MSX Announces Four New Manga Licenses
We’re excited today to announce that MSX: Mangasplaining Extra (the newsletter and publishing sister company of the podcast) have announced our next FOUR manga licenses. Two of these projects will be serialized in the newsletter, available to read for paid subscribers, and the other two projects will go straight to tradepaperback (licensing is complicated!). They got officially announced by Deb Aoki at the beginning of the Manga Publishing panel at San Diego on Thursday. Here’s what you can look forward to, and the tiniest bit of the thought process behind each title…
As a reminder, head to https://mangasplaining.substack.com/ to subscribe and for more information.
Search and Destroy
by Atsushi Kaneko
Translated by Ben Applegate, lettered by Phil Christie.
Edited by Christopher & Andrew Woodrow-Butcher
3 Volumes, releasing in print in 2024 from Fantagraphics
Beginning weekly chapter serialization in August on MSX
This is a tale of rage. Rage against hypocrisy, injustice, exploitation, and the wrongs done to a child who grew into a righteous killer….Complete in three volumes, Search and Destroy transplants the vengeful action of Dororo from feudal Japan into a dystopian future where mercenary robots known as “creatures” serve the human elite and victimize the city’s scrabbling, desperate masses. The violent death of one of these creatures connects an orphaned thief named Doro with a mysterious girl in a stinking animal hide that conceals deadly cybernetic implants. Who is this mysterious girl? How is she killing, one by one, the city’s most twisted and powerful creatures? And why is she so angry?
Christopher says: It has been far, far too long since Atsushi Kaneko last appeared in English, with the truncated release of Bambi and her Pink Gun. He’s a singular creator, entirely unique. A mangaka as influenced by Charles Burns and David Lynch as hr is by Osamu Tezuka, and all of that is on full display in Search and Destroy, his take on Tezuka’s Dororo. This is a Mangasplaining book that looks at East Meets West, but in a way that’s not immediately familiar to manga readers. More on that later. Here’s a preview page, you’re going to be blown away by this:
Wandering Cat’s Cage (hardcover)
By Akane Torikai
Translated by Jocelyne Allen.
Lettered by Sarah Linsley.
Edited by Deb Aoki.
Published as a 2-in-1 HC by Fantagraphics, Fall 2024
Serialized weekly beginning in August on MSX
In Wandering Cat’s Cage, daring manga creator Akane Torikai presents a thought-provoking exploration of dystopia, sexual freedom, and societal fealty. Torikai’s intricate storytelling weaves a series of interconnected stories set in a dystopian world dominated by women. In this society, the body of a man remains an enigma, and a lone man in the slums sells his nights to women for survival. What’s apparent is the open secret of this world: the near-extinction of male births. As the matriarchal society grapples with preserving humanity, difficult choices regarding freedom and reproduction emerge. With elements reminiscent of The Handmaid’s Tale and a gorgeous naturalistic art style, Torikai’s work challenges the notions of forced-birth and control within a society led by women who fiercely resist such measures.
Christopher says: This project has been in the works since before there was a Mangasplaining Extra, though not quite as long as Okinawa was. The esteemed translator/historian Ryan Holmberg officially introduced Jocelyne and I to Akane Torikai back in 2017, just a few weeks after Wandering Cat’s Cage was released in Japanese in two volumes (simultaneously!). I fell in love with the art and story, and Torikai-sensei was such a cool person, it was so great to meet them too. I was determined at that point to get this work published in English, and thanks to Substack and you folks supporting us, as well as the good folks at Fantagraphics, we can finally make that happen. The art and storytelling is really something else as well. Check out this spread:
No Roses Without Thorns: My Life as a Shojo Manga Assistant
By Nami Sasou
Translated by Rachel Thorn.
Lettered by Kyla Aiko.
Edited by Deb Aoki.
One volume, published by UDON Entertainment in 2024.
No online serialization on this one (sorry!)
What’s it like to be a manga creator’s assistant, when she’s working on the most popular shojo manga in the country?
The 1970s were a golden age for girls manga, or shojo manga, in Japan – but what was it like to create these pages of roses, sparkles and romance? Manga artist Nami Sasou shares some of the not-so-glamorous stories from the ink-stained battlefield of… cute girls’ romance manga? Sasou shares stories from when she was a high school-aged assistant to Suzue Miuchi, the creator of the famously popular Glass Mask. This manga about making manga tells it like it was… with a decidedly ‘shojo’ point of view!
Christopher says: This is a book that Deb felt passionate about from the get-go, as it’s maybe the most “Mangasplaining” of all titles we’ve published to date. What’s it like to be a manga assistant, at the dawn of a golden age for shojo manga? And working on one of the most popular shojo manga series in all of Japan!? It’s such a great look behind the scenes, really warm and charming. We even got to me Sasou-sensei briefly at Comitia one time! You can see a sample page from the book below in Japanese (it is SO SHOJO, I love it!), and the Japanese publisher East Press’ Matogrosso Magazine has the entire first chapter online in Japanese!
Translated by Jocelyne Allen.
Edited by Andrew Woodrow-Butcher.
2-in-1, Full-color HC volumes published by UDON Entertainment, beginning 2024
No serialization on this one, sorry.
A chance encounter. A handsome soldier. A beautiful woman. A tentative love affair smolders on the snowy cobblestone streets, out of sight of those that might keep them apart. A manga unlike anything else in English, Veil is a beautifully illustrated full-color romance manga, told in stylish short vignettes, beautiful illustrations, and secret moments. Published in English by UDON in handsome two-volume omnibus collections.
Christopher says: When Deb and I were brainstorming acquisitions for MSX, at one point we looked at each other and were both sorta like “Veil, obviously.” This is a full-color manga, and every manga fan worth their salt knows how rare it is to get a manga published in English in full color. To our minds, that could be the only reason why this gorgeous, beautifully-designed romance title hadn’t yet been licensed. And since Mangasplaining Extra is about doing different things and finding unique titles, well, here we are.
UDON’s gonna do these as two-in-ones too, they’re going to be absolutely gorgeous. Here are some preview spreads from these two volumes provided by Amazon.co.jp, so you can see what we’re talking about.
So there you go! Four projects, at least 8 physical volumes of manga, two publishers, and it’s all really amazing stuff, in our humble opinions. There’s also one more project that we just didn’t have time to announce either (whoops!) so look for that soon, too.
We would like to end this note by thanking the folks who helped us get here. First and foremost all of you who subscribe and support this newsletter, thank you. The folks at Substack, as well as publishers UDON Entertainment and Fantagraphics Books, they’re going to help make these books amazing objects. To Aki Yanagi, Jocelyne Allen, Erik Ko, our friends at Tezuka Productions and Ryan Holmberg who helped us with the licensing stages: THANK YOU. And finally thanks to all the amazing freelancers who’ve signed on to be a part of this effort.
On behalf of Deb, Andrew, and myself, thanks so much for reading! Lots, LOTS, more to come.
- Christopher Woodrow-Butcher