Manga knows what girls want. And boys, too.

At The Beat, Heidi MacDonald rounds up numerous articles about the popularity of manga and another set about retailing. Both make interesting reading, as do the comments that follow. I particularly like this, from the inexplicably blogless Simon Jones:

I always put down the success of manga being due to it’s utterly mercenary nature. That’s not to say there’s a lack of art or anything to it, but it knows what it’s audience wants.

Adolescent boys! Here is some violence or possibly some sports or perhaps both! Here is an audience identificaiton character! Here is a girl! The girl will not be terribly complex but you will be 15 and will not care that much!

Adolescent girls! Here is some romance! Here is an audience identification character! Here is some soap opera! Here is a boy! The boy will likewise be able to be broken down into a few simple character traits but, again, you are 15 and will not care that much!

The Manga Villagers pick the best of this week’s new manga.

At Manga Xanadu, Lori Henderson makes the tough choices from the latest Previews.

Xavier Guilbert interviews Igarashi Daisuke at du9.

Erica Friedman rounds up this week’s yuri news at Okazu.

Con time: Gia continues her Sakura Con coverage with a report on the Dark Horse panel and a roundup of important news. Deb Aoki was there as well, and she notes that Dark Horse editor Carl Horn complained of slow sales for their mature titles:

Struggling titles mentioned include horror/suspense titles Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service and Mail as well as Hiroshi Hirata’s samurai epic, Satsuma Gishiden.

In the case of Satsuma Gishiden, Horn explained, “Hiroshi Hirata has created one of the best samurai manga, ever. But we couldn’t continue publishing it after volume 3, because it wasn’t selling.”

She also has more on the Broccoli and Tokyopop panels. And over at PopCultureShock, Ken Haley continues his coverage of Anime Boston.

The Wall Street Journal notices Bleach. (Via the other, NSFW Simon Jones.)

John Jakala questions an assertion by DC’s Paul Levitz that the success of manga is confined to a few series.

John T is back from his trip to Japan and he shows off his swag, including a Spider-Man manga.

Charts, charts, charts: Ed Chavez posts the Gamers light novel rankings and the Toroana doujin ratings from Japan. Matt Blind has been doing some number-crunching at Comicsnob, and he has come up with the top 500 manga for last week, top 50 series for last week, a publishers’ scorecard, a midlist 500 (taking out the top five series), and an explanation of how he does it. All Matt’s charts are based on online sales.

German blogger Invaeon, of Manly Manga and More, links to a set of German articles about German mangaka in Spiegel Online.

Reviews: The denizens of Manga Village have a new set of reviews up: Charles Tan on vol. 1 of Museum of Terror, John Thomas on vol. 4 of The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Lissa Pattillo on vol. 1 of Boys Be, Dan Polley on vol. 13 of Golgo 13, Sabrina on vol. 13 of One Piece and vol. 1 of Ballad of a Shinagami, and Lori Hendrson on vol. 1 of Monkey High. At Active Anime, Holly Ellingwood reviews vol. 3 of Heroes Are Extinct! and vol. 16 of Tsubasa, and Scott Campbell checks out vol. 1 of Shin Megami Tensei Kahn. Kethylia finds plenty to like in vol. 1 of Tower of the Future and is still enjoying vol. 4 of Vampire Knight. Johanna Draper Carlson pans Real Love at Comics Worth Reading. At Prospero’s Manga, Ferdinand is less impressed than others have been with vol. 1 of Fairy Tail. At the MangaCast, Mangamaniac Julie reviews Great Place High School; back at the Manga Maniac Cafe, she checks out The Color of Love. Nothayama posts a mini-review of High School Debut at Sleep Is For the Weak. At the Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society, Ryes reads Sugar Milk and Hot Steamy Glasses. EvilOmar spotlights Negima and posts some short manga reviews at About Heroes. Connie checks out vol. 2 of Flock of Angels, vol. 14 of Boys Be…, vol. 12 of Trigun Maximum, vol. 5 of Hoshin Engi, and vol. 3 of Metamo Kiss. The Manga Recon crowd posts some mini-reviews at PopCultureShock. Andrew Wheeler reviews three manga that have nothing in common at ComicMix: vol. 1 of Priest, vol. 1 of Sugar Sugar Rune, and vol. 1 of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. Erica Friedman reviews vol. 2 of Magie Paire and the lesbian-free Lesbian Shoujo Ai at Okazu. Michelle checks out vols. 5 and 6 of Boys Over Flowers and vols. 5 and 6 of Skip Beat! at Soliloquy in Blue.

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  1. That’s too bad to hear about DarkHorse’s titles, though I guess I’m not very surprised. They’re not very advertisement and aren’t the kind of things you can pass out with hopes of success to just anyone. I’ll continue buying ’em though, hopefully things’ll pick up. Good series.

  2. To be honest the lack of sales on LN’s are totaly at the fault of the publishers. They refuse to work with the front line stores to advertise them, leaving it to the distributors.

    I recently met a Tokyopop Rep at an event and was gutted to find i knew more about TP’s LN line up than he did.

  3. Ugh. The Dark Horse news depresses me since their titles make up the majority of my manga buying list. Saddened to see Kurosagi added to the list of “not doing well” titles.

  4. I had a hard time finding Kurosagi in bookstores, so I’m not surprised it hasn’t done well, despite plenty of critical praise. Also, I’m guessing libraries aren’t buying many copies. The library market is a pretty big factor in manga sales, and my library has all the major series and some of the minor ones. But they’re shelved in the YA section. It’s hard to imagine them carrying a title like Kurosagi even in the adult section, because it is so graphic.

  5. OK, major future-of-manga-hangs-in-balance question.

    On the Yurusu site, the fansite for Loveless, it says that Loveless will no longer be published. Is this just some April Fool’s prank?

  6. SF,

    It’s a hoax. If you go to the scanlation site referenced in that post, you’ll get a message to that effect. It did sound pretty convincing, but as the hoaxers point out, there is no link to an official site.

  7. Yup. Just confirmed it with Tokyopop. It’s a prank.

  8. It’ll be a sad day when Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service vanishes from the shelves- I’ll just have to buy every copy I can get my mitts on to compensate, I suppose! (Although, it’s true, even for people actively looking for copies, there’s a lot of hoop-jumping involved just to find a few.)

  9. Simon Jones who is blogless says:

    I find the death of Satsuma Gishiden, which practially dripped 70’s Japanese left politics, slightly sadder because it keeps reinforcing the idea that old manga, even ones that are important to the genre, aren’t going to sell that well. If it keeps up we’ll never get Ashita No Joe or Devilman or Song of the Wind and Trees or Military History of the Ninja or Kinnikuman other titles that may not be the most commercial, but give a better understanding of the genre as a whole.

    Though, arguably, that’s what Scanlation should be for, rather than the latest comic from Shonen Jump. Stuff that just isn’t going to make it into the west.

  10. hmmm i just realised, UK libraries dont carry any manga. They carry some of the more popular graphic novels, such as batman and superman, but no manga. Local councils wont buy them because they’d have to buy an entire series and they don’t see it as being worth the investment

  11. I am reduced to buying Kurosagi from these days. It’s one of the series that my husband really enjoys, and I like the black humor and bits of mystery. Borders carries Crying Freeman; surely they can put Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service on the shelf, too. Come to think of it, I’ve been buying lots of Dark Horse titles of late, mostly from my trust online sources (Rightstuf, TFAW, and Amazon).

  12. Marla: Borders is a weird creature. My local one has Crying Freeman and MPD Psycho on the shelves, but not Kurosagi or Mail.

    Brigid: Just wondering but, do you think Blood + will turn up in libraries..?


  1. […] the sales this week, I’m going to default to another post about the process. (and as always, thanks for the link, Brigid, but you may have unfairly raised surfers’ expectations; last week’s comments were […]