Vertical’s Ed Chavez started the panel early, discussing his relationship with Chi’s Sweet Home. Not only did Ed translate this great cat manga into English, this was his first acquisition with the company. They published the first volume in 2009 and November 2015 marks the end of the series when Volume 12 publishes. The book was available early at the Vertical booth for those who can’t wait until November to read the conclusion of Chi’s Sweet Home. Now that the series has concluded, Vertical is publishing this series in a larger, omnibus format which will be a great way for new readers to enjoy the series at a better price point.
The first real announcement was Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin Volume 11. As Ed mentioned, nobody thought this series was going to be successful; however, they’re now one volume away from wrapping up. Volume 11 releases within the next few weeks and it’s a beautiful series that you’re really missing out on if you haven’t had the opportunity to check it out.
Ajin Volume 6 was touched upon briefly – it published in August but is still worth noting because it is a fantastic series that is getting noticed. Vertical’s releases have caught up with Japan they haven’t read anything English audiences can’t get. This manga is a tale of immortals who are living among us while the military is trying to exploit them. In this volume, some of these immortals have turned against humanity. This has been a sleeper hit in Japan and an Anime has been announced for this property. Ed treated the audience to a quick clip of the original Japanese animation which highlighted the main character of the series. Since Vertical is caught up, this is a great time to get into the series while we wait for Japan to release a new issue.
Witchcraft Works, Volume 7 which published in September, is a gender swap supernatural series revolving around a bunch of high school students protecting their Princess… who is really a Prince. Volume 3 will go on sale in December. If you’re into Dungeons and Dragons and Norse mythology, this is for you.
My Neighbor Seki Volume 4 also published in September. This funny series is about a boy who sits in the back of class and finds over the top ways to entertain himself. Unfortunately, he serves as a huge distraction to his neighbor, who gets caught up in everything he does. Seki doesn’t speak at all in the series but you can get a good idea of what he is about just by watching what he does. This series has become popular enough to merit an anime series that is distributed by Crunchyroll. If you want to get your laugh on, read this series. Vertical is a few volumes behind Japan which isn’t a bad thing. It only means you have plenty of reading to look forward to if you need to catch up.
Attack On Titan: Harsh Mistress of the City 2 released in September and Ed took a few moments to discuss the popularity of the AOT light novels. It goes without saying that this has been a really successful series. Harsh Mistress of the City happens during the Anime and Manga but with a completely different cast in a different part of the interior of Wall Rose. If you’re looking for a different sensibility from the comics, this light novel is for you. The perspective of the AOT world is a little broader and even has a Muslim aesthetic and design so do check it out.
Debuting at NYCC was Tokyo ESP, which Ed described as a Japanese X-Men. The main character realizes she has the ability to walk through walls and her dad happens to have super magnetic strength. This series has action and humor. Additionally, Vertical is going to release this as an omnibus edition that will run about 400 pages each volume. That is a pretty sweet deal for English language readers.
Ninja Slayer also debuted at NYCC. It has a tremendous amount of lure behind it since it was created in the 90s and then rediscovered and translated in Japanese. Now it is being revived in the United States. It is a cyber-punk ninja action series set in a suburb of Tokyo where ninjas rule all. One man is determined to kill them all. This series has crazy action and is bound to keep your eyes locked to the page.
Kizumonogatari which is another light novel that Vertical had to show off at the industry panel. This was originally scheduled for a November publication but is now slated for December 15th 2015. The artwork displayed at the Vertical booth and panel are just samples – the final cover has not been decided upon. There is a lot going into this property with new packaging since it is a beloved light novel that fans have been waiting a long time for. Ed even shared a sample of Kizumonogatari the Motion Picture which featured humorous animation – clearly Aniplex and Kodansha are having fun with this brand. Perhaps if this title does well, the anime will come over to the United States as well.
Seraph of the End is a light novel that is looking quite promising. You’ll have to wait until January 2016 to get your hands on this title. This is a prequel to the manga and anime. This will be released seasonally in omnibus editions.
Next up was A Girl By the Shore which is going to be released as a 2-in1 omnibus in early 2016. The mockup cover that Ed included in the powerpoint was gorgeous. This manga drama seems like it could be great for Murakami fans as it is loosely inspired by Kafka by the Shore.
Nichijou, which was previously tossed around by publishers in the West, was happily acquired by Vertical and will be published in the Spring 2016. If this does well, Ed hinted that more Arawi may come to the US. So do your part and buy this manga!
FukuFuku: Kitten Tales takes the place of Chi this Spring 2016. Konami Kanata is back with this tale about FukuFuku, the lazy old calico. Instead of being a lazy old loaf, we’ll see an energetic baby cat. This book will have lovely packaging and thanks to Chi selling really well, this one got bumped to early 2016. FukuFuku is actually the longest running kitty comic – it’s been going since 1983. Kitten Tales is the most recent arc which has been running for two years.
Mysterious Girlfriend X Volume 1 which is publishing in 2016 is a romance comedy with weird fetishes. Outside of the weirdness, it’s a really good manga that doesn’t get hung up on details. This is going to be released in an omnibus format so this one may be a bit larger than other Vertical titles but you probably won’t mind.
The Gods Lie is also part of the Spring 2016 lineup. This one is a soccer manga wrapped up in a coming-of-age story. The art is delicate and pretty. The tone drives home the message that you really need to pursue your dreams if you want to succeed. This will be a one volume release.
Devils Line is a modern take on the supernatural drama that takes into account psychology and politics. In this world there are vampires and the government is hiding their existence.
The Abandoned Sacred Beasts was next in the lineup for Vertical’s Spring list. This fantasy manga is set in another earth where those who have powers are granted the powers of sacred beasts like dragons, vampires, and werewolves. Additionally, there are people who assigned to watch these beasts and keep them in check and hunt them down if necessary.
Attack on Titan: Lost Girls is another Spring title. This one is a little different because it is a light novel that is a tale of Mikasa and Ann. It is really a collection of short stories and a novella. This book will fill in the gaps of these two characters as it is written by the people who were directly involved in the manga and anime.
The last batch of announcements revolved around Vertical’s new project – audio books. Vertical’s audio light novels will feature talented voice actors, music, and sound effects. They will be released digitally in Spring 2016. The first books on this list will be Attack on Titan: Harsh Mistress of the City and Kizumonogatari.