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Kodansha USA Licenses Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū Manga

posted on by Karen Ressler
Also licenses Katsuhira Otomo tribute art book

Kodansha Comics announced on Friday that it has licensed Haruko Kumota's Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū manga under the title Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju. The company will release the first volume in May 2017. The Rakugo Kyokai Association will supervise localization.

In addition, Kodansha Comics announced that it will publish OTOMO: A Tribute to the Mind Behind Akira, a 168-page, hardcover volume of tribute art to Akira's Katsuhiro Ōtomo. The volume was originally offered at France's Angoulême International Comics Festival, where Otomo won the Grand Prix award for lifetime achievement in 2015. Contributing artists include Stan Sakai, Range Murata, Tomer and Asaf Hanuka, Sara Pichelli, and Aleksi Briclot, among others. The volume will ship in March 2017.

Kodansha Comics describes the story of Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju:

The multi-generational epic dives deep into this rich form of Japanese theater. Small-time crook Yotaro has never forgotten the rakugo tale "The God of Death," which the master Yurakutei Yakumo performed for Yotaro during his time in prison. After his release, he goes to Yakumo's theater and pleads to be made his apprentice. Yakumo reluctantly accepts, but Yotaro quickly finds the world of rakugo is complex and grapples with a growing bond with Yakumo's ward, Konatsu. Meanwhile, the two young people bring reminders of Yakumo's own inescapable past.

Kumota began the manga in Kodansha's ITAN magazine in 2010 and ended the series in June. The tenth and final volume shipped in September. The series received the "Best General Manga" prize at the 38th Kodansha Manga Awards, was honored with the Excellence Award at the 17th Japan Media Arts Festival Awards, and nominated for the 17th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize. The manga was also listed in the top ten manga for female readers by Takarajimasha's Kono Manga ga Sugoi! 2017 guidebook.

The manga's television anime adaptation premiered on January 8. Crunchyroll streamed the series as it airs in Japan. A second series, Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen (Sukeroku Anew Arc), has been greenlit and will premiere in January. The manga was also adapted into an earlier two-episode OAV, with the first episode bundled with the manga's seventh volume last March, and the second episode bundled with the eighth volume last August.

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