Anime Vice News

Manga Watch-List: An Introduction

Another new feature! <3

 I'm working this out as a tentative feature. I'm going to go through the manga sales lists and talk about series that are popular in Japan but haven't been licensed here yet-- in other words, things that we should be watching for from US licensors. Every week I'm going to pull out and do a short profile on three series...some you'll know, some you might not. Of course, eventually I'll have to get more creative than just the Oricon charts to find series, so I may move the feature to being bi-weekly eventually-- but for now, let's give it a shot, shall we?

Sangatsu no Lion

  • Creator: Chika Umino
  • Publisher: Hakusensha
  • Anthology: Young Animal (seinen)
  • Volumes: 3 (ongoing)
  • Expected Licensor: TOKYOPOP or VIZ Media

Officially called "March Comes In like a Lion" in English, but still unlicensed. Honey and Clover's Chica Umino is a huge draw for manga and anime fans alike thanks to the Honey and Clover and Eden of the East anime. Like H&C, it's a slice-of-life story-- but this time about a 17-year-old shougi player named Rei, and his almost only friends, a family of women who keep lots of cats.

The manga is published by Hakusensha, and TOKYOPOP and VIZ Media publish the most of their manga. I think TOKYOPOP might have a slightly better chance on this one, as they have a number of Young Animal titles-- Futari Ecchi, Yubisaki Milk Tea, Ai Yori Aoshi.
 

Suki tte Ii na Yo.

  • Creator: Kanae Hazuki
  • Publisher: Kodansha
  • Anthology: Dessert (josei)
  • Volumes: 3 (ongoing)
  • Expected Licensor: Del Rey Manga
 
Title translates to roughly "It's okay to say I Love You" and revolves arounda 16-year-old girl with no friends-- but she does have a stalker. She then makes an accidental connection with the popular Yamato Kurosawa, who protects her from the stalker by kissing her. Zomg!

Honestly, this doesn't sound like anything really special. But its third volume started at #6 on the Oricon charts, right between Bleach #40 and New Prince of Tennis #1, so it must have something going for it. If you'd like to get a sense of Hazuki's art, try picking up her Voices of Love, published by Deux Press.

Amanchu!

  • Creator: Kozue Amano
  • Publisher: Mag Garden
  • Anthology: Monthly Comic Blade (shounen)
  • Volumes: 1 (ongoing)
  • Expected Licensor: TOKYOPOP

This manga revolves around two young women-- 16-year-olds --who wind up becoming friends in spite of their differences. One, Hikari, is a simple, care-free, ocean-loving scuba diver-- very reminiscent of the heroine of Umisho --and the other, a cell-phone-addicted, scooter-driving "normal" girl named Futaba Ooki. Throw in a teacher who bonds with Hikari on the first day over their both being scuba divers, and you've got a female-filled manga by ARIA's Kozue Amano.

Amano's name is so big that the first volume of this manga hit #8 on Oricon's sales charts already. TOKYOPOP already has Amano's biggest title, ARIA, and quite a few other Comic Blade titles-- Elemental Gelade, Good Witch of the West, Otogizoshi, etc. --so they seem like the obvious choice.
HeeroYuyon Aug. 23, 2009 at 12:24 p.m.
Should I feel bad that Sukitte li na Yo actually sounds pretty interesting to me?
(I have no clue why I have started liking shoujo stuff more lately...)
AgentJon Aug. 23, 2009 at 1:55 p.m.
Do Medaka Box next!!!!
giaon Aug. 23, 2009 at 6:26 p.m.
@HeeroYuy: Nothing's wrong with liking shoujo! And I'm sure Suki tte has something pretty strong behind it or it wouldn't be so popular. I just don't know what it is, given that the story sounds pretty standard ;)
HeeroYuyon Aug. 23, 2009 at 8:50 p.m.
@AgentJ: *high-fives* Medaka Box is awesome.
AgentJon Aug. 23, 2009 at 8:56 p.m.
@HeeroYuy said:
" @AgentJ: *high-fives* Medaka Box is awesome. "
Lol, when I was in japan in January, Medaka Box had its one shot in the latest WSJ. Makes me feel like I have a special connection : )
lyson Aug. 24, 2009 at 7:14 a.m.
This sounds like an awesome feature :D  I'm looking forward to future editions! (and hopefully future months when some of these titles get picked up!) 
 
Having read a little of Sukitte, I wanted to try chiming in on why I thought it was so successful... I'm not entirely sure why myself, but I do love the series.  I think a big thing is the art, which is pretty and soft and stylish and very attractive to look at.  The characters are also interesting: reading about a distant, loner girl being won over by an unexpectedly nice guy was pretty much an instant win for this shoujo-lovin' girl.  I guess it's the reversal of the usual (shoujo-manga) roles: rather than a cool, emotionless guy (ugh) being pursued by a spunky heroine, the girl is the one who doesn't want to get involved.  It might be compared to Kimi ni Todoke too, a little, but I think these characters have a bit more... attitude, or something.  But I think it's something about the unusual dynamic between the two leads that makes both those series so easy to love.
Rathanyon Aug. 24, 2009 at 8:56 p.m.
Oh, neat idea.  Most of my titles that I had been wanting to see brought over have been, except for Himitsu.  Though, there is still that Abe no Seimei manga from Jet, and Yoshinaga-sensei's Kodomo no Taion. 

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