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 About.com.
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?