Last week, Digital Manga Publishing announced that it was re-licensing Erementar Gerad, which was originally published in North America by Tokyopop under the name Elemental Gelade. This move took manga fans by surprise, but as you will read below, Digital would like to re-license more older works—and they want to hear suggestions from fans.
No matter what you call it, this series is a fine fantasy story about a sky pirate, Cou, and an Edel Raid (a supernatural creature that can unite with a human to become a living weapon) named Ren. Together with three companions, they set out on a journey to a fabled land of gold, but kidnappers and other obstacles spring up along their way. The series ran to 18 volumes in Japan, but Tokyopop only released 12 in English. There is also an anime and a sequel, Erementar Gerad -Flag of Blue Sky-.
When I heard the news, I fired off an e-mail to Digital Manga with some questions and got responses from Digital president Hikaru Sasahara, vice president of production Fred Lui, and vice president for sales and distribution Yoko Tankgaki. Here's what they have to say about this latest license rescue.
MTV Geek: Why this series—how did you know there would be a demand for it? And what makes it special?
HIKARU: We often heard outcry over this title and figured people longed for it.
FRED: It always makes us feel good about sending our rescue boat.
YOKO: We are very excited about this title! For now, this book is for digital publishing only and we may look into print edition later if there is enough demand. We may use Kickstarter program for it.
MTV Geek: When will it be released?
FRED: It will be released by mid-March, pending licensor approval. We will be releasing volumes 1 through 7 initially, subsequent volumes in the following months.
MTV Geek: Will you release it a chapter or a volume at a time?
FRED: Will be released volume at a time.
MTV Geek: What is the release schedule?
FRED: Solid release schedule has not been determined yet but we are looking into releasing 1 volume every 45 days or so. We are also prepping an official PR for this, will contain detailed information on release dates and localizers information as well- so fans, please stay tuned!
MTV Geek: Who is doing translation/localization?
HIKARU: Up to volume 12, we’ll be using the translated materials that TOKYOPOP worked on.
FRED: From volumes 13 and on, we will be looking for all positions: translators, editors & letterers from our DMG [Digital Manga Guild] pool.
YOKO: We haven't assigned anybody yet and we'll probably start looking beginning mid March.
MTV Geek: Are you looking to do this with other series?
HIKARU: Oh, absolutely! My licensing team is diligently looking for more titles. We love getting inquiries like this and we ALWAYS look into all suggestions made by our fans.
MTV Geek: Is there a way fans can let you know what they want you to license?
YOKO: Fans can send in their suggestions and rescue-title requests to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We get suggestions like this all the time, and we ALWAYS read them and we do our best to get them. Unfortunately, we don’t always get what we want… but we do make our very best effort to get them!
Thanks to Hikaru, Fred, and Yoko for taking the time to answer my questions!