By Kerry Erlanger

Sunday, The U.S. arm of Japan’s largest book publisher, Kodansha Comics, hosted the last in what was a series of panels by the publication at New York Comic Con. Unlike previous Kodansha panels at the con, the focus this time was less on Hiro Mashima and more on the future, specifically the handful of licenses slated for 2018. The panel, moderated by Ben Applegate, was staffed by Lauren Scanlan, Haruko Hashimoto, Naho Yamada, Ajani Oloye, and Tomo Tran, who were all equally excited to share the new lineup with fans.

Kodansha also took the time to plug their digital comics line-up, which includes Grand Blue Dreaming, Magical Sempai, All Out!!, and Shojo Fight! The team expressed the importance of digital releases, noting that it gives them the ability to offer fans more diverse manga and gives them insight into what series might warrant physical publishing down the line.

Among the announcements for 2018:

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  • Again!! (Mitsuro Kubo) – From the co-creator of the overwhelmingly popular Yuri!!! on Ice comes a Groundhog’s Day-type story about a kid who goes to sleep a graduate and wakes up a freshman again. Available February 2018.
  • Tokyo Trarareba Girls (Akiko Higashimura) – The latest from the creator of Princess Jellyfish is another honest look at the female experience, this time starring 33 year old Rinko, who decides she needs to get married before the 2020 Olympics. Available summer 2018.
  • Grand Blue Dreaming (Kenji Inoue and Kimitake Yoshioka) – A boy heads off to college in a seaside town and stumbles into the Grand Blue Dive Shop full of beautiful women. A haram-type manga, but one which the editors described as funny and basically just “boys drinking.” Available summer 2018.
  • To Your Eternity (Yoshitoki Oima) – An intimate, emotional drama spanning time and space, available this month. The logo of the U.S. version is a paper cut done by a Japanese artist, who also created the logo for the Japanese release.
  • Pop Team Epic (Bkub Okawa) – Debuting in the U.S. next fall 2018, this manga follows the daily adventures of two 14 year old girls, Popko and Pipmi. Kodansha described it as “South Park meets Power Puff Girls meets Animaniacs,” which is as good of a description as I’ve ever heard.
  • The Delinquent Housewife! (Nemu Yoko) – High school student meets his sister-in-law, who moves into the family’s house. A series for anyone who’s ever had to deal with their in-laws.
  • Hana-Monogatari and Otori Monogatari – Two new editions to the Monogatari series, available in June and August 2018, respectively. These will also include new covers for the U.S. release.

The team also announced a new Akira box set, commemorating the beginning of Akira in December 1982. It includes the series in six hardcover volumes, plus the Akira Club art book in a new hardcover format. Applegate was also quick to point out that the box set features the untouched Japanese sound effects, which have been never included before in a previous edition. The set also includes an exclusive iron-on patch depicting Kaneda’s pill design. It will retail for $199.99.

Additionally, an A Silent Voice box set is being released this fall. It includes an exclusive reversible poster and replica of Shoko’s communication notebook, which is a nice, sentimental touch for fans of the series.

Finally, a Sailor Moon Eternal Edition is slated to begin release next year, reintroducing fans old and new to one of the most popular manga series in the world. The special deluxe edition is 10 volumes, with the first to be released in January 2018.

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