On the heels of a rocky Spring for the manga industry comes some good news on the radar: The first wave of titles from Kodansha USA Publishing’s manga line hit shelves May 10. Kodansha USA (KUP) is a subsidiary of Kodansha, Japan, the company that produced such classic manga as Ghost in the Shell, Akira, and Sailor Moon, and current Japanese best-seller Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin). A reprinting of Akira by KUP has been ongoing since last year, but the bulk of series for the 2011 year and beyond will be seeing their first sales in May and June. Kodansha’s 2011 list includes titles brand new to the States, re-releases of classic favorites (with new translations), and the continuation of existing series, such as Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei, and Shugo Chara!
Also be on the lookout for KUP’s logo on the book spines: It’s an upside-down yellow triangle with the name of the company inside. (Darkhorse’s is a tall rectangle, and Viz has a horizontal rectangle.) You may notice, however, that some titles will have the Del Rey ovals and the KUP logo on the top and bottom of the binding. This combined logo indicates titles that Kodansha is continuing from Del Rey’s releases.
Be sure to check out the new titles debuting this month:
Air Gear vol. 18, by Oh!Great
Negima!? Neo vol. 7, by Ken Akamatsu (Final volume)
* Negima! Omnibus Reissue vol. 1, by Ken Akamatsu
* Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney vol. 1, by Kenji Kuroda and CAPCOM
* Monster Hunter Orage vol. 1, by Hiro Mashima
Some other notable releases in the coming months include the debut of Bloody Monday, in August, an 11-volume title billed as having the emotional stakes and beautiful art of Death Note. September will see the launch of collectors’ classics Love Hina and Tokyo Mew Mew omnibuses (including new translations), the years-long-awaited Sailor Moon (with new translation), and never-before-released-Stateside Sailor Moon: Codename V.
Whatever type of manga read is your favorite, there’s probably something for you in this new line, with fantasy, sci-fi, school-life, detective, action/adventure, and philosophic all available. The men and women of Kodansha USA probably celebrated (or breathed a sigh of relief) on May 10, and if you, fellow reader, happen to do a dance of joy, I salute you. Either way, summer may shape up to have brighter days for manga fans than spring did.
* Indicate new series.
** Disclaimer: The writer of this article is an intern at KUP. She tried to think of a witty statement to reassure you all that she’s being as neutral as possible, but couldn’t. The lawyers would like to let you know, however, that she is writing this article as a manga fan, wholly aside from the position in the company. (Though working there did give a +1 to her research skills.) No kittens were harmed in the making of this article.