Tag Archives: Sailor Moon

What Manga Do You Want The Most?

Manga licensing is a tricky business. There are companies that won’t work with other companies, titles that are too expensive to reasonably bring over the U.S., mangaka who are wary about having their work brought to an English-speaking audience and many other things to consider before licensing a title for the finicky U.S. market. It’s especially hard to judge demand when there are so many people reading scanlations. Is this title popular enough despite all those people who’ve already read it for free? Will fans devote their money to a manga regardless? It’s hard to judge a risky market like manga publishing sometimes. The best that can be done sometimes is to listen to their demands, but that might not always be the easiest thing to do because of all the restrictions mentioned above.

But what if we pretended to wipe the slate clean and have our own publishing companies for a moment? You’re given the opportunity to license any two manga titles that you wanted to, regardless of price, publisher politics or the relative lack of demand for the titles you pick. What would you license?

Rose of Versailles? Sailor Moon? Jungle Emperor Leo? What are you dying to publish the most?

I’ve tried to give the subject matter a lot of thought. It’s really hard to pick just two titles because there’s probably two dozen on my mental shortlist. Do I really want this one over this other one? I’m not sure, because I’d probably buy either in an instant.

But I’ve decided. I would want to bring over Osamu Tezuka’s Nana-iro Inko (Rainbow Parakeet), which I’ve mentioned wanting before, and Saint Oniisan (Saint Young Men) by Hikaru Nakamura.

Had I a chance to bring over a third title, I would have probably picked Moto Hagio’s A Cruel God Reigns, but I think the above two titles would have to be my first two picks. Nana-iro Inko because it sounds like a fun, under-estimated Tezuka title and Saint Oniisan because I read it (when I felt less guilty about scanlations) and loved it so much. (I would buy for myself in an instant and recommend it to all my friends who have a good sense of humor about religion.) It would break my heart to never ever see either title in English, in my lifetime. (Whereas I just want to see more of Moto Hagio’s work and had a hard time picking between A Cruel God Reigns and Poe no Ichizoku.)

So I’ll ask again: If you could have any two titles published in your language, regardless of any extenuating circumstances, what would those two titles be?

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Kodansha USA Becomes More Than a Deadbeat Publisher

It was made public a few days ago that Kodansha USA would be having a launch event today at the NYC Kinokuniya store. Manga fans across the internet were abuzz with excitement and demands that the publisher print what they want or else. I personally set my licensing announcement bar pretty low. All I hoped for was a new volume of manga that had never before been published in English and I’m happy to say that Kodansha  USA delivered that and more!

Lissa Pattillo of Kuriousity has a great comprehensive post up, but I’ll give you the basics. (Also, Scott VonSchilling did a great job of livetweeting the event.)

Kodansha USA will be publishing these former Del Rey titles beginning in May 2011:

Arisa, Fairy Tail, Negima!, Ninja  Girls, Shugo Chara!, Air Gear, Negima?! Neo, Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, The Wallflower, I am Here!

Many of these titles already have another volume listed for release later in the summer, so if you’re particularly worried that Kodansha USA is going to publish one volume more and then ignore the series to focus on others, that won’t be the case. It seems like Kodansha USA has carefully prepared which series it was going to focus on first and will be devoted to giving them a bi-monthly release schedule.

On top of that, Kodansha USA listed a small wealth of new titles to be published (also following a bi-monthly release schedule) including: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Monster Hunter Orage, Deltora Quest, The Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Mardock Scramble, Animal Land, Bloody Monday and Cage of Eden.

Kodansha USA also rescued two titles- GON from CMX and Until the Full Moon from Broccoli Books. Both are series I’ve heard good things about, so I am excited to hear that I’ll get to try them out. Another interesting announcement was that CLAMP favorites Tsubasa and XXXholic would be continued to be published under the Del Rey brand. Perhaps a concession to Del Rey for handing over their entire manga publishing line?

Michelle Smith of Soliloquy in Blue said on Twitter that this is probably the best manga industry news we’ve seen all year. I’m inclined to agree. Hearing that Del Rey’s manga line up was lost to a sort of deadbeat publisher was awful news, but Kodansha USA has now delivered and is on it’s way to becoming a more serious manga publisher. With the loss of multiple other companies this year, the Del Rey/Kodansha USA switch has now turned into a win. In six months, there will now be a bevy of new manga on the shelves and that’s more than enough to make me happy. I’m not terribly interested in any of the titles announced yet, but there is hope for the future and I will be sure to take a look at what’s coming out once I start seeing Kodansha USA at my favorite booksellers.

You may remember that I commented about what Kodansha USA should do next to turn mistrustful fans back into loving fans a few months ago. I asked simply that Kodansha USA hold some kind of informational event ASAP, that they at least publish one new volume of never-before-been-published manga, that they license something big and that they blow our minds. They’ve now delivered on three out of four of those requests. (Kodansha USA rep Dallas Middaugh, formerly of Del Rey Manga, said that they had nothing to say about Sailor Moon yet.) Once again, I’m awfully pleased with them, but I still have some potential next steps:

1. Shape up the website:

This isn’t a potential so much as a necessity. Right now Kodansha USA’s website is one page. To say it is sparse is a vast understatement. Now it’s been updated with the news, but it looks very unprofessional. Once cover designs start coming in, build a proper website with listings of the summer releases and a company news blog. Once that’s done, start on social media, get a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Even if there’s nothing to post now, at least it’s there to play with in the future. Kodansha USA also might want to start looking into digital publishing

2. License something big:

So far, a few of the titles taken from Del Rey have hit the New York Time’s best sellers list, but it would really help establish the company further if an extremely popular title was published. Again, Sailor Moon is a prime candidate, but something already popular amongst U.S. fans would also work. Something with a large enough and loving enough fanbase that there will be sales despite pre-existing scanlations. There are too many well-known titles in Kodansha’s catalog to really pick a few myself and it’s difficult to determine what will spur good sales, but I’m sure Kodansha USA can fish around for something good.

3. Keep announcing licenses:

I imagine the next reasonable time for license announcements would be summer, right when big cons like Otakon, Anime Expo and San Diego Comic Con roll around. Having Kodansha USA at any of these events would be ideal, not only to promote the company and the new releases, but to assure fans that the company isn’t just sticking to what it’s already picked up. Plus, it will be good for Kodansha USA to keep its name in the news. If they could do something like bring over a popular mangaka, that would be even better. (Although I wouldn’t count on it.)

Best of luck to Kodansha USA. I can’t wait to pick up some titles and check out their editorial style!

What are you hoping to see from Kodansha USA next?

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Del Rey Folds; Kodansha USA to Take on Their Titles

If you pay attention to manga news at all, you’ve probably heard that the Del Rey Manga imprint has folded and Kodansha USA will be taking over on a title-by-title basis. The manga blogging community has been sharing the news as fast as it possibly can. Melinda Beasi was the first to post after Deb Aoki broke the news over Twitter.

Some are saying this is no surprise after it was revealed that Del Rey had no new volumes being released after November 2010.

While it certainly feels a bit upsetting, there is hope for the future of your favorite manga being published by Del Rey. For one, it seems like Kodansha might be getting serious. But at the same time, Kodansha USA has an awful publishing track record, having only done re-releases of Akira that were no different from the old Dark Horse version.

No doubt that right now Kodansha is looking to get their shit in order and isn’t thinking like an American fan who might be grieving at what they see as a loss. Here are some suggestions for them to transition a little bit more smoothly and ease the minds of fans…

1. Do a Q&A panel at NYAF– It seems Kodansha has pulled their panel at NYAF this weekend, which has caused more panic in fans than understanding. Most likely, the people at Kodansha USA feel like they just don’t have anything to tell their fans yet. Forget that. Turn off the PR speak and turn it into a Q&A panel and beginning sharing the details behind this move. If it’s possible, tell the fans when they can start to expect new Kodansha releases, even if specific titles aren’t set in stone yet. It’ll assuage manga fans fears that Kodansha is just a giant corporation toying with their feelings. I’m sure that NYAF will be more than happy to prioritize getting a Kodansha panel back up, so do it ASAP! (And if NYAF is no longer a possibility, I suggest finding the next large anime con and setting up a panel immediately.)

2. Actually publish something new- I’m pretty sure that most manga fans would breathe a sigh of relief if they heard Kodansha was releasing a new volume of an old series or a new title at all. This one is pretty simple, so my suggestion to Kodansha is that you work on this first. Just name one new, never-before-published-in-America volume of manga and when it will be published. If Kodansha wants to keep all the attention it’s getting right now, try and do this before the end of October. The end of the year at the most. Once we get into 2011 and we STILL haven’t heard a single peep from the company, fans will not think well of Kodansha USA at all. My guess is that this change has been relatively long in coming, so Kodansha must have an idea what’s going to be published first and foremost by now.

3. Make a big splash- Ever since Kodansha started pulling the licenses of their titles from American manga publishers, Kodansha has been much like Cuba–everyone else can get the cigars, but Americans can’t. There are many fantastic titles hidden in the Kodansha vaults, so please, Kodansha, don’t keep all the top notch Cohibas locked away in a drawer. Publish Sailor Moon or another popular title that fans have been clamoring for and our attention will be solidly fixed on Kodansha. I know this goes against the previous suggestion, but if it’s done in tandem, I think it could really work well for Kodansha.

There are, no doubt, more things Kodansha could do at this point, but these are what the company needs to do in order to show us it’s not just for show.

Here’s some titles I think Kodansha should publish as soon as possible…

Sailor Moon Omnibus– Omnibi are a great way to get a re-release out to the masses. Plus Sailor Moon is old enough that while many fans think of it fondly, there are plenty more fans who have NEVER gotten the chance to read it, but have probably heard so much about it. Really a no brainer.

Hataraki Man Well, Kodansha (or at least the English-language site for the Japanese side of things) thinks this manga is good enough to be profiled on the site! I personally love this manga, so this suggestion is a tad bit biased, but the shoujo manga that Del Rey published was usually well-received and this is just a tad bit more mature…

Hajime no Ippo or Ashita no Joe– Kodansha, this is your chance to show us the classics that we always hear about in manga. These two get referenced left and right in manga. I know sports manga doesn’t have the best track record, but perhaps these two are good enough to change the minds of US manga fans everywhere. I know I’d certainly be curious since I can think of about 10 different manga that have mentioned Ashita no Joe off the top of my head. (There are more, I just know it.)

Saint Young Men I can tell you right now that a number of people think this manga is too controversial for the US just because it portrays Jesus (despite the fact that it’s pretty tame, I know.) Controversy tends to be a great bookseller, so surprise us all and take a leap of faith. I’m sure your company will get tons of exposure and I’m sure that’s something Kodansha could use right now.

One last bit of advice, Kodansha. Just blow our minds RIGHT NOW and we will be your manga-buying slaves for a long, long time. Right now you’ve nothing to lose by being quick, but you’ll lose a lot by being lazy or paranoid about what you can tell us yet. This is the time for a fast and loose game.

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10 Years of Lovin’ Manga

I just realized the other day that my 10th anniversary of being a manga fan passed without me realizing it. (Sort of, my birthday was also that day and I certainly didn’t forget that.)

When I got into manga, I was already watching Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z on Toonami whenever I went to visit my dad, but I hadn’t really learned the difference between it and all the rest of the shows on Cartoon Network. Then I had my Bat Mitzvah and my parents took me on an fateful six week long trip to England, Greece, Turkey, Israel and Egypt.

Thus, it was on a Nile river cruise where I met a Japanese-American girl with a copy of Animerica Extra. Being the only two people on board of the same age, we quickly bonded and I fell head over heels for Fushigi Yugi. So much so that at the end of our trip, I purposefully stumbled upon a comic book store in London and made my dad buy me a copy.

Now that I think about it, some of the content in that magazine wasn’t really appropriate for a freshly minted 13 year-old girl (Video Girl Ai, anyone?), but I didn’t care as long as there was Fushigi Yugi involved. That Hotohori sure was dreamy.

If you’d told me then that I would be working in the manga industry in ten years, I probably would have squealed with fangirlish glee. Back then I didn’t even KNOW there was really a job to be had working on this stuff. (Back then, perusing the Viz catalog of stuff I couldn’t afford to buy and trying to copy the drawing style of Yuu Watase was as good as it got for me.)

Ten years and thousands of dollars later and I can honestly say I’m still hooked.

Any interesting stories about how you got into manga, dear readers?

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Anime Expo 2010: Day Two!

Phew! I’m a little behind on my AX reports, as you can tell. It was such a crazy-busy weekend for me that it couldn’t be helped and now I’m sick as a dog. (I’m sure it’s the Fourth of July’s fault, not the con’s. Stupid America day. Haha.)

I started the day off with the TOKYOPOP panel, run by my mentors  Lillian Diaz-Przybyl and Cindy Suzuki, as well as an intern. They had a few announcements such as the new Zinio online catalog, TP on OverDrive for library systems, the first two volumes of Demon Sacred being priced at $5.99 each. New license announcements included: Kirameki Gingacho Shotengai (The Stellar Six of Gingacho) by Yuuki Fujimoto, Eensy Weensy Monster by Masami Tsuda (the creator of Kare Kano), Sorairo Kaigen by Nanpei Yamada, Gakuen Heaven Endo ~Calling You~ and Gakuen Heaven Shichijo ~SWEET SWEET DARLING!~ by You Higuri, Stray Cat by Halco, Cabin in the Woods: Land of the Rising Terror written by TP editor Troy Lewter, Warau Kanako-sama (The Secrets of Lady Kanako) by Ririko Tsujita and Lives by Masayuki Taguchi.

Lillian also revealed while answering a fan’s question that she knows who has the license to the former TOKYOPOP title Sailor Moon, but cannot reveal who it is or any more details. Good news for anyone who’s a fan of Sailor Moon, I’m sure.

While walking around the dealer’s room with Cindy after the panel and gawking at tons of cute things, I bought myself this adorable Hetalia t-shirt. (The caption says I’m the Hetalia editor, but I’d just like to say that information’s incorrect. Oops!)

The Right Stuf/Nozomi Entertainment panel was next and fans were excited to hear that the company was releasing El Hazard: The WanderersGravitation, The Dirty Pair TV series, Antique Bakery, Sora no Woto, and The Revolutionary Girl Utena TV series (and it was accidentally revealed in another panel on Saturday that they have the Utena movie as well.) Whoo! A lot of the re-releases were either had video or audio remastering done for the new releases, so if you want crisper pictures and clearer audio, check them out!

The Anime News Network panel revealed that the news site is planning on streaming over 150 episodes of anime starting this week. Since anime and manga fans seem to like free goodies, I would suggest checking them out so that they’ll bring even more streaming anime to the site.

The FUNimation panel started off with a bit of interesting information: Dubs were more popular than subtitles for them and the largest group online were 13-17 year olds, putting anime fandom squarely in an age group that most likely doesn’t have solid sources of income yet. FUNi went on to announce the licensing of Master of the Martial Hearts (Looks very funny and fan service-y, like a funnier version of Ikkitousen), rescues of pretty much every Tenchi Muyo series ever made, Darker Than Black season two, Shakugan no Shana season two, Black Lagoon season three, Hellsing Ultimate and Trigun: Badlands Rumble. Simulcasts of the Moyashimon live action TV series, Shiki, Black Butler season two and Sekirei season two.

After the panel, a bunch of anime and manga bloggers and I headed over to L.A. Live for dinner, schmoozing and some beautiful atmosphere, which was a great way to end the busy day.

If time (and my cold) permits, I’ll try to get my day 3 & 4 review up tomorrow. ^_^

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