Seven Seas will add at least ten more series of manga-inspired illustrated juvenile fiction to its title roster, according to publisher Jason Deangelis, bringing the total number of volumes of manga, light novels, and juvenile fiction it will sell through Tor Books (see 'Tor Books Enters Manga Market With Seven Seas') to over 70 in 2008.  The childrens books will be displayed in varying areas of the major book chains, depending on their handling of books for eight to twelve year old boys and girls. 


We asked Deangelis why Seven Seas was changing its direction away from its original focus of OEL manga.  'My passion was original manga properties,' he said, 'but they're difficult to get off the ground.  In order to make a viable business, we needed to move more into licensing.'


The move into juvenile fiction is designed to appeal to a different trade buyer than manga.  'Childrens' buyers, educators, and librarians are well aware of the manga phenomenon,' Deangelis said.  'They want to be involved in it, but it's intimidating and confusing for them.  Manga-inspired illustrated kids books are a bridge into manga.  They're in a more familiar format, with the popular fantastical storylines we see in that category anyway.' 


At the consumer level, Deangelis believes younger readers who may be familiar with manga from older siblings will be attracted to the illustrated books based on manga properties.   


Deangelis confirmed the acquisition of Kuro Majo-san ga Touru ('Here Comes the Black Witch'), an illustrated fiction series starring a 10-year-old witch which has proven very popular in Japan with its target audience of girls 8-12.


Seven Seas has also acquired the sexy shonen manga series Inukami!, which is published in Media Works' monthly Dengeki GAO! Anthology.  The four-volume ongoing Inukami! manga series features art by Mari Matsuzawa and is based on a 14-volume series of light novels by Mamizu Arisawa about a young man (Keita) from a family of Inukami trainers who is given a second chance to 'tame' and control an gorgeous (and very sexy) Inukami named Youko -- the Inukami are dog-like (though not in appearance) gods and goddesses who can eradicate evil spirts.  Arisawa's original light novels have also inspired a 2006 anime series and an anime movie, which was released in 2007.