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New York Anime Festival 2010
Dark Horse Panel

by Todd Ciolek,

Dark Horse knows Yasuhiro Nightow and Kouta Hirano well. Nightow's Trigun and Hirano's Hellsing are two of the publisher's biggest manga titles, and now Dark Horse has two other offerings: Nightow's Bloodline Battlefront and Hirano's Drifters.

Michael Gombos, Dark Horse's director of Asian Licensing, introduced the two titles at Dark Horse's panel during the 2010 New York Comic Con, putting both on track for release during summer of 2011.

Bloodline Battlefront, known as Kekkai Sensen in Japan, is a blend of post-apocalyptic stage and dimensional-hopping superhero combat. Set in a destroyed New York City, it finds the vampire Klaus, the werewolf Jane, and the snappishly dressed zombie Gilbert protecting the populace from vampires and the less immediate threats of shadowy groups. Bloodline began as a one-shot in Shueisha's Jump Square in 2008 and then turned into a three-part series and an additional single-shot storyline. The entire run was published in one volume this past January, and Dark Horse plans to bring that collection out in English.

Gombos also mentioned that he hopes for more out of Bloodline Battlefront. Just as Nightow took a break from his popular Trigun manga and returned to the story, he may come back to the post-apocalyptic carnage of Bloodline Battlefront.

Kouta Hirano needed no long vacation to launch Drifters; the series premiered in Young King Ours only a month after the tenth and final volume of Hirano's Hellsing hit Japan. The series begins with young Shimazu Toyohisa receiving fatal wounds at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. He stumbles through a rift in dimensions and lands in a world where many warriors are gathered to fight off an invasion of strange creatures. The Drifters, as they're called, include such historical figures as Oda Nobunaga, Hannibal, Scipio Africanus, and Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch. On the opposing side are such carefully chosen warriors as Rasputin, a ice-powered Princess Anastasia Romanov, and a pyrokinetic, half-crazy Joan of Arc. As with Hellsing, Hirano gives Drifters a playful tone.

“There's a lot of humor in it,” Gombos said. Though the series is at one volume, now, it currently runs in Young King Hours.

Dark Horse will also publish Shinjuku Azul, a follow-up to author Christopher “Mink” Morrison and artist Yoshtaka Amano's illustrated novel Shinjuku.

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