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TokyoPop Announces Ratman, Movie Manga and New Yaoi

By October 4, 2009

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Ratman Vol. 1For their third TokyoPop Insider webcast, Senior Editor Lillian Diaz-Pryzbyl and Marketing Manager Kasia Piekarz opted to broadcast the show live from their panel at New York Anime Festival 2009 at Jacob K. Javits Center, New York City. While they had their share of technical glitches, they persevered and presented 13 new manga titles, showed video clips and answered questions from fans who were there in person and watching the show from the Internet.

TokyoPop's new manga announced for 2010 could probably be summed up in three groups:

  • New original graphic novels with movie tie-ins
  • New Japanese manga titles, including a few from some fan-favorite artists
  • New boys love / yaoi manga titles from TokyoPop's BLU imprint

Here's a closer look at these coming attractions, plus some of the questions and answers from that day's session.

NEW GRAPHIC NOVELS INSPIRED BY MOVIES
TokyoPop is based in Los Angeles, and in keeping with its proximity to Hollywood, they announced three new graphic novels with direct ties to big screen coming attractions.

  • Shutter IslandShutter Island by Dennis Lehane and Christian De Metter - January 5, 2010
    Illustrated by French artist Christian De Metter and based a novel by Dennis Lehane (author of Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone), Shutter Island is a full-color one-shot graphic novel that will be released in January to coincide with its big screen version. Shutter Island is directed by Martin Scorsese and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, so look for lots of promo mojo to accompany this release.

    Shutter Island is a mystery / suspense story set in 1954, when U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his partner Chuck Aule are sent to Shutter Island to find a mass murderer who has escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane. With a hurricane bearing down on the pair and their prey, the marshals must piece together clues that hint at sinister experiments, as their investigations take them to the razor's edge between sanity and madness.

    See more of what's in store by visiting the official Shutter Island movie website.

  • The Cabin in the WoodsThe Cabin in the Woods based on the film by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard - February 5, 2010
    For fans of Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the name Joss Whedon needs no introduction. Whedon joined forces with Drew Goddard (Writer of Cloverfield and several episodes of Lost, Alias and Angel) to create their own brand of horror film.

    As Piekarz described the story, "young kids go to a cabin in the woods and all kinds of crazy stuff ensues." But before you dismiss it as just another screamfest, Diaz-Pryzbyl added, "it takes horror film cliches and puts a new spin on it."

    This original graphic novel is set in the world of the film, but will come out after the movie hits theaters because "it's full of spoilers," said Diaz-Pryzbyl. "Everything else is super hush-hush for us!" You can see a sneak peek of sketches from this graphic novel at TokyoPop.com, or visit the official movie website to get a taste of what's in store.

  • Priest: PurgatoryPriest: Purgatory by Cory Goodman, Min-Woo Hyung - July 1, 2010
    Now that the movie version of Min-Woo Hyung's manhwa is in the works, TokyoPop is working on a one-shot graphic novel to accompany the film's release in Summer 2010.

    Set in the future, Priest: Purgatory is "a completely original story that ties together the original story and the movie," said Diaz-Pryzybyl. "We're hoping to get the scriptwriter for the movie to work on this."

    Sony Pictures has a website for Priest up -- but no content yet, so if you're keen to keep up on what's going on with this movie, sign up for updates at the official movie website.

Also featured in the presentation was sneak peeks of new volumes of stories based on the universe created by Jim Henson. The second volume of Legends of the Dark Crystal and the fourth volume of Return to Labyrinth are both scheduled for August 2010. You can get a sneak peek at sketches from these books at TokyoPop.com.

A few fans asked about the current status of the Van Von Hunter movie that TokyoPop founder Stuart Levy filmed on location at New York Anime Festival 2008. Word is the project is still in the works, and there's plans for a preliminary screening sometime soon.

RATMAN, .HACK AND NEW OLD MANGA FROM NATSUKI TAKAYA
While they're clearly excited about their movie graphic novel projects, TokyoPop also had a few interesting manga announcements for NYAF fans, including some new titles by creators of fan-favorite titles, and a title that promises a hefty dose of fanservice fun.

  • Songs and LaughterSongs and Laughter by Natsuki Takaya - May 1, 2010
    Now that Fruits Basket is complete, TokyoPop is offering fans a little more from its creator, Natsuki Takaya. Songs and Laughter is a one-shot compilation of "really charming" stories created earlier in Takaya-sensei's career.

  • Fruits Basket Fanbook: Banquet - May 11, 2010
    The last Fruits Basket fanbook, Cat gave fans tidbits and character insights from volumes 1 through 15. Now Banquet gives fans even more behind-the-scene tidbits, trivia and background info about the climatic events that took place from Volumes 16 through 23.

    Also for Fruits Basket fans, TokyoPop announced that the 5th volume of Fruits Basket Ultimate Edition will be out in June 2010.

  • .hack//Link.hack//Link by CyberConnect2 and Megane Kikya - August 10, 2010
    Yet another installment in the ever-popular .hack franchise -- but this time, it's "super cute!" said Diaz-Pryzbyl.

    .hack//Link is set three years after the popular video game The World was shut down. Hardcore player Tokio Kuryuu can't wait for The World R:X to come out, but he forgets to reserve a copy and can't get access to the virtual game-playing world. Then a mysterious classmate gives him access to The World, but he must be her servant.

  • Ratman by Sekihiko Inui - May 2010
    Ultimo and the X-Men aren't the only manga-superhero comics combos out there. Sekihiko Inui, the creator of Comic Party and Murder Princess puts his own hilarious / action-packed manga spin on superheroes in this new 4-volume series. Ratman about a high school guy who gains superpowers thanks to some medical experiments gone awry. Will his new powers help him win the heart of the girl of his dreams, or will his numerous encounters with bumbling super-villains make him regret his transformation?

  • Qwasar of Stigmata vol. 1Qwasar of Stigmata by Satou Kenetsu and Yoshino Hiroyuki -August 10, 2010
    From the creator of MY-HiMe comes a fantasy adventure series that's so bodacious and outrageously sexy, it's getting slapped with an "M-Mature" rating.

    In the near future, the church has created superhumans called Qwasars who control the elements. Oribe is a high school girl who has been on the receiving end of more than her share of torment from her classmates -- so why is she in the middle of a dark war being waged by the Qwasars to control a Romanov-era religious artifact?

    So what makes this series so sexy? Well, mostly because many of the Qwasars have superpowers and super-sized bosoms, and how they use them in combat is... well, you'll just have to pick it up to find out -- provided you're over 18, of course.

  • Seekers Vol. 1Seekers by Erin Hunter, Dan Jolley and Bettina Kurkoski - February 9, 2010

    Following in the pawprints of the successful Warriors series about a tribe of feral cats, TokyoPop will be releasing a 3-volume series based on another Erin Hunter novel series. Instead of cats, Seekers follows the adventures of a trio of bears. Each volume focuses on one of the three bears featured in the series.

  • Warcraft: Mage by Richard A. Knaak, artist TBA - June 7, 2010
    With Warcraft: Death Knight already on the schedule for December 2010, TokyoPop is working their way through the various classes in this virtual world. Mage starts in June 2010, to be followed by Shaman later in 2010.

    Piekarz also noted that the upcoming Warcraft magazine that'll hit the newsstands in October / November 2009 will feature Warcraft comics too, by a mystery artist/writer team. "You will go mad-crazy when you find out who they are!"

Also mentioned in the presentation was updates on upcoming volumes of D.N.Angel. After waiting a long while for D.N.Angel Volume 12, fans will be glad to know that they won't have to wait long for Volume 13, as it's scheduled for release in December 2009.

But what about D.N.Angel Volume 14? "It's not out yet in Japan," replied Diaz-Pryzbyl. "We're waiting for Yukiru Sugisaki to get going again."

MORE NEW BOYS LOVE MANGA TO LOVE FROM BLU

TokyoPop already announced a few new boys love manga titles at their first TokyoPop Insider event, but this time around, they gave yaoi manga fans a lot to look forward to with five new titles for their BLU boys love imprint to come in 2010:

  • CroquoisCroquis by Hinako Takanaga - February 10, 2010
    From the creator of Little Butterfly and Liberty! Liberty! comes a one-shot collection of short stories. The title story is about an art student and a model and the various misunderstandings that get in the way of their relationship.

    Even four months after they become a couple, Nagi and Kaji haven't done more than kiss. Nagi (the model) starts to wonder if Kaji (the art student) can't fully accept having a relationship with another man, but is it that, or some other secret that Kaji has yet to reveal?

    "Takanaga's manga one of my personal faves," raved Diaz-Pryzbyl. "This story is pretty and so cute!"

  • Blood HoneyBlood Honey by Sakyou Yozakura - March 2, 2010
    Vampire mania isn't just for shojo manga fans -- boys love manga also has its share of blood-sucking fun, as evidenced by Blood Honey, a "supernatural romantic comedy" about a vampire and a male nurse, who take their blood donation drives to a different level.

  • Love Knot by Lemon Ichijo - April 6, 2010
    Yet another collection of boys love short stories, featuring a romance between two classmates, and twins who share a taste for cute guys and double-dating.

  • Cute Demon by Hiro Madarame - May 11, 2010
    A bespectacled straight-A student deals with feelings that are anything but "straight" as he gets a declaration of love from a very hot and somewhat aggressive classmate who doesn't take 'no' for an answer.

  • Love Story on an Isolated IslandLove Story on an Isolated Island (Sakoku Renai) by Duo Brand -June 8, 2010
    In this murder mystery romance, dead bodies are washing up on the shore of an isolated island. Aki is determined to find the murderer, but he finds himself distracted by a Kyuga, a mysterious and handsome stranger whose seductive ways has Aki turned inside out. But Aki starts to wonder: Are Kyuga's feelings sincere, or just a ruse to distract him from his investigation?

    Noting the somewhat awkward translation of the title, Diaz-Pryzbyl noted that "This title will get a slight tweak before we release it next year."

Besides announcing new manga for 2010, TokyoPop had other surprises for New York Anime Festival fans. Attendees who showed up at the panel were given a packet of Maru-chan ramen with a sticker encouraging fans to go to www.tokyopop.com/ramenflavor to vote on their favorite ramen flavor to win a TokyoPop tee. But that's not all. Word is that the November edition of TokyoPop Insider will reveal more about the ramen -- so stick around, there's more noodle fun ahead. In the meantime, see TokyoPop's resident otaku Rui sing the praises of ramen.

DomoThe other fun surprise? Domo stickers in the Javits Center bathrooms reminding con-goers to wash their hands and keep their "unchi" to themselves. (FYI, "unchi" = poo). Domo recently made his debut at 7-11, with limited edition Slurpee cups and straws featuring the roaring brown one. See what you'll find at your local 7-11 at this TokyoPop.com article.

The rest of the panel was devoted to Q & A -- with a lot of questions about the status of TokyoPop titles that were fielded by Diaz-Pryzbyl.

  • Manga Sutra Vol. 1Q: Will there be more volumes of Manga Sutra?
    A: "We did four volumes and we were scheduled to do a fifth volume -- but even if we do, it will seem to end abruptly because there's 30 volumes in the series. We tried to do something a little different with it so it would be more than just your usual etchi (adult / sexually explicit) manga. It wasn't terribly successful and it was expensive to produce. It will still get out there eventually, but maybe not in the deluxe format."

  • Q: Regarding the Scrapped Princess light novels, if you aren't going to publish more of them and are planning on dropping the license, will another publisher pick it up?
    A: "Novels are particularly interesting challenge. They are five times more expensive to produce than manga, mostly due to the translation cost. All in all, they have not been hugely successful in the US market; it hasn't taken off like we'd like them to."

    "Now as far as releasing licenses, we don't buy a whole license series at once -- we tend to do it in smaller batches. It gets complicated politically when you talk with publishers in Japan about not continuing their 'beloved' series."

  • Q: Will you be publishing Saiyuki Gaiden?
    A: "We hope so -- but that's something we've been actively pursuing for quite a while. Meanwhile, expect to see latest volume of Saiyuki Reload in 2010."

  • Q: What percentage of your books are original material versus licensed material?
    A: "Right now, it's about 15-20%. It was a slightly smaller when we made cutbacks -- now it's pretty stable."

  • Kingdom Hearts 1 Q: Any plans to continue to publish Kingdom Hearts?
    A: "We'd love to, but Disney is a pain to work with, to be frank. I wouldn't expect to see more of that from us." (But given that Disney has recently made moves to acquire Marvel Comics), "it'd be crazy if it ended up in the Marvel imprint!" she added.

  • Q: What about Demon Flowers Volume 5?
    A: "Ooh, that's a good question. I'll look into that. Thanks for asking!"

Missed this edition of TokyoPop Insider? Check out TokyoPop's YouTube channel for the video trailers shown at this edition, and perhaps later, watch this edition of TokyoPop Insider for yourself.

You can also sign up for the Roboblast newsletter so you can find out first about the next TokyoPop Insider webcast.

The next TokyoPop Insider webcast is scheduled for Thursday, October 29, at 4:30 pm PST, and will feature a special guest appearance by Tsuneo Goda, the creator of Domo!

See the rest of the new and noteworthy manga announced at NYAF '09. So what do you think? Which new TokyoPop manga are you most looking forward to reading in 2010? Add your comments below, and stick around -- there's more slightly belated manga news from NYAF to come.

Image credits: © Sekihiko Inui, © Dennis Lehane and Christian De Metter, © 2009 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., © Min-Woo Hyung, © Natsuki Takaya, © Satou Kenetsu and Yoshino Hiroyuki, © Erin Hunter / HarperCollins, © Hinako Takanaga, © Sakyou Yozakura, © Hiro Madarame, © Katsu Aki, © Shiro Amano, The Walt Disney Company, © NHK-TYO; animation © DPC

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