Kodansha will start publishing in the U.S. after all…

“Japan’s highly respected Nikkei financial news service is reporting that Kodansha has set up a U.S. subsidiary “to publish and sell translations of its Japanese manga” in the U.S. starting in September. “

So I was able to actually confirm this a little while back, but in such a way that I couldn’t blog about it without getting a few people in some trouble.

I can also confirm that Dark Horse no longer has the license for AKIRA (licensed from Kodansha) and that Tokyopop has canceled Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad volumes 13 and 14, and this is a Kodansha-licensed title as well, so it looks like they might have lost that license (edit: or they canceled them for sales issues or another reason. It’s too bad too, because I always thought that was a title that could benefit immensely from a brighter spotlight, the kind that canceling 50 or 60 of their other titles might provide. Sigh…).

There’s more coming too, but I’ll let it go until an official statement is made somewhere.

Also, just a quick guess here, but I would find it surprising if Kodansha pulled any licenses back from Del Rey, as they’ll likely be relying on Del Rey parent company Random House for distribution in America (under the auspices of the Kodansha/Random House “deal”), and that would likely sour the working relationship. Which isn’t to say that it won’t happen of course, but is far less likely and has not, to the best of my knowledge, happened yet.

– Christopher

19 Replies to “Kodansha will start publishing in the U.S. after all…”

  1. wow this sure is interesting. I wonder how they’ll do in the states? They definitely have some of the best graphic designers over in Japan, hope they bring some of that talent here to raise the bar on manga packaging.

  2. Derek: Well, yes and no. With the film coming there will be another edition, no doubt, and I can only imagine how kick-ass that edition might be…

    Tina: Looks like you thought wrong then, don’t know what else to tell you.

    Todd: I’m curious, where is that sourced from? I knew it wasn’t doing Kingdom Hearts numbers or anything, but it never came up in any discussions that I saw of “books in danger of being cancelled”.

    Amy: The bar could largely stand to be raised, yes.

  3. Actually BECK was brought up more than a few times by TP reps but that was back when TP rarely (practically never) canceled titles. I forget if BECK was going to be part of that line that was only going to be sold via their site (bypassing Diamond… Like Dragon Head which is also from Kodansha) which I believe TP gave up on.

  4. Ed- Totally missed that… Perhaps I just had my blinders on because I like the series. I don’t think it was part of the print-to-order initiative like Dragon Head and King City were threatened to be though. But I’m sad to see it go, whether it was for sales or licensing issues.

  5. Chris: I had it firsthand from a Tokyopop editor (whose name I’m reluctant to disclose publicly) during the New York Comic Con. She mentioned that neither Beck nor Blame! had sold very well, though she didn’t mention anything about Beck being canceled.

    Blame! is another Kodansha property, but TOKYOPOP wrapped it up last November. I’d like to see Kodansha release more of Nihei’s titles on their imprint.

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