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Caught and Convicted – 801Media Acquires Under Grand Hotel

Under Grand Hotel

It may not be a season known for its manga title announcements, but Digital Manga has ensured that boys’ love fans got themselves a holiday treat by announcing yesterday their official acquistion of Mika Sadamoto’s Under Ground Grand Hotel.

Undergrand Hotel has for years been one of the most talked about, downloaded, shared and safe-to-say drooled over boys’ love stories on the internet. With Digital Manga’s widely published press release yesterday, it didn’t take long for fans to take notice with much enthusiasm – some surprised, others expectant and almost all very pleased. It’s also being cheered as a manga that feels like it truely fits in 801Media‘s self-proclaimed catelouge of more hardcore titles when many of their recent releases haven’t felt much different from the selections published under the June imprint.

Often compared to HBO’s Oz , Under Grand Hotel takes place in a prison housing the dangerous, crazed and convicted. Society may be safe from these men but they’re certainly not safe from eachother – it’s a dark story of bargains, loyalty, betrayal, violence and sex all behind the last bars these characters will likely ever see. The lead characters are Sen and Swordfish, both of whom are featured on the new edition covers. Specifics of the plot are best read from the books themselves but in all fair warning, this is not a book for the faint of heart. Rape and psychological attacks are practically currency in this undeniably shady story that’s compelling in the way only a guilty pleasure can be.

Interestingly the series will be released in the combined-volume form as it was last released in Japan. Called a bunko edition (short for bunkobon), the two volumes are a combination of the original three, bringing the page count of each to around 320. What will be most notable however is the smaller trim size. While 801Media books are published at about 5 x 8, Under Grand Hotel will be around 4 x 6. I made a rough ratio comparison that you can see.

Edit: In response to questions regarding the smaller trim size, Digital Manga responded via their Twitter account with the following:

“We licensed a deluxe bunko edition of UGH-so we’re preserving the licensed size. This isn’t a new size direction for 801. It’s only for UGH.”

Still, while it would’ve been great to have Under Grand Hotel in the same large trim size that fans were treated to with the artist’s Pathos series (as published under June), there’s still little complaint to be had when a series long anticipated but always questioned has finally found its home in the hands of an English manga publisher. I’d certainly be lying if I said I’m not looking forward to it and joining those thrilled at the sudden – but wholely welcome – announcement. Congrats, Digital Manga!

For those who missed the initial press release, you can be read it in its entirety here (and if you’d like to send your thanks, thoughts and/or excitement to Digital Manga, head over to their blog post to leave a comment).

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.

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7 Responses

  1. Tina says:

    "Often compared to HBO’s Oz"

    What?! ^___^ This might give non-BL bloggers the notion that UGH is something more than the sum of its parts – it's just porn people…it's not a dramatic series on par with Oz.

    Still, I LOVE this series. Some memorable ass-action, that's for sure.

    • Lissa says:

      Often compared to Oz, yes – entirely accurate, I wouldn't really know. I'd call UGH more than porn but there's certainly far more focus on the sex than I'd assume of an HBO series. Memorable ass-action = well said ;>

  2. yourmom says:

    IMO, calling UGH "just porn" is like calling truffles "just fungus." (see the underground analogy thing I got in there? FIGJAM). UGH is a gripping story, with compelling characters who OK, happen to have a lot of intense sex. Porn is just sex. Different.

    • Tina says:


      Ok, when you put it like that… it qualifies as Grade-A porn. :)

      It's not on par with OZ though – making the comparison to OZ tempts to bring in bloggers unfamiliar with the genre, then we'll get reviews with …OMG it's dirty nonsense with inaccurate cultural portrayals no where near meaningful as OZ, why do women read this stuff blah blah blech Those sort of posts make me want to smack people. Hard. Real Hard. As hard as Swordfish gets when banging Sen while the prison guards watch…

      I for one will be buying a copy because UGH is one of my all time favs because it started out as a self-published doujinshi, then made it to the big league. I love books like that.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Digital Manga , Lissa. Lissa said: New Blog Post – Caught and Convicted – 801Media Acquires Under Grand Hotel […]

  4. JRB says:

    IIRC, the author says in her notes that she was inspired to write UGH by watching OZ. So it may be a more meaningful comparison than you think. :)

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