Here's the latest news from Japan: Two series ending—and a mystery about a third, two series starting up, and two classic creators being honored for their life's work.
The sci-fi manga Mardock Scramble is winding up after six volumes; vol. 5 of the U.S. edition is due out in June.
The editors of Young Gangan magazine have announced that Black God is coming to an end after three more chapters. The manga, which is published by Square Enix in Japan and Yen Press in the U.S., will run a total of 19 volumes; Yen will publish vol. 17 in October.
There's a bit of a mystery about Claymore: ANN reports that the last panel of the June comic announced the story was coming to an end, but someone from Star Comics, which publishes Claymore in Italy, claims that is not the case. Is that wishful thinking on their part or is creator Norihiro Yagi playing a sly prank on readers? Stay tuned!
On the other hand, two creators who already have popular series have announced new projects: Read or Die manga-ka Shutaro Yamada is at work on a new series for Ichijinsa's Monthly Comic REX: Rain Code is a "thrilling mystery story" about a teenage boy who is dragged into adventure by a mysterious woman.
Hisae Iwaoka, the creator of the delightful Saturn Apartments, has a new series in the works that's a bit more down to earth: Titled Narihirabashi Denki Shoten (Narihirabashi Electric Appliances Store), it's the story of a young woman who moves into her grandmother's Tokyo home to attend college, and the series will follow her through all four years.
It's the awards season, and two classic shoujo manga creators, both members of the storied Year 24 Group, are being honored for their life's work.
Moto Hagio, whose Heart of Thomas was one of the first yaoi manga, will be awarded the Japan Medal of Honor later this year for her contribution to arts and culture. She is only the 14th manga creator—and the first female manga-ka—to receive this honor.
Hagio started drawing shoujo manga for the magazine Nakayoshi in 1969 and has had a long and distinguished career, yet until recently, her work was hard to find in English. Viz published a collection of her science fiction novellas, A, A', in 1997, but it is long out of print. Her story "They Were Eleven" was included in the Viz anthology Four Shoujo Stories, but that book is also out of print and in fact is quite rare; you can read why in this old post at MangaBlog.
In 2010, though, Fantagraphics published A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, a collection of Hagio's short stories translated by Matt Thorn, and Thorn is currently working on a translation of Heart of Thomas, also for Fantagraphics.
Science fiction creator Keiki Takemiya also will be honored with an award; the Japan Cartoonists Association will be honoring her for her lifetime body of work, which includes Andromeda Stories and To Terra, which have been published in English by Vertical, Inc., and Song of the Wind and Trees, which has not yet been translated.
The cartoonists' association also awarded grand prizes to two manga, Eiichiro Oda's One Piece and Kimuchi Yokoyama's Nekodarake Nice and a special award to the Kyoto International Manga Museum.
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