Monday, 6 July 2015

Kodansha to publish Akiko Higashimura's 'Princess Jellyfish' in English in 2016

Lots of licensing news coming out from Anime Expo in Los Angeles, and one titbit that caught my eye was Kodansha's announcement that they will begin publishing English-language editions of Akiko Higashimura's Princess Jellyfish ('Kuragehime') next year.  The series began in Kodansha's manga magazine, Kiss, in 2008 and currently runs to 15 volumes in its original Japanese. Kodansha have acquired the license to publish the first 12 volumes, which will be released as 6 large format, 2-in-1 omnibus editions, complete with color page selections and bonus special features. The first volume has a projected release date of February 2016. As per standard practice, the publisher will assess the situation after releasing the 6 omnibus volumes, and decide whether to continue publishing the remaining books depending on sales.

I first heard of Princess Jellyfish via Juliet Kahn, who had (if I remember correctly) been reading some of the French editions. I still find manga a bit tough to negotiate, in terms of sourcing material that will align with my tastes, and having enough information on titles to make the jump and buy. At the moment I'm going through Hitoshi Iwaaki's Parasyte, Konamai Konata's Chi's Sweet Home, and Masashi Tanaka's Gon- so a mix of genres, but mostly older or established ongoing series which I've been able to read up on to a degree.  One of the things I like about segment of Japanese comic is how they bring together very specific and often odd elements and treat them as 'is.'  For example, Kimama Aoboshi's Mushroom Pup is about a reclusive author dealing with the grief of losing a pet, when a mushroom/puppy creature emerges from the garden and forces him to confront his emotions. It's that one 'normal' element tied together with something a bit ridiculous, that somehow still works and lends it individuality.

So I'm optimistic from what I've read that Princess Jellyfish has the potential to have similar appeal (the jellyfish!), and be fun as well. I like how fashion-focused the art is in the pages I've seen, too. Here's Kodansha's official blurb for the books: 'Tsukimi, who has loved jellyfish from a young age, resides in Amamizukan, a fangirl-only dorm. One evening at the local pet store, Tsukimi sees a lovely jellyfish in danger, but a beautiful woman comes to the rescue. They go back to Amamizukan together, but this "woman"... is actually a man!' Princess Jellyfish has been adapted into both a live-action film in 2014, and an 11-episode anime television series which aired in 2010. The latter has been licensed by Funimation. 

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