Dig in to Vertical This Month

New Releases

It’s fall, and for many of us it is time to fill up with good reads. Whether digging into heaping piles of prose or hot servings of manga, these days readers can feast on great content and never feel ashamed to pack on the pounds of knowledge and entertainment.

To help with your literary spread Vertical is serving up some tasty reads full of humor, action, and suspense. And we’ve got more than enough to available for seconds or thirds…

Fumi Yoshinaga’s What Did You Eat Yesterday? is all about the eats and with this latest volume (11) Shiro is invited by his old friend Kayako to attend a family gathering and picnic.

It has been a while since Shiro has seen Kayako and her family, and this is an opportunity to reunite over a big bento meal. But Shiro already made plans for a picnic dinner for that evening also! Will he be able to pull of this double-duty with his wallet and stomach, or will he have to play favorites.

Reunions are in store also in To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts 3. In this fantasy tale by author-writer duo MAYBE, young main character Schaal returns home to pay respects to her fallen father. Her father was also an Incarnate, so she struggles with her memories of her family with the fear felt by her town upon hosting an Incarnate.

It has been a year and Schaal has returned to her home. The village is depressed as it is being haunted possibly by an Incarnate. And where there is a beast there will eventually be Beast Hunters. But this time Hank is not amongst them. And this time, it might be Schaal who will ultimately pull the trigger, even if it’s before a familiar face.

In Nichijou 5 the girls are proceeding with an interesting project; one that the readers of this series might be familiar with. Yukko, Mio, and Mai are working on a manga they plan to submit to a contest. Mio is basically expanding on a comic she has been doodling for a while now.

You would think that these three friends would come together to create something with a shared vision. That they would want to work with each other to make this project a success. But no. They’ll conspire to destroy the project. One of them might have done that accidentally and the other may have had more sinister intentions, yet the results are still the same… Mio will have to harden herself and work on the comic by herself while overcoming the challenges her own assistants have placed before her.

Meanwhile in Tokyo ESP 7 chaos reins supreme in this penultimate omnibus. Rinka’s mission in Hong Kong is complete. Now there is a bigger threat setting its eye on Tokyo with ambitions to take over the world! A new world order is afoot and the keys to this movement are a pair of espers the series has followed for some time now.

When Rinka and Ren thought they were going to have a happy reunion, suddenly new forces appear threatening the country and their allies directly. An international group with tentacles deep within the economic and political institutes of the world’s most powerful countries has set their eyes on espers and their abilities. Rinka, with her partners in Tokyo Metropolitan Police and the American CIA, will soon make plans to take down this new enemy…from within.

New Releases

Attack on Titan has been one of the biggest franchises to come out of Japan in years. And this month it returns to the West with a new light novel: Attack on Titan: End of the World.

Ever since the horde of seemingly immortal and mindless giants emerged a century ago, humanity has been eking out a secluded existence behind a series of concentric walls. The precarious peace does not last, and childhood friends Eren, Armin, and Mikasa, who witness the end of the world as they know it, embark on an infernal journey with no paradise in sight.

In this novelization of both parts of the mega-hit comic’s theatrical adaptation, the series’ familiar setting, plot, and themes are reconfigured into a compact whole that is fully accessible to the uninitiated and strangely clarifying for fans of the original.

After a short break, Takaya Kagami’s Seraph of the End 3 hits shelves with a gloomy holiday theme at its core. In this case, Christmas is finally here; an apocalyptic time of year for all good boys and girls.

Not only Guren but his closest allies among the Imperial Demons have accepted forbidden power, and the merciless Hiragi Clan orders them to go after its once-favorite but treacherous daughter Mahiru. The vampires, however, are ready to show that no human faction stands a chance against them.

So this month feast on these great works, but make sure to leave some room for seconds, because our December list will be just as filling.


Let’s Talk about J-Mysteries

Since Vertical’s inception in 2003 the publishing house has been at the forefront of translated Japanese mysteries. The genre has been at the core of the Japanese literary scene for decades and it has inspired numerous forms of media including movies, games, and manga throughout the years.

Supporting these works and their authors in Japan is the Mystery Writers of Japan.
Here is what they say about their position within that community:

The Mystery Writers of Japan (MWJ) brings together authors, critics, translators, illustrators, and other creators working in the mystery genre, and is the oldest organization in the field in Japan. It was born in Tokyo in 1947, as Japan was rebuilding from the destruction of World War II. The man who made it possible was Edogawa Rampo, one of the pioneers in the Japanese mystery literature genre, who became the first head of the MWJ.

Since its establishment, the MWJ has worked to promote mysteries in Japan, nurturing appreciation for works in the field. Its efforts over the years have been successful, and today mysteries are enormously popular in Japan.

With Japanese prose slowly gaining more acceptance in the West, Vertical and the MWJ feel it is important for readers to take a look at other genres to get a better appreciation for the culture and nuances of Japan. While there is a lot to learn from light novels and more youthful narratives, reading works such as Pro Bono, Shinjuku Shark, and The Cage may open up doors to a contemporary Japan that is more in tune with what is read by the masses there and a world outside of the subcultures of anime and manga.

To follow the Mystery Writers of Japan and the many Japanese novels that are translated into English please follow the MWJ at their website:
http://www.mystery.or.jp/en/index.html.


New Acquisition!

Late fall is generally a quiet season for licensing at the Vertical offices, but this year that has changed a bit. We’ve been busy picking up titles for Fall 2017. We’ll discuss those titles in future newsletter, but in the meantime we have some early information on a new release we have scheduled for Spring 2017!

Prose:

  • Ghost in the Shell: Collection (official title to be determined)

This brand new Ghost in the Shell release is a new collection of short stories by some of the biggest names in Japanese prose today. Featuring works by Tow Ubukata (Mardock Scramble), Toh EnJoe (Self-Reference ENGINE), Kafka Asagiri (Bungo Stray Dogs), Gakuto Mikumo (Strike the Blood), and Yoshinobu Akita (Sorcerous Stabber ORPHEN). Each of these talents provide their perspectives to build upon and re-interpret the world of the Major and Public Security Section 9.

Vertical is proud to be releasing this as part of a global GitS project set around the motion picture scheduled for Spring 2017. News about this new book is still developing, so stay tuned to this newsletter and our social media platforms for more information and artwork.


Vote for Your Favorite Novels!

Every year we host a few licensing surveys hoping to find titles that our readership are most hungry for. This month we are asking fans out there to give us some feedback about a range of topics and a novel/light novel suggestion.

If you ever wanted to share your novels wishlist with the US’s premiere publisher of Japanese prose, here is your chance!

Click here to take our Annual Prose Survey


Future Releases:

And here is what to expect over the next few months:

  • NISIOISIN’s BAKEMONOGATARI (debuts December 2016)
  • Junji Ito’s Dissolving Classroom (debuts January 2017)
  • NISIOISIN’s Decapitation – Kubikiri Cycle – (debuts January 2017)
  • Keigo Higashino’s The Name of the Game is A Kidnapping (debuts 2017)
  • Chihiro Ishizuka’s Flying Witch (debuts March 2017)
  • Various Authors, Ghost in the Shell (debuts March 2017)

Image Copyrights – All Rights Reserved

To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts 3 © 2016 MAYBE; nichijou 6 © Keiichi ARAWI 2009; Attack on Titan: End of the World © 2016 Hajime Isayama, Touji Asakura; Tokyo ESP 7 © Hajime SEGAWA 2015; Seraph of the End 3 © 2016 Takaya Kagami

Your Source for Summer Reading

Summer is here and for many people that offers plenty of opportunities to get some needed reading done. Vertical readers will have plenty to sink into whether at the beach or in the park as we have a handful of new releases, many of them with a little heft.


New Releases

Our big release of the month is the latest from the Attack on Titan franchise. Lost Girls is a series of shorts that focuses on two of the more vital female characters from the Titan world. Penned by Hiroshi Seko, the script writer for the Titan anime, Lost Girls looks at the motivations and backgrounds of Mikasa and Annie as they both stand on opposite sides of the walls. Featuring art from Hajime Isayama, this is a must read for hardcore fans of the Attack on Titan series.

Ninja Slayer returns this month and immediately takes the manga series into new worlds of cyberpunk in One Minute before the Tanuki! A ninja virus is threatening to kill Ninja Slayers mentor. To save him, he hacks his way into the dark internet to take on a co-op of cyber ninja, who have been cracking accounts and minds hooked up to the world-wide web. Will Ninja Slayer be able to type fast enough break through this most dangerous of firewalls?

In the second volume of Mysterious Girlfriend X, Urabe and Tsubaki continue to develop their special relationship. In the process they learn more about each other and their friends. But how they go about doing so still is a little, unusual. Especially when that means finding out more about Oka’s past. Or even weirder, learning about Tsubaki’s older sister and her romantic past!

Finally in Tokyo ESP, Rinka is back! But where ever there is Rinka there is usually chaos! First she returns to save Tokyo from another terrorist attack. But then she takes an assignment from the CIA to infiltrate a secret underground network of super-human fighting circles originating from Hong Kong! According to US intelligence this would be an esper rescue mission. But once Rinka enter this world, she wonders if it was all just a big trap!


Next Stop… Los Angeles

Vertical is now deep into con season and our next leg of our summer tour will be taking us to two events in Southern California. We’ll talk about ComicCon and Tsutomu Nihei’s appearance in the next newsletter. This time, though, we will focus our attention on the largest anime convention in North America – Anime Expo!

As usual Vertical will be setting up shop in the Exhibition Hall (booth #509). This year we’ll be having a few exclusive goodies to give away along with a handful of advance releases.

Goodies:

  • Chi’s Sweet Home Sticker Set (free)
  • The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home Mini-Poster (free)
  • KIZUMONOGATARI shikishi (with purchase of book)
  • Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City shikishi (with purchase of book)

Quantities will be limited for these exclusive items, so please make your way to our booth as soon as you can.

We’ll also have a couple advanced releases for readers to take advantage of:

For those looking for entertainment and news, join us for a pair of panels.

First on Friday, we will be joining Bang Zoom! and the editor for KIZUMONOGATARI in a read along of the KIZU and Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City light novels. Voice acting talents Eric Kimerer, Erica Lindbeck, Keith Silverstein, and Cristina Vee will read their roles from the audiobook releases of these books. After their reads, the editor of the MONOGATARI series, Mariko Yajima will give her thoughts on these performances before the panelists take questions about Vertical’s audiobook project.

On Saturday, Vertical will host its annual industry panel. Covering new releases and the 2016-2017 catalog, stay tuned for a new license announcement that should generate some buzz over the weekend. Ms. Yajima will also join us at this panel. Here she will take questions about MONOGATARI from the audience in a rare appearance from Japanese prose editors.

Then on Sunday, join the Voice Actors of MONOGATARI and AoT: Harsh Mistress for a special autograph session in the Kentia Hall at 2:30. Special shikishi signing boards will be distributed at the Vertical booth and at the Read Along panel at a first come first serve basis.

From swag to potentially once in a lifetime special events, if you need reasons to head on down to Anime Expo this weekend Vertical has you covered.


2016 Convention Schedule

California, here we come!

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


We’re at the time of year where new launches start slowing down a bit. But we still have a few new series to look forward to before this fall.

Future Releases:

Immortals and dystopian universes… Yup, Vertical does it all. Sci-fi, mystery, thrillers, and cat comics, anything good from Japan is within your grasp when you choose Vertical this summer.


 

Image Copyrights – All Rights Reserved

Mysterious Girlfriend X © 2016 Riichi Ueshiba; Tokyo ESP © Hajime SEGAWA 2013-2014; Shousetsu Shingeki no Kyojin LOST GIRLS © 2015 Hajime Isayama, Hiroshi Seko, Kodansha / ATTACK ON TITAN Production Committee; Ninja Slayer © 2012 NINJ@ ENTERTAINMENT  © Yuki Yogo 2015  © 2015 Yoshiaki Tabata; KIZUMONOGATARI © 2008 NISIOISIN; Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City © 2015 Hajime Isayama, Ryo Kawakami

HANGING OUT WITH THE POPULAR GIRLS

Attack on Titan: Lost GirlsThe latest light novel in the Attack on Titan epic offers a glimpse behind the tough exteriors of Mikasa and Annie, two of the original comic’s most beloved characters.

In Lost Girls, a sequel to the manga, you’ll discover a trio of short stories that provide insights into the personalities of these two fan favorites, and also add depth to the Titan saga as a whole. Mikasa and Annie are arguably the toughest heroines in the Titan universe. Previously, you only got to see their badass side, but now, they reveal their true thoughts and feelings, and also what went on “behind the scenes” and in between the core action of the story.

Author Hiroshi Seko writes, “…as someone with a passing relationship to Attack on Titan, my interest (and heart) is hopelessly drawn to the burdens carried by Mikasa and Annie, and at the same time to the burdens they are probably carrying, and I think I wanted to understand the youg women on a deeper level by writing about them on my own.”

Two of the stories, “Lost in the Cruel World” and “Wall Sina, Goodbye,” were included as “visual novels” in the bonus features of the third and sixth Blue-ray releases of the Attack on Titan anime. Seko revised them, and composed the title story, “Lost Girls,” especially for this volume.

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

Fall into Vertical

Summer is almost over and fall is just around the corner. But even with longer nights and cooler days in the horizon, Vertical continues to heat up the publishing world by releasing some of the hottest titles from Japan today. And this month we honestly do have some huge works in store for you all.

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A Spectacular September
This September is huge! Some of the biggest names in anime and manga are coming your way courtesy of Vertical launching what should be a memorable fall for all our readers.

In My Neighbor Seki 4, Seki continues to haunt his fellow classmate Rumi Yokoi. This time, however, Yokoi is no longer going to take things quietly. As Seki continues to good around over P.E. and art class, Yokoi makes her mark on his little projects by changing the rules and even challenging Seki at his own games.

In Mobile Suit Gundam: The ORIGIN Part XI most of the war has been fought. Zeon is crumbling. But there is still some business left between two of this generation’s top mecha pilots – Char Aznable and Amuro Ray. Their rivalry now goes beyond just robot piloting.  After what occurred with Lalah, there is bad blood between these two and nothing is going to stop them. Not the destruction of their mecha. Not the death of most of the Zabi clan. Nothing!

Tragedy strikes in volume 14 of Knights of Sidonia. Nagate has done a good job defending the Sidonia from Gauna but it has long come at a cost. He has lost many comrades in battle, but few have meant as much to this as Tsumugi. While there is still hope for her survival, what will happen to the Guardian fighters without her support. She is an irreplaceable member of their squad.

And with the second part of Harsh Mistress of the City we are treated to the exciting conclusion of this Attack on Titan side story.

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More Acquisitions
We might not have had any panels since Otakon, but that does not mean we weren’t working hard to acquire new content to translate for you readers.

Over the last month we were fortunate to acquire the rights to the following new property –

To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts by MAYBE

Combining fantasy and action this new series, from the makers of CrunchyRoll’s Tales of Wedding Rings, is setting up to be the next hit work for this beloved manga duo.

Expect to see monsters galore rendered gloriously by MAYBE and adapted into English by our Vertical Comics line starting next spring!

The Eternal Zero

A Story for the Ages
Once in every decade or so the publishing world is struck by a work that captivates a generation. Works like these are often timely and relevant, often possessing a voice that may have been awaited by the populous. Naoki Hyakuta’s The Eternal Zero is a title that fits that bill.

Having sold more than 7 million units in that small country, it has been considered a phenomenon and when considering the genre and themes of this work doubly so. This work of historical fiction takes readers back to World War II as it focuses one of that war’s deadliest weapons – the Zero Fighter.

Provocative, potentially controversial, and already being covered by journals such as The Economist, The Hollywood Reporter, and Variety, The Eternal Zero is poised to make its mark on the English book market when it hits shelves next month.

Vertical Convention Tour 2015
Summer is coming to a close, but the Vertical tour bus is still making stops across the country. We still have two more destinations before parking the bus for the winter. 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.

Image Copyrights – All Rights Reserved
Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City © 2015 Hajime Iseyama and Ryo Kawakami; Knights of Sidonia © 2015 Tsutomu Nihei; My Neighbor Seki © Takuma Morishige; Aizouban Mobile Suit Gundam: The ORIGIN © Yoshikazu Yasuhiko / SOTSU – SUNRISE; To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts © MAYBEi; The Eternal Zero © 2006 Naoki Hyakuta

TOUGH LOVE IN TOUGH TIMES

Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City

Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City, Part 1 is the first installment of a new stand-alone story set in the days following the breach of Wall Maria and the incursion of the Titans. Everyone who was able to, has fled the Quinta District, leaving it cut off and surrounded. Those who are left behind are desperate – and desperate people will do whatever it takes to survive.

Young Garrison soldier Rita Iglehaut finds herself in charge of Quinta by default. Small in stature and totally inexperienced, she believes that the only way she can gain control of the chaos is by ruling with an iron fist. Anyone who does anything she deems disloyal or unlawful, will be dealt with unmercifully. No exceptions. As the situation becomes more dangerous, her actions get crazier and crueler.

Rita’s rise to power puts her at odds with her childhood friend Mathias Kramer. Mathias had fled the District in time, but now seeks to reenter Quinta to reunite with Rita. An impulsive act on his part, however, could mean the end of their friendship – and quite possibly, his life.

The second part of The Harsh Mistress of the City, coming in September, continues the saga of Rita and Mathias, the humanity-decimating monsters they must conquer, and the terrifying world they inhabit.

When Kuklo Met Sharle

Attack on Titan: Kuklo UnboundDiscovered as a newborn crying in a pile of Titan vomit, Kuklo  was known as the “Titan’s son,” and spent most of his young life in misery, caged and tormented. Then one night, his captor’s daughter, Sharle, snuck into the shed where Kuklo was kept, determined to kill the dangerous monster in their midst. Instead, her heart went out to her intended victim, who was as terrified of her as she was of him.
So begins a fast friendship between the pampered princess and the abused outcast. Sharle starts sneaking food to the captive Kuklo, as well as teaching him to speak and read, and behave like a human. And when Kuklo knows it’s time to make a run for it. Sharle is by his side, willingly leaving her privileged world for the rough and dangerous life of a fugitive in Wall Sheena’s underground city.
Made of delicate porcelain on the outside, and Iron Bamboo on the inside, Sharle is both Kuklo’s savior and the force that keeps him focused on surviving. As he forges ahead in his quest to confront a Titan and put to rest his fears that he is of their breed, Kuklo knows that if it weren’t for Sharle, and her good luck knife and persistent efforts to keep him alive, he would have been a Titan’s lunch long ago.

THE CRAFT OF KILLING TITANS

Attack on Titan: Before the fallA generation before Wall Maria fell, before the Titans breached humanity’s defenses, before Eren and Mikasa fought to defeat the monsters. . . there was a young blacksmith named Angel Aaltonen, tasked with creating the weapons and devices to take on the  brutal foes.

As the story opens, the future of humankind looks bleak. There is no organized plan for fighting the Titans, the grotesque, sexless creatures whose appetite for humans seems insatiable. Not only are they enormous and destructive, but they are invincible. Traditional weapons are incapable of killing them, and if they are wounded or lose a body part, it just regenerates itself. The Survey Corps is ridiculed for their ineffective expeditions that result in countless soldiers’ deaths but make no progress against the Titans.

Among his fellow craftsmen at the arms workshop, Angel is considered a master inventor. Angel never really gets the chance to use his talents, however, since the workshop’s products are made to order. But as the citizens of the walled cities become increasingly desperate, Angel has an inspiration for a piece of equipment that will take away one of the Titans’ major advantages: their height. The Vertical Maneuvering Equipment is a brilliant feat of engineering that will play a critical role well into the future, as humanity fights on to rid themselves of the Titan scourge.

In his Afterword, Ryo Suzukaze writes, “In this book, I tried to bring readers to the world of Attack on Titan from a slightly different angle as compared to the original by doing things like making the protagonist, Angel, a craftsman of arms. It explains the inner workings of things such as materials, manufacturing, processes, facilities, and so on. . . . I went into a lot of detail about it, but one item I hope you pay special attention to is the Vertical Maneuvering Equipment. Without it, Attack on Titan would never get off the ground.”

To read a free preview, click here.