Vagueness at Viz; laughable manga

The big news this morning is that Viz Media is “restructuring,” whatever that means. Details are sketchy, but it seems to involve layoffs. Here’s the nut graf:

Viz Media CEO Hidemi Fukuhara has issued the following statement: “Viz Media is in the process of refining its focus and is restructuring to adjust to changing industry and financial market realities. Viz feels confident that with these changes, the company will be more streamlined to face the current economic climate.”

That’s about as vague as you can get, and anything more at the moment is pure speculation. Lori Henderson thinks it through a bit, including some commentary on scanlations, at Manga Xanadu. Meanwhile, over on the supply side, Kodansha also had a bad year. The very first commenter at ANN blames the loss on fansubs and scanlations, apparently missing the part where they were talking about sales in Japan.

If that gloomy news has got you down, David Welsh has the cure: a whole Flipped column devoted to manga that will make you laugh. At Sporadic Sequential, John Jakala chimes in with a list of his own favorites.

At Japanator, God Len lists this week’s new releases.

Matt Blind has last week’s online sales info: rankings summary, emerging trends report, new releases and pre-orders, and the top 500.

Kodansha has announced the finalists in its third annual Morning International Manga Competition. The results skew heavily towards Asian creators, with no North Americans or Canadians in the mix for the second year in a row.

Congratulations to Casey Brienza, whose article “Paratexts in Translation: Reinterpreting “Manga” for the United States” was just published in a refereed journal.

News from Japan: ComiPress translates a roundup of gossip about famous manga-ka. Also: Obama sushi. Thank you, Japan!

Reviews: The Manga Recon team posts a gaggle of short reviews in their weekly Manga Minis column. Congratulations to Melinda Beasi, who joins the Comics Should Be Good stable of Excellent Manga Reviewers (Danielle Leigh, Michelle Smith) with her review of vol. 6 of Mushishi. And mad props to CSBG head blogger Brian Cronin for being savvy enough to bring these writers together!

Connie on vol. 10 of +Anima (Slightly Biased Manga)
Snow Wildsmith on Body Language (Manga Jouhou)
Connie on vol. 12 of D.Gray-Man (Slightly Biased Manga)
Julie on vol. 3 of Gantz (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Erica Friedman on vol. 9 of Hayate x Blade (Okazu)
Kris on Love Code (Manic About Manga)
Lissa Pattillo on vol. 1 of Maximum Ride (Kuriousity)
Tangognat on vol. 1 of Oishinbo (Tangognat)
Charles Tan on vol. 1 of Pluto (Comics Village)
Cynthia on Take Me To Heaven (Boys Next Door)
Cynthia on Where Has Love Gone? (Boys Next Door)

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  1. apparently missing the part

    That’s pretty much every commenter at ANN. :)

  2. Viz is “restructuring”! I believe the current term for canning people is “workforce rebalancing”.

  3. Brigid, thank you for your kind words!

  4. Forsooth!

  5. Illegal downloading is a problem in Japan too, you know, not just the US market.

  6. Actually, that’s a good point. But it’s also not at all clear that people who illegally download comics would buy them if that option weren’t open to them.

  7. I will admit that I have checked out scans, but the ones I do read are for manga titles that haven’t been licensed here in the US. If a title has been licensed here I wait patiently (generally its more impatiently) for the copy to be published. I know I can’t speak for all who check out scanlated titles but sometimes the titles I want to read aren’t available in English and they don’t have a license attached. I have also been known to read a scan and like it so much that I will actually purchase a copy in Japanese.

  8. I have no issues with scanlations, and frequently read both licensed and unlicensed volumes. Should i give up a series i’ve been reading just because it was licensed, and have to wait 3 or 4 years for the western publisher to catch up?

    Hell no. I read a series because i like it and want it as soon as possible. So scanlations all the way. I do however buy the volumes as they’re released, but i’ll never give up my scanlations.

    Especially for series Tokyopop pick up, who seem to be on a roll of deciding a series is a flop after 2 or 3 volumes and canning it. Or worse yet, letting it run for 23 volumes, deciding it’s a flop and canning it (damn you TP gimme my Cursed Sword volumes!!)

  9. “The results skew heavily towards Asian creators, with no North Americans or Canadians in the mix for the second year in a row.”

    I guess Canada is not a part of North America anymore?? Have we separated already??