After cutting their fancy manga cake to celebrate their fifth anniversary, Del Rey Manga had a few gifts to share with fans at their New York Anime Festival panel last week. For starters, they announced three new shojo manga titles, including new series from fan-favorite artists Natsumi Ando (Kitchen Princess), Michiyo Kikuta (Mamotte! Lollipop) and Ema Tooyama (Pixie Pop).
Then they had good news for fans of Rave Master. TokyoPop recently announced that they were not going to continue publishing this 35-volume series by Hiro Mashima last month, after only publishing up to Volume 32. Barely a few weeks later, Del Rey Manga picked up the ball, and confirmed that they will be publishing the final three volumes of Rave Master in a single omnibus edition in September 2010.
Here's more details on the new releases spotlighted at the panel, and when you can expect to see them at a bookstore or comics shop near you.
NEW SHOJO MANGA FOR 2010: YOKAI, TWINS AND YOUNG LOVE
The three shojo manga titles announced at Del Rey Manga's panel are all by artists who should be familiar to fans of Del Rey's prior releases.
Yokai Navi Runa by Michiyo Kikuta - May 2010
From the creator of Mamotte! Lollipop comes a new supernatural fantasy series about a magical girl.
Runa grew up in an orphanage, with only a bracelet as a keepsake from her mother. When a mysterious pair try to steal Runa's bracelet, she comes to discover the supernatural powers that are in the bracelet and the mystery that ties this now valuable artifact to her past.
Here I Am by Ema Tooyama - Fall 2010
For those who prefer shojo romances that are more tied to the everyday world, Here I Am (Koko ni Iru Yo) offers a story that's "very sweet and realistic," said Del Rey Manga Editor Trisha Narwani. "It's about a shy girl trying to find herself as she falls in love for the first time."
Hikage is a shy, somewhat reclusive 8th grader who finds solace in her blog and the comments that readers leave for her there. One day, she catches the attention of two of the most popular boys in school, and discovers that she's not as 'invisible' to others as she thinks.
Arisa by Natsumi Ando - November 2010
Kitchen Princess is one of Del Rey Manga's most popular shojo series; one that "sold more and more with each volume," said Narwani. "We receive more fan mail for Natsumi Ando than any other artist," added Mutsumi Miyazaki, Del Rey's Director of Licensing. So it stands to reason that they'd bring fans more stories from Ando-sensei.
Arisa is a story drawn and written by Ando (compared to Kitchen Princess, which was written by Miyuki Kobayashi), and it's a bit darker than the cooking manga that everyone loves, but perhaps has the drama that will keep her fans happy.
"It's completely different than Kitchen Princess," said Miyazaki. "It's a more serious shojo manga with a mystery surrounding a suicide attempt by a twin sister."
Tsubasa and Arisa are twin sisters who have lived apart for the past few years due to their parents' divorce. When they are reunited, the pair decide that it might be fun to trade places and experience life at each other's schools. But things take a darker turn when Arisa attempts suicide after finding a mysterious letter -- and Tsubasa discovers that there are things about Arisa's school and Arisa herself that her sister hasn't bothered to share.
RAVE MASTER AND SAMURAI DEEPER KYO RETURN, CODE: BREAKER DEBUTS
When TokyoPop announced that Kodansha had pulled the license for Rave Master (a.k.a. Groove Master Rave) , many fans were disappointed. With only three more volumes to go in this long-running series to go, it seemed unfair to leave fans hanging.
But Del Rey Manga confirmed what many had hoped -- they will be picking up the license to publish the remaining three volumes of Rave Master, and will be doing it in a 3-in-one omnibus edition, similar to how they're handling the last few volumes of Samurai Deeper Kyo, another long-running Kodansha series that was once published by TokyoPop. This new omnibus edition will be available in September 2010.
This move was not entirely a surprise, since Del Rey Manga is currently publishing Mashima-sensei's current series, Fairy Tail, but nevertheless a welcome addition to their 2010 line-up.
With this new omnibus edition of Rave Master due out in 2010, along with two omnibus editions of Samurai Deeper Kyo due in November 2009 and June 2010, covering the last four volumes of this 38-volume series, I had to ask, does Del Rey Manga have plans to reprint the prior 34 volumes of Akimine Kamijyo's action / fantasy series in this omnibus format?
Del Rey Marketing Director Ali Kokmen had this to offer in response: "We're monitoring the situation. If you and your friends buy hundreds of copies of Samurai Deeper Kyo, we may re-release the rest." Okay, that puts the ball squarely back in the fans' court! Next!
Speaking of Akimine Kamijyo, the Del Rey Manga crew also reminded fans that they'll be publishing Kamijyo-sensei's current series Code: Breaker in December 2010.
Code: Breaker is "one of our biggest series next year," said Narwani. Compared to Samurai Deeper Kyo, Code: Breaker is set in contemporary times, not feudal Japan -- but it sounds like it has some of the same mix of action and supernatural twists, with a touch of comedy.
Code: Breaker refers to Oogami, a mysterious high school boy who is a "code:breaker," a vigilante who lives outside the realm of everyday humanity to mete out his own brand of supernatural justice. His classmate Sakura sees him in action one day, and decides that she's going to help him change his cold-blooded ways.
COMING SOON: ORIGINAL BEN 10 AND BAKUGAN GRAPHIC NOVELS
As part of their partnership with Cartoon Network, Del Rey Manga will be adding new Ben 10 and Bakugan Battle Brawlers comics to their line-up in 2010. While prior releases of Ben 10 and Bakugan comics were similar to "ani-manga" or full color screenshots from the animated series formated in comic format, these new editions will be original comics stories written and drawn just for Del Rey Manga.
- Ben 10 Alien Force: Doom Dimension by Peter David and Dan Hipp - February 23, 2010
Cartoon Network's junior monster master gets his own original graphic novel, courtesy of scribe Peter David (credits include Star Trek, Spiderman and Fantastic Four comics) and artist Dan Hipp (GYAKUSHU!).
- Bakugan Battle Brawlers by Nunzio DeFillipis, Christina Weir and Kriss Sison - March 23, 2010
For these original Bakugan stories, Del Rey enlisted writer team Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir (New X-Men: Academy X, Destiny's Hand and Amazing Agent Luna ) and teamed them up with Kriss Sison (Last Hope) to put their spin on this series about a group of kids who control and battle magical monsters.
AND NOW, THE EVER-POPULAR Q & A SECTION OF OUR PROGRAM
After completing their new manga announcements, the Del Rey Manga crew opened up the floor for some questions from the audience.
Q: I noticed that the cover for the U.S. edition of Moyasimon is very different than the Japanese version. Will the other volumes also have unique covers?
Mutsumi Miyazaki: "Yes, we will continue to do new cover art for the American editions."
- Q: Do you have a release date set for Faust Volume 3 yet?
Mutsumi Miyazaki: "We haven't decided yet."
- Q: How about Kasumi Volume 3?
Trisha Narwani: "We have no plans to publish Kasumi Volume 3."
- Q: Will Del Rey Manga have a booth at more conventions in 2010?
Ali Kokmen: "We'll be at San Diego Comic-Con and New York Comic-Con. We may do other shows."
- Q: Who would win in a caged fighting match between Del Rey Manga, VIZ Media and Yen Press?
Ali Kokmen: "Forget cage fighting -- I'd like to see Gonzalo Ferreyra (VIZ Media Marketing honcho) vs. April Flores (Del Rey's PR maven) in a karaoke face-off! What about wrestling between Dallas Middaugh (Del Rey Manga's Associate Publisher) and Kurt Hassler (Yen Press' Publishing Director)!"
And on that note, the Del Rey Manga panel was concluded. So which Del Rey Manga title has got you most excited to read in 2010? Add your comments below, or check out the rest of the new and noteworthy manga spotlighted at NY Anime Festival.
Image credit: © Michiyo Kikuta, © Natsumi Ando, © Ema Tooyama, © Hiro Mashima, © Akimine Kamijyo