200905061427Over the last couple of years, many rumors have circulated about Japanese publishing giant Kodansha entering the US manga market. Anime Vice digs up some evidence that the time may be now:

Keen-eyed reader paploo points to his new blog, complete with a post featuring some interesting findings on Amazon.ca: Akira and Ghost in the Shell, both volumes one.

“Big deal!” you might say. “Dark Horse has had those for ages.” Ahhh, but there you would be missing the key: both titles are listed as being due from Kodansha Comics on October 13, 2009.

I haven’t found any such Kodansha titles on Amazon USA, but things have been known to appear on the Canadian site first in the past. Could it be that Dark Horse’s licenses are expiring? I rushed to my phone to try and call my contacts there before the work day was over at 5.

A Dark Horse rep confirmed that they would no longer be publishing these titles, so it looks like there’s a new player on the bench, one with some huge, huge titles in their catalog.


  1. Finally. I’ve been wanting to pick up vol. 3 of Akira forever. *sigh* If only someone would pick-up and run with that slick colouring job Marvel nearly got though in the early ’90s.

    My Akira collection looks ridiculous. Vol. 1 made up of the first two Marvel trades, vol. 2 of the DH edition, [missing vol. 3,] vols. 4 through half of 6 made up of single issues from the Marvel run, and vol. 6 in the DH run. Definitely not handsome on the shelf.

  2. @Jason – Oh wow. I can’t believe it. After waiting forever and never seeing them at my LCS, I just gave up hope. And then 1995 was the year when I finally gave up on comics in the midst of ’90s excess (I got roped back in around 1999 by “discovering” that there were books that didn’t feature characters like Venom or Carnage or Cable or Mr. Sinister or whatever).

    You have no idea how sad I am now that I missed them.

  3. I wonder if Kodanasha will have a presence at Otakon or Anime Expo to start talking about what they will be releasing. My guess is they will be at San Diego Comic Con, but going after the hardcore crowd would be a good thing for them.

  4. I wouldn’t mind a new English-language edition of Akira. I don’t like the translation or retouch job in the Dark Horse edition very much. While Kodansha is at it, a new editions of Domu (the anachronistic reference to the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers that the translator stuck into the old Dark Horse edition bugs the hell out of me) and other manga works by Otomo would be nice too.

  5. Let’s see if Kodansha does a really great– or at least significantly different– job with the English translation and type placement for this classic. If I were part of the team, I would strongly advise them to simply purchase/re-tool the translation/type job done for the Dark Horse editions– which was the handiwork of David Schmit @ Digital Digibox (graphics adaptation and sound FX) and Digital Chameleon (digital lettering/graphics adaptation). Bravo, gentlemen, the DHP edition stands as some of the finest digital type work done in US comics, IMHO.

    An interesting bit of Bowdlerizing which for me at least has a huge significance upon the portrayal of the moral character Akira’s main protagonist, Kaneda– in the original Marvel translations of Akira, the scene in which Kaneda goes to the school pharmacy in order to score some uppers, he has a different discussion with the girl who is working as a clerk than he does in the Dark Horse re-issue. In the original, it is strongly implied that this girl is Kaneda’s girlfriend and that he got her pregnant. Kaneda really comes off as a cold-hearted bastard in this scene. She tells Kaneda that she is pregnant and he– very coldly– tells her it’s not his responsibility and he could care less…now please pass the pills, thank you very much. In the Dark Horse edition, this scene has been changed so that Kaneda’s response to her information is simply, “Hey, great, can I watch you have it?” It is left unclear whether or not the baby is his.