Yen Press Announces New Light Novel Acquisitions

Yen Press Announces New Light Novel Acquisitions Yen Press shocked a lot of people with their heavy move into light novels earlier this year, but those that have paid attention to the company and especially it’s publishing director, Kurt Hassler, likely saw that this was part of the overall roadmap for the company. With Hassler having originally come from the book retail side of the industry, there’s a stronger connecting to know what sells. And there’s also the awareness of trends online and with fans, particularly as more and more anime properties are coming from light novel sources.

In a new interview conducted with Deb Aoki, the publisher has revealed some interesting things along with several new licenses for next year.

“Our original plan with Yen On was to publish 24 titles in 2015, so two per month,” Hassler said. “However, our initial success and our confidence in this material has already prompted us to take a more aggressive approach. We will definitely be increasing our output well over 24 light novels next year.”

Hassler goes on to cite that Sword Art Online: Aincrad has gone on to sell over 30,000 copies since its release in April – an even more impressive fact when you consider that there are ongoing distribution/sales issues with Amazon and that there is no digital version of it, which a lot of younger fans are more likely to go with.

“Anything new can be met with a certain degree of skepticism,” said Hassler. “Ten to 14 years ago, though, manga was no different. Because of the preexisting awareness built in with the manga fans and the fact that there are often companion manga series to so many of these light novel titles, we’re advising stores to shelve the books with their manga for now, and that seems to be working quite well. I don’t think it’s a stretch to imagine that in the not too distant future light novels could command their own sections in stores.”

Yen Press also announced several new and very welcome light novel properties that will be coming in 2015 along with tentative dates for them. In their announcement, similar to previous announcements, they did not talk about how many volumes they’ve licensed for each series. We’ve provided a selection of covers below but purely for folks to peruse and see the character artwork from the original Japanese volumes.

Log Horizon – March 2015: “Elder Tale” is a long-established and popular online game: but the day in which was introduced the 12th expansion pack, 30,000 Japanese users have been confined to the world of the game. In the world that is a fusion of reality and the game, our hero Siloe begins his fight from the city of Akiba.

Yen Press Announces New Light Novel Acquisitions
Yen Press Announces New Light Novel Acquisitions

Yen Press Announces New Light Novel Acquisitions

Yen Press Announces New Light Novel Acquisitions

Pandora Hearts: Caucus Race

No Game No Life – April 2015: In the gaming world, there is an urban legend, about [ ] who manages to become the best player and beat every single game in the world. No one knows how [ ] looks like nor know about his identity. In reality, [ ] is a team formed by 2 person, who are both Hikikomori, NEET, social outcast, and otaku, namely Sora and Shiro. Sora the older brother, is good at reading people hearts but deemed worthless compared to his sister. Shiro the little sister, is a genius but incapable of understanding people hearts. Together, they became [ ] and became the world greatest gamer. One day, they’re invited by a god from another world, and upon accepting it, they’re transferred into world where everything is decided by simple games, from just playing to passing between borders. In this world, Imanity the human race is left only with one city as it’s last territory, and with no king as well! will Sora and Shiro be able to save Imanity from it’s destruction?

Yen Press Announces New Light Novel Acquisitions
Yen Press Announces New Light Novel Acquisitions

Yen Press Announces New Light Novel Acquisitions

The Devil Is a Part-Timer – April 2015: Devil King Sadao is only one step away from conquering the world when he is beaten by Hero Emilia and forced to drift to the other world: modern-day Tokyo. As “conquering the world” are the only skills the Devil King possesses – and are obviously unnecessary in his new situation – he must work as a freeter to pay for his living expenses!

Yen Press Announces New Light Novel Acquisitions
Yen Press Announces New Light Novel Acquisitions

Yen Press Announces New Light Novel Acquisitions

Yen Press Announces New Light Novel Acquisitions
Yen Press Announces New Light Novel Acquisitions

Yen Press Announces New Light Novel Acquisitions

[Source: Publishers Weekly ]

Madman Entertainment Acquires All ‘To Love Ru’ Anime Series

Madman Entertainment Acquires All ‘To Love Ru’ Anime Series Madman Entertainment is getting ready to bolster their catalog with a lot of very fun fanservice as the Australian distributor has picked up the rights to all the existing seasons of To Love Ru. The company doesn’t have any formal plans at the moment for the home video release in the territory, but they’ll be bringing it to the streaming service AnimeLab in the near future as part of an overall roll out of the work.

The property is based on the original manga by Saki Hasemi and Kentarou Yabuki, which began in 2006 and ended after eighteen volumes in 2009. It was then followed up by To Love Ru Darkness, which began in 2010 and is still ongoing as well as a few spin off pieces here and there as well. Sentai Filmworks has been releasing the property on DVD and Blu-ray in North America, though only in Japanese with English subtitles.

Plot concept: The story is about Yuuki Rito, a high-school boy who cannot confess to the girl of his dreams, Sairenji Haruna. One day when coming home and sulking in the bath-tub a mysterious, nude girl, appears out of nowhere. Her name is Lala and she comes from the planet Deviluke, where she is the heir to the throne. Her father wants her to return to her home planet so she can marry one of the husband candidates, but she decides that she wants to marry Rito in order to stay on Earth.

‘Best Blue’ Manga Getting Weekly Shonen Jump English Preview

‘Best Blue’ Manga Getting Weekly Shonen Jump English Preview Considering the general level of popularity with Free!, it’s no surprise that there might be a similar title or two gaining more attention. Masahiro Hirakata put out the Best Blue one-shot in March 2014 and it looks like time was spent figuring out how to grow it into its own full series. That series is coming up in the North American version of Weekly Shonen Jump as they’ll be bringing out the first three chapters in English beginning with the July 13th digital installment of the magazine under the Jump Start program. Tying it into the summer certainly builds on the overall idea.

Hirakata’s no stranger to manga in general as his previous series is Shinmai Fukei Kiruko-san, which ran from 2012 to 2013 with three volumes to its name.

Plot concept: Kagura Mio is the manager of her high school swim team. Three of the first year boys on her team, though, spend all their time bickering and mocking her idea of “teamwork.” Then a fourth boy joins the team, who supports her idea of competing as a medley relay team. Each of the boys is extremely skilled in one of the four strokes—backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestroke—but three of them insist that they are “sharks” and won’t swim together. Will she be able to get these skilled swimmers to work together as a team?

Second ‘Wake Up, Girls!’ Anime Feature Scheduled With New Key Visual

Second ‘Wake Up, Girls!’ Anime Feature Scheduled With New Key Visual It’s been awhile since the January 2014 theatrical debut of the Wake Up, Girls! feature alongside the debut of the TV series, and a short-form series with Wake up, Girls! ZOO, but now we’re closer than ever to the two films that are coming up later this year. While we knew previously that we’d be seeing the first part in September and the second in December, we had no locked down dates. The first film now has a formal date of September 25th, 2015, thanks to the reveal of a new key visual through a fantastic poster for the project. The first film is set to be called Wake Up, Girls! The Shadow of Youth while the second work will go with Wake Up, Girls! Beyond the Bottom.

The staff from the first film is set to return here with Yutaka Yamamoto directing it at studio Ordet based on the script by Touko Machida. Chikaoka Sunao is set to reprise their role as both character designer and animation director.

Property concept: Green Leaves Entertainment is a tiny production company on the verge of going out of business in Sendai, the biggest city in Japan’s northeastern Tohoku region. The agency once managed the careers of magicians, photo idols, fortune-tellers, and other entertainers, but its last remaining client finally quit. In danger of having zero talent (literally), the president Tange hatches an idea of producing an idol group. On the brash president’s orders, the dissatisfied manager Matsuda heads out to scout raw talent. Matsuda makes a fateful encounter with a certain girl…

Second ‘Wake Up, Girls!’ Anime Feature Scheduled With New Key Visual

Marvel Sets ‘Runaways’ First Look

Marvel Sets ‘Runaways’ First Look One of the more fan favorite cult titles over the years that has gotten close to getting a movie is that of Runaways. That’s now coming back in a reworked form as part of Secret Wars with the first installment debuting on June 17th, 2015. The new series is one that brings together quite an interesting cast of characters from across Battleworld of the teenage set that are about to do exactly what the title suggests! The new book comes from writer Noelle Stevenson of Lumberjanes fame and Uncanny Avengers artist Sanford Greene. Check out the covers and unlettered pages below!

Plot concept: Classes, exams, detention. Seems like a normal school, right? Except your headmaster is actually a diabolical super villain, and the final exam is a brutal match to the death! Only one solution: RUN AWAY! Now, super powered teens Molly Hayes, Jubilee, Bucky Barnes, Cloak & Dagger, Amadeus Cho, Skaar and a few new faces are set loose on Battleworld. If they survive the horrors of the Secret Wars, they just might learn a thing or two. Prepare for a new twist on a modern Marvel classic perfect for fans old and new when RUNAWAYS #1 hits comic shops this June!

RUNAWAYS #1 (APR150727)
Written by NOELLE STEVENSON
Art & Cover by SANFORD GREENE
Variant Cover by PHIL NOTO (APR150728)
FOC – 05/25/15, On-Sale – 06/17/15

Marvel Sets ‘Runaways’ First Look

Marvel Sets ‘Runaways’ First Look

Marvel Sets ‘Runaways’ First Look

Bravest Warriors: The Search For Catbug Graphic Novel Review

Bravest Warriors: The Search For Catbug Graphic Novel Review

Bravest Warriors: The Search For Catbug Graphic Novel

Where’s Waldo…er, Catbug?!

Creative Staff
Story/Editing: Joe Enos
Art: Various

What They Say
Four teenage travelers traverse the universe saving those in need…though not always in the way you’d expect…in fact…never! Along the way they meet aliens, phantoms and other interdimensionals—including everyone’s favorite, Catbug. Sometimes…they even meet themselves!

Featuring more than 25 artists, this is a new one-of-a-kind art book in the style of a classic seek & find from Perfect Square featuring the Bravest Warriors.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The Search for Catbug is a collaboration between Cartoon Hangover and Viz Media. What they’ve done is take the cast of Bravest Warriors, twenty-eight artists, and a simple prompt and created a book that’s part game, part art collection, and part Bravest Warriors merchandise.

This hardcover opens with a two-page intro in comic book format that lays the premise for the rest of its contents. In short, Catbug eats foodstuff cubes from Chris’ dreams, which cause him to lose control over his jump abilities. The Bravest Warriors can’t let him go careening through dimensions so they take off to find him.

What follows is not so much a cohesive story as it is twenty-eight separate graphic interpretations of what the Bravest Warriors’ search might look like. Each drawing is presented as a two-page spread in full color. Those looking for a collection entirely rendered in the cartoon’s style may be disappointed. Character designs and art media are as varied as the artists participating, ranging from Leong’s anime interpretation to Kuhn’s CG illustration to Hillburn’s watercolor candyland to Monlogo’s Escher inspired piece.

However, two things unify this collection. Every illustration features the four Bravest Warriors, and each has Catbug hidden somewhere in the details. And of course, the game is to locate Catbug in each picture. It’s very similar to Where’s Waldo?, but unlike the Where’s Waldo? illustrations which hide Waldo among crowds of people, these artists use a variety of tactics to hide Catbug, ranging from making him super tiny to placing him against a backdrop of ladybugs.

That aside, the artists don’t appear to have had any constraints with the subject matter. Most depictions include other characters, objects, and places from the animated series, and several feature the foodstuff cubes that caused Catbug’s uncontrollable jumping in the first place. Some have the Bravest Warriors in battle mode, while others are more pastoral. In keeping with the tone of the show, the pieces are generally fun with a heavy dose of randomness. And for those who search and search but just can’t seem to locate Catbug, the book includes a handy answer key in the back along with artist credits and their self-portraits.

In Summary

The Search for Catbug is not so much a graphic novel as it is an artist tribute to Bravest Warriors. So if you are completely unfamiliar with the Cartoon Hangover series, this book probably isn’t the best introduction. While the artwork is entertaining and it is possible for newbies to have fun locating the Bravest Warriors’ cute little mascot, this collection will be best appreciated and enjoyed by those who are already fans.

Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: NA

Age Rating: All Ages
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: August 19th, 2014
MSRP: $14.99

Japanese ‘One Piece 3D2Y’ Anime DVD/BD Release Cover Art Revealed

Japanese ‘One Piece 3D2Y’ Anime DVD/BD Release Cover Art Revealed While importing the TV series for One Piece is a daunting task that few partake in, grabbing movies and specials is a lot easier and far more manageable. Avex previously announced the home video release plans for the One Piece 3D2Y: Ace no shi wo Koete! Luffy Nakama Tono Chikai special, which is set for a November 28th, 2014 debut on DVD and Blu-ray. The show is getting four different configurations for its release:

BD LE: 7,560 yen
BD Reg: 5,940 yen
DVD LE: 6,480 yen
DVD Reg: 4,860 yen

Even at this late date, bonus materials that are going to be included, if any, have not been announced yet. The limited edition release is coming with a coaster and a special booklet. But we do finally have a look at the cover artwork for the release, which you can see in the two main configurations below.

Plot concept: The new TV special tells the two years of Luffy’s training with Silvers Rayleigh in Rusukaina Island after the Battle of Marineford and the death of his older brother Ace, which has never been told in the manga or TV anime. It also features a new villain named Burndy World who is known as “The Destroyer of the World” and has the power of the MoaMoa Fruit (its ability is still unknown). Luffy has to protect Boa Hancock from the new enemy who escaped from the level 6 of Impel Down. He is newly designed by the original creator of the manga, Eiichiro Oda.

Japanese ‘One Piece 3D2Y’ Anime DVD/BD Release Cover Art Revealed

One Piece 3D2Y Japanese Regular Edition

Japanese ‘One Piece 3D2Y’ Anime DVD/BD Release Cover Art Revealed

One Piece 3D2Y Japanese Limited Edition

[Source: One Piece movies & specials ]