U.S. publishers roll out new manga formats
Hang on to your wallets, anime and manga fans. With two of the largest events on the summer convention circuit -- Otakon in Baltimore and Comic-Con International in San Diego -- in the books, it looks like there will be quite a few new ways to drain those pocketbooks.
That's not even counting the 69 new anime and manga series introduced by various American publishers -- that's the topic of next week's column. This week, I'll take a look at some of the more intriguing announcements to come out of these two events. Credit for all these items, as always, goes to Anime News Network:
CLAMP rides with Dark Horse: As if it wasn't enough that manga's hardest-working quartet has yet to finish "X/1999" (Viz), "Legal Drug" (Tokyopop), "Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle" (Del Rey), "XXXHolic" (Del Rey) AND "Kobato" (ADV), now comes word that they will be working on a series for a fifth U.S. publisher. The buzz word for this project is "mangette," which is the 80-page monthly digest format in which the creators will be working will be called.
Not much is known about the series beyond that, although it is known that the digests will be released simultaneously in the United States, Japan and South Korea. Trade paperbacks collecting the digests every so often will also be released, with bonus material.
Yes, the project probably already has CLAMP fans drooling. What remains to be seen, though, is whether manga fans will embrace mangettes or wait for the more traditional trade paperbacks to be released.
More manga, lower price: More publishers are jumping on the omnibus bandwagon, in which multiple volumes of a particular series get crammed into bigger, fatter books.
Tokyopop plans to release "Ultimate Editions" of several of their titles down the line, with "War Angels," "Warcraft" and "Fruits Basket" named as the first series to get this treatment. Viz will kick off its "Viz Big" line next year with collections of "Rurouni Kenshin" starting to arrive in January and "Dragon Ball" and "Dragon Ball Z" in May. ADV Manga will collect all of "Azumanga Daioh" into one book around December.
While I'm on the topic of price cuts, I should also mention Seven Seas' announcement that the retail price for its standard manga would drop a dollar, to $9.95.
FUNimation goes Blu-Ray: The next-generation DVD war rages on, and it appears that the nation's largest anime DVD publisher has landed squarely in the Blu-Ray camp.
FUNimation's first Blu-Ray disc will carry a double feature of "Dragon Ball Z" movies featuring voice actor Vic Mignogna's favoritest character in the whole wide world, Broly. (And yes, I write that with a hint of sarcasm attached; Mignogna has said he dreads doing the character because of the large amount of guttural screaming involved with voicing him properly.)
"Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan" and "Broly: Second Coming" are scheduled to arrive Nov. 13.
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao