Watch out, America, there’s a new manga company in town.
Kodansha is the largest publisher in Japan and puts out some of the country’s most popular manga magazines like Morning, Nakayoshi, and Weekly Shonen Magazine.
They shook up the American manga industry five years ago by going into an exclusive partnership with Random House to create Del Rey Manga. Thanks to Kodansha’s amazing catalog of works from artists like CLAMP and Ken Akamatsu, Del Rey entered the market with a bang, and is now considered to be the second largest manga publisher in America.
But over a year ago, rumors began circulating that Kodansha was going to be setting up their own manga division in America that would run separately from Del Rey. Personally, I’m cautious whenever something like this happens. When Toei Animation and Bandai Visual decided to bypass their American partners and enter into the domestic anime market themselves, it was disastrous. So, I was worried that a “Kodansha USA” would meet a similar fate in the manga world.
Well, the rumors turned out to be true, and the new domestic manga publisher, now officially called Kodansha Comics, released their first two manga volumes last month. They were Akira and The Ghost in the Shell, both originally released in America by Dark Horse Comics many years ago.
So considering that I have no idea who is running the new company or if they even had a PR department, you can imagine my surprise to see these two books magically arrive in my mailbox last week for review. And being that I’ve never read either of these series from Dark Horse in the past, I decided to see what this new publisher was all about with their first volume of The Ghost in the Shell manga by Masamune Shirow.