U.S. anime distributor and manga publisherBandai Entertainment has acquired the licenses to two more Code Geass manga, allbased on the popular alternate history SF anime series that features characterdesigns by CLAMP. CodeGeass: Lelouch of the Rebellion Knights is a 5 volumeanthology of original stories about the male characters of the series while Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion Queenscovers thefemale characters of the series. Queensis also a five volume series and will debut in June of this year. Knights will debut in May.
Knights and Queens join Bandai'sthree other manga series in this franchise CodeGeass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, CodeGeass: Suzaku of the Counterattack, and CodeGeass: Nightmare of Nunnally, as well as a two volume light novel series, Code Geass Novel Stage 0"Entrance" and Novel Stage1 "Shadow". Bandai Entertainment has long overseen the Code Geass brand in NorthAmerica, and started publishing the manga series in 2008.
Bandai is marketing the Queens and Knights books as his-and-hers titles, with Queens geared towards the male fanbase and subtitled The Official Manga Anthology for Boys, and Knights geared towards the female demographic, subtitled The Official Manga Anthology for Girls. However, as Napton sees it, none of this precludes either camp from purchasing or taking an interest in either book. Fans posting on the website, Anime News Network, have commented on the book covers, saying "So this is the yaoi and yuri side of [Code Geass] or something?" and "I'm guessing there are going to be a lot of fan service scenes." As one fan puts it "Think of this like a soft-core doujinshi (self-published manga) aka shoujo-ai (girls love) and shounen-ai (boys love) subtext."
Director of sales and marketing at Bandai,Robert Napton, says that both the anime series and the manga have done verywell for the company. Volume three of the manga Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion recently climbed its way ontothe New York Times graphic novels bestseller list.
Napton attributes the success and continuedinterest in the series to the strong storyline and the character designs whichwere conceived by manga ensemble, CLAMP. "It's got a political aspect toit," says Napton of the narrative.In Code Geass, the western superpowerBritannia (a threadbare veiling of the United States) invades and occupiesJapan. The island nation is renamed "Area 11" and the Japanese are newly dubbed"11's." Titular character Lelouch of Britannia becomes an unlikely leader ofthe resistance while his childhood friend, Suzaku, joins the Britannian army."It's a struggle between a dominating empire [and the resistance] and the storyof these two boys, Lelouch and Suzaku," Napton says. "Lelouch is the classic anti-hero." The personalizedmilitary narrative, the flawless beauty of the two boys, and the mecha (giantrobots), offers fans "the best of everything" as Napton puts it.
In other Bandai news, the company willrelaunch their Eureka 7 manga, the seriesthat launched the company's publishing venture in 2006. The six volume Eureka 7 series will be printed as twovolumes in a new oversized format, collecting three volumes in one. Napton saysthat both the Eureka 7 manga andanime have done well for the company. In addition, this month, Bandai will also releasethe Blu-Ray/DVD of the new feature length, animated movie, Eureka 7: Good Night, Sleep Tight, Young Lovers.