Are you holding onto something? Because I’m about to type a sentence I never thought I’d write: an American publisher has acquired the manga rights to Leiji Matsumoto’s Space Battleship Yamato. The story, for the uninitiated, focuses on the crew of the Yamato, a spaceship on an urgent mission to save humanity from the Gamilas, an alien race intent on colonizing Earth. Though the plot sounds unremarkable by contemporary standards, the complexity of the storyline and the specificity of Matsumoto’s vision made a lasting impact, influencing almost four decades’ worth of sci-fi movies, comics, and television shows. Matsumoto’s manga, which ran in Adventure King from 1974-75, was timed to coincide with the anime, matching the series’ broadcast schedule almost to the day. Seven Seas will collect the entire manga in a single, hardcover omnibus which will be released on October 30, 2018.
Translator Zack Davisson could hardly contain his excitement:
FINALLY ANNOUNCED!!! MAYBE THE BIGGEST SECRET I HAVE BEEN HOLDING ONTO IN MY PROFESSIONAL CAREER!!! OHHHH YES!!!!! https://t.co/dqOJdgbjPi
— Zack Davisson translates your mangoes (@ZackDavisson) November 14, 2017
Seven Seas added another classic manga to its publishing schedule as well: Ryoko Ikeda’s Claudine, a historical drama exploring gender identity and sexual orientation in fin-de-siecle France. Writing in 2007, Okazu’s Erica Friedman explained what made this 1978 shojo series so ground-breaking:
It is quite possible to call this a manga about a transgender character, as much as it is a Yuri manga. There’s no way to know whether Claudine’s desire was to be able to love women freely and dress in the clothes of and have the prerogatives of a man – like many butch women of her time – or whether she truly wanted to become a man. Either way, this classic Yuri manga is a pretty amazing, but painful, character piece…
It’s a very Well of Loneliness type story, in which the “moral” of the story appears to be that women who love women will die horrible deaths. An ending that was stock in the world of lesbian romance until … erm … okay, it’s still pretty stock. But for any women who were loving women in the middle of the sexual revolution of the 70’s, reading Claudine must have come as a “whoo-hoo!” moment. Think about it – what’s the one thing everyone wants from the universe? Everyone wants to see themselves reflected in some form of media. Whether it be TV, movies, song, manga, what have you – the one thing we all want is to see some sign that we *exist.*
Claudine will be issued in a single, deluxe volume as well; look for copies on June 26, 2018.
For readers more interested in a contemporary take on the LBGTQ experience, Seven Seas revealed plans to publish the sequel to Nagata Kabi’s surprise hit My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness. My Solo Exchange Diary documents the next stage in Nagata’s efforts to explore her sexuality, pursue a career as a manga artist, and cope with parents who don’t understand who she’s becoming. Solo Exchange arrives in stores on June 5, 2018, and translator Jocelyne Allen couldn’t be happier:
Oh yeah, this is also a thing I’m doing! Finally announced! It has been hard keeping this secret. https://t.co/PfujTmDYjR
— Jocelyne Allen (@brainvsbook) November 14, 2017
And if none of those titles tickle your fancy, it’s worth noting that Seven Seas also licensed Versailles of the Dead, a high-concept zombie manga from Afterschool Charisma creator Kumiko Suekane; Wonderland, “an Alice in Wonderland-inspired survival horror series”; Haruka Receive, a “sexy” volleyball manga; and Dragon Goes House-Hunting,
an HGTV pilot an off-beat comedy about — you guessed it — a lizard who just wants an affordable three-bedroom, two-bath home near public transportation.