Well, one thing you can guarantee in 2008 is more Bleach and Naruto. So far only the first half of the first series of Bleach is out, so we expect the first two series to be out here by the end of the year. Series three and four of Naruto have been confirmed as licensed by Manga so they'll probably bolster the roster too. Manga also have one of the Naruto specials lined up for March, under the title Naruto - The Lost Story. With the first film already out it could be that we see more Naruto specials and films during the course of next year.
On top of these there's more Ghost in the Shell, with the
first Stand Alone Complex film - The Laughing Man -
slated for a March release. Oddly
Solid State Society,
which was released in 2007, was the third Stand Alone Complex
film, so they're being released out of order. We also wouldn't
be surprised to see the second film - The Individual Eleven -
released in 2008, but with no license announced yet it may be that
it'll slip back to 2009. Nevertheless, it's these three titles
that will drive Manga forward in 2008, but they won't be
'We will be releasing a brand new OVA called Strait Jacket later in the year, and I am very excited about that' states Jerome, and we can see why. Strait Jacket is a very impressive looking three episode series that could be the new Karas. Certainly the animation and effects look stunning, and there is plenty of stylish action and a bit of gore too. Details on the release are scarce at the moment, but the first part was only released in Japan in November 2007 so it's clear that Manga have a real cutting edge title on their hands. We personally can't wait to see it either. But other than this, and a re-issue for Blood The Last Vampire, new releases are a bit scarce at the
moment. So what else have Manga got up their sleeves, and how can they top what's gone before? There's one series that could do it, one series that has caused a stir both in Japan and America, Death Note. Unfortunately though it doesn't look like it's on the cards.
'I wish I could say (we had) Death Note' sighs Jerome, 'but
the truth is, I do not know who will be picking up that license for
the UK. I am a massive fan of the manga and I've seen the
first 4 episodes and loved it. I would gladly sell my grandma
to have the UK rights for Death Note.' But before you
join Webmaster Tom in despair at the lack of Death Note, it's
not all doom and gloom. 'There are lots of other interesting
new anime series and films currently available for the UK and I am
actively looking to acquire some of them for Manga.'
announces Jerome. 'Expect to see us on TV and in cinemas.
'Expect more releases and even better value for money./color>'
Considering Manga have led the way with budget releases and box sets this is exciting to hear, but what else have they got in store next year? Jerome has a couple of hints, 'We'll be launching a new online shop in March along with a brand new Manga.co.uk site. Expect to see us on TV and in cinemas too.'. He also confirms that Manga are planning to launch an anime download service, but no details are forthcoming at the moment. So far ADV Films are the only UK company to really tackle the download market and they have some exciting plans for the future. It will be interesting to see what form Manga's download service takes and whether it will be run through their
own website, or through other download sites. The fact they're redesigning their online store points towards the former, but the UK Manga website is overdue an update that would bring it in line with its US counterpart.
It's a shame that the only new title on the cards at the moment is Strait Jacket, but we're sure there's more on the way. The MCM London Expo in May has become the place to announce new licenses so we're pretty sure something will come down the grapevine then. Were hoping for a UK release for Blood+, as it's the perfect title to fill the gap left by Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG. It has the brand recognition and will be a more adult foil to Bleach and Naruto, but only time will tell if Manga can get hold of it. In the meantime the only thing left is to ask Jerome his aims for 2008, 'To grow our business as a whole, keep the fans we have happy and bring in some new fans too./color>' he states emphatically, adding 'I'd like to say a big thank you to Joseph (aka Macula) and Christine for doing such a great job of running the Manga booth for me at all of the events. They have been an invaluable part of the Manga team this year and will continue to be so. I'd also like to thank all of the other Manga Team Go volunteers, event organisers and anime clubs who have helped us this year. Have a fantastic Christmas and an awesome New Year everyone!'