Sunday was Yen Press' turn to show off what's new for 2009 at New York Anime Festival 2008, and judging by the enthusiastic fan reaction in the room, the barely year-old publisher did not disappoint. Co-Publishing Directors Kurt Hassler and Rich Johnson and crew announced two new manga series from Japan, two new manhwa titles from Korea and one new light novel series. They are:
Hero Tales (Jushin Enbu) by Huang Zin Jhou and Hiromu Arakawa - October 2009
The marquee announcement was the addition of Hero Tales (Jushin Enbu), the latest series drawn by Hiromu Arakawa (the artist behind Full Metal Alchemist) and written by Huang Jin Zhou (which is essentially a pen name for a group comprised of Arakawa, anime studio Genco and another group called Studio Flag). This series, which is currently running in Square Enix's GanGan Powered magazine is based on Chinese folk tales. Look for this start being serialized in the pages of Yen Plus magazine soon.
Spice and Wolf ( Ōkami to Kōshinryō) novel by Isuna Hasekura, Illustrations by Ju Ayakura - December 2009
The Yen Press gals wore tails to the panel to give fans a hint of their next announcement, but many were caught by surprise to hear that Spice and Wolf from Media Works was the next addition to Yen Press' fiction line-up.
According to Assistant Editor Tania Biswas, the basic plot of Spice and Wolf centers around a harvest goddess who has a wolf's ears and tail. When she is neglected by her village, she then opts to hit the road with a traveling merchant to learn more about the world that she's not seen while living in her village for many years.
Welcome to Wakaba-Soh (Yokoso Wakaba Soh e) by Chako Abeno - June 2009
From the artist behind sola comes a solo effort currently serialized in Manga Time Kirara MAX magazine from Houbunsha. Houbunsha is also the same company that gave Yen Press Sunshine Sketch, so look for more of that cute cute cute comics about cute girls that guys like too. My notes on this title is a bit lacking, but from what I gathered, it's about a girl and a guy and some kind of complicated relationship they get into. If anyone caught more about the plot, add your comments below, or just wait until I ask the Yen Press folks for more details later.
13th Boy by SangEun Lee - June 2009
This shojo manhwa title from Korea's Haksan Publishing is about a girl who's unlucky in love. How unlucky? After confessing her love for a guy on a TV show, she later gets dumped in a humiliating way. After 12 failed attempts to find a boyfriend who will be truly in love with her, will her 13th boy be the charm?
Sugarholic by GooGoo Gong - June 2009
As Senior Editor JuYoun Lee introduced this new manhwa, "If you love Korean dramas, you'll enjoy this one." And sure enough, it does sound like a classic set up for an Asian TV soap. A girl from a small town moves to the big city, where she runs into an old friend who just happens to be a rock star. When she also meets a millionaire who has his eyes on her, a love triangle is formed where she must choose between her famous friend and a man who can give her a life of pure luxury.
The rest of the panel was all about giving away copies of the soon-to-be released debut volume of The Melancholy of Harushi Suzumiya manga. At one point, this giveaway practically started a riot as some fans passionately pled for a chance for a free copy. I won an extra one when I answered a trivia question about their first release, With The Light. I gave my extra Haruhi manga to an attendee who glomped me like I never have been before. Whoever you are happy person, you're welcome.
It's also worth noting that the Yen Press crew genuinely look like they have a lot of fun doing these panels, and they seem to have a knack for picking new titles that come with a lot of fan recognition and enthusiasm right out of the gate, both of which is really nice to see.
So that's it for the new manga announcements from NY Anime Festival! I'll be posting photos soon, along with a few other panel reports soon, so hang 'round for more.
Image credit: © Huang Zin Jhou, Hiromu Arakawa / SQUARE ENIX; © Chako Abeno / Houbunsha