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San Diego Comic-Con 2011
Kodansha Comics

by Carlo Santos,

Kodansha Comics' manga lineup at Comic-Con 2011 was presented by associate publisher Dallas Middaugh and general manager Kumi Shimizu. Kodansha's US presence has taken over most of the Del Rey Manga line and also plans to bring out other Kodansha-owned titles like Akira and Ghost in the Shell.

Although there were no new license announcements, the titles presented at the panel showed that Kodansha's publishing schedule is now in full swing.

The panel began with loud applause for two very anticipated titles: the new editions of Sailor Moon (12 volumes plus 2 side-story volumes) and Codename: Sailor V (2 volumes). The new translation, by veteran Bill Flanagan, will stay true to original character names and also include the customary translation notes in each volume.

Fantasy-action series Negima! will continue where the Del Rey editions left off, in addition to a new three-in-one omnibus edition that debuted last month. The omnibus volumes feature improved, re-edited translations that are more consistent with the series' later volumes. The omnibus releases will be published every 3 months until it catches up with the latast volumes.

Ken Akamatsu's romantic comedy Love Hina (originally published by Tokyopop) is also being re-released as an omnibus starting in October, featuring a new translation. These omnibuses will be released every 4 months for a total of 5 three-in-one volumes.

Kodansha's schedule also includes a trio of Hiro Mashima adventure titles: releases of Fairy Tail every 2 months, a final three-in-one omnibus of Rave Master (picking up where Tokyopop left off), and also video game adaptation Monster Hunter Orage, which debuted this month.

In the magical girl genre, Shugo Chara! has Volume 11 coming out now and the concluding Volume 12 in September, with spinoff series Shugo Chara-chan! beginning a couple of months after that. In addition, a new, re-translated Tokyo Mew Mew omnibus will debut in October.

Finally, a five-volume adaptation of the hit video game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney started running in June, and will be released on a bimonthly schedule.

A number of new Kodansha series will make their debut in August, starting with Animal Land, a lighthearted fantasy about the adventures of a tanuki and a human baby in a world of animals. On the other end of a scale, the much-anticipated dark thriller Bloody Monday also begins next month. More action can be had with Cage of Eden, which Middaugh described as "Lost meets Battle Royale," and features students fighting for survival on an island populated by prehistoric beasts.

Other new August releases include fan-favorite series Gon, about the adventures of a baby dinosaur; Mardock Scramble, the manga adaptation of the acclaimed sci-fi novel by Tow Ubukata; and boys' love title Until the Full Moon (originally published by Broccoli Books) as well as its sequel At Full Moon.

The panel ended with questions from the audience. Despite the current wave of e-books and digital comics, right now the company has no specific plans to release their manga digitally. Certain Del Rey titles have also been left hanging, such as Yozakura Quartet and Pumpkin Scissors, but with the market having changed in recent years, there is no current plan to pick up these series. A number of attendees also asked about Kodansha titles previously dropped by other publishers such as Tokyopop, but again, there are no current plans for a re-release. The company's lack of a social media presence was also noted, but Middaugh said that Twitter and Facebook accounts for Kodansha Comics should be set up by the end of the year.

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