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Japan

Bushido Baboons

And then there’s Orange Blossom Monkey Clan, a new full-color comic written and illustrated by Erik Klaus (Ninjas & Robots). “These Samurai Monkeys were trained to guard the southern islands of Mount Kumo, but after generations of peace, many have abandoned the Way of the Warrior. Now that danger looms on the horizon, a small crew of counter-culture monkeys are ready to prove that they have kept their battle skills sharp!” Available now from Keenspot.

image c. 2022 Keenspot

Paw the Left Button Twice

Apparently this is a thing we missed — but now it’s available over here. Cat + Gamer is a black & white manga written and illustrated by Wataru Nadatani, now translated and distributed by Dark Horse. “Riko’s coworkers can’t quite figure her out — she never talks about her personal life, she never works overtime, and she never joins them for happy hour. Is she antisocial? Nope, she’s rushing home to play video games! One day, a stray cat is found in the office parking lot, and before Riko knows it, the cat has moved in with her! Having no experience with pets, Riko uses lessons drawn from video games to guide her in cat care, while her cute companion tries to understand her behavior through a cat’s worldview.”

image c. 2022 Dark Horse Press

Working Your Meow-scles.

It seems like cats are getting into all sorts of business these days — in mangas at least. Check out Cat Massage Therapy by Haru Hisakawa. “Nekoyama, worn out after another long day at the office, stops at a therapeutic massage parlor — only to discover that it’s run by a cat! Not only that, but the cat actually does the massaging?! As the professional ‘meowsseur’ digs soft toe beans into Nekoyama’s aching muscles, his heart warms and his worries melt away. This is only the beginning, as he and other world-weary workers are about to meet the other feline professionals who have mastered pawfully cute techniques to reduce human stress.” Available now in full color from Seven Seas.

image c. 2022 Seven Seas Entertainment

Blazing A New Trail…?

If you’ve been following In-Fur-Nation for a while, you must have heard of Blazing Samurai… We’ve been following the animated film in development for nearly a decade now! At one point production ceased because the animation house that was making it actually went out of business! In fact, the convoluted history of this film’s creation would make for an interesting movie all its own. But now, it seems like things have changed: We have a trailer, we have a release date… and we have a complete change of title. Say hello to Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank. Still directed by Rob Minkoff (The Lion King), but now being released this July through Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Animation.

image c. 2022 Nickelodeon Animation

Do We Finally Get The Bunny?

For a long time, we’ve been talking about an animated TV series based on the award-winning comic series Usagi Yojimbo. For years. Nay, for decades! Well now, according to Netflix, it’s about to become a reality — and soon! “First announced in July 2020, the adaptation of Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo is coming to Netflix in April 2022 — specifically on April 28th, 2022… Candie Langdale and Doug Langdale are serving as the showrunners for the series. They’re best known for their work on Netflix’s Maya and the Three, [as well as] working on DreamWorks projects Puss in Boots and Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness.” Now as to the plot: “Usagi is a young rabbit who doesn’t want much from life – just to be history’s greatest Samurai. When he comes to the futuristic city of Neo Edo to seek his destiny, he accidentally unleashes dozens of the bizarre, ancient monsters known as Yokai. Now, along with his new friends Chizu, Gen, and Kitsune, he must clean up the mess he’s made.” Stan Sakai himself is proudly involved with every step of the production.

image c. 2022 Gaumont Televison

Of Course You Want That With Cream

It’s wonderful how straightforward manga titles can be. Witness: I Am A Cat Barista, written and illustrated by Hiro Maijima. “For some people, the daily grind of city life is exhausting. Yet somewhere between the busy streets there’s a mysterious cat café that can only be found by weary souls. What’s on the menu? A delicious drink, specially brewed for each customer…by a cat barista!” Sign us up! Two volumes (for now) are available from Penguin Random House.

image c. 2022 Penguin Random House

Ceiling Cat Strikes Again?

It’s no secret that Japanese manga often find the most interesting and unusual angles to take for their erotic stories. Such is probably the case with Cat in a Hot Girls’ Dorm (what a title!), a new black & white series written and illustrated by Haruki. “Follow the everyday lives of ten horny residents of a woman’s dorm – from the point of view of the feisty cat, Tama-san. The ladies find him as a stray, and soon Tama is sticking his nose in everyone’s business: What do these girls do when they’re alone, or with each other? Who’s dating who? The cat sees all, from out of the streets to between the sheets!” See what we mean? Issues are available now from Seven Seas Entertainment.

image c. 2022 Seven Seas Entertainment

They May Have A Hit On Their Hands

Sorry, Hulu… Long, long ago we told you all about Marvel’s very strange comic series Hit Monkey. We had heard on the wind (aka the Internet) that there was an animated adaptation in the works. And now, here it is! November 17th, Hulu premiered the first episodes. Here’s more from Animation World Network: “Based on the 2010 Marvel comic by writer Daniel Way and artist Dalibor Talajić, the all-new Hulu Original, Marvel’s Hit-Monkey, follows a badass monkey ‘with a mission.’ When the Japanese snow monkey’s tribe is slaughtered, he joins forces with the ghost of an American assassin and together, they begin killing their way through the Yakuza underworld. The 2D animated series is created and executive produced by Josh Gordon and Will Speck, with Joe Quesada also serving as executive producer. The voice cast includes George Takei, Jason Sudeikis, Olivia Munn, Ally Maki, Nobi Nakanishi, and Fred Tatasciore.” Of course there’s a trailer up on YouTube as well. Revenge is a beast.

image c. 2021 Hulu

Hatching A Plot

Sometimes you really just gotta love the titles of Japanese media creations. Reincarnated As A Dragon Hatchling. You’re going to remember that one, yes? And it perfectly describes this new black & white manga written by Nekoko and Naji and illustrated by Rio. “If you woke up as a sentient egg in some random forest, I bet you’d be confused, too. That’s exactly what happened to me in the oddest turn of events…Being reborn as a little egg has its challenges, but luckily, with all these monsters out to eat me, I’m gaining experience quick. Once I bust out of this shell, a cool new form better await me–that is, if I survive long enough!” And that’s just the first volume. You’ll find even more from Seven Seas.

image c. 2021 Seven Seas Entertainment