Catrching up on the manga news of the week, a new publisher made their intentions known, Aurora, a subsidiary of Japanese publisher Ohzora which specializes in josei — women’s manga. Josei manga is the long-lost “missing link” between “Harlequin romance comics” and “Sex in the CIty comics” for women. Understandably, the genre has had little success in the US, despite entries by such important manga-ka as Erica Sakurazawa’and Moyocco Anno. MangaCast has much information on the launch in this link and some commentary:
Why? Well, honestly who has been successful with josei. Whether you call it ladies or shoujo or Passion Fruit or whatever this has not hit its audience in the US. Yen Press is going to give it a shot (we will talk about that later) but what makes Aurora unique is that their parent company Ohzora is basically a josei manga publisher. Way more than 50% of what they pump out is for the ladies. At the same time, as their BL line has already shown, this Japanese publisher will be licensing books from other publishers. That is going to make things very very interesting (especially when considering the number of artists who have worked for Ohzora over the years… doing Harlequin and all those anthologies collections). Still the other “unannounced” titles are all josei as well.
The first release from Aurora will be Vol 1 of the four-colume Walkin’ Butetrfly (above) due this summer:
“Walkin’ Butterfly” is the story of the metamorphosis of Michiko, set in the world of Japanese high fashion. As a tall girl, Michiko has never fit in… literally. She has always felt different and she can’t accept herself. Her height is matched only by her complex about it. While delivering pizzas at a fashion show she is mistaken for a model and thrust on stage. Mihara, the show’s designer, confronts her and tells her that she can’t walk down the catwalk because she doesn’t know her true self. From that moment on, Michiko is determined to find her place in the world as a model, and as a young woman. Can she find the inner strength to undergo a spectacular transformation? Is Michiko up to the challenge? Just try her. “Walkin’ Butterfly” is as chic as a Tokyo catwalk.
Non-nerd grown women remain underserved by manga. We’ll see how this goes. In the meantime, here the official press release:
Book publisher Aurora Publishing, Inc. commences operations and establishes its North American headquarters in Torrance, California. Aurora Publishing, Inc. is dedicated to publishing manga of the highest artistic quality with the highest entertainment value for females of all ages. Aurora is focused on publishing translated Japanese manga titles for the North American market, as well as developing American manga for the worldwide market. Aurora Publishing, Inc. is a fully-owned subsidiary of Ohzora Publishing Co., the number one publishing house in Japan in terms of female manga franchises and number of manga publications for women. Headquartered in Tokyo, Ohzora is a manga house widely known as a pioneer of comics for young women including: Lady’s comics, shojo manga, romance novel adaptations, and game-related anthology manga. In total, Ohzora’s publications are read by over 15.8 million people each year.
Japanese manga originated as entertainment for children, and eventually developed into entertainment for youth. It has expanded to include such a wide array of diverse genres that it is now enjoyed by adults, young and old. One of the reasons why Japanese manga has been so successful is because it uniquely describes human emotions. Many of the greatest Japanese manga works explore why we love, why we hate, or why we betray those that are close to us. They investigate fundamental and universal human themes. It is Aurora’s mission to introduce the highest quality Japanese manga titles to the wider population of North America, and develop the manga market here for a more mature audience. In order to provide North American readers with the best titles in a variety of genres, Aurora Publishing, Inc. has organized a consortium with several other manga publishers in Japan. Aurora Publishing, Inc. believes that manga will find its own place, a huge one, in the capitol (and capital) of worldwide entertainment.