Digital Manga Publishing are using "crowdfunding" in order to publish the first full colour release of a manga by Osamu Tezuka.
DMP, which is planning to publish the book under its Platinum Manga imprint, is seeking to get $20,500 or more from readers by 21st July in order to get the book out. People will be able to fund the project using the website Kickstarter. If the funding is successful, it will be released commercially in January 2013 as a single volume.
Those who fund the book will get full colour copies of the manga, as well as extra items including: "T-shirts, posters, stickers and a digital companion with educational games and bonus material for young readers and their parents and teachers".
A press statement from DMP describes the manga thusly: "The book opens in mythological Greece, where Psyche takes care of Unico, and in return he uses his magical powers to bring her happiness. Jealous of Psyche, the goddess Venus orders the West Wind to wipe Unico's memory and spirit him away where Psyche will never reach him. Unico's adventures eventually take him to the Wild West, medieval Europe, and even more fantastic locales. Along the way he makes friends and turns back evil with the power of love."
The editor of Platinum Manga, Ben Applegate, has said: "With Unico losing his memory every time he is transported to a new world, the book is not only a fun adventure for kids, it's also a moral story, with considered spiritual themes. Unico already has a small fanbase in the United States thanks to the animated films, which were first released here in the '80s and were recently re-released on DVD. However, we're not just trying to appeal to nostalgic grown-ups like me. We're doing the book specifically so that parents can read it with their kids. And teachers, too: We think this would make a great addition to primary school libraries and literature curricula."
This is the third Tezuka manga that DMP has tried to release via crowdfunding, the other two being Swallowing the Earth and Barbara.