Kodansha Licenses New Manga At Anime Expo 2024

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Well, it’s that time of the year again, and Kodansha’s brought a total of 12 new print licenses with them to Anime Expo 2024. Though, if you want the full list of 14 titles (including digital releases), I recommend checking out Kodansha’s own announcement, as this post will be focusing on the interesting license announcements from the suite- 6 of the total 14. Of the remaining eight not appearing here, there’s webtoons, omegaverse, and new CLAMP and Takeuchi editions, so definitely look at the full list of Kodansha licenses if you’re interested in those types of works. That said, there’s a lot of interesting announcements in this bunch, so let’s get to talking about them!

A Vampire In The Bathhouse

Niko Izuki (story & art)

A heartwarming and hilarious comedy manga about a hot vampire who just wants to unwind and the family who runs the bathhouse where he crashes. Escape to a world of steam and relaxation…and get the blood flowing!

Kodansha

This is a surprisingly unique license for Kodansha, all things told. It’s a single volume manga that ended in 2021, and the mangaka hasn’t published anything since. It’s an incredibly rare breed of manga to see in English, but I’m certainly not complaining when it seems like such a fun read. The art is rather unique, and as a story concept it’s something that’s sure to be a great read for a volume- something you could verify via the chapters posted on Pixiv.

Thoughts: Hard to say no to a fun one volume ride.


Hauntress

Minetaro Mochizuki (story & art)

A seminal work of horror from 1993, this classic from the author of Dragon Head is finally appearing in English for the first time. Incorporating elements of psychological horror and urban legend, and credited with introducing the idea of stalking to Japan, Mochizuki’s early masterpiece remains just as terrifying as it was when it first appeared over 30 years ago.

Kodansha

I can’t express my excitement for getting to see a classic horror manga appear in English for the first time. Mochizuki is a staple of early 90s horror, and as stated in the blurb, their impact was certainly felt. Even more exciting is that this is their first series to arrive in English. It’s a huge license for Kodansha to show up with, so I’m hopeful to see more similar works continue to trickle in.

Thoughts: If you like horror, you need to get this series.


Tower Dungeon

Tsutomu Nihei (story & art)

An evil sorcerer slays the king and takes over his body, kidnapping the princess and spiriting her away to the legendary Dragon Tower. The Royal Guard is rebuffed in their attempt to rescue her, and to replace the wounded, a young farmhand named Yuva is called up into service. With only a pot lid for a shield and a strong back to carry supplies, Yuva joins the soldiers on the perilous quest to climb the tower and rescue the princess. But the Dragon Tower houses untold horrors…!

Kodansha

I don’t feel like I really need to say anything about the creator of Blame! and many other influential series, but why not. Tower Dungeon is an interesting departure from their favortism towards sci-fi architecture- something that should have plenty of fans very excited about where this series might go.

Thoughts: A series that fans of pretty environment art will certainly love.


Toxic Daughter: Chi-Chan

Shuzo Oshimi (story & art)

Yua Hayakawa used to love playing with Chi, a mysterious girl with a murky family life who likes collecting dead insects, but it’s been years since they’ve spoken. Now, Chi hardly ever even comes to school. One day, Chi shows up to class in beat-up gym clothes with a handful of dead bugs and starts a commotion that gives Yua’s classmate, golden boy Koudai, an idea: he’s going to save Chi, and he needs Yua’s help to do it. But clean-cut exteriors don’t always promise good intentions, and the darkness in Chi may be more dangerous than Yua had ever imagined.

Kodansha

Similar to Nihei, Suzho Oshimi is a household name in English manga. Getting close to the double digits in terms of licenses, it’s hard to say they’re not popular- or that works like Toxic Daughter aren’t good.

Thoughts: An easy purchase for fans of Oshimi’s psychological horror.


23:45

Ohana (story & art)

Author Ohana’s debut English series! This bittersweet romantic mystery follows shy college freshman Iku, who has recently discovered he can see ghosts, Mimori, the friendly phantom that latches on to him, and Iku’s search to find out why this spirit is forced night after night to relive the fall that turned him into a specter. 

Kodansha

Another curious Kodansha license, as this 2 volume (though really 1 + a sequel) series was originally released all the way back in 2015. Sporting a surprisingly unique concept, the short work has definitely piqued my curiosity with its revival nearly a decade later.

Thoughts: An interesting seeming supernatural love story worth keeping an eye on.


Spacewalking With You

Inuhiko Doronda (story & art)

Kobayashi just can’t focus—not on studying, not on work—and the adults in his life think he’s in danger of becoming a worthless dropout. Then, one day, a strange new presence arrives in his class: an energetic and naïve kid named Uno. Kobayashi saves Uno from getting scammed, and that close encounter launches a new friendship. Uno’s definitely a space cadet, but Kobayashi can’t help admiring the way he floats through life, and before he knows it, he might start feeling his feet lift off the ground, too…

Kodansha

Back in April, I speculated it wouldn’t be long before we saw this series in English- and lo and behold it’s been announced. The winner of the 2024 Manga Taisho award, it’s a series that’s seen a lot of popularity and acclaim, and rightfully so.

Thoughts: A very easy (and good) series to recommend.


Abstracting these six licenses into a single discussion point, I’d probably come up with something along the lines of, “a little quiet, but excitingly unique”. Aside from the big name Spacewalking With You, the remaining works are surprisingly small scale for an Anime Expo announcement. Even if they’re not wildly popular though, these other 5 licenses are all impressively unique in their own ways. Featuring plenty of shorter series, and older releases going back into the 90s, it’s a degree of range that’s really nice to see for how small the sample is for this suite of Kodansha licenses.

With that in mind, it’s definitely a license suite that won’t be overly tantalizing to a wide audience. Certainly, there’s plenty for smaller communities centered around Oshimi and Nihei- but it doesn’t attempt to play to the general manga crowd. It’s a move that I really like, as it shows how willing and invested Kodansha is in diversifying their manga catalogue. So yes, I am definitely quite excited about all these licenses (and what Kodansha might bring to Anime NYC next month).


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