Onwards and upwards with Vertical

There’s some fabulous news from Vertical via Anime News Network. They’ve announced three new licenses, two of which are some of the most eagerly awaited of them all. (Coincidentally, both of those are license requests.)

First up is Osamu Tezuka’s Princess Knight, originally published in Kodansha’s Shôjo Club and to be released in two volumes here. Kodansha published bilingual editions ages ago, though they’re long out of print and very expensive. Viz published a sample chapter in its defunct Shojo Beat magazine, which raised hopes that a license might be imminent, but it took Tezuka specialists Vertical to make it happen. It was published in French by Soleil. (Update: It’s been suggested to me that Vertical is most likely to publish Tezuka’s second take on the series, which ran in Kodansha’s Nakayoshi roughly a decade after the original.) (Update 2: But they aren’t, and are, in fact, going with the original version. I’m delighted either way.)

Next is Drops of God, or Kami no Shizuku, written by Tadashi Agi (the pseudonym for wine-loving siblings Yuko and Shin Kibayashi) and illustrated by Shu Okimoto and serialized in Kodansha’s Weekly Morning. I don’t think there’s ever been a Japanese comic that’s received as much ink in English-language media, in spite of the fact that it had yet to be published in English. There was some indication in April of 2010 that the book’s licensing was imminent. It’s being published in French by Glénat.

Last up is No Longer Human, Usumaru Furuya’s adaptation of Osamu Dazai’s novel of the same name. It’s currently running in Shinchosha’s Comic Bunch. It’s about a troubled man who hides his true nature from the people around him.

Aside from a perfectly understandable level of excitement about these titles for their own merits, it’s nice to see that Kodansha is still working with other publishers to release titles that help express the breadth of their catalog, and it’s great that they chose Vertical, a company with a strong track record of publishing both classic and unique contemporary titles.