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New York Anime Festival and ICv2 Conference on Anime and Manga
Yen Press

by Evan Miller,

Panelists: Rich Johnson (Co-Publishing Director), Svetlana Chmakova, Kurt Hassler, Tania Biswas (Assistant Editor), and JuYoun Lee (Senior Editor).

The panel started with an introduction and an overview of the new titles that Yen Press is releasing in the near future. Among them is the third volume of Spiral, due out in April 2008. The second volume of the series is scheduled for release in January 2008.

The second volume of Kieli, a series focused on a girl who can see young ghosts, is also due out in April 2008. The first volume is coming out very soon. The girl meets a soldier who forces her to re-evaluate her own beliefs.

Another new title coming soon is Kaze no Hana, a story about a young orphan who is called back to her ancestral home after her adopted parents die. After her return, she learns about the mysterious history of her family and becomes a warrior in the process.

Sundome, a slightly perverted story about a boy in a club for people who have no life, is scheduled for release in January with volume 2 coming in May 2008. Zombie-Loan Volume 3, slated for June 2008.

The ICE Kunion label will be re-launched soon, and the books are currently heading to the warehouse. The books will also appear with the Yen logo on the books.

Yen Press followed up its previous title announcements with an array of new license announcements. The comedy series Shoulder a Coffin, Kuro is due out in May 2008, and expectations are very high for the series. The humor is similar to Azumanga Daioh, and the author is very excited but hesitant on how Americans will respond to the humor. The story is about a little girl dressed in black who looks like a boy and carries a coffin on her back. She also travels with a best friend, a bat that talks. She's a very philosophical character who talks with two small white cats that speak in humorous broken Japanese.

Many other titles for 2008 were announced. Volume one of Sunshine Sketch, also known as Hidamari Sketch, focuses on female relationships and everyday life in a dorm atmosphere. Suzunari! is another 4-koma comic strip manga that focuses on a family who adopts a catgirl and the hilarity that ensues. The series S.S. ASTRO: Ashaio Sogo Teachers Room focuses on what teachers do in their “off” time. Love Quest is a boys-love title by Lily Hoshino. All volumes are standalone stories, and volume one is coming out in October 2008.

Two other Lily Hoshino boys-love titles are on tap for 2009. Mr. Flower Bride focuses on an ancestral family in Japan with a custom that dictates that some heirs must marry males within the family. The manga covers a breadth of one-shot stories that focus on people who deal with “the family tradition.” Mr. Flower Groom is also scheduled for 2009. The couple in this story doesn't want to get married, and so the “uke” (receiver) tells the “seme” (aggressor) to find a girl.

The studio also announced a new monthly manga anthology magazine called Yen Plus. The first issue will hit newsstands in Summer 2008 and contain a combination of Japanese and world manga titles. Two big launch titles were also announced: Nightschool by Dramacon author Svetlana Chmakova and a manga adaptation of the James Patterson novel series Maximum Ride.

Svetlana took a moment to discuss Nightschool, due out in 2009 in paperback following publication in Yen Plus. Svet described the book as something she has wanted to write since high school. “I've always been in the urban fantasy genre” said the author, who described the concept for the series as Harry Potter versus Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The characters have to attend a “night school” for vampires and other mysterious characters. The main character is Alex, a Wiern witch, born with guardian demon spirits bound to her character. Svetlana described Alex's character as a female version of the Matt character from Dramacon.

Among the international titles scheduled to appear in Yen Plus is Jack Frost by Jin-Ho Ko, an adventure story about the world between the living and the afterlife. The shōjo manhwa Pig Bride by Kook-Hwa Huh and Su-Jin Kim will also appear in Yen Plus and focuses on a betrothed couple where the girl is hidden behind a pig mask.

The Maximum Ride manga will also appear in Yen Plus. Since the series already has a sizeable fan base, Yen Press is described the opportunity to bring the story into a manga format is “incredibly exciting.” Over four million copies of the Maximum Ride novels are in print.

In total, Yen Press hopes to release more than 70 titles in 2008.

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