August is usually a slow time in the publishing world, because everyone goes away on vacation, but this month is a bit different: Viz and Digital Manga expand their digital initiatives, Bleach skips a chapter because creator Tite Kubo is under the weather, and several series come to an end in Japan. Read on for all the details!

Mayu Shinjo speaks! Viz has set up a Shojo Beat Facebook page, and in addition to providing a space for fans to chat about their favorite books, they are also posting some interesting articles. The latest is an interview with Ai Ore creator Mayu Shinjo, who says she does plan to continue the series beyond volume 8 and talked a bit about Akira and her characters in general:

I had never drawn a cute boy—a boy with a cute face—before as a main character, so I wanted to give it a try. And I get bored if I keep drawing the same kind of character over and over again. But there are some things that you mustn’t change. He still has to be cool... Inside he’s the same as my other men: he’s rather aggressive and manly, a strong fighter, and sexy too. Those things I don’t want to change. In that sense, the only thing I changed was his appearance.

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There's nothing too brain-bendingly intellectual on this week's new-manga list, just a solid lineup of shonen and shoujo stories with enough lovin' and fightin' to take our minds off the mosquitoes and the heat.

Seven Seas launches two new series this week. I Don't Like You At All, Big Brother is one of those titles that makes some folks roll their eyes and go "Oh, Japan," and but the siblings in this story are adopted, so it's really about two young people who live in close proximity to one another having an unequal romance (because the big brother in this case is being pursued by not one but two other girls). This is being published in two-volume omnibus editions. Vol. 1 of Lizzie Newton: Victorian Mysteries is, as the title says, a mystery series set in Victorian times. Lizzie is an upper-class young lady who is more interested in solving a murder than paying attention to her fiance; add in the Japanese love of Victorian frills, and we have all the ingredients for an enjoyable summer read. Seven Seas has one more new title this week: Vol. 5 of A Certain Scientific Railgun. Read More...

Entertainment One, the studio that produces "The Walking Dead" for AMC has picked up the television series rights to Osamu Tezuka's classic medical mystery manga, "Black Jack."

I can already hear the pitch: "Dr. House with fetal monsters."

More details after the jump.
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With Anime Expo, San Diego, and Otakon behind us, and everyone in publishing taking a well-deserved vacation, the flurry of digital news and new-license announcements is behind us, and this is a good week to chill out and read some new manga.

For CLAMP fans, Viz has the third volume of their omnibus edition of X. Here's what Kate Dacey, a.k.a. The Manga Critic, has to say about it:

One of the things I like best about the new VIZ 3-in-1 edition is the trim size. CLAMP’s gorgeous, swirling linework and epic battles finally have enough room to breathe, allowing readers to appreciate just how detailed (and gory!) it really is. I’m also enjoying the omnibus format; with an enormous cast and a profusion of subplots, X is the kind of story that’s best read in large installments.

Also new from Viz, on the digital side: Vol. 8 of Blue Exorcist, which is coming out digitally a couple of months ahead of print because it will start running in Shonen Jump Alpha pretty soon, so they need to catch up with the Japanese releases.

Kodansha Comics had two new releases this week, vol. 5 of Negima! (the omnibus edition) and vol. 7 of Deltora Quest. Read More...

Fans flocked to Baltimore last weekend for Otakon to enjoy anime, cosplay, appearances by voice actors and directors—and there was also a bit of manga news, in the form of two new licenses and an app.

Small but mighty manga publisher Vertical, Inc., announced two new manga licenses at last weekend's Otakon in Baltimore. The first is not new to U.S. readers: Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin was previously licensed by Viz, which a portion of the series in 12 volumes. The other new license, Wolfsmund, is a historical manga set in 14th-century Switzerland, about a tyrant who wields his power to threaten travelers who must go through the St. Gotthard Pass, which he controls.

Kodansha Comics rep David Yoo, an editor at Random House, had no new titles to announce at the Kodansha panel, but he did have one piece of news: Kodansha launched an iPhone app this week to complement the iPad app that was introduced last fall at New York Comic-Con. The new app launches with six series, Arisa, Cage of Eden, Fairy Tail, Mardock Scramble, Until the Full Moon, Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, and Ninja Girls, all of which are also available on the iPad app, and Kodansha is running a special introductory sale on the iPhone app, with all volume 1's marked down to $2.99. Read More...

A small but stable field of manga publishers brought their A game to San Diego Comic-Con this year, and if there wasn't the rush of new license announcements that we have seen in previous years, well, there was still plenty to talk about.

Yen Press editorial director Kurt Hassler at the Yen booth

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With Anime Expo in the rear view mirror, we're barreling toward the big event of the comics year: San Diego Comic Con, which begins Thursday. Unlike AX, which has an obvious focus, Comic-Con is about everything: Superheroes, indy graphic novels, kids' comics, TV, movies, collectible figurines, you name it. And manga.
Despite the wide range of events at this show, manga publishers bring their A game every year, and we can expect to hear some significant announcements as well as some interesting panels. Here's a guide to help manga lovers filter out the noise; if you're going to the con, it will help you plan, and if you're not, it's a good heads-up on when to pay attention to the news. Read More...

During the live stream of the 20th Anniversary Sailor Moon event at Nico Nico, creator Naoko Takeuchi and publisher Kodansha Comics announced that a brand new Sailor Moon anime is on the way!
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Viz has a bumper crop of summer reading for us from their Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat lines, but the other publishers only have a handful of new releases.

So let's roll with Viz. My pick of the week is vol. 1 of Jiu Jiu, the shoujo-est shoujo manga to come down the pike in a long time. It's moody and funny and has a couple of hot guys who turn into super-cute wolves.

Viz has a good stack of shoujo manga this week: The scheming continues in vol. 10 of Dengeki Daisy, the yokai are still at it in vol. 12 of Natsume's Book of Friends, it's school festival time in vol. 9 of Oresama Teacher, and Ren is going through some troubled times in vol. 28 of Skip Beat!. For those who are trying to catch up, the third omnibus volumes of Skip Beat! and Hana-Kimi are out this week as well. That's a lot of shoujo. Any of these is a good choice for a lazy summer day.

On the shonen side, Viz kicks it off with a quartet of non-Naruto Shonen Jump titles: Vol. 12 of Bakuman, vols. 42 and 43 of Bleach, vol. 63 of One Piece, and vol. 5 of Psyren. There's more in the Shonen Jump Advanced line: Vol. 20 of Claymore, vol. 22 of D.Gray-man, and vol. 9 of Rosario + Vampire, Season II. Read More...

Remember when Tokyopop announced that it was closing its North American manga division? CEO Stu Levy made a statement, they sold off all their books and office equipment, and their website dwindled down to a Facebook page.

Well, psyche! They're back! Fans packed the panel room at Anime Expo, and Levy had announced that they will publish the third volume of Psy-Comm, an OEL (original English language) manga. In addition, he said that the Japanese publisher Gentosha has confirmed that vols. 4 and 5 of Hetalia: Axis Powers will be published in North America. By Tokyopop? "We are talking to Gentosha," Levy said, but there are no more details yet. Tokyopop published the first two volumes of Hetalia before it closed down, and it is publishing the third (and bringing back the first two) in a print-on-demand partnership with the retail site RightStuf. Read More...

Osamu Tezuka may be considered the “god of manga,” but not all of his titles have been translated into English. Unico, his children’s manga about a baby unicorn, is one of the titles that has never been in English . . . until now.

Digital Manga Publishing wanted to publish Unico, but because of the cost of printing (which would be especially high since Unico is a rare manga that’s in all-color) it turned to Kickstarter to see if it could raise $20,500. It succeeded in days, and now Unico is slated to be released — in single volume form — early next year. Read More...

This weekend brings the first major manga and anime con of the season, Anime Expo, at the Lost Angeles Convention Center. Charles has already covered the first big anime story, Viz Media's announcement of their Neon Alley anime streaming service, but here's a look at the manga highlights.

Panels

eigoMANGA in 2012: It looks like this, Viz, and Tokyopop are the only publisher panels. eigoMANGA publishes Original English Language manga. Here's the blurb from their website: "Colleagues from eigoMANGA will announce and showcase releases of the company's mass-market publications, games, and animation titles since 2012." (Saturday at 10 a.m., Room 502AB) Read More...

Adolescence is a time of contradictory emotions, of simultaneously pushing away from the world around you and longing to be loved. This tension between rebelliousness and loneliness is often at the emotional core of shoujo manga, and the first volume of Viz's newest Shojo Beat series, Jiu Jiu, really nails it.

The push-pull is expressed most clearly by the heroine, Takamichi, who is the heir of a family of demon hunters. Like many shoujo heroines, she has a tendency toward melancholy; on the very first page, we see her meditating on the pointlessness of life. Her twin brother comforts her. Then he gets killed. Read More...

This week brings a bumper crop of eye-catching manga, with the return of Alice in the Country of Hearts, the finale of CLAMP's Kobato, and the premiere of two lovely one-shots, Olympos and 5 Centimeters per Second.

Let's start with 5 Centimeters per Second, a manga adaptation of Makoto Shinkai's anime of the same name. It has a bit of an anime feel to it, with lots of reaction shots and wordless panels, but the art is well done, and it doesn't look derivative at all. When I interviewed him at New York Comic-Con, Shinkai called 5 Centimeters per Second "a real life story," but of course it's not really—it's not science fiction, but it is a romantic, wistful tale of childhood love. Vertical has chosen to publish it complete in a single volume, so you can read the story uninterrupted.

On a less serene note, at long last, readers will get the complete story of Alice in the Country of Hearts, as Yen Press releases the whole six-volume series in three double-sized omnibus volumes this week. Read More...

The digital manga site JManga has a lot going for it: Quirky manga you can't find anywhere else, backing from Japanese publishers (who presumably have huge vaults of even more quirky manga to add to the site), and a pretty good relationship with their fans, thanks to their active Twitter and Facebook presence.

Unlike a lot of publishers, the JManga folks don't just talk to the audience ("Hey, check out this awesome manga we posted today!"), they listen and occasionally make changes based on what they hear: They have lowered prices and made the site available worldwide, and when I spoke to their business manager, Robert Newman, recently, he said more changes were on the way. Read More...

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