CCI, Day 1: Del Rey Manga Ain't Your Momma's Manga

width="230" height="173" alt="" align="right" border="0">Mutsumi Miyazaki & Betsy Mitchell

Comic-Con International in San Diego has begun, and one of the first panels of the con was put on by Del Rey Manga. As part of the movement responsible for getting kids and females to read comics again, the crowd was composed of a diverse group of fans.

Speaking on the panel were Dallas Middaugh (associate publisher for Del Rey Manga), Betsy Mitchell (editor-in-chief), and Mutsumi Miyazaki (director of licensing and acquisitions). They began with a slideshow of all their forthcoming books, and from the sounds of the fans present, there's quite a bit to be excited about.

First up is a book called "Shugo Charo!," written by Peach-Pit. The crowd reacted positively to this announcement, as Peach-Pit has also written two popular books, "DearS" and "Rozen Maiden." This book is about a fifth grade girl who makes a wish one night that she could be more than she is. She wakes up to discover three strange eggs in her bed. The eggs then hatch, and three small girls emerge who grant the fifth-grader powers. Middaugh laughed, and added that "to science fiction fans, those three eggs would mean something entirely different."

Next up is "Manotte! Lollipop" by Michiyo Kikuta. A girl finds something that looks like a piece of candy, eats it, and discovers that it was actually the goal of a test for a school full of wizards. "I love manga!" Middaugh chuckled. An anime series based on the book will be appearing soon.

A book called "Mushishi" elicited "oohs" and "ahs" from the audience. Written by Yuki Urushibara, it won the Manga of the Year Award in 2006. Del Rey is going to special efforts with it and will be printing it on high-quality paper with French flaps. There is also a popular anime series in Japan based on the book. It arrives in stores in February 2007. The look and description suggested a manga "Hellblazer."

Del Rey announced their first cooking manga: "Kitchen Princess" by Miyuki Kobayashi and Natsumi Ando. This book was awarded the Kodansha Shojo Manga of the Year award in 2006, and a recipe is promised in every issue. Middaugh also assured the audience they'd test every recipe before putting it in the book.

In addition to their first cooking manga, the company is publishing their first sports manga book. Called "Suzuka," it's written by Kouji Seo, and is the company's second "mature" title. Middaugh called it a "fun series in the style of 'Love Hina.'"

A big announcement followed this in that Del Rey would be publishing the popular "Parasyte" by Hitoshi Iwaaki. This is the first time the book would be printed right-to-left in America, and New Line is developing a film based on the book directed by Takashi Shimizu, director of "The Grudge." This will also be printed on the higher quality paper than "Mushishi" will be printed on.

width="230" height="172" alt="" align="" border="0"> width="230" height="172" alt="" align="" border="0">Art From "Air Gear" & "Basilisk"

"Train Man" by Machiko Ocha is based on a true story that has become somewhat of a phenomenon in Japan: A man helps a woman on a train, falls in love, and searches for help on the Internet to express that love. While there have been other manga "takes" on this story, Del Rey's book is the only Shojo version, and is self-contained. A film version of the story is also in the works, and is expected to be released in America.

width="230" height="173" alt="" align="" border="0">Dallas Middaugh & Mutsumi Miyazaki

"Tsubasa" is Del Rey Manga's largest selling book with a huge following. Many volumes have been published, and the "Tsubasa Character Guide" covers the first eight volumes. Included in this book are an original "Tsubasa" story, and interview with the series' creator, information on how all manga is made, and loads of background details about the first eight "Tsubasa" volumes. The book's translator was there and indicated if readers think they knew "Tsubasa" well, the book will still surprise them with the information found inside.

"Gacha Gacha: The Next Revolution" by Hiroyuki Tamakoshi is a sequel to an all-ages title about a girl who gets several personalities as a result of playing a video game. In this new tale, a guy turns into a girl every time he sneezes and uses his sneezing-based ability to get to know the girl he's interested in. "Gacha Gacha: The Next Revolution" will be a "mature" title.

"Free Collars Kingdom," written by Takuya Fujima, contains "cat people, gang wars, and more cuteness than you can stand!"

"Air Gear" by Oh!great, the creator of the popular "Tenjho Tenghe," is the story of a young boy in a gang that wears Rollerblades that grant them superheroic powers. There is an anime currently airing in Japan based on the book.

"ES (Eternal Sabbath)," written by Fuyumi Soryo (the writer of "Mars!"), is a science fiction tale of a man who can enter other people's.

"Q-Ko-Cha" by Ueda Hajime, one of the creators of "FLCL," is a hard-to-describe outer space story.

width="230" height="173" alt="" align="right" border="0">Art From "Suzuka"

The five-volume ninja manga "Basilisk" is based on an original novel is by Futaro Yamada, and the manga is by Masaki Segawa. There is an anime based on the story, as well as a live-action movie called "Shinobe." Del Rey will be translating and releasing the original novel as well.

The final book to be presented was "Genshiken" by Kio Shimoku. The volumes are currently being released Del Rey Manga, and readers have been asking when the series would end. Now, Del Rey had an answer: the series was suppsoed to end at Volume 8, but extra material was collected in Japan, and a ninth volume has been created, and American fans will also see the ninth volume. Middaugh also mentioned readers should definitely check out the back of Volume 6, as it contains stories by several manga creators who are fans of "Genshiken" as well.

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