yen press

Yen Press photo
Yen Press

Licensing GET: Yen Press grabs Durarara!! light novels and more


It's time to rejoice to the max!
Jan 10
// Salvador GRodiles
Alright, people! I might need someone to wake me up from my eternal slumber, because Yen Press' latest announcement is too freaking good to be true. In other words, the company has licensed the original Durarara!! light novel...
SAO photo
SAO

Sword Art Online light novel tops BookScan SF list


People are buying this light novel about MMORPG because now they can!
Apr 30
// Jeff Chuang
Yen Press's English-language release of Sword Art Online novel, volume one, is topping the BookScan Sci-fi list this week. The Nielsen BookScan service tracks sales of the novels in retail book chains and some independen...

Square Enix and Yen Press announce worldwide digital partnership

Mar 24 // Brad Rice
NEW YORK, NY (March 24, 2014) – Yen Press, the graphic novel imprint of Hachette Book Group, and leading Japanese gaming and manga publisher Square Enix in conjunction with the Tuttle-Mori Agency announced today that their highly anticipated inter-corporate initiative for the global distribution of Square Enix's English language manga will commence on April 8th. By virtue of this groundbreaking agreement, fans of Square Enix’s manga in over 200 countries will have access to the authorized, English-language ebook editions of 175 titles through Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google and Kobo with new volumes available concurrently with future print releases. Launching first with internationally best selling series like Atsushi Ohkubo’s Soul Eater, Yana Toboso's Black Butler, and Yoshiki Tonogai's Doubt, Yen Press will roll out additional series weekly throughout the month of April with a blockbuster assortment that includes Hiromu Arakawa's Fullmetal Alchemist, Jun Mochizuki's PandoraHearts, Ryukishi07's Higurashi WHEN THEY CRY, and Until Death Do Us Part by Hiroshi Takashige and DOUBLE-S. As an added bonus for fans, these ebook editions will include color pages not reproduced in the titles' print counterparts. In addition to this ambitious launch of their cooperative digital publishing endeavor, Yen Press and Square Enix have also unveiled a program for the digital English language serialization of new chapters of two ongoing series – Atsushi Ohkubo's riotous successor to Soul Eater, Soul Eater NOT!, and Yoshiki Tonogai's latest mind-bending mystery thriller, Secret. Chapters not already contained in the collected volumes of these series will be released as digital comics in advance of the latest chapters slated for publication April 14th. Kurt Hassler, VP and Publishing Director of Yen Press, said of the agreement, "In much the same way that video streaming technologies transformed the way fans consume anime, the digital availability of manga content stands to revolutionize readers’ access to the material they love. Particularly exciting to us is the opportunity Square Enix has provided international audiences to enjoy and support the latest installments of continuing series at the same time as Japanese fans. Manga has a truly global community of enthusiasts, and Yen Press could not be prouder to help connect these brilliant creators with the worldwide readership clamoring for their work." Katsuyoshi Matsuura, Division Executive of Publication Business Division and General Manager of Digital Publishing of Square Enix Co., Ltd., commented regarding the commencement of the service, "I am extremely pleased to know that our work will be available to manga fans to whom it was previously inaccessible. At the same time, I am very encouraged and excited to be able to implement this service in cooperation with Hachette Book Group and to work with them to address the ever expanding needs of enthusiasts while providing them with the most exciting experience possible." About the authors of the serialized chapter publications: Atsushi Ohkubo’s debut manga series, B.Ichi, originally appeared in Square Enix’s Monthly Shonen Gangan magazine. Upon completion of the work, his concept for Soul Eater began as a series of shorts appearing in the same magazine and later became the long-running work that has earned him international renown. The final chapter of Soul Eater recently ran in the September issue of Monthly Shonen Gangan. Ohkubo is still at work on his spin-off series, Soul Eater NOT!, the animation for which is slated to begin airing this spring. Yoshiki Tonogai leapt onto the manga scene as the artist on the Time Killing Arc of Ryukishi07's epic Higurashi WHEN THEY CRY. He then went on to create his first solo work, Doubt, which was serialized in Square Enix's Monthly Shonen Gangan, the success of which inspired its sequel, Judge. Tonogai's latest murder masterpiece, Secret, kicked off its serialization in Monthly Shonen Gangan in October 2013, and he has been a recurring presence on the New York Times manga bestseller list.
Yen Press photo
175 English-language titles to appear in over 200 countries
Yen Press and Square Enix just announced a partnership to put eBook versions of 175 manga titles online, giving the English-language versions of Square Enix's manga worldwide reach. Starting April 8, you'll be able to access ...


Japanator's 2013 Holiday Guide: Manga

Dec 02 // Brad Rice
For the mecha fan who needs to read more... Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin (Vertical)MSRP: $29.99 Gundam, love it or hate it, is a hallmark of our fandom. This is the giant robot title that got us all excited for 30-ft tall mechs and the pretty boys who pilot them. Gundam: The Origin takes us back to the beginning -- back to Char Aznable, Amuro Ray, and Bright Noa -- and provides a great jumping in point for new fans daunted by the sheer volume of Gundam stories to get into. Yoshikazu Yasuhiko's art makes it pretty easy to get into, as well. The scenes are beautifully drawn, offering up great detail on the mech designs and the battle scenes. Each volume goes at a killer pace, and leaves you hungry for the next. I'm not even a giant robot fan, but it's been a must-buy title for me with every volume that comes out. Be sure to get the volumes this year, because you never know when Vertical's beautiful hardcover editions will go entirely out of print! Sure, digital copies will exist, but it doesn't match the look and feel of these hardcover editions. For the teenage boy who loves boobs, violence, and boobs... Wolfsmund (Vertical)MSRP: $12.95 If you've got a friend who's interested in action and just loves to stare at boobs, then Wolfsmund is going to be the manga for them! Set in medieval Europe, Wolfsmund is a dramatic version of the story of William Tell, as done by Mitsuhisa Kuji -- an assistant on the Berserk manga. That should give you an idea of where this title will go. It's proven to be one of the more engaging stories this year, as Kuji quickly has you rooting for the downfall of the Castle Wolfsmund. I spent some more time recommending this in my A Look @ Wolfsmund piece, which is worth checking out for more detailed info on the story. This will be right up the alley for anyone who's been interested in violent medieval-era tales, such as Berserk or Guin Saga. For the J-RPG lover in your life... The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy (Dark Horse)MSRP: $89.99 There's nothing better than a book full of Yoshitaka Amano to class up your coffee table. Amano's art defined the look and feel of the Final Fantasy series, and what better item to give to your J-RPG-loving friends than this tome of Amano's art designs? It's jaw-droppingly beautiful, and something that will be hard to part with when you pick it up in stores. I mean, just take a look at the inside images on Amazon's page. Gorgeous, isn't it? The three-volume slipcase will make a nice gift for anyone who's logged months and months of their lives playing Final Fantasy games. For the person who only reads "indie" titles... Attack on Titan (Kodansha)MSRP: $10.99 If your giftee hasn't gotten on the Attack on Titan bandwagon, it's time to get them hooked. Sure, they might want the "hip" stuff, but Titan is just too good to pass up. Attack on Titan has quickly become one of the hottest titles on the market -- driving up an even greater sales frenzy than typical stalwarts Bleach and Naruto. The story features humanity fighting back from the brink of extinction against a new class of predator -- the monstrous Titans. Not only is there the mystery of where these gigantic beasts came from, but also why one young recruit has a mysterious power that can help turn the tide against the Titans. The series created a sensation when the anime hit simulcast channels, and the manga has been a huge seller ever since. At New York Comic Con, both Vertical and Kodansha Comics announced licenses for several spinoffs and light novels, which means now is a good time to get into the series before the material becomes overwhelming. For the Nintendo fanboy in your life... The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse)MSRP: $34.99 Before there was Final Fantasy in our lives, many of us first sat down with our NES, SNES, or N64 (youngin'!) to play a Legend of Zelda game. Whether your memories are of the original or Twilight Princess, Hyrule Historia will be a tome filled with fond memories. Containing numerous character designs, release notes, interviews, essays, and manga pages, this book is the edition that deserves to be in the hands of your gamer giftee. Not only are you giving the gift of all that Zelda lore contained within the book, but you'll also light the spark of desire to play the games once again. Before you know it, your friend will be down in the basement, booting up the NES and searching around for that gold cartridge. It'll be a warm trip down Nostalgia Lane. For the ultimate shoujo fan... Sailor Moon Box Set I and II (Kodansha)MSRP: $65.94 Much like Gundam: The Origin, Sailor Moon is another important title in our otaku history. It's the magical girl show that launched a thousand ships and showed all of us that girls can kick our butts (with the power of the Moon). Now that Kodansha is finally done with the run of the original series, you can give the gift of Sailor Moon in two convenient box sets. Then, once your friend plows through all 12 volumes, they can move on and devour all the short stories available. Oh, and they can spend endless hours trying to figure out the ending, too. Even though many of us watched Sailor Moon when it first came out in the west, there's a wholly different -- and wholly necessary -- experience in reading the series. For the friend who already owns a katana... Lone Wolf & Cub Omnibus Edition (Dark Horse)MSRP: $19.99 Have a friend who's big into samurai stories? Lone Wolf & Cub is the classic series for them. Originally released in the US in the '80s, they're finally getting a properly-sized reprint in these omnibus editions. This celebrated title is about the Emperor's executioner going on the run with his three-year-old son after false accusations force him out of his position. Armed with his trusty sword and Battle Carriage, Ogami is forced to be an assassin in order to get through life. Lone Wolf & Cub has seen six movies, four plays, and a TV adaptation, and has influenced artists on both sides of the Pacific since its debut in 1970. Since it's a classic series that hasn't been in wide circulation in recent years, now is the perfect time to make it a gift they're sure to love.  For the friend who spends too much time in the bath... Thermae Romae (Yen Press)MSRP: $34.99 The premise: an unsuccessful Roman builder finds himself time-traveling to modern-day Japan when he falls asleep inside of a hot tub. There, he finds the Japanese bath designs fascinating and brings the technology back to Ancient Rome and wins himself great glory as an inventive bath house maker. That's enough of a hook for you, isn't it? Yen Press pulled out all the stops in their production of this series, giving the title all the same pomp that Vertical put into Gundam: The Origin. And this is a title that deserves it -- the art is rich with historical detail and marvelous to behold. For the friend who loved Satoshi Kon... Tropic of the Sea (Vertical)MSRP: $14.95 Satoshi Kon left a big impact on the world of anime when he died, but now we're seeing more of his early work come out into the light. Tropic of the Sea was Kon's first published manga, and it carries all the hallmark beauty of his later works. It's a classic tale of traditional culture butting heads with the business-minded desires to modernize everything, and what happens when the local shrine's sacred treasure is put in jeopardy. It's a basic story, but the art in this single-volume title is Moebius-quality stuff. To boot, there's an included essay of Kon's (originally written for the Japanese republication of Tropic of the Sea) where he eerily foreshadows some of his health problems. That essay alone is worth the purchase price for Kon fans, and this unusual volume will make a great gift for anyone who loved his works. For anyone who's been through high school... No Matter How I Look At It It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular! (Yen Press)MSRP: $11.99 We've all been in Tomoko's shoes: sitting alone all night playing otome games in the hopes of mastering social skills, only to find that once she arrives at high school, she's a total loner. The title then follows Tomoko as she takes a look in the mirror and sees what she needs to change. It sucks. A lot. If you've ever been socially awkward, then this title will speak to you loud and clear. You can feel Tomoko's anxiety and awkwardness radiate off the page, which is a testament to how well Nico Tanigawa tells the story. It's a flip on the slice of life genre, and if your friend liked Lucky Star, this will be an easy transition into something with a bit more grit to it. Those are our manga picks for the season; of course, if some of the people on your shopping list are of a less literary bent (*sniff* *scoff!* Pardon us while we adjust our monocles), Japanator has shopping guides for games and music coming up later this Cyber Monday.
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Keep your friends well-read this holiday season
Black Friday has already come and gone, which means that the days are quickly counting down before you need a gift. Bookstores are still a viable retailer for manga, which saves you with that last-minute gift. Are you standin...

NYCC 2013 photo
NYCC 2013

NYCC 2013: Yen Press picks up High School DxD


Along with a bunch of other cool titles!
Oct 12
// Ben Huber
Yen Press brought quite a few interesting announcements to New York Comic-Con this year. Their biggest license announcement was that they'll be bringing readers High School DxD, the manga adaption of the popular light novel s...
Haruhi manga photo
Haruhi manga

Haruhi manga is coming to an end!


Wow, eight years
Aug 27
// Hiroko Yamamura
It looks the like manga adaptation of beloved light novel, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya will be coming to a close in September. The manga has been serialized in issues of Monthly Shonen Ace for the past eight years, as w...
Yen Press's newest titles photo
Yen Press's newest titles

JX: Yen Press gets SAO, Accel World, and more


Yen Press is on a roll!
Aug 23
// Salvador GRodiles
Well what do you know, Yen Press has pulled an interesting wild card at the first Japan Expo USA, and it's another beacon of hope for people that wish to see more light novels in North America! To those that have been wishing...
Yen Press gets more manga photo
Yen Press gets more manga

Sakura-Con 2013: Get a load of Yen Press's newest goods


Caution: one of these titles has a very long name.
Mar 31
// Salvador GRodiles
Sakura-Con is still going on as we speak, and Josh "Totsu" Totman is scouring the entire con like a beast! As he storms through the catacombs of Seattle's anime convention, JT has discovered Yen Press's latest annou...
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NYCC '12: Yen Press adds Puella Magi spin-offs and more


Two new ways to make a contract.
Oct 15
// Salvador GRodiles
If you thought that your Madoka fix has been quenched, think again! Yen Press is adding two Madoka Magica mangas in the form of Puella Magi Oriko Magica and Puella Magi Kazumi Magica. Both stories will most likely treat ...
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SDCC '12: Yen Press nabs Welcome to the Erotic Bookstore!


Jul 18
// Brad Rice
While SDCC is over and people are focused on The Dark Knight Rises, there are still some bits of license news to catch up on. Notably, Yen Press announced a number of titles. I can't really tell you how Welcome to the Erotic ...
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Yen Press steps up Spice and Wolf light novel releases


Apr 11
// Bob Muir
Translating light novels takes time, especially for small publishers. Up till now, Yen Press was only releasing two volumes of the original Spice and Wolf books a year, with the sixth volume planned for June 12, 2012. The com...
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Yen Press grabs Umineko, Thermae Romae, and many more


Apr 08
// Michelle Rodanes
Yen Press, who were also at Sakura Con this weekend, updated their website this morning with a long list of recently acquired licenses. Perhaps two of the most exciting additions to their line-up are Mari Yamazaki's award-win...
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A look at: Tale of the Waning Moon #2


Jul 01
// Kristina Pino
Oh hey, it's Kristina with that yaoi stuff again! Yes, yes it is. Tale of the Waning Moon is a really fantastical manga series with stuff like cat boys and moon spirits that I'm not used to seeing in my boy-on-boy stories. It...

A look at: Higurashi When They Cry - Demon Exposing Arc

May 27 // OxKing
Higurashi When They Cry - Demon Exposing (Omnibus)Published by: Yen PressWritten by: Ryukishi07Illustrated by: En KitoTranslated by: Alethea & Athena NibleyRelease date: May 31st, 2011MSRP: $18.99 Our protagonist, Natsumi Kimiyoshi (whose surname die-hard fans may recognize) is a typical high school girl, self-admittedly average at everything in school and anxious about her crush to yet another typical, average teenage boy named Akira Toudou. Living with her mother, father and kind grandma Natsumi fits the mold of a tragic character whose fate is out of her control, no matter how much the reader wants her to stay safe. While Natsumi herself moved from her village in Okinomiya to the big city with her family, her elderly grandma was raised in the cursed Hinamizawa, whose locale God, Oyashiro-sama, looks down upon those who leave its village. Because Natsumi and her family dragged her grandma out of that village to live with them, everyone often hears the pleading prayers to Oyashiro-sama day and night, constantly and constantly. The family is starting to get fed up. So when the local news station reports on a horrifying natural toxic gas leak that killed every citizen of Hinamizawa one night, followed by more reports of former members of the village dying in gruesome, horrifying ways of insanity, the cries of from Natsumi's grandma, as well as the patience of her family and the pressure of Natsumi's dream-life in the city, begins being pressed more and more by the looming presence of Oyashiro. What follows next is the great build-up, pacing and revelation that Higurashi is well known for. There are plenty of ups and downs in the story that keep you cheering followed by gluing your eyes to each page, hesitating to turn it. It's almost inevitable of what to expect in a typical Higurashi manga, but the way some of the key plot points are revealed and brought up add a sense of eeriness to things. Sadly though, in some of the more intense, edge-of-your-seat moments, there are large red flags signaling the most cliche of tropes found in most psychological horror works, particularly towards the end where, while still surprising enough to make you reflect upon and possibly change your entire perspective of the story, is followed by what seems like two or three more endings... throwing way too many twists than you can possible believe. Other segments, like the scene with Natsumi and her family towards the end of volume one, really change the game up and keeps readers on their toes. However, as with many moments in Higurashi lore, the characters who succumb to the curse of Oyashiro turn so bat-shit crazy that it's almost as if they were never sane in the first place, let alone that they lived normal lives just a couple of days ago. Despite instances of this, it's nonetheless scary to see the dramatic change in some of the characters, as well as the surprising ulterior motives they'd have from the beginning. Truthfully, I can't recommend this enough to those madly in love with Higurashi already, and even newer fans still trying to make sense of plot in the original story wouldn't mind this too much, either. The artwork by Mr. Kito is great as usual, using dark, gritty ink splotches and rough sketching for the darker moments, and then switching to the clean, almost surreal innocence when things are in happier times. With each new manga instalment typically comes a new artist bringing in their own flavor into the mix, and Kito is always great when it comes to Higurashi. Given the liberties taken with creating a spin-off story, it's great to see a unique spin on the typical small village approach. Hearing about how the dreaded curse of Oyashiro-sama affects more than what we've previously thought brings more fear into the potential and power it holds over its citizens. To see the dreams and happiness of a young girl being slowly taken away due to events occurring that out of her own hands is a very fresh-- and tragic-- sight that makes one of the better manga arcs of the series yet, not to mention one of the most shocking. 8.0 – Great. A well-executed release that defines its genre without becoming unbearable or repetitive. Well worth its full price-point with plenty of replay value.
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Serving as a side story to the main arcs in the Higurashi When They Cry manga, the Demon Exposing arc is a great read if you happen to be a huge fan of the series. Chocking up at only two volumes long, what seems like an ...

A look at: Cirque du Freak #9

May 25 // Kristina Pino
This volume was very fast paced. We got a resolution to the entire conflict that had been boiling up in volume eight with a big fight and crazy unexpected ending. Well, it's unexpected if the manga is your first exposure to the Cirque du Freak story. If it isn't, this volume served to put you through a really dramatic loss (again) and a huge plot twist that made me incredibly frustrated. Frustrated, in the sense that the situation has become so incredibly unfortunate for the main character (due to the loss of a main character) you're mad that something happened that shouldn't have. It might seem like a vague summary, but I'm sure there are plenty of stories you've read like that (and I'm trying to avoid spoiling this too much...). X happened, which stinks, but then you find out that it didn't need to happen in order to achieve goal Y (Killing the leader of the Vampanese, as it were). Meanwhile, you're "grieving" over a loss and wondering if you even want to keep on reading the series (cause seriously, this dude kind of made the manga). That's how I felt after this volume, anyway. It's not that the series is bad; this plot twist was good, but about as frustrating as Sirius Black's sudden death was in the Harry Potter series when that book first came out. I kept reading it anyway, but I'm still upset it had to happen. This volume had a lot of action in it. The story picked up really well and left off at a good spot with no fluff in between. The fighting scenes got a little confusing for me at some parts, but that happens to me with all manga that contain fighting. I don't understand all the sketchy black and white drawings sometimes, so it might just be me. Anyone else enjoying Cirque's manga adaptation?
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A little over two months ago I looked at volume eight of this series, and things were getting pretty good. For those of you who didn't read me then, cliff-notes: Darren, main character, meets a vampire and is turned into one ...

A Look At: The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi-Chan

May 10 // Tyler Jones
The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi-chan vol. 2Published by: Yen PressWritten by: Nagaru TanigawaIllustrated by: PuyoTranslated by: Chris PaiRelease date: May 31, 2011MSRP: US$11.99 Haruhi-chan does a lot of the same things the normal series does, with Haruhi dragging the SOS brigade along with her zany plans and ill-conceived ideas. Also featured are the adventures the daily life of Achakura-chan, the miniature reincarnation of Ryoko Asakura, now a very tiny chibi person living in Yuki's apartment. This volume also introduces Kimidori-san, the the green dog-like creature that Yuki made out of a baloon and gave life. It's a cute, silly manga, but is unfortunately not amazingly cute or hilariously funny. The artwork ranges from passable to pretty cute, with each character having a certain specific way they're depicted when deformed. Yuki has a sort of blank, nonchalant gaze, Haruhi has a strange smushed sort of face, and Mikuru's eyes become big black dots to illustrate her confusion. However, the normal sized characters' faces sometimes looks a bit amateurish, with unusually dark outlines around their eyes. The humor goes everywhere from slice of life silliness to character detonation to moon exploration, but the range in quality of the writing is even more pronounced than that of the artwork. There were times where I did indeed laugh out loud, but just as often I ran into jokes that were over-explained and/or didn't translate very well from Japanese. That's no fault of the translator, of course, but jokes involving politeness levels  just don't work so well over here. I'd recommend Haruhi-chan to hardcore Haruhi buffs in an instant, but to the casual fan or non-fan who wants to spend their $12 on a cute comedy manga, you could do a lot better. Score: 5.5
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I like the idea of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi-chan. For those of you not aware, Haruhi-chan is the official Haruhi parody manga, consisting mostly of four panel comics. Each character is a slightly odder version of the...

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Yen Press announces Yotsuba& on the iPad!


May 03
// Crystal White
Today, Yen Press announced via their Twitter that Yotsuba& will now be available for purchase on the iPad through their downloadable app. While the app itself is free, and looks to have a clean and modern interface, ...
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Viz nabs four Eisner nominations thanks to Naoki Urasawa


Apr 11
// Brad Rice
With San Diego Comic Con looming in the near future, that means it's time for comic's highest honors: the Eisner Awards. Nominations were recently announced, and Viz leads the manga publisher pack with four nominations, large...

A look at: Cirque du Freak #8

Mar 15 // Kristina Pino
Since I haven't read volumes one through seven, I expected to be completely out of the loop. I don't know whether it's a good or a bad thing, but it was easy to pick up on enough of the story and what I needed to know in order to follow along. Not just that, but half of this volume was very slice-of-life, Darren being trapped into going back to school after living the vampire life for over a decade and reuniting with his old girlfriend. He also ran into his ex best friend, who added to the ups and downs. The second half of it was more fast-paced and exciting, a vicious battle ending it and leaving us with a bit of a cliff-hanger. Reading this bit actually sparked my interest in glossing through what's happened up until now and keeping up with what follows. They're at a pretty high point in the series, where Darren's (main character and vampire) lover has been abducted and his best friend has turned on him in the worst way. The story is in the middle of some epic battle between vampires and vampaneze, some other version of blood beings that are all demonic-looking. It seems rather plain, but I like the drawing style and I like that I was able to follow the story even this far into it. It doesn't look like it's much more than a dude who is fighting in some crazy war with vampires and his past comes back to him suddenly to mix him up. I guess I started reading at a more interesting part of the story! Have any of you folks gotten into this manga?
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When I think of Cirque du Freak, the first thing that comes to mind is that odd-looking movie that sort of came and went, with John C. Reilly as one of the lead actors playing a vampire. Mr Reilly caught my attention, but "hi...

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A look at Higurashi When They Cry #11


Mar 07
// OxKing
I had the great pleasure of giving a look at the previous volumes of the Higurashi When They Cry manga last week, an arc that spun a new outlook on what the Higurashi setting is capable of providing in way of interesting and ...
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A look at Higurashi When They Cry #9-10


Feb 28
// OxKing
While the anime adaption of the visual novel Higurashi When They Cry gets a bad wrap because of its animation and horrendous English dub, I still highly regard the franchise as having one of the most thril...
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A look at Pandora Hearts #4


Feb 05
// Kristina Pino
To summarize the story so far in two long sentences, Pandora Hearts is a manga about 15 year old Oz Vessalius, who has been dumped into a legendary "broken toy chest" of a prison called The Abyss. He escapes after b...

A look at Black God #11

Feb 04 // Crystal White
Black God #11 was an interesting experience to say the least. I had never been involved with the series before and was surprised to learn that it was not a traditional manga, but rather a manhwa instead, created by Korean artists but printed by Square Enix in Japan's Young Gangan magazine. Jumping into the series with no previous knowledge made it very hard to comprehend a lot of the terms like "contract," "synchronize," and "tera" as they're all specific to the story, so I had to look a lot of things up. While I felt the story was actually genuinely interesting despite my occasional confusion, I felt like the character designs left something to be desired. Another complaint I have is that often times speech bubbles do not have direction lines attached to them, so it can be very difficult to know who is talking in which panel. While the series does not lend itself to just diving into the deep end as I did, I admit I'm automatically interested in seeing where the story goes, and if a singular issue can do that, I'd say the series is pretty successful. As for where I'd like to see this series go in the future, there's a few things I'd like to see happen. First of all, I'd like to see some real development between Kuro and Keita. Their relationship almost reminds me of Touma and Index in A Certain Magical Index, but without the strange age difference pedo factor. I don't want the relationship to be the typical shonen style "boy antagonizes girl but secretly likes her and will never admit it" sort of thing. I'd like a real bond to form. Along the same lines, I also really want to see Kuro and Keita be able to tap into their collective tera lines and really make steps forward in their training. I want to see their potential. Additionally, I want to see where the contract between Mikami and Excel goes, now that Excel has recovered her memories and seems to have done a complete 180-degree turn from the crying little girl she was to the hard and cynical creature she has become. I want to know more about Excel and how this girl is now strangely cold and calculating. Are any of you a fan of Black God? While it may not have been the best manga/manhwa I've ever read, I was certainly entertained and wouldn't mind reading some more.
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This volume of Black God starts off with Mikami and Excel escaping from an apartment building only to run into Saishu from the Shishigami tribe. What occurs next is an violent fight between Saishu and Mikami, spanning se...

Interview: Yen Press isn't apprehensive on mature manga

Jan 18 // Brad Rice
When you license a mature title, you’re going into this knowing that you have a restricted audience. What guides your decision-making in licensing certain titles?At the end of the day, we really try to take the same approach to licensing our mature content that we take to everything else. Is it a good book?  Is it something that we feel adds richness to our list? Do we think that there’s an audience for the title, and do we think that we can both find and satisfy that audience? If we feel that it makes for a good publishing venture, the criteria that we use really don’t differ that much.Tell me about Sundome: why you decided to pick it up and the feedback you’ve gotten from it – both critically and commercially.Sundome actually a title I came across on my first licensing trip to Tokyo. The first volume had just been released and caught my eye. I had a meeting with the publisher later that day and was asking about the book, and the premise was unique enough and the art striking enough that I felt that this would be something that would DEFINITELY stand out in the market here.  I had a very clear sense that it would get people talking and would make a pretty bold statement about just how diverse Yen was willing to be in its licensing decisions. The reactions we’ve gotten have pretty much borne that out.  Obviously the book isn’t for everyone, but the fans it has found have been die-hard, and critically it’s garnered some pretty bold praise. It’s a really solid title on our list and continues to be a strong seller for us.Mature titles are harder to market -- you can't put up a cardboard cutout of Kurumi, advertising Sundome in Borders or Barnes and Noble. What do you do to market them? Rely primarily on reviews and word of mouth?Reviews and word of mouth are really crucial to marketing this kind of book. As you say, you really can’t rely on prominent display for a title like this, so it’s really critical that you get books out to people who are likely to talk about it. This nice thing, though, is that there doesn’t seem to be a want for chatter about Sundome!How do you see the market changing for this sort of thing within the next five years?I can’t really say that I would predict much of a change for this sort of thing in the next five years. Certainly I don’t expect to see explosive growth in any particular existing channel. Those markets that support and do well with mature material I think will continue to do so...and to some extent they corner a market because of reluctance amongst their competitors to carry the material. It is entirely possible that digital channels may open up in the next few years to make books like these more easily accessible, but it’s really difficult to say what the future will hold.
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One of my biggest obsessions in recent years has been Yen Press' Sundome. It's a fantastic title that's well worth your read, but the big thing about it is the title walks the borderline between story and porn. As a result, t...

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