This past Thursday, we received an e-mail with information on what looks to be a new manga publisher on the block. Word on the web seems sparse on this sudden newcomer, but for now with hopeful hearts we welcome, Kansai Club.
“Kansai Club Publishing L.L.C. is an American publishing company that specializes in importing and translating Japanese literature and Manga from the 1940′s to the 1970′s. Our organization is small, intimate and comprised of a close-knit group of individuals who genuinely love good Manga. Our singular goal is to expose the American public to classic, obscure, rare, visually pleasing, emotionally taxing and often archaic Japanese Manga that have never before been published in English.”
It’s great to see a new company working to bring more manga for us in English. It’s not a cheap or easy endeavour, and I don’t even know where an individual would start negotiating with Japanese publishers to acquire content. With that in mind, some reservations about a new company are always understandable, especially when, like Kansai Club, they are described as being two people working out of a living room. Everyone needs to start somewhere, but I hope this fledgling publisher has some more confidence-building proof for its potential consumers in the near future.
Kansai Club currently has a website set-up with some more information about their company. As of now, their social media links lead to nothing but I did see they’ve created a Twitter account that has yet to be updated.
That all being said, however, the company is definitely starting off with material that’s proven it can garner some strong pre-production support. Kansai Club’s first acquisition is a collection of short stories by Osamu Tezuka, titled The Crater.
Collecting eighteen short stories, The Crater will be released as a limited edition, 2000 copy run with a hardcover finish, colour inserts and a current price of $34.95/US. Important to note is that Kansai Club does not have plans to publish this book through retailers. The only way they currently have listed to order the book is to support their yet-to-be-launched Kickstarter for the project, or attend the pop-culture con, Florida Supercon, in July, which Kansai Club is helping to sponsor.
Cynical as it may be, I’m reserving my enthusiasm on this one until I see some more substance, but the prospects are interesting as I’d love more Tezuka on my shelf and another publisher to look to for unique licenses. For now my opinion is Kansai Club has some big goals, but I think publicly launched itself prematurely without taking advantage of social media outlets, having an only partially put together website, a Kickstarter slated to begin two weeks later, and a press release e-mail that was a bit too casual to be easily taken seriously. Still, they’re someone to keep an eye on and we’ll see what Kansai Club has to offer soon enough.