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Plex to release Original Manga

posted on 2002-04-08 11:33 EDT
Japanese Toy Producer focusing on American Market

Today, at a press conference held in Tokyo, Plex International Design, one of Japan's leading toy design and TV planning companies, announced they would soon begin publishing a line of original manga. However, in an interesting move, Plex explained they would first try and penetrate the American comic market with their original Japanese manga titles.

“When Plex made the decision to start publishing their own line of manga, they also decided they wanted their manga to be done in full color.”, explained Mutsumi Masuda, Plex's U.S. representative. “However, while there have been some color manga popping up over the years in Japan, black and white manga is still the norm in the Japanese market. Thus, Plex felt it would be better to test the waters here in America first.”

While usually a behind-the-scenes player, Plex has decided that based on past successes it is time for them to step out more into the spotlight. Most Americans are quite familiar with Plex's work already, even if they don't know it. The design firm was responsible for the creation of the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, the world's best-selling toy line for the last decade. They have also done design for popular properties such as Gundam, Digimon, Masked Rider and Ultraman. Chances are that if you've ever purchased a toy based on a Japanese property, there's a good chance Plex was involved on some level. Plex's most recent original creation is RoboWheels, miniature cars that transform into robots. RoboWheels are now available in stores across America from Mattel as part of their Hot Wheels line.

Plex's first manga offering will be Angel's Wing, the story of an apprentice angel who makes her first trip to Earth. It will be written and illustrated by manga newcomer Tetsuya Aoki. While new to manga, Mr. Aoki is a veteran of the design and illustration industry. He has been working at Plex for over 12 years and has been an integral part of the success of their properties. Before joining Plex, Mr. Aoki was employed at Takara where he worked on the designs of The Transformers.

“Yes, I am a toy designer by trade, not really a manga artist, but drawing manga is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I poured my heart and soul into Angel's Wing and I hope it shows.”, Tetsuya Aoki comments. “I am ecstatic that I have been given the chance to finally publish Angel's Wing... and in America no less!”

“Angel's Wing is like my “international baby”, born in Japan but raised in the United States. I'm a proud poppa!”, Aoki continued. “Everyone here at Plex hopes Angel's Wing will find a home in the collections from American comic and manga fans. We have high hopes for it and the manga is just the first step in our plans for Angel's Wing!”

Here is how Aoki-san summed up Angel's Wing: There is a legend that every Christmas Eve, an angel descends from Heaven to grant wishes to the lucky humans who it encounters. As children lie tucked in their beds dreaming of meeting this angel, little do they know that this legend is about to undergo an unexpected twist. Mashiro, the angel who has been granting these wishes for centuries, has decided to retire. But before she goes, she must train the fiery little upstart angel Mary to carry on her earthly duties. Mary has wish-fulfilling ideas of her own though! All Mary's plans are thrown for a loop though when she discovers the forces of evil are trying to prevent her from carrying out the responsibilities Mashiro has passed down. Assisted by a lone human boy, Mary has to fight the shadow forces and preserve her angelic legacy.

Angel's Wing will go on sale this July. The 80 page full color one-shot is colored by SotoColor Graphics' J. Brown and will cost $7.95. However, a special preview edition of Angel's Wing will be available at Anime Central, the Midwest's largest anime and manga convention, held from April 19-21 in Chicago. Artist Tetsuya Aoki is a guest of the convention and will be promoting Angel's Wing and his work there. Plex Design will also have a booth at the con to exhibit and display their design work and properties.

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