Johnny O’Bryant III doesn’t fit the bill of a stereotypical otaku: he’s a 23-year-old professional basketball player who recently signed with Charlotte Hornets and has previously played for the Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets.
In an interview with Bleeding Cool, he talked about how he got the idea for a digital manga magazine while watching anime on a plane ride, commenting that he, “…thought to myself there isn’t a lot of diversity in anime or manga.”
He spent three years working on Monthly Hype: the Urban Otaku, which he aims to become, “the go-to place for those otaku feeling unheard or unrepresented in manga and anime.” The first issue is launching this July and will feature seven series from different genres. All of the manga are English-original and are created by indie creators.
The flagship title Primus 7 has been O’Bryant’s passion project for the past two years. O’Bryant commented how the series was originally envisioned as a web anime, and that he has teamed up with screenwriter George Watson and Adventurous Minds Studio for the project. However, the English-original manga is being launched first in order to create a fan base for the series.
It’s an exciting project, and with anime and manga growing in international popularity every year, we’re sure to see more international projects like Monthly Hype: the Urban Otaku get created to appeal different fans.
You can read O’Bryant’s full interview on Bleeding Cool.