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Kodansha announces ‘Attack on Titan: Colossal Edition’

attack on titan-colossal editionKodansha Comics will release an omnibus edition of Attack on Titan, Hajime Isayama’s popular dystopian fantasy.

Called Attack on Titan: Colossal Edition, the 1,000-page book will collect the first five volumes in a 7-inch by 10-inch format (the original size). Priced at $59.99, it’s set to arrive in stores on May 27.

Debuting in 2009, the manga is set in a world where humanity is forced to live in walled cities to protect itself against grotesque people-eating giants known as Titans. The story centers on three youths who vow revenge following the destruction of their hometown by one of the creatures.

Attack on Titan sold 15.9  million copies last year in Japan alone — it was second only to One Piece — and has made significant inroads into the North American book market, placing five volumes in the Nielsen BookScan Top 20 for September.

Twelve volumes have been released to date in Japan, and 11 in North America.

Takehiko Inoue’s ‘Vagabond’ goes on four-month hiatus

vagabond-v35Takehiko Inoue’s acclaimed samurai adventure will go on a four-month hiatus from Kodansha’s Morning magazine while the artist devotes his time to research and other matters. Anime New Network reports the manga will return June 19.

Debuting in 1988, the series is a fictionalized account of the life of late 16th/early 17th-century Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. Earning the Kodansha Manga Award and the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize, the title has sold more than 22 million copies worldwide.

The 34th volume will be released in March in North America by Viz Media.

Vagabond previously was placed on an 18-month hiatus, beginning in September 2010 and ending in March 2012, because of Inoue’s ongoing health issues. He continued to work on his basketball manga Real, which is released at the more leisurely pace of about one volume per year.

Morning International Manga/Comics competition is no more

A drawing by rem (Priscilla Hamby), co-winner of the first Morning International Manga Competition

A drawing by rem (Priscilla Hamby), co-winner of the first Morning International Manga Competition

When I reported the other day on the winners of the Japanese government’s manga competition, it reminded me there was another international manga contest, the Morning International Manga Competition.

I wasn’t the only one who wondered what had happened to the contest, as someone posted the question on the Tumblr of the manga publisher Vertical. The answer, which I assume came from marketing director Ed Chavez, was that it’s no longer being held. As a translator for the contest, Chavez has a bit of perspective on why that is:

Knowing many of the judges and many of the people from MORNING personally, it was a tough decision for them but the results that came from the project while improving were not ideal for collecting talents that would be successful in Japan AND work for a unique seinen magazine like MORNING.

Sadly, globally manga is generally seen from the perspective of shonen and shojo, and mainly titles like Naruto or Rurouni Kenshin. MORNING is a magazine that publishes Peepo Choo, Drops of God, Chi’s Sweet Home, Giant Killing, and St Young Men. MORNING readers want to read titles like that. And MORNING editors want to work on titles like that.

In fact, in the fourth year of the competition, the judges renamed it, changing “Manga” to “Comics.” As they explained at the time,

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Viz Media to roll out ‘Dragon Ball’ full-color editions

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Viz Media is bringing Akira Toriyama’s classic adventure manga back to North America in full color beginning next week with the release of the appropriately named Dragon Ball Full Color, Vol. 1

Printed in a larger format (6 5/8 inches by 10 1/4 inches), the new editions actually start well into the long-running series, with the first volume of the material that forms the basis of the Dragon Ball Z anime.

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Seven Seas to publish ‘Dance in the Vampire Blund’ doujinishi collections

dance-in-the-vampire-bund-omnibusSeven Seas Entertainment is expanding upon its Dance in the Vampire Blund license with the release of two collections of material originally produced for Comiket, the biannual doujinshi fair in Tokyo.

Available for the first time to the general public, Dance in the Vampire Bund: Forgotten Tales and Dance in the Vampire Bund: Secret Chronicles include what the publisher bills as “lost material” from series creator Nozomu Tamaki, containing “brand-new artwork and sides stories that expand the mythos like never before.”

Dance in the Vampire Bund centers on Mina Tepeş, princess-ruler of all vampires, who ends centuries of isolation for her kind with the creation of the Bund, a special district for vampires off the coast of Japan.

Arriving in June, the 192-page Forgotten Tales includes previously uncollected manga, plus bonus material. Secret Chronicles, meanwhile,features 280 pages of previously unpublished canonical short stories from Tamaki himself, plus more bonus material. It’s scheduled for release in October.

‘Attack on Titan’ comes to life in terrifying Subaru TV ad

attack-on-titan-subaru

Hajime Isayama’s dystopian manga Attack on Titan is as unstoppable as its human-eating giants, selling 15.9  million copies last year in Japan alone — it was second only to One Piece — buoyed by the popularity of the television anime. It’s infiltrated the North American book market, too, placing five volumes in the Nielsen BookScan Top 20 for September. The are also Attack on Titan video games and a light novel, not to mention the live-action adaptation in development by director Shinji Higuchi.

If you’re curious how the grotesque Titans will translate to the big screen, Higuchi provides a sneak peek in this incredible TV commercial for the Subaru Forester, which has been has racked up more than 6.5 million views since its debut Friday on YouTube.

One of Japan’s top special effects supervisors, Higuchi is best known for his work on the Gamera trilogy. Attack on Titan is scheduled for release in 2015.

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Preview | Takeshi Obata’s adaptation of ‘All You Need Is Kill’

WSJ2014_01_11_CoverKeiji Kiriya, the hero of All You Need Is Kill, is a rookie soldier who’s killed in his first battle but can’t stay dead: Each time he dies, he comes back to the same moment and relives it. With mankind locked in a battle with killer aliens, Keiji uses his strange reincarnation to train himself to be a super-soldier and save humanity.

All You Need Is Kill started out as a light novel, written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and illustrated by alt-manga artist Yoshitoshi ABe. Now it’s back as a manga, adapted by Takeshi Obata, who is well known to English-language readers as the artist of Hikaru No Go, Death Note and Bakuman.

The manga launched on Saturday and is being serialized simultaneously in Viz Media’s digital magazine Shonen Jump and the Japanese Weekly Young Jump. Shonen Jump is kicking it off with a special Obata-theme issue that features chapters of Hikaru No Go and Bakuman as well as the first chapter of All You Need Is Kill.

And there’s more All You Need Is Kill on the way: The novel forms the basis for the film Edge of Tomorrow, starring Tom Cruise, which will be released this summer, and Viz, which published the light novel and is publishing the manga, is also producing an original graphic novel based on the story.

We talked to Alexis Kirsch, the editor of the English edition of the manga. We also have a preview of the manga, which is available in this week’s Shonen Jump.

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Exclusive | Fantagraphics to publish ‘Massive’ anthology of gay manga

massive-new coverNext fall, Fantagraphics will publish Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It, featuring stories by an array of well known Japanese manga creators, many of whom have never been published in English before.

Massive was originally slated to be published by PictureBox, but the company closed its doors at the end of 2013 and Fantagraphics acquired the book as part of its queer comics line. Translators Anne Ishii and Graham Kolbeins and designer Chip Kidd will remain on the book at its new home; the three also worked on The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame, a collection of gay manga that PictureBox published last year to great acclaim.

The creators whose work is represented in the book are Gengoroh Tagame, Jiraiya, Seizoh Ebisubashi, Kazuhide Ichikawa, Gai Mizuki, Takeshi Matsu, Fumi Miyabi, and Kumada Poohsuke.

We talked to Ishii and Kolbeins about their work and the gay manga genre in Japan and the United States.

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Shuho Sato to adapt ‘Ender’s Game’ as manga

Shuho Sato's preliminary sketch for his Ender's Game manga

Shuho Sato’s preliminary sketch for his Ender’s Game manga

Manga creator Shuho Sato is drawing a manga “inspired by” Orson Scott Card’s novel Ender’s Game. It’s not clear whether this is an authorized version, but the first chapter will appear on Sato’s website, Manga on Web, on Jan. 11, a week before the movie premieres in Japan.

The impending release of the movie seems to be creating a bit of a stir in Japan, as the a new translation of the novel was published this year, and Disney is exhibiting at the massive doujinshi event Comiket for the first time ever to promote the film.

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Dan Brown to make manga debut as super-powered detective

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Although Dan Brown already has one fictional alter ego in the form of Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code protagonist Robert Langdon, the bestselling author will soon have a second — one with superpowers: Anime News Network reports he’s set to become a character in Kafuka Asagiri’s manga Bungō Stray Dogs (Literary Stray Dogs).

When Brown was asked to appear in the book, he replied “I’ve always wanted to be mangafied.”

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Newspaper ads, digital retrospective mark ‘One Piece’ milestone

one piece-adPublisher Shueisha Inc. took out full-page ads in The New York Times and The China Times to celebrate One Piece‘s position as the bestselling manga of all time, with more than 300 million copies in print in Japan, and 345 million worldwide.

According to The Japan Times, the company launched a similar campaign across that country on Nov. 1, when the 72nd volume of the pirate adventure was released.

Illustrated by One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda, the ads proclaim, “Hey, World, This Is The Manga!” U.S. readers are directed to Viz.com, the website Viz Media, for “free previews and more.” (The San Francisco-based company is jointly owned by Shueisha, Shogakukan and the latter’s licensing division ShoPro Japan.)

Viz is marking the milestone with a free digital retrospective that features an interview with Oda, a gallery of the manga’s first 69 covers, color artwork, and a new One Piece chapter from Japan’s Weekly Shonen Jump.

“One Piece has achieved something very significant, and the sales milestone speaks to the strong international appeal of the enduring characters and gripping story that Eiichiro Oda created that are universally loved in multiple countries by millions of fans of all ages,” Andy Nakatani, editor-in-chief Weekly Shonen Jump, said in a statement. “The continuing spread of digital technology will bring these action packed high-seas adventures to even more readers.”

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First glimpse of Hayao Miyazaki’s new samurai manga

Miyazaki at the drawing board

As we noted last week, legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki may have left the world of anime, but he hasn’t retired entirely. Instead, Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki revealed he’s working on a samurai manga, set in the Sengoku (Warring States) period of Japanese history. And on Monday, Japan’s NHK broadcast a first look at Miyazaki’s progress.

Miyazaki actually drew his first manga, Puss in Boots, in 1969, but he is best known for his seven-volume Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, which Viz Media recently reprinted as a two-volume boxed set; the first part of the story was the basis for his film of the same name.

Suzuki previously said last week that Miyazaki regards drawing as his “stress relief”; the manga will run in a magazine and that Miyazaki is doing it for free. Here’s a look at the work in progress:

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‘Sherlock’ TV series getting second manga adaptation

sherlock-v1Just a week after PBS revealed a U.S. premiere date for the third season of Sherlock, word surfaces that the drama’s manga adaptation is poised to make a return in Japan’s Young Ace magazine, drawn again by “Jay.”

According to Anime News Network, the announcement will be made official on Saturday, with an interpretation of the television series’ second episode, “The Blind Banker,” set to debut Dec. 4. An adaptation of the first episode, “A Study in Pink,” launched in October 2012, and was collected in book form just two months ago.

The modern-day Holmes and Watson, played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, have been the subjects of countless boys-love fan comics since the show premiered in 2010. However, there’s no slash fiction here; it’s a straightforward adaptation.

Owned by Kadokawa, Young Ace is a seinen (young men’s) magazine that’s serialized such manga as The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Legal Drug.

The third season of Sherlock premieres Jan. 19 in the United States with “The Empty Hearse,” followed by “The Sign of Three” and “His Last Vow.”

Japanese school board lifts restrictions on ‘Barefoot Gen’

Barefoot_Gen_volume_oneA Japanese school board has reversed its decision to restrict student access to Barefoot Gen, Keiji Nakazawa’s autobiographical story about a 6-year-old boy who survived the Hiroshima bombing.

Although the manga’s removal from Matsue City elementary and middle-school library shelves had drawn widespread criticism, Reuters reports the board claims the policy change is because of procedural problems with the way the previous directive was issued.

On Dec. 17, the schools superintendent ordered Barefoot Gen pulled, with students only permitted to read it with permission from a teacher, following a complaint about the book’s depiction of violence by Imperial Japanese Army troops (many Japanese nationalists deny troops committed any war crimes during World War II). However, the board insisted the decision was based strictly on the level of violence in the manga, and not on the political nature of the complaint.

Still, Reuters reports the outrage over the manga’s removal echoes increasing concerns about the conservative agenda of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s to reframe the nation’s wartime history “in less apologetic colors.”

Nakazawa’s widow Misayo told the Japanese media last week, when news of the restriction first circulated, that she was shocked by the move. “War is brutal,” she said. “It expresses that in pictures, and I want people to keep reading it.”

Nakazawa died in December at age 73.

Artists say goodbye to Shogakukan building with ‘graffiti rally’

Shogakukan1

What’s undoubtedly my favorite item of the day arrives courtesy of writer and retailer Chris Butcher: With the 46-year-old Tokyo headquarters of Shogakukan set to be demolished in September, the manga publisher called on artists from across the country to send off the nine-story building in style.

More than 20 creators gathered Aug. 9 for the “Big Graffiti Rally,” where they drew some of their most famous characters on the walls — which will be nothing but rubble in a matter of weeks. Among the artists were Kazukiho Shimamoto, Naoki Urusawa, Fujiko Fujio and Masami Yuki.

According to Japan Daily Press, the building will be replaced by an earthquake-proof structure. See some of the photos below, and even more at JDP, The Huffington Post and RocketNews24.

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