Tag Archives: DMP

This Week in Manga 4/10-4/16/10

TWiM

More Simon and Schuster Sightings

The sharp eyes of Michelle Smith of Soliloquy in Blue has spotted some more manga listings on Simon and Schuster from Viz.  Two of them we already knew about; Grand Guigol Orchestra and Cross Game.  But then four new titles showed up scheduled to come out at the end of the year.  Kurozakuro is scheduled for November, and the rest, Kamisama Kiss, Psyren, Itsuwaribito are scheduled for December. I can’t say any of them really inspire me, but I’ve been surprised before.  I am saddened by the news of no sign of Story of Saiunkoku.  I loved the anime, and am so dying to read the manga!  Hopefully the new Kaori Yuki title, Grand Guigol Orchestra, will help to pass the time.

Del Rey Ousts X-Men: Misfits & Wolverine: Prodigal Son

The weekend ended with a bit of downer as news and confirmation of the cancellation of first X-Men: Misfits and then Wolverine: Prodigal Son came out on Twitter. This seemed to be surprising news as X-men: Misfits seemed to have sold fairly well, hitting the New York Times best seller list for a few weeks.  But the creators of both series say Del Rey cited poor sales as the reason for pulling the plug.  While I wasn’t all that impressed with the first volume of Wolverine, it was more from Wolverine overkill than poor writing or art.  Others have speculated that the Marvel/Disney buyout may have affected the licensing fees for the titles and made them unfeasible for Del Rey to continue with.  But, wouldn’t the contract remain in effect for the whole series?  Could the fees really be changed because of a change in owners?  Who knows if we’ll ever know the truth.  It’s not like Del Rey cares about the fans or anything.

Speed Up Done Right

Found via Twitter.  It seems Yen Press is joining the Speed Up Releases Race.  Volumes of Goong, a popular manhwa title will start coming out as two-volumes-in-one as of volume 9 (the next scheduled release).  This is a boon for fans of the series.  Volume 8 just came out while in Korea they are up to volume 18.  By doing the 2-in-1 omnibus speed up, Yen Press can catch up the series faster (presumably to reduce the need for scanlations), and fans can keep up with it with out the major payout of money and shelf space.  The 2-volume omnibuses will be less than buying two volumes regularly.  This is a responsible way to speed up a series without leaving so many readers being and in the dust.

DMP on your PSP

Digital Manga Publishing has teamed up with IDW to put their manga on the PSP, starting with their Vampire Hunter D manga.  I think this is terrific news.  The more platforms publishers reach out to the better.  And while the PSP hasn’t been the stellar gaming platform that Sony hoped it would be, fans of the platform has been putting comics on their devices for a while now.  And while DMP is the first to put manga in the official Sony Playstation store, Seven Seas has several preview chapters of their original titles formatted for the PSP.  You can direct download them from Seven Seas.

Sometimes It’s Nice to Just Be Asked

Last month there was a lot of talk/debate about scanlations and their effects on the manga industry.  Well, the Japanese have finally spoken out on the subject.  In the latest issue of Weekly Shonen Jump, there was a message to the fans, asking them to stop scanning its manga. A full translation of the message is available at the link.  One site has responded.  It’s a US site that provided raws.  Now whether they closed down because of a sudden change of heart or because they feared legal repercussions we’ll never know.  But, it is nice to see a company appeal to the fans better nature instead of heading straight to the lawyers to deal with a problem.

NYT Best Seller List

Here is a first for the NYT list.  And it’s not just about dominance.  Viz holds 9 of the 10 slots on this weeks list, and 5 of those belong to one series: One Piece.  That is quite an accomplishment for a series that usually only makes it to the list occasionally.   It’s also exceptional that all but two of the titles on the list are debuts.  But first, Twilight once again holds the #1 spot of the Hardback list.  Over in manga, Rosario Vampire: Season II vol 1 debuts at #1.  Yu-Gi-Oh! R vol 4, featuring the original cast, debuts in at #2. Naruto vol 47 stays in the top five by falling to #3, while another newcomer, Gentleman’s Alliance vol 11, the final, comes in at #4.  Spots 5-9 all belong to One Piece, in the order of Vol 40, Vol 39, Vol 41, Vol 43, and Vol 42.  Rounding off the list is that black suited gentleman of Yen Press, Black Butler vol 1 holding on to #10.  This is quite a nice surprise.  Naruto waves may have appeared on the list, but they were only three at a time.  One Piece is pushing five.  But it is also supposed to be an amazing arc, these volumes, all about Nico Robin.  Perhaps people are finally realizing how great One Piece really is.  It’s about time!

Manga For Your Ears

Manga Out Loud

  • Episode 6 Part 1 and Part 2 – Pluto Series Discussion with spoilers and special guest

Sci-Guys

Spiraken Manga Reviews

This Week at Manga Village

What I’m Reading

  • Bunny Drop
  • Legend of the Five Rings: Unicorn: The Second Scroll

And Friday was my Dad’s 74th Birthday.  Happy Birthday Dad!

Digital Review: Prisoner of the Tower

It’s the social season, and 17 year old Emma heads to London, with her family’s hope of finding a rich husband weighing heavily on her shoulders. One night, a mysterious man approaches her. A refined handsome face, curly black hair and deep blue eyes… Emma falls in love at first sight and shares with him her first kiss. 12 years later and now a widow, Emma visits the Earl of Greyston to discuss the marriage of her stepdaughter. It is the Earl’s younger brother who is betrothed to her stepdaughter, but the Earl never shows himself. While staying there, Emma spots the man she kissed all those years ago in a portrait on the wall…!

Prisoner of the Towerby Karin Miyamoto, Gayle Wilson
Publisher: DMP/eManga/Harlequin K.K./SOFTBANK Creative Corp.
Age Rating: 16+
Genre: Historical, Romance
Price: $4.99 Kindle/Digital Edition
Rating: ★★★★☆

I’m not a big romance fan, but when I was given the chance to read some of the Harlequin romances from DMP, I decided to see what all the fuss was about.  For the most part, I found the stories to be entertaining but formulaic.  One story did stand out; Prisoner of the Tower.  This is a historical romance that hits all the right marks.  It captures the feel of  Victorian England without being overbearing, and has characters that are believable and likable at the same time.

Victorian England wasn’t the best time or place to be a woman.  Women were treated more as property than people, and were often married off for the benefit of the family than for love, especially among the upper classes.  This is the situation Emma is in when we first meet her.  She is going to the Court at London to find a husband of means that can save her family from ruin.  She knows this and hopes for the best that she will find a man that will be kind to her at least.  But before reaching London, her first kiss is stolen by a mysterious man who is headed off to war.  Neither expect to see each other ever again after that night.

12 years later, Emma is going with her stepdaughter and brother-in-law to meet Earl Greystone and get his permission for her and his younger brother to marry.  Emma wants Jorgina to have a good life with her true love, something she couldn’t have herself.  The only thing standing in their way is the Earl himself.  Alexander has no problem with his brother Jamie marrying Jorgina, he just doesn’t want to meet with Emma.  Honor was very important to the upper classes, and with his disfigured face, and the disgrace he feels from his time in the war, he doesn’t want to face anyone.

Even though it’s Jorgina and Jamie that are trying to get the blessings to get married, the story is really about Emma and Alexander getting together.  Both have given up on finding love.  Alexander doesn’t believe anyone could love him because of his disfigurement and disgrace, and Emma is ready to just accept the life of a widow and live alone and out of Jorgina’s life.  Emma doesn’t realize though, that Alexander is her mystery man from all those years before.  What follows is a series of miss communications and missed opportunities as these two star-crossed lovers stumble toward their happy ending.

I really liked the setting of this story.  I enjoy stories where the main characters spur the conventions of their time and/or society, and that is just what Emma is trying to do for Jorgina.  The characters are very well developed, even for a short manga.  They felt real to me, especially with their foibles.  I really wanted to see Emma and Alexander get together, and felt some frustration at their every misstep.  I really wanted to slap Alexander for his assumptions about Emma.  Emma’s determination to win over Alexander was well done.  She was strong without being overbearing which fits the time perfectly.

I also really enjoyed the art.  The 70’s shojo style with the big, sparkling eyes, flowing hair and elaborate clothing fit the story perfectly.  I was drawn in more because of it.  The only thing that marred the look was the typesetting, which looked like it was typed in with a typewriter.  The font is stiff, and the words don’t fit into the text or word bubbles.  But this was the only problem I had with the volume.  It’s only available in digital form, either for the Kindle or through eManga.  I can’t speak for the Kindle, but the eManga site is very easy and intuitive to use.  The story is also short enough that reading online isn’t a bother.  It is smart and well written.  If romances were more like this, I would gladly read them more.

Review copy provided by publisher. Images © Digital Manga Publishing

Manga Drive By: Harlequin Manga @ eManga.com

eMangaI’ve never been much of a romance fan, and have never read a Harlequin romance novel in my life.  So, when I was given the opportunity to read some of the Harlequin manga released by DMP on their online manga site eManga, I decided to check some of the titles out.  I read 7 titles in total, that seemed to run the gambit from historical to modern settings, and from chaste fade-to-black love scenes to those slightly more explicit, but not enough to rate a M rating.

Some general observations first.  DMP’s eManga site is very well done.  The navigation is clean and concise, and easy to get around.  The reading list displays all of your titles, including how long your rental will last.  The manga reader is also easy to navigate.  It allows for either one or two page viewing, as well as zoom in and out.  The two page view fit my monitor just fine though, and I could read the text easily without zooming.  My only complaint here was about the bookmark feature.  It didn’t really work.  I tried to use it, but it didn’t remember my page when I came back the next day.  Luckily had written down my last page as well, so I wasn’t too inconvenienced.  It would have been nice though, if it had worked properly.

For the most part, I enjoyed the Harlequin titles.  They all went fairly quickly and make for good light summer reading, such as a relaxing day at the beach. They are very much wish fulfillment, with strong, independent women (in their own way) meeting men that seem jerky at first, but then turn out to be kind and great lovers. They were fun, but they’re not anything I’d be interested in re-reading.  They can get rather formulaic and cliche, which gets boring fast.  The only real problem I had with all of these titles was the text.  It doesn’t appear that much time or effort was put into it.  The text looks like it was typed in, and no effort was made to make the text fit in the word balloons.  You do get used to it after a while, but really, even scanlators do a better job.  For something you’re paying for, you expect a better presentation.

Honor’s PromiseRating: ★★½☆☆ – I liked most of the characters in this story,  especially the protagonist.  She was feisty and fun.  The plot wasn’t too over used, though the Greedy Family Lawyer as the villain was kind of obvious and cliche.  It’s a decent read, and was a pleasant introduction.  Would Trade For.

Keeping Luke’s SecretRating: ★★★½☆ – I really liked this one.  I enjoyed out the protagonist, who is a historian that was asked to write a long awaited biography, stays true to herself, and her work.  She’s not looking for money or fame.  The story ends with a bit of a twist and a fairy tale ending.  Must Buy.

Marriage Under An Italian SunRating: ★★★☆☆ – This one I also enjoyed.  It was a well written story and the setting in an Italian villa was nice.  The story had a nice mature feel to it, as it dealt with different kinds of loss and trying to make the right choices in order to be happy.  It had some nice twists that kept it from becoming predictable.  Must Buy.

Millionaire Husband: Justin’s StoryRating: ★★★½☆ – This was my second favorite story of the seven I read.  I liked the switch up of making a guy the protagonist instead of it being a woman.  I found his portrayal to be realistic considering his past and his slow by steady change to be well done.  Must Buy.

Prisoner of the TowerRating: ★★★★☆ – This was the best of the seven I read.  I love historical dramas, and this fit right into that.  The characters were well developed and very likable.  I found myself rooting Emma on and wanting to slap Baron Greystone.  The art is also a treat.  I highly recommend this title and a full review will be forthcoming.  Must Buy.

Sale of Return BrideRating: ★★☆☆☆ – This was the most cliche of all the stories I read, both in story and in characters.  I was predicting every story element before they happened, and the ending was no surprise.  It wasn’t badly written or anything like that.  It was just predicatable, and that lowered the enjoyment for me.  Good Way to Kill an Hour.

The Sheikh’s Reluctant BrideRating: ★★½☆☆ – This was another average title.  The Middle Eastern setting and situation with the female protagonist was different from the other titles I read, and I did find it refreshing.  Again, the characters are well written and the story isn’t as predictable, but neither is it very interesting.  The old school feel of the art was a nice touch too.  It just wasn’t all that appealing to me.  Good Way to Kill an Hour.

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

This Week in Manga 2/27-3/5/10

And the Battle Rages On

The debate over scanlations continued this week, coming out of the brouhaha over Nick Simmon’s “homage” (his words) to Bleach.  It grew out of the post by Deb Aoki at Manga.about.com, where comments exploded, with readers of scanlations coming to scans defense, while anti-scans tried to convince them otherwise.  This “debate” led to a post on Anime Vice by a guest writer who tried to defend his reason for reading scans.  More debate continues in the comments there as well.  Watching people’s reactions to the scanlation debate has been interesting to say the least.  It’s like discussing religion, politics, or “dubs vs subs” in the anime community.  There is no real debate going on, because there are two groups with a set of beliefs that they are a prepared to defend to the death it seems.  It’s become a shouting match with both sides making points and counterpoints to each other’s arguments.  So, it becomes like talking to a wall, with neither side gaining ground or able to claim victory.  While it does appear to be a wasted effort, these debates can be useful.  You don’t argue with a fanatic to change their mind, you argue in the hopes that a fence-sitter, or newbie who doesn’t know better will see your arguments and be persuaded by them.  That’s what makes all the frustration and sometimes anger you feel worth it.

Continue reading This Week in Manga 2/27-3/5/10

Manga On Demand

With the manga market getting tighter, we as readers will start to see some of our favorite titles get longer times between volume releases, if at all.  Slow seller are always the first to go.  Despite the cries of protest from it’s small but loyal fan base, companies need to stay in the black, or else we’ll have no manga to buy at all.

But, we’re not helpless in this situation.  Fans can show companies what titles they want to keep coming out.  The easiest way is of course through pre-orders.  Whether it’s through Amazon, Rightstuf or Diamond Distributor’s Previews, ordering a title ahead of time gives publishers a good idea on the demand they can expect for a title.  The lives of titles can be saved or extended through pre-orders better than all the ranting and raving on blogs and forums.  We as fans have to put our money where our mouths are.

Continue reading Manga On Demand

Review: Project X Challengers: Seven Eleven

project-x-seven-elevenProject X Challengers: Seven Eleven
Writer: Tadashi ikuta Artist: Naomi Kimura
Publisher: DMP
Age Rating: All Ages
Genre: Business
Price: $12.95
Rating: ★★★★☆

In a time when giant department stores and supermarkets dominated the Japanese retail industry, two businessmen, Toshifumi Suzuki and Hideo Shimizu, discovered a new type of small retail store flourishing in America – the Seven Eleven.  Called a “convenience store,” it was a concept new to the Japanese.  Intrigued by this new idea and convinced that it would succeed in Japan as well, the two men put together a project team of fifteen members, all virtual novices to the retail trade, to bring this venture to their land.  Staking his entire livelihood, young store owner Kenji Yamamoto volunteered to convert his family-owned liquor store into the first Seven Eleven in Japan.  The hardship of negotiations, the oil shock, the struggle to cope with inadequate space were all met with resolve and innovation, culminating in what is now call the retail revolution!

Project X Challengers: Seven Eleven is not your typical manga.  There are no powered up heroes, or pretty boys, or magical girls.  Instead, it’s about real people facing real life challenges.  While the average teen might find these stories boring, adults with an interest in business, history, or just a good story of a team of underdogs struggling against all odds, will enjoy this title.

Continue reading Review: Project X Challengers: Seven Eleven

Halloween Manga

It’s that time of year again when ghosts and goblins come out to play. Do you want to get into the Halloween spirit, but just don’t know what to get? Well, here’s a list of manga that I’ve either read, or know something about enough to recommend (or warn you away from).

I first posted this on my Tokyopop blog, but I’m bringing here with a few updates.  Well, I thought it was going to be just a few, but every time I start to think I’m done, I come up with another book!  I tried to keep the books in this list to more appropriate to a Halloween theme, than just ghosts, vampires and monsters, etc.  It would take forever to list ALL manga with those in it!

Continue reading Halloween Manga

Right Idea, Wrong Model

You all know I’ve been pushing for getting manga online.  It’s something I believe it, and think can really succeed, but only if it’s done right.  But, I’m sorry to say, Digital Manga Publishing isn’t doing it right.  And it’s not because most of their “launch” titles are YAOI.  DMP makes it’s bread and butter off of BL, which hopefully is what helps supports it’s non-BL line (the Vampire Hunter D manga, etc).  It’s the way they’ve decided to make it available.

DMP has chosen the subscription model for digital content.  You “rent” a title for 72 hours for about $4 ($3 special for launch it seems), and then, if you really like it, you can “buy” the book for another $2.  In other words, on the second purchase you have unlimited views of the title.  Here’s where I’ve got the problem.  You have just spent $5-6 on a title, which, granted is half the print cost, but you don’t get to actually download it.  It stays on their servers, and you can read it anytime, through their thoroughly annoying, flash based viewer.

All you are doing with this model is purchasing the rights to view a title for as long as the eManga servers are around.  If anything happens to eManga, or even their records, you’re out of luck.  This is meant to be DRM, a way to “protect” their property from being stolen.  But that’s not what it’s going to do.  In the long run, it’s going to hurt the honest people who buy from eManga, thinking their titles will always be there to read.  Don’t think so?  As Google Video users, or Yahoo Music users, or Microsoft Music users.  Thousands of people bought into this strategy with these companies and eventually got screwed when the services were discontinued as the model proved not viable for the companies.

I really can’t see this model being all that tenable.  Unless you are someone who doesn’t want to keep the titles, and just read them, then this might not be such a bad deal.  It would be like borrowing the books from the library, or renting a movie.  But you can’t think it’s going to be any more than that.  Don’t go in for that second purchase.  There’s nothing unlimited about it.  If you really like the book enough to want to read it again and again, then buy it.  But don’t get suckered into that second online buy.  In the long run, It’s like throwing money away.  You can control what happens to your physical copy, but you can’t control what happens to eManga or their records/servers.

I really had high hopes for DMP and eManga.  I really did.  I really believe in the digital model for content.  But not like this.  They’ve got the right idea, just the wrong way of doing it.

Brian’s Spot: Vampire Hunter D Volume 1

In 1985, there came Vampire Hunter D, an orginal video animation, adapted from a novel by Hideyuki Kikuchi, about a world overrun by vampires and the vampire hunters who sought to bring them under control. It became a classic, not just because it is one of the best animated vampire movies around, but because of the compelling story, interesting visual style and wonderful characters.

Now, Saiko Takaki is bringing Hideyuki Kikuchi’s novels to the printed page. To date, there have been 17 novels featuring D and the world of the far, dark future and hopefully, all of them will be manga-ized.

Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Vampire Hunter D Manga Volume 1
Adapted & Illustrated by Saiko Takaki
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing
Age Rating: Young Adult 16+
Genre: Horror
Price: $12.95
Rating: ★★★★★

In the far future of 12,090 A.D., mankind has ruined the planet. Through nuclear attacks and pollution, mutants have arisen, including the return of supernatural creatures like vampires and werewolves. It is the vampires, incredibly, that actually save mankind and return order to the world where they reign as nobles for more than 5000 years. However, the nobles have largely become corrupt and decadent over the years, living in luxury and viewing the humans as little more than cattle.

Into this world comes D, half-human, half-vampire with a score to settle with the nobles. He is hired by Doris Lang, a beautiful farmer who has caught the eye, and the fangs, of the local ruling noble, Count Magnus Lee. He seeks to turn her and marry her, much to the dismay of his vampiric daughter Lamica. Can D save Doris from the final bite of Magnus Lee, the claws of the jealous Lamica and the swords of the townspeople who fear Doris bringing the wrath of the vampires down upon them all?

The first volume is basically a retelling of the 1985 movie with a few new characters and a few alterations. If you’re familiar with the original movie, this is going to seem very familiar, but that doesn’t make the manga bad. Far from it in fact, we get to see a lot of elements that either didn’t make it into the movie or were altered for the movie. The art style is very similar to that in the film which makes it easy for those who have seen it to feel at home in the vampire world.

I did say that there are some elements that changed and one of those is the inclusion of a lot more nudity and suggestive dialogue. When Doris hires D in the manga, her payment to him includes his use of her body and she shows it off several times in the first volume. While I shouldn’t have to point out that this is for an older audience and has plenty of blood and body parts flying, anyone who is seriously opposed to nudity may want to think twice.

If the movie was something you enjoyed, this manga is right up your alley. It captures the feel of the movie perfectly, so much so that I kept thinking about the Japanese voice actors as I read their lines. This is a manga for fans of the horror, fantasy and action genres who are looking for something a little different than the standard fare. Pick up the first volume, I can’t imagine you’ll be disappointed.