Yen Press, Hachette's new manga imprint, announced five new manga series (all published in Japan by Houbunsha) at the New York Anime Festival, along with the inaugural contents for the Yen Plus manga anthology magazine that will debut this summer. 


Leading off the new manga releases in May will be Satoko Kiyuzuki's Shoulder a Coffin, Kuro (Hitsugi Katsugi no Kuro), a two-volume series, loosely based on western fairy tales, about a young girl who travels with a coffin on her back and a talking bat.


Also announced were Ume Aoki's Sunshine Sketch (Hidamari Sketch), a two-volume ongoing series about a girl and her life at an all-girls school; Shouko Iwami's Suzunari, the story of a girl who discovers she has a twin who just happens to have cat ears; Negi Banno's SS Astro, a collection of four-panel seinen strips about what really happens in the teachers' lounge; and Lily Hoshino's Love Quest, a yaoi saga about two guys who are sucked into another world where they have to depend on a girl to save them from monsters, but the only way they can provide her with the necessary powers to defeat the beasts is by exchanging bodily fluids.


More information was also released about the contents and format of the Yen Plus monthly manga anthology magazine, which will premiere this summer.  Yen Plus will run about 460 pages, have a cover price of $8.99, and include about 12 different series. Svetlana Chmakova (Dramacon) described Nightschool, her contribution to the new anthology, as a sort of 'Harry Potter meets Buffy' urban fantasy.  Yen Plus will also include two manhwa series:  Jack Frost by Jin-Ho Ko, which deals with the netherworld between the living and the dead; and Pig Bride by Su-Jin Kim and Kook-Hwa Huh, a marital saga that makes maximum use of a pig mask.


But the potentially most exciting series in Yen Plus could very well be a manga adaptation of James Patterson's young adult novel series Maximum Ride about a group of teens who have genetically-altered to the point where they are part human and part bird.  Each of the first three volumes of Maximum Ride has made it to #1 spot on the YA charts (and a fourth volume is due out in March).  Yen's adaptation of Maximum Ride will start at the beginning with the first book in the series, Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment.