License request day: Prix Asie 2011

This week, we have less of a license request than a round-up of likely candidates. Tom (The Comics Reporter) Spurgeon shared this year’s nominees for the Association des Critiques et Journalistes de Bande Dessinée’s Prix Asie award, so let’s learn more!

We’ll start in the Philippines with Gerry Alanguilan’s Elmer, published in French by Editions Çà et Là. This is a family drama set in a world where chickens have achieved (or downgraded to) a human-equivalent level of sentience and emotional complexity. That’s a really neat premise, and the preview pages at the publisher’s site are gorgeous and odd. Alanguilan has worked on some high-profile franchise properties in the U.S., but I’d much rather read about the neurotic chickens.

Sanpei Shirato’s Kamui-Den, published in French by Kana, offers more from the gekiga category. This time, it’s a period piece about a young ninja fighting against dehumanizing caste systems during the Edo period. I think Viz published at least some of this a while back as The Legend of Kamui. It ran for 21 volumes in Garo. I love the cover designs, which is kind of an emerging theme.

I’m already kind of in love with Kazuo Kamimura’s La plaine du Kantô (published in French by Kana), based almost entirely on the covers, but I always thought Kamimura’s art was always the most interesting thing about Lady Snowblood (Dark Horse). This seems to be an autobiographically informed story of cross-cultural understanding set in Japan just after the end of World War II.  I have no idea who originally published it, but it sounds interesting.

Shotaro Ishinomori’s Le voyage de Ryu (published in French by Glénat) features a young man who travels a bit father in space and time than he’d intended. He wakes from suspended animation to find that his ship has crashed onto a bizarre and hostile planet. It seems like there should be more of Ishinomori’s work in print, though some publishers have made stabs in the past. I mean, he did kind of help define the super-hero for Japanese comics fans, didn’t he?

Last, but certainly not least, is Makoto (Planetes) Yukimura’s Vinland Saga, published in French by Kurokawa, which has been lurking near the top of my license wish list for years. YEARS.

Which of these do you find most enticing?