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3 Things Thursday: Vertical x Kodansha

So, any of you following manga industry news have undoubtedly already heard about Kodansha’s new investment in Vertical, Inc., a story that broke last night, but has apparently been in the works for quite some time.

As a big fan of Vertical’s non-Kodansha licenses (Twin Spica, 7 Billion Needles, most of the company’s Tezuka releases) I was grateful to hear that the news would not impact their ability to continue with those licenses. Still, this seems like an appropriate time to reflect on some of the Vertical x Kodansha goodness we’ve already seen, either in print or in the works. Though my understanding is that some of these negotiations took place directly between Vertical and the series’ authors (or their representatives), the fact remains, we have both publishers to thank for their existence in print.

3 series brought to us by Vertical and Kodansha:

1. Chi’s Sweet Home | Konami Kanata – I’ve been a big fan of this sweet (and sometimes bittersweet) tale of human/cat cohabitation since Vertical’s release of its first volume, and those feelings have only grown warmer over time. Though the series is certainly appropriate for children, the advantage of it having been published in a magazine for adults definitely gives it an edge for a reader like me. Both genuinely funny and occasionally dark, there’s a lot more to Chi than meets the eye. And when what meets the eye is as cute as this… well, there’s really no way it can go wrong. Volume 5 is available now!

2. Princess Knight | Osamu Tezuka – Though this license was likely brought forth via Tezuka Productions, we have Kodansha to thank for all of its incarnations in print so far, from Shojo Club, to Nakayoshi, to the bilingual version that up until now (or soon, at least) was the series’ only English-language edition.

In the words of David Welsh, ” It sounds really delightful. It’s only three volumes long. It’s Tezuka. More Tezuka is always better.”

Agreed on all points.

3. The Drops of God | Tadashi Agi – Another one of David’s recently-fulfilled license requests, this manga has me hooked already simply by being about wine. Though I expect it might be hard on my pocketbook (all the wines in the series are real, and can be sought out and purchased by those willing to spend the dough), I honestly can’t wait to dig in.

Deb Aoki has been pushing for some time for this series to be licensed. “The Drops of God tries to capture the romance, the drama, the history, and the sensual joy of drinking wine, the fascinating people who make, sell and collect wine, and the diverse places where wine is grown, bottled and enjoyed all over the world.” Read more at

An honorable mention must go to Peepo Choo, which I featured in this column just a few weeks ago!

So, readers, what are your thoughts on what we might see now from Vertical and Kodansha?

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  1. David Welsh says:

    Oh, I’m so glad that Peepo Choo got an honorable mention, if only because it so spectacularly surpassed my admittedly low expectations. But it really is a terrific comic, incredibly ambitious and almost entirely successful in achieving those ambitions.

    While I’m looking forward to Drops of God for its own sake, I hope it succeeds to the degree that Viz may be inspired to pick up the license for Shueisha’s Bartender for its Signature imprint. I would love for their to be a fiercely competitive market for licensed booze manga.

    • I would love for their to be a fiercely competitive market for licensed booze manga.

      I could definitely get on board with that! :D

      And you know, I probably would have put Peepo Choo in the main three, but since I’d just talked about it, I thought it might be too much. I did like it a lot.

    • Bartender sounds interesting, based purely on the title

      Drops of God from what I recall reading of it seems to be a little too… shonen fight manga but with wine tasting instead of battles… Or is my memory really bad?

      • Yes, but… wine tasting. :D

        • But… tasting in manga? I mean… At least in Oishinbo you can look at the food and learn how it’s cooked and everything. But wine, it all looks pretty much the same and I suspect there are only so many times you could show/explain how it’s made.

          • Hmmm… I think I’m just hoping for lots of descriptions. I have a very good imagination. :D That’s part of why I enjoy Fumi Yoshinaga so much. The way she describes food!

            • David Welsh says:

              I’ll heartily second that. I can take all of the poses of manly resolve in the world if I get good information about wine.

      • David Welsh says:

        It is kind of battle-rival quest-y, from what I understand. Some guy dies and hinges his son’s inheritance on whether or not he can identify these amazing wines, but he also gives his adopted son the same opportunity. So if dad was anything in life like he is in death, he must have been kind of insufferable.

        I like the idea of Bartender because it’s episodic and probably includes recipes. Or at least I hope it includes recipes.

  2. Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou! That would be the best manga publishing news I can think of.

  3. judi(togainunochi) says:

    I’ve been hoping for a long time that someone would pick up Bartender. I will keep hoping now that Drops of God will be coming out. If the anime is any indication of the manga, they go into detail about who invented the drink and why. Makes me want to go to Eden Hall(the bar)and be served by Ryu Sasakura(bartender) , even though it’s fictional. :D

  4. Good choices! I tweeted to Ed that fans are getting the Kodansha titles they want from Vertical and NOT Kodansha USA because seriously KUSA’s Summer release schedule looks tired.


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  3. X Vertical says:

    […] Manga Bookshelf | 3 Things Thursday: Vertical x Kodansha Still, this seems like an appropriate time to reflect on some of the Vertical x Kodansha goodness we've already seen, either in print or in the works. Though my understanding is that some of these negotiations took place directly . […]

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