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Viz Starts Haikasoru Novel Imprint for Sci-Fi, Fantasy

posted on by Egan Loo
Stories by Issui Ogawa, Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahō's Sakurazaka, Zoo & Goth's Otsuichi, Rocket Girls' Nojiri

Viz Media has announced that it will launch a new imprint called Haikasoru for English-translated science-fiction (SF) and fantasy novels from Japan. Nick Mamatas, the author of Under My Roof, Move Under Ground, and other genre works, is editing what Viz describes as the first English-language "imprint with a dedicated focus on Japanese SF." Haikasoru plans to release 12 novels a year, with the first four shipping this July and September.

The first four titles in the imprint will be The Lord of the Sands of Time by Issui Ogawa, All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, ZOO by Otsuichi, Usurper of the Sun by Housuke Nojiri. The Lord of the Sands of Time follows a time traveller who attempts to reunite humanity before its impending destruction by aliens. All You Need Is Kill revolves around a battle-armored soldier who finds himself dying and re-incarnating over and over again. ZOO is a collection of 11 dark fantasy and SF short stories — five of which were adapted into a film in 2005. Usurper of the Sun deals with a female scientist's hard-SF adventure to save Earth after a mysterious ring appears around the sun. The Lord of the Sands of Time and Usurper of the Sun both won Seiun Awards, Japan Science Fiction Convention's equivalent of Worldcon's Hugo Awards.

Like many of their peers in Japan, the authors of Haikasoru's first four titles all have anime connections. Issui Ogawa collaborated on two novels with Yoshiki Tanaka, the prolific creator of Legend of the Galactic Heroes, The Heroic Legend of Arslan, Sohryuden - Legend of the Dragon Kings, and Tytania. Hiroshi Sakurazaka wrote the light novel inspiration for the Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahō (Properly Learned Modern Magic) manga and anime. Otsuichi penned the Goth horror novel and manga (both being published by Tokyopop), the Calling You manga (Tokyopop), and Production I.G's upcoming computer-animated Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror film. Besides getting a manga adaptation, the ZOO collection's "Song of the Sunny Spot" short story was also animated for the 2005 film. Finally, Nojiri wrote the novels that spawned the Rocket Girls SF comedy anime, which Bandai Entertainment released last year.

Viz has previously published novels for Battle Royale, Brave Story, Death Note, Fullmetal Alchemist, Hot Gimmick, Kamikaze Girls, Naruto, Rurouni Kenshin, Shakugan no Shana, Socrates in Love, and other properties.

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