April Showers bring Manga Flowers

Spring Forward

So we are certain you have done so already. But in Vertical’s case this has a slightly bitter and very sweet taste to it. With a beloved series coming to an end, two other titles showcasing new lead characters, and the return of a fan favorite with a tear-jerking one-shot, the Vertical fam is a little…misty-eyed.

Thankfully all these titles are bound to entertain. So even if we may have to deal with some emotional moments, the results should whet the palette for even more from your favorite publisher.


New Releases

Spring in the US means the start of a number of sporting seasons. Soccer season is now in full swing here and soccer is one of the primary themes in Kaori Okazaki’s The Gods Lie.

Natsuru’s life hasn’t been easy. Not having a dad means having to learn sports by yourself and having to learn about girls by yourself. Sure his mom is amazing, but she has a child to raise on her own and a career as a novelist to balance. So Natsuru has to look up to his teachers and coaches for direction. Sadly his soccer coach has left the team, his health has become a factor. And Natsuru is beginning to dread his summer, until he met Rio.

Now his life is tough, but Rio lives alone with her younger brother. Her life is a constant struggle. Rio is in Natsuru’s 6th grade class, so she definitely has no experience living alone, and she has no choice in the matter as her father is “away.” His summer might be a mess but Rio’s life is constantly a struggle.  Well this summer, their break will be different! It will be fun, exciting…eye-opening. A summer they’ll never forget. A summer that might drive Natsuru to meet his goals as a soccer player!

In the final volume of Tsutomu Nihei’s Knights of Sidonia the crew of the Sidonia are engaging in what may be their defining battle. Unfortunately for them, they may have to engage in this war to end all wars without their talisman – Tsumugi.

With freedom within their grasp, will the Sidonia be able to live through this for the future of mankind? Or will Tanikaze and his colleagues suffer through another millennia of searching?

Ninja Slayer returns this month without much Ninja Slayer! Ninja Slayer might have been killed when a nuke went off in the Saitama suburbs. So who will defend the “weak” or maintain the “peace”? Possibly no one. Possibly a new “hero” who is looking to make a buck in the process. Or maybe someone who isn’t a hero at all. Maybe the dark world will overtake the megalopolis even more. Either way, with all the chaos the world needs Ninja Slayer even more!

In Tokyo ESP 4, it is been more than a year since Rinka’s story ended. Tokyo is a very different place now. A good portion of the population have become mutants. Among them is high school student Ren Jomaku. She never asked or wanted to be a mutant. But now she has the ability to turn things into ice. And to properly control that ability, she is now enrolled in the new ESP Academy in Tokyo Bay. Ren is going to have to refine those skills because her school is going to be at the center of a lot of mutant mishaps, many of them which will lead to mayhem!

Ok so maybe very little has changed in Tokyo.

Yup, spring is here! And with it comes glowing fish, sports, alien attacks and soccer camps. Oh and more great manga from your favorite publisher!


Listen to our Words

Vertical, Inc. a division of Kodansha USA, will release the first three titles in in audiobook publishing program this Spring. Each of the three initial releases is an unabridged version of a recent best-selling novel from the publisher.

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.
In order to resonate with the enormous fanbase for the original material, the audio-books feature voice actors well-known for their work in anime and video games. We feel the actors we have cast have enormous followings of their own among the millions of American fans of the many animation series, films, and video games based on Japanese comics. And we believe that by using their recognizable names and voices in the audio versions of our books the audience will make a seamless transition to listening to the stories we publish.

The actors include:

  • Cristina Vee (KIZUMONOGATARI) – Sailor Moon,  Knights of Sidonia, Squid Girl
  • Erica Linbeck (Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City) – The Seven Deadly Sins: Jericho, Aldnoah.Zero, Coppelion
  • Erik Kimerer (KIZUMONOGATARI) –Your Lie in April, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Iron-Blooded Orphans, ToraDora
  • Keith Silverstein (KIZUMONOGATARI and Attack on Titan: Harsh Mistress of the City) – Sailor Moon, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, Naruto

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

  • KIZUMONOGATARI: Wound Tale ($19.95 / 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.
  • THE HARSH MISTRESS OF THE CITY Parts 1 & 2 ($14.95 Each / 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.

Read the Manga, Watch the Anime

Ever so often Vertical is fortunate enough to find a true gem of a property. Works that are not just unique and well-crafted, but these gems are also accessible, timely, and capable of expanding not only our audience but the manga market as a whole. We were quite fortunate that AJIN: Demi-Human was one of those works. And starting this week, the property is taking another step towards broader acceptance as its anime adaptation debuts on NetFlix!

Polygon Pictures have taken Gamon Sakurai’s high stakes tale of a new world teeming with life-threatening immortals is rendered with attention to all the tension and intensity of the manga.


c8c23fd2122d7446d370847e_1180x5402016 Convention Schedule

Convention season is here! And maybe you weren’t aware but Vertical has already attended one con already this year!

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:

From vampire hunting damphirs to monster hunting werewolves and various forms of sushi making, Vertical in 2016 should your source for some of the more eclectic works seen in Japan today!

Image Copyrights – All Rights Reserved
Tokyo ESP © Hajime SEGAWA 2012-2013; Ninja Slayer © 2012 NINJ@ ENTERTAINMENT © Yuki YOGO 2015 © Yoshiaki TABATA  2015; Knights of Sidonia © 2016 Tsutomu Nihei; the gods lie. © 2016 Kaori Ozaki; AJIN ©Gamon Sakurai, KODANSHA/AJIN Production Committee; KIZUMONOGATARI © 2008 NISIOISIN

A Vertical Feast

Last month we alerted you all of Vertical’s plans for this fall. Big launches for Ninja Slayer and Tokyo ESP followed. A successful New York ComicCon also came out of what was a monstrously big October. But that was just the start of what is going to be a hearty and tasty fourth quarter.

This month is when things really begin to heat up. Two of Vertical’s biggest hit-makers return after extended breaks. The English edition of one of Japan’s top selling novels eve will finally hit stores. To top that all off, we bring you more comedic gold from a rising star of Japanese humor.

There is plenty to be thankful this month, and we would be very grateful if you choose to have Vertical be a part of your fall this year.

A November to be Thankful For

New Releases

Back in 2009, Vertical began an initiative to expand its manga catalog. Prior to then we had only worked with three mangaka, releasing around a pair of titles a year since 2004. Now we have more than 50 manga titles under our belt. The first title from that new wave, though, was Konami Kanata’s Chi’s Sweet Home. By far the best selling manga title in our list and one of the longer running ones, at that, Chi is finally coming to a close this month with what might be the most heart-wrenching releases we have ever put to print. It will be sad to see this series wrap up, but thankfully we’ll be working more with Konami Kanata in the future. So that relationship will continue as we expand the North American cat comics market.

While Chi is big, our best selling authors are actually Aranzi Aronzo. The DIY duo from Osaka broke through globally not long after we introduced the Western world to The Cute Book and Cute Stuff. These collections of creepy-cute so-simple-it’s-fun doll and accessory making books have become a cult hit over the years. Now, five years removed from their last hit The Cuter Book and a number of storefronts later, Aranzi returns to English world with another 40 or so patterns in their Cuter Stuff collection. Crafters of all experience levels will rejoice when they see all the new ideas Aranzi have come up with lately.

In My Neighbor Seki volume 5, Rumi Yokoi might have thought she could escape Seki’s games while her class was on an extended field-trip. She possibly was being a little naive as Seki would not only continue his games on the road, he would even have his beloved Robot Family on the trip with him providing an addition bit of tension into Rumi’s already stressful life. Now with essentially two field trips occurring at once, Rumi must find a way to split her time between watching over her favorite action figures and enjoying her edu-tainment with her classmates. This may be Seki’s most diabolical project yet!

After a brief delay, Naoki Hyakuta’s The Eternal Zero is now scheduled to land in stores this month. Already legendary for breaking sales records in Japan, it has been the subject of a lot of debate and media attention in and out of Asia since it launched in 2006. It is not often the West gets to see books of this magnitude translated so quickly, so we are certain it will cause a stir once it hits North American literature’s radar.

Listen to This!

At New York ComicCon last month Vertical made news when they announced their new line of audio light novels!

Coming Spring 2016 prose releases like KIZUMONOGATARI and Attack on Titan: Harsh Mistress of the City will make their way to MP3 players and eBook readers in the near future. Voiced by trained voice actors and enhanced by music and audio effects, these audio books should give fans new ways to experience their favorite series.

Details, such as when and where these books will debut, are still being worked out. But stay tuned to this newsletter for more information on this new and unique way to enjoy Japanese prose in English!

Future Releases:

So whether in audio or in print (or even digital) as you come together with family and friends this fall, we would be very thankful if you all would gather with a Vertical book (or two). We’re certain they’ll warm you up and satisfy any hunger for entertainment you’d have.

Image Copyrights – All Rights Reserved
My Neighbor Seki © Takuma Morishige 2014; Cuter Stuff © ARANZI ARONZO 2013; The Eternal Zero © Naoki Hyakuta 2006; Chi’s Sweet Home © 2015 Konami Kanata; KIZUMONOGATARI © NISIOISIN 2015