Category Archives: News

Seven Seas Gets Spooky in April with License of Franken Fran

Franken FranThis past Tuesday, manga publisher Seven Seas teased on social media about an upcoming license reveal. Seven Seas license reveals are hands down my favorites, but this time they cleverly noted that there were “no clues this time for you to dissect our license choice,” although they were gracious enough to mention that “…this manga has not been (re) animated yet.”

Turns out the license (and clever hints) were for the fan-favorite horror comedy Franken Fran! An eight volume series by Katsuhisa Kigitsu, Franken Fran was originally serialized in seinen magazine Champion Red. I first heard about this series back in 2011, thanks to a license request post from the now defunct Manga Curmudgeon; I’ve definitely heard of this series referred to as darker version of Black Jack. Jason Thompson over at ANN also focused on the series pre-license in a 2013 of House of 1000 Manga column.

Also just in time for the announcement, Justin over at Organization Anti-Social Geniuses touches base with Lissa Pattillo on what exactly prompted the long awaited license, including the increased interest in “monster girls.” The series will be released in four 2-volume omnibuses, with the first due out in January 2016. More of the press release below:

Somewhere, out in the sticks of rural Japan, there is a mysterious manor that is home to the greatest surgeon who ever lived. But when the surgeon goes missing, his reanimated daughter, Fran, takes up the family profession, and despite her Frankenstein-like ways, cares deeply for her patients and holds steadfast to the Hippocratic Oath. Fran’s creed? “All lives must be saved, no matter the cost!”

Readers will join Fran, her twisted sister Veronica, and the rest of her monstrous entourage in a gruesomely hilarious tale that would put Mary Shelley to shame! Because for Franken Fran, the ends always justify the means, no matter what ungodly creations emerge from her lab.

Franken Fran is one of our most requested licenses of all time,” said Seven Seas publisher Jason DeAngelis. “We already have such a passionate fanbase for monster girls—like for our bestselling series, Monster Musume—so Franken Fran is a great fit. It really pushes the envelope as both a horror and comedy.”

The Maids Are Back: Yen Press License Rescues Emma

Emma 1It’s been a wild couple of weeks for manga licenses, with Seven Seas dishing out seven new licenses in seven days and various licensing news steadily streaming from this weekend’s New York Comic Con. And while it’s early in NYCC yet, today brought the best news of all: Yen Press has licensed everyone’s favorite Victorian romance, Kaoru Mori’s Emma!

From Anime News Network:

CMX Manga originally published Mori’s 10-volume Victorian romance series Emma in English from 2006 to 2009, and Right Stuf International released both seasons of the anime adaptation. Yen Press’s release will be two hardcover omnibus editions.**

Yen Press describes the series:

Calling upon his inimitable former governess one day, young aristocrat William Jones is startled to find his knock on her door answered by an astute, bespectacled maid—Emma. From that moment forward, the two are drawn to each other and slowly but surely grow ever closer. But as the love between Emma and William builds, so too do the obstacles that threaten to keep them apart. For in Victorian London, some things are simply not done, and marrying outside of one’s social class just happens to be one such taboo! Set against a backdrop of Victorian England that comes to life with painstaking detail, Kaoru Mori’s Emma is a period classic that is not to be missed!

**Yen later clarified via Twitter that the series would be 2-in-1 editions, meaning two volumes per omnibus.

It’s no exaggeration to say I am over the moon at Yen’s license rescue. While the love story is nothing new, Mori’s attention to artistic and historic detail — almost to the point of obsession — is something to behold. If you’ve taken a glimpse at her newer series A Bride’s Story, her art is top notch. Also, she draws realistically-shaped ladies!

I’ve been hoping for this for a long while, even commenting a couple of years back that I hoped they rescued Emma after announcing Mori’s Anything and Something collection. I’ve also talked about the series a bit over the years: I recently completed the entire out of print CMX run, and it was one of my top five wishes for series I’d love to see omnibused.

And apparently I also promised a handwritten letter of gratitude if Yen Press rescued this one! Perhaps I should get to working on that…

Thanks for listening, Yen!

Rightstuf Bracket: March Madness Anime-Style

Rightstuf Bracket

March Madness” basketball is a big, big, big deal in my state — when you’re home of one of the current top teams, I suppose it matters. While I’m never been one for sports, anime retailer Rightstuf has stepped up for the less sports-inclined with their first annual anime March Madness bracket — complete with prizes!

Continue reading Rightstuf Bracket: March Madness Anime-Style

Digital Manga Kickstarter Campaign: Tezuka’s Barbara

I am excited to see this: Manga publisher Digital Manga has started a Kickstarter campaign in an effort to raise money for the release of Osamu Tezuka’s Barbara in English. The plot seems interesting enough:

Wandering the packed tunnels of Shinjuku Station, famous author Yosuke Mikura makes a strange discovery: a seemingly homeless drunk woman who can quote French poetry. Her name is Barbara. He takes her home for a bath and a drink, and before long Barbara has made herself into Mikura’s shadow, saving him from egotistical delusions and jealous enemies. But just as Mikura is no saint, Barbara is no benevolent guardian angel, and Mikura grows obsessed with discovering her secrets, tangling with thugs, sadists, magical curses and mythical beings – all the while wondering whether he himself is still sane.

Having come off the heels of reading Tezuka’s Book of Human Insects, I would love to see Barbara in print. I haven’t delved in the “God of Manga” as much as I’d like; given his status I was a little intimated by his work, thinking that I wouldn’t “get it” and would no longer be able to call myself a “true” manga fan. Then I stumbled across three random volumes of Black Jack at my local Half Price books a few months ago, and I was sold. I loved the episodic nature of of the series, and the fact that Tezuka can make such compelling stories in such a short number of pages. (More recently, my little sister randomly picked up one of my volumes and exclaimed, “Why is this so good!?” She then proceeded to read the volume before I did, in one sitting.)

I also love that Digital Manga is asking its fans directly, “Do you want this?” Perhaps I’m more into manga than the average teenage Naruto fan, but I love being reached out to and given the option to not only help out the industry I love but also being able to feel like I have a direct say in what hits the shelves.

And apparently other people feel the same way! In a little over 24 hours, the campaign is only $1000 short of its $6500 goal! I definitely want to get a pledge in myself. This sort of community effort really energizes my passion for manga and its community, where outside of the internet (depending on where you live) it can feel like a solo hobby.

And while I imagine Kickstarter might not work as well for longer running series, for short series with a probably more niche-y appeal, this is great. Go, Digital Manga, go!

News Tidbit: Bandai Exits Stage Left

I don’t follow actively follow anime news as much as I do manga nowadays, but given that the lovely AnimeNewsNetwork is my home page, it was hard to miss this yesterday: Bandai Entertainment is downsizing, as in “We’re not releasing anime or manga in the U.S. anymore.”

Instead, Bandai Entertainment will focus on licensing rights to other companies, particularly in digital distribution, broadcast, and merchandising.

What’s interesting is this tidbit from today’s interview with Ken Iyadomi of Bandai regarding the “restructuring”:

“The pricing range for our products kept dropping in Western countries, and people tended only to buy sets with very reasonable prices, which we understand is what fans want, but it lead us to a different strategy than what Japanese licensors wanted,” he remarked. “So we always had a problem [with licensors wanting something different than what consumers wanted].”

Sometimes I forget and as one of my favorite manga blogs reminds me: Buying anime in Japan has more of “collectors’” feel to it than here; the few anime I do buy I base on rewatchability or love for the series, and I’m terribly price conscious. My understanding there is that anime fans in Japan are hardcore collectors; they buy DVDs (and merchandise, etc) to add to a collection, not so they can have a $30 complete series thinpack to pop in on a whim. They want the boxsets, the extras, the booklets, and will pay a pretty penny to get them (and take pride in that). On Amazon I’ve seen some anime DVDs in Japan go for about $40, and have only two episodes. Perhaps that pricing strategy just didn’t fly over here.

As a manga fan though, this doesn’t affect me much, as none of their manga ever made it into my collection. It’s not a very long list; it seemed like they tended to go with manga based of off major hit series. I think I own one volume of Code Geass, simply because it came with one of the DVD sets for the anime. Still, it’s always a slightly sad day when any company in our already small community calls it quits.