This is something that’s been wondering around in the back of my mind for a while now, but found a voice on Twitter this week. With the news of Del Rey’s cancellation of their X-Men manga reboots, the question came up asking if Del Rey was having problems. That seems a very valid question. A look at Del Rey’s sporadic release schedule and the fact that they’ve gone to releasing omnibuses to complete some series’ does suggest problems. But that wasn’t my take. Del Rey is a division of Random House, one of the power house publishers, so I don’t think it’s a financial problem. I think it’s more of an attention span issue.
For the good part of 25 years, the thought of learning Japanese has flitted in and out of my mind. For most of that time, either inaccessibility of resources and/or time has kept me from putting any serious effort into it. In the last three years, I’ve made two abortive attempts, both ending after collecting resources, but never taking it anywhere.
They say three’s a charm, so with this third attempt, I’m going to write about my experience, which I’m hoping will keep me on track. That’s the problem with self-study sometimes, motivation. I’ve set a goal of trying to reach an elementary level of reading that will allow me to read manga. Speaking is going to be secondary, but since it’s helpful to learning the letters, I will be working on it somewhat along side the reading and writing.
Last night, on my way home from work, I was listening to the ANNcast podcast, episode 28, the one with the interview with Kurt Hassler of Yen Press. Near the end of the episode, they read off some questions take from fans on Twitter. One of the questions was about license rescues. Kurt’s response to it really bugged me. He started going off about why fans think they (Yen Press) would go “trolling” for titles from other publishers. The hosts of the show weren’t much better, basically likening license rescues to dumpster diving.
Really? This is what Kurt Hassler and Yen Press think of fan requests and the titles they love and want to see completed legally? Does he really think that fans consider Yen Press to be a dumping ground for lost titles? Or could it possibly be, that fans respect what Yen Press does with their titles and are hoping to see a title they love, but wasn’t completed because the original publisher went out of business or cut back to their cash cow titles, completed with a publisher they know will do it justice? Do they really think everything published by other companies is just trash, and not even worthy of their consideration? Because that is exactly how Kurt came off with his mini rant. If he had just limited his answer to the statement he made AFTER the rant, I would wouldn’t have been upset.
We all have titles we love that weren’t completed for one reason or another, and wish for some knight in shining armor to riding in and save them. That’s why they’re called license RESCUES, and not license trolls. Try being a little more considerate of fans that are trying to do the right thing in seeing the titles they love completed in English legally, and not just resorting to the scanlations that were scorned earlier in the interview.
I was reading the comments on this post at Anime Vice. Most of the debate over justification for scanlations didn’t interest me, as I’ve seen them all before, but one comment did sort of bother me. Fellow Manga Village reviewer and blogger John Thomas had joined the conversation and made a simple statement. “Why not just learn to read Japanese?” It was the response to this that made me go “Huh?”
I have to confess, that is the one answer I loathe seeing in scanlation debates, and it appears every time.
He goes on to give excuses of no time, too expensive, too difficult, etc., which then steers the conversation toward learning Japanese.
You know you’ve hit it being online when you’re thought to be part of some big conspiracy. I’ve always wondered about conspiracy theorists. Why do they feel the need to concoct some big, elaborate theory or have some big shadow corporation controlling everything? There are people who believe NASA’s trips to the moon were hoaxes (Mythbusters disproved their theories). And there are people who believe the US government was behind the 911 attacks (yeah, like our government could co-ordinate something so well planned and keep it a secret.) And now, manga bloggers are in cahoots with publishers to bring down the scanalation community.
With a long list of wish lists and license requests, and not too good a prospect on getting a lot of those titles in English for whatever reason (too long, too old, too niche, etc), it makes a manga fan seriously consider learning to read Japanese. Why go through a middleman when you can go straight to the source? And Japanese tankoban are cheaper, even with the exchange rate, to buy. But learning a new language can be intimidating, especially when the letters that look nothing like you’re used to. Fortunately the internet is filled with resources to help you buy and read your Japanese manga.
One really good resource is Rainbow Hill Language Lab which features entries about Japanese language and culture. Recently the blog has been featuring several entries about reading manga as an aid to learning Japanese. One such entry was a list of tools to help you start reading manga. This list featured both resources that could be found online as well as books and study aids, all with links. He gives resources to the basics of the alphabet, basic grammar and vocabulary and kanji.
If you’re serious about your manga, and don’t want to wait for a license that might never come, then learning to read Japanese is the way to go. And if you don’t have a lot of time to take a class, this is a good way to start. I know I’m sorely tempted to pull out the Highschool Kimengumi manga we have and try this out!
I was late in discovering Kaori Yuki’s work. It wasn’t until Shojo Beat and Godchild, which was one of the debut titles, that I learned how great her work was. But before Godchild and it’s prequel The Cain Saga, another series by Kaori Yuki was released in the US. That was Angel Sanctuary. This 20 volume series was first released by Viz in 2004 and completed it’s run in 2007. The story is about Setsuna Mudo, the re-incarnation of the Organic Angel Alexiel. Alexiel rebelled against heaven and as punishment was sentenced to be re-incarnated as a mortal and to live a life filled with pain and suffering. Setsuna is discovered to be the latest re-incarnation and is pulled into the war between heaven and hell.
I’ve only read the first volume, and wasn’t quite ready for her style of writing then. But after reading her other titles that are available in English, I would like to try this series again. I was bothered by the incest introduced in the first volume of Angel Sanctuary, but now realize that is a common theme in her titles. My only problem now is, the series is 20 volumes long! 20 volumes is a lot to track down, and take up a lot of space. This is what makes Angel Sanctuary the perfect candidate for the VizBIG format. It’s complete and it’s been so for a while, like several of the other titles we’ve seen come out. It’s length makes it difficult to find in the individual volume format and will take up a lot of space. 9 volumes are a lot easier to handle and collect than 20. And with several other of her titles out, it’s the perfect time to reintroduce her most influential work to a new audience, as well as the growing interest in titles for older readers. While it’s rated Older Teen, it’s rating could go up, as other of her titles have.
Angel Sanctuary has all the making of a great addition to the VizBIG line. Hopefully Viz realizes this and will re-release this series soon.
I’ve put back up some manga that didn’t sell the first time. Next time I’ll have new titles to go up. But if you missed them the first time and were interested, here they are again.
Please check them out and happy bidding!
Even though the decade isn’t technically over, the years that we call the “aughts” are, so this review is my look back at the aught years, 2000-2009. And if you had to say anything about manga in these years is that it found itself on the rise.
When the new millennium began, manga was in the same place it had been in the last century. It was a niche of a niche. Trying to appeal to comics fans, most titles were published as floppies, their content flipped. Titles such as Ranma 1/2, Inuyasha, Dragon Ball/Dragon Ball Z, Ceres: Celestial Legend, and Pokemon started this way, and then were collected into trade paperback sized books and priced around $15. Comics fans treated manga as the red-headed step child and manga fans didn’t like the price or format. I know I didn’t. As much as I wanted to read the Galaxy Express 999 volumes Viz had brought out, the $16.99 price tag was too much for me. But that all changed in 2002, when Tokyopop literally started off a revolution.
Well, the most stressful part of the holiday season is over! Christmas has come and gone, and all that’s left are wads of wrapping paper, stray bows and lots and lots of manga! At least that’s how my Christmas turned out. Check it out!
How’s that for a good haul? In fact, I missed a few! Pig Bride Volume 2 as well as Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 20-21 should have been included in that picture too. 12 volumes in all. Woo Hoo!
Now, while manga is nice and all, and I do appreciate getting the books I did, what I really loved wasn’t something that was purchased but that was made. My husband works with wood, and he made me these four wooden scroll puzzles, all from oak in different finishes. Aren’t they awesome?
So, what’s you get for Christmas?
Yes, my first manga giveaway has ended, and we do indeed have a winner. After the cut off of Friday evening, there were 8 contestants for the prize. My youngest daughter, bewildered when I called her to stick her hand in a pot and pull out a folded piece of paper, drew the name and made Lee the lucky winner! Congratulations!
I want to thank everyone that participated. I got some great feedback and will be implementing most of the suggestions I got. So expect to see more reviews, and I will continue with the Shonen Jump/Yen Plus Drive By reviews. And just so you know Lee, my husband does contribute reviews to my blog. They are prefaced with “Brian’s Spot” and are marked in the Review Archive with a (BS). 🙂