Tuesday Wednesday morning roundup

UPDATE: It was very nice of you all to pretend you didn’t notice. Or were you just as spacy as I was this morning?

This article claiming that UK retailers are missing out on the manga boom is only three paragraphs long, but it raises a heap of questions. First of all, the claim is being made by Emma Hayley, who works for Self Made Hero, which puts out the Shakespeare manga books. So I’m wondering if the problem is more acute with smaller publishers, and if Viz and Tokyopop have the same problem. Certainly plenty of manga is published in UK editions, and before it went bust, the Ottaker’s chain even had a manga club. And this doesn’t seem right:

Hayley added that UK retailers should follow the lead of US booksellers. “Our books have been featured in both Borders and Waterstone’s and they do a good job,” she said. “However, they put all manga in a dedicated section. If you look at the US, stores have manga biography in the biography section for example. They are no longer treating manga as a genre.”

I know Yen plans to market With the Light in parenting sections, but that still seems to be more the exception than the rule. The manga section certainly isn’t in danger of disappearing. Has anyone seen manga biographies in the biography section?

At PWCW, Billy Aguiar has a nice interview with Jason Thompson, former Viz editor and current author of the awesomely comprehensive Manga: The Complete Guide.

The MangaCast crew run through this week’s new comics, highlights the manga news from BEA, and presents part 2 of the Big List of manga being released in Japan this month.

Comicsnob Matt Blind launches this week’s manga watch list with a commentary about cine-manga.

ComiPress reports that Kyoto police are cracking down on manga showing sex with children and Osaka police are checking bookstores to make sure “harmful” manga are being shelved away from the clean stuff. The article seems to mix two messages. At the beginning, the article states the problem is that sexy manga are available in convenience stores and bookstores. Later on, there’s this:

An official of the Kyoto police juvenile section said, “Intercourse involving children under 13 is in violation of the criminal law. Lolicon manga may stimulate similar crimes in the real world, so we can’t leave this situation unattended. We are going to warn the parents through these labels. This is not a restriction of the “freedom of press” since the act of labeling is not banning the publication of the books itself.”

Not logical. It’s unlikely that a loli manga would cause someone otherwise not inclined in that direction to rape an underage child, so labeling them and keeping them away from the general public doesn’t solve that problem. The effect on actual pedophiles is unclear, but it seems the labeling would serve the double purpose of making such manga easier to find for them as wants it. Simon Jones thinks this is not about erotica but about manga for teen girls, which would change the scenario a bit. And he asks, wisely, “Are local police really the best arbiters of what is indecent material, as they seem to be in both reports?” At The Beat, commenters discuss the labeling issue.

In this week’s Flipped, David Welsh plans for summer with a list of manga-related activities and upcoming releases.

Reviews: At Mecha Mecha Media, John Thomas has a lengthy and thoughtful review of vol. 1 of Kamui. Okazu’s Erica Friedman has a two-part review of vol. 8 of Yuri Hime magazine. The Anime on DVD staff all kick in on this week’s Small Bodied Manga Reviews. At Manga Life, Michael Aronson gives middling grades to vol. 2 of DN Angel. Rob Vollmar reviews Hokusai: First Manga Master at Comics Worth Reading, and readers chime in with more recommended reading in comments. At the Mangamaniaccafe, Julie checks out vol. 3 of After School Nightmare. Active Anime’s Christopher Seaman reads vol. 3 of Vampire Doll.

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  1. I’m thinking the crackdown on shoujo content comes from the similar wave that branded Sho-Comi the least suitable magazine for children. As for Kyoto’s sweeps, unrelated lolicon regulating attempt that won’t really do much, won’t really be implimented and will overall waste plenty of time.

    Then again, we are talking about the Japanese police force, which clearly has so much time to spare that it can manage to stop me no less than three times for my “stolen” bike. Oy gevalt.

  2. We have *comic* biographies in the biography section, including Persepolis, Maus, and Fun Home. I haven’t seen an authentic, Japanese manga biography filed there, but then again, I can’t say a manga bio has even hit my radar yet.

    Things like “Hokusai: first manga master” (recently released by H. Abrams & Co.) or the woodcut novels of Lynd Ward (i.e. Madman’s Drum) are filed in the art section. Jeff Smith’s Bone can be found with other children’s literature — or at least, the individual volumes from Scholastic are there, but the omnibus is shelved in graphic novels, next to things like Blankets and A. Crumb’s Need More Love — which I would have put in the bio section.

    Some manga is broken out by age — there are both teen manga and kid’s favourite series categories — but the distinctions between teen and regular manga seem both arbitrary and inconsistant. (the kids manga is easy to spot: usually just 96 pages and rated all ages)

    Most of the manga is just lumped together and dumped alongside graphic novels — in contrast, the graphic novels are subdivided 5 ways: Marvel, DC, “Comics Lit” (Where Scott McCloud’s Reading Comics resides, for example), a catch all GN category for most other publishers, and one category that seems redundant, “Superheroes”. The Superheroes section gets most of the Encyclopedia-type books (Marvel Universe, 365 Days of

  3. Oh, and for the record: My store has Manga Shakespeare filed in the Kid’s Classics section, next to Anne of Green Gables, Huck Finn, Aesop’s Fables, the Red Badge of Courage, and other items that continually crop up on summer reading lists. It’s not where I would put it, but it makes it’s own kind of sense (and the corp. office isn’t asking me my opinion. Some guy in NY is making way too much money to make these arbitrary category assignments…)

  4. I would be very surprised if the dragnet was focused on actual adult manga. Upwards of 50~100 ero manga may be released each month, and a good number of those are, umm, “unpublishable” outside Japan. So if the Kyoto police were really going around and redundantly labeling adult manga as harmful, then a mere 13 titles is *hardly* adequate.

    Then again, given the investigative prowess, or lack thereof, they displayed in recent high profile cases…

  5. Yeah, the fact that the stores treat manga as a genre, is one of the US’s biggest problems. =_=; I’ve spoken to many UK fans at y!Gallery and none of them are having ‘drastic’ issues acquiring manga. Their main gripe is getting ‘BL’ manga. ^_-