drug “snatchers” and even dinner duty. But hot Goh wants to go much deeper undercover with his gorgeous partner. Too bad Taki doesn’t swing that way…or does he? If yellow is the warning color, will this team finally end up in-the-red (and in bed)? Boys will be boys, and the hot guys of Yellow are no exception. An illicit thrill-ride from cover to cover, this hip drama turns up the heat on every page and guarantees to get your heart fired-up! Back by popular demand, this limited edition omnibus collects volumes 1 and 2 of the original series, with some unseen artwork and unpublished content!

YELLOW 2: EPISODE 1, Rated M+ (for ages 18+), MSRP: $6.95, Available: November 18, 2009, 5.13″x 7.19″, 64 pages, June’ Imprint

Taki and Goh, the elite drug “snatchers” are back! In July of 2005, DMP introduced one of the most popular creator & ground-breaking series: YELLOW to the yaoi industry, cementing Tateno as a yaoi fan favorite. Fans have eagerly waited for more, and finally, Makoto Tateno has created a mini sequel series starring her two beloved characters, which has never been published in print, until now!

PR: Tokyopop's fall lineup

51pRXHMk1fLHere’s an overview of Tokyopop’s fall lineup, which includes Domo: The Manga, Maria Holic, by the creator of Dazzle, and This Ugly Yet Beautiful World, based on the anime of the same name. As always, it’s an eclectic group of titles, ranging from hearts-and-flowers to blood-and-guts. Read on for details.

TOKYOPOP Presents:
The Fall 2009 Publishing Lineup

DOMO Leads the Way to a Dynamite Manga Season

Los Angeles, CA (August 27, 2009) — Fall is just around the corner and with it TOKYOPOP is bringing its new harvest of manga releases each month to help you survive the post-summer doldrums and keep you entertained once school starts again!

“We’ve got some great titles coming up in the fall, just in time for everyone to take a break from back-to-school homework,” says TOKYOPOP Senior Editor Lillian Diaz-Przybyl. “With everything from demonic hijinks to touching slice-of-life dramas to quirky science fiction, there’s a little something for even the most varied manga palate.”

Leading off the Fall 2009 season is the release of the first ever DOMO manga. The cuddly and irreverent mascot of Japan’s NHK TV comes to life in a full-color collection of hilarious, absurd, and outlandish stories. Follow Domo has he takes things one step at a time, embraces the littlest things in life, and learns not to believe everything he sees on TV!

MAD LOVE CHASE by Kazusa Takashima, the creator of WILD ROCK and MAN’S BEST FRIEND. MAD LOVE CHASE follows the adventures of Kujo Yamato, a prince of hell who has fled to the human world as an average high school kid looking to avoid an arranged marriage back home. Hell, however, is scrambling to find the prince and has sent their finest warriors, plus Kujo’s snubbed fiancée, after him!

Also releasing in September is MARIA HOLIC by Minari Endoh, the creator of DAZZLE. This hilarious manga tells the story of Kanoko Miyamae, who enrolls in an all-girls school hoping to find the love her life and avoid her allergy to boys. She falls for the first cute girl she meets, but unfortunately that cute girl turns out to be a sadistic crossdresser!

October also brings KARAKURI ODETTE by Julietta Suzuki, which follows the life of Odette, an android designed by the brilliant Professor Yoshizawa. Odette is determined to find out the difference between human and robot, and the only way to find the answer is to pretend to be human—and enroll in high school!

For yaoi fans, CAUSE OF MY TEACHER by Temari Matsumoto, the creator of KYO KARA MAOH! and SHINOBU KOKORO, also comes out in October. CAUSE OF MY TEACHER is a collection of short stories featuring romance with a variety of cute couples. As a special bonus, this volume includes an extra story from the world of SHINOBU KOKORO.

November releases include LIBERTY LIBERTY by Hinako Takanaga, the creator of A CAPABLE MAN, LITTLE BUTTERFLY, CHALLENGERS, THE DEVIL’S SECRET and many more fan favorites! In LIBERTY LIBERTY, a young man named Itaru drunkenly falls into a trash heap, from which he is saved by a camera man. When Itaru breaks his rescuer’s video camera, he feels guilty. So Itaru decides to help pay off the debt—but he’s far from helpful at all!

MIKANSEI NO. 1 also comes out in November, from the creator of ST. LUNATIC HIGH SCHOOL and CODE GEASS: LELOUCH OF THE REBELLION. MIKANSEI NO. 1 introduces us to a girl born just a little ahead of her time: She lives in the 23rd century, but loves the 21st century! Luckily for her, she finds a mysterious object that sends her back to our time and right into the spotlight!

With December comes the holiday season and three new manga stories. THIS UGLY YET BEAUTIFUL WORLD, by GAINAX and Ashita Morimi and based on the hit anime, follows a high school boy who finds and befriends a mysterious girl emerging from a cocoon.

Next is MADNESS by Kairi Shimotsuki, the artist of SENGOKU BASARA RANSE RANBU based on the hit video game DEVIL KINGS. MADNESS is set in 3000 A.D., when mankind has been nearly destroyed by natural disasters. Only a pretty young priest and a mass-murderer can save the world—and only if they team up!

.HACK//ALCOR by Rena Izumibara and Takashi Tanegashima, the artist of .HACK//GNU, continues the .hack series from its main story .HACK//GNU. .HACK//ALCOR takes place in the online game “The World” and follows Nanase, a shy player who belongs to a newbie-helping guild in order to get closer to the guild master, on whom she has a major crush. But will love get in the way of her ability to save her friends when they are targeted by player-killers?