While a scheduling snafu from Sakura-Con's organizers left a roomful of fans confused about a VIZ Media panel that never happened on Friday at Sakura-Con, Broccoli Books marketing coordinator Johnathan Kung dutifully used his Friday Industry Panel time-slot as an opportunity to show off Broccoli's four latest and upcoming manga titles for 2008.
"Cute" seems to be the recurring theme for these new releases, as each features sweet and charming female lead characters in a variety of comedic and dramatic situations.
- Koi Cupid by Mia Ikumi - March 28, 2008 To become a cupid, the rules are simple: Don't socialize with your targets. Don't consort with the enemy. Practice your archery every day. Koi, Ai and Ren are three super-cute cupids in training, competing to get their certification, but somehow find ways to break the rules and get into trouble!
- Nui! by Natsumi Mukai - May 28, 2008 From the creator of +Anima comes a new series about a young girl who loves her plushies so much, they come to life! According to Khung, this series will have its share of bishonen (pretty boy) eye-candy, along with the fantasy adventure too.
- Sola by Naoki Hisaya and Chaco Abeno - June 18, 2008 As Khung described it, Sola is "a damn good anime from 2007 -- everyone in Japan loves it!" The manga version of Sola is a 2-volume series about a cute vampire, but with a quirky twist. Matsuri is an immortal girl who cannot go out into the light, and has lived a life of solitude for hundreds of years. When she meets human high school student Yorito, she makes her first friend in ages. Trouble is, Matsuri is also the target of a mysterious sword-wielding man named Takeshi and by befriending Matsuri, Yorito is now also in danger.
- Honoka Level Up by Akiyoshi Ohta and Matsuda98 - July 2008
A young girl who likes to draw gets hired by her uncle to work as a character designer at a game company. As Honoka gets more experience and learns about the ins and outs of the game industry, she "levels up" for the next challenge.
Author Ohta has extensive experience in the Japanese video game industry, so Honoka Level Up is notable for its realistic depiction of what it's like behind the scenes in the gaming industry, along with being very, very cute.
Image credit: © MATSUDA98 / Akiyoshi Ohta