My first and last panel for Sunday was the joint Kodansha and Vertical panel, featuring Ben Applegate and Misaki Kido from Kodansha Comics, Tomo Tran from Vertical, and Megumi Kitahara as the Japanese guest – she’s an editor at Dessert magazine. This is the 10th anniversary of Kodansha Comics as a label.
Vertical’s announcements came first, starting with a Chi’s Sweet Home complete boxset, with the whole series in four volumes. The rest of the Vertical news was all Nisioisin. They confirmed they’re doing Zoku-Owarimonogatari in July, the “final” book in the series (yes, they are aware there are more after this). They also had the cover for Owarimonogatari 2, which surprised me as I was unaware they’d shown us the art for Owarimonogatari 1 yet. 2 features, as readers might guess, Gaen and Shinobu. (1, which I did see at the Vertical VOFAN artshow booth, has Ougi and Sodachi.)
They also announced a new Nisioisin title unrelated to Monogatari… no, not Zaregoto 4. The first in the Bishonen Series was licensed! Pretty Boy Detective Club (Bishounen Tanteidan – Kimi dake ni Hikari Kagayaku Anmokusei) is, as you can see, a mystery series with pretty boys trying to help a girl find a star that only appears once every ten years. It’s from the Kodansha Taiga label, which markets towards readers in their 20s and 30s. It has five volumes total in Japan, though, as with Zaregoto (and Monogatari at first), only the first book is announced.
We then moved on to Kodansha Comics print releases, starting with Whisper Me a Love Song (Sasayaku You ni Koi o Utau), which is a yuri manga from Comic Yuri Hime that has a bubbly girl and a reserved girl, and also involves a band. Blue Period is a seinen manga from Afternoon, from the author of She and Her Cat. A young man decides to pursue a career in the fine arts, then finds out how hard it can be.
Life Lessons with Uramachi-oniisan (Uramichi Oniisan) is from Comic POOL, Ichijinsha’s digital magazine, and is about the guy who hosts the morning calisthenics show they have in Japan and his comedic attempts to give children watching REAL life advice. It’s apparently a savage parody of children’s TV, and has an anime coming soon. Lastly (for print), Heaven’s Design Team is making the jump to the big leagues. It’s still running in Morning Two.
And now we get a monster pile of digital-only titles. To Write Your Words (Kuchiutsusu) is a 3-volume josei series from Kiss magazine about an author asked to write a racier novel than her usual, and the inspiration she gets from… a dentist? Ex-Enthusiasts: Motokare Mania is also from Kiss, and has a TV drama in Japan. A girl who broke up with her ex five years ago is startled to run into him again at the workplace.
Watari-kun’s **** is About to Collapse (Watari-kun no xx ga Houkai Sunzen) is a seinen title that started in Kadokawa’s Young Ace then moved to Kodansha’s Young Magazine. It’s an ecchi comedy with siscons and yanderes. They’re also doing the sequel to Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Tokyo Tarareba Girls Returns! Will they finally get married? Eeeeehhh…
Two series from the same author follow. Atsuko Nanba gives us To Be Next To You (Tonari no Atashi), a 10-volume series from Betsufure, and That Blue Summer (Ao Natsu) is 8 volumes from the same magazine. Both seem to be very much “standard shoujo”, but again, that does not mean it’s bad, only that it’s not revolutionary.
The big surprise for me was GE: Good Ending, a 16-volume shonen romance from Weekly Shonen Magazine, from the author of Domestic Girlfriend. If you enjoyed that one, you’ll definitely like this one, and I recall that when it was running in Japan a lot of guys were arguing about who was best girl, was the ending good, etc. MabuSasa is a shoujo manga from the Palcy online app, about a girl who discovers that a hot guy… is reading BL?
Let’s Kiss in Secret Tomorrow (Ashita, Naisho no Kiss Shiyou) is a Dessert title featuring a couple who are already dating but hide it when they enter high school… except he’s suddenly hot and she’s not getting the same attention. The Dorm of Love and Secrets (Koi to Himitsu no Gakuseiryou) is also Dessert, a 4-volume series about a commoner girl who, by circumstances, is now living in a dorm with “elites”.
I’ll Win You Over, Senpai! (Senpai! Ima Kara Kokurimasu!) is a five-volume series from Nakayoshi, has a girl who is used to love confessions going her way (because she sets them up that way) meeting her match… and finding that she can’t simply take the rejection and go away. Lastly, there’s I Fell in Love After School (Houkago, Koishita), also from Dessert, about a girl with very little presence who becomes the volleyball team’s manager and is dazzled by one of the boys.
After this Megumi Kitahara spoke about her work with Dessert magazine as an editor. Kodansha releases a lot of titles from Dessert, which caters to women from their mid-teens to mid-twenties. Most shoujo is for girls who have never fallen in love – Dessert is for girls who have already fallen in love and know the pain that can follow.
We then get a guide to the process of producing a monthly chapter, in this case the fourth chapter of Living-Room Matsunaga-san, already coming out from Kodansha Comics digitally. We see some of the original concept art and sketches, then a storyboard, the rough layout, and then the final product. She also discusses how hard it is to tell an author “this isn’t interesting”, but it is necessary to have the title succeed. Especially if, like the chapter we saw at the panel, it’s one at the end of a volume.
And that ends my Anime NYC for 2019! The con had a large number of improvements this year, particularly in regards to security and line management, and was entertaining from beginning to end. I can’t wait for 2020.