Anime Expo 2007 Seven Seas Entertainment
by Carlo Santos,
Panelists: Jason DeAngelis (company head), Adam Arnold (editor), Yayoi Ai (translator).
DeAngelis immediately opened the floor to questions. Since there were many audience members who were new to Seven Seas, the first question was about the origins of the company. Seven Seas was founded when DeAngelis, a manga fan who had lived in Japan for 6 years, decided to publish some original manga ("world manga") as an alternative to licensed properties. A year later they added licensed manga to the lineup, along with light novels and a yuri imprint.
DeAngelis then introduced Seven Seas' original manga line, including existing titles like Amazing Agent Luna, Aoi House and Destiny's Hand. New titles include Free Runners and Moonlight Meow, which are now available, and Dead Already, which is available for preview on the company website.
Recent Seven Seas title Hollow Fields, by Tasmanian artist Madeleine Rosca, has just won the Japanese government's "Nobel prize" manga award. Among several other winners, she is the only non-Asian artist to win the prize.
DeAngelis emphasized the company's connections to Hollywood. Seven Seas is looking to adapting some of their original titles to live-action, like The Outcast, and are also producing a new manga adaptation of Speed Racer to tie in with the upcoming movie.
In the field of licensed titles, He Is My Master and I, Otaku: Struggle in Akihabara have just been released, as well as yuri title Venus Versus Virus. Other licensed manga releases include Tetragrammaton Labyrinth, The Last Uniform and Strawberry Panic, which has a light novel tie-in. New manga acquisitions include Dance in the Vampire Bund and In God's Arms (yaoi).
Other light novels like Ballad of a Shinigami, Kanokon and the Pita-Ten novel are scheduled for release, but the light novel line has been delayed in order to get more retailer support. New light novel licenses include Kage Kara Mamoru and Zero's Familiar.
The Boogiepop light novel franchise, which was the company's first license and was on a "trial run" for the first 3 volumes, is back on track. Volumes 4 through 6 have been scheduled for release.
Other new licenses include yuri titles First Love Sisters and Voiceful, plus a manga adaptation of the Wicked City novel series, which will tie in to an upcoming live-action film of the same series.
Seven Seas is entering the children's books market with titles like Avalon: Web of Magic.
New original series include Ten Beautiful Assassins, which is still in the developmental stage, Arkham Woods, based on H.P. Lovecraft's works, Pandora, based on the Death Jr. franchise, a yaoi title called Invisible, comedy series Norman Prospect, Insurance Adjuster, and adventure series Witch Hammer. A tentative project called Weird Magic (working title) is also in the works.
DeAngelis then opened up the panel to further questions. When asked about the delay on Boogiepop, he explained that it was the company's first license and they had been waiting for enough of a fan response before continuing with the series. A couple of concerns about original series also came up: No Man's Land and Captain Nemo are currently on hiatus, and Destiny's Hand is on a slow release schedule because original series simply take longer to produce than licensed works.
To recruit artists and writers for original series, DeAngelis explained that the process often happens through word of mouth. The company also works with a management firm in Hollywood that gets in touch with screenwriters and other creative personnel.
Regarding Kashimashi's release schedule, Volume 3 is due before San Diego Comic-Con. It is also the company's current best-selling title.
When asked about the Nymphet controversy, DeAngelis stated that future licensing decisions would involve careful evaluation to see if a title "crosses the line" for appropriateness. For example, He Is My Master is quite risque, but does not cross the line.
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