Tag Archives: NYAF

Cautiously Optimistic

The first day of panels at NYCC/NYAF was certainly full of surprises. And it started right off first thing in the morning for me, at 6:30 am (PST) when news started on Twitter about Viz Media’s big announcement. Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha will be a digital manga magazine that will run new chapter of the manga Bakuman, Bleach, Naruto, Nura, One Piece, and Toriko two weeks after they run in Japan. The magazine will be available through Vizmanga.com and through the iOS apps. The price is $25.99 for 48 issues, or you can rent single issues for .99 for 4 weeks. I’m a little confused on the .99 rental though. I’ve seen it described as .99 a month, which implies only paying .99 for four issues which is a lot better than 25.99 for a year, unless of course, the year subscription means you can keep the issues permanently. Whether the weekly issues are for keeps or for a limited time as the Nura serialization is now hasn’t been clarified. The digital magazine will start in January 2012, with the print magazine ending with the March issue.

I can’t say I’m thrilled with the new line up. One Piece and Bakuman are the only ones I’m interested in, and the fact that I can only stream the titles, since no one wants to even try to make an android tablet app (hint: if it’s so hard to do an app with all the different flavors of Android, then just do what most pub do now anyway; make just a tablet app on Honeycomb), this severely limits my ability to take the mag and “read anywhere”, something I can currently do with my print mag. I’m going to need more details before I decide to stay with the digital magazine. I’ll also admit that I’ll miss reading Psyren and Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds. They aren’t titles I want to actively go after, but I enjoyed reading them in the magazine. Now, Shonen Jump is returning to it “only the top sellers can appear” approach, which is a shame, since going digital should be the opportunity to experiment. And I agree with others on Twitter, that a Shojo Beat digital magazine would be awesome.

Next came Yen Press and Seven Seas with new license announcements. Yen Press announced Soul Eater Not, a side story to Soul Eater. I wasn’t impressed with the first series, so I don’t anticipate caring much for this one. They’ve also announced it will appear in the current issue of Yen Plus, but is that going to be permanent, or just a couple of chapters to push the series as High School of the Dead Color was, and a way to pad the scant Japanese side? I like that Yen is continuing to adapt YA novels, the newest editions being Infernal Devices, which sounds interesting, and a Dark Hunters side story Infinity. And I’ll admit to some curiosity to the Japanese licenses Madoka Magica and Until Death Due Us Part. I might check out Alice in the Country of Hearts, a Tokyopop license rescue (that they said they wouldn’t do…) I missed it the first time around.

Then Seven Seas hints at a new license through anagrams again on Twitter, which turns out to be the sequel to Alice in the Country of Hearts, Alice in the Country of Clover. This was a pleasant surprise and a boon for AitCoH fans. Seven Seas also announced the new title from the creator of Dance in the Vampire Bund. Angel Para Bellum takes on christian mythology with a battle between heaven and hell brewing and only a boy named Mitsuru holds the key to preventing it. I think Supernatural has killed my interest in such stories, but I’ll check ou the first volume if given the chance.

Kodansha announced two new licenses, Attack on Titan and Miles Edgeworth. I don’t know how much Attack on Titan will appeal to me, but if I like the Phoenix Wright manga, I might check out the Miles Edgeworth. They also announced omnibuses of former Del Rey titles Genshiken and Kitchen Princess, two good titles to keep in print. And then there was the obligatory iOS app announcement (yawn).

Vertical had the biggest surprises for me. The licenses lately haven’t been my cup of tea, with Princess Knight being the only new title I really wanted to read. But in their announcements at their panel, they had two that really piqued my interest. I”ve heard a lot about Osamu Tezuka’s Adolf (Messages to Adolf), but it’s been out of print for so long, I didn’t hold by breath at ever reading it. Until now. It will be releases in 2 hardback volumes next year. Sakuran really looks intriguing too. It’s a historical title about courtesans in the Edo era. And I can’t resist historical titles.

While all of these announcements sound great, I’m going to remain cautiously optimistic about them. What looks good in a press release might not be so great in reality. So I’ll watch and wait for now. Most of the books announced won’t be out until next summer, so there’s plenty of time for things to change. Only the digital announcements have any immediacy, and only Viz’s really concerns me. But it’s still nice to see things to get excited about again.

This Week In Manga 9/26-10/02/09

New York Anime Festival Days 2 & 3

Days 2 & 3 of NYAF brought publishers Del Rey and Viz with more licenses and news.  Del Rey remains conservative with only a few new licenses, but shows it’s still got some cred with Kodansha.  Viz has a little something for everyone in each of their lines, including some interesting suprises.  What isn’t surprising is the number of titles from already known mangaka.  Easier to sell a known than unknown quantity, I would say.

Continue reading This Week In Manga 9/26-10/02/09

This Week in Manga 9/19-9/25/09

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.

Continue reading This Week in Manga 9/19-9/25/09

The Sheer Ignorance

I shouldn’t be surprised, but I was pretty disgusted by what I read about the State of the Manga Industry at NYAF 2008 (how come every convention BUT SDCC has one of these?).  When the topic of digital distribution came up, it’s nice to say the panelists were “skeptical, at best”.  If transcriptions of their statements are accurate, I would consider them closer to downright ignorant!  Just because older men who’s livelihood depends on the print industry don’t like the idea of digital distribution doesn’t mean their target audience, teenagers that do more online in an hour than most of them probably do in a day would agree!  Guess what guys, it’s not about YOU!

The sheer ignorance they display is in the assumption they have that digital distribution will replace book.  Even as a firm believer in the digital model, I don’t believe that is going to happen.  Audio books hasn’t done print in, digital isn’t going to either.  And Gambos’ poor attempt at humor about holding “your Kindle up and wave it in the air” was just plain asinine.  The Kindle as a lot of potential, yes, but it isn’t the “ipod of books”.  Yet.

Digital books, and by extension, manga, is going to be the future.  These guys can bury their heads in the sand all they want, but Publishing would do well to learn from movie and music’s mistakes.  Whether it’s on a portable device, or on a computer, the point is that when kids want to read something, they want to do it NOW.  They can get music and movies at the press of a button.  Online distribution of video will most likely be the death of Blu-ray.  It’s win over HD hasn’t gained them any ground.  Publishers would be smart to start preparing now, and give the kids what they want.  It will only lead to better print sales later.  Why can’t they see that?  It’s been shown so many times, I’m getting tired of saying it.  Make online available for the immediacy, and have a buy now link for the permanent copy.  Is this really so difficult?  Or are they just so tied up in their outdated model that they can’t break out?

So, I have to give a load of props to Aurora Publishing for making their LuvLuv line of Josei books available for online through Netcomics.com.  They have a good model, with decent pricing, no funky reader, and give people just what they’re looking for; something to kill some time.  The first volume I read actually a fun read.  Good job Aurora!

Bandai Entertainment’s got the Code

My thanks to Mangacast for catching this. At the NYAF, Bandai Entertainment quietly announced the licensing of 3 new manga and one light novel: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. This was an anime series that premiered in Japan last year, becoming an instant hit. With character designs by CLAMP, and a well written story, this series has spawned not only a second season, but three manga adaptations and light novel. 10 years ago, the Empire of Britannia invaded Japan, using it’s mecha called Knightmares and overwhelmed the Japanese people. The country became known as Area 11, and the Japanese called Elevens. Now, a 17 year old boy named Lelouch, a Britannian, seeks revenge on his father, the Emperor, for the assassination of his mother and crippling of his sister Nunnally. That’s just the basic plot, and doesn’t even begin to cover what going on in this series.

codegl.jpgCode Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is a direct adaptation of the series. It follows Lelouch as he gains the power he needs to enact his revenge and possibly bring down an empire. The complexity of the plot and how well it stays true to the series will determine it’s success. The balance of drama, relationships and battle I think is just right to get a female audience. It is a shojo title and is 3 volumes long.

codegs.jpgCode Geass: Suzaku of the Counterattack looks at Lelouch’s story from a different angle. It follows Suzaku, Lelouch’s childhood friend who wants to see Japan free of Britannia’s rule, but chooses to do it from the inside. So it will have many of the same situations as Lelouch, but we will see it from Suzaku’s point of view. This is another shojo version and is at 1 volume and counting.

codegn.jpgCode Geass: Nightmare of Nunally is a side story, an alternate going off in different direction. In this title, Lelouch’s fate isn’t known, and it’s Nunally, his crippled sister that makes the Geass contract. She gets the power to see the lines of the future and a new body with which to fight. This is a shonen take on the story and is 2 volumes long.

code GEASS: Lelouch of the Rebellion is a light novel adaptation of the series. It’s 4 volumes long.

I’m really excited by this license, and am really surprised it didn’t get the attention that a lot of other announcements did. Code Geass is a big property in Japan, and was all the buzz in the anime community when it was showing. And for once, the buzz was justified. This is a great drama that I truly hope translates to the manga medium. With Lelouch and Suzaku covering both sides, the complexity will hopefully be kept intact. Check it out when it comes out.

What They're REALLY Thinking…

Erin F. of the PopCultureShock website has some great coverage of the Industry talks that went on during the New York Anime Festival. At the panel called “Marketing to the Otaku Generation”, it seems quite apparent that the people making the decisions about what to license and how to do it is completely out of touch with their audience. Particularily Funimation and 4Kids though the second is a foregone conclusion. 4Kids is just in it for the money. Mr. Kahn made that very clear from his comments. If a property doesn’t instantly make them lots of money, then it’s obviously a failure to them. And because the Japanese won’t automatically bend to their will and do what they want, then “there’s a real systemic problem in Japan”. Uh, Mr. Kahn? Ever hear the saying about beating a dead horse? Everyone needs to move on. That’s not a problem, it’s nature. Maybe you should try it.

Read Erin’s coverage here, which also includes a link to the unedited audio recording she did of the panel. I found this really insightful and interesting. This is a must read if you’ve ever wondered what’s wrong with the companies that license and release anime.