Category Archives: news

We’re Moving to AllAboutManga.net!

Hi everyone!

You know how I said I wanted to bring All About Manga to its own domain this year? Well, tonight I finally took the plunge! (With the generous help of my super-awesome boyfriend.)

All About Manga is now only at allaboutmanga.net!

Actually, it was all quite sudden, so if you see any kinks that need sorting out, please let us know!

Don’t forget to update your RSS feeds and see you at the new site!

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Webcomics Wednesday: Awesome New Webcomic Discoveries

Wow! I’ve been so lazy about recommending new webcomics for you guys to check out! But then again, I’ve been reading a lot of webcomics so I have TONS of new discoveries to show you.

But first, some webcomics news:

Erika Moen has returned to webcomicking with Bucko, a webcomic drawn by Moen and written by Jeff Parker. It’s a murder mystery with dick and fart jokes, so I imagine it will be quite funny, much like DAR! was.

Michael Jonathan restarted Eros Inc. this past Valentines Day! I am rejoicing because I fell in love with his charming webcomic right as it went on a hiatus and was pretty sad it didn’t update regularly for a number of months. Welcome back, Eros Inc.!

Now onto the newer discoveries…

First of all, if you aren’t reading Faith Erin Hicks’ The Adventures of Superhero Girl, you are missing out! It’s a comical look at superheroes, where a superheroine can be a practical girl-next-door, a nemesis can be a cynical guy on the street and your archenemy tries to steal a job interview from right out under your nose. Hicks is a seasoned comic creator and got her start in webcomicking drawing Demonology 101, which was an early favorite of mine.

Dicebox is an interesting (in a good way) webcomic I stumbled upon. At first I wasn’t sure if it was recommending material, but it is actually quite interesting and beautifully drawn by Jenn Manley Lee. It follows two older female vagabonds who planet hop and get into all sorts of interesting misadventures. I really like the dynamic by the two main characters, they’re married and have that used-to-each-other married couple feel, but there’s still mysteries and secrets they keep from each other to make the story interesting.

Jonny Crossbones is an fun, mystery webcomic, very much in the vein of Hardy Boys novels, but a little more grownup. It’s cute, quirky and well-paced. The comic seems to have just come off a long hiatus, so I’m sure the extra traffic would help encourage creator Les McClaine to update more.

Heading into an old-time-y vein, Oyster War by Ben Towle, is a recently started webcomic about battling oyster pirating in mid-1800’s New England. I really like the way the comic is drawn for some reason. I’m glad it’s not realistic or wrought with super-detailed art. The cartoony look is appealing.

Finally, The Unsounded by Ashley Cope is the best fantasy webcomic I’ve read in ages. Right down to the beautiful art, comedic characters and the presentation. (As you are reading some of the later pages, watch the surrounding website.) I don’t think I can describe the story in a timely sentence or two, but the world-building is fantastic.

Happy webcomic reading, everybody!!

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Riyoko Ikeda Performs at Versailles

I don’t usually post stories like this, but it was too cool to pass up.

As you know, Riyoko Ikeda is the creator of The Rose of Versailles, a manga which is set in the court of Versailles pre-French Revolution and has to be one of the most revered and classic shoujo manga of all time. Ikeda has been at the French mega-comic-con, Angoulême, as a guest of honor these past few days. And apparently singing ditties penned by Queen Marie Antoinette herself, while in full Rococo garb, at the Palace of Versailles itself.

Here’s a excerpt from the Mainichi Daily News article:

Wearing a costume like a woman in the palace at the peak of its flourishing days, Ikeda entertained the audience of some 80 invited guests with her songs, including a piece written by Queen Marie Antoinette, the wife of Louis XVI and a key character in the comic series, at a theater inside the palace.

“I can’t describe enough in words how joyful I am to perform on this stage,” said Ikeda, who studied singing after entering a music college in her 40s.

“I thought I was not brave enough to sing Marie Antoinette’s song in French in front of a French audience, ” she added, drawing laughter from the crowd.

How much cooler can you get than that? My inner history and manga fangirls are dying to have seen this incredible spectacle!

Thanks to Helen McCarthy for tweeting about this super-awesome story.

UPDATE: Here’s a video of Ikeda performing. Pro-tip- if it’s not working in Firefox or another browser, try Internet Explorer.

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Vertical Licenses Princess Knight, Drops of God and No Longer Human Manga

So Deb Aoki, the manga guide for About.com, accidentally let slip tonight that Vertical Inc. licensed Kami no Shizuku (Drops of God) on Twitter after recording a session of ANNCast. Unfortunately she deleted the tweet after realizing the official announcement hadn’t been made yet. Fortunately this spurred Zac Bertschy, Anime News Network’s executive editor, to post the announcement sooner, sending manga fans all over Twitter into a joyous frenzy when they realized Princess Knight was also picked up.

 

And now we can expect the first volumes of Osamu Tezuka’s Princess Knight, Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimito’s Kami no Shizuku and Usumaru Furuya’s No Longer Human to be on shelves this fall.

Twitter is delirious with joy and mentions of the now-infamous Princess Knight Guy from the live ANNCast at Anime Expo 2010.

I was lucky enough to win a bid for the first two Kodansha bilingual editions of Princess Knight last year off of eBay. Despite the fact that the purchase set me back $50, I felt it was well worth my money. No doubt I’ll be dropping more cash for the Vertical edition later this year.

Commence squeeing now.

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Hollywood Gantz Premiere Report

Ughhhh, I don’t want to start off another post by apologizing for my absence, but I’m sure all of you understand that I have gainful employment matters to take care of before I can post sometimes. Making my car payments and being able to pay for groceries is unfortunately more important than blogging. There WILL be more posts very, very soon and that is a PROMISE.

Last week I went to the Gantz movie premiere in Hollywood, which was also broadcast live across the country to other theaters. There isn’t much to say about the Hollywood premiere other than that Patrick Macias of Otaku USA hosted the event, there were tons of screaming fans for the stars of the movie, no one upheld the no photos policy and that Deb Aoki’s About.com article has much better coverage of the witty banter between the stars during the Q&A.

So now that it’s been almost a full week since the Gantz one night event and lots of people have already had their say, here’s what I think about the movie:

It shouldn’t have had Kazunari Ninomiya in it. For one, I’m not a fan of his acting. He was horrible in the live-action movie adaptation of Ooku: The Inner Chambers, where he had the emotional variations of a stone.(Seriously, half the charm of a Fumi Yoshinaga manga is the way she draws people’s emotions. Acting fail.) Gantz was better, but only because Ninomiya could smile like a creepster at the appropriate moments. Second, I’m pretty sure the fact that Ninomiya is a popular idol, singer and actor under the management of Johnny’s Entertainment is the reason why Gantz became a PG-13 summer action flick instead of the gory NC-17 mess it was supposed to be. Idols have carefully crafted images to maintain after all.

Admittedly, I haven’t read the Gantz manga yet and I didn’t go to the premiere expecting to care about the movie, but talking to Deb Aoki of About.com and flipping through a copy she had, I wanted the movie to have tits, gore and a dog in it. A dog. Who left out the dog? That was a bad choice and I am mad at them.

Which brings me to the point that watching the movie did make me interested in the manga. I managed to get past the bad dubbing, where the leads sounded like ESL students and all the background characters sounded like they were from the Bronx, and see the enjoyable movie that lay beneath. I probably would have been creeped out to death by guts flying everywhere in movie form, but in manga, I find that kind of stuff bearable. There were also some really great aliens that the people under the control of Gantz (that big black ball, in case you didn’t know) had to face. The first set, ugly looking aliens with green hair weren’t all that great, but the second alien was a smiling plastic robot with a boom box who made great faces despite the whole plastic face thing. The third was a set of possessed Buddhist statues that had the essence of the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who at first, sneaking up on enemies while they weren’t looking. Also the idea of a giant Nio or thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara statues as villains is just cool to me.

In essence, Gantz really just committed the same error a lot of action films have–not leaving enough time for the audience to care about the characters, why they’re fighting and how they die. I’m not entirely sure why this happens, since I’m pretty sure a normal scene developing the characters must cost a lot less than a CGI-ed action scene, but the attractive actors will spur movie-goers into shelling out the cash anyway.

So in other words, Gantz is an entertaining movie. But if you’re a die hard fan of the manga, you’re going to be disappointed by the cheesy idol flick. If you’re an idol fan, then you’ll be just fine. Everyone, wait for the DVD release because the subtitled version should be better than the dubbed premiere for sure.

And sorry idol fans, but Kenichi Matsuyama, the other star of the film, is so much more fine than Ninomiya.

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Get Thee to a Borders!

Sorry for the super-shitty way I’ve been NOT posting on this blog. The past couple weeks have resulted in a mess of SO BUSY which caused a major downfall of my “get-stuff-done” ethic. I plan to correct this by not having any other choice but to get stuff done before the crazy whirlwind of copy-edits is flung my way next week. Allons-y!

No doubt you’ve heard some inklings of the bad tides Borders is headed into. Publishing blogs are screaming the news on Twitter every couple of hours about publishers demanding payments from the troubled mass bookseller so hard that it’s even made it to the Yahoo! front page. This morning was met with the news that Diamond Book Distributors is freezing it’s shipments to the company until Borders brings it’s account into good standing. What does that mean? No new manga at Borders for possibly a very, very long time. Shit.

Now I know it’s kind of hard to back up a massive book chain sometimes, but Borders is kind of the stuff that keeps the manga industry alive and kicking. According to Robert’s Corner Anime Blog (and presumably he got his findings from ICv2’s article), Borders’ manga sales make up for about 20% of new manga sales. If we lose Borders as a major manga bookseller, I’m going to go ahead and predict that manga publishers are going to cut down on their output. Why? Because Borders devoted a lot of shelf space to manga and now publishers will have to rely on Barnes & Noble, who gives manga less bookshelf space and won’t buy most adult-oriented titles, to reach a wide audience.

Borders buys tons of yaoi and BL titles, allowing the average fujoshi to get their kicks easily. I don’t think I’ve seen BL on Barnes & Noble shelves since they realized just what was under all that plastic wrap was making some uptight parents mad. Borders is also pretty good about stocking mature titles. I found Sundome and Ayako at Borders recently. I almost never find Vertical Inc. titles at Barnes & Noble. But basically, without Borders, companies like DMP won’t be able to sell their product as well. Obviously, if they can’t sell mature titles to major booksellers, they’re going to stop licensing mature titles. I’ve already seen this happen when a mature title is mentioned as a possible license. Can’t sell it at certain large stores? Pass! And Barnes & Noble won’t start giving more space to manga for one painfully obvious reason: manga aisle hobos. For every manga that inconsiderate fans read in the aisles instead of just buying, Barnes & Noble loses 2-3 sales on a guestimated average. (Manga aisle hobos never stop at reading one book, I’ve noticed.) Why should Barnes & Noble devote more space to books that are just going to be used as a library instead of purchased? I wouldn’t.

But what about online retailers and comic book stores? Well, online retail might be able to pick up the slack, but when you think about younger readers who don’t have their own disposable income or a credit card of their own or mommy and daddy’s permission to buy online, it’s clear that crucial audience will be cut off and will likely turn to scanlations. Comic book shops are hit and miss. I’ve seen shops with gloriously large manga sections and everything a manga lover could ever want. But I’ve seen plenty more comic shops were manga is a throwaway section and they only buy new stock from the stuff the staff prefers to read. This is usually great for people who like old manga, niche stuff, art manga or almost anything by Vertical, but if you’re looking to get your next volume of Naruto or Bleach, you’re not going to find all 60+ volumes on the shelves. Nor are you going to find your shoujo titles or yaoi. Why? Because small retailers don’t care and because manga takes up way more space than any of the single issues or trade paperbacks out there. And 40 copies of the latest Batman is going to sell lots faster than the same number of Vampire Knight volumes. Yaoi? BL? Probably not going to touch the stuff out of hard-headed principle.

The result of a Borders collapse and a higher demand for physical manga sellers can probably be met by shops that focus more seriously on selling all kinds of manga, but here’s why that won’t happen: It takes serious cash to build up that kind of stock. It would also take a lot of people opening up physical manga-focused bookstores around the country to fill in the gaps left by Borders and that will take too much time for manga publishers to quickly ease the blow. There will probably be more layoffs and monthly output will be slashed in half. Smaller publishers will crumble or be shut down by parent companies. Again.

The only possible bright spot? Publishers will switch more over to digital formats because there just won’t be space for physical books nor will there be the money to pay the printers.

If you haven’t been able to tell, it’s not fun writing these apocalyptic predictions for the U.S. manga publishing biz. We should all be rejoicing in happier news like new licenses, shiny digital releases and fledgling publishers who promise to bring over manga we’ve never seen before. But this is the sad truth: people just don’t read books like they used to. Perhaps because of large chains like Borders have made books too easy to find in multitude & taken away the joy of finding a treasure in a smaller shop, perhaps because the cost of books are so high, perhaps because America has sucked at making reading enjoyable for a large number of people through its education system. The recession is obviously a factor, but a book addiction remains a relatively cheap hobby that will probably still cost less than a jacked-up cable TV package. The big screen TV just takes up less space.

But I have a solution, at least for now. The only trick is getting enough people to do it.

I propose that everyone who reads this blog goes into a Borders sometime in the very near future (because Borders is going to eventually sell out of it’s remaining stock) and buys at least one manga or graphic novel. As you are purchasing your comic book of choice, tell the person ringing up their purchase(s) that you are buying this graphic novel(s) in the hopes that Borders will be able to remain in business and restore their good standing with Diamond Book Distributors soon. If possible tell this to a store manager or ask an employee to pass the message to one. Buy more than one comic book if you can. And, if you’re receiving decent service, tell the employees that you’re doing this in the hopes that they can keep their jobs.

If you’re worried about the money you might be spending, here have some coupons and a 5 books for the price of 4. Obviously you should try to limit the use of those coupons as allowing Borders to get the maximum profit from your purchase will benefit them more in the end. But it’s an incentive to do it if you’re on the edge about this due to cash problems.

I want a full report from all my readers of whether or not you plan to do this and if you do plan on doing this soon, what you bought and the reactions you received.

As for myself, I’m getting down to my nearest Borders after I have lunch and a shower. Hope I can find Ooku vol. 5 there and some other good manga that my local comic book shops never stock.

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Square Enix Launches Online Manga Store

Hey everyone, I just got this press release from Square Enix and thought I’d share. Normally I wouldn’t post just straight PR copy, but I don’t have the time to really sit and analyze it what with deadlines looming and packing for my trip tomorrow.

What I can comment on is that a) the price seems a little high to me, although I feel like $5.99 is around the digital manga industry standard price…And it’s only a SALE price? You mean it’s going to be higher than that normally? And b) you have to install something onto your computer in order to view the  e-books, which just seems very old-tech to me.

But still, this is just their launch, so perhaps Square Enix will figure out that perhaps they need to make some more changes. Like making the manga available on e-readers for that price…I hope manga publishers will soon recognize that manga buyers are going to want to KEEP their digital copies around.

Please let me know what you think in the comments section! (It looks like they’re bringing Pandora Hearts and Bamboo Blade out in January.)

SQUARE ENIX LAUNCHES ONLINE MANGA STORE

Market-leading titles including Fullmetal Alchemist and Soul Eater

Now Available Via Digital Distribution

Special Sale Price Now Available for a Limited Time

LOS ANGELES (Dec. 17, 2010) – Square Enix, Inc., the publisher of SQUARE ENIX® interactive entertainment products in North America, today announced the launch of its online manga store, where users and fans can view electronic editions of popular Square Enix manga series, such as Fullmetal Alchemist® and Soul Eater®. Users can access the store through the SQUARE ENIX MEMBERS website, a free-to-register membership site operated by local subsidiaries of Square Enix (http://publications.na.square-enix.com/na/us/top).

Through the new service, SQUARE ENIX aims to provide a global audience with easy access to localized versions of its popular manga titles through streaming. Also, through cooperation with regional localization/publishing companies, SQUARE ENIX will endeavor to promote both print and online versions of its manga titles globally. Furthermore, it is the company’s aim for the official online distribution service to serve as a deterrent against illegal downloading and piracy.

Anchored by established series in the United States, the online distribution service will continue to provide manga titles that will appeal to readers of the region (further details outlined below). Starting today, the initial lineup in the United States will be four titles, including Fullmetal Alchemist and Soul Eater, available at the special sale price of $5.99 for a limited time. The first update is scheduled for January 11, 2011. New titles will be added bi-monthly after January.

The community services offered through the SQUARE ENIX MEMBERS website will not only allow members to enjoy manga titles, but also supply a public forum where fans can provide commentary and exchange opinions about their favorite series. The site will also have special offers where members can download free wallpapers. Non-members can get a taste of the Japanese manga experience as well through free previews of the first chapters from each of the available titles.

Square Enix is dedicated to creating new entertainment experiences via online communities, shopping sites and other Internet-based business operations, and digital distribution of manga is one such endeavor toward that goal. The company plans to continue delivering a wide variety of content to an expanding global customer base through numerous outlets and multiple forms of media.

For details on the manga distribution service in the United States, please refer to the following:

Online Manga Store Details

Service Launch December 17, 2010
Fees and Pricing Special Launch Sale Price: $5.99 Note: Access to the online manga store requires registration with the SQUARE ENIX MEMBERS service (registration free of charge). Current membership: over 1,700,000 members worldwide (as of December 1, 2010).
Access to the free previews available on the preview site does not require SQUARE ENIX MEMBERS registration. Payment method is credit card only.
System Requirements Supported Operating Systems / Browsers Windows XP / Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 or above, Firefox 3.x Windows Vista / Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 or above, Firefox 3.x, Safari 3.x Note: The newest Adobe Flash Player plug-in (version 10 or above) is required for all browsers. Display 1024 x 768 resolution or higher Internet Connection ADSL or faster
Official URL http://publications.na.square-enix.com/na/us/top

About SQUARE ENIX MEMBERS

SQUARE ENIX MEMBERS is Square Enix’s free-to-register membership website. It currently has over 1.7 million members worldwide (as of December 1, 2010). Members have access to various contents based on Square Enix titles. Members can create their own profile page and interact with other members. (http://member.square-enix.com/na/)

About Square Enix, Inc.

Square Enix, Inc. develops, publishes, distributes and licenses SQUARE ENIX®, EIDOS® and TAITO® branded entertainment content throughout the Americas as part of the Square Enix Group. The Square Enix Group operates a global network of leading development studios and boasts a valuable portfolio of intellectual property, including: FINAL FANTASY®, which has sold over 97 million units worldwide; DRAGON QUEST®, which has sold over 54 million units worldwide; TOMB RAIDER®, which has sold over 35 million units worldwide; and the legendary SPACE INVADERS®. Square Enix, Inc. is a U.S.-based, wholly-owned subsidiary of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd.

More information on Square Enix, Inc. can be found at http://www.square-enix.com/na/.

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