Tag Archives: Manga Factory

Manga Factory Starts a New Tour Division–Why?

Last week fledgling manga publisher Manga Factory announced that they were offering a 6-day tour to Japan called the “Escape to Tokyo” tour that begins next month.

All I have to say is: “Dear Manga Factory, why would you do this to yourselves?”

Let me explain. My mother’s owned her own travel agency for decades and regularly does group trips that I accompany her on. Group trips are small nightmares. First there’s the planning aspect of things: what do you do, where do you go kind of stuff. It seems like Manga Factory has that part down, so good for them. Then there’s the getting people to fill up your space (which you have hopefully gotten from the hotels and airline way ahead of time), which takes lots of time. Many, many months, in fact, because it takes time for payments to process and to get various visas, etc. This “Escape to Tokyo” tour is leaving in a month. Eeeeeeep.Not only that, but if you don’t fill your space by certain dates, the hotels and airlines can take them away from you. Last minute seats are usually much more expensive too.

Let’s add in the facts that a) we’re in an awful economy and b) otaku usually don’t have a lot of money. Just how is this tour division going to get it’s legs off the ground? Just how is their parent company going to get it’s legs off the ground if this tour doesn’t go as well as they’ve planned?

I don’t really want to be too pessimistic here. There may be legitimate reasons for Manga Factory to hold this tour. Perhaps a large number of their staff are going to Japan for business and/or pleasure and they thought they’d do a little side business while they were there. Could drum them up some money. They may have started this idea while Aurora was still going and wanted to continue it at their new company. OK, but that’s mere speculation on my part and they could be totally playing this by ear.

They also have pretty competitive prices with their biggest rival, Digital Manga Publishing‘s Pop Japan Travel (who is also running a tour around the Tokyo Game Show.) While Pop Japan Travel’s tour is cheaper and more customizable, Manga Factory’s tour is slightly longer and offers a lot of things that Pop Japan Travel’s tour doesn’t such as butler cafes, drag queen shows and an excursion to Cosplay Festa. Actually, if I had the choice I’d go for Manga Factory’s tour, just because I’ve been to Japan before and seen most of the Tokyo sights I want to see. However, if I was going for my first time, I’d certainly want to go see more of the traditional sights that Pop Japan offers instead of focusing solely on otaku-related stuff. Manga Factory doesn’t take you anywhere interesting in that sense, until you have a free day on day 7. Every preceding day is otaku sights, otaku sights and host clubs. It’s actually a pretty rigorous tour in that sense. If this were a group run by my mother, there would be free time at the beginning of the trip to get over the nasty jet lag.

Still, this tour could be successful for Manga Factory (I’m hoping it is,) except for one issue: THERE’S ONLY ONE MONTH UNTIL THE TOUR!!!

I don’t know how many spots they have to fill, but boy am I hoping it’s a really really small number… Taking a trip overseas is expensive and even people wealthier than your average American otaku need time to think about making such a big decision. Next time, please give everyone much more than a month to sign up for your tour.

Best of luck, Manga Factory. I really want your tour to succeed and even if it doesn’t, I want you to succeed as a publisher.  I’m just a blogger and a freelancer who happens to be familiar with the travel industry.

P.S. I really hope you’re not using JTB for your Ghibli museum extension because… they aren’t the greatest way to take your precious clients there. I had a fairly bad experience when I went with them and then I found out I could just buy the tickets at Lawson instead. (Seriously, they carted us around Tokyo for an hour before they took us to a train station where we waited for another hour to meet our tour guide who did absolutely nothing except take us there. Don’t use JTB for otaku stuff.)

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Anime Expo 2010: Day One

Whoooo! Anime Expo time! Anime Expo is my home con, the one I’ve been going to through thick or through thin since I started going to cons, so I’m pretty used to the landscape. Although it just seems to me that the dealer’s room just gets bigger and bigger each year…

I was only at the con a short time today due to a night class I’m taking and needing to do important things this morning, but here are my highlights of the day.

HIGHLIGHTS:
Bandai Industry Panel- The big news here is that Bandai Entertainment has licensed K-On!, the anime about a musical group of adorable high school girls. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. Bandai is also forming a group of voice actresses/singers to make up the “After School Tea Time” band in the show, much like they did with the ASOS Brigade for their release of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Yeah.

Attendees were also treated to clips of The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan and Nyoro~n Churuya-san, trailers of Bandai’s various Gundam anime and other anime. We also got to hear Christina Vee sing two songs. I’ve personally never heard her sing before, but I figured she must have been sick or something because I wasn’t impressed.

DMP Industry Panel- I was only expecting to go for half of the DMP panel because of my class, but I decided to stay all the way through and it was worth it! They announced a slew of new licenses and gave us some new insight into Emanga.com, their supposed crowdsourcing manga project and a collaboration with Viz.

Their new licenses include:  Gochisosama by CJ Michalski, Boku no Shiru Anata no Hanashi by Tsuta Suzuki, Sabaku no Oujisama by Shushushu Sakurai, Houou Gakuen Misoragumi by Aki Arata, Border and Kusatta Kyo Shino Houteishiki by Kazuma Kodaka, Demon City Shinjuku by Hideyuki Kikuchi, Coundown 7 Days and Replica by Kemuri Karakara

Emanga.com has increased it’s rental times from three days to seven, bringing in gift cards (if you’ve got some yaoi-loving friends… what a perfect gift!), adding at least 30 new titles and including ten titles that will be in both Korean and Chinese! How cool! -Edit: I forgot to include (being rather tired last night) that Nao Yazawa, the creator of Wedding Peach, is creating an exclusive manga for Emanga.com called Mizuki. There is also another manga in the early development stages called Moon & Blood. You can catch Yazawa on her Twitter. She speaks English very very well.-

DMP also announced that they’ll be distributing limited edition Naruto animation cels. But wait, you say, isn’t Naruto animated digitally? Doesn’t Viz own the U.S. rights to Naruto? Like I said earlier, Viz (and Studio Pierrot) are allowing DMP to sell these hand-painted cels. They’re extremely limited in quality so if you are a rabid Naruto fan who MUST have these, catch the DMP booth at Anime Expo or the Viz booth at San Diego Comic-Con.

During the panel, Gia Manry of Anime News Network asked whether the representatives present could elaborate more on a project that would utilize scanlators to crowdsource the manga translation process and add 1000+ manga online legally. Michelle Mauk explained that the project was a massive undertaking, which was still in the planning stages, and that the concept had been mistaken by many bloggers and news sites. Mauk said that DMP was currently talking with their translators and other staff in order to see what could be done.  It seems to me much like Stu Levy’s comments on a December 2009 TOKYOPOP Insider webcast stating that he would work with scanlators, an idea that was quickly forgotten about and tossed out the window.

-Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa visits Anime Expo- DMP’s head of sales caught this image of Villaraigosa entering the exhibit hall (DMP’s booth is right at the front.) I wasn’t there at the time, but I certainly don’t envy anyone who was. Villaraigosa has a sort of sordid past and, well, the dealer’s room was already crowded enough without him and all the entourage/paparazzi/gawkers making it worse. Many who saw the mayor or pictures of him at the con wondered if the SPJA charged him admission and if he used tax-payer money to get in.

-If you looking for good deals on manga, there’s plenty of dealers that are selling manga for $5, including DMP and the newly-formed Manga Factory. I personally liberated quite a few CMX manga and some old Deux and Aurora titles before they disappeared from the racks completely. I also managed to find volume 1 of TOKYOPOP’s Beck manga, a license that was lost to Kodansha.

-I also saw this hilarious Hetalia shirt, which will give me the opportunity to share some excellent personal news with you. After contributing to TOKYOPOP’s upcoming release of Axis Powers: Hetalia, I have been declared the editor of the next volume! In the office that usually means I’ll be editor in perpetuity of the title until I’m no longer working for TP or the series is over. -EDIT: I AM A DUMB BUTT. There was a misunderstanding and I’m not the official editor of Hetalia, I am just working on PART of the editorial process again. DURHUR. I am little bit sad that I’m not the editor, but I know Cindy Suzuki will do an excellent job. Sorry for being a dork and bragging about it left and right! The next sentence is still valid however.- I am personally excited because I just *LOVE* Hetalia. I can’t wait to work on it again!

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Former Aurora Publishing Employees Start Manga Factory

Just when I thought the manga publishing industry was waiting for another awful blow, the industry gets a leg up instead!

Aurora Publishing was supposedly put on sale last month by it’s Japanese subsidiary Ohzora Publishing, but Aurora’s former staffers have now opened up Manga Factory completely free of Ohzora.

The new company is selling old Aurora manga on their website and at Anime Expo this week, where they will have a booth in the Exhibit Hall.

The company is also selling it’s first new title, Teen Apocalypse: Guilstein, in the Amazon Kindle store. The company website states that they will “also provide digital and print production services, as well as mobile device development for iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle and more.” Will the company put more effort into digital distribution than print? It remains to be seen, but with their first title only available online, my bet is on digital.

I am personally looking forward to seeing what Manga Factory brings to the table and excited to hear that from the ashes of one company, another can arise. The best of luck to Manga Factory!

For more imformation on Manga Factory, check out their newsletter and the Anime News Network’s post.

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