Tag Archives: eManga.com

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 1/30-2/5/10

One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall

Last Friday night, news started coming in over twitter that Amazon had pulled the buy buttons from all of publisher MacMillian’s books from their website.  The books could only be purchased there from 3rd party sellers, and this was for both print and digital books.  This included all of their imprints such as First Second books, Tor, and Seven Seas Entertainment.  The New York Times then broke the story that Amazon and MacMillian were arguing over Amazon’s $9.99 pricing for e-books.  MacMillian, one of the 5 publishers who had signed on to Apple’s iBooks store with the tiered pricing plan, now wanted Amazon to do the same.  Amazon’s reaction was to pull MacMillian’s books.  You can get a lot of links to reactions here.  By Sunday, Amazon had posted to their blog that they would have to give in to MacMillian’s demands, and as of this writing, the publisher’s books were being made available again.  This has been brewing for quite some time, and it seems only with the advent of the Apple iPad and iBooks store that publishers seem to be embolden enough to push for the tiered pricing.  While the iPad/iBooks is an alternative, I don’t think it’s going to be as definitive as they believe.  But the fact that Amazon has admitted it will cave shows they knew this was inevitable, and held the line as long as they could.  Whether readers will go along is another matter all together.

Continue reading This Week in Manga 1/30-2/5/10

This Week in Manga 8/15-8/21/09

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 Flashback

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)

Continue reading This Week in Manga 8/15-8/21/09

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.