AX2019 recap: all of our new licensing announcements and more!

 July 17 UPDATE: Atsushi Ohkubo Q&A at Anime Expo 2019 + autograph giveaway!

During Anime Expo 2019, Atsushi Ohkubo, creator of Fire Force, shared his thoughts behind the creation of the hit animated series! 

Q. First question I’d like to ask: is this your first time in the U.S.?

Atsushi Ohkubo (AO): Yes, it’s the first time for me to be in the U.S.

Q. What did you do during your break between Soul Eater and Fire Force?

AO: I was playing video games.

Q. What inspired Fire Force?

AO: Firefighters are the closest things to heroes in our real lives, but there aren’t that many fictional or fantasy works that touch on the subject of their work. So I got interested in making a manga about it. Ever since I was little, I always thought firefighters in uniforms were really cool, riding around fire engines with sirens blaring, heading off to put out fires. There are a few existing stories about firefighters in realistic settings, but nothing about firefighters in a fantasy world. So I wanted to give it a shot. I was also inspired by those firefighters who were working hard to save people’s lives during disasters like 911 in the U.S. and 311 in Japan. 

Q. Soul Eater and Fire Force both have supernatural overtones. What is it that you love about the supernatural genre?

AO: The biggest thing for me is I’m trying to bring out expressions unique to manga, that aren’t possible in any other medium. When I was working on Soul Eater, I was trying to bring out the best work possible at that time. If some of those attempts went well, I remembered them, so I could use them again in new work but in different ways. Those aspects might appear again in Fire Force, as similar motifs.

Q. Which character in Fire Force do you feel closest to?

AO: Haumea and Arther. Haumea is an evil character, and I could be evil. Arther is an idiot, and I could also be an idiot.

Q. For the fans here that want to become a manga artist, what advice would you like to give them?

AO: First, you should try to draw whatever you want. Then show your work—let’s say to ten people—to get some feedback. If ten out of ten people say, “I don’t understand what’s going on here,” then it’ll become very clear what you have to fix.

Q. Any message you’d like to give the fans?

AO: In Fire Force, Shinra and Company 8 are the main characters of the series, but many more unique and tricky firefighters are going to enter the story later on. I’ve worked very hard on this manga, and the animation staff has worked very hard on the anime. So I hope you’ll enjoy them!

Thank you!

July 17 UPDATE: Atsushi Ohkubo autograph giveaway!

For those of you wanted to meet Ohkubo-sensei, but weren’t at Anime Expo, here’s good news! Ohkubo-sensei created an autographed Fire Force shikishi for a lucky Kodansha Comics fan—and we’re giving it away as a part of #KC10YRS July Spotlight: Fire Force Survey Sweepstakes!

All you have to do is take this survey before July 31 to enter for a chance to win this special Fire Force shikishi autographed by Atsushi Ohkubo himself!

Our original July 6 recap:

‘Twas extra-hot at Anime Expo this year—well, not so much the actual temperature (it was sweltering last year), but with the brand-new anime Fire Force world premiere and our special Fire Force guests making Hollywood-style appearances at the show! Plus we had a ton of new manga and anime projects revealed for the first time! Here’s the action-packed rundown:

July 4 (Thursday) Fire Force creator Atsushi Ohkubo  made his first-ever appearance in the U.S. with his editor Megumu Tsuchiya at the Live Drawing Panel hosted by Funimation and Kodansha Comics. Both guests shared behind-the-scenes stories of making the hit manga series and turning it into the most anticipated anime of the season. When Ohkubo-sensei finished three amazing sketches, the entire crowd played rock-paper-scissors with him to determine who gets to take it home. Congratulations to the lucky winners!

Meanwhile, the legendary creator Katsuhiro Otomo of Akira fame emerged to reveal he is directing his third animated feature, Orbital Era. Akira itself is also getting a reboot with a new anime adaptation project underway. And finally—great news for true manga fans—Kodansha, Ltd. (our Japanese parent company) will be publishing a retrospective collection, Otomo: The Complete Works, in Japan. More details coming soon!


Hey! We’re also releasing a very limited quantity of our Akira 35th Anniversary Box Set, one last time, this summer.

July 5 (Friday)  Fans watched the amazingly animated and fully dubbed first episode of Fire Force anime at the exact same day as its debut in Japan. Not only that, fans got to enjoy it together with original creator Atsushi Ohkubo himself sitting in the audience! Ohkubo-sensei shared his excitement to share the special moment with the fans and what to look forward to in upcoming episodes. 

July 6 (Saturday) Kodansha Comics and Vertical made new licensing announcements for 2019 and 2020!

Coming (very) soon as digital-firsts!


The Great Cleric By Broccoli Lion and Hiiro Akikaze (character designs by sime) The manga based on the hit light novel series (Japanese title: Seija musou), about an ordinary salaryman who cheats death and now must find his way in another world—as a great healer. Coming July 23!


The Slime Diaries: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime By Shiba (based on story and character designs by Fuse and Mitz Vah) Gut-busting 4-panel gag comix based on the smash-hit isekai saga about that guy who got reincarnated as a slime! Coming July 30!


Goodbye! I’m Being Reincarnated! By Kenji Saito and Parabora From Trinity Seven creator Kenji Saito comes a new manga series (Japanese title: Goodbye! Isekai tensei) about an ordinary high school guy’s big chance to become the one true great hero when one day he’s greeted by a princess from another world! Coming August 6!


The Knight Cartoonist and her Orc Editor By Indo So and Takafumi Sato Reverse otherworld-incarnation hijinx about an orc reborn in this world as … a manga editor! And the knight who becomes a … manga artist! If you’re looking for a unique insider look into the manga industry, this is it (maybe)! Coming August 13! 

Coming soon in print!

 


Saint Young Men By Hikaru Nakamura One of the most-anticipated manga of all time, now available digitally, comes to print! On sale just in time for Christmas!


Beyond the Clouds
By Nicke The lush science-fiction fantasy taking Japan and Europe by storm! Coming 2020!


Knight of the Ice By Yayoi Ogawa A figure-skating romantic comedy perfect for fans of shojo such as OTOMEN and Princess Jellyfish, from the creator of You’re My Pet! Coming 2020!


Farewell, My Dear Cramer By Naoshi Arakawa The digital-first soccer manga from the creator of Your Lie in April comes to print! On sale in 2020!


Rent-A-Girlfriend By Reiji Miyajima In Japan, the lonely have a new way out—online services that rent out dads, children, and, yes, even girlfriends! Coming 2020!


Living-Room Matsunaga-san By Keiko Iwashita The bestselling digital-first boarding-house love story becomes available in print! Coming 2020!

Perfect World By Rie Aruga The digital-first hit about the moving love story between a woman who reunites with her childhood crush, who now uses a wheelchair, will be available in print! Coming 2020!

Sue and Tai-chan By Kanata Konami The adorable new odd-couple cat comedy from the creator of Chi’s Sweet Home and Chi’s Sweet Adventures! Coming 2020!

Sweat and Soap By Kintetsu Yamada A startlingly fresh story about loving and leaving shame behind! Coming 2020!

Something’s Wrong With Us By Natsumi Ando From the creator of Kitchen Princess and Arisa, this suspense story about a man and woman who are connected by the world of traditional Japanese sweets will have readers dying to know what happens next. Perfect for fans of shojo with an edge! Coming 2020!


Yuzu the Pet Vet By Mingo Itou Ready your sweet tooth, it’s time to visit the Woof-Meow Animal Hospital! Your doctor today will be expert pet vet Yuzu-chan! Coming 2020! 


Saiyuki By Kazuya Minekura The original bishies are back, in 400-page hardcovers featuring new translations! Coming 2020!

Chobits and Clover By CLAMP  Two more masterworks from the manga supergroup come to our Kodansha Classics line!  Details to come!

Coming soon from Vertical!

A Trail of Blood By Shuzo Oshimi From the creator of The Flowers of Evil and Happiness, comes a new suspense drama of a mother’s love that has gone too far … Coming Spring 2020!

The Daily Lives of High School Boys By Yasunobu Yamauchi High school boys, be fools! Follow the bizarre adventures of Tadakuni, Hidenori and Yoshitake at the all boys, Sanada North High School. This is a high school slice of life comedy that will keep you laughing. Coming Spring 2020!


Owarimonogatari
By NISIOISIN (illustrations by VOFAN) The new artwork for the part 1 of the novel revealed! Coming in October 2019!

Well, that’s it, for now!

Next stop: San Diego Comic Con!