This year’s Kodansha industry panel at New York Comic Con introduced a variety of newly licensed manga series spanning across multiple genres, coming to bookstores near you next year - complete with teaser trailers. In addition to introducing these new titles, and promoting a few ongoing ones, seinen Yasuyuki Mimura, the Japanese editor of Inuyashiki and Devil's Line, gave a brief talk, speaking about what it’s like to work with manga-ka.
Ten newly licensed series were presented at the convention in total. Action-fantasy titles were represented by Fairy Tail; Rhodonite and Regarding My Reincarnation as a Slime. Fresh and intriguing shoujo titles appeared to make up a good chunk of the newly licensed manga, including, Kigurumi Defense Squad, Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight, Waiting for Spring, Love and Lies, and Wake up Sleeping Beauty. However, three titles in particular seemed to stand out as the most unique among the bunch, which are highlighted below:
Frau Faust by Kore Yamazaki:
A josei reimagining of the classic german legend of Faust. In this version of the tale, Faust is a woman - and quite a cool one at that. While the series won’t be released until 2017, no version of Faust would be complete without demons, and that alone with the rarity of a translated josei title is enough to put this series on the radar.
Land of the Lustrous by Ichikawa Haruko:
This already has gained a Japanese following. It takes place in a world that is populated by a race of Gemstone people. However, two of the gemstones don’t quite fit in with the rest. The beautifully drawn, unique fantasy world that Ichikawa has crafted is enough to pique one’s interests, and makes it a title to watch in 2017.
Ahogaru: Clueless Girl by Hiroyuki:
A comedy about just that - a girl who is totally clueless. What makes this title worthy of remark is that it is a four panel comic - a format that is quite uncommon in popular titles. With good comedy manga translations being few and far between, Ahogaru is certainly one to watch.
Attack on Titan Anthology:
In addition, Kodansha promoted a number of its ongoing and presently licensed series, but the standout among those was the Attack on Titan Anthology - a collaboration between Hajime Isayama and a host of award-winning western comic book artists. The preview showed at the panel was nothing less than spectacular, and the book is sure to be a must-have for fans of the series. A limited edition NYCC version was on sale at the convention and the anthology will be available to the public on October 18th, 2016.
At the end of the panel, Yasuyuki Mimura spoke briefly about the trials and tribulations of working as an editor with famous manga artists such as Takehiko Inoue (Vagabond, Slam Dunk) and Moyoco Anno (Sakuran, Happy Mania) - and how sometimes the job demands more than just editing. He told the crowd through a translator on Thursday, “It’s the artist’s job to give birth to the manga, but it’s the editor’s job to be beside them through the process.”
It’s no secret to anime fans - if you want a forecast as to what the next big hit series will be, you need look no further than the top selling manga charts. This is because if a manga does well enough, it is often animated. In fact, many of the most popular anime got their start on pen and paper. Even if you’re not a fan of reading, this article may still be relevant to you - after all, the next time you see some of these titles may be on your TV screen. All in all the Kodansha panel was an informative window into the world of manga, and what the coming year holds for the stateside branch of the publisher!