I’m gonna try and make this a weekly feature, rounding up the stories from the week I found most interesting from the web and twitter.  Of course, I’ll be adding my own two cents with some commentary on the news items.

Anime Expo – 7/2-7/5/09

Normally associated with anime (obviously), manga pubs usually have a presence at AX, as a booth and/or panel.  Though, with the tough economy, smaller pubs seem to be fleeing the crowds and expense of SDCC, in favor of a more targeted audience.  Here ae some items I want to highlight.

CMX/Viz licenses

Viz and CMX announced a slew of new titles, scheduled to come out in 2010.  Go here for summaries of the CMX titles, and here for Viz.  Pictures of the covers can be found here for CMX and here for Viz.  There wasn’t really a lot of the Viz titles that impressed me all that much.  But Viz had other, bigger news that eclipsed any of their new licenses.  More on that later.  CMX, however, has been really making a mark with their quirky, and short shojo and shonen titles.  The new list is no exception.  Of their new titles, the once I’m most interested in are The Lizard Prince, My Darling Miss Bancho, Polyphonica: Cardinal Crimson, and Nadeshiko Club.

One Piece Releases Accelerated

I really don’t have much more to say about this, as I’ve already ranted over it.  One thing I did want to add though, is to those who say Viz should release BIG versions to reduce the number of titles and price, it’s not going to happen.  Simply, these are books that haven’t been releases in single volumes yet, and VIZBIG releases are for collecting single volumes that have already gone through the cycle.  Sorry, we’re just out of luck on this one.

OEL manga

There was some interesting discussion about OEL manga, that Deb Aoki of the Manga.About.com Blog, tweeted for all of us who couldn’t be there.  She’s amazing with the tweets!  If you aren’t following her, you should, especially with SDCC coming up!  Fortunately, Opinion Prone collected them for her one commentary.  While I agree that the US system isn’t set up to train artists, Tokyopop’s model wasn’t a winner either.  Creators were asked to go from a short story to a full three volume series.  Seriously, how many manga artists in Japan did that?  Reading the commentary my several mangakas, it’s obvious that most didn’t short stories or 1 volume titles to start, and as they improved and showed popularity, then they were moved up to longer series.  Wouldn’t this have just made more sense, and been a lot easier to market?  So many titles got no marketing at all.

Also, the OEL industry, if it really wants to become one, should put more time into training editors.  When the Tokyopop OEL line collapsed, there were several complaints from creators that scripts sent to editors came back unedited, and the creators couldn’t even be sure their scripts were even looked at!  Showing interested people early what’s expected of an editor could not only help train new editors, but could also help creators get used to the idea of getting their work critiqued and improved instead of defensive.  The would-be editor has to practice on someone.

Manga to the big/small screen

Sengoku Basara licensed by Funimation

Even though the anime doesn’t resemble the manga much, this is just took good of a series to pass up.  Everyone who’s ever loved pretty boys, samurai, and outrageous superhuman powers and exaggerated manly acts HAS to see this title.  It’s only 12 episodes, so it should be a full series release.

CMX Manga gets Anime

Broken Blade, a new mecha title from CMX that just came out this month, is getting an anime in Japan.  The title is an interesting mix of fantasy and mecha.  I’m getting the manga.  I’ll probably check out the anime too, if the manga turns out any good.  But considering CMX’s record so far, I don’t think that will be a problem.

20th Century Boys trilogy by Viz Cinema

Live action adaptations of manga titles have become popular in Japan.  Dororo and Mushishi seemed to set off the Big Screen invasion.  Now, Viz is bringing over the trilogy based on the Naoki Urasawa manga that has gotten a lot of critical acclaim among bloggers.  While this sounds promising, it seems that Japanese studios have taken the wrong page from Hollywood and are changing the stories they are adapting.  While I can understand needing to condense a story into a two hour time, some of the changes really affect the feeling of the movie, and it loses the charm that made the manga so good.  But, we’ll see.

Nana/Honey Clover on itunes

Because shojo anime, like the manga it’s based on, is more about drama than action, shows haven’t been able to make it on US TV.  If boys won’t watch it, they won’t show it.  So, Viz has done the best thing they can do.  They’ve releases the anime for Nana and Honey & Clover, two very good titles from their defunct Shojo Beat magazine, on iTunes.  I’m glad they’ve got the anime out finally, I just wish it wasn’t on iTunes.

Viz starts another new imprint

Viz has been raining down the Press Releases like a Naruto wave, but this one is really intriguing.  With the scheduled release of Rumiko Takahashi’s new manga Rin-ne, Viz is also starting a new brand for it; Shonen Sunday, so named for the Japanese Magazine it’s run in.  Along with this new imprint, Viz announced a new website, Shonen Sunday, that appears to be another online magazine like Ikki.  The titles that will appear on the website have not been announced, but will be at the Viz panel at SDCC on 7/24.  The website itself will go live on 7/22.  Other titles that weren’t part of an imprint, such as Case Closed, Kekkashi, and Inuyasha, will be coming out under the Shonen Sunday banner.

Yen Plus Changes

On their blog, Yen Press has announced some changes for Yen Plus, their monthly manga magazine.  They will now start offering subscriptions for 6 months at $25.99, half of the current price.  Apparently people have been asking for it.  I don’t see why.  It still comes out more expensive to do 2 six month subs rather than one $49.95.  I rather have the option of doing 6 or 12 months, not 1 or the other.  There’s also the possibility fo a new title announcement from Yen at SDCC.  The Japanese side of the cover for the magazine due out at the end of July features just a question mark, definitely hinting at a new addition.

New York Times Best Seller List 7/4/09

The NYT list seems to be finally evening out.  Even though Naruto still rules with 4 volumes (42-45), other titles are starting to break through.  Bleach, Fruits Basket, The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, and newcomer, Lucky Star, a 4-koma, are trying to knock the king from the mountain.  But it seems the orange clad ninja just won’t let go.  Naruto‘s newest volume, 45, debuted at #1 with Fruits Basket finale, volume 23 was right behind at #2.  Lucky Star, a Bandai title, only just broke through at #10.  My youngest daughter wants this one.

What I’ve been Reading

Not really news, but I thought I’d share what I’ve been reading and hope to be reviewing someday soon.

  • Naruto v28-29, v31-32
  • Children of the Sea chapter 6-7
  • Rin-ne chapter 11

See you next week!

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