We're happy to break the news that the next English language publication of Kazuo Umezu's work will be his 1967 series, Cat Eyed Boy! In Japanese the title is 猫目小僧 (Nekome Kozou). (EDIT: Now I see that Slightly Biased Manga sort of beat us to it last week. Damn you!)
I had informally heard this series kicked around as a next possibility, but recently saw it confirmed with the addition of listings on Amazon for Volume 1 and Volume 2!
From the Amazon description:
"Cat-Eyed Boy is a half-human, half-monster child who mostly resembles a human, and therefore cannot live in the demon world. He lives hidden in the shadows of the human world, hated by both demons and humans. But wherever he goes, awful events occur. Humans interact with demons, but for the most part the humans that appear to act more evil than the monsters.
Cat-Eyed Boy acts like Trickster, saving the innocent and helping the wicked receive the punishment that fate metes out. The stories are mostly tales of revenge and retribution for the evil acts people do. The series is broken into 11 individual stories, full of extremely grotesque and disturbing images."
Overgrown Nekome Kozou cosplayer.
It's still unclear exactly what the book will look like, but I'm assuming it'll be under the Viz Signature imprint (like the Gyo/Uzumaki reprints, and Drifting Classroom were). Amazon lists both volumes as being released on JUNE 18, 2008.
More interestingly, it shows Volumes 1 at a hefty 544 pages, and Volume 2 at 496 pages. Hot damn. This begs the question of if Viz is going to be moving toward presenting more titles (including Umezu classics?) in the Tekkon Kinkreet or Azumanga Daioh gigantic format.
All hail the cat king.
While unconfirmed, I've heard the editor will be Ian Robertson (who is a longtime Viz-er and also edited Tezuka's Phoenix series, among others). While it's slightly disappointing that the next Kazuo Umezu title isn't Fourteen or Left Hand of God, Right Hand of the Devil-- this more classic manga from Umezu is a welcome addition to an already impressive line-up for 2008. Nice work, Viz!
PS: For your further viewing pleasure, the opening & ending credits of the original Nekome Kozou anime: