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

Vampires, Teenagers. And a very unusual Spring Break!

KIZUMONOGATARI: Wound TaleA disturbing, but titillating, rumor is making the rounds among the high school girls: a vampire has come to their small provincial town. Supposedly, she’s a beautiful blond woman “with eyes so cold they make your spine freeze.” And it’s just a matter of time before she’ll claim her first victim.

Loner Koyomi Araragi is naturally skeptical. But he’s the one the bloodsucking demon calls out to for help, as Araragi heads home on the first day of his school vacation. So begins two weeks of hell involving Kissshot Acerolaorion Heartunderblade (“the iron-blooded, hot-blooded, yet cold-blooded vampire”), vampire hunters, the smartest girl in the class, a pair of panties, and the hapless Araragi.

With KIZUMONOGATARI: Wound Tale, you’ll enter the mesmerizing world of best-selling author NISIOISIN’s legendary Monogatari series. KIZUMONOGATARI is the prequel to Bakemonogatari (“Monster Tale”) and the first in the series to be translated into English. The feature film of KIZUMONOGATARI will release in Japan in early January 2016!

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

A Spook-tacular Month for Vertical

October is a special month for Vertical, especially its imprint Vertical Comics. Apart from it being the 1st Anniversary for the manga imprint, October also tends to be the beginning of the calendar year for the publishing house as a hole. This is the month when we start rolling our biggest titles of the year. Whether prose or manga, craft book or art book…if a property launches in October (and November) it is a title we are really looking forward to sharing with our readers.

This October we have some heavy hitters. A pair of hits from the manga world are joined by one of the most talked about novels in Japanese history. And then there’s the Kizumonogatari news from Japan and some little event called New York Comic Con we attend.

Yeah, big big month! A scary big month! But more about that below…
So we hope you all continue to stand up against basic Japanese content as we launch our fall and winter catalog. Prepare to be surprised!

A Monstrous October
If you are in the States in October then there is no escaping Halloween fever. Ghouls, monsters and jack-o-lanterns dominate the landscape, and genres like the supernatural and horror begin to dominate the media scene.

Vertical is not oblivious to such trends. And as trend-setters we have a couple of works that should thrill readers for months if not years to come

Debuting this month is Hajime Segawa’s long awaited release of Tokyo ESP. A Japanese take on the mutant superhero genre, Tokyo ESP combines slap-stick comedy with action and supernatural in what has become a beloved franchise. Having already inspired an animated TV series and a pair of manga spin-offs, we are certain readers will not wait to sink their teeth into these pretty omnibus releases when they hit shelves this month!

Ninja may not be monsters, but they sure seem to do most of their deeds from the shadows. And in the world of Ninja Slayer nothing is scarier or more powerful than those cursed with the power of ninja karate! Richly rendered by Yoshiaki Tabata and Yuki Yugo, this manga adaptation of the cult hit novel series compliments both the prose and the animated series by Studio Trigger by bringing the whole world of Ninja Slayer to life through detailed action and biting satire in this hilarious ninja exploitation manga.

Not exactly a Halloween title, Naoki Hyakuta’s The Eternal Zero has been something like a monster within the publishing world. This tale of WWII flyboys and the killer fighter they pilot has sold more than 3 million copies in Japan making it one of the best selling prose releases in Japan’s recent history.

And finally, October also will bring the release of the seventh volume of one of Vertical’s most spooky titles: Ryu Mizunagi’s Witchcraft Works. In this volume, Ayaka is on the search for her past demons. To uncover the secrets from her youth, she takes Honoka to her ancestral home… Which just happens to be guarded by magicians and giant wolves!! CREEPY!!

KIZUMONOGATARI

This Tale is Going to be a Trilogy

On October 3rd, it was revealed that NISIOISIN’s long-awaited KIZUMONOGATARI would finally be released in theaters with a January 8, 2016 premiere date. But that was just the beginning of what would be a string of news around the property. The January release is scheduled to be the first of three movies produced by studio SHAFT based on the novel.

Our edition of the novel has been pushed back to December, but fear not the book is now deep in production and we will soon be revealing the new original art for the cover provided by MONOGATARI’s illustrator VOFAN.

Stay tuned to the Vertical twitter for more information on the novel release and for news on the anime please follow the official site (link here).

Future Releases:

Vertical Convention Tour 2015

In a matter of days the Vertical tour bus will be retired for the year. But before it goes into hibernation, we will be making one last stop in our hometown and this show will be a doozy!

As usual we’ll be in the exhibitor hall, booth #2020, selling wares including advance releases of Witchcraft Works 7 and Ninja Slayer 1. On Friday at 5:00p, we ask that NYCC patrons please join us at our industry panel where our staff will go over our up-coming titles. Over the hour we’ll also be revealing some interesting plans for 2016, so be sure to be present to witness the future of Vertical and J-Pop content! And stick around for some exclusive con goodies from Japan too!

Image Copyrights – All Rights Reserved
Tokyo ESP © Hajime Segawa 2015; Ninja Slayer © 2012 Ninja Entertainment; Yuki Yogo 2015 & Yoshiaki Tabata 2015; The Eternal Zero © Naoki Hyakuta 2006; Witchcraft Works © 2015 Ryu Mizunagi; KIZUMONOGATARI © NISIOISIN 2015