Digital Manga, Inc.’s Platinum Manga imprint is returning to Kickstarter to publish the first ever full-color Osamu Tezuka manga in English!
Gardena, CA (June 21st, 2012) — Today Digital Manga, Inc. launched a project on crowd-funding site Kickstarter to translate and publish Unico, the children’s comic by Osamu Tezuka, in English for the first time. Until July 21, fans will be able to buy into the project to receive rewards including copies of the book and exclusive bonuses, such as T-shirts, posters, stickers and a digital companion with educational games and bonus material for young readers and their parents and teachers.
If fans pledge a total of $20,500 or more by the deadline, Unico will be released in a single volume edition in January 2013 through DMI’s Platinum Manga classics imprint. It would be the first manga released in full color in English by Tezuka, an important pioneer of manga and animation in Japan and perhaps the most prolific and acclaimed comics artist of all time. Digital Manga’s previous two successful Kickstarter campaigns were focused on two of Tezuka’s adult works, Swallowing the Earth and Barbara. In a twist, Digital Manga has announced that if the goal is met with sufficient time to spare, another Tezuka children’s license will be made available through Kickstarter immediately.
The book opens in mythological Greece, where Psyche takes care of Unico, and in return he uses his magical powers to bring her happiness. Jealous of Psyche, the goddess Venus orders the West Wind to wipe Unico’s memory and spirit him away where Psyche will never reach him. Unico’s adventures eventually take him to the Wild West, medieval Europe, and even more fantastic locales. Along the way he makes friends and turns back evil with the power of love.
“With Unico losing his memory every time he is transported to a new world, the book is not only a fun adventure for kids, it’s also a moral story, with considered spiritual themes,” said Ben Applegate, editor of the Platinum Manga imprint. “Unico already has a small fanbase in the United States thanks to the animated films, which were first released here in the ’80s and were recently re-released on DVD. However, we’re not just trying to appeal to nostalgic grown-ups like me. We’re doing the book specifically so that parents can read it with their kids. And teachers, too: We think this would make a great addition to primary school libraries and literature curricula.”
The digital companion, available exclusively through the Kickstarter campaign, will also include entertaining explanations of the Greek myths and historical locations used in the book.
The Kickstarter campaign, with promotional materials and a video, can be viewed here: