New People Grand Opening
Saturday marked the grand opening New People in San Francisco, CA. Located in Japantown, it’s a three story shopping center that features Japanese cinema, retail and art all in one place. Several SF peeps/tweets when there. You can find most of the coverage under the topic #newpeople on Twitter. Deb Aoki of About.com: Manga has a photo gallery of the event.
AX Backstage has posted the Keynote from Anime Expo 2009, including the “Can Manga From the US Be Commercially Successful?” panel (aka the OEL panel). The actual video of the panel begins on Day 2, Part 2 at about 6:00 in. (link via @debaoki)
Trying to Go Around, or Just Trying to Survive?
Over at Manga Worth Reading (love the site theme!), Johanna Draper Carlson comments on Tokyopop’s new initiative to put unfinished OEL manga online for free. She brings up Tokyopop’s abortive attempt in 2007 to make slow selling titles “exclusives” and sold only through them. Two years ago, retailers complained and Tokyopop relented, a point Johanna brings up. But a lot has changed in 2 years, and I don’t think either the fans nor retailers are going to complain this time. Many fans are just grateful to see finally see their favorite titles get their ending. I have a friend who was thrilled to hear Earthlight volume 3 would see the light of day, and my youngest was glad that the last Kat and Mouse was going to come out. And retailers are shrinking their space to just titles that are sure-sellers. The problems with a lot of these books are that they didn’t sell at the retail level. I think Tokyopop’s plan is less about “cutting out the middleman”, and more about getting titles that were already paid for out with the possibility of some ROI. It’s not a plot, it’s a strategy for survival in down economy.
eManga Test Drive
There are lots of strategies for putting manga online. Viz has gone the free route, while Net Comics has always had the micropayments for a day or two. And then there’s Digital Manga Publications. They have Digital in their name, but it’s only been in the last year or so that they’ve started living up to it. The first part of that was eManga, their website for rental/purchase. They started out with a limited selection, but that has improved immensely. Unfortunately for me, that has mostly happened in the YAOI department, a genre I don’t read. But Melinda of There It Is, Plain as Day does and she checked out DMP’s online experience. For the most part, I like DMP’s strategy. Their pricing has improved from eManga’s initial debut, and the second rental at a lower price (mostly) keeps it attractive. If you like YAOI, it’s worth checking out. When more non-YAOI goes up, I’ll take another look.
Manga Cafe Mika Closes
I’m personally sad that this place is shutting down. I had dreams of doing something like a manga cafe (yeah, like that’s gonna happen), and it’s sad that it’s closing it’s doors. But I agree with Deb in her article, that the concentration on Japanese language manga helped in their downfall. The majority of manga readers only read English, and having a cafe of mostly Japanese books that patrons can’t actually read won’t get a lot of repeat business. Unless you’re near a college that has a strong Japanese Language department.
New Series Added to Ikki Web Magazine
A new title was added to Viz’s Ikki Online Manga Magazine on Thursday. I Am A Turtle is a 4-koma series about an African turtle living in Japan. It’s all from the Turtle’s perspective, and the first chapter was great. I love titles that come from the animal’s perspective, so this will no doubt become a must have for me.
Whatever Happened To…
From Twitter: “TOKYOPOP: MP: @Sumireyan @digitaldolphin We love & wanted to continue w/ SDK & RAVE but Japanese publisher (Kodansha) wouldn’t extend license to us. (18 minutes ago from web)” We’ve seen SDK (Samurai Deeper Kyo rescued by Del Rey. Is there a chance that maybe Rave could be too? It would be even cooler if a new translation could be done for that title, though probably unlikely as it’s a long series. Compilation maybe? Please?
NYT Manga Best Sellers List
There’s not a lot of change to this week’s list. Vampire Knight vol 7 holds the top spot, but Naruto doesn’t seem content with that as vol 45 moves back to #2, kicking Rosario + Vampire vol 8 to #3. Blackbird vol 1 moves up to #6 while Otomen vol 3 moves down to #9. Tokyopop’s Bloody Kiss vol 1 gets kicked from the list in favor of Dogs: Bullets and Carnage which comes in at #10. Viz now holds the list at 80/20. An item of note: Del Rey’s manga makeover of Marvel Property X-men, X-men: Misfits vol 1 pops in at #6 on the Paperback Graphic Novels portion of the list. Why? Your guess is as good as mine, but I’d say it’s because X-men is a comic property and in NYT’s mind, that means it’s a graphic novel regardless of publisher or format.
Manga for Your Ears
This Week at Manga Village @ Comics Village
- Nodame Cantabile Volume 1
- Vampire Hunter D Volume 2
- Ka Shin Fu
- Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit Volume 1
- Manga Village Picks ‘n Mix
What I’m Reading
- Tokyo Flow Chart ch 1
- Kingyo Used Books ch1
- Bokurano: Ours ch 1-2
- I’ll Give It My All…Tomorrow ch 1-2
- Children of the Sea ch 8-11
- After School Charisma ch 1-2
- Dorohedoro ch 1-2
- Divine Melody volume 2