This Week in Manga 7/25-7/31/09

San Diego is over and now everyone is preparing for the New York Anime Fest.  But in this week’s round up there’s still plenty of SDCC news to get out and some real thought provoking discussions going on that you don’t want to miss out on.

SDCC Days 3 & 4

Manga Blog has more roundups of the manga panels from Del Rey, Dark Horse and CMX.  CMX is really working to get my money, and with the sounds of their titles, they are going to succeed.  Del Rey might win a few with two of their new titles Panic x Panic and Pink Innocence.

Ed Chavez shows off the Eisner Vertical won for their release of Dororo surrounded by same.

ANN has more thorough coverage of the Women in Manga panel.  Lorena of i ♥ manga blog has her own coverage of the Women in Manga panel as well.  The ANN coverage is an overview of what was discussed, while Lorena’s is more analysis, so be sure to check out both to get a fuller picture.

Missed the CMX panel?  DC Comics has released a podcast of the whole panel!  You can download it here.  Oh Ed, how I miss all your recordings of the manga panels from AX and SDCC…

Deb Aoki begins her SDCC posts with the 30 Most Memorable Manga Moments, including a great pic of Ed Chavez with the Eisner for Dororo (#15) and the new themes for iGoogle (#28).  The themes are nicely put together.  I currently have Children of the Sea gracing my landing page at home, and Rin-ne at work.  If you use iGoogle, definitely go check these out!

Yes, It Is About Gender

Found via Twitter from aicnanime.  LA Weekly, which has been covering SDCC has an article about the Twilight and the apparent Gender War brewing between fanboys and Twilight girls.  The 2nd picture down on the first page is the guy I saw, but I had no idea that there was a whole protest going on.  I had better things to do.  The writer, Liz Ohanesian, not only talks to some “protesters” but also mentions the Women in Manga panel and the Robot 6 Roundtable, and brings to the forefront the exact same things we’ve been saying.  It’s cool now for guys to be geeks, but not for girls.  Even the mainstream media is getting it.  Why won’t the guys?  It’s an excellent article.  Check it out.  Also note, this could have been SDCC’s “Hall of Desparation”, between the Anit-Twilight signs and “Free Hug” signs.

Do Scanalations Hurt Manga?

After some comments from the Yen Press panel, Tiamat’s Disciple takes issue with the assertion that scanalations hurt manga publishers.  Lively debate in comments ensues.  Then Simon Jones of Icarus Publishing (NSFW) weighs in.  More lively debate ensues.  I’ll admit to having downloaded and read scanalations, and it always seems my luck that the titles I find to read, end up getting licensed.  And as my husband will attest, I hardly ever get around to reading any scans I do download, as I have too much print manga to read, and print gets priority as I can read it anywhere.  But to the main question, the answer is yes, when licensed titles continue to be made available by scanalators, that is hurting the manga publishers.  But I also think unlicensed titles should live in the same grey area as doujin does in Japan.  With all the manga that’s out there, there should be plenty of room for both sides to play in the sandbox.

When is Free not Free?

Question asked on Twitter by nthistlethwaite:

Re: xxxlations, the ? should be “Have you ever *not* bought a book because you read it online for free?”

The counter to this question is “What if the publisher makes it available for free?”  Are the people that read manga online then obligated to buy the manga?  No, of course not.  The difference here though, is that when the publishers (like Viz) make their deals, the mangaka gets paid for the online distribution rights.  With scanalations, they don’t.  So, even this manga we’re getting to read for free, isn’t really free.  It’s marketing and promotion.  So if you like a title, buy it when/if it comes out in print, so the mangaka and publishers will be willing to bring us more.

Viz’s SigIkki Adds More Titles

As promised, Viz added 4 more titles to the Ikki website, bring the total to 9.  Afterschool Charisma, House of Five Leaves, Kingyo Used Books, and Tokyo Flow Chart went live Wednesday.  Initial reactions to the new titles varied.  Good things were said of Afternoon Charisma and Kingyo Used Books (the 2 I’m looking forward to reading).  House of Five Leaves seemed to be mixed, and I haven’t heard from anyone who really got Tokyo Flow Chart.  I’m gonna try and catch up with the Ikki titles this week.

Never Judge a Manga by it’s Art

This week there was a discussion over on Twitter between Vertical_Ed, animealmanac, and remoteryan over some comments by animealmanac about reading Tezuka manga.  The tweets occurred on 7/29/09 at around 2:30 pm and again at 9pm.  It’s a three way conversation, and can be a little hard to follow, but there is a lot of interesting talk.  Ed Chavez gives an interesting list of what editors and mangaka look at when creating manga, and there is some discussion on reviewing and questioning Tezuka’s divinity.  I’ll discuss Tezuka specifically in another post.  As for the reviewing, I take art into consideration, but would never discount a title because of it.  I think a lot of younger/newer fans are missing out because they think the art of a title is “dated” or “old”.  If you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, you shouldn’t judge a manga by art alone.  Tezuka’s art can seem a little off-putting at first, but once the story start rolling, it becomes less important compared to the story and characters.  If the story doesn’t grab you as well as the art, then it’s a viable argument.  But don’t dismiss based on art alone.

New Kingdom Hearts Manga

Anime Vice reports that a new Kingdom Hearts 356/2 Days manga has started in the Japanese magazine Shonen Gangan.  We won’t be seeing this for a while, especially since the game it’s based on won’t see a US release until September.  The big question about this is who is going to get it?  Tokyopop published the first 2 1/2 titles of the series, never finishing Kingdom Hearts 2 even though it was on of their big sellers.  Does this mean they lost the Kingdom Hearts license?  I can’t believe with how well the book sells that they wouldn’t have finished it.  Could Square Enix have pulled the license from Tokyopop?  Are we going to be seeing an announcement from Yen Press for this license?

There’s a Tear in My Manga

Melinda Beasi, over at her blog There it is, Plain as day, talks about how some manga can invoke a real emotional reaction, bringing her to tears.  Yeah, I can totally relate to that.  One of the things that makes manga so appealing to people in general, and woman in particular are the emotions they can invoke in the reader.  And I not just talking about the romantic/melodramatic knee jerk emotions, though manga can do that very well.  Baby and Me, one of the debut manga titles in Shojo Beat managed to hit some of my buttons early one, bringing me to tears.  While I was at work.  I had co-workers asking me if everything was okay.  And then there’s Sand Chronicles vol. 1.  That title hit me, not once but twice!  And I knew it was coming, as I’d already read the chapters in Shojo Beat, but I don’t remember reacting to them there!  Only in the collected volume did I get the tears rolling.  Melinda brings this up when reading volume 4 of Pluto.  I’m behind on that series, so I don’t know what it was that got her, but she’s dropped hints that it involves an animal.  Not a good sign for me.  I can’t stand to see animals hurt or killed.  Hopefully I can keep the pages dry.

Will I Ever See You Again?

Tangonat laments the loss of manga left in limbo by publishers.  I feel her pain, as I have many titles that were dropped by publsihers either because of sales or disappearing all together.  My sad Those Who Hunt Elves sits at only 7 volumes out of 21, and Mythical Detective Loki Ragnorok only got 2 volumes before ADV jumped off the manga ship.  I thought I was lucky when Tokyopop picked up Tactics, but that’s been postponed until January of 2010.  We’ll see if it makes it out then.  And of course Tokyopop is the other publisher to leave me in the lurch, but I guess that’s what I get for liking off-beat titles.  Pick of the Litter sits at 4 volumes published.  And of course there’s the LAST volume of Dragon Voice that was supposed to come out in the beginning of this month that came and went without a word.  Also awaiting it’s last volume is B’t X.  Not that I’ll ever see it.  Mobile Suit Gundam -Ecole du Ciel- stopped at v8 sometime ago, and we all know about Kindaichi stopping two volumes from the end.  But the biggest disappointment is the lack of word on Genju no Seiza, the series by Matsuri Akino, the creator of Pet Shop of Horrors.  We’ve been still getting PSoH: Tokyo, but it’s been a year since vol. 7 of Genju came out, and vol. 8 was supposed to come out in December of last year.  If you want a full list of all publishers and the titles they’ve stopped releasing, check out MangaCast’s list complied at the end of last year.  It will probable make you cry.

NY Times Best Sellers Manga List

No one new joins the list this week.  Just the same players from last week switching places.  Fruits Basket #23 holds #1 for a second week, with Naruto #45 nipping at it’s heels to reclaim the top spot, while  Fullmetal Alchemist #19 is muscling into #3, ready to take the top spot as well.  Bleach and Inuyasha fall off along with Dark Hunters.  Maybe they shouldn’t have given away so many volumes at SDCC.  Filling these spots though are the return of some titles from previous weeks.  Naruto #42 and #44 reappear as well as Lucky Star #1.  It’s an interesting mix, though I was most sorry to see Dark Hunters go.  Hopefully it will be back.

What I’m Reading:

  • 20th Century Boys Volume 1
  • 20th Century Boys Volume 2
  • 20th Century Boys Volume 3
  • 20th Century Boys Volume 4
  • Shonen Chapters

3 thoughts on “This Week in Manga 7/25-7/31/09”

  1. The problem is, there still aren’t any demonstrable cases that I’m aware of where scanalations have resulted in a large-scale loss of sales on the part of manga companies, except where I would argue they deserved it. If people start reading an unlicensed manga scanalated and 20 volumes later, someone licenses it, it’s unrealistic to expect people to stop reading the manga, perhaps for years, until the licensed version catches up. A company that does that doesn’t really deserve to have people buy all the back issues of manga that they produce when people have already read them all. By the same token, a company like Viz, which puts out a ton of manga at one time, Naruto in this case, really has no room to complain when people cannot afford to buy it and they read scanalations instead.

    Another thing that these companies need to realize is that some people are moving away from physical books entirely. We know someone who no longer buys *ANY* physical books because of space constraints, he just doesn’t have the room to put them. Instead, he buys all of his new books digitally, they take up less space, they can be easily backed up, they’re more portable and, according to him, more convenient. I don’t necessarily agree with his reasoning but there certainly are people like him who want products in a certain format and many companies, manga and otherwise, are not catering to him.

    I just don’t see where companies like Viz and Tokyopop and Yen, etc. think that just because they throw money at a license, they’ve somehow bought reader loyalty. They haven’t and in fact, there are many cases where their actions are going to cost them potential loyalty.

    Even beyond that, there are simply some people who, in both anime and manga, don’t want to own a product, they want to consume it and move on. They don’t want to buy a volume of manga, they want to read it online and never look at it again. Whether these manga companies like it or not, there’s a sizable percentage of consumers who just don’t want to buy something to stick on their shelves and gather dust.

    It takes all kinds and whether they like it or not, they need to cater to all kinds or they haven’t earned anyone’s dollar.

  2. For what its worth, I’ve seen a couple of listings on amazon and book depository for Ecole du Ciel 9 in March 2010… only time will tell if that date ends up being any more concrete than the others that have passed by though 🙁

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