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At the beginning of this New Year, Dark Horse Manga welcomes high school track star Saya Otonashi into our fold of skilled sword fighters and rollercoaster action stars. Sure, Dark Horse heroes like Conan, Luke, Manji, Döa, Kenji, Guts, Grendel, and Itto are all deft blade handlers--but were any of those sword slingers still in their high school uniforms when they were slicing foes? (Well, maybe Luke was . . . and I realize that a list of Dark Horse sword fighters could be a heckuva lot longer! Any takers?)
You'll get to meet Saya in volume one of our Blood+ manga series, unless you've already taken a peek into her troubled life and violent past by watching the popular Blood+ anime episodes, as seen on Adult Swim or in the Sony DVDs. The whole Blood+ world acts as an expansion and re-working of the myths and monsters first seen in the Blood: The Last Vampire anime feature, and the newer Blood+ anime, manga, and novel series all work together to create a unique fan experience. The manga volumes and novels (Dark Horse will also be publishing the Blood+ prose series) were created alongside the anime series to serve as companions for--and not direct adaptations of--Saya's frightening anime adventures. Dark Horse will be publishing two-thirds of this unique multi-media experience, and readers will find expanded scenes, reworked character appearances, and refocused story lines as we watch Saya's transformation and "re-education" into becoming the brutal killer she once was.
In our first Blood+ manga volume, Saya relies more on instinct and muscle memory to battle her foes, since she suffers from amnesia and can't remember her relation to her old comrade-in-arms Hagi, her quest to slay their vicious Chiropteran foes, or the stylish sword that she uses to split those foes in half. Chiropterans are the Blood+ world-equivalent of vampires--shape changing, thirsty for blood, and really ugly. Another unique quality of the Blood+ mythos is that Chiropterans are hardly your typical "Suave Dracula" creatures--they're brutal beasts who act without any charm or second thoughts. They haunt Saya in her nightmares, and they're about to ruin her seemingly perfect life with her adoptive family.
An interesting Blood+ side note: Robert Simpson, Dark Horse's Blood+ prose editor and resident Blood+ continuity expert, recently ordered and received a replica of Saya's classy sword, complete with the rivulet that's used to house Saya's blood as it flows from her hand down the sword to make it especially lethal. Saya's blood kills Chiropterans. I'm not sure if Rob's does. Well, when my Kill Bill katanas arrive, we'll see what happens in the hallways at work.
There's a fine tradition of swordplay, vampire hunting, and feudin' here at Dark Horse . . . so ride along with us as all those elements come together in the moody, character-driven, escalating bloodbath that you'll find in the Blood+ manga volumes and novels. The Blood+ manga fun begins with the five-volume Blood+ series, and we also plan to release the two volume Blood+ Adagio manga arc, and the Blood+ Yakoujoushi one shot graphic novel. Our Blood+ novels will be published somewhat concurrently with the manga, giving readers new material and new outlooks on Saya's complicated life almost every month throughout 2008!
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