New Media Sensation

Summer Wars part 1Over the last ten years or so, the world of Japanese animation has been a state of transition. While the traditional television industry has begun to fail the industry, film continues to be something of a financial challenge. Production costs prevent most studios from reaching the level of technological quality seen in other parts of the world. However, Japan does still see plenty of accomplishments from the writing and directorial realms of animation, and one of its rising stars is Mamoru Hosoda.

The director of the acclaimed The Girl Who Leapt Through Time firmly established himself as a member of the young vanguard of anime with the beloved Summer Wars. Now adapted into a graphic novel set, Hosoda’s Summer Wars is rendered in black and white by veteran comic artist Iqura Sugimoto (Variante). Iqura takes Hosoda’s vision and realizes it in a way that can only work in a comic, free of the budgetary restrictions of animation and also allowing for more perspectives and points of view as it can be visualized from the eyes of different characters in and out of the virtual world.

So why not relive one of the more beloved animated movies in recent memory. Take a trip to Ueda and join Kenji as he infiltrates the Jinnouchi clan in this two volume adaptation of Mamoru Hosoda’s Summer Wars.

The Flowers Have Blossomed

Flower of Evil 7Over the years, Vertical has consistently challenged the North American manga market with eclectic and significant graphic works from Japan. Having such luminaries as Tezuka, Takemiya and Kon under our umbrella has set us apart from the rest as the vanguard for quality. Now it is becoming clear to us, and to a growing audience that we have uncovered a new challenger, whose latest work is setting a community ablaze with his very personal narrative and surprisingly memorable characters.

Shuzo Oshimi’s The Flowers of Evil snuck up on a large number of people when it made its English language debut in 2012. Now in it’s seventh volume it is poised to shock again, albeit with a new tone and attitude that is more than appropriate to the story’s growth and development throughout its acclaimed run.

In this most recent volume, readers are treated to the climax of this series’ second arc. And upon experiencing its shocking conclusion, we are then introduced to a more modern more familiar setting with a more mature Kasuga now in high school. The tone has changed, as well. But deep inside, waiting for the appropriate moment, is something hot, dark and compelling. Making it one of the most anticipated releases in our growing catalog.

Owner of a Lonely Heart

Sickness Unto Death 01In the realm of manga, few translated comics have taken on the human condition. Concepts of despair, solitude, and regret are often ignored in favor of ideas like violence, lust and adventure. Manga like most media is often looked at for catharsis and particularly in the world of translated comics, they are aimed at an often impressionable youth audience.

Takahiro Seguchi’s Sickness Unto Death challenges those beliefs. His two-part story pulls back the curtain on a culture that is often seen to be consumed by despair – modern day Japan. Japan’s relationship with suicide and isolation is well documented and can often be seen exhibited even in the business and political realms. And Seguchi reveals his take on the topic, through the writings of Hikaru Asada and Soren Kierkegaard, to present a case where a young woman full of potential and life, can fall prey to doubt as she finds her sense of hope dashed.

Emiru may appear to be a delicate flower; a frail beauty with a mysterious aura to her. But something dark has consumed this young, once award-winning violinist. With the help of a young psych student, readers are allowed to see the what lurks inside her. And what has developed her unique sickness.

Subtle, dark and thoughtful, Sickness Unto Death is a harrowing tale of what it is like to truly lose it all.