Looking at several upcoming manga, webtoons, and other works published by Seven Seas from January 2023 and beyond that I find interesting, and maybe you will too!
(Alternatively, "Why Seven Seas will Make Me Poor in 2023.")
Throughout 2022, I pulled together 3 different lists containing manga (and not manga) that I was looking forward to. I broke them down by shoujo/josei, shonen/seinen, and BL/yaoi. A common theme found throughout all three lists is Seven Seas. Seven Seas has gone from a company I was apathetic about to a company I'm emotionally invested in now. Seven Seas grabbed a lot of great licenses within the past few years, and 2023 is no different. 2023 is STACKED. Rather than embarrass myself with an upcoming list full of Seven Seas titles with a few "Oh, yeah, VIZ and Kodansha got stuff too. I guess~❤️." I figured it was high...time that I devoted a list to just Seven Seas releases. So, let's weigh anchor and set sail!
Ongoing/Still Releasing Series in my Collection
Okay, before I tell you what Seven Seas has in store for us in 2023, let me tell you what Seven Seas has in store for me right now. I'm currently reading and actively collecting the following ten series:
Bite Maker by Miwako Sugiyama
Fire in His Fingertips: A Flirty Fireman Ravishes Me with His Smoldering Gaze by Kawano Tanishi
Game: Between the Suits by Mai Nishikata
I'll Never Be Your Crown Princess! by Saki Tsukigami, Natsu Kuroki, and Enn Tsutamori
Ladies on Top by NEJIGANAMETA
Love is an Illusion! (manwha) by Fargo
Outbride: Beauty & the Beasts by Tohko Tsukinaga
My Androgynous Boyfriend by Tamekou
The Case Files of Jeweler Richard (manga) by Mika Akatsuki, Nanako Tsujimura, and Utako Yukihiro
Who Wants to Marry a Billionaire? by Mikoto Yamaguchi and Mario
In short, I'm really loving these series right now, and I anticipate adding more volumes in the coming year(s). (Also, thankfully the release dates are miles apart, which makes prioritizing just-in-time buys easy.) Hopefully, Seven Seas will finish releasing Love is an Illusion! and Who Wants to Marry a Billionaire? in 2023 as they are relatively short and complete already in their respective countries. Also, Ladies on Top is complete in Japan at 6 volumes, and Bite Maker will end soon in Japan so we may see the entire series stateside in 2023 or at least by 2024, hopefully. No clue when the rest will end, but I'm enjoying the ride thus far.
Not all of the manga pictured above may be to your taste, but they sure are suited to mine! With that said, there are at least two series that I'd love for EVERYONE to check out.
If I had to choose one manga that I wish more people would read and talk about, it would be the manga turned live-action TV show My Androgynous Boyfriend by Tamekou. Serialized in Feel Young magazine, My Androgynous Boyfriend is an ongoing slice-of-life romcom series following a manga editor and her aspiring model boyfriend. As the title suggests, the boyfriend is androgynous, and he is an androgynous model. He often runs around town with her in women's clothes and gets mistaken for a woman a lot. 3 volumes in, and the story is not serious. I really doubt the story will turn on a dime and get serious about the queer living experience. So, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who wants a serious LGBTQ+ tome, but if you're looking for a relaxing, fun read about two adults already in a relationship just living their best lives, I highly suggest this series. The art is fantastic btw! (If you're interested in a mature-rated historical BL, check out Tamekou's other manga Lala's Married Life. It's published digital-only by Animate International as of this post.)
Another series I'd like to plug is The Case Files of Jeweler Richard. Serialized in Monthly Comic Zero-Sum since 2019, The Case Files of Jeweler Richard manga is a slice-of-life mystery series based on the novel turned anime of the same name. The series follows the titular jeweler and appraiser Richard and his assistant Seigi, a college student who saved Richard from hooligans one night. Richard is an intelligent cold beauty, and I have a thing for those. Seigi has a strong sense of justice and is a normal, boy-next-door type. The series has a strong Sherlock Holmes x Watson dynamic duo going on, and I have a strong liking for most things Sherlock Holmes.
I picked up the manga after watching the anime on Crunchyroll, and I gotta say, "the anime is alright." The series won't blow your mind with the story, characters, or visuals. The cases aren't particularly clever either, but they will teach you stuff about jewelry. The story is character-driven, and the characters are solid and pretty. The anime is just pretty, and it's a relaxing AF chill mystery series, and you know what? I can use more of that. The manga is more or less the same right now. I haven't read the novel on which the manga and anime series are based, yet. However, I have the novel on my to-be-read and buy list. (I'm super slow when it comes to reading regular novels. 😩) Finally, fair warning, this is not a BL story. Richard and Seigi have a master/apprentice and boss/employee type of relationship. They're friends. (But you're welcome to ship them anyway.)
Besides The Case Files of Jeweler Richard novel, I anticipate buying The Titan's Bride manga too. I also have a backlog of past Seven Seas releases that I'd like to just read at some point like His Majesty the Demon King's Housekeeper, Correspondence from the End of the Universe, and Yakuza Fiancé, but let's set that to the side for a moment and get to the growing list of upcoming series to look out for.
Upcoming 2023 Releases - My Top Picks
The following series are the ones I really, really want to read, and hopefully, you can add a title or two to your list too!
Cinderella Closet by Wakana Yanai
Slice-of-Life Romance (8 volumes/complete)
Cinderella Closet was serialized in Bessatsu Margaret and just finished its serialization in 2022. I had this series on my licensing wishlist because it gave me Princess Jellyfish and My Androgynous Boyfriend vibes. I'm not fashionable or into fashion IRL, but I love to read about fashionable characters. I also really enjoy reading stories based on or reminiscent of fairytales. (Cinderella is one of my faves, btw.)
Seven Seas describes the story:
Haruka is a “plain jane” who left the countryside to start her college life in Tokyo. She’s secretly in love with Kurotaki, a coworker at her part-time job, but she lacks the self-confidence to confess her feelings to him. Then she meets Hikaru, a glamorous but sharp-tongued fashionista who begrudgingly agrees to play “fairy godmother” for Haruka and help her learn to love and value herself in the process. However, there’s more to Hikaru than meets the eye!
The series is slated to hit store shelves in April 2023.
Do Not Say Mystery by Yumi Tamura
Mystery Drama (11 volumes/ongoing)
We're finally getting another Yumi Tamura manga. It's been a long time! Prior to Do Not Say Mystery, we had the following series in English: Wild Com, Chicago, and Basara. All of these were published by VIZ before there was a Shojo Beat imprint. Chances are you have heard of Basara and read it. I certainly have.
For the uninitiated, Basara is a sweeping action/adventure epic with an enemies-to-lovers romance set in a post-apocalyptic world. I binge-read it eons ago and loved it. If you're a fan of The King's Beast, Red River, Yona of the Dawn, Prince Freya, or the Fushigi Yûgi saga, then, I highly suggest you check out Basara. The manga is readily available digitally, and it's definitely the way to go as obtaining the manga in print will be a challenge as of this post. (Who knows if VIZ will be inspired to do anything with the license thanks to Do Not Say Mystery.)
Besides Basara, Yumi Tamura is known for 7 SEEDS and Do Not Say Mystery. 7 SEEDS is a sci-fi, post-apocalyptic adventure series turned anime. We have the anime adaptation via Netflix streaming and blu-ray, but we don't have the manga series. I'm not really gung-ho about a 7 SEEDS license (and no, it's not just because of the anime, lol), but I support people wanting it, and I feel for them. On the other hand, I am gung-ho about Do Not Say Mystery, which is Tamura's latest series.
Seven Seas describes the series:
A quirky, award-winning mystery manga from the shojo powerhouse creator of Basara and 7SEEDS–inspired a live-action series!
Totonou is a young man who stands out–partly for his bushy hair, partly for his finely honed abilities of observation and deduction. When Totonou is accused of murder, he puts his skills to work delving into the lives of the cops investigating him and uses his insights to find the real murderer. After clearing his name, all Totonou wants to do is return to his laidback, mundane life, but he can’t help but be drawn into one mystery after another. In his own blunt but gentle way, Totonou is just trying to make sense of a chaotic world.
While I do love a good mystery, I'm not a huge Yumi Tamura fan so I have to thank @HeelSiblings and Colleen's Manga Recs for putting this series higher on my to-read and to-buy list. Check out the series, which will be receiving the omnibus treatment, when it drops in May 2023. In the meantime, you can check out the live-action TV series via Viki. (And, there will be a movie too in the upcoming year!)
The Villainess and the Demon Knight by Nekoda (story) and Seikan (art)
Fantasy Isekai Romance (2 volumes/ongoing; mature-rated)
This is my #1 most anticipated read/buy of 2023. The Villainess and the Demon Knight is the fifth title under Seven Seas' Steamship imprint. If you're unaware, the Steamship imprint is an all-new brand first introduced in 2022, and per the website, it's dedicated to "sexy romance for women, with manga in the genres of shojo, josei, Teens’ Love, and beyond." So far, that has translated into smut romance. Since launching in May 2022, I have been enjoying the imprint thus far, and as far as completionist collections are concerned, I plan to keep collecting (and reading) all things Steamship until I come across a series I absolutely hate. So far, so good.
Seven Seas describes the story:
Condemned in the streets, a fierce heroine in the sheets…if she can survive to the wedding bed and beyond! Don’t miss this Mature-rated bodice-ripper of an isekai romance manga!
Cecelia, daughter of a grand Marquis, one day realizes she’s actually a reincarnated being, born into the world of an otome game as a villainous noble. However, she’s been reincarnated after the fall, leaving her framed and forced into sex work at a brothel. And just when things couldn’t get worse, Cecelia’s first customer is Lucas Herbst, the Deputy Leader of the Imperial Guards: a Casanova so strong and fierce that when he steals Cecelia away for a night of debauchery, she’s sure this is certain doom. The next day, to her surprise, she wakes up with the crest of a vow on her stomach marking her as Lucas’s…fiancé?!
Printed or not, I'm always interested in new shoujo/josei smut. Plus, as someone who reads formulaic genre novels a la Harlequin Romance and other "trashy" romance novels and erotica (Ice Planet Barbarians, anyone?), I love a good "bodice-ripper." So, an 18+ rated, isekai bodice-ripper with a villainess otome game character sounds problematic but fun. Consent will definitely be an issue. Fellow hunters, please check all content warnings and tags before reading. The first volume will be released in March 2023.
Who Made Me a Princess? by Plutus and Spoon
Fantasy Isekai Slice-of-Life (??? volumes; 125 chapters/complete; manwha)
So, Who Made Me a Princess is a manwha webtoon that I had on my licensing wishlist. The series is already complete and can be read digitally via Tappytoon, but I wanted to buy this in print or at least read it off Tappytoon. Now, I have my wish!
Seven Seas describes the series:
The story of Athanasia, forsaken princess of the Obelian Empire, ends with her execution at the hands of her own father—or does it? Her tragic tale is the plot of the novel The Lovely Princess. But now, a modern woman who read the book has just woken up as baby Athanasia herself, filled with her own memories and knowledge of the story she’s stuck in! Determined to survive her doomed fate, infant Athanasia embarks on this new life with a plan: avoid attention and hoard valuables to fund her escape. When her plan goes awry, she suddenly needs to charm her way into the good graces of her father, the beautiful tyrant emperor, so he doesn’t kill her again!
The series will be released in full color and in large trim (so like the size of the Steamship manga). Check out the first volume in March 2023.
So, those are my top picks for 2023, but wait, there's more!
Upcoming 2023 Releases - It's on the TBR
So, these are the books that I have an interest in reading. However, I'm not sure when I'll get to these, but hey, recs never expire! Are you looking forward to any of these series too?
Barbarities by Tsuta Suzuki
Historical Romance Drama (4 volumes/complete)
Back in February 2022, Seven Seas announced that they will bring all four volumes of this historical romance drama set in Renaissance Europe. They describe the story:
Lord Montague is a powerful figure in the nation, in need of a bodyguard following a threat to his life. Enter Viscount Adam Canning: a dashing blond-haired nobleman who swears to use his combat skills to protect Lord Montague…and woo anyone who catches his fancy while staying at Lord Montague’s estate. When Adam sees Lord Montague’s nephew, Joel, Adam is immediately smitten. But Joel is a serious young man, too busy rooting out crime and corruption to fall for Adam’s charms. Of course, that just makes Adam want him more! Can Joel stay focused on his lofty ideals, or will he fall for the devilishly handsome viscount?
I use to read a boatload of historical drama, and I miss reading historical BL. (Any Gorgeous Carat fans out there?) I'm also looking for a change of pace so I welcome this interesting series with open arms. The first volume will be released early in January 2023.
Delinquent Daddy and Tender Teacher by Tama Mizuki
Slice-of-Life Romance (5 volumes/ongoing)
Delinquent Daddy and Tender Teacher is another BL title I'm looking forward to reading. However, this title will be filed under the new Seven Seas BL imprint, which will "help readers easily discover the content they crave in an ever-expanding manga marketplace." The launch titles include The Titan’s Bride, Entangled with You: The Garden of 100 Grasses, and I’m Kinda Chubby and I’m Your Hero. Since the announcement of this imprint, it's unclear which titles will be filed under it. Barbarities was announced prior to the imprint so I'm not sure if it will be included after the fact.
Anyway, Seven Seas describes Delinquent Daddy and Tender Teacher:
...a heartwarming Boys’ Love romance between a single dad who used to be a “bad boy” and the gentle teacher who takes care of his kid!
In high school, studious Hitsuji had a secret crush on one of his guy friends–a friendly delinquent named Hatoyama–but never confessed. Years later, Hitsuji is a slightly anxious but responsible adult who found his calling as an elementary school teacher. One of his young students is upset with a sloppy and nonconformist dad–who turns out to be Hatoyama! When Hitsuji learns that Hatoyama is struggling to raise his son as a single parent, Hitsuji helps him out, first as a teacher and then as a friend who can teach Hatoyama how to clean his home and cook actual vegetables. As the men grow closer, some of Hitsuji’s anxieties begin to melt around the welcoming (and grateful) Hatoyama. What will become of the feelings Hitsuji used to harbor for his first love?
Sounds fun and cute. The first volume will be released in August 2023.
Gap Papa: Daddy at Work and at Home by Utakata
Slice-of-Life Comedy (3 volumes/ongoing)
So, Gap Papa began as a full-color webcomic before being picked up for print distribution by Kadokawa, and Seven Seas describes the story:
His colleagues at work see him as handsome, cool, and distant…but the moment he’s back home, this frosty-looking salaryman shows his true colors as a doting father and husband. Playing silly games with his young daughter, showering kisses on his beloved wife–what a gap between his appearance and behavior! This sweet, full-color manga about a wholesome family is sure to warm your heart.
The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu (story) and Luo Di Cheng Qiu (art)
Historical Action Fantasy Romance (??? volumes; 42 chapters/ongoing; manhua)
In August 2021, Seven Seas announced in a series of tweets that it will start licensing Chinese men love men novels (called danmei) under the new imprint Seven Seas Danmei, and the launch titles were Heaven's Official Blessing, The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, and The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System. All of these novels are by the very popular author Mo Xiang Tong Xiu aka "MXTX." All three novels will go on to debut on The New York Times Bestseller List upon release in December 2021.
Since their debut, all three novels have become a mainstay of the NYT Bestseller list. That means the books had to sell in the excess of 5,000 copies. As of this post, the MTXT novels are the biggest debut in Seven Seas' history. Let me repeat that.
Gay Chinese novels have outperformed every single manga Seven Seas has in their library. That's just...
Besides the MTXT novels, Seven Seas will publish The Husky and His White Cat Shizun: Erha He Ta De Bai Mao Shizun by Rou Bao Bu Chi Rou aka "Meatbun" in November 2022, 3 more popular danmei novels in 2023, and even more Meatbun novels in April and August of 2023. (If I try anything else, it would be Guardian by Priest since it's a contemporary mystery series.) With the launch of the Danmei imprint and other imprints like Seven Seas x Hiveworks and Seven Seas Webtoons, it's clear that Seven Seas is expanding to different markets and reaching new fans, and when it comes to danmei, the fans are dedicated. Preamble aside, let's talk about this manhua.
The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation manhua is based on the novel of the same name and serves as another entry point to the franchise. Besides the novel and manhua, you can check out the live-action TV series (called The Untamed) via WETV, YouTube, Netflix, or Amazon Prime. Lastly, there is a donghua (Chinese animation) of the series. It's called The Founder of Diabolism, and it's available via WETV and YouTube. (I don't know why the series goes by different names across mediums.)
The novel is completed overseas in 5 volumes, but it is still releasing in English. Volume 4 will be released in December 2022, and the final volume will be released to much fanfare in May 2023. Unlike the novel, the manhua is still ongoing, and the latest chapters can be viewed online at Webcomics. Seven Seas describes the story:
Feared and hated for his sinister abilities, Wei Wuxian–the grandmaster of demonic cultivation–was driven to his death when the most powerful clans united to destroy him.
Thirteen years later, Wei Wuxian is reborn. Summoned by a young man who sacrificed his soul in a forbidden ritual, Wei Wuxian is now bound to seek vengeance on the stranger’s behalf or risk the destruction of his own soul. But when an evil entity emerges, a familiar face from Wei Wuxian’s past suddenly appears amidst the chaos–a powerful cultivator who will help shine a light on the dark truths that surround them.
I love reading BL in graphic novel/comic form so hooray for more BL! However, I'm very new to the danmei and manhua scene. If the novels are anything to go by, we can expect a nice detailed glossary for newcomers in the back of the book and other goodies. I still have to tackle the novel so the manhua will be a low-priority read for me, but perhaps you can give me the skinny. Barring no further delays (it was slated for a December 2022 release), the first volume will grace store shelves in March 2023. (P.S. the manhua will be released in full color!)
My Secret Affection by Fumi Mikami
Sci-fi Romance Drama (2 volumes/complete)
So my interest in this next title stems from three factors: one—the wacky premise, two—it's short and complete, and finally—the disproportionate Twitter outrage when the license was announced back in May 2022. Seven Seas describes the story:
In this sweet, unforgettable shojo manga, space made the world gay. What happens when a girl likes a boy in this new reality?
It’s been thirty years since meteorites from space turned everyone on the Earth gay. In a world where heterosexuality no longer exists, Takanashi Kazusa falls for her childhood friend Ayumu–a boy. Though she’s doing everything she can to act normal whenever they hang out, her love for Ayumu is growing stronger by the day. How much longer can she hide her secret feelings?
Now, this sounds quirky, and hey, it's short. It's got some BL themes. What the hell? As quiet as it's kept, Seven Seas has a lot of short (5 volumes or less) quirky manga series in its catalog that goes under the radar. No fanfare or anger. No reaction whatsoever; so seeing people go apeshit in real-time just makes me morbidly curious. What is it about this title that upsets people? Or does it have nothing to do with the manga at all but rather the mangaka? The OG tweet had a lot of hate speech, unsavory comments, and other tweets that make you go, "Hmmmm." Could this fanfare be chalked to people being mean on the internet? (Maybe it's that last one.)
Whatever the case, we'll find out in January 2023.
My Stepmother and Stepsisters Aren’t Wicked by Otsuji
Historical Slice-of-life Comedy (3 volumes/ongoing)
Another Cinderella-inspired manga? Sign me up! Seven Seas describes the manga:
Fairy tale tropes are turned on their heads in this comedic reimagining of the classic Cinderella story!
Miya is the illegitimate child of a prominent family. When her mother dies and her father’s estate agrees to take her in, she’s convinced she knows what awaits her in her new home: a life of servitude and misery at the hands of her wicked stepmother and stepsisters. Yet when she finally meets the women she expects to treat her like dirt, they actually end up being…sweet?! A hilarious and heartfelt comedy that’s sure to put a smile on your face!
Seven Seas will release the series in large trim starting in May 2023.
The Great Snake's Bride by Fushiashikumo
Supernatural Slice-of-Life Romance Drama (3 volumes/ongoing; mature-rated)
Serialized in Comic Marche since 2021, here's a manga that "monster f*ckers" may enjoy. Now, I enjoy human x beast betrothal or romantic coupling stories like The Ancient Magus' Bride and Monster and the Beast to name a few, but this particular manga gets the side eye from me. (No offense to anyone really looking forward to this, but I have one hangup that's making me leery of this story, which I'll get to shortly.)
Seven Seas describes the story:
In this critically acclaimed and sensual fairy tale, can a woman sacrificed to a snake god learn to love her non-human husband?
For 500 years, a giant snake god has lived in the ancient mountain. Miyo, an unlucky young woman from the nearby village, has been offered as a tribute: she is to be the snake’s bride. Miyo always feared that the enormous talking snake would devour her whole, but once she’s taken in by the god, he treats her like a wife rather than a meal. His flicking tongue vibrates through gentle words, his powerful slithering body wraps around hers in an embrace. This god is kinder than his monstrous form implies, and Miyo thinks she could learn to appreciate the non-human form his love takes. What does it truly mean to be the bride of a beast…?
Why snakes? Why must it be a "sensual" story with a snake god? Can't it be something cuter!? The Great Snake's Bride is slated to be released in July 2023.
What He Who Doesn’t Believe in Fate Says by Omu the Rice
Supernatural Romance Drama (3 volumes/ongoing)
So, here's another ongoing manga that we got real quick. Serialized on Slyph since 2020, What He Who Doesn't Believe in Fate Says is a manga that's giving me Love & Lies vibes. Like Love & Lies, What He Who Doesn't Believe in Fate Says is a story about challenging "the red string of fate" (literally in this case), and Seven Seas describes the manga:
In this romance with a supernatural edge, a guy who can see the fated ties between soulmates falls for a woman who’s destined to be with someone else…or is she? The “red string of fate” that appears throughout this black-and-white manga will be spot-printed in vivid color!
Kosuke has an unusual ability: he can see the red string of fate that connects soulmates. Much to his misfortune, he falls in love with Yuka, whose string of fate clearly doesn’t lead back to him. He hides his feelings for her, until the day when a fortune teller says to Yuka that her destined lover is nearby–and she thinks it’s Kosuke! If this is Kosuke’s chance to pursue the woman he loves, will he have to fight destiny to be with her?
I like supernatural romances, and I think the spot-color treatment is a cool idea. I'll have to check it out when the series drops in June 2023.
Well, that's all of the new releases from Seven Seas that I'm looking forward to so far. Chances are that I will be adding more to the TBR pile in the coming year as Seven Seas won't stop announcing new series for 2023 until the summer. Maybe if there are enough new series to talk about I'll make a "Part 2," but for now this is it.
So, what are you looking forward to in 2023? Let me know on Twitter @ThatMangaHunter (if Twitter is still functioning) or below in the comments (whenever I get them to work properly).
(NOTE: release dates are subject to change due to the still ongoing global pandemic and book industry issues. As of this post, the release dates are accurate.)