Udon Entertainment Announces New Kids Manga Line
posted on by Mikhail Koulikov
Erik Ko, chief of operations of the Toronto-based manga publisher Udon Entertainment, confirmed with the Publishers Weekly trade magazine that his company will unveil a new line of manga aimed at children in April. The first two titles in the new Udon Kids Manga imprint will be Tomomi Mizuna's The Big Adventures of Majoko (pictured at right), about a human girl who befriends a young witch, and Shunshin Maeda's Ninja Baseball Kyuma!. As the title indicates, the plot of Kyuma revolves around a ninja-in-training who ends up joining a local baseball team. Earlier this month, both of these titles appeared on Amazon with a May 13 release date, but according to Ko, both will actually be published in April.
In addition, Udon has also acquired the rights to Mera Hakamada's Fairy Idol Kanon manga (pictured at left) and Lunlun Yamamoto's science-fiction adventure Swans in Space. Fairy Idol Kanon's story centers on a fourth-grader who aspires to be a singer and gets help from a magical fairy princess. These two will launch in May and June, respectively. The Japanese publisher of all four of the titles is Poplar, one of the country's most prominent houses specializing in books for juvenile audiences.
To promote the line to potential customers, Udon has also unveiled a Manga for Kids website, and plans to exhibit the books at next year's conferences of the American Library Association, American Association of School Libraries, and International Reading Association. It will also create a brochure, aimed at teachers, librarians and parents, that will serve to educate them about manga and address some of the more common stereotypes associated with it.
Overall, Udon's goal is to use these titles to introduce a new generation of readers to manga, especially since many of the original readers who fueled the manga boom of the first half of the 2000s are now growing older and becoming less interested. Udon also feels that so far, the younger readers that this imprint will address have largely been underserved, since most of the current kids manga that are published in the United States are parts of larger franchises, rather than original stories.
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