Continuing its aggressive exploitation of the growing market for manga (see 'Tokyopop Plans a 30-40% Increase in Titles for 2004'), Tokyopop has announced the premier of six new manga series in August. One of the new titles, Tramps Like Us by Yayoi Ogawa, is a comedy romance, which recently took home the trophy at the twenty-seventh Kodansha manga competition. This Springsteen-inspired title will be joined by another comedy series, Instant Teen: Just Add Nuts from award-winning creator Haruka Fukushima, which chronicles the adventures of a spindly fifth grader who eats a packet of pink nuts and transforms into a sexy supermodel. The success of the Fruits Basket and Tokyo Mew Mew manga series would appear to indicate a bright future here for Instant Teen.
Another of the new Tokyopop releases, Dream Saga by Megumi Tachikawa (Mink, Saint Tail), should please the growing audience for shoujo titles with its story of a shy manga-reading good girl, who becomes the 'chosen one' thanks to a mysterious red stone that falls from the sky.
Tokyopop will also publish the manga version of Magical Shopping Street Abenobashi. ADV has already released the Abenobashi anime series, and this tale of an urban renewal project that actually opens up a portal to parallel universes, is both funny and exciting.
The Warriors of Tao, which Tokyopop is also releasing this August, plays its science fiction adventure much more conventionally. Shinya Kuwahara's gory tale of gladiators who fight it out in an interplanetary tournament with profound consequences resembles those classic Star Trek episodes in which Kirk is the champion on whose shoulders rests the fate of the entire crew of the Enterprise, if not the galaxy.
The final new Tokyopop August release, Et Cetera, takes us from outer space to the old West with an off-the-wall adventure by Tow Nakazaki featuring a sexy starlet and the mythical Eto gun.