Viz Media has announced the launch of a new imprint Haikasoru, which will publish a variety of Japanese science fiction and fantasy stories for English-speaking audiences.  Haikasoru is the first dedicated imprint that focuses on Japanese sci-fi in North America.  Nick Mamatas, a science fiction author in his own right, is heading up the new imprint for Viz Media.  As Gonzalo Ferreyra, Viz Media V.P. of Sales and Product Marketing explained in an interview with ICv2 last September (see “Interview with Gonzalo Ferreyra, Part Four”), the name of the new imprint “Haikasoru,” which can be loosely translated as “High Castle,” is a “veiled homage” to Philip K. Dick’s Man in the High Castle, an alternate world science fiction classic in which the Axis powers win WWII and Japan colonizes the west coast.


Viz Media will debut the Haikasoru line in July with two titles, Issui Ogawa’s The Lord of the Sands of Time ($13.99) and Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s All You Need Is Kill ($13.99).  The Lord of the Sands of Time is the story of a mysterious cyborg, Messenger O, who is sent back in time with a mission to unite mankind so that humans might be able to resist an alien onslaught.  The hero of Sakurazaka’s All You Need Is Kill is a lowly recruit sent out with thousands of others to defeat invading aliens.  He dies repeatedly on the battlefield only to be reborn each morning and sent out to do battle again.  On his 158th iteration he sees a female soldier known as the Full Metal Bitch—will she be the means of his escape or his death?


The third and fourth Haikasoru releases, Otsuichi’s Zoo ($13.99) and Housuke Nojiri’s Usurper of the Sun ($15.99), are due out in September.  Zoo is a collection of science fiction and fantasy stories by one of the hottest authors in Japan, while Usurper of the Sun is a “hard” science fiction novel about a scientist who travels to the core of the solar system after an ominous ring appears around the sun. Usurper of the Sun won the Seiun Award in 2002 for the best Japanese science fiction novel of the year.