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Kodansha USA Talks About the Future

I caught up with a rep from the publisher, whose US-based manga plans have remained mysterious...until now.



 Ghost in the Shell
 Ghost in the Shell
The buzz amongst manga bloggers of late has included some new discussion on Kodansha Comics--(which can most likely be credited to AV user and superblogger RocketBomber)-- namely, what's going on? Since the company's establishment, upon which many predicted a blitz of new titles direct from Japan, where Kodansha is one of the biggest publishers, they've only released two books, each a rerelease of a previously published title: Akira volume 1 and Ghost in the Shell volume 1. That's pretty minimal output for a company of this pedigree within a year, especially since volumes 2 of each were due out but have been delayed.

So I went to the source, and received a gracious reply from the new General Manager of Kodansha USA Publishing (which handles the Kodansha Comics line), Kumi Shimizu, who started work this very month. Here's what Shimizu told me:

In the future, we are going to publish more titles. Please note that, we will continue the titles which we can offer an extended array of multimedia franchises that include animated films, video games, prose novels, merchandising and more. Now we are discussing new title line up for 2011 and planning to create a website to update our works.


 Bakemonogatari
 Bakemonogatari
So, what all does that mean? It sounds like Kodansha is planning to start by publishing books related to larger franchises. For example, if there are going to be efforts to release Love Plus in the US, Kodansha might release their L+ manga. I would also wager that we might see some light novels that have anime attachments-- I for one would die happily if they brought out Ghost Hunt, and I wonder if they'd consider bringing out Bakemonogatari. On the other hand, they might be more inclined to stick with franchises that have more reach outside the anime community.

 So we'll just have to wait and see! In the meantime, I'm glad to hear that they're moving forward, and in this economy, I suppose we can't be too surprised at a company taking caution.    
Krison April 14, 2010 at 8:15 a.m.
That kind of makes it sound like they were restructuring and building infrastructure here, so they weren't able to put out new material.
ShadowKnight508 moderator on April 14, 2010 at 11:13 a.m.
@Kris said:
" That kind of makes it sound like they were restructuring and building infrastructure here, so they weren't able to put out new material. "
This....or maybe they might be suffering through either finacial issues or even the dreaded "Licensing cost vs Profit" problem that doomed the X-Men: Misfits to failure after Marvel and Del-Ray had issues.
Krison April 14, 2010 at 11:32 a.m.
@ShadowKnight508: Er, I find that a little hard to believe, given that this is Kodansha (the largest publisher in Japan).  I mean, what are they licensing?  Their own products?  The books they were printing already belonged to Kodansha.  Kodansha took their titles away from American publishers (like Dark Horse) in order to distribute them though...themselves. 
rocketbomberon April 14, 2010 at 5:04 p.m.
Thanks for the name check, and the compliment -- tracking Kodansha has been one of my pet projects ever since the 'leak' when I had the gall to step in a say "pics or didn't happen" and caught a lot of sh*t for it.  [turns out I was wrong on the main point but right on so many details...] 
 
I'm surprised how quickly this trended into the Topic De Jour as I didn't really have anything new to offer, just the updated release dates for 4 books, but I guess quite a few of us know the preponderous might of Big-K and  the potential of K-USA, if only they allowed themselves to exercise it.

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