Tag Archives: Online Manga

This Week in Manga 5/15-5/21/10


Do you “Size” Up?

Inspired by a conversation on Twitter about what it means to be a fan, Ed Sizemore of the Manga Worth Reading blog tries to clarify his position. I bring this up because there has been a lot of talk about digital piracy and it’s effects on manga publishers. Ed’s view is basically that you can only call yourself a fan if you invest yourself, time and money, in the thing that you love. While I can see where he’s coming from, I can’t say I completely agree with his position. I don’t think there should be parameters put on what makes someone a fan of something. Being a fan of something, whether it’s TV, movies, or manga, shouldn’t be contingent on how much time you spend talking up a show or buying everything sight that branded with it. I’m a fan of Castle, but I don’t feel a burning need to buy the book or DVDs. I’m fine with watching the show every week. Does that make me less of a fan than someone who makes Lego Castle and Beckett figures? I don’t think so. By the same token, people or borrow manga from a friend or the library can still be fans of manga without actually buying the books, or obsessing over them. I would say you could start to draw the line at people who read licensed material at illegal aggregator sites, but I would still be reluctant to do so. Stealing the material doesn’t mean you’re still not a fan.  You’re just a bad fan. Trying to put up walls about what makes someone a fan will only keep more people out than what should be the desired effect, to get more people in.

When It Rains, It Pours

What a depressing way to come home from work. The news about DC pulling the plug on CMX not only shocked me, it completely ruined my week. Yes, the news of other publishers going under was sad, but most of them hadn’t released a title in at least 6 months, some longer. CMX was not only continuing to release titles, they were putting up new titles.  They were active on Twitter. There was nothing, no sign to indicate that there was a problem. The way it looks is that DC is run by a bunch of asshats who don’t like anything that doesn’t appeal to the male 13-21 demographic, and if anything like that still exists at the company, it must be stamped out immediately.  But don’t just take my word for it. Check out the many articles and blog posts people have written about it, expressing their feelings as well. DC really struck a nerve with this one, and not in a good way. But that’s “business as usual” for them, isn’t it?

Cross Game Online

On Monday, Viz started the serialization of Cross Game, a coming of age story and the game of baseball. The first two chapters are up and can be read for free online. I guess Viz’s experiment with online manga is working for them, or else we wouldn’t keep seeing new titles being introduced. I’m curious to see how successful this title turns out to be. Sports manga hasn’t traditionally done well in the US, despite us being a very sports oriented culture.

Peer Pressure

Manga companies and fans alike would do well to listen to the words of Audrey Taylor, former creative director of Go! Comi. She delves out some advice from her experience at Go! Comi, much of which has been said before, but perhaps coming from a fellow publisher, the words won’t go unheeded. While most of the advice is directed at publishers, readers can take something away from her words too. Once a book has been licensed and published, you don’t need to “build an audience” for it anymore. Posting legal copies online DOES hurt the company you are supposedly trying to help. If you want to “build an audience” then promote the publisher. Don’t scan their book to put online, and don’t continue to scanlate them. I know some people will claim they have to keep scanlating since there’s no guarantee the publisher will complete the series, but that’s just a self-fulfilling prophesy. By continuing to make illegal copies available, less people will buy the books, which makes it harder for the publisher to stay in business, so that when they go out of business you can justify your illegal acts.

Tokyopop-ing Up

Finally we are seeing some progress from Tokyopop’s restructuring from 2 years ago. First TP announced a film based on the manhwa Priest, and now they have plans in the works for The Dreaming, an OEL manga by Queenie-Chan, to become a film.  It will be interesting to see if this venture pans out. The Priest production has gone through a lot to get to a release date. Hopefully, The Dreaming won’t have the same problems.

Two possible new licenses were also sighted on Amazon this week, purported to be coming from Tokyopop. Both are shojo titles from Hakusensha. Sorairo Kaigen is a high school romance about a girl who is rescued on a bus by a boy who may be from her past. It’s complete at 6 volumes. Kirameki Gingachou Shoutengai is a little long at 10 volumes and is a romantic comedy about 6 friends who grew up in the Galaxy Street Shopping Center. Both look interesting, and with the loss of CMX, we need a new source of Hakusensha titles.

NYT Best Seller List

Viz holds 8 of the 10 titles on this week’s list again, and it’s back to business as usual. First, over in the hardback comics list, Kick-Ass and Twilight have switched places again, with Twilight falling back to #2.  Over on the manga list, Black Bird vol 4 keeps hold of the #1 spot for a second week, while Naruto vol 47 returns after a brief stint off last week at #2. D.Gray-man vol 17 holds on to #3 and Inuyasha vol 48 debuts at #4. Black Butler vol 1, one of the two non-Viz titles, returns at #5 as does Rosario Vampire: Season II vol 1 at #6. Falling 5 spots to #7 is Otomen vol 6, while Viz Signature title Biomega vol 2 debuts at #8. Yotsuba&! vol 8, the othe non-Viz title falls back 4 to #9, and only one One Piece, vol 46, hangs onto the list at #10. So Viz continues to dominate with Yen Press being the only other publisher able to hold their own against them week to week. Most of the changes are in which Viz titles will make it to the list, and while not a lot of changes are surprises, it’s nice to see some of the older titles like Inuyasha charting, as well as a Signature title.

Manga For Your Ears

Manga Out Loud

  • Episode 07 – Mechamedia with the Reverse Theives

Sci-Guys Podcast

Spiraken Manga Reviews

This Week at Manga Village

What I’m Reading

  • Otodama v1
  • Antique Bakery v1-2
  • Dinosaur King 1-2

This Week in Manga 12/20-12/25/2009

More On Translation

Shannon Garrity over at The Comics Journal weighs in on the translation issue.  She brings to focus the whole issue of literal vs literary, which is really a fan vs professional debate.  Fans take a more literal approach, which can be claimed to be more authenitic, though it could also be that they don’t have the writing sense to make the translations smoother.  Good writing isn’t something that comes naturally, as the internet has shown.  But, then again, sometimes trying to make a title more “friendly” to western audiences can backfire.  Whether too much or not enough, it’s still a no-win situation for publishers and professional translators who want to please both the current otaku fanbase and try to attract new readers.  But here’s my concern.  How will manga ever reach more general audiences if it continues to keep clunky translations?  Who’s going to take it serious or for being more than a niche genre if it keeps catering to the niche fanbase?  You’ve got to cut the cord someday.  I’ll take a good read over a literal read any day.  Just don’t westernize the names.

Continue reading This Week in Manga 12/20-12/25/2009

This Week in Manga 12/12-12/18/09

The End of Time in Japan

Haruka ~Beyond the Stream of Time~ manga series will end serialization with the January issue of LaLa DXHaruka, which was licensed by Viz and was serialized in Shojo Beat until the magazine’s cancellation, is a reverse harem manga and based on a playstation game.  The series, which started in 2000 will end at 16 volumes.  Here in the US, Viz has released the first 6 so far.  Haruka was a series I enjoyed in Shojo Beat, but found the collected volumes to be less interesting.  It remains to be seen if the series can continue without the support of Shojo Beat.  I think it will be on a long release schedule.  It’s not a bad title, but it’s not a great one either.

Continue reading This Week in Manga 12/12-12/18/09

Let Your Earthlight Shine

Earthlight 3If you’ve been following Tokyopop’s Boys of Summer online releases, you’ll notice there hasn’t been an update for a couple of weeks.  No, I don’t know why.  All Tokyopop has said is that it “won’t be back up for several weeks.” What I want to bring attention to though is the title they’ve moved up to fill in.  Earthlight.  This wasn’t supposed to be going up until January 2010, but now it’s been pushed up to this Wednesday, October 21.  So, if you’re one of those rare sci-fi manga fans, and had given up on this series (like a friend of mine), take heart!  You’ll finally get the finish of your series!

This Week in Manga: 8/8-8/14/09

It’s another slow week for news in general, though there were some cool announcements and interesting discussions.  There’s still some SDCC fallout too.  That should start petering out though as NYAF starts to loom ahead.

Video Recap of Ikki Panel at SDCC

Over at the Ikki Blog, Viz has put together a nearly 4 minute recap of the Ikki panel at SDCC.  It’s no the same as being there, but it’ll give you an idea of what went on.  A full recording of the panel would have been much cooler though.

Continue reading This Week in Manga: 8/8-8/14/09

This Week in Manga 7/18-7/24/09

I know this is late, but SDCC threw everything off schedule.  Everything will back by this week.  I hope.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Otakon ran this weekend.  Did you notice?  There were no announcements from manga publishers, and really not a lot of announcements in general.  Whoever planned for this years Otakon really blew it.  Placing it between the biggest industry cons was a serious mistake.  Attendance was barely changed from last years numbers.  Even with this economy, AX showed a reasonable rise, and SDCC sold out at least two months sooner than last year.  So it’s not that people aren’t going to the cons, they just need more time in between to replenish cash reserves.  Otakon, stay in August.

Continue reading This Week in Manga 7/18-7/24/09

This Week in Manga For 7/4-7/10/09

I’m gonna try and make this a weekly feature, rounding up the stories from the week I found most interesting from the web and twitter.  Of course, I’ll be adding my own two cents with some commentary on the news items.

Anime Expo – 7/2-7/5/09

Normally associated with anime (obviously), manga pubs usually have a presence at AX, as a booth and/or panel.  Though, with the tough economy, smaller pubs seem to be fleeing the crowds and expense of SDCC, in favor of a more targeted audience.  Here ae some items I want to highlight.

Continue reading This Week in Manga For 7/4-7/10/09

Getting Their Feet Wet

viz_media_logoA lot has been going on at Viz Media recently.  First, back in April, Viz started running Rumiko Takahashi’s new manga, Rin-Ne, concurrent with it’s Japanese release online for American fans to read.  A first for legal simultaneous manga releases.  Next, Viz quietly announced that they would be releasing up-to-date One Piece chapters in Shonen Jump.  Then they confirmed that they were discontinuing it’s manga magazine for girls, Shojo Beat.  This was a major disappointment to many people (myself included).  But, right on the heels of that, as if to try to make amends, Viz then announces the start of a new manga magazine.  Online.  Ikki is a Japanese manga magazine that specializes in seinen, or young men’s manga.

Continue reading Getting Their Feet Wet

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!

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.

Tokyopop Online Watch: Bizenghast

Bizenghast Vol 1Tokyopop, being one of the few companies to embrace the potential of online manga is doing it again.  Starting this week, and until Wed. 7/2/08, you can read all of Bizenghast Volume 1 on their website.  And for every week after, you can read another volume leading up to Volume 5, which will be available to read on 7/15/08 only.

I got hooked on this series through reading it online.  Last year Tokyopop did this for the first two volumes, for the release of the third.  If you want to check out a series, reading it online is a great way to sample it.  And if you do like it, buy the volumes.  Online manga lets you taste the series, but having the book in your hand gives you the real experience.