Marvel Entertainment and VIZ Media to Partner

Marvel Comics and VIZ Media will collaborate for the first time to deliver the moment of super hero fans’ dreams – the wildly popular characters from the world of Marvel meet manga. This collaboration includes a range of manga and books and will launch in Fall 2021.

The first title from Marvel and VIZ will be Marvel Meow, written and drawn by artist Nao Fuji. First seen on Marvel’s official Instagram comic strips, Marvel Meow will feature Captain Marvel’s cat, Chewie, as she wreaks havoc in the lives of Marvel’s most popular characters: Spider-Man and Iron Man, formidable villains Thanos and Galactus, and the whimsical antihero, Deadpool­– all becoming the playthings of this capricious cat.

Later next year, Marvel and VIZ will publish a must-have for every Deadpool fan: Deadpool: Samurai. When the Merc with a Mouth found himself in feudal Japan partaking in samurai battles in the manga one-shot Deadpool: Samurai last year, fans agreed that the mash-up demanded more, leading Shonen Jump+ to announce an ongoing Deadpool series. For the first time ever, this popular series will be translated into English as part of this new publishing series, written by Sanshirou Kasama and drawn by Hikaru Uesugi.

“Much like VIZ’s iconic characters, Marvel heroes are universally beloved and VIZ is excited to bring their adventures to readers in a new way. Our collaboration will include English editions of several Shonen Jump manga titles, as well as some all-new publishing and ShoPro’s Marvel Meow,” says Sarah Fairhall, VIZ Editorial Director.

“Marvel has had a long history of telling stories in new and compelling ways, and VIZ is the perfect partner to help us continue that path. VIZ is best-in-class for its unforgettable stories, and after the massive success of last year’s Deadpool manga, we’re thrilled to now be working with them to bring our iconic characters to even more manga fans everywhere,” says Sven Larsen, Vice President of Licensed Publishing, Marvel.

Marvel Meow by Nao Fuji will publish on October 12, 2021, followed by Deadpool: Samurai by writer Sanshirou Kasama and artist Hikaru Uesugi, out in February 2022, and Secret Reverse by Yu-Gi-Oh!‘s Kazuki Takahashi coming in Summer 2022, with more titles to follow.

Arata: The Legend Manga to Return on May 19, 2021, With All-New Chapter Debuting on July 7, 2021

This year’s 21st issue of Shogakukan’s Weekly Shonen Sunday magazine has announced that Yuu Watase’s Arata: The Legend (Arata Kangatari) manga will return in the 25th issue on May 19, 2021. The magazine will first republish chapters of the manga that will be included in the 13th volume of the “remastered” edition of the manga. The magazine will publish all-new chapters starting with the 32nd issue on July 7, 2021.

Watase had posted on Twitter in March 2021 that she and the staff of Shogakukan’s Weekly Shonen Sunday magazine had decided on the resumption date of the manga, as well as the release date of the 13th volume of the manga’s “remastered” edition, but would announce the resumption date later.

Arata: The Legend has been on hiatus since 2015. Watase last resumed the manga in July 2015 (after an earlier 17-month hiatus), only to put the manga back on hiatus in August 2015.

Source: ANN

Manga Creator and Animator Fumio Hisamatsu Passes Away

Publisher Seirindo has announced that manga creator Fumino Hisamitsu passed away on April 16, 2021. He was 77 years old at the time of his passing.

Hisamitsu was born in Nagoya in 1943, and debuted with the Chikyū Ayaushi manga volume when he was 15 years old. He also worked as an assistant to Osamu Tezuka.

He designed characters and served as a key animator for the Shōnen Ninja Kaze no Fujimaru, Bōken Gabotenjima, and Mirai Kara Shōnen Super Jetter anime, and he drew manga adaptations of all three. He’s also credited as the original creator for Bōken Gabotenjima.

Hisamitsu was also the first manga creator to adapt Japan’s mythological text Records of Ancient Matters into a manga form in its entirety, in the Manga de Yomu Kojiki series. He also drew manga adaptations of other historical texts, as well as manga about Japanese history.

Source: ANN

ABLAZE Presents Space Pirate Captain Harlock Cover Reveals for Issue 2 of the New Comic Series Launching in June 2021

Comics publisher ABLAZE gives readers and fans another special sneak peek of its forthcoming series, Space Pirate Captain Harlock, with cover reveals for Issue 2. A total of 5 variant covers have been created for the sophomore release of the new sci-fi series by legendary creator, Leiji Matsumoto, and French artist, Jerome Alquié. Issue 1 launches in print and digitally on June 9, 2021.

Each installment of Space Pirate Captain Harlock is published as full-color, 32-page issue with special variant covers by renowned artists from the comics world. The variants for Issue 2 include artistic homages from talents including Mirka Andolfo, Junggeun Yoon, Andie Tong, Philippe Briones, as well as one by the series’ main artist, Jerome Alquié.

Space Pirate Captain Harlock Issue 2 goes on sale on July 7, 2021. Issue 2 will be available for pre-orders on April 23, 2021 after the July ’21 solicitation information is released by Diamond. Pre-orders and solicitations for Issue 1 are available now.

As Issue 2 unfolds, the Earth’s government is not up to the task of protecting the planet from an impending invasion, so Captain Harlock and his crew take it on themselves. The space pirates rush to investigate a looming threat already implanted on Earth that will make a Mazon takeover that much more likely. Will they be able to meet this threat head on and eliminate it from the board before humankind is under siege from all sides?

Captain Harlock first appeared in Leiji Matsumoto’s manga, also titled Space Pirate Captain Harlock, which was published in 1977. An anime adaptation followed in 1978, and the character went on to star in several feature films and television series achieving iconic status among legions of ardent fans. The Space Pirate Captain Harlock comic series published by ABLAZE depicts a brand-new story arc set within the same timeline as the original manga series.

The cover image featured at the top of this post was done by Philippe Briones

Moto Hagio Nominated for a Second Consecutive Year for the Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame

Comic-Con International has announced that the Eisner Awards judges have nominated manga creator Moto Hagio to be inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame this year. The judges have nominated 16 people, and voters will choose four to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Other nominees for this year include Ruth Atkinson, Dave Cockrum, Kevin Eastman, Neil Gaiman, Max Gaines, Justin Green, Don Heck, Klaus Janson, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Hank Ketcham, Scott McCloud, Grant Morrison, Alex Niño, P. Craig Russell, and Gaspar Saladino.

The other six inductees already chosen to be inducted include: Alberto Breccia, Stan Goldberg, Thomas Nast, Rodolphe Töpffer, Françoise Mouly, and Lily Renée Phillips.

Hagio is a pioneer of shōjo and shōnen-ai manga, and her works helped establish conventions of these and other fields. Hagio’s They Were Eleven, A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, A,A’, The Heart of Thomas, Otherworld Barbara, and The Poe Clan manga have English releases.

Creative professionals working in the comics or related industries, publishers, editors, retailers (comics store owner or manager), graphic novels librarians, and comics historians/educators can vote online four nominees, and Comic-Con International will announce new voting procedures for 2021. The virtual awards ceremony will be held during the Comic-Con@Home virtual event in July 2021.

Source: ANN

Anime and Manga Blog Posts That Caught My Eye This Week (April 16, 2021)

Just wanted to use this space to give you all a heads up, since I put this post together ahead of time and schedule it in advance. I was scheduled to receive my second COVID-19 dose yesterday (April 15), and I don’t know what kind of side effects, if any, I will end up having. If the side effects are bad enough, I may be pretty quiet on the blog today. Hopefully, I’ll get lucky and hardly have anything.

Now that that’s out of the way, here are the anime and manga blog posts that grabbed my attention this week:

The Royal Tutor Manga to End in May 2021

The May 2021 issue of Square Enix’s Monthly G Fantasy magazine has announced that Higasa Akai’s The Royal Tutor (Ōshitsu Kyōshi Heine) manga will end in the magazine’s next issue on May 18, 2021.

The story of the manga is described as:

Accepting the post of Royal Tutor at the court of the king of Grannzreich, Heine Wittgenstein is a little professor with a big job ahead. Each of the kingdom’s four princes has a rather distinct personality. Does their diminutive new instructor have what it takes to lay down some learning? It’s a comedy of educational proportions.

Akai launched The Royal Tutor manga in Monthly G Fantasy in November 2013. Yen Press began releasing the manga as e-books in English in 2015.

Source: ANN

Manga Review: Asadora! Volume Two

Asadora! Volume Two continues telling the story of a plucky young girl named Asa Asada.

Asadora! Volume Two
Written by: Naoki Urasawa
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: April 20, 2021

Volume Two opens with a short piece that seems to be unrelated to the main storyline. However, at the end of the volume, it’s revealed that the short piece that we see at the start is indeed important and related to what’s going on.

From there, the manga picks up exactly where Volume One ended. While in the airplane with Kasuga delivering rice balls to citizens trapped on their roofs, Asa sees that her house has been destroyed. However, she later finds two of her siblings, along with the doctor and her newborn sibling, stranded on a rooftop. Even though most of her family is gone, at least Asa still has three of her siblings who survived. I found comfort in knowing that even though Asa may now be an orphan, at least she is no longer alone. But as they try to reach her surviving family members, Asa and Kasuga see the tail of a giant creature come out of the water. Thanks to some quick thinking, Asa saves her surviving family members from being killed by whatever this creature is. I can only imagine just how frightening of a situation that would be, especially knowing that for Asa, these are the only family members that she has left.

But as the food drops continue, it comes out that Kasuga was shot and injured earlier. He starts losing feeling in his hands and can no longer fly the airplane himself. Asa, being the fearless girl that she is, starts learning how to fly the plane with oral instructions from Kasuga. She pulls off some amazing flying, especially for someone who’s never flown a plane before. Luckily, Asa has the personality that she has, because otherwise the outcome could have been very different.

I can’t forget to mention Asa’s friend, Shota. His father and brothers are still pushing him to train for the Olympics. Obviously, getting the news of what happened back home is affecting him. However, his father and brothers are just trying to sweep what happened under the rug and push Shota to continue training. I know this would have been the mindset back in this era, but I still found it infuriating. I don’t blame him for running off and heading back to their hometown to in order to find out what happened to Asa.

We learn it’s Asa’s birthday, and how coming from a big family, she never really got presents. She decides she wants the plane as a gift. Well, Kasuga stole the plane, so he can’t exactly give it to her. But thanks to something Asa discovered in the plane, she has some leverage to try to strike a deal with the owner of the plane. But, let’s just say that this plan puts Asa in extreme danger, and it’s fortunate that Kinuyo, the woman who runs the restaurant where they’ve been getting the rice balls to deliver to the survivors, realizes what’s happening. With help from a police officer, they arrive in time to save Asa. But the end result is that the owner of the plane is arrested, and he gives the deed to the plane to Asa.

Near the end of the volume, there is a time skip. It’s 1964, and Asa is now 17 years old. She still has the plane and is using it to help Kasuga with his business. Unfortunately, the business is starting to head into a slump, and Kasuga doesn’t know how much longer he can keep it afloat. But as fate would have it, someone who Kasuga served with in the military arrives, and he has a picture of the tail that Kasuga and Asa saw earlier.

We also see that it’s time for the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and learn that Shota didn’t qualify for the marathon. It’s also revealed that Asa and Shota haven’t kept in touch as well as they could have, and she was the last one to send anything… but she hasn’t heard back. Hopefully we’ll learn what’s happened to Shota in a future volume of the series.

At the end of the volume, Asa goes to a science museum in Ueno, in the hopes of finding information on the creature that she and Kasuga saw when she was younger. She finds a photograph on the ground, and it, along with the person she encounters at the end of the volume, are related to the short piece we saw at the beginning of the volume.

I admit that I hadn’t expected the time skip to appear in this volume, but then I was reminded that the early pages of Volume One say that Asadora! is the story of a nameless girl and the fearless life she lived from the postwar years to the present day. All of Volume One and most of Volume Two focus on Asa as a child, and the experiences she has after the typhoon (or it might actually have been an attack by a creature, which has been hinted at strongly in this volume) and how she helped get food to survivors who were stranded on rooftops. Near the end of the Volume Two, we get to see Asa as a young woman who is still in high school. Her encounter with the young man at the museum is likely leading to something, and it’ll be interesting to see what exciting thing she will get to do or experience during this arc of the story.

Urasawa had a strong start with Asadora! in Volume One, and I think he has succeeded in keeping the momentum going for Volume Two. The story and characters continue to be interesting, and with the time skip, Asa’s evolution as a character feels believable. I’m looking forward to reading Volume Three in order to find out what happens as Asa next.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

Additional post about Asadora!:

Manga Review: Lovesickness: Junji Ito Story Collection

Lovesickness: Junji Ito Story Collection is a horror manga anthology by Junji Ito that includes five stories.

Lovesickness: Junji Ito Story Collection
Written by: Junji Ito
Publisher: Asahi Shimbun Publications Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: April 20, 2021

When I started reading this manga, I was surprised to discover that a little over half of it focuses on one story. Even though I had seen the table of contents, it hadn’t hit me just how few stories were ultimately going to be include in this collection.

The first story is “Lovesickness,” the title story for the anthology, which is told over the first five chapters of this manga. It’s set in a foggy town, where there’s almost an obsession of people asking for crossroad fortunes. The idea is that you wait at a crossroads in the fog for the first person to come by. When they do, you ask them to give you a fortune about a topic of your choice. In this story, the main theme seems to be love, since it’s primarily middle schoolers who seem to be into the tradition at the point the story takes place at.

A boy named Ryusuke is moving back to this town after being gone for several years. He harbors a secret: when he was six years old, around the time his family moved, he had gotten upset and stormed out of the house. A pregnant woman stops him and asks for a crossroads fortune about her love life because she was pregnant with her lover’s baby (and her lover was a married man). Because he was angry, he said something mean… and the woman ended up committing suicide at that crossroads. This event haunts Ryusuke to this day, so he’s not eager about the crossroads fortunes even though many of his classmates are. This especially becomes problematic when stories of a beautiful, tall boy dressed in black and has piercings tells negative fortunes about girls’ love lives and they end up committing suicide.

At school, Ryusuke is reunited with Midori, a girl he knew in kindergarten who was his first love. He’s still in love with her, but he learns something awful: that the woman he had given the crossroad fortune to before he left was Midori’s aunt. He makes it his goal for her to not find out about this connection. Things are complicated when Midori’s best friend, Suzue, falls for Ryusuke while Midori and Ryusuke are having a rough patch because of Ryusuke trying to hide his secret from Midori. Suzue she asks for a crossroads fortune about this situation, and she gets an answer from the “beautiful boy”: “Worry about your own heart first.” She takes this to mean that she should go after Ryusuke, and she becomes obsessed. It gets to the point that she annoys Ryusuke and he tells her to back off… which leads her to committing suicide.

“Lovesickness” continues on from here, and it’s both a psychological and a gory thriller. As I saw with Remina, this story builds and gets more and more outlandish. Ryusuke becomes obsessed with finding the “beautiful boy,” and he eventually admits the truth to Midori. His only ally turns on him, just as things get worse. People start believing that Ryusuke is the “beautiful boy,” which causes him nothing but trouble. It culminates with the real “beautiful boy” telling all of these girls to commit suicide, and their ghosts haunt the crossroads. Ryusuke seems to become a “beacon of hope” by going around and giving good fortunes to anyone who asks him for one. At the end of the story, we see three other people following his example. While this city is still a mess, especially with the ghosts haunting the crossroads, this ending at least gives the reader a slight glimmer of hope that maybe someday, things can change. But the overall story gets weirder and weirder, with the “over the top” moment of the mass suicide and the despair it brings about the town. But from what I’ve read from Junji Ito at this point, this seems to be something he does for his stories that are a longer length.

This is followed by two stories that I lump together into one, since they follow the same characters: the strange Hikizuri siblings. One of the siblings, a middle schooler named Narumi, looks normal. The rest of her siblings, however, look like they could have stepped right out of the Addams Family. The first story sees her calling a classmate named Kotani and threatening to kill herself. He rescues her, but she doesn’t want to go back home. Narumi is a pain, but Kotani can’t kick her out because she threatens to kill herself if she does. One of Narumi’s siblings finds her and drags her back home. At first, she fights it, but then she participates in a prank to make Kotani think that she died. It ultimately ends with Kotani dying. The way this was done, even the reader was led to believe that Narumi was really dead… and the truth isn’t revealed until after Kotani dies.

The other story about the siblings sees the oldest, Kazuya, encountering a beautiful woman named Sachiyo who is a spirit photographer. Kazuya becomes interested in her and invites her to his house because there should be spirits for her to photograph there. While she’s at the house, it’s obvious that Shigoro, another one of the brothers, becomes interested in her, and Kazuya becomes jealous and takes it out on Shigoro. But when one of the younger sisters throws a fit about wanting to see their dead parents, Kazuya comes up with an idea of having a séance in order for the sister to see their parents. He invites Sachiyo, who brings her boyfriend along. It appears that the séance is successful when Shigoro spits out ectoplasm and seems to channel the spirit of their father. But after some investigation, Sachiyo and her boyfriend discover the ectoplasm is fake.

To be honest, I really didn’t care for the stories about the Hikizuri siblings. These siblings were downright spooky, and I found nothing redeemable about any of them. Their behavior was just so bizarre and off-putting to me as a reader. On the bright side, at least there were only two chapters focusing on these characters.

This is followed by “The Mansion of Phantom Pain,” which sees a young man named Kozeki taking on a live-in job with a wealthy family. It turns out that the young son of the house has “phantom pain,” which has expanded to the point of him feeling it throughout the whole house. The windows have been bricked up to keep the pain from escaping out of the house. Kozeki is part of a team that responds to wherever the boy says the pain is and they rub the area until the boy says the pain is gone. Over time, the employees get hurt but do nothing to treat their wounds, not even seeing a doctor. The head of the house dies of sepsis, and others start dying from their untreated wounds. But when the wife says if something happens and the family falls into arrears, she will leave the entire estate to the person who will stay forever. As you can guess, some of the crew become greedy and attack the wife and the boy, especially after it’s discovered that the doors to the outside have been locked and the phone lines have been cut. The ending is rather tragic, especially for Kozeki. While there is some of the physical horror with the untreated wounds, this one falls more in the psychological thriller designation. This was better than the stories about the Hikizuri siblings, but it wasn’t quite as strong as the main “Lovesickness” story.

Next is a one-chapter story titled, “The Rib Woman.” A woman named Yuki hates how she looks because of the shape of her ribs. Her brother’s girlfriend starts hearing strange music and it freaks her out. The three of them find a strange woman playing a harp made from a rib, which freaks the girlfriend out. After that, the girlfriend goes missing and is later found dead. When Yuki goes in for an operation to remove one of her ribs, she learns a previous patient was her brother’s girlfriend, who also had a rib removed. She also learns that the strange woman they discovered was another patient who was unhappy with her surgery and wanted more removed. This story culminates with Yuki having her own run-in with the strange woman and her accomplice. This story does a good job in depicting its horror theme in this single chapter. This is a story that just wouldn’t have been as strong if it had been split over multiple chapters.

The final story is “Memories of Real Poop,” which is a four-page story about a kid buying a realistic-looking rubber poop from a vendor at a fall festival. To be honest, I didn’t understand why this was even included. It wasn’t really a horror story, and it felt rather anti-climactic and pointless after the previous stories that were included in this anthology. This was my least favorite of the stories. While the Hikizuri siblings were annoying, at least the inclusion of their chapters felt like they fit with the overall feel of the anthology.

Of the three Junji Ito releases I’ve read from VIZ Media, I have to say that Lovesickness: Junji Ito Story Collection is the weakest one. I much preferred the Venus in the Blind Spot anthology over this one. The “Lovesickness” story in this volume was riveting and interesting, but the other stories here were either OK or not that enjoyable. While I may not have enjoyed Lovesickness: Junji Ito Story Collection as much as I hoped I would, fans of Junji Ito and of horror manga might have a greater appreciation for this release than me.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

Additional reviews of Junji Ito’s work:

Top 20 Selling Manga for March 2021

NPD BookScan has published the top 20 selling manga in the United States for March 2021:

  1. Chainsaw Man Volume 1 by Tatsuki Fujimoto
  2. My Hero Academia Volume 1 by Kōhei Horikoshi
  3. My Hero Academia Volume 2 by Kōhei Horikoshi
  4. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Volume 1 by Koyoharu Gotouge
  5. Attack on Titan Volume 1 by Hajime Isayama
  6. Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun Volume 1 by Aidairo
  7. My Hero Academia Volume 26 by Kōhei Horikoshi
  8. My Hero Academia Volume 3 by Kōhei Horikoshi
  9. The Promised Neverland Volume 1 by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu
  10. Haikyu!! Volume 1 by Haruichi Furudate
  11. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Volume 2 by Koyoharu Gotouge
  12. Spy x Family Volume 4 by Tatsuya Endō
  13. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Volume 3 by Koyoharu Gotouge
  14. Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 1 by Gege Akutami
  15. Chainsaw Man Volume 3 by Tatsuki Fujimoto
  16. My Hero Academia Volume 24 by Kōhei Horikoshi
  17. The Promised Neverland Volume 2 by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu
  18. Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun Volume 2 by Aidairo
  19. My Hero Academia Volume 4 by Kōhei Horikoshi
  20. Uzumaki (Hardcover) by Junji Ito

Source: The Fandom Post