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Vertical, Inc., is probably the smallest manga publisher in North America right now, but it’s also the most interesting, with a smart, quirky line that encompasses titles as diverse as Felipe Smith’s Peepo Choo, the cute cat manga Chi’s Sweet Home, Keiko Takemiya’s science fiction classic To Terra, and Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha. They had just one license to announce at Comic-Con International, but it’s an intriguing one: Lychee Light Club (Litchi Hikari Club) by Usamaru Furuya. Viz had announced another Furuya title, Genkaku Picasso, at Anime Expo on July 3. CMX Manga had planned to publish Furuya’s 51 Ways to Save Her but the imprint was shut down by parent company DC Comics before the book was released. Viz published his two-volume gag manga Short Cuts, and his work ran in the early manga magazine Pulp and the anthology Secret Comics Japan, according to Baka-Updates.
The plot of Lychee Light Club sounds like a mashup of manga elements with a few twists thrown in: The students at an all-boys school create a robot to track down beautiful women, a robot that for some reason runs on lychee fruits. Everything gets complicated when the machine develops self-awareness, however, and stops being quite so compliant.