Udon Entertainment announced at Comic-Con International in San Diego that it has acquired one of the most sought-after manga licenses ever, Ryoko Ikeda’s “Rose of Versailles,” as well as two other series: Moyoco Anno’s “Sugar Sugar Rune,” which was previously published by Del Rey Manga, and “Stein’s Gate” based on the “Steins;Gate” video game.
“Rose of Versailles,” set in the court of the French queen Marie Antoinette, is one of the most popular and influential manga of all time, and became a shared experience for a generation of Japanese women. The main character in the story is Oscar Francois de Jarjayes, the youngest daughter of the leader of the palace guard, who is raised as a man so she can succeed her father. The story mingles real historical events with romance, drama, and palace intrigue, with Oscar in the center and Marie Antoinette, her paramour Count Axel von Ferson, and Oscar’s childhood friend Andre Grandier all playing major roles.
The manga originally ran in Margaret magazine in 1972-3 and was collected into 10 volumes in 1982. However, Ikeda has continued to add new chapters to her story over the years. It has been adapted into a television anime, which is currently available in North America, as well as a stage musical by the Takarazuka Revue. Rose of Versailles was one of the first manga to be published in English; manga scholar Frederick Schodt translated the first two volumes for Japanese students of English, and he included an excerpt from the series in his 1983 book Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics. Udon will release the manga in two-in-one volumes.
“Sugar Sugar Rune” is a children’s story about two witches, Vanilla Mieux and Chocolat Meilleure, who travel to the human world to capture the hearts of boys. What would be a straightforward quest story takes on a new edge in Anno’s hands, as the witches travel through strange lands and encounter a mysterious enemy. Anno is also the creator of “Sakuran, Flowers and Bees,” and the Eisner-nominated “In Clothes Called Fat.” “Sugar Sugar Rune” is eight volumes long, and the first volume is due out in the second quarter of 2016.
Udon describes “Stein’s Gate” as “a thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat where the protagonists discover time travel using texting and a microwave oven!” It is based on the visual novel (a type of game) “Steins;Gate,” by the game developers 5pb. and Nitroplus, and is the second game in their Science Adventure series — which also includes “Chaos;HEAd,” “Robotics;Notes,” and “Chaos;Child.” An anime adaptation was licensed by Funimation in 2012. The manga is by Yomi Sarachi and is complete in three volumes. The first volume will be released in August 2015, as will the first volume of the previously announced “Kill la Kill.”
Udon also announced it will publish art books based on “Shovel Knight,” “Battle Chasers,” “PersonaQ” and “Eyes of Bayonetta 2,” as well as a new “Street Fighter” comic, “Street Fighter Unlimited.”
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