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Anime Expo 2010: Closer Look at 18 New VIZ Media Manga

By July 9, 2010

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Sakura Hime Kaden Vol. 1VIZ Media Marketing Director Candace Uyloan and Editor Mike Montesa were on hand at Anime Expo 2010 in Los Angeles last weekend to showcase lots of new and cool coming attractions in anime, manga, art books and novels from this San Francisco-based publisher.

Besides shining a light on some noteworthy Fall 2010 releases, Uyloan also announced a few new manga licenses for 2011, including two new titles from superstar shojo manga creator Arina Tanemura (creator of Gentlemen's Alliance Cross and Full Moon),  and new series from Mayu Shinjo (creator of Sensual Phrase) and Izumi Tsubaki (creator of The Magic Touch).

For Fall 2010, Uyloan featured upcoming shonen manga releases including Cross Game, a heart-wrenching baseball manga by Mitsuru Adachi (creator of H2 and Short Program) from Shonen Sunday and Genkaku Picasso by Usamaru Furuya, a adventure series about a boy who has supernatural drawing abilities from Shonen Jump.  Speaking of Shonen Jump, Uyloan also announced the U.S./Japan simulcast of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, a new anime series based on the Shonen Jump manga series Nurarihyon no Mago.

Also new and intriguing was March Story, a new VIZ Signature release about demons who dwell in works of art and the hunters who try to protect humanity from being possessed by them.

Anime ExpoHere's a closer look at some of the new and cool VIZ Media manga releases, art books, novels, anime and events announced at Anime Expo for Fall/Winter 2010 through mid-2011.

SHOJO BEAT

Now that Gentlemen's Alliance Cross has wrapped up, it seems like a good a time as any to introduce two new titles for 2011 from shojo manga-ka Arina Tanemura. Tanemura was VIZ Media's guest at San Diego Comic-Con in 2007, and it looks like she took back some inspiration from her trip to the U.S. and added it to one of her stories. (Here's my interview with Tanemura-sensei from Comic-Con 2007)

  • Mistress Fortune (Zettai Kakusei Tenshi Mistress Fortune) by Arina Tanemura - February 2011
    Mistress FortuneIn this one-shot story, 14-year old Kisaki is a teen girl with psychic powers. So naturally, she works for a government agency that battles aliens. It's dangerous work for a teen, but Kisaki likes it just fine because she gets to work closely with Giniro, her co-worker and secret boyfriend.

    Kisaki and Giniro must keep their relationship on the down-low because if their supervisors ever find out, the young couple will be separated. Kisaki gets an opportunity to transfer to the U.S. office to battle aliens that are residing in Mount Shasta. Will Kisaki leave Japan for Giniro's sake?

    This one-shot story was originally featured in Ribon magazine, and according to Uyloan, it includes scenes set in San Francisco (the home of VIZ Media) as well as  VIZ Media editor Nancy Thistlethwaite making a 12-page appearance as a minor character in the story.

  • The Legend of Princess Sakura (Sakura Hime Kaden) by Arina Tanemura - April 2011
    Sakura is the descendant of Kaguya, the moon princess of Japanese fairy tale fame. She's been told since she was young to never look at the moon. But her curiosity gets the better of her, and one day she does indeed gaze upon the moon. By doing so, she has made it easy for demons to find her. Now Sakura must learn to wield the magic sword that she can pull out of her palm to protect her friends from the demons.

    Oresama Teacher Vol. 1The Legend of Princess Sakura is the latest series from Tanemura-sensei. It's currently serialized in Ribon magazine, and three volumes of the graphic novel series have been published in Japan to date.

  • Oresama Teacher by Izumi Tsubaki - March 2011
    From the creator of The Magic Touch comes a story about a tomboy/juvenile delinquent teen who's trying to turn over a new leaf at her new school. "She's trying to act super feminine and sweet, but there's a teacher who's confusing her..." said Uyloan.

    Oresama Teacher is currently featured in Hakusensha's Hana to Yume (Flowers and Dreams) magazine. To date, there are eight volumes of the series published in Japan.

  • Ai Ore! (Love Me!) by Mayu Shinjo - May 2011
    From the creator of Sensual Phrase comes a story that adds a gender-bending twist to the usual high school romance.

    Ai Ore! Vol. 1Akira Shiraishi is a teen boy with feminine features, so he's kind of the "princess" at his all-boy school. Mizuki Sakurazaka is a handsome, androgynous girl who is the "prince" of her all-girl high school. While a series of comical incidents and their shared love of music brings this unlikely pair together, the preconceptions of their classmates conspire to keep them apart.

    Ai Ore! was first published in Shogakukan's Shojo Comic a.k.a. Sho-Comi magazine as Ai wo Utau Yori Ore ni Oborero! (roughly translated, Deeply in Love, I Sing!), which ran as a 5-volume series. The story continued as Ai Ore! in Kadokawa Shoten's Asuka magazine, where it is serialized today, and is up to four volumes. The VIZ Media / Shojo Beat edition of Ai Ore! will include both series.

Also spotlighted at this panel were four previously announced Fall 2010 Shojo Beat releases including:

SHONEN JUMP

As expected, VIZ didn't make too many new Shonen Jump title announcements at Anime Expo because they traditionally save it for their panel at San Diego Comic-Con later this month. But they did showcase an intriguing new Fall 2010 title from "one of Japan's most esteemed avant-garde comic artists".

  • Genkaku Picasso Vol. 1Genkaku Picasso by Usamaru Furuya - November 3, 2010
    For fans of indie/artsy manga, Usamaru Furuya should need no introduction. He's the creator of Short Cuts a VIZ / Pulp release from back in the day, and Palepoli, which was featured in the Secret Comics Japan anthology. Now Furuya-sensei ventures into shonen manga land, with a supernatural tale with an artistic twist.

    Hikari Hamura is nicknamed "Picasso" because of his artistic abilities. He survives a horrible accident, but his friend Chiaki isn't so lucky. Chiaki appears to Hikari and tells him that he must help people with his supernatural drawing skills.

    Genkaku Picasso is a three-volume series that was originally featured in Jump SQ magazine (home of Rosario + Vampire Season II and Tegami Bachi). You'll be able to preview Genkaku Picasso when it's featured in the September 2010 issue of Shonen Jump magazine.

Here are the other new and noteworthy Shonen Jump releases for Fall 2010 that were mentioned at this panel:

  • Bakuman by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata - August 3, 2010
  • Color Bleach by Tite Kubo - August 10, 2010
  • Naruto Illustration Book by Masashi Kishimoto - November 3, 2010

SHONEN SUNDAY

No new announcements for 2011 releases on the Shonen Sunday front, but it was good to get more info about these new Fall 2010 releases.

  • Cross Game Vol. 1Cross Game by Mitsuru Adachi - October 12, 2010
    From the creator of H2 and Short Program comes a coming-of-age sports manga story with lots of slice-of-life humor and heart-wrenching drama.

    Ko lives down the block from a family of four sisters whose family owns the nearby batting cage facility. As he works at his family's sporting goods store, Ko finds that his life is forever entwined with the Tsukishima sisters through baseball.

    Cross Game is currently being serialized online on ShonenSunday.com and episodes of the Cross Game anime series is currently being streamed for free at VIZAnime.com. The first volume of Cross Game will be a 3-in-1 omnibus edition for $19.99, and subsequent volumes will be 2-in-1 volumes for $14.99.

  • Kurozakuro by Yoshinori Natsume - November 9, 2010
    Kurozakuro Vol. 1From the creator of Togari and Batman: Death Mask comes a 7-volume series about a boy who gains a gift of supernatural strength, but it comes at a cost that he never expected.

    Mikito Sakurai is targeted by the bullies at his school, and he's sick of being picked on. Then one night, Mikito meets a mysterious boy who asks him, "What is your greatest wish?" Mikito asks for strength, so he can beat up the bullies. Sure enough, he wakes up the next day, and he's stronger -- but Mikito will soon enough discover that he has also awakened something sinister inside himself.

    "It looks cute and friendly, but it's actually quite dark," said Uyloan.

  • Itsuwaribito (Itsuwaribito Utsuho) by Yuuki Iinuma - December 14, 2010
    Once, Utsuo was a boy who was honest and truthful, to a fault. When his truth-telling leads to a terrible tragedy, Utsuo vows to only tell lies -- but "good lies" that help people out in unexpected ways.

    Itsuwaribito is an ongoing series currently featured in Shonen Sunday magazine in Japan. To date, four volumes of this shonen manga series have been released.

VIZ SIGNATURE / SIG IKKI

Uyloan and Montesa showcased two Fall 2010 releases from the VIZ Signature imprint of graphic novels for grown-ups: one originally published in Sunday GX magazine (home of action-packed fare like Black Lagoon and Jormungand) and the other from avant-cool anthology IKKI (home of Children of the Sea and Afterschool Charisma).

  • House of Five Leaves (Saraiya Goyou) by Natsume Ono - September 21, 2010
    House of Five Leaves Vol. 12010 is definitely the year of Natsume Ono, as far as VIZ is concerned. So far this year, they've released not simple and Ristorante Paradiso, with Gente (the sequel to Ristorante Paradiso) due out in August 17, 2010. Now the fourth Natsume Ono title will hit the shelves in September: House of Five Leaves.

    In a departure from the more contemporary settings of her other releases, Ono set House of Five Leaves in the era of the samurai. The story focuses on a down-on-his-luck masterless samurai named Masanosuke Akitsu. Masanosuke is a bit naļve, so he's constantly getting fired. When he's near rock-bottom, he meets Yaichi, the charismatic leader of a gang of outlaws called the Five Leaves. Masanosuke gets hired to be Yaichi's bodyguard, and then, as they say, his troubles really begin.

    The manga version of House of Five Leaves is currently serialized online at SigIkki.com. FUNimation is also streaming episodes of the anime version of House of Five Leaves online for free, so check it out!

  • March Story by Kyuing-il Yang and Hyung-min Kim - October 19, 2010
    March Story Vol. 1When you look at the cover for March Story, you might be lulled into thinking that it's kind of cute and pretty. Guess again. As Uyloan described this Shonen GX title, "it's got some demented stuff in there." Uyloan also added, "The creators are Korean, but this is manga -- make no mistake, it's created in Japan."

    This supernatural seinen manga story is set in a fictionalized version of 18th Century Europe, where demons called "Ils" take up residence in beautiful works of art, such as jewelry, paintings or sculptures. When unsuspecting innocents pick up these possessed objet d'art, their emotions of hate and fear become amplified to the point where they become killing machines.

    Protecting humanity from the Ils is the duty of the Syste Behard, a group of hunters who seek out these cursed artworks, try to save the cursed souls who pick them up and if necessary, destroy them both if they have to. March is one of the hunters of the Syste Behard, and as March Story eventually reveals, he has his own reasons for taking up this dangerous profession.

    Montesa is the editor for March Story, so he had this to share about this new series:

    "It's done by the same artist who did Blade of the Phantom Master (Shin Angyō Onshi) for Sunday GX, although with a different writer. Kim, the artist also draws a series in Shonen Sunday called Defense Devil. So he does a weekly series for Shonen Sunday, and March Story is a quarterly feature. It's very beautifully done. The art is some of the most impressive that I've seen."

You can check out more of the new manga coming soon for Fall in the 2010 VIZ Media New Manga Preview Gallery. I'll be updating and posting these titles and more soon!

So which new VIZ Media title are you most looking forward to reading? Add your comments below!

Image credits: © Arina Tanemura / SHUEISHA, ©Izumi Tsubaki / HAKUSENSHA, © Mayu Shinjo / SHOGAKUKAN, © GENKAKU PICASSO © 2008 by Usumaru Furuya/SHUEISHA Inc., CROSS GAME © 2005 Mitsuru ADACHI / Shogakukan, © Yoshinori Natsume / SHOGAKUKAN, SARAIYA GOYOU © 2006 Natsume ONO/Shogakukan, MARCH STORY ©2008 Hyung Min KIM, Kyung Il YANG/Shogakukan

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