New Manga from Kodansha US 2011-12

When Kodansha Comics announced in 2010 that they would be taking over several of the titles already licensed to Del Rey in the US – and introducing many new series in 2011 – the news elicited a mixed reaction among reviewers and fans. Most were happy (relieved?) to learn that ongoing series such as Sayonara, Zetusbou-Sensei, Negima! and Air Gear would still be appearing in translation (Del Rey retained the rights to conclude Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle and xxxHolic, their two major CLAMP series.) But probably the news that caused the most excitement was the announcement of the new editions (with new translations) of fan-favourite Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon – and its prequel Codename Sailor V; volumes 1 and 2 of both Naoko Takeuchi’s influential magical girl series were published in the autumn.

So, at AUKN, we were surprised – and delighted – to suddenly receive a New Year’s box of Kodansha manga. Some we’ve been reviewing for you, others will be previewed below. A slight problem for us is that all these are later volumes in series that have already started – and (with a few exceptions that we rushed out to buy) we haven’t seen the first volumes. This isn’t that serious a problem, as many series carry ‘The Story So Far…’ brief synopses at the start of each new volume. But this wasn’t always the case, leaving the review team scratching their heads and reaching for Google.

So look forward to discovering series, both old and new, from Kodansha Comics; there’s something here to suit almost all tastes (well, almost all – I’ve yet to see Kodansha publish anything in the west in the BL department, or a sports manga, but we can hope…)

These brief accounts below are taken from

Bloody Monday   Older Teen 16+ Ryou Ryumon, Kouji Megumi
‘What secrets hide in the shadows?’
Takagi Fujimaru may seem like a regular high school student, but behind the cheery facade lies a genius hacker by the name of Falcon. When his father is framed for a murder, Falcon uses his brilliant hacking skills to try and protect his sister and clear his father’s name. However, he finds that his father, an agent in an elite government agency, was involved with something far more complex than a simple murder. A terrorist group is plotting against the city of Tokyo and it is up to Falcon, with the help of his friends to unravel the twisted plans set in place to kill millions of people.

Cage of Eden  Older Teen 16+ Yoshinobu Yamada
Danger and action abound after Akira Sengoku and his classmates crash-land on a deserted island while flying home from a class trip. The island doesn’t exist on any maps but that’s not even the strangest part: the animals they find on the island are prehistoric beasts that are supposed to have been extinct for thousands of years! Now Akira and his friends are in danger as the island’s residents start eyeing the humans for their next meal. Will they ever solve the mystery of the island and find their way home?

Animal Land T 13+ Makoto Raiku
Orphaned after her parents were killed by Lynxes, Monoko is the only tanuki (raccoon dog) in her village without a family, until she finds a human baby in a river. In Animal Land, a world inhabited solely by animals, this human child is a mystery. This baby is Monoko’s only chance at having a family and she is determined to raise the human child as her own. Animal Land is a quirky story about Monoko and the mysterious human baby.

Mardock Scramble   OT Older Teen 16+ Tow Ubukata, Yoshitoki Oima
Rune Balot is a prostitute who is nearly murdered by Ciel, an enigmatic casino manager, who suffers from a disease that forces him to remove and store his memories. A victim for most of her life, Rune faces a choice. While on the brink of death, she is given the opportunity to live. It is not a simple choice for a victim, but Rune takes it. A professor brings Rune back to life as a cyborg with the ability to control electronics and partners her up with a self-aware universal tool named Oeufcocque. Together they begin to unravel the mystery behind Ciel and Rune sheds the role of the victim, but must struggle between seeking justice and vengeance.

Gon T 13+ Masashi Tanaka
‘Size doesn’t matter. Big trouble comes in a little package!’
65 million years ago, dinosaurs experienced a catastrophic extinction that ended their dominance on Earth…except for one! Gon is told in a series of extraordinarily detailed drawings; there isn’t a single word of dialogue (the manga equivalent of a silent movie?) Gon (which dates from the 1990’s) is a little classic of its kind.



Sarah's been writing about her love of manga and anime since Whenever - and first started watching via Le Club Dorothée in France...

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