The anime/manga con season kicked off this past weekend with SakuraCon, and both Yen Press and Dark Horse showed up with some new manga titles to announce.
At the Dark Horse panel, longtime editor Carl Gustav Horn announced two new licenses that couldn't be more different. "New Lone Wolf and Cub" is very much in the Dark Horse tradition, a sequel to the samurai manga "Lone Wolf and Cub" by the same writer, Kazuo Koike, but a different artist. The sequel is 11 volumes long; Dark Horse initially announced the title in 2006, but licensing issues caused a delay.
In a much lighter vein, "Hatsune Miku: Unofficial Hatsune Mix (Maker Hikoshiki Hatsune Mix)" brings Vocaloid idol Hatsune Miku and her pals Kagamine Rin, Kagamine Len, and Megurine Luka to the printed page. The manga, which runs in Jive's "Comic Rush" (Japanese only) is by Kei Garo, who created the original character design for Hatsune Miku.
Horn also announced that two long-running Dark Horse series, "Oh My Goddess" and "Blade of the Immortal," will be available digitally via Dark Horse Digital beginning in April.
Yen Press had four new titles.
"Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui!" (translated as "No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular!) certainly fits the recent Japanese trend toward long manga titles. This is the story of a girl who is great at otome games but can't seem to translate that success into real life. It's a comedy and was originally published by Square Enix in "Gangan Online" and then released as print volumes (three so far); Yen plans to release the first volume in October. An anime is in the works.
"Inu x Boku SS" (literally, "The Dog and I Secret Service") takes place in Maison de Ayakashi, a boardinghouse where all the residents are descended from demons (yokai) and tended to by "Secret Service" bodyguards. When Ririchiyo Shirakiin arrives at the house, one of the bodyguards invites her to "make me your dog." Sean Gaffney says it has everything: "Yokai schoolgirls, Fox-tailed secret service butler bodyguards, reincarnation, star-crossed love, and boarding houses." The manga is published by Square Enix in Japan and runs in "Gangan Joker" magazine; it is up to eight volumes and the story is going into its final arc. The anime is licensed by Sentai, and you can watch it on Crunchyroll (with subtitles). This is another planned October release for Yen.
"Wolf Children" ("Okami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki") is the manga adaptation of the film of the same name, directed by Mamoru Hosoda ("Summer Wars," "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time"), which will be released in North America by Funimation later this year. It's a fairy tale-like story of a college student who marries a wolf-man and raises their two children away from society—until her husband dies and she has to move to a country village. The Japanese edition was published by Kadokawa Shoten in their "Young Ace" magazine; Yen will publish it in an omnibus format early next year.
Finally, the big news for many fans is that Yen has licensed all four of the "Kingdom Hearts" series based on the game of the same name (a collaboration between Square Enix and Disney Interactive Studios that features many, many familiar Disney characters). Tokyopop published the first two series, "Kingdom Hearts" and "Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories," as well as the first two volumes of "Kingdom Hearts II," long ago. Yen will kick things off with the first volume of the fourth series, "Kingdom Hearts 365/2 days" in November, and it will release the four-volume "Kingdom Hearts" series as two omnibus volumes (dubbed "Kingdom Hearts Final Mix") in May 2013 and the two-volume "Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories" as a single omnibus in June 2014.