Junker Woland

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

San Diego Comic-Con 2010 – The Licensing

Another year, another Comic-con in the beautiful sun-drenched city of San Diego (I was there last November and, man, does Fred’s Mexican Café make a mighty fine Margarita). Of course, Comic-Con is all about those paperbound, spandex-wearing champions of justice, and the money-generating movies they inspire, but that doesn’t mean us anime and manga fiends don’t get thrown a few bones. Since coverage of such tends to be spotty, here’s a rundown of the newly announced licenses at last week’s show. (Note: unless explicitly stated, all titles are manga.)

- Tales of the Abyss (anime)
- Turn A Gundam (anime)
- Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maiden

Considering their often delayed titles and stench of death emanating from the company as of late, it was surprising to see Bandai hit San Diego, not only with new licenses, but new anime. Of their offerings, Turn A Gundam is probably the most significant. This 50-episode TV series originally airing in 1999, and the last Gundam show directed by series creator Yoshiyuki Tomino, will finally make its long-overdue debut in the US. And the Kannagi manga, inspiration for the similarly titled anime (which is already available in the US), is another decent acquisition that should please many fans—I just hope Bandai does a better job with this one than they did on the Lucky Star manga, with its poor English localization and cheap paper.

Vertical Inc.
- Lychee Light Club, by Usamaru Furuya

Vertical, one of my favorite publishers, came a bit light to San Diego, only announcing Lychee Light Club, a somewhat gory and extreme single-volume manga from Usamaru Furuya (Sadly, another anticipated series by Furuya, 51 Ways to Save Her, was announced at last year’s Comic-con by DC Comics' CMX Manga division, which has since been shuttered.)

Top Shelf
- Cigarette Girl, by Masahiko Matsumoto

I’m not familiar with the work or the author, but Top Shelf is a classy publisher, so the book should be worth a look, at the very least.

Yen Press
- High School of the Dead, by Daisuke Sato and Shoji Sato
- UraBoku (Betrayal Knows My Name), by Hotaru Odagiri
- Otoyomegatari, by Kaoru Mori
- Higurashi: When They Cry Demon Exposing Arc, by Ryukishi07 and En Kitou

I do so love Yen Press. UraBoku and the next Higurashi installment are solid, fan-friendly additions, but what has me really excited are Otoyomegatari, the new series by Kaoru Mori (of A Victorian Romance Emma fame) and High School of the Dead, a zombie-survival manga with an ample supply of tits-n-ass, from writer Daisuke Sato and artist Shoji Sato (best known for his erotic doujinshi created under the pen-name Inazuma).

(For those more animatedly inclined, Sentai Films has already licensed the High School of the Dead anime for US distribution…now lets just hope we get the show on Blu-ray.)

Drawn and Quarterly
- NonNonBa, by Shigeru Mizuki
- Onwards Towards Our Noble Deaths, by Shigeru Mizuki

D&Q has on offer two works from Shigeru Mizuki, best known as the creator of GeGeGe no Kitaro. While I can’t profess any knowledge of the two aforementioned series, given that they’re from the renowned Mr. Mizuki and the care D&Q pays to all their meticulously chosen titles, you can bet both will be great books.

- Sakura no Ichiban!, by Yuna Kagesaki
- Pavane for a Dead Girl, by Koge-Donbo
- Keppeki Shounen Kanzen Soubi, by Touya Tobina

And, rounding things out is Tokyopop. The only thing I can really say about their titles is I like Koge-Donbo, she created Di Gi Charat, so, yeah…

And finally, while it wasn’t announced at the San Diego Comic-Con, Sentai Films licensed CANNAN, a 13-episode series conceptualized by Type-Moon, the company that created the massively popular Tsukihime and Fate/Stay Night franchises.


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