September 19 was International Talk Like A Pirate Day.  Did you remember to say “Arrrr” a lot and read some pirate manga?

Manga in the Classroom

Patrick Macias, Japanese pop culture aficionado, has posted the audio for a lecture he gave at the California State University at Monterey Bay last week.  Called Theoretical Perspectives on Manga, Anime & Otaku, it includes some older material from a speech earlier this year at the Temple University Japan Campus as well as some new material about American fandom.  I love it when this kind of material is shared, especially the academic talks.  I’ve always been fascinated by the cultural aspects of fandom and I’ll take any opportunity to feed my hunger.

Tragic End to Crayon Shin-Chan Mangaka

Yoshito Usui, the creator of the manga Crayon Shin-Chan, was reported missing by his family on 9/11 after not returning from a mountain climbing day trip.  A body was reported found Saturday, and has been confirmed to be Usui’s through dental records and other means.   The Crayon Shin-Chan manga will continue through the December issue of Manga Town magazine, while the fate of the anime is still undecided.  This is truly a tragedy, to die so young (he was only 59), in what was probably a preventable accident.

Looking to go Legit?

Found via Twitter.  @kuriosity posted this link to a supposed “business proposition” from the scanalation site Manga Helpers to Viz Media, suggesting a partnership.  While seeming ludicrous on the surface, immediate comparisons to Crunchyroll was made.  It was an illegal anime streaming site that’s trying to become a legitimate place for streaming anime.  As several people pointed out on Twitter, the letter sounded more like an extortion threat than a partnership.  Manga Blog has some interesting comments, and the indomitable Simon Jones of Icarus Publishing (NSFW) adds his two cents.  But what’s most interesting is reading the comments from the Manga Helpers community itself.  There are almost 250 of them, most of them being against the idea.  Their justifications range from scanalators wanting nothing to do legitimate manga publishers, to defending “their right” to read manga for free.  There are some users that would like to see a sort of “iTunes for manga” as I’ve also suggested, but not like this.  The comment I found most amusing after the “libraries let people read manga for free, why aren’t they getting sued?” comment was about why Viz hasn’t sued any of the free manga sites:

many, many, many, manga fans read online as well as buy. and many first are introduced to series through reading online. If they were thrown in jail or the sites were shut down, then there goes a HUGE chunk of their market, and the go out of business faster.’ (Comment #89)

Yeah.  Sure.

PSP Manga Are Go!

While Japanese manga publishers may still be wary of the idea of putting manga online, they don’t seem to have a problem with putting it on a game system.  At the Tokyo Game Show this last week, Sony detailed their comic distribution plan during their press conference.  11 publishers will be providing about 100 titles available for download at the Sony Playstation Store.  This is for the Japanese only of course.  Go here to see a full list of titles that will be available.  Do you think sales of PSPs would go up if comics/manga was available here in the US?  Will we ever get to find out?  All we can do is wait and see…

NYT Best Selling Manga List

Yen Press throws its weight around this week as Yotsuba& vol 6 makes its debut on the list this week, coming in at #3, behind Viz staples Bleach vol 28 holding at #1 and Naruto vol 45 right being at #2.  Higurashi: When They Cry Cotton Drifting Arc vol 2 comes in at #8.  Tokyopop also has a new title join the perennial Fruits Basket vol 23 with dropped to #7 to make room for  .hack//G.U. vol 5 to premiere at #4.  Viz isn’t taking this lying down though, as Fullmetal Alchemist vol 20 debuts at #5.  But Viz’s dominance has dropped to a 60/40 share of the list, in which two blood sucking titles, Vampire Knight vol 7 and Black Bird vol 1 are still hanging on.  Over at the Paperback Graphic Novels, X-Men: Misfits vol 1 has dropped off, though it hung on pretty well.

New York Anime Festival

The New York Anime Festival started today, with two panels from Tokyopop and Vertical.  Several bloggers/twitters are at the event, but the Javits Center’s spotty wifi connection makes minute by minute reporting sparse, but today @brigidalverson and @animevice did a good job covering the panels.

Tokyopop

Tokyopop Insider #3 that was scheduled for today turned out to be their panel from NYAF.  Technical problems kept it from coming off smoothly, but they say they will be posting the video of the panel for everyone to see.  They announced several new licenses:

  • Qwaser of Stigmata
  • .hack//LINK
  • Ratman
  • Song and Laughter
  • Croquis – BLU imprint
  • Blood Honey -BLU imprint
  • Cute Demon – BLU imprint
  • Love Story in the Isolated Island – BLU imprint

OEL

  • Priest: Purgatory
  • Seekers
  • The Cabin in the Woods
  • Shutter Island
  • Warcraft: Mage

There’s little surprise that Tokyopop got the .hack title.  They licensed and/or published all of the other .hack manga.  This is one  rumored to be the final installment in the series.  Other titles include Shutter Island, a full color adaptation of the novel, and a one shot volume based in the world of The Cabin in the Woods world.  This last one sounds a lot like Evil Dead to me.  Priest: Purgatory is meant to bridge the original manhwa to the movie now in the works.  Qwaser of Stigmata sounds like a series I will stay at least 50 ft. away from.  Ratman is one I’ll check out.  It’s by the same artist who did Comic Party and Murder Princess, Inui Sekihiko.  I like his work.  Seekers, based on the new series by Erin Hunter, the creator of the Warriors YA books is an exciting title for tweens and teens.  It’s about bears this time.  My oldest has the first volume, and she liked it well enough.  It’s too bad that Tokyopop probably won’t be continuing with the Kingdom Hearts manga, but I totally believe them when they say Disney is a pain to work with.  I worked for a craft company in the late 90’s, and we had to go through this interview process just to get the license to make rubber stamps!  They asked us questions like “Do they allow you to use the bathroom?”  Very odd.

Vertical

Vertical has the really exciting news of the day.  They started out easy, announcing a non-manga novel, Nintendo Magic: How the Video Game Wars Were Won.  This sounds interesting and is probably the business title Ed Chavez was hinting at getting earlier in the year on Twitter.  Then they got into the manga:

  • Peepo Choo
  • Twin Spica
  • Needles
  • Chi’s Sweet Home

It’s a small list but with big wins!  I’m not so much interested in Peepo Choo, even through it’s written by American Felipe Smith.  I’m all about the sci-fi!  And Vertical gives us two!  I’m most excited about Twin Spica.  Set in the near future, it’s about a girl who decides to become an astronaut, and was on my personal license wish list.  But the big win is Chi’s Sweet Home!  Even though Ed Chavez denied Vertical didn’t have it when news broke a few weeks ago, he explained he had to deny it or Vertical could have lost the license completely!  And truthfully, they didn’t have it officially until this morning.  Kudos to Ed for doing what’s right for Vertical and the fans.  Our enthusiasm can sometimes ruin good things.  I’m glad that didn’t happen this time.  Chi’s Sweet Home was high on my personal wish list.  It will be releases in color and flipped.  Not too happy about the flipping, but for Chi, who is too cute for words, I’ll deal.  :)

Manga For Your Ears

Sci-Guys Podcast

What’s New at Manga Village

What I’ve Been Reading

  • Cat Paradise Volume 1
  • Choco Mimi Volume 1
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