Enterbrain’s Harta magazine has quickly become a firm favorite among seinen manga fans. Since changing its name from Fellows! in 2013, it has produced many beloved and critically acclaimed series, such as A Bride’s Story, Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto, and Delicious in Dungeon. Those worried about the harsh workloads that pervade the industry also appreciate it for its lack of color pages, lenient scheduling, and creative freedom. What’s interesting, then, is that many of its most popular series are being poached by Kadokawa (the parent company of Enterbrain) to help launch their new magazine, Aokishi. What’s the deal?
Translated directly as ‘Blue Knight,’ Kadokawa will launch the first issue of the new magazine next year on 20 April. It’s unknown what schedule it will follow thereafter. Moving to Aokishi from Haruta will be A Bride’s Story by Kaoru Mori; Go with the Clouds, North by Northwest by Aki Irie; Benitsubaki by Hirona Takahashi; and Yagi to Hitsuji no Okan by Tetsuya Nakamura. North by Northwest is published in English by Vertical.
A Bride’s Story and North by Northwest, in particular, are two of Harta’s most popular series. Both of them were featured in this year’s Book of the Year awards by Da Vinci, coming at number twenty-four and number fifty, respectively. This begs the question: why would Kadokawa remove them from the magazine?
The obvious answer is that the publisher wants the launch of Aokishi to be a success. By poaching these two series with well-established audiences, they might be able to draw in more readers and, therefore, more sales.
Furthermore, they undoubtedly want to be in a good place (at least initially) to achieve the goal that they’ve set for the new magazine: introduce readers to ‘more new manga.’ As such, the magazine will feature a wide variety of different genres and series, such as action, love comedy, historical fiction, etc.
Only time will tell if Kadokawa’s gambit pays off. The magazine was set up by editors from Monthly Asuka, Dengeki Maoh, and Harta, so the expertise is undoubtedly there. One has to wonder, however, what Aokishi’s effect on the other imprints will be.
The first issue of Aokishi launches next spring.