Roland Kelts thinks that “cool Japan” may be a little too cool—he sees a disconnect between the people who make manga and anime and the people who consume it:
Look up these companies online and visit their Web sites, and you won’t be surprised: If you find any information in English, it will likely be provided by the enterprising folks at the Anime News Network, an English-language news portal site, some posters on Wikipedia or ardent fans in their blogs. Quite a few industry producers and publishers still maintain Japanese-only Web presences, but that hardly matters. In either language, most of the industry’s online offerings are amateurish, hard to navigate, and worst of all, dull—just the opposite of their vaunted products.
Taking this a step further, manga lacks one of the greatest marketing tools in comics, the interaction between creators and fans. It’s not just the language difference or the distance; manga artists come to conventions and sit for interviews, and they put personal notes in their books, but everything they say is bland, rehearsed, and utterly trivial. There is no humor, just nervous giggles, and there are no meaningful conversations. The result is that while fans interact with the characters on the printed page, they have no dealings at all with the publishers or creators, and all of manga and anime seem to come from some bland corporate parent in the sky.
David Welsh looks at a misguided attempt to take down manga pirate sites by complaining to the advertisers that they contain child pornography.
More on Viz from Heidi MacDonald, who rounds up some reactions and updates at The Beat, and ICv2, which learns that senior vp of sales and marketing Gonzalo Ferreyra is among those let go, along with senior director of public relations Evelyn Dubocq. And this:
Despite the major downsizing, Viz plans to maintain its planned release schedules for both manga and anime, according to Senior Vice President Alvin Lu, and will also be exhibiting in its usual spot at San Diego Comic-Con.
Simon Jones adds his two cents, noting that Viz has shrunk by half in 2008.
Sean Gaffney takes a look at this week’s new manga, and Melinda Beasi looks at new arrivals at Boston’s Comicopia at Examiner.com. At Good Comics for Kids, Lori Henderson rounds up this week’s all-ages comics and manga.
Happy birthday to Matt Thorn and Moto Hagio, who by strange coincidence were born on the same day 16 years apart.
Reviews: Deb Aoki has an early review up of AX, the alternative manga anthology due out soon from Top Shelf, at About.com.
Danica Davidson on vols. 1 and 2 of Alice in the Country of Hearts (Graphic Novel Reporter)
Tangognat on vol. 3 of Alice in the Country of Hearts (Tangognat)
Grant Goodman on Azumanga Daioh Omnibus (Manga Recon)
Julie Opipari on vol. 1 of Biomega (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Russell on vol. 1 of Cat Paradise (Manga Jouhou)
Danica Davidson on vols. 1-4 of Click (Graphic Novel Reporter)
Charles Webb on vol. 6 of Croquis Pop (Manga Life)
James Fleenor on vol. 2 of Deadman Wonderland (Anime Sentinel)
Sarah Boslaugh on vol. 2 of Faust (PLAYBACK:stl)
Danica Davidson on Hanako and the Terror of Allegory (Graphic Novel Reporter)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 3 of Karakuri Odette (Comics Worth Reading)
Michelle Smith on vol. 1 of Kingyo Used Books (Soliloquy in Blue)
Katherine Farmar on vols. 1 and 2 of Kurashina-Sensei’s Passion (Comics Village)
Matthew Warner on vol. 2 of Kurashina-Sensei’s Passion (Mania.com)
Rachel on Living for Tomorrow (Manga Jouhou)
Lori Henderson on vol. 1 of Maoh: Juvenile Remix (Manga Xanadu)
Ed Sizemore on vol. 1 of My Girlfriend’s a Geek (Comics Worth Reading)
Alexander Hoffman on vol. 1 of One Piece (omnibus edition) (Comics Village)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 47 of One Piece (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Zack Davisson on vol. 1 of Saturn Apartments (Manga Life)
AstroNerdBoy on vol. 3 of Tsubasa: Those With Wings (AstroNerdBoy’s Anime and Manga Blog)
Tom Baker on Twin Spica (The Daily Yomiuri)
Amy Grockl on vol. 2 of Welcome to Wakaba-Soh (Comics Village)
James Fleenor on World of Warcraft: Mage (Anime Sentinel)
Peter Gutierrez on vol. 2 of Yokaiden (Graphic Novel Reporter)