Welcome to the inaugural edition of Shinbun Saturday, a weekly round-up of recent manga news and other tidbits of interest!
VIZ Media celebrates Sailor Moon at Anime Expo
If you’re at Anime Expo this weekend, be sure to check out the Sailor Moon-related programming put on by VIZ. Not only are the English voice cast members special Guests of Honor, there will be giveaways and a scavenger hunt. In addition, the company is also celebrating the 10th anniversary of their Shojo Beat imprint. Taking part in the festivities is Julietta Suzuki, mangaka of Kamisama Kiss, which is about a down-on-her-luck human girl who becomes an earth god. And if you’re looking to fill out your Shojo Beat collection, The Right Stuf is currently running a sale until July 9.
Also, Naruto light novel series continues this fall with two more installments. The Naruto manga may have ended last year, but fans have been treated to a wealth of new material via six epilogue novels known as Naruto Hiden. While the Naruto Hiden series concludes this month, the franchise will be getting two more novels later this fall about the Uchiha brothers, Itachi and Sasuke. This is timely, since Naruto‘s sequel manga mini-series, Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring—which focuses on Sasuke’s daughter and her desire to meet her long-absent father—ends on July 6. And as an added bonus, next month will see the publication of a light novel about Naruto’s mentor, Jiraiya.
When East Meets West: Creative Exchange Between Japan and the Mad Max franchise
Fans of the Mad Max franchise, and especially its latest installment Fury Road, may not know that once upon a time there had been an anime film in the works. While the plans were ultimately scrapped, the anime’s character designs found new life in Fury Road. On the video game side of things, Metal Gear series developer Hideo Kojima was heavily inspired by the Mad Max movies. George Miller, creator of the films, is famously quoted for saying, “If you can, make a movie that can be enjoyed in Japan without following the subtitles, because film is a visual media. You don’t need to explain everything.” Looks like he succeeded!
Jordanian artist wins manga award
Jordanian creator, Amani Badran, recently won the bronze award of the 8th International Manga Award. The award honors artist who’ve contributed to the promotion of manga outside of Japan. Last year, three hundred and sixteen entries from forty-six different countries were received.
Attack on Titan continues its march toward sociocultural saturation
Attack on Titan has proven to be one of the biggest manga titles to come out in recent years, partially explained by how it taps into present-day Japanese sociopolitical anxieties. But when you have sales that cannot be ignored, you know companies are going to take advantage. The most recent partnerships with the juggernaut franchise include an anti-drug campaign and a pharmaceutical company’s line of eye drops. Viva commercialism!
Universal signs distribution agreement with FUNimation
The deal will find FUNimation’s entire video library available for distribution in North America. Titles such as Dragonball Z, Attack on Titan, and Tokyo Ghoul are among FUNimation’s more popular offerings, and their widespread availability—along with smaller niche titles—is likely to please manga and anime fans alike.
FUNimation cracks down on copyright and trademark infringement
In other FUNimation news, the company sent ripples through the fan community by issuing a formal statement about its stance on copyright and trademark issues. The gist of it is that if you’re a fan artist selling fan art of FUNimation-licensed work in an Artist Alley (an issue of copyright), you’re probably fine. Fan art is considered a transformative work and falls under fair use. But FUNimation must protect its trademark rights, because if they don’t, they could lose their license under U.S. law. This means logos and brand names are off limits. As for the Dealer’s Room, all bets are off. FUNimation intends to enforce both its copyright and trademark rights there. The timing of the statement is interesting, since it came at the start of Anime Expo. Time will tell how FUNimation plans to put these intentions into practice.
English Persona 4 manga coming to North American bookstores
Video game fans might just find themselves stopping by their nearest comic book shop later this fall after UDON Entertainment’s announcement of the English translation and release of the Persona 4 manga. Based on the PS2 game, the first volume will be released in September, and succeeding volumes will land on shelves twice a month.
Age of Ultron isn’t going to be the only new Marvel release in Japan this July. Mangaka Komiyama Yusaku will be publishing a one-shot manga titled Avengers: Age of Ultron Episode 0 on July 1, leading up to the release of the film on July 4. Fans can find the one-shot in the 31st issue of Shonen Magazine.
New Japanese monthly magazine set to launch later this month
Shueisha, publisher of Weekly Shounen Jump, announced that it would be launching Jump SQ. Crown on July 17. The news caught fandom attention, because it teases new material from Katsura Hoshino, the mangaka of D.Gray-man, which has been on hiatus since 2013. Does this mean we’ll be seeing exorcist Allen Walker back in action? Guess we’ll find out in a couple weeks!