News in Review

May 11, 2008

While going through some old ANN news feeds, I picked up a few news items I want to comment on:

DS Vision to go live in June: This just sort of passed right by in one of thier Daily Brief posts, but I want to give it more attention. This was first announced last November, and now it seems to be coming to fruition. The hardware and website will be available the same day, June 26. They are starting out with novels, but hope to expand to manga, movies, anime, and software. Hopefully this will become successful enough that Nintendo will let it be brought over here, and someone will be smart enough to make content available for it. The DS is the best alternative I think for this kind of platform. It’s inexpensive and versatile. It’s certainly more realistic for teens to have a DS than an video ipod, iphone, Sony E-reader or Kindle. The wider distribution of the DS should make it more attractive to publishers to put out content for.

Yen Plus titles announced: Looking at the list of titles Yen Press has announced for their magazine, it really makes me wonder who they are marketing this too. All the titles announced have anime tie-ins, even if they aren’t all licensed, so that suggests a teen market. But some of the titles mentioned, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry), is NOT for a teen audience. It is very much Older teen and up. I watched most of the anime, and when it starts with a scene of a someone banging their head into a knife…yeah. It’s a very disturbing anime, and its based on the manga. You do the math. This is along side other titles that are typical fighting shonen and ninja, as well as the adaptation of the YA novel series Maximum Ride. I’m going to get the first issue, just to check it out, but it sounds kind of schizophrenic to me at the moment.

Library Bars 43 Year Old From Manga Club: This story seems to spell out exactly why mature manga has such a problem selling in the US. No one seems to think that adult do or should like manga. Yes, most of what’s coming out is aimed at teens, but if libraries can’t figure out that it’s not just for kids, how are manga publishers going to get their more mature titles out? Even though the library meant the club to be for teens, they didn’t say that in the ad for the club. I wasn’t going to mention this story, until I saw a post from Lostphrack, a blogger I follow over on Tokyopop, and he mentioned in the comments that the discussion was mostly on adults going to manga clubs being perverts. What?!?!?!?! It was most adults that started the anime and manga industry. It wasn’t teens buying and trading tapes with Japan back in the eighties. That someone would just jump to this conclusion that any adult that wants to talk about manga with other fans is just idiotic. It wouldn’t be my first choice to talk manga with a teenage, and I avoid a lot of manga forums because I don’t want to read discussions about who should be pairing with who in some series. But, adults can talk intelligently about the titles they love, and teens can respond, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many blogs about manga. It shouldn’t be a crime to move that discussion to RL.

Viz’s Original Comic Plans : I was kind of disappointed to hear about this at first. Viz was the last of the big publishers that wasn’t going into Graphic Novels, and I liked it like that. They did translations, and as far as I’ve been concerned, have done them fairly well lately. This moved seemed like a cop-out for me. They were just following along with the pack of Tokyopop, Del Rey and Yen Press. But I was heartened somewhat to hear that they were going to try to emulate the Japanese model of the creator/editor relationship. A lot of the Tokyopop OELs have been very hit and miss, and one of the reasons for that was pointed out by Johanna Draper Carlson at her blog, there isn’t a lot of contact between editor and creator, and it shows in the final product. That Viz is learning from Tokyopop’s mistakes is a good thing. Someone should at least. We’ll see how the Viz products turn out. I’m sure previews will show up in Shonen Jump/Shojo Beat, but I’ll still take these with a grain of salt. Too many times have we seen things that start out with great potention only to get wasted away from bad management.

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