SDCC wasn’t quite the same licensing bonanza as Anime Expo, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a couple major items of note. The biggest manga news to come out of the con is that Udon Entertainment licensed The Rose of Versailles. North American manga publishers tend to shy away from licensing classic manga, so many people assumed we’d never see this influential series in English. Before we take this as a sign of changes in the industry though, I have to point out that Udon Entertainment is known more for their video-game related properties than for standalone manga series. But if The Rose of Versailles does well for them, maybe the bigger North American manga publishers will take note and follow suit with more classic manga licenses!
On the award side of things, Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi received the Inkpot Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to comics, science fiction and fantasy, film, TV, and animation.
And the Attack on Titan machine continues: Kodansha announced at its SDCC panel that the English edition of volume 16 will feature a variant cover by Tony Moore, the artist of The Walking Dead. A fitting choice since FUNimation calls this series The Walking Dead with giants.
More manga, more Tezuka
Speaking of classic manga, Digital Manga has great news for Osamu Tezuka fans! Not only did its Storm Fairy Kickstarter fully fund, it reached both stretch goals! That means DMI will be publishing Storm Fairy and reprinting Unico and Crime and Punishment — three more titles from the enormous catalog of this important mangaka.
Barnes & Noble gets pop-cultured about manga
A week after announcing that their retail stores would be expanding their manga and graphic novel sections, B&N will be hosting Manga Mania in stores on July 19. They promise giveaways, activities, and special events — including a buy 2, get 1 free sale. If you’re looking to round out your manga collection, here’s your chance!
The Chinese Zodiac returns
Fruits Basket fans, rejoice! A special collector’s edition is coming out this fall and to commemorate the occasion, Natsuki Takaya is launching a short sequel series called Fruits Basket another! The manga takes place after Tohru has graduated from high school and focuses on a new heroine. New chapters will be released online at the HanaLaLa website every Friday, starting September 4.
Shaman King‘s mangaka moves on
Kodansha plans to launch a new bimonthly magazine in September called Shonen Magazine Edge. And none other than Hiroyuki Takei, creator of Shaman King, is drawing their lead series, Nekogahara. Maybe this will lessen the blow of Takei having to cancel his appearance at next weekend’s Otakon.
Famed anime director weighs in on politics
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s politics may have influenced Attack on Titan, but other industry figures aren’t so pleased with his moves to reinterpret the constitution. In a one-hour news conference, Hayao Miyazaki criticized Abe’s plans to build a military base on Okinawa, revise the Japanese constitution, and reactivate the country’s nuclear plants. Miyazaki’s opinions shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with his work and its recurring themes, in particular Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Princess Mononoke.