Maybe Manga, Maybe Sushi

M is for Monsters

Some months are full of humor and some may overflow with action, but this month a curious coincidence occurred where we are scheduled to launch two new titles with supernatural themes.  One comes in the form of a sci-fi drama, the other in a shonen action-fantasy, but both are new in Japan and causing a stir within that industry.

Along with those two debuts are a couple of beloved on-going works, and a great selection of Japanese prose to make this month on of the more memorable ones we have had in ages.

So May is panning out of be a monster! A month full of releases; literally our biggest month ever!


New Releases

-Vampires are commonplace in media these days. TV, movies, comics and even prose are full of supernatural tales of the immortal bloodsuckers. Ryo Hanada’s Devils’ Line plays with these tropes but takes it to a new level.

Tsukasa like many young people these days has heard rumors of a series of vampire murders that have occurred around Japan. But most people are skeptical, believing the murders have been sensationalized by the media for ratings.

One day, on her way home, she finds herself in the midst of a vampire and a dhampir vampire hunter. Soon she will find herself under said dhampir’s protection and eventually his embrace, as he promises to cross an invisible line to watch over her in a world that is much more dangerous than previously imagined. Anzai, the dhampir, is part of a vampire related crime unit that monitors and hunts rogue vamps. And as they both will discover there are humans which hunt the hunters, as they want a world completely rid of vampires, instead!

-The Civil War is the backdrop to MAYBE’s To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts but it is a new take on what a pivotal time in history. In this world, the North was vastly outnumbered, so they turned to the dark arts to create monstrous super-soldiers to give them an edge. As the war has ended, the monsters remain, and many of them have turned against humanity and it is up to Beast Hunters to eliminate this new threat.

Schaal is searching for a specific beast hunter. The hunter who took down her father. And when she finds him, she soon comes to realize that there is much more to the Sacred Beasts than what she believed. There is some humanity to them, but many of them are looking for ways to end their suffering.

Nichijou is now a New York Times Best Seller and why wouldn’t it be with mad hijinks like those seen in volume two.

Poor Yuuko! On a routine morning walk to school she greets her classmates with a pun. Unfortunately it falls flat. So in typical Yuuko form she tries another. And another! And even another! None of them work! No one laughs! Her gags are dead. She has zero chemistry… Some days nothing is punny or funny. And poor Nano finds out what her big toe does. It’s a USB rocket toe… Some days it doesn’t pay to be a robot.

In What Did You Eat Yesterday 10, it is summer time and that means light easy to eat and prepare dishes for Shiro to make. His office has an excess of somen noodles, so the frugal gourmand has an opportunity to make cold noodles for himself and his friends! But it has been a while since he has gone out to cook for others and he is about to experience many life changes. Families grow around Shiro, while his remains the same. But as he will soon find out, over some watermelon, family is not only about blood relations. So his family is also about to grow!

Determination in the vein of Detective Columbo is at the core of Gaku Yakumaru’s A Cop’s Eyes. A former juvenile reformatory center staffer changes careers in his middle age to become a police detective. This gentle man has now have to dive head first in the cold violent underbelly of Japan’s criminal world. But through the seven shorts of this collection, Detective Natsume’s ability to understand the human condition will lead him to uncover a number of riddles and save the lives of many people, including one young man he met in juvie many years ago.

Shinzo Satomi’s Sushi Chef: Sukiyabashi Jiro is one of the most unique reads we have published in ages. On the surface it is a looks like a cookbook. But upon closer inspection it is a fascinating deconstruction of a restaurant that has inspired a food revolution and is at the core of the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Satomi goes into great detail about the ingredients used by Jiro. How the are sources and how they are eventually prepared are looked at with great scrutiny to reveal the attention and precision that Jiro has put into his seasonal menus.

This is a book for the true foodies in your life, and also their chefs. So if you cannot go to Jiro, why not read about what has made his sushi must eats for Barack Obama and gourmands from across the globe.

In the second Seraph of the End, Guren finds himself in a much better social position amongst his peers. He’s now playing shogi and interacting with those who were once against him. But they have a common interest and that is what is also causing them a lot of trouble these days. Guren is going to have to confront the Thousand Nights, but something or someone is getting in his way.


Audiobook Options

This month Vertical will debut their new line of audiobooks. Focusing initially on popular cross media brands such as MONOGATARI and Attack on Titan, Vertical Audio is a revolutionary way to experience Japanese prose in English.

Unique to most audiobooks, Vertical’s releases feature music and sound effects to enhance the reading, and create a feel that is somewhat similar to an anime experience.

Vertical Audio releases will be available for download from a wide range of sources including Audible, iTunes, Nook, Audiobooks.com, Overdrive, and others.

  • KIZUMONOGATARI: Wound Tale (May 25, 2016) is by NISIOISIN, arguably Japan’s best-selling novelist, and is the first volume in the legendary MONOGATARI series to be translated into English.
  • Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City Parts 1 & 2 (June 1, 2016) is a two-part stand-alone saga set in the days after the Wall has been breached and the marauding Titans are terrorizing humanity. The “Attack on Titan” mega-franchise is one of today’s most successful pop-culture phenomena.

Note prices may vary from vendor to vendor.


New Acquisition

Last weekend at Chicago’s Anime Central, Vertical announced the acquisition of their newest manga license – Flying Witch.

Chihiro Ishizuka’s slice of life comedy set in Akita, Japan, covers the day to day life of a young aspiring witch and her young relatives.

Kodansha Ltd. in Japan has currently released four volumes of this series in their monthly Bessatsu Shonen Magazine anthology. Meanwhile Crunchyroll has been streaming the Flying Witch anime produced by J.C. Staff.

Vertical will launch this thoughtful and charming comedy in 2017. Stay tuned to the Vertical newsletter for more information and preorder links.


2016 Convention Schedule

Convention season is here! And the Vertical tour is already in full swing! We’ll be criss-crossing the country throughout the summer selling our wares and promoting our brand of Japanese print media.

To help inform our readers and fans out there, we wanted to share our tentative convention schedule with you all.

We’ll be hosting panels and events at most of these shows. And as usual, you can purchase goods and meet staff at the Vertical booth.

We look forward to seeing many of you throughout the year!


Future Releases:

  • Attack on Titan: Lost Girls (debuts June 2016)
  • Nocturne of Remembrance (debuts July 2016)
  • Immortal Hounds (debuts July 2016)

Titan conflicts and immortal consequences are at the forefront of our mid-year releases. So preorder a copy or two and prepare yourself for more high quality Vertical reads to keep you entertained over your long, warm summer days.

Image Copyrights – All Rights Reserved
Devils’ Line © 2016 Ryo Hanada; To the Abandonded Sacred Beasts © 2016 MAYBE; nichijou © Keiichi Arawi 2007; What Did You Eat Yesterday? © 2016 Fumi Yoshinaga; A Cop’s Eyes © 2012 Gaku Yakumaru; Sushi Chef © 1997 NAITO Shizue; Seraph of the End © 2016 Takaya Kagami; Flying Witch © Chihiro Ishizuka 2012; KIZUMONOGATARI © 2008 NISIOISIN

GOOD COP – BAD COP!

A Cop's EyesWhat does it take to be a good cop? Natsume in A COP’S EYES and Mekari in SHIELD OF STRAW each brings his own approach—along with some pretty heavy personal baggage—to his work as a Tokyo police detective.

Calm, soft-spoken Natsume certainly doesn’t fit the image of a hardened Tokyo cop. He’d started his career working with troubled kids at a reformatory but had abruptly quit to join the force. Those who know him wonder why this gentle man, whose vocation had been to believe in other people, had chosen a new profession based on doubting them. Sincere, empathetic, and persistent, Natsume doesn’t resort to physical force or even flashy forensics. He solves cases by listening closely and winning the trust of both victims and perps—then looking into their hearts and minds with the eyes of someone who can truly understand.

Shield of StrawAssistant Inspector Mekari, on the other hand, has no interest in getting into the head of the child rapist-murderer he’s ordered to escort back to Tokyo to stand trial. He just wants to complete the assignment and be done with the creep. A recent and still-grieving widower, he had thought he’d be willing to take a bullet in the line of duty. But things have gotten complicated: a billion-dollar bounty has been placed on the killer’s head by the latest victim’s grandfather. Now, with just about everyone in Japan lusting after the money, Mekari struggles to come to grips with his own sense of duty…to his job, to the thoroughly evil person he’s supposed to keep safe, and to himself.

Summer of Vertical

It’s summer time and as is often the case this season already has a been an ambitious one for Vertical, Inc. With a number of new releases, a range of new license announcements, and a now completed summer con tour over, there were plenty of topics to highlight for readers throughout the course of the summer.

We’ll get to some of that news a little later. But, before we do, we wanted to remind you of our August 2015 releases:

August 2015 ReleaseA Fantastic August
This August, Vertical is feeling fantastic! Sure, with titles like those found in our catalog we, and our readers, should always be feeling great, but this month we have three high quality fantasy and sci-fi tales that are particularly excellent!

Leading off the month is the sixth volume of Ryu Mizunagi’s hit rom-com Witchcraft Works. Ayaka’s battle with Weekend continues and it is quickly moving to its climax. But without a source of power for her magic will she be able to finally defeat this rogue bomb-wielding witch?

Meanwhile Kei Nagai and a handful of domestic demi-human are preparing to take on some truly rogue forces in volume 6 of Gamon Sakurai’s AJIN. But before they embark on their mission, readers are treated to a brief flashback involving the lone woman amongst the demi-human corps. Sakurai takes readers back to Izumi’s days as a high school teen when she first came to terms with her demi-human side. Her past is marked with tragedy. So it comes as no surprise to see her want to change others lives for the better. Especially those she feels she can trust.

When it came to trust, those within the fortress known as Wall Maria believed they were somewhat safe from Titan attacks. However in Ryo Kawakami’s Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City the walls have been breached and now titans roam what remains of the interior. A young trooper named Rita was on the frontlines, and after closing off gates in the interior, she will have to find a way to get inside Wall Rose to safety.

Vertical Inc. NewsletterSummer Acquisitions
This summer was one of our biggest and busiest yet! With a number of new series and one-shots covering the wide-range of content that Vertical is known for, we are sure there will be something for almost every reader to dive into next year.
Here’s what we have announced over the summer:

  • Nichijou, by Keiichi Arawi (March 2016)
  • Mysterious Girlfriend X by Riichi Ueshiba (March 2016)
  • Sukibayashi Jiro by Shinzo Satomi (March 2016)
  • FukuFuku: Kitten Tales by Konami Kanata (April 2016)
  • A Cop’s Eyes by Gaku Yakumaru (April 2016)
  • The Gods Lie by Kaori Ozaki (April 2016)
  • Devilsline by Ryo Hanada (May 2016)
KizuMonogatari

KizuMonogatari (cover not final)

A Fall to Get Up For
Fall is around the corner and with it some big new debuts. With titles like Ninja Slayer, Tokyo ESP, Seraph of the End on the horizon, an already stacked line-up should be greatly enhanced. And we’ll look at the other books a little closer in the coming months. Because this month we’ll focus our spotlight on a work that deserves plenty of attention from readers: NISIOISIN’s KizuMonogatari.

Within the Monogatari series, Kizu (as it is known in some circles) is considered to be the series prequel, as it details the life of Monogatari’s lead Koyomi Araragi before what occurs in the two BakeMonogatari books. Something of an occult-mystery series, NISIOISIN weaves modern themes found in popular anime and manga, while including the supernatural elements, moments of horror, and high-stakes action. NISIOISIN’s legendary wordplay is also in full-effect in this series, which only adds character to what may already be the most ambitious Japanese prose release of the year.

With an established anime adaption for most of the Monogatari series already available from ANIPLEX the brand was already at the top of most young readers’ wish lists. And now with KizuMonogatari‘s debut just around the corner, we feel this release should fulfill a wish long held by western fans by finally completing and properly realizing NISIOISIN’s “tale” in English.

Vertical Convention Tour 2015
It’s summer so the Vertical tour bus is still making stops across the country. We’ve got three more destinations before retiring the bus for the year. And we hope to see you at some of these events.

And if you happen to pass by one of our panels, stick around for special giveaways featuring goodies from some of our hit titles.

Once again, whether in person at an event, or by following us here and on our various social media platforms, this summer Vertical has the content to keep you cool and up to date with what is the best in Japanese content today.

Image Copyrights – All Rights Reserved
Witchcraft Works © 2015 Ryu Mizunagi; Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City © 2015 Hajime Iseyama and Ryo Kawakami; AJIN: Demi-human © 2015 Gamon Sakurai; Devilsline © Ryo Hanada; Mysterious Girlfriend X © Riichi Ueshiba; The Gods Lie © Kaori Ozaki; KizuMonogatari © NISIOISIN / Kodansha