Top Cow Productions and Bandai Entertainment proudly announce an unprecedented manga event with the release of Witchblade Manga #1 in February 2007. Witchblade Manga #1 marks a unique partnership between American and Japanese publishers. The American character first made its way to Japan thanks to the ground breaking anime TV series from Studio GONZO (Afro Samurai, Trinity Blood). The anime broke ground by being one of the only American properties to be given the full treatment by a Japanese studio. The animation team at GONZO created a new Witchblade bearer, Masane Amaha and expanded the Witchblade mythos into new and uncharted territory. The TV series scored high ratings in Japan and DVD sales have been brisk. As part of the partnership with GONZO, Top Cow also agreed to a manga version of Witchblade created by Yasuko Kobayashi, head story writer for the Witchblade Anime and artist, Kazasa Sumita. The manga featured an entirely unique Witchblade bearer, named Takeru and was published in Japan by publisher Akita Shoten in their Champion Red line. In a unique move, Top Cow has confirmed that both new versions of the Witchblade seen in the anime and manga are considered part of Witchblade canon.
Takeru is a young Japanese schoolgirl raised in a Buddhist monastery by a group of nuns. Her life is quite average, filled with homework and boy troubles, except for the forbidden wicked-looking claw locked in a box within the monastery. Things take a dark turn when the claw begins to haunt poor Takeru’s dreams. To complicate things further, a group of mysterious, black clad monks show up at the monastery and the stage is set for the Witchblade to choose its latest bearer.
Thanks to the close relationship Top Cow has formed with GONZO and the original publisher Akita Shoten, the publisher and artist Sumita have given their blessing for Top Cow to reformat the manga for an American audience. Top Cow will be release the manga as a standard sized American comic, reformatted to read left to right, and presented in breathtaking color by master colorist Blond. Additionally the first issue of Witchblade Manga #1 will include 40 pages of story and art for only $2.99. The first issue will be available in one of three covers including a cover by Kazasa, an anime cover by GONZO, and an American interpretation by Christian Gossett (The Red Star). Bandai Entertainment will release a black and white, digest sized edition of the Witchblade Manga in summer 2007 as it appeared in Japan. The Witchblade Anime is scheduled to be released on DVD in the United States by Funimation in the Fall of 2007. Witchblade continues as an ongoing monthly series from Top Cow.
“Our experiences in working with our Japanese counterparts has been a real joy”, said Filip Sablik, Vice President of Marketing & Sales, “They really understand the character and have been wonderful to collaborate with. The results (in the manga and anime) have been nothing short of revolutionary”.
“I feel truly thrilled by the release of ‘Witchblade Takeru’ in US”, commented artist, Kazasa Sumita.