Otakon: Vertical Announces Gundam, Wolfsmund manga; Kodansha Unveils iPhone App

Fans flocked to Baltimore last weekend for Otakon to enjoy anime, cosplay, appearances by voice actors and directors—and there was also a bit of manga news, in the form of two new licenses and an app.

Small but mighty manga publisher Vertical, Inc., announced two new manga licenses at last weekend's Otakon in Baltimore. The first is not new to U.S. readers: Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin was previously licensed by Viz, which a portion of the series in 12 volumes. The other new license, Wolfsmund, is a historical manga set in 14th-century Switzerland, about a tyrant who wields his power to threaten travelers who must go through the St. Gotthard Pass, which he controls.

Kodansha Comics rep David Yoo, an editor at Random House, had no new titles to announce at the Kodansha panel, but he did have one piece of news: Kodansha launched an iPhone app this week to complement the iPad app that was introduced last fall at New York Comic-Con. The new app launches with six series, Arisa, Cage of Eden, Fairy Tail, Mardock Scramble, Until the Full Moon, Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, and Ninja Girls, all of which are also available on the iPad app, and Kodansha is running a special introductory sale on the iPhone app, with all volume 1's marked down to $2.99.

Yoo, who was an editor with Del Rey before that imprint was discontinued to make way for Kodansha Comics, had some thoughts on editing manga for U.S. audiences:

Yoo said he personally believes manga does not need to be heavily adapted for American audiences, as readers have access to a wealth of information nowadays. Yoo said he tries to make sure the original nuance of the Japanese is left intact, and is does not support aggressive adaptation of manga.

He also talked about Sailor Moon, the most popular Kodansha title, which is even beating Naruto in the sales charts, as well as Kodansha's fall lineup, and he let slip that they are interested in publishing more food manga by Natsume Ando, the creator of Kitchen Princess and Arisa.

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