The new manga license announcements keep on coming, and it's looking like this will be a good year.
The big announcement came at last weekend's Katsucon, where Vertical marketing director Ed Chavez announced that Vertical has licensed "Tropic of the Sea (Kaikisen)," by the late Satoshi Kon, who is best known as the director of "Paprika," "Tokyo Godfathers," and other well-regarded anime. Kon began his career as a manga artist, and "Tropic of the Sea" ran in Kodansha's "Young Magazine" in 1990. It's a fairly classic sort of story about a seaside town where the locals have a sort of understanding with the mythic people of the sea, until developers come in and turn everything upside down. Watch for it in September; it looks like Vertical will publish it as a single volume, which is how it appeared in Japan.
Vertical's other new license is "Sickness Unto Death (Shi ni Itaru Yamai," by Takahiro Seguchi. The story, which runs to two volumes, originally appeared in Hakusensha's "Young Animal" magazine; it's a "literary love story" about a despairing woman and the man who loves her. The first volume will be out in October. Anime News Network has more background on both new announcements.
On Monday, Seven Seas announced "World War Blue (Aoi Sekai no Chushin de)," which weaves a fantasy story out of the video game console wars. Seven Seas publisher Jason DeAngelis describes it as "Hetalia for gamers," adding, "Each character is a satiric embodiment of a popular video game character, locked in a desperate battle that represents an important era in video game history." Yes, it's the historic battle between the Segua Kingdom and the Ninteldo Empire—no trademarks were injured or killed in the making of this manga. The nine-volume series originally appeared in "Micro Magazine" from 2007 to 2009, and there's an anime in the works. Once again, ANN provides valuable context.
And that's not all: On Valentine's day, Seven Seas revealed not one but three supernatural stories, none of which involve vampires or zombies. "A Centaur's Life," by Kei Murayama, is a slice-of-life manga set in a school for supernatural creators, where shy-girl Himeru has to deal with the usual tribulations of teenage life as well as the complications of being a centaur. In "Monster Musume," by OKAYADO, the well-intentioned Cultural Exchange Between Species Act aims to bring mythic creatures into the mainstream; teenage "volunteer" Kurusu Kimihito is tasked with helping a beautiful lamia (dragon woman) integrate into everyday life in Japan—while resisting her blandishments, as inter-species romance is strictly forbidden. (Cultural exchange only goes so far, apparently.) "Love in Hell," by Reiji Suzumaru, is about a twentysomething guy who dies and goes to hell, where he is tortured by a beautiful guide.