NYCC 2015 – Vertical Panel

Ed noted that since he has a full panel presentation for us, we probably won’t have time for Q&A. Since there was still time before the official starting, he decided to open the floor up for some questions.

    Q: How many more volumes more of Chi’s Sweet Home?
    A: We just ended the series at 12 volumes. 12 volumes ends up wrapping up a 10 year long saga for Japan. It was something that we got into mid-run for them and quickly caught up with. Thankfully, it really worked out for us. We really want to collect a kitty comic for all ages and it was such a huge hit when we acquired it so thank you for all your support.

    Q: Any plans for a sequel for Knights of Sidonia?
    A: Manga sequel? Not of that I’m aware of it and even if I was aware of it, I won’t be able to say. Knights of Sidonia just wrapped up in Japan with vol. 15 coming out in the next couple of months. I don’t know what else Nihei-sensei will be working on, but be sure that we’ll be keeping an eye out on whatever else he is working on. We are looking into some of his previous works too.

Ed added that he is open to suggestions and notes that readers could get their suggestions across at conventions, panels and reader surveys. He notes that he takes comments very seriously and encourages fans to voice their thoughts. The Sidonia fan noted that the manga ended very open endedly and Ed reminded the fan that Vertical was only the localizer and not part of the editorial team of Nihei-sensei. “If you are a Nihei fan and have looked into his works, then you would see there some parts of Sidonia in his previous works. There could be something else down the line, something that would tie them closer together. We’re not sure.”

    Q: Have you looked into other Gundam series, like L’ecole du Ciel from Tokyopop?
    A: We have looked into other Gundam properties and we regularly let our fans know that. Something that we can work with at a similar level as Origins. I can’t say if L’ecole du Ciel has the materials or something like that as this time.

Ed noted how well Origins has been doing, adding that it is a repeat New York Time bestseller which surprised the manga industry. He detailed how significant the series has been to the global community due it’s widespread popularity. Ed opened the panel officially, noting that it is 10 years of Vertical company. He noted that their line encompasses not simply manga, but Japanese horror, sci-fi novels, crafts and cookbooks. “A little of everything.”

Recent releases! Gundam Origins vol. 11! The fans cheered for their favorite factions in the war from New Types to Zeon. Ed noted that the success of Gundam was a surprise to everyone from Japan to even the companies overseas. “You proved them wrong. Amuro and Char proved them wrong. We’re only one volume away from wrapping up this magnus opus.” Volume 12 will be released in December, just in time for the holidays.

A sleeper hit, Ajin: Demi-Human vol. 6 catches up with releases in Japan. Ed details that this volume is a turning point in the series as the immortals are turning on the tables of humanity, creating their own military. “Dark and high intense action with satirical humor.” A trailer for both the manga and the novel was shown. Since Vertical is caught up with Japan, Ed noted that future manga releases will be 2-3 months after the Japanese tankouban releases. Also, the anime will start in the Winter 2016 anime season in January.

Witchcraft Works vol. 7 by Mizunagi Ryu-sensei was next which Ed introduced as a romantic comedy where the witches protect their ‘prince’. About to catch up to Japan with vol. 8 going to be released in December.

My Neighbor Seki vol. 4 by Morishige Takuma-sensei received some applause from the audience. The series is about a highschool teen who sits in the back of the room and find ways to not study, becoming a distraction to his classmates. Ed points out that interestingly, there are lots of visual gags since Sei rarely speaks in the series, yet is strangely engaging. Ed plugs the anime currently distrubted by Crunchyroll and there are live action dramas as well (though none Stateside). New volumes released every 2 months with some time before catching up with Japan.

To commemorate the closure of the series, there is Chi’s Sweet Home omnibus vol. 1 with each volume containing 3 original manga releases, 480 pages, with more page space, full color art and included a number of untranslated comics from another series by Konami-sensei. Ed notes that the new manga will be debuting next year. Although it’s only out for a few weeks, Ed happily notes that it is already into the second printing.

And finally, the closure of the series, Chi’s Sweet Home vol. 12 is out. Finally, we’ll find out if Chi will be staying with the Yamada’s or she will be moving in with her kitty family. Ed admitted that he has been in tears since chapter 1 of this volume, but noted that it is a joyful ending. For those that have been following Chi, Ed notes that it will be an emotional roller coaster, but it will be a good journey. He remarks about the artwork, noting that Chi is older, grown up throughout the series.

Turning the panel to light novels, Harsh Mistress of the City vol. 2 by Kawakami Ryo was just released. The novel goes into what goes on in the Iseyama-sensei’s manga but occurs with different casts in a different part of the city. More action and military drama with different sense then what readers would get from the manga. Ed noted that there is a Muslim or Arabic aesthetic to the designs of the community which builds more on the world of the Titans.

Back to manga, Tokyo ESP vol. 1 by Segawa Hajime is for the sci-fi super hero fans where a girl finds that she has esper abilities, walking through walls which we discovered because she sinks through the floor into someone else’s apartment. Ed adds that her father has magnetic strength and is drawn like Wolverine at times. Action, humorous, ‘X-Men’ feel. Released in omnibus format with 2 tankoubans each with over 400 pages at $14.95. Further releases will be out once every two months.

A NYCC debut, Ninja Slayer which is manga adaption by Philip Morzez and Bradley Bond, art by Yugi Yuko. A series with quite a bit of history created in the 1990’s and several manga incarnations. Cyberpunk with ninja action set in futuristic Saitama, a suburb in Tokyo. The world is ruled by ninjas and one man is prepared to kill them. For older teens readers at 16+, Ed notes it’s one of the darker releases by Vertical. For fans of Peepo Choo and Lychee Light Club.

For December 15 release, Kizumonogatari novel by NISIOISIN and art by VOFAN. To the question of why they are concentrating on this story in particular is because it is technically the beginning of the story chronologically. Ed noted that this release will be working very closely with the team in Japan since it is a beloved light novel by everyone. Ed asks fans to check out the details which will be included. A trailer of the movie was shown to the laughter of the crowd. It was the juxtaposition of the music with the expressions on the screen. Hilarity. “That’s exactly how I feel with Monogatari.” *audience laughs*

Light novel release, Seraph of the End by Kagami Takuya-sensei and art by Yamamoto Yamato, a prequel which goes into the life of Ichinose and the vampire onslaught. In omnibus format, there will be 2 novels in one at $14.95 with 400 pages. Currently 4 or 5 volumes in Japan with a volume every 3 month or so starting in January 2016.

The manga, A Girl by the Shore by Asano Inio-sensei is concerning teen angst and sexuality. A 440 page omnibus with 2 manga per release at $18.95 with a January release. Ed notes that it’s a very Vertical-esque title, the most from the list announced thus far.

At the announcement of Nichijou was met with much applause. Ed welcomes fans to come to the booth where they could put on antlers and he could suplex them. *audience laughs* By Arawi Keiichi-senesei, a comedy manga filled with visual gags and hilarity will be released in tankoban format in the Spring of 2016. Ed promised a release of every two months, noting that the releases which will incorporated by the national translating competition in Japan. He noted that this release is like testing the waters for more Arawi-sensei’s works so fans should support the title if they want more of his works.

New release by Konami Kanata-sensei in the US! Long running FukuFuku has been around in Japan since 1993, but FukuFuku: Kitten Tales is a more recent release focused on Fukufuku as a kitten. The previous series is about a life of a calico cat who tends to eat and says nothing and lays around. But as a kitten, she is full of energy and curiosity. Since Chi is doing very well, the release was pushed up to February 2016 at $10.95 per volume.

For fans of drool, there is Mysterious Girlfriend X which is by Ueshiba Riichi-sensei. *audience laughs* A romantic comedy with tension and actually a progressing relationship about a guy who needs to taste his girlfriend’s saliva on a regular basis or else he gets sick. Tentative omnibus price at $16.95 with a larger print trim released in early Spring 2016.

Announced at Otakon 2015, The Gods Lie by Ozaki Kaori is a sports manga as well as a drama about two characters from single parent families. Ed noted that there is a move of publishers who are finally publishing sports manga (once again) but this is more than a soccer manga. The young man feels he does not have any structure in his life due to the lack of a father figure, and the young girl has a father, but has to care for a younger sibling since she has a deadbeat father. They have to deal with their issues as the young boy pursues his dream to become a professional soccer player. Released in April 2016 as a single volume release.

Devil’s Line by Hanada Ryo-sensei is a supernatural action drama with psychology and politics. The government is hiding the fact of vampires in the world with a militia sent to keep them in check, “whether it is through psychiatric means, medication or incarceration.” The character on the cover is a damphyr, which is a half vampire and a half human. Working as a case manager, he has to watch over witnesses who have been attacked by a vampire and eventually fallen in love with one of his charges.

The Abandoned Sacred Beasts by MAYBE is about those who have power are granted the abilities and strengths of beasts like centaurs, dragons, werewolves and vampires. The main character, Charlotte is one of the greatest of the beast hunters before becoming a beast himself. A recent title even in Japan which began in 2014. The manga trailer was shown with Charlotte and her father as the dragon. The manga will be released at the end of Spring 2016.

Attack on Titan: Lost Girls by Iseyama Hajime-sensei and Seko Hiroshi-sensei was next. Unlike the other novels which focus on brand new characters and other parts of the world, this is about Mikasa. “Going deep into their world and hearts as they make passionate decisions to either protect the walls or knock them down.” At 220 pages, the $14.95 book is a collection of short stories and a novella with a June release. A collaborative work by the creator of the manga as well as the writer of the anime to fill in the gaps of the story.

New media! Ed announced that they will be releasing audio light novels. The audio books will include voice actors complete with sound effects and music. Distribution will be done digitally and the plans for release is set for Spring 2016. As a treat, Ed let us listen to a demo reel for Attack on Titan: Harsh Mistress of the City. He noted that there will be more voice actors to speak the various parts of the characters, different for female parts as well as males characters.

The demo reel as forewarned, is only a single voice actor, but had sound effects and background voices. Audio books has always been around, but for one for Japanese light novels is a wonderful concept and I look forward to the final product.

The demo reel of Kizumonogatari was played next from chapter 4. Interestingly, since a male voice actor was reading all the parts, the part of the woman was played by the same guy so she sounded more like a flamboyant male. However, the feel of the part was given clearly.

Ed encouraged the fans to follow them on social media for further news on the audio books. He adds that he hopes that the prices of the audio books will be affordable since he knows that the usual prices are quite steep. A question of the audience was concerning the voice actors. Ed responded that he doesn’t know, noting that he got the reel just 11pm the night before. He wasn’t even sure it would turn out. He reminds the audience that it was only a sample reel and not the final voice actor for the series.

Another question from the audience was what other manga could compare to Nichijou. Ed responded that it was unique though a close comparison is Azumanga Daioh which is filled with crazy gags about random things. The question of why Vertical got Attack on Titan novels since Kodansha has the manga. Ed reminded the fans that they also publish prose while Kodansha is strictly focusing on manga. Since they are sister companies, Vertical was able to get the right to the novels.

Ed thanks the fans and encouraged them to sign up for the newsletter.