I love Vertical Inc.

The Manga game has changed a lot in the past year and a half. Kodansha has taken a big initiative in replacing Del Rey Manga with themselves to directly publish their own titles, and the manga community and industry has (or apparently not if you’re Stu Levy) lost Tokyopop, which faltered in their final years but made huge contributions and arguably set up the manga market to what it is today. Viz publishes the most manga these days with Kodansha (mainly due to their new Sailor Moon release) and Yen (who’se launching the first Simulpublish early next year) are in 2nd and 3rd. Still, a few other smaller companies continue to exist by publishing niche, but quality manga.

One of these companies is Vertical Inc. Who, in the past year and half, have done two things; They are expanding both the amount and kinds of manga they’re publishing, and they’ve solidified their self as my current favorite publisher (though Yen is a very close second. they people working their are FANTASTIC and they put out a quality product. I just happen to like Vertical’s manga a bit more). Vertical is that company who, for the past 5 years or so, have been publishing most of the Osamu Tezuka (you know, that Godfather of manga guy. Who wrote over 700 manga.) titles that are coming out in America today. My first experience with them was reading Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha, which was fantastic (though, one of my exes my first four volumes. I’ll never be seeing those again T_T) and then, soon after, the absolutely brilliant To Terra (Toward the Terra if you’re watching the Anime) written by Keiko Takemiya. After a few more Tezuka titles they put out which were great reads, and this is pretty big, they began to publish the best episodic manga of  all time; Black Jack, which many had thought, after Viz’s fiasco with the title, would never see light and day in America again. From then on I had decided to follow Vertical, and since I’ve read almost every manga published.

I’ve always admired Vertical for having the gall to publish the amount of Tezuka they do, and to do such a great job with the content the publish. It’s a small market, and I know for a fact that not all of it makes enough money to justify the cost of release. Osamu Tezuka wrote all kinds of manga, from shonen to shoujo to seinen and many stories that just aren’t classifiable. A lot of his stories were also really great, he’s one the godfather of modern manga for a reason. While there are just too many titles to license all of them, Vertical Inc. has done a good job of bringing out both a wide variety of what he does and what are probably his most interesting works. They even relicensed Adolf! Unfortunately, because the artwork is dated and doesn’t much look like what we consider “manga style”, not many current manga readers buy his stuff, many of which are unaware of who he even is. Which is obscene. ( Seriously, if you read manga and are reading this blog, go do yourself a favor and buy any volume of Black Jack or go on a limb and buy the excellent Ayako. Please. ) Because Vertical has continued to publish his Manga, even in the face of low sales with many of his titles, they’ve really gained my respect.

However, it is not their Tezuka publications alone that pushed this small company into the position of my favorite manga publisher. As I said earlier, they’ve decided to expand to publishing a wider variety of manga, with the same great quality they’ve published their Tezuka titles with. They started with Twin Spica, 8 Billion Needles, and the manga that’s been making, essentially, all their profit, Chi’s Sweet Home. Those titles are all pretty solid, and depending on what you’ll like in manga, you’ll enjoy atleaset one of them very much. However, they’ve gone even further. The mangaka who is the most recent addition on my list of favorites of Usamaru Fuyura, who has three titles out in the states, and two, which are the more violent and generally not PC titles, of these titles are being published by Vertical. He does a lot of controversial Pyschological ‘horror’ manga, and he’s a brilliant writer and artist. I’m glad he’s getting exposure here. They’ve also started to publish the long requested Drops of God, which has been one of Japan’s most influential manga… ABOUT WINE. To be fair, I’m a sucker for most halfway decent food related manga (Oishinbo. Read it) If this Manga does well, I think it’ll open the door for other interesting, atypical, manga to be released by Vertical in the US. All of these publications really, really excite me.

However, The one thing that has more more excited than anything else by Vertical is this-

Onizuka. From the beloved (for good reason because it’s 10/10 fantastic tier) GTO and less known but still very good Shonan Junai Gumi / GTO The Early Years. Vertical rescue licensed GTO: The Early Years which Tokyopop used to publish but stopped when Kodansha pulled all their titles from Tokyopop 3 years ago and will be publishing the remaining volumes. Vertical also announced the new GTO title GTO Shonan Days. I’m so unbelievably stoked about this. I was really scared these titles would never be published again/at all but Vertical decided to step up to the plate with this, to help push their expansion and change their image while still publishing Quality manga. GTO and Shonan Junai Gumi are fantastic and I’m very happy to see Onizuka making his return in the states. I am so sososososo happy with Vertical for deciding to publish these titles. It’s really exciting and I hope some of you choose to purchase both GTO titles when they hit stores January next year.

 

Vertical Inc., I want to marry you. You make me, as a manga reader, so happy. Thank you for publishing all that you publish, and what you’ll be publishing in the near future.

 

 

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~ by Cimi on October 26, 2011.

One Response to “I love Vertical Inc.”

  1. This post makes me happy, I agree with it so much! Vertical publishes so much good manga, and in a really nice way so every book looks fantastic and cool.

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