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Japan

The Ones Who DON’T Rock Out… as much

One of the things that makes the award-winning anime series Aggretsuko quite fascinating is all the interesting side characters our red-panda hero finds herself surrounded by. Wouldn’t you like to know more about them, too?  Well, Oni Press agrees! Aggretsuko — Meet Her Friends is a new full-color comic miniseries written by Cat Farris, with art by Lisa DuBois and Leonardo Ito. “Dive further into the world of Aggretsuko, the hit Netflix show, with these character-focused stories! Up first, meet the enigmatic YOGA TEACHER… Over drinks, Retsuko and her coworkers ponder his mysterious past.” Available now from Oni Press.

image c. 2021 Oni Press

Attraction Is Magic?

Now and then you’re just going to stumble across a title that grabs your attention… something like Unicorns Aren’t Horny, a new black & white manga series by Semi Ikuta. “A hilarious inter-species comedy about a modern virgin and her roommate: A virgin-loving unicorn. Emuko is a twenty-something virgin – in fact, she’s never even had a boyfriend. Her roommate, a unicorn named Uni, adores her purity, but sometimes Emuko yearns for the romance she’s been missing. And does Uni love Emuko a little too much?” Okay, color us intrigued… Look for it now from Seven Seas Entertainment.

image c. 2020 Seven Seas Entertainment

Samurai Rabbit in Space?

In the about-damn-time department, word is spreading fast that Stan Sakai’s iconic furry comic Usagi Yojimbo is being adapted into a new animated TV series for Netflix of all places… but, with a twist. Here’s how Comics Beat put it: “Variety reports that Netflix and Gaumont Animation are teaming to create a CGI animated series based on the character. The series will be executive produced by Sakai, titled Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles, along with a handful of others including Mike Richardson of Dark Horse Entertainment and James Wan. According to Variety, the series won’t be a straight adaptation of Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo series, but will use the comics as lore for a series set in the far future. The story will follow Rabbit Samurai Yuichi, a descendant of Miyamoto Usagi, and ‘a ragtag team of misfit heroes’ who accompany him on his quest to live up to his ancestor’s legacy.” Stay tooned for more news about a release date.

image c. 2020 by Stan Sakai

There Are Worse Ways To Go…

Let’s face it: Furry fans are going to notice a manga with a title like Reborn As A Polar Bear (aka The Legend of How I Became a Forest Guardian). Check out this description: “After devoted mountain climber Kumakichi Kumada falls into a ravine, he wakes up in the middle of a forest in another world… as a polar bear! Now this tough Ursus maritimus is looking after six werewolf sisters on the run from the humans tyrannizing their clan. Keeping his wits about him and using his knowledge from his past life, the next ‘mountain’ for him to climb will be making a comfortable life in the forest for everyone!” It’s written in by Chihiro Mishima, and illustrated in black & white (with some color pages) by Houki Kusano and Kururi. Take a look over at Yen Press.

image c. 2020 Yen Press

Keep Your Spirits Up!

Oh dear… Is this much cuteness legal? Well, here it is: The Fox & The Little Tanuki, a new black & white manga by Mi Tagawa. “After 300 years, the gods that imprisoned Senzou the Fox Spirit for his arrogance finally set him free. There is only one condition — he can’t have any of his supernatural abilities back until he successfully helps a tanuki cub named Manpachi become one of their magical assistants. Unfortunately for Senzou, there’s no cheating when it comes to completing his task! The magic beads around his neck make sure he can’t wander too far from his charge or shirk his duties, and so… Senzou the once-great Fox Spirit must now figure out how to be an actually-great babysitter to a mischievous little tanuki or risk being stuck without his powers forever!” It’s out there now in paperback from Tokyo Pop.

image c. 2020 Tokyo Pop

The Ronin Rabbit Returns

Newly released this year,  we have a new — or at least “improved” — Usagi Yojimbo series from IDW Publishing called Usagi Yojimbo Color Classics. “This series collects the original early issues of the acclaimed long-running series, now in full color! Every issue will also feature new behind-the-scenes material and art. Whether you’re a long-term Usagi fan or brand new to the adventures of the ronin rabbit, this series will be the perfect addition to your comic library!” Written and illustrated by Stan Sakai, of course, with new colors by Ronda Pattison.

image c. 2020 IDW Publishing

A Fat Cat You Can Get Behind

Younger fur fans might not remember What’s Michael? the manga or the successful anime series that followed it — but over the years we’ve talked a LOT about Makoto Kobayashi’s creation: A somewhat lazy pet cat with a very active imagination. Well now the original manga return in a new black & white collection from Dark Horse Press. “True-to-life daily cat scenarios and off-the-wall crazy feline fantasies combine in this epic manga collection! Makoto Kobayashi’s hilarious series returns in a set of oversized collections, starting with our first Fatcat Collection!” Volume 1 is available now — and at more than 500 pages, even the book is fat!

image c. 2020 Dark Horse Press

Chibi and Tasty

Interesting things we found at this year’s Anime L.A. convention. The artist Ryan Zanfei has gathered together a small crew to sell her creations through a collective known as Tasty Peach Studios. And what are her creations? Cute! “Tasty Peach Studios… is a sweet, unique boutique that sells cute merchandise inspired by Japan! We started out selling small hand made clay charms and commissioned artwork through our little Etsy shop in 2007. Since then we have grown exponentially! We now attend upwards of 70+ anime conventions a year & ship high quality acrylic items, professionally made products and more world wide every day!” Those high quality items now include t-shirts, plushies, enamel pins, and even wigs — and more. Visit the Tasty Peach web site to see what we mean.

image c. 2020 Tasty Peach Studios

Temper, Temper!

And now thanks to Animation Scoop we find out about Dino Girl Gauko, a new collection of anime shorts by director Akira Shigino (Osomatsu-kun). “In this Netflix original comedy series set in Japan, Naoko Watanabe is a typical 14 year old, except that she possesses a strange gift and curse. When her anger exceeds a maximum level she turns into Gauko the fire breathing dinosaur girl!” Look for it to premier on Netflix this November the 22nd.

image c. 2019 Netflix