Comic-Con International 2007
by Mikhail Koulikov,
The final Japan-related panel of the 2007 San Diego Comic Con was hosted by CMX Manga and Flex Comics. CMX editor James Chadwick opened it by going through a list of current and upcoming manga they are working on. Samurai Commando: Mission 1549, first announced at the New York Comic-Con earlier this year, is similar in theme to the 1980s military historical thriller The Final Countdown. The plot of this manga, which is based on a Sonny Chiba live-action film, revolves around a modern-day Japanese Self-Defense Forces unit that is transported back in time and begins to alter history by its actions. Other upcoming titles, many of which were revealed at either NYCC or last month's Anime Expo, include the horror manga Presents and Variante, both scheduled for October, I Hate You More than Anyone, King of Cards, Key to the Kingdom, Venus in Love, Tears of a Lamb, Palette of 12 Secret Colors, Dorothea, Orfina and Two Flowers for the Dragon (created by The Recipe for Gertrude author Nari Kusakawa.) CMX will also be publishing Gon, but unlike the original run from CMX's parent DC Comics, they will release all seven volumes of this series in original Japanese order, unflipped, and priced at $5.99 each.
Earlier in the convention, CMX confirmed the acquisition of the Crayon Shin-chan manga, which was also previously available in English from ComicsOne. Today, Chadwick was able to clarify many of the details of this release and talked about some of CMX's specific plans for Shin-chan. Publication is slated to begin in the early spring of 2008, with a bi-monthly schedule for subsequent volumes, and the art will not be edited. This will be a completely new translation that will preserve the color pages that appeared in the original Japanese volumes, as well as the volume page counts. CMX is still deciding whether the best way to deal with the actual story would be to simply translate the original Japanese, or to re-write it in a way similar to how Funimation created an English-language script for the Shin-chan TV series. No matter which of these options is chosen, according to Chadwick, CMX is planning to keep the age level of this manga at Teen Plus or up.
Announced for the first time at SDCC are Shigeru Takao's Teru Teru × Shōnen, Toshimi Nigoshi's The Flat Earth Exchange, Shirley (Kaoru Mori's one-volume companion to Emma), and a two-volume manga adaptation of Yasutaka Tsutsui's 1965 novel Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo, also the source of the 2006 anime feature film. The translation for the title the anime and this manga version will use will be "A Girl Who Runs Through Time." CMX also confirmed a final eighth volume of Emma, which collects several short stories about some of the secondary characters of the main seven-volume Emma manga, and the next volume of Kikaider Code 02.
In addition to CMX staff, the panel also featured two representatives of Flex Comix, a newly-established Japanese manga publisher that DC Comics recently invested in. Unlike more traditional publishers, Flex will focus on publishing manga for the online and mobile format, with an initial lineup of over 40 individual titles. Many of these will be aimed at a young male audience, but offerings will soon expand to also appeal to shoujo audiences. Flex is currently developing a proprietary manga reader application that will be available for download onto personal computers and cellphones. It also hopes to provide manga to users of the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP. As Flex puts manga online in Japanese, CMX plans to translate them into English, make them available online as well, and eventually offer the same titles in traditional book format. The first two titles that CMX hopes to make available for an American audience will be Zombie Fairy and Leader's High!. Chadwick states that one of the major reasons for this kind of project is to respond to the emerging issue of manga scanlations. He wondered why anyone would be interested in searching for a low-quality translation when professionally-adapted digitized versions of manga are freely available online.
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