CMX finally breaks the silence on Tenjho Tenge with a thoughtful response to the company’s critics from Director of Manga Asako Suzuki. She acknowledges fans’ dissatisfaction with the edits and indicates that the staff has taken this whole thing seriously, then goes on to say
There are many people who enjoy CMX version Tenjho Tenge, who might otherwise be unable to read it, and in fact, it is one of our best-selling titles. We don’t think it would be fair to deprive some of those loyal readers of their favorite title so far into the series.
Now, CMX can’t change the fact that they have launched themselves on this road, and I can understand not wanting to change formats in midstream. Oh, wait:
please note that Tenjho Tenge will be rated “Teen Plus” from its 9th volume to indicate more precise direction to our readers.
Is this Suzuki’s sideways way of saying no more edits after volume 9? And doesn’t this contradict what she just said?
Suzuki also says that the manga-ka, Oh! Great, has seen the edits and presumably approved them, which doesn’t impress the folks at the ANN forums. She also says that CMX editor have discussed releasing an unedited version but have decided to stay the course for now which, like it or not, makes sense from a business point of view.
Two things: First, I believe that the staff was upset by the controversy. They may not have been happy with the edits to begin with, and besides, editing is a job you do for love, not money, and it hurts to have someone attack your work in public. Second, even edited, the book sold well. The fact that a small number of educated people hated the changes does not cancel out the fact that a large number of other people bought the book. I still think it was a bad decision (I haven’t read the book, but I gather they were trying to make an adult book into a kids book by covering up the titties, which is just plain stupid), but the publisher’s job is to make money, not please the critics, and those two things don’t always coincide.
Anyway, people grow, people change, and hopefully Suzuki’s response is a step in the right direction. The TenTen edits would still have been a big deal if CMX had spoken out from the beginning, but people might not have gotten quite so angry. Even more important, I hope they start limiting edits and pitching books at the appropriate age groups. I think the market has provided ample evidence that that strategy can work.
UPDATED to give Ms. Suzuki the correct gender. Sorry!