Series debuts 9/27: Welcome to the Ballroom, Happiness, The Prince in His Dark Days

It's a special new-release Tuesday, as we've got 3 new series that break the mold making their debuts today (September 27)!

Read the entire first chapter of these new series at the links.

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Welcome to the Ballroom by Tomo Takeuchi

Feckless high school student Tatara Fujita wants to be good at something—anything. Unfortunately, he’s about as average as a slouchy teen can be. The local bullies know this and make it a habit to hit him up for cash, but all that changes when the debonair Kaname Sengoku sends them packing. Sengoku’s not the neighborhood watch, though. He’s a professional ballroom dancer. And once Tatara Fujita gets pulled into the world of the ballroom, his life will never be the same

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Happiness by Shuzo Oshimi

Shuzo Oshimi's (The Flowers of Evil) latest descent into the darkest corridors of teenage dread—with vampires. Nothing interesting in happening in Makoto Ozaki’s first year of high school. HIs life is a series of quiet humiliations: low-grade bullies, unreliable friends, and the constant frustration of his adolescent lust. But one night, a pale, thin girl knocks him to the ground in an alley and offers him a choice. Now everything is different. Daylight is searingly bright. Food tastes awful. And worse than anything is the terrible, consuming thirst. The tiny shames of his old life have been replaced by two towering horrors: the truth of what will slake his awful craving and high school itself.

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The Prince in His Dark Days by Hiko Yamanaka

A heartrending modern love story. A drunkard for a father, a household of poverty … For 17-year-old Atsuko, misfortune is all she knows and believes in. Until one day, a chance encounter with Itaru—the wealthy heir of a huge corporation—changes everything. The two look identical, uncannily so. When Itaru curiously goes missing, Atsuko is roped into being his stand-in. There, in his shoes, Atsuko must parade like a prince in a palace. She encounters many new experiences, but at what cost … ?

All about the Attack on Titan Anthology

It's finally here—the manga megahit Attack on Titan, reinterpreted by some of comics' top talent. 

Preorder here for either the digital or luxurious hardcover print edition of the Attack on Titan Anthology.

Plus, go to the links below to order the exclusive variant-cover editions—with covers by some of the most titanic legends in the business:

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Standard edition cover by Paolo Rivera
Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition cover by Faith Erin Hicks
Diamond PREVIEWS Exclusive Edition cover by Phil Jimenez
Books-A-Million/Fried Pie Edition cover by Paul Pope

• Read the free Free Comic Book Day preview here

Check back at this space for much, much more—including exclusive creator interviews, what we have coming up for our booth and panels at New York Comic Con (October 6-9), and more Attack on Titan related announcements!

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About the Attack on Titan Anthology

The manga megahit Attack on Titan, reinterpreted by some of comics' top talent! Featuring original stories by a long roster of comic superstars such as Scott Snyder, Gail Simone, Faith Erin Hicks, Michael Avon Oeming, Paolo Rivera, Cameron Stewartand Babs Tarr!

This unprecedented, full-colour collaboration between East and West will be released first in English, making it indispensable for Attack on Titan fans and curious comic fans.

Contributors include:
    •   Eisner Award winner Scott Snyder (Batman)
    •   Eisner Award winner Michael Avon Oeming (Powers)
    •   Eisner Award winner Faith Erin Hicks (The Adventures of Superhero Girl)
    •   Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr (The team behind the new Batgirl)
    •   Gail Simone (Birds of PreyBatgirl)
    •   Eisner Award winner Evan Dorkin (Milk & CheeseDork)
    •   Crawford Award winner Genevieve Valentine (Catwoman)
    •   Top Cow Pilot winner Afua Richardson (Genius)
    •   Eisner Award nominees Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka (The Divine)
    •   Eisner Award winner Paolo Rivera (Mythos)
    •   Eisner Award nominee Phil Jimenez (The Invisibles, Infinite Crisis)
    •   Damion Scott (Ghost Rider)
    •   Eisner Award nominee Ronald Wimberly (Prince of Cats)
    •   Kevin Wada (The Wicked + The Divine)
    •   Eisner Award nominee Simon Spurrier (Judge Dredd)
    •   Writers Guild of America Award winner Rhianna Pratchett (Rise of the Tomb Raider)
    •   Jody Houser (Orphan Black)
    •   Eisner Award nominee Emi Lenox (Plutona)

 

BLAME! by Tsutomu Nihei print & digital on sale now

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The manga science-fiction classic BLAME! by Tsutomu Nihei is back.

Originally published by Tokyopop, then long out of print, Tsutomu Nihei's (Knights of Sidonia) cyberpunk gamechanger BLAME! is now back in digital and in a luxurious new premium print edition courtesy of Vertical ComicsRead all of the scintillating Chapter 1 here.

Check out our other long-out-of-print "Resurrected" Kodansha re-releases—now on sale through September 20.

And if you missed the BLAME! anime trailer debut at this year's San Diego Comic Con—introduced by manga's preeminent science-fiction master himself—check it out here.

 

 

Report from Anime Expo: An exclusive interview with Naoshi Arakawa

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Interview by Misaki C. Kido

Naoshi Arakawa was the Guest of Honor at Anime Expo 2016 in Los Angeles. And while Arakawa’s best known work Your Lie in April has gained recognition from the popularity of his manga and its anime adaptation, there’s not much public information about the man himself. But during a rare Stateside appearance, Arakawa spoke candidly about himself in front of a large audience there for his highlight panel, hosted by Kodansha Comics.


Your Lie in April volumes 1-9 are available in print and digital editions from Kodansha Comics.

Kodansha Comics (KC): How did you come up with the story of Your Lie in April?
Naoshi Arakawa (NA): It was actually one of the scrapped story ideas I had after debuting as a mangaka. When I got a spot in a monthly magazine to start my own series, I brought up one of my old ideas. I think I just saw a girl a playing violin on TV or something. I thought it was cool, so I wanted to do that. Originally, I was going to make it a story about a boy and a girl violinist. But it’s hard to keep drawing scenes with two violinists. So I decided to make the girl a violinist and the boy a pianist.

KC: Why did you pick the subject of classical music for your manga?
NA: At the time there was already a really popular rock manga called BECK. So no one dared make a manga about music that went head-to-head against that manga. There was also a manga about classical music called Nodame Cantabile. But it was focused on the orchestra and not so much on playing a single instrument, like violin. So if I were to draw a manga about music, I definitely wanted to focus on the violin. I wanted to make sure my own music manga didn’t seem second string.

KC: Did you play any instruments when you were growing up?
NA: Actually no, I didn’t play any instruments.

KC: What? Then how can you draw scenes like this one?
NA: People often ask me that and are surprised to know I’ve never played an instrument myself. But I did other things like kendo when I was growing up. So I’m familiar with the tension in the air at competitions. I drew these scenes based on those experiences. My editor was the one with the experience of playing music, actually, particularly violin. So I often asked any questions about classical music to him. I also went and did research myself.

KC: Beside the music, romance is another big theme in Your Lie in April. Why is that?
NA: When I first became a mangaka, I worked with a storywriter to make a slice-of-life manga about teenagers. My next manga was about soccer, but it was also in a slice-of-life style. When I got a chance to make my own series, the editors told me to do the same thing, but I’d already started to get bored of that, since I’d drawn so many of those in a row. So I started to think, “What if I did a shonen manga with some romance, like in a shojo manga?” Eventually, though, I even got bored of that, so I decided to make the musical performance scenes more like in a shonen manga, so I could blow off some steam.

KC: Why did you decide to become a mangaka?
NA: I think I wanted to be a storyteller. I have an older brother who was into reading Shonen Jump and Shonen Magazine. So I remember being surrounded by manga all the time. I also joined a manga club in college because my friends wanted to. But I never told anyone I wanted to become a mangaka. I grew up in the countryside where people are bit conservative. So if I told anyone I want to be a mangaka, they’d definitely look at me funny or tell me to “get a decent job with the government.” I was a rare breed. I was super-shy, so I didn’t want to get involved with people and just wanted to get into making stories. Only later I found out you need a certain level of communication skills and to involve yourself with other people to make manga.

KC: Do you have any hobbies?
NA: Hobbies? Hm … I collect figurines, like Iron Man. I actually like three-dimensional objects more than just pictures. I like statues over poseable figurines. I don’t know if you would call it a hobby, but I definitely have a collector tendency.

KC: What’s your zodiac sign?
NA: I’m an Aquarius.

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New chapters of Farewell, My Dear Cramer is available from comiXology and Kindle.

KC: After you’ve completed Your Lie in April, you’ve started to a new manga, Farewell, My Dear Cramer. Could you tell me a little bit about your work?
NA: Personally, I’ve been calling it “a manga that supports women’s soccer.” The world of women’s soccer is pretty rough, because they don’t get much funding. Even the American team, which is the best team in the world, they’re treated so differently compared to the men’s team. So there’s a talk about them boycotting from the Olympics. Japanese team seems to be the same way. Most of them are in business group team, so all the players have to work regular hours, then go to practice. I just wish that by making this manga, there will be more awareness about women’s soccer.

KC: The characters in this manga is not really typical girly-girls.
NA: I’m not interested in drawing girls who are just cute or “moe.” I want to draw girls who are cool and awesome. Of course later down the line, I would like to introduce more unique characters. But for most of the part, I want to focus on the three main characters. It’s a story about them working together. One of them was actually a lead character from my old work, Sayonara Football. So if you read Sayonara Football first, you’ll understand Farewell, My Dear Cramer even more deeply.

KC: Could you show us your work process?
NA: Here’s a rough sketch storyboard. We call it the “name” stage.

NA: And here’s the same page after linework. I do most of inking with G-pen. All the human characters are hand-drawn by me. After this stage, the assistant draws in the backgrounds and effects like speedlines.
 

NA: This is the same page, but fully inked. Sometimes I do this process myself, but I like to leave it up to the assistant. After it’s fully inked by hands, I scan it and make minor adjustment on the computer.

KC: Could we watch you actually draw?

KC: Thank you!

Here's a highlight video of Kodansha Comics at Anime Expo 2016:

Click here for more recaps of Kodansha Comics' announcements from Anime Expo 2016.


 

Kodansha Resurrection: out-of-print series now back—in digital

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Updated on 8/2: … and to our digital "resurrections" we've just added the first two volumes of Ryotaro Iwanaga's military alt-history saga Pumpkin Scissors and Volume 1 of Suzuhito Yasuda's monster-bash cult-fave Yozakura Quartet!

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Originally posted July 27:

They're back. Once upon a time, many legendary manga series in English went into limbo when their publishers ceased operations. Some of those—if they were published by Kodansha in Japan—continued to be released by yours truly, but several went out-of-print and/or were never completed.

Well, they're back now—in digital—and we're looking to finish them. Keep your eyes peeled for much more to come, but to kick off our Resurrection the first two volumes of each of these series go on sale today at all of our digital retail partners (comiXology, iBooks, Kindle, Kobo, and nook):

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• alien-invasion thriller ALIVEperhaps now best known as the breakthrough work of Noragami: Stray God mangaka Adachitoka
• absolute shojo cult-fave Nodame Cantabile, by Tomoko Ninomiya, about the ongoing relationship between two very different classical musicians
• monster-killer-comedy-turned-late-night-anime-classic Princess Resurrectionby Yasunori Mitsunaga
• Jin Kobayashi's epic of high-school hijinx, School Rumble

On top of that, enjoy these two back-in-print classics from Tsutomu Nihei that we've also just recently added to our digital lineup:

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The "Resurrection" promises to be one of the most ambitious ongoing projects by our digital publishing team. Look for new volumes to come out every week—and more announcements in the weeks and months to come.

All digital-only volume 1s now 99 cents—ends September 20!

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Welcome back to School Rumblewe mean it! We're putting 17 digital volume 1s—not just School Rumble—on sale for 99 cents each! 

Get into any of our digital-only series, including the exciting "Kodansha Resurrection" titles we're bring back from out of print. Visit our digital retail partners—at comiXology, iBooks, Kindle, Kobo, and nook—through September 20 (11pm Eastern Time) to get started.

Here's the complete list of our digital-only Volume 1s, which are now on sale (full Chapter 1s at the links):

ALIVE
As the Gods Will: The Second Series
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Fort of Apocalypse
Fuuka
Gakuen Prince
My Wife Is Wagatsuma-san
Nodame Cantabile
NOiSE
Princess Resurrection
Pumpkin Scissors
Sayonara, Football
School Rumble
Space Brothers
Unlimited Fafnir
Yagyu Ninja Scrolls
Yozakura Quartet

Comic-Con reveals: BLAME! trailer world premiere, Attack on Titan Anthology cover, Ghost in the Shell deluxe

Whew! Here's what from Kodansha Comics made its way into the world for the first time at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend!

BLAME! anime trailer WORLD PREMIERE

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Tsutomu Nihei drawing a sketch for a fan at the comiXology booth at San Diego Comic-Con.

Tsutomu Nihei, creator of science-fiction megamanga Knights of SidoniaBLAME!, and NOiSE, made a big splash in San Diego, greeting his fans and executing signings all around the con.

At his spotlight Vertical Comics panel, he announced the forthcoming BLAME! anime film, coming in 2017 as a Netflix Original. For the press release of the announcement of the anime, click hereThen he kicked off the world premiere of the trailer for the animated feature. You can see it right here:

Big thanks to our SDCC partners at Vertical Comics, 1000toys, BAIT, Bluefin, and comiXology!

Attack on Titan Anthology cover revealed!

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Paul Pope's transformative cover to the Attack on Titan Anthology—first seen at SDCC.

Meanwhile, at the Kodansha Comics panel on Saturday, more details around the hotly anticipated Attack on Titan Anthology were divulged, including insights to its creation and the revelation of variant covers for exclusive editions available from Diamond, Books-A-Million!, Barnes & Noble, and at New York Comic Con. But maybe the biggest news was the world premiere of the official cover by none other than transformative comics savant Paul Pope (@PULPH0PE).

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Left: Paolo Rivera's Books-A-Million! exclusive variant cover art. Right: Some wild pages from the Attack on Titan Anthology story by SDCC panelist Ronald Wimberly.

Announcing: The Ghost in the Shell deluxe edition

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• Deluxe re-release of the original The Ghost in the Shell series: volumes 1, 1.5, and 2. 
• Definitive edition under supervision of creator Shirow Masamune
• In time for the major film adaptation from Paramount Pictures!
• In the original right-to-left Japanese reading format with unaltered Japanese sound effects for the first time
• Coming 2017

The Akira 35th Anniversary Box Set

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• A deluxe box set of Akira volumes 1-6, plus the Akira Club art book, in large hardcover format
• With the art uncut and unaltered, in the original right-to-left reading format with the original Japanese sound effects
• MSRP $199.99
• Coming 2017

Q: What’s happening at San Diego Comic-Con? (A: Tsutomu Nihei and lots more)

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Going to San Diego Comic-Con this year? We are too!

Be sure to catch Vertical Comics and Kodansha Comics' special guest artist at San Diego this year: Tsutomu Nihei, creator of science-fiction megahits Knights of SidoniaBLAME!, and NOiSE.  Here’s a schedule of Nihei-sensei's-related panels and signing sessions at SDCC:

Tsutomu Nihei Panel
Saturday, July 23
3-4
Room 4
Rare chance to see 'n' hear Tsutomu Nihei live in person. Plus—a major new anime project reveal

Tsutomu Nihei signing sessions

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Thursday, July 21
1-2
comiXology — booth 2547
Get your hands on the exclusive Nihei comiXology creator trading card

Thursday, July 21
3-4
BAIT
920 Fifth Avenue, San Diego (@Broadway)
This location is a ~15-minute walk from the convention center.

Saturday, July 23
5:30-6:30
Room AA20

The Tsutom Nihei Quest

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July 21-23 (Thursday through Saturday)
convention hours until around 5 p.m.
check in at Vertical Comics — booth 1631
For the first 3 days of SDCC, we’ll be hosting a scavenger hunt-style quest in and around the convention center, with texts and announcements direct from Nihei-sensei. Quest completers will get a free SDCC-exclusive Nihei-designed T-shirt while supplies last.

Plus don't miss:

Kodansha Comics/Attack on Titan Anthology Panel

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Saturday, July 23
11:30-12:30
Room 8
Meet Brenden Fletcher
(Batgirl, Gotham Academy, Motor Crush), Ronald Wimberly (Prince of Cats), Kate Leth (Kate or Die!, Vampirella), Jeremy Lambert (Haven: Origins), and Jody Houser (Orphan Black), the talent behind the Attack on Titan Anthology, the ambitious collaboration between the biggest manga hit of the decade and an all-star roster of comics creators, including Scott Snyder, Gail Simone, Phil Jimenez, Michael Avon Oeming, Faith Erin Hicks, and others. New art from the anthology will be revealed, along with a look at new comics from one of America's biggest manga publishers. Plus lots of free books and exclusive promo items.

Vertical Comics — booth 1631
July 20-24 (Wednesday through Sunday)
during convention hours
Come visit us at the Vertical Comics booth, where we'll have special giveaways, including free comiXology download codes for the not-yet-on-sale BLAME! Volume 1. The print edition of this Master Edition re-release of Nihei's manga classic will also be on sale at the booth, months before it hits stores. An SDCC exclusive signing board (shikishi) comes free with purchase.

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Tsutomu Nihei’s classic NOiSE is BACK in digital—read Chapter 1 here

Originally published by Tokyopop, then long out of print, Tsutomu Nihei's (Knights of Sidonia) dark cyberpunk prequel to BLAME! is now back—in digital. (Available now from Kindle, comiXology, iBooks, nook, and Kobo.)

Read the complete Chapter 1 of NOiSE here.

We also recently announced at Anime Expo other long out-of-print Kodansha licenses "resurrected" in digital—with more to come.

And be sure to catch Nihei-sensei's rare Stateside appearance at San Diego Comic Con 2016. Or if you can't make it to SDCC … stay tuned to this channel for a major announcement from manga's preeminent science-fiction master.

Here's a special video message from Nihei-sensei about his anticipation to visit SDCC2016. 

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About Tsutomu Nihei

Born in 1971 in Japan's Fukushima Prefecture, Tsutomu Nihei has been drawing comics professionally since the mid 1990s. In 1995 he was awarded the Jiro Taniguchi Special Prize in that year's Afternoon Magazine Four Seasons Awards for his submission called Blame. After working as an assistant to veteran comic artist Tsutomu Takahashi, Nihei went on to launch his debut series Blame! in Afternoon Magazine in 1998. Following the success of Blame! he next penned BioMega (Viz Media) and Wolverine SNIKT (Marvel). In 2009 Nihei returned to Afternoonto launch his latest series, Knights of Sidonia. In 2015 he won the Kodansha Manga Award in the General Comics category for his work on Knights of Sidonia.