Newly launched Kodansha Comics was on hand at the Kinokuniya Bookstore in New York City this past weekend to announce its Summer list of new manga properties as well as which series they will take over from their former licensee Del Rey Manga. Kodansha Comics plans to publish new stories based on Shirow Masamume’s acclaimed Ghost in the Shell series and will continue publishing such former Del Rey Manga series as Air Gear, Fairy Tails and Negima!.
Kodansha Comics is the manga publishing line of Kodansha USA Publishing, a new U.S. based publishing division of the Japanese publishing house Kodansha, which set up offices in the U.S. in late 2009. In October 2010, Kodansha announced that Kodansha Comics will takeover most of the manga licenses being published by Del Rey Manga, the Random House imprint launched in 2003 to publish Japanese comics in the U.S. market, and publish them directly into the U.S. with distribution by Random House Publisher Services. As part of the deal, Del Rey Manga associate publisher Dallas Middaugh will shift his duties over to the distribution side and work with Kodansha as part of Random House Publisher Services.
Kodansha Comics’ announcements were made as part of Kinokuniya’s all-day Holiday Anime and Manga Day. Kodansha USA Publishing general manager Kumi Shimizu and David Yoo, an editor at Kodansha Comics, were both on hand along with Middaugh, who announced both the new Kodansha Comics properties and let the fans know which series formerly published by Del Rey will continue under its new imprint. Middaugh announced about 12 new properties and the continuation of 10 former Del Rey licenses—among them. Air Gear, Arisa, Fairy Tail, I AM Here!, Negima and The Wallflower—that will now be published by Kodansha. Kodansha will also continue publishing, Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei, Shugo Chara!, Ninja girls and Negima?! Neo.
New Kodansha properties include: A new series based on the anime of the acclaimed sci-fi epic Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex series that will be adapted by Yu Kinutani; Monster Hunter Orage by the creator of Fairy Tails, Hiro Mishima, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney by Kenji Kuroda and Kazuo Maekawa, Animal Land by Makoto Raiku, the creator of the hit manga series Zatch Bell, and Gon by Masashi Tanaka, the story of a tiny ferocious dinosaur loose in today’s world, that was previously published by CMX.
Other new properties include a Rave Master Omnibus edition, Deltora Quest by Makoto Niwano, Until the Full Moon by Sanami Matoh, a supernatural boy-turns-into-girl story, Mardock Scramble, a sci-fi tale by Yoshitoki Oima, Bloody Monday by Ryou Ryumon and Kouji Megumi, a sci-fi/hacker thriller, Cage of Eden by Yoshinobu Yamada and an omnibus release of the first three volumes of Negima!, Ken Akamatsu’s popular harem manga parody of Harry Potter.
Middaugh said these releases covered the summer list. Kodansha’s fall list was still under consideration. Most Kodansha series will be published every other month and Kodansha Comics will launch its own website early next year. He said he could not comment on the possibility of digital publishing initiatives at Kodansha Comics. And he said that two popular CLAMP series, Tsubasa and xxxHolic, will continue to be published by Del Rey, which will continue to publish conventional western graphic novels as well as some manga. Indeed, Middaugh said that Del Rey is likely to continue to publish some of the backlist manga licenses taken over by Kodansha until those licenses run out in a year or two.