Seven Seas Entertainment has announced a new imprint, Strawberry, which will publish a slate of yuri (girl-on-girl) romantic manga.  'Yuri' is the female equivalent of 'yaoi,' though the term has a somewhat broader connotation since romantic relationships between females appear in a variety of contexts in Japanese manga including shonen manga written by men for male readers as well as shojo manga created by women for female readers. 


Jason DeAngelis of Seven Seas explained.  'I expect the readership for yuri manga in the U.S. to be primarily the same as for yaoi: females,' he said.  'However, yuri should have a wider readership among males than yaoi does.' 


As a genre yuri is not nearly as big in Japan as yaoi, but lots of manga and anime series including Revolutionary Girl Utena, Rose of Versailles, My-Hime, Noir, .hack//SIGN, Read or Die, and Project A-ko feature central yuri relationships.


Seven Seas has already announced one prominent manga with yuri themes, Kashimashi (see 'Seven Seas Licenses Japanese Properties'), which will function as a mainstream introduction of the yuri genre to manga fans, but will not be part of the new Strawberry imprint.


In 2007 Seven Seas will release the first titles under its Strawberry imprint in a new 5-7/8' x 8-1/4' format.  The initial titles will include Sakurako Kimino's Strawberry Panic (the manga), which will act as a sister release to the previously announced Strawberry Panic light novels; Mera Hakamada's popular series Saigo no Seifuku ('The Last Uniform'), about the crushes and heartbreaks at a girls' boarding school; and the yuri-flavored occult fantasy series Tetragrammaton Labyrinth.