Archives for February 2011

Ed Chavez interviewed, Stu Levy defended, and Oscar-potential manga

Over at Robot 6, I interviewed Vertical, Inc., marketing director Ed Chavez about the news that Kodasha and Dai Nippon have bought major shares of his company—and how that will affect their manga catalog.

Erica Friedman looks at the pros and cons of self-publishing manga at Okazu, and she also presents the latest edition of Yuri Network News.

AstroNerdBoy defends Tokyopop CEO Stu Levy against an accusation that he destroyed the manga market by coming up with the brilliant idea of printing manga unflipped.

Tokyopop’s article about how and why manga go on hiatus (now signed by its author, editor Lillian Diaz-Pryzybl) has attracted a bit of comment: Christopher Butcher thinks it’s poor form for Tokyopop to blame the readers, and Lillian herself responds in the comments section. AstroNerdBoy weighs in as well on his blog, pointing out that readers hold back on buying series because they have been burned before.

Michelle Smith and Melinda Beasi look at manga scenes that pack an emotional punch in their latest Let’s Get Visual column at Soliloquy in Blue.

David Welsh and his readers spend Oscar night thinking about which manga could be adapted into Oscar-winning movies.

Congratulations to Tony Yao, whose blog Manga Therapy just reached its one-year anniversary. Tony covers a lot of different topics and always has something interesting to say, so if you’re not already a fan, go check it out!

News from Japan: Fullmetal Alchemist is among the nominees for this year’s Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize. And hey, look: A One Piece-themed train!

Reviews: Michelle Smith looks at some recent Tokyopop manga at Soliloquy in Blue.

Lissa Pattillo on vol. 13 of 20th Century Boys (Kuriousity)
Connie on vol. 1 of Amnesia Labyrinth (Slightly Biased Manga)
Theron Martin on vol. 14 of Battle Angel Alita: Last Orderm (ANN)
Eduardo Zacarias on vol. 32 of Bleach (Animanga Nation)
Carlo Santos on vol. 34 of Bleach (ANN)
Lianne Sentar on Butterflies, Flowers (Sleep Is For the Weak)
David Welsh on vols. 1-3 of Gunslinger Girl (The Manga Curmudgeon)
Todd Douglass on vol. 2 of House of Five Leaves (Anime Maki)
Kate Dacey on vols. 1 and 2 of Kamisama Kiss (The Manga Critic)
Connie on vol. 12 of Neon Genesis Evangelion (Slightly Biased Manga)
Bob Muir on Not Love But Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy! (Japanator)
Bill Sherman on vol. 1 of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan (Blogcritics)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 37 of Oh! My Goddess (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 4 of Toriko (The Comic Book Bin)
Erica Friedman on Wildrose Re:Mix disk a and disk b (Okazu)
Lori Henderson on the February issue of Yen Plus (Manga Xanadu)

Why series go on hiatus; manga anthology on Kindle

First, a quick note: Someone is copying this blog and reposting it without my permission, so if you are not reading this at, please click over there and stop giving this copyright infringer the web traffic.

Sean Gaffney takes a look at next week’s new manga, a list that seems to be dominated by Viz. Lori Henderson has the list of this week’s all-ages comics and manga at Good Comics for Kids.

Here’s something different: At comiXology, Jason Thompson looks at ComicLoud, an indy manga anthology magazine available on Kindle. It’s a very mixed bag, as anthologies tend to be, ranging from a decent auto-racing manga to bad sexy romantic comedy, with a bit of Shintaro Kago thrown in for good measure.

Meanwhile, at ANN, Jason returns to writing about comics on paper with a look at the vintage series Crying Freeman for his latest House of 1000 Manga column.

At the Tokyopop site, TPHenshu discusses the business side of manga and why series go on hiatus. There are some interesting nuggets there, including the fact that online retailers account for only a fraction of manga sales. (Via All About Manga, which has a new online home—reset your bookmarks and RSS feeds!)

Melinda Beasi and Michelle Smith discuss Osamu Tezuka’s Ayako in their latest Off the Shelf column. And Melinda looks at three of her favorite Kodansha series that are published by Vertical.

David Welsh’s latest license request is Rough, from the creator of Cross Game.

News from Japan: New Emissary has an short article on Thai artist Wisut Ponnimit, one of the few non-Japanese artists to succeed in the Japanese manga industry.


Omar on vols. 1 and 2 of AiON, vol. 13 of Black Jack, and vol. 1 of Lives (About Heroes)
Erica Friedman on vol. 2 of Blue Friend (Okazu)
Richard Bruton on Dragon Heir Reborn (The Forbidden Planet Blog)
Kristin on vol. 1 of Gunslinger Girl (omnibus edition) (Comic Attack)
Sean Gaffney on vols. 5 and 6 of Higurashi: When They Cry (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Emily Kazanecki on vol. 7 of Kimi ni Todoke (Manga Life)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 4 of Library Wars (The Comic Book Bin)
Snow Wildsmith on Panda Man to the Rescue and Panda Man and the Treasure Hunt (Good Comics for Kids)
Shannon Fay on vol. 2 of Right Here, Right Now (Kuriousity)
Ash Brown on vol. 1 of Saturn Apartments (Experiments in Manga)
Lori Henderson on the March issue of Shonen Jump (Manga Xanadu)
Anna on vol. 1 of X-Men: Misfits (Manga Report)

Vertical update, Dark Horse discussion

The big news broke last night: Kodansha and Dai Nippon have each bought a 46% share (Kodansha’s is slightly larter) in Vertical. The deal was originally described as a purchase but it seems more like an investment; details are still emerging, but Vertical marketing director Ed Chavez has already reassured worried readers via Twitter that their manga publishing plans won’t be affected. Stay tuned!

Yesterday, I mentioned that Diamond had given its Gem Award for best manga publisher to Dark Horse. Johanna Draper Carlson pushed back on that a bit, pointing out that other companies publish more and more varied manga (it’s only a small part of Dark Horse’s line). In yesterday’s interview at MTV Geek, Dark Horse director of Asian licensing Michael Gombos reminded readers of the company’s long history of publishing manga and their commitment to the series they do publish, and at The Beat, Heidi MacDonald discusses Dark Horse’s success in the direct market.

The truth is, as Johanna notes, that Dark Horse rules the LCS manga lists because (drum roll) manga just never sold in comics shops the way its bookstore numbers would indicate. I will come right out and say, now that it’s been a decade, that the idea of just plunking manga into a comics store and expecting it to sell just because NARUTO was selling at the Borders down the street was never going to work, and I was wrong to think it would.

Heidi argues that this is because manga was a social scene and bookstores lend themselves to that. I think the reasons are a bit more complex—the manga audience was already going to bookstores, and that’s where they discovered manga, while most people, especially teenagers, don’t know that comics stores even exist. Aside from that, though, I think Dark Horse has succeeded so well because they publish manga that appeals to the typical comics store customer, an adult male who likes action stories with plenty of battles and some scantily clad ladies on the side. That’s what Dark Horse publishes: Seinen manga. Their books are more mature and less stylized than Shonen Jump and Shoujo Beat manga; I once described them as “manly manga for manly men,” and since that sort of story sells well in the direct market as American comics, it’s not surprising it sells well as manga as well. Dark Horse went where the customers were, while the other publishers created new customers. Both are legitimate ways of building an audience.

The latest Manga Out Loud podcast winds up the Manga Moveable Feast with a discussion of Barefoot Gen.

Kate Dacey rounds up seven short manga series that are worth a look at The Manga Critic.

Freelance manga editor Daniella Orihuela-Gruber discusses why publishers keep licenses under wraps until they are ready to announce them.

David Welsh reaches the letter D in his Josei Alphabet.

Contest time! Ash Brown is giving away a copy of vol. 2 of Hetalia: Axis Powers. To enter, post a comment about which manga you would (or would not) like to see made into an anime. And Deb Aoki has the details on the official Bakuman fan art contest.

Reviews: Kristin takes a look at some Harlequin manga in her Bento Bako Lite column at Comic Attack.

Carlo Santos on vol. 3 of 7 Billion Needles (ANN)
Rob McMonigal on After School Nightmare (Panel Patter)
David Welsh on vol. 3 of Bakuman (The Manga Curmudgeon)
Greg McElhatton on vols. 1 and 2 of Cross Game (Read About Comics)
A Library Girl on vol. 9 of Emma (A Library Girl’s Familiar Diversions)
Sean Gaffney on vols. 1-3 of Gunslinger Girls (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Bill Sherman on vol. 3 of Millennium Prime Minister (Blogcritics)

Breaking: Kodansha and Dai Nippon buy Vertical [UPDATED]

ANN has the scoop: Vertical, Inc., publisher of Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha and some of the most interesting manga currently on the market—Twin Spica, Chi’s Sweet Home, Peepo Choo, 7 Billion Needles—has been purchased by Kodansha, the largest publisher in Japan, and the printing company Dai Nippon, with Kodansha buying 46.7% of the company and Dai Nippon buying 46%. (It’s not clear who gets the other 6.3%, or what they would do with it.) UPDATE: Vertical’s Ed Chavez is saying on Twitter that the companies are investing in Vertical, rather than buying it.

This may not entirely be about manga: Vertical also publishes Japanese novels, cookbooks, and craft books (Aranzi Aronzo’s cute stuffed-animal patterns among them) for the U.S. audience. But they have also licensed two manga that riveted readers’ attention: Tezuka’s Princess Knight and the wine manga Drops of God, as well as No Longer Human, by Genkaku Picasso creator Usumaru Furuyu. The announcement did not indicate what would happen with Vertical’s current licenses, and Twitter is alive with speculation at the moment.

UPDATE: Vertical marketing director Ed Chavez has Tweeted a few comments that clarify the situation:

In response to Nick Donegan’s question of how the buyout will affect Vertical:

@ndoneagn we will stop making jokes about not bring around in 6 months…oh and we’ll finally start doing more prose again

Asked if Kodansha actually bought Vertical, Ed responded:

@raintenshi no they haven’t but they are investing in our company. Along with printing company DaiNippon Printing, Kodansha r new investors

And there’s this, in response to a user I couldn’t track down:

@progSHELL plenty. Our 2012 list has a number of non-Kodansha titles.

@progSHELL and we will retain the Vertical name and brand outside of Kodansha USA/Kodansha Comics

New licenses, creators chat about piracy, and Michael Gombos interview

Brad Rice looks at this week’s new releases at Japanator, and Lissa Pattillo shows off her latest purchases at Kuriousity.

Rachel S. spotted listings for three new Tokyopop titles at Snowhite Panic Mix (SiraYuki PaniMix!), by Hitohira creator Izumi Kirihara, flat, by Natsu Aogiri, and Ame Nochi Hare, by Bikke. There’s more, including cover images, at the link.

This is pretty juicy: Welcome Datacomp translates two conversations about manga piracy that took place on the Japanese social networking site Togetter between Ken Akamatsu, Minako Uchida, Kazumi Tojo, and their fans.

At MTV Geek, Valerie D’Orazio talks to Michael Gombos, Director of Asian Publishing at Dark Horse, which recently received Diamond’s Gem Award as Manga Publisher of the Year. Gombos stresses Dark Horse’s investment in creators and the fact that, unlike some other publishers, they are sticking with manga for the long haul.

The Tatsumi discussion continues at The Hooded Utilitarian, where Noah Berlatsky collects Bill Randall’s comments and fashions them into a post of their own. Also, it’s surprising how many people have come out of the closet in comments (as well as Kate Dacey at The Manga Critic) to reveal that they really don’t care much for Tatsumi either. You can include me in that number; I have simply never found anything to like or admire about the guy’s manga, and now that I’m out of my 20s, that sort of nihilism and unrelenting focus on the worst aspects of human nature has lost its appeal.

Following up on Watson’s success on Jeopardy, translators Alethea and Althea Nibley let a computer translate a passage from My Darling! Miss Bancho and conclude that their jobs are safe, for now at least.

Jonathan Chuang reviews Viz’s iPad app at Broken Frontier.

Alex Hoffman tells us a bit about Twin Spica—the star, not the manga.


James Fleenor on vol. 3 of Biomega (Anime Sentinel)
Rob McMonigal on vol. 3 of Cat Paradise (Panel Patter)
Animemiz on Dengeki Daisy (Anime Diet)
Julie Opipari on vol. 1 of Dengeki Daisy (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Connie on vol. 24 of Fullmetal Alchemist (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 2 of Genkaku Picasso (Slightly Biased Manga)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 2 of Genkaku Picasso (The Comic Book Bin)
Animemiz on vol. 1 of Happy Cafe (Anime Diet)
Rob McMonigal on vols. 8-10 of Ranma 1/2 (Panel Patter)
Gavin Lees on A Single Match (The Comics Journal)
Lori Henderson on vols. 1 and 2 of Speed Racer and Project X: Cup Noodle (Manga Xanadu)

New manga considered, Tatsumi reconsidered

David Welsh checks out this week’s new releases at The Manga Curmudgeon.

Melinda Beasi updates us on all the manhwa news, including a dispute over a fictional dinosaur, in her latest Manhwa Monday post.

And David, Melinda, and Kate Dacey discuss their pick of the week at Manga Bookshelf.

Ng Suat Tong reconsiders Yoshihiro Tatsumi and finds his work severely wanting—and the critical acclaim he has received among English-speaking readers disheartening.

I’m not very good at posting these, but maybe I should start: Here’s the New York Times manga best-seller list from the past week.

Lissa Pattillo finds some bargains in the clearance section of

Job board: Tokyopop is looking for an e-commerce associate or manager, depending on experience.

News from Japan: Not much going on at the moment, but here’s a look at an interesting manga giveaway in Shinjuku station.

Reviews: Ash Brown looks at a week’s worth of manga at Experiments in Manga. Kate Dacey has short takes on recent volumes of Kurozakuro, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, and Tegami Bachi at The Manga Critic.

Kinukitty on Baseball Heaven (The Hooded Utilitarian)
Dave Ferraro on vol. 1 of Fairy Tail (Comics-and-More)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 2 of Genkaku Picasso (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Anna on vols. 1 and 2 of Skyblue Shore (Manga Report)
Kristin on Truly Kindly and Lovers in the Night (Comic Attack)
Diana Dang on vols. 1-3 of Wild@Heart (omnibus edition) (Stop, Drop, and Read)
Erica Friedman on Zettai Shoujo Astoria (Okazu)