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
Want to know why the Japanese model of selling anthologies without back issues won’t work in the US? This ebay auction is a pretty good indication. With 2 hours to go, the winning bid is $91.00 for Yen Plus Volume 1 issue 2, which started out at $8.99. Such outrageous extremes wouldn’t be happening if Yen Press had thought things through and had a plan for back issues. I think this is a good indication of how uneven the distribution of Yen Plus is in brick and mortar stores. I don’t think anyone in this economy would pay such a price if they were so readily available. And Collectors want their collection complete, graphic novels coming out later or not.
The auction ended, by the way, at $102.50. That seller is going to have a happy Christmas. I hope it was really worth it to the buyer.
I’m glad Yen Press chose to go the anthology route and put out a magazine. Anthologies are probably the best way to get manga titles seen by the general public. But, some issues are starting to come up that make me wonder about their intentions for it.
Since I wrote my less than stellar review of issue 2, I’ve been getting requests to sell it (which I did, sorry everyone else). I found out why by from one hopeful buyer. Yen Press doesn’t offer back issues for sale. This is confirmed on their website in the comment of their blog for Yen Plus here, in the second to last comment by Abby. She claims there is no way to order them through their distributor. And that struck me as kinda weird. I’ve personally never run into a situation where I couldn’t order a back issue of a magazine. Even with my small, more obscure publications such as Cross Stitching or Godzilla. Even if it’s for a limited time, back issues can be purchased from the magazine.
Continue reading Yen + Pressure
In my continuing evaluation of Yen Plus to decide if it’s worth subscribing to, I picked up issue 2. I read it the same way as last issue, reading the Japanese side first, and then flipping to the OEL/Korean side. With this second issue, most of my original impressions stand, if not becoming more ingrained. The entire Japanese side is a complete and total waste. The fan service continues unabated, and overrides any story that might be there, especially in Soul Eater and Sumomomo Momomo. Bamboo Blade has really deteriorated in it’s next two chapters. Higurashi and Nabari stand on the edge, but they are not intriguing enough to hold up the other three. The whole Japanese side is a write off as far as I’m concerned.
The OEL/Korean side carries this magazine. Nightschool and Pig Bride stand as the strongest titles, with Maximum Ride and Sarasah close behind. One Fine Day is a take or leave title, and Jack Frost continues to show it’s Hellsing influence. Actually it’s just plain a rip-off, but still has some potential.
All of these titles together as a package just doesn’t do it for me. I’m paying $9 a month or $50 a year to read half a magazine? I don’t think so. Yen Press’ best bet would be to divide the magazine up and bring out two different mag and market them to two different audiences. The Japanese side is purely for the guys. It’s hard to find anything substantial for females to really latch onto and enjoy. I don’t mind some fanservice, but these just go too far for even my tastes. Actually, most of it is just plain offensive pandering. The OEL/Korean side is closer to what a general audiences magazine should be. Action, fantasy, romance, and slice of life all together. This is the side that has the best chance of surviving as it has the greatest ability to appeal to a wider audience. The Japanese side for the fanboys. Why not just give it to them, and leave the rest of us to have 1 or 2 titles we don’t like rather than 6-7.
I will not continue to pick up Yen Plus, but will follow my favorite series in graphic novels. It was a good idea, but the titles in Yen Plus just doesn’t make it worth it. Maybe when Hero Tales is added, as was just announced at NYAF, things might change. I may pick up the first issue with Hero Tales and see if there is any improvement, but at the moment, I don’t have a lot of high hopes for it. I’ll pay $4.99 monthly/$29.99 yearly for the OEL/Korean side, but I’m not sinking my few spare dollars into a year of titles I couldn’t care less about.
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Older Teen
Picking up where I left off last post, the OEL/Korean side starts out with lots of ads, mostly for Yen Press and related, as well as some other company ads. Since this is the side that read like normal for Americans, they probably thought they were best placed here.
Continue reading Review: Yen Plus Volume 1 Issue 1 OEL/Korean Manhwa
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Older Teen
I was excited to hear last year at the Yen Press inaugural panel as SDCC that they would be publishing an anthology. I really like by Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat, as they give me an opportunity to sample lots of different manga at an affordable price. At that panel, Kurt Hassler promised the anthology would be ready by the next SDCC. And, low and behold, it was there, Friday, for free! Needless to say, as soon as we got back to the hotel, and for the rest of the weekend, I read it.
First, a few general observations about the anthology. It’s big. If you combined one issue of Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat, you would get the approx. size. And it’s almost all manga. There aren’t a lot of filler articles (that I tend to ignore in the other anthologies anyway). There are ads, but they are well done, and put mostly on the OEL/Korean Manhwa side of the anthology. They are mostly for other Yen Press titles, with a few others thrown in (Dark Horse, Right Stuf etc.). This anthology also reads from both sides. The left-to-right side features OEL titles and Korean Manhwa. About half way through the anthology is a divider page, that tells you to flip the anthology. On the other side are the Japanese titles in their right-to-left direction. Tokyopop did this for a while with the manga magazine before they reduced it to just a shadow of it’s former self.
Continue reading Review: Yen Plus Volume 1 Issue 1 Japanese Manga