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Posts Tagged Digital Shutting Down Digital Manga Operations Shutting Down Digital Manga Operations

Many manga readers were in for a shock this morning when an e-mail newsletter made its way to inboxes from JManga – with sale of their points system already ceased, and new purchases halting as of March 29th, the company will have a complete shutdown of its services come May 30th, 2013.

For those for whom the name isn’t familiar, JManga was a website “comprised of 39 prominent Japanese manga publishers” that offered a variety of manga titles that readers could pay for access to on their site. While the site lacked any real big name titles, it seemed to flourish decently with an assortment of unique titles that would never otherwise see legal English release. They officially launched in August 2011.

I never followed JManga closely, for reasons I’ll note shortly, but it definitely seems like this news has taken its users by surprise. The briskness of the “Urgent” notice, the immediate cease of points purchases and the already final end-date only a couple months away came like slaps to the face, and the frequent use of the word ‘termination’ isn’t exactly friendly either. Adding insult to injury is that because JManga worked on a cloud system, meaning nothing you bought you actually got to download, everything readers’ have purchased will vanish along with the site. Poof! Even their social media sites are being scrubbed clean, working to abolish it’s near two year web presence.

I’ve been a naysayer of digital manga in the past, and when compared to print I imagine I will be rather finicky about it for the rest of my days, but in recent months I’ve really begun having my eyes opened by the continued efforts of manga publishers. The quality of SuBLime‘s digital boys’ love is fantastic, the speed and availability of Shonen Jump is amazing, and the ease of porting to whatever format you use from eManga is refreshing. All this great sources of reading manga, however, only further alienated a site like JManga from me.

JManga was, simply put, offering scanlations to readers with the expectation of being paid for it.

Summed up to start, I believe JManga could never have held on long term (though credit where credit’s due for the time they did last) for a number of reasons, but ultimately JManga was, simply put, offering scanlations to readers with the expectation of being paid for it.

To elaborate, of course there were a few differences from JManga’s services compared to scanlator sites, particular  the large aggregaters.  JManga’s services were legal and supported creators, JManga paid it’s adaptation staff, and JManga pages were viewable via a Flash based flipbook instead of single image files. Frankly, to many manga readers though, the last note was irrelevant or inconvenient at best so it didn’t offer anything to the experience. Unfortunately to the first fact, the legality of sources means very little to the vast majority of manga readers. The number of those utilizing illegal websites to read manga is a depressing and clear indication of this fact.

JManga, despite claiming some were coming, never delivered on a few key elements – they didn’t make their manga available to read on all portable devices, and they worked off a cloud system. These two things meant readers were confined to reading their titles on their website only, via their one singular method. This required a constant internet connection and in most cases a computer, since it wouldn’t display on tablets or phones. And now the worst case scenario for buyers came to pass – bye-bye JManga, means bye-bye all purchases.

Having read a few of their samplers, the quality of JManga’s work was also not near that which you see on Viz Media or Yen Press‘s websites. While one could argue JManga had fewer resources and experience, it still means nothing in a business where their main rivals are scanlaters pumping out the same quality but faster, cheaper and in heaping more quantities. On top of that, JManga launched with an awkward payment system where you purchased points and then put those towards buying manga. It’s worth noting that eManga wisely ceased this method during their big site relaunch last year.

…JManga offered up nothing that scanlations don’t already and for free. Moral fiber excluded.

So JManga offered a digital library of on-screen reading in often less than stellar quality – not much different from scanlaters, except for the fact readers couldn’t download anything, it had far less of it, no big notable titles and, of course, readers were expected to pay. With exception of some unique content, much of which simply too niche for even scanlators to bother with, JManga offered up nothing that scanlations don’t already and for free. Moral fiber excluded.

I see digital manga continuing to flourish but in the footsteps of those who are really making the necessary steps to not just face scanlations head-on, but to soar right over their heads. Simultaneous releases, high quality files, creator permission and input, bonus material and complete flexibility with mobility, downloading and accessibility. This is what companies like Viz Media and eManga are doing, and they’ve even managed to make a partial convert out of an old print fogy like me.

JManga is a casualty of a war they were ill-equipped to fight in from day one. All the same, it’s really sad to see those who did support them are now being left with nothing, and sadder still that it all comes with a resounding ‘I told you so’ mentality based on concerns from the get-go.

Cloud services supported by niche titles like JManga could work, but I think JManga proves that it’s not like this. By having people buy individual titles, you instill a sense of ownership, and this situation proves everyone in fact had none. It would be nice to someday see this same sort of thing but on a subscription basis, like a Netflix for manga. In the meantime, I do hope readers show their support for the remaining players who are armed to the teeth with manga, quality, accessibility and low costs, and ready to earn your attention for it.

Swag Bag: Prequel, Vampires and Caramel Pudding

Swag Bag:  Prequels, Vampires and Caramel Pudding

Swag Bag time! I had a little shopping hiatus the past month, but, believe me, I’ve made up for it in the last couple weeks. So, without further ado, here’s the first of a few Swag Bag posts to cover it all!

To start things off with a dose of boys’ love, I bought the Digital Manga oneshot, Caramel. My first impression was that the little guy has really silly looking hair. Second impression was it looks adorable. Both were correct – the little guy had silly hair and the story was super sweet, albeit a little sad being so short.

My impulse purchase of the day was Dark Horse‘s Blood-C (Vol.01). I don’t have any real interest in the Blood franchise, and my knowledge of this anime stops at CLAMP’s involvement. Still, the cover was really nice and the interior artwork looked good too. It looks very CLAMP-like actually, I’d say very likely inspired by their more recent works such as Tsubasa. We’ll see how the monster hunting itself entertains as I read it.

Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden (Vol.11)

Something that is never impulse and always a must-have-right-now is Naoki Urasawa’s work. This week that was 21st Century Boys (Vol.02). It’s the last volume in the 20th Century Boys story. It’s so weird knowing this series is now done after all these years. I’ve already read this final volume and I’ve gotta say… I can’t remember who ‘that’ is. Oops. Time to re-read!

It never stops being weird buying a new volume of Fushigi Yugi though, such as this week’s Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden (Vol.11). Now this is a series I’ve been reading a long time. It was one of my first manga from back in the Animerica Extra days of serialization. This prequel series only has one volume left, however, and the downside to it being a prequel is we all know how it’s going to end. So sad! But it’s so good.

Then it was meta territory with Bakuman (Vol. 18) – manga about making manga! This series is fantastic; I adore every volume, even with the awkward romantic subplots. This volume addresses the intensity of manga deadlines when the two leads launch yet another series. How many pages a month!? Freaky.

I finished off my Viz Media purchases with Pokemon Adventures (Vol.15) and Afterschool Charisma (Vol.07). There was quite a wait since the last volumes of each but fortunately neither are especially complicated in the plot department (though telling the clones apart in Afterschool Charisma isn’t always easy).

And then what’s a week without an omnibus? I’m a few months late on this one but I was pleased to buy Young Miss Holmes (Casebook 3-4). The first volume was cute with this precocious niece of Sherlock Holmes solving mysteries. I loved the short cameo from the dowdy Sherlock and Watson as well.

And then lastly for manga I had to nab a digital copy of Sword and Mist, released by SuBLime. It’s a digital only release but I’ve made my peace with these as an occasional thing, and I can’t deny that SuBLime puts out a great product. This title was a must have because it’s by Hayate Kuku. She’s only had one other series released in English – Love Sickness by Digital Manga – but I really loved it. Her masculine characters and sense of humor reminds me a lot of one of my BL favorites, Naono Bohra, who unfortunately hasn’t been as embraced by English publishers as I’d like. In any case, Sword and Mist! It’s got manly men, assassins, feudal China and cross-dressing – how could I resist?

The Adventures of Superhero GirlAnd then finally was a new book by a friend of mine, Faith Erin Hicks. Out now from Dark Horse is a hardcover, full color compilation of her web comic, The Adventures of Superhero Girl. It’s been a while since I read these comic strips so it’s been fun re-experiencing all the funny in-jokes about comics and super heroes. It’s an entertaining and worthwhile purchase for sure, and I’m looking forward to finishing it cover to cover again.

Manga Minis: Done with Del Rey, No More Kingyo, Interviews for Detail, and a Kickstart for Nothing

Manga Minis: Done with Del Rey, No More Kingyo and Kickstart for Nothing

The last couple of weeks have had some great manga licenses, and sprinkled amidst them were some other tidbits of news that shouldn’t be missed:

sq Kodansha Comics has stated via their Twitter account that they would no longer be looking to continue any Del Rey’s manga series that Kodansha had not already taken over. The original question which got this answer was asking about School Rumble, while other series Del Rey had partially released that were not already picked up include Nodame Cantabile, Suzuka, and Basilisk. (via ComicsWorthReading)

sq House of 1000 Manga is one of my favourite features on AnimeNewsNetwork – Jason Thompson and occasional guest writer, Shaenon Garrity, do phenomenal jobs shining the spotlight on different series. Shaenon’s most recent article housed an interesting but sad piece of information – Viz Media has officially cancelled their release of Kingyo Used Books. The reason cited was licensing complications based on the books mentioned in the series itself. Considering how diverse the series included were, it’s no surprise Viz Media ran into big issues but it’s still disappointing. At least we have some closure on the topic now.

sq Brigid Alverson has posted two interviews well worth a read this weekend – one with Kevin Harmac, Viz’s director of publish and marketing, over the state of Viz Media’s digital manga; and the second an interview with Tokyopop’s president, Stu Levy. The latter in particular is a really interesting revisit of Tokyopop’s past, present and future straight from Stu himself. Even though much is already known or assumed, it is refreshing to read it coming directly from him.

sq And last but not least, GEN Manga has recently launched a Kickstarter to help finance a collected print edition of their series, Sorako. GEN has been serializing Sorako digitally via their GEN Manga magazine, and you can currently purchase the full version as a PDF.

I’ve been a naysayer of a manga publisher’s use of Kickstarter in the past, but GEN’s use of the crowd-sourcing system is much more in line with how I think the site can be used responsibly- offering collectors a way to finance something the company couldn’t otherwise do, but for a series readers have had the chance to already read and judge so they’re not pledging blindly. It’s a system that doesn’t rely on scanlation and Japanese readers, or simply risk-takers and faithful, to succeed. GEN is seeking $6000 for the funding.

“Sorako lives an ordinary life. And this is an ordinary story. She has friends and family, loves her dog, thinks about life, and occasionally looks for work (kinda). These are the adventures into a typical girl’s life.”

SuBLime Celebrates Anniversary with New Manga Licenses

SuBLime Celebrates Anniversary with New Manga Licenses

SuBLime celebrated their one year anniversary yesterday. It was on January 31st, 2012 that SuBLime released it’s first digital books, including volume one of their re-release of Love Pistols. Happy book-day, SuBLime!

In honour of their one year of boys’ love, they’ve announced their acquisition of some more. The following two books (which are featured in the picture above) have been licensed for print and digital releases:

Man of Tango – Tetuzoh Okadaya
September 2013

Tableau Numéro 20 – est em
October 2013

If Tetuzoh Okadaya’s Man of Tango looks familiar, that’s because the now defunct Deux Press had licensed the title back in 2008. It’s great to see such a classy looking book get a second chance!

“Angie, though hailed as “The Man of Tango,” had never truly felt the deep, fiery passion of Latin dance. That is, until he met Hiro, a man born from a Latin mother, who was under his Japanese grandfather’s custody and now lives as a Japanese citizen. Now, a slow, seething desire begins to rock his body and soul! At first feeling a nostalgic familiarity toward the Latin dancer, Hiro finds himself drawn into the seductive beat of a Latin dance, opening his body and heart to the smoldering heat of his Tango partner.” – Deux Press

Tableau Numéro 20 is a collection of short stories by est em, whose other works released in English include Seduce Me After The Show and Age Called Blue.

SuBLime also announced four additional licenses that would be digital only:

Perfect Training – Kanpeki na Shiiku & Yuiji Aniya (June 2013)
Sweet Monster – Amasugi Monster & Tsubaki Mikage (June 2013)
Pretty Men Fighting Dirty – Otokomae Dorowars! & Sakira (July 2013)
Lost Letters – Yagi-san Yuubin & Sakae Kusama (August 2013)

Though some of us weep at the lack of print availability, all of these titles seem worth a look based on those covers, and the quality of SuBLime’s digital releases are really good too. For the collectors, SuBLime also announced a sale with – all their print books are 40% if you purchase two or more. Nice!

Review: ULTRAS


Manga-ka: Est em
Publisher: Digital Manga Guild
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: June 2012

Synopsis: “An avid game of love between rivals! Soccer fans are notorious, but ULTRAS like Al and Leon take it to another level! They eat, breathe, and sleep for their beloved teams and their rivalries, like the rivalry between Liberta and FC Madrid. When the Spanish national soccer team wins the European championship, fans around the country unite to celebrate. Sparks fly when Al and Leon first meet amidst the festivities, but what happens when these two ULTRAS unknowingly find themselves on opposite sides of a passionate rivalry!?”

Soccer might seem like a weird thing to get all Romeo-and-Juliet over, but under Est Em’s direction it works. She has a skill for grounding her stories while keeping them interesting and quirky. It’s her skill and unique sensibilities that keeps ULTRAS from being a standard collection of yaoi short stories.

Read more…

Yaoi Con 2012: Digital Manga Deals Out New BL, Pups and eManga News

Digital Manga Announces New Manga Titles at YC 2012

Along with being the host for this year’s Yaoi Con, Digital Manga Publishing was also present still as publisher with licenses to announce and word of big changes coming to their online digital manga store, eManga.

Digital Manga’s new for-print license announcements were:

As Many as There Are Stars – Matsumo Miecohouse
Does the Flower Bloom? – Shoko Hidaka
Kinoko Inu, the Mushroom Pup – Kimama Aoboshi
(A) New Season of Young Leaves – Venio Tachibana & Akeno Kitahata

Admittedly I was surprised by how little Digital Manga Publishing how to announce, especially at what is now pretty much their convention. It wasn’t even all boys’ love they announced either, and while that’s not in itself a bad thing, this was Yaoi Con after all. And then there’s the fact that what is likely their biggest announcement – Shimotsuki Kari’s Brave 10 (pictured above on the left) – will be digital only and published via their quality-inconsistent, Digital Manga Guild.

As Many as There Are Stars is a boys’ love one-shot by an artist being published for the first time in English. I can’t say much about it except for a really cute cover staring a very androgynous looking lead ( A New Season of Young Leaves is another one-shot boys’ love book (, which I can’t say anything about concretely past there’s likely students, one has glasses and they very, very likely will be romantically involved. Yep!

As Many as There Are Stars by Matsumo MiecohouseDoes The Flower Bloom is a multi-volume boys’ love series by Shoko Hidaka, who has had two books released by DMP in the past (Restart & Not Enough Time). Currently the series is three volumes long and stars a budding relationship between a college student and older salary man who bond over a magazine they both read.

The two series DMP announced that aren’t boys’ love are Kinoko Inu and Brave 10. Granted, Brave 10 does seem ripe with boys’ love subtext and is also by the same creator of BLU’s Madness. I would be most interested in this one if not published via DMG, which combines two of my very few pet-peeves about manga publishing – digital only and poor quality control. Kinoko Inu is a one-shot title (though it does look to have a follow-up volume) starring a chubby little dog with a mushroom head decoration. And it’s… pink? Said ‘mushroom pup’ pictured in this post’s header image and that’s all I’ve got on it (DMP – please start including synopsis with all your licensing announcements, please and thank you!). Cute though, definitely looks cute.

DMP also announced new volumes of titles they’re currently publishing – Depression of the Antiromanticist (Vol. 02), Hey, Class President (Vol. 05), ZE (Vol. 08-11) and Itazura na Kiss (Vol. 12).

Digital Manga also announced that eManga will be going through a big transformation that will include being able to download their manga after you purchase it, giving readers a lot more control over how and where they read it. I don’t purchase digital manga often, but when I have purchased manga volumes it’s only been via DRM-free files that I can read freely on my iPad without internet dependence . Plus, no more point system! I’m a lot more likely to explore DMP’s digital-only library when they relaunch eManga this way, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they roll out in November.

PR: SuBLime Announces Eleven New Manga Titles for Release in 2013


Publisher Delights Fans At YaoiCon 2012 As It Details Multiple New BL Manga Titles Scheduled To Debut During The First-Half Of Next Year

San Francisco, CA, October 24, 2012 – SuBLime, the global yaoi manga (graphic novel) publisher, thrilled fans during its packed panel discussion at the recent YaoiCon 2012 with the announcement of eleven new manga (graphic novel) titles the imprint plans to release throughout 2013.

The forthcoming new titles are rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers. Select releases will be offered as either print-only editions with an MSRP of $12.99 U.S. / $14.99 CAN, or as digital-only releases with an MSRP of $5.99 (U.S. / CAN). Other titles will be made available in both formats.

For digital releases, the $5.99 purchase price will offer readers digital access to two versions of each manga volume on – a downloadable PDF that is viewable on any enabled eReader device and computer or via the embedded online manga viewer found on the web site.

New Print and Print+Digital Titles:

EMBRACING LOVE Vol. 1 2-In-1 Edition, by Youka Nitta 
Rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers  Available In Print And Digital April 2013

SLEEPING MOON Vol. 1, by Miyamoto Kano  Rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers  Available In Print Only June 2013

BLUE MORNING Vol. 1, by Shouko Hidaka  Rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers  Available In Print Only May 2013

FALSE MEMORIES Vol. 1, by Isaku Natsume  Rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers  Available In Print And Digital July 2013
From the creator of DEVIL’S HONEY, also published by SuBLime

Hide And seek, by Yaya Sakuragi  Rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers  Available In Print Only July 2013
Sequel to BOND OF DREAMS, BOND OF LOVE, also available from SuBLime

SPIRITUAL POLICE Vol. 1, by Youka Nitta  Rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers  Available In Print And Digital October 2013

New Digital-Only Titles:

Rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers  Available January 2013
Taiwanese creator and artist

SWORD AND MIST, by Hayate Kuku  Rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers  Available February 2013

THE MATCH SELLER, by Sakae Kusama  Rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers  Available March 2013
From the creator of THE BED OF MY DEAR KING, also published by SuBLime

EGOISTIC BLUE, by Mio Tennohji  Rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers 
Available April 2013

BOYS, BE AMBITIOUS!, by Saburo Nagai  Rated ‘T+’ for Mature Readers  Available May 2013

Read more…

Manga Guests Announced for New York Comic Con 2012

Manga Guests Announced for New York Comic Con 2012

New York Comic Con – formally known in-part as the New York Anime Fest – is swiftly coming up with October just around the corner. Leading up to the date with news of their guests and events, the convention announced Tuesday (via their mobile app) that they’ll be having three manga guests in attendance for NYCC 2012.

Masakazu Ishiguro
Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru

Moyoco Anno (website)
Sakuran*, Flowers & Bees*, Sugar Sugar Rune

Toshio Maeda (website)
Demon Beast Invasion*, La Blue Girl, Legend of the Overfiend*, Adventures Kid*

*These series are rated 18+ for sexual content, and sometimes violence, so readers be warned if you’re curious of what they are! Toshio Maeda’s website also has a lot of mature imagery.

The app lists Masakazu Ishiguro as a guest courtesy of JManga, while Moyoco Anno will be there as a special guest of Vertical Inc. JManga is currently releasing Ishiguro’s Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru (digital only) and Vertical Inc. just released a beautiful omnibus release of Moyoco Anno’s Sakuran this past summer. They have a few more details about her appearance on their newly relaunched blog.

Vertical Inc’s marketing director, Ed Chavez, spent Monday teasing eager fans on Twitter with news that there would be a big announcement on Tuesday. Guesses ranged from new licenses to Vertical Inc going digital, but the closest hint he’d give was that the news would make some happy and others sad (“…will applaud but will be saddened all the same.”). The news is great for Vertical but I can’t say I was particularly happy or sad either way, finding the news rather lacklustre after all that hype. Then again I’m not someone who generally goes to conventions for the guests so that’s just me. None the less, I hope all three guests have a great time visiting the convention and meeting some of their global fans!

PR: SuBLime Debuts A Charming Story of Love Transcending Appearances…


Boy Meets Boy In A Charming Story That Shows How Love Transcends A Person’s Outward Appearance And Blooms Between A Most Unlikely Couple

San Francisco, CA, September 12, 2012 – SuBLime, the global yaoi manga (graphic novel) publisher, invites fans and readers to savor the delightful story and dynamic artwork of Suzuki Tanaka’s latest hit series, HIS FAVORITE. This new title is the latest to join SuBLime’s growing yaoi library and is the first one to be rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens. Volume 1 is available now!

HAS FAVORITE Volume 1, carries a print MSRP of $12.99. The digital version is available simultaneously at an MSRP of USD $5.99 and offers fans digital access to two versions of each manga volume on – a DRM-free downloadable PDF that is viewable on any enabled eReader device and computer, and via the online manga viewer found on the web site.

HIS FAVORITE Vol. 1, by Suzuki Tanaka  Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens  MSRP: $12.99 U.S. / $14.99 CAN  Available Now!
Yoshida is short, scrawny and generally unattractive. To make matters worse, all the girls in his class hate him because Sato, the hottest guy in school, always uses hanging out with him as an excuse to turn them down. Is Yoshida just a convenient excuse or is there something more? Could this odd couple even make things work?!

Read more…

Mini Manga News: Shoujo 3-in-1s, Digital Updates and Anime Adaptations

Kamisama Kiss (Anime)

A few different tidbits of new today, including some continuing omnibus editions from Viz Media, some continuing evolution in the world of digitally released manga and a quick note about some recently announced or debuting animes based on a few English-licensed manga. Enjoy the randomly connected!

 Viz Media announced via their Shoujo Beat Twitter account that they’ll be continuing to release Skip Beat! in their 3-in-1 omnibus format, and will also be releasing all of Hana Kimi in this format as well. Both Skip Beat! and Hana Kimi have three volumes of these omnibus out so far, which is where Viz Media has always ended their 3-in-1s of this particular type in the past.

Hana Kimi 3-in-1 (Vol.03)This is great news for those who’ve been buying these series like this, especially when a lot of these series’ individual volumes are difficult to come by. It’s been a huge sore spot for me that they’ve done these 3-in-1 re-releases of several series and have always ended them after only 3 books, then making note in that last book for readers to look for the singles. It’s a big slap in the face for collectors since the omnibus editions are cheaper and of course look very different from the singles. I hope this decision for Hana Kimi and Skip Beat! are because they’ve sold well, and I also hope it could inspire Viz Media to continue re-releasing some other series they’ve cut short this way such as Full Metal Alchemist.

 We don’t cover much in the way of digital manga here on Kuriousity, but there are always exceptions and this is one. Viz Media made a great announcement for fans of the medium with their recent press release revealing they’d be releasing future new volumes in digital and print on the same day. This is a fantastic flexibility for readers, one which doesn’t force someone to wait in order to purchase a book in their preferred format.

Each digital Viz Media volume is typically $4.99/US/CAN and can be read via their VizManga website, iPhone/iPad apps, Android app and for Nook. They also have a sale on right now that offers every volume at 20% off via their VizManga site and apps, making most only $3.99.

 Also in the digital manga realm and offering more flexibility is news from Digital Manga that they’ve begun releasing their titles in PDF format. This means you purchase and download the titles instead of reading them via internet connection only and have a choice of where and how you read it (ie: your tablet, phone, computer screen, etc.). I’ve really loved that SuBLime Manga has taken this approach from the get-go and it’s availability like this that actually prompts me to purchase some now and again for reading on my tablet.

 Lastly in anime-news, something covered now and again when we feel it’s extra-relevant, there’s been a number of new series announced or previewed lately based on manga that have been licensed in English. This is exciting news for those who love enjoying the stories in both mediums.

Courtesy of AnimeNewsNetwork:

Kamisama Kiss (Trailer) – Manga licensed by Viz Media
New Dragonball Film (Teaser) – Manga licensed by Viz Media
BTOOM! (Trailer) – Manga licensed by Yen Press
Lychee Light Club (Announcement) – Manga licensed by Vertical Inc.
The Flowers of Evil – Manga licensed by Vertical Inc.

 Of these series, I’m most excited for the new Dragonball movie and the Kamisama Kiss series, not to mention of course the new Sailor Moon anime debuting in 2013!

Take me back to the top!