The legendary manga artist looks to be going back to fantasy adventure in her new serial with a mysterious name.

Back in December, publisher Shogakukan got manga fans’ hearts racing with the announcement that Rumiko Takahashi has a new manga in the works. Even better, this isn’t one of those times when the creator of Inu Yasha, Ranma 1/2, and Urusei Yatsura draws a one-off short story as a change of pace. The upcoming manga is a full-fledged weekly serial, which will run in the pages of the Weekly Shonen Sunday anthology.

After months of waiting, we’ve finally got our first peek at the series, with the official Shonen Sunday Editing Department tweeting a teaser for the magazine’s May 8 edition, in which Takahashi’s new manga will debut.

Mixed in with artwork from other series that will appear in the issue is a man with two-toned hair and red eyes, ostensibly Takahashi’s newest male lead. Also revealed in the image is the manga’s title, Mao, rendered in Latin lettering, with the kanji 仮, which usually means “working title” behind it. However, it’s not clear if this means that the title is currently Mao, though perhaps subject to change before the issue goes on sale, or if Mao (Working Title) is itself the final title.

Mao also shows up on Weekly Shonen Sunday’s website, with the description:

“The place where two worlds intersect. A mysterious adventure with a fateful meeting between a boy and a girl.”

Between that and the hilt of a katana that can be made out at the bottom of the tweeted image, it looks like Takahashi’s new series is going to be a return to Japanese fantasy, a genre which worked out extremely well for her with Inu Yasha, which ran for 12 years.

Getting back to the new manga’s title, in Japanese “Mao,” depending on the kanji used, could be a girl’s name or the word for “devil king,” and Takahashi’s decision to render it in the Latin alphabet could be a deliberate ploy to play up the two possible meanings.

Some people had assumed that Takahashi’s latest work would have a name that starts with an O, thus competing the R.U.M.I.K.O. acronym that’s partially formed by her previous long-form manga (Ranma 1/2, Urusei Yatsura, Maison Ikkoku, Inuyasha, and Kyokai no Rin-ne. However, when asked about the fan theory, Takahashi laughed that “It was all just a string of coincidences. I couldn’t do anything that embarrassingly narcissistic.”

That said, audiences have repeatedly shown themselves to be quite enamored with Takahashi and her work, and since all the above-mentioned Takahashi series have gotten anime adaptations, odds are producers are already thinking about bringing Mao to TV. First, through, there’s the manga itself to look forward to, and we can’t wait.

Sources: Weekly Shonen Sunday, IT Media
Featured image: Twitter/@shonen_sunday
Top image: Weekly Shonen Sunday
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Follow Casey on Twitter, where his love of the Japanese emphatic particle ze is largely thanks to Ranma 1/2.