News Weekend Wrapup: 21/4 - 28/4
North American publisher Kodansha Comics' latest manga license announcements included Yukito Kishiro's continuation of his Battle Angel Alita series, Battle Angel Alita: Last Order. The series was previously published by Viz, until Kishiro moved the title from from publisher Shueshia to Kodansha last year. Kodansha Comics will publish the 16th English-language volume of Last Order in December. Kodansha Comics also announced it has licensed Ema Toshiro's series Missions of Love, and Danza, a volume of short stories by Natsume Ono (Ristorante Paradiso, House of Five Leaves).
Members of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the country's current ruling political party, have established a study group of manga creators, including famous manga authors Leiji Matsumoto (Space Battleship Yamato, Galaxy Express 999) and Tetsuya Chiba (Ashita no Joe). The group, made up of 40 people including politicians and chaired by an Osaka University professor, aims to promote the spread of manga in foreign countries and discuss topics such as protecting creator rights in digital manga distribution.
Director Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell, The Sky Crawlers) is shooting footage for Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor, the latest entry in From Software's series of mecha action games. With other supplementary material, publisher CAPCOM's official website for the game released a teaser for an upcoming trailer featuring to feature Oshii's work. Oshii, who filmed his 2001 live-action movie Avalon in Poland, is filming on location to allow viewers to experience the realistic environment and weapons of the game.
Manga author Shuhu Sato has cancelled his contract with Kodansha, taking the rights to his manga series Say Hello to Black Jack. On his blog he stated that any copies of the manga series, not to be confused with his New Say Hello to Black Jack series published by Shogakukan, still on shelves after May 20 should be reported as "illegal publications" and that he has plans to make the original title free for commercial and non-commercial use. Shuhu Sato has printed chapters of his manga online since 2009 and is vocal on the topic of manga creators' financial situations, refusing to draw cover art for a collected volume of New Say Hello to Black Jack as the publisher would not pay him for the extra work.
Finally, Moto Hagio (Heart of Thomas, They Were Eleven, A Drunken Dream And Other Stories) will be among 642 individuals and 20 organisations to receive the Spring 2012 Medal with Purple Ribbon, Japanese awards given twice yearly to honour academic and artistic achievement. Moto Hagio will become the first female manga creator to receive the award.