JManga goes global

Erica Friedman trumpets the good news at Okazu: After a week of Tweets and Facebook comments from readers and would-be readers, the powers that be at JManga have acceded to the will of the public and gone global. No longer will manga fans outside the U.S. and Canada be faced with an unfriendly blue screen; now they, too, can spend $10 per month to read Anesthesiologist Hana and Poor Poor Lips. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some individual titles are blocked (boo!) but overall, this is a great step forward for the manga biz, and kudos to the manga folks (and hard-working business manager Robert Newman, who led the charge) for taking it.

Animemiz reports in on MangaNEXT as well as the yuri panel, the Vertical panel, and the GEN Manga panel.

Viz’s SuBLime imprint announced two new titles yesterday, Yaya Sakuragi’s Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love and Makoto Tateno’s How’s Your Ex?

Previews kicks off its Manga Month with an interview with Dark Horse editor extraordinaire Carl Horn.

Naru has an interesting post on what it feels like to lose your interest in manga—along with three possible cures—at What is this “Culture” you speak of? (Yes, that’s the name of the blog.) (Via Justin.)

It’s Toriko vs. the robot in Derek Bown’s latest Combat Commentary at Manga Bookshelf.

Reviews: Carlo Santos makes some hard choices and tells some harsh truths in his latest Right Turn Only!! column at ANN.

Shannon Fay on About Love (Kuriousity)
Kristin on vol. 5 of Bokurano: Ours (Comic Attack)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 17 of Higurashi When They Cry (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Ken Haley on vol. 2 of Sailor Moon (Sequential Ink)
Justin on vol. 1 of When I’m With You (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Lori Henderson on vols. 12-13 of Zombie Loan (Manga Village)

More from MangaNEXT, Tezukafest winds up

I’m still processing everything that happened at MangaNEXT. Check out my con report at PWCW and my interview with Tomo Maeda, the creator of Black Sun, Silver Moon and Beyond My Touch, at MTV Geek, and don’t miss Erica Friedman’s very thorough con report at Okazu–she was on the industry panel, which I missed, but reading her account makes me feel like I was there.

Kate Dacey wraps up the Manga Moveable Feast with part 2 of her essay on Tezuka, Sex, and Gender and a final day’s worth of links. Khursten Santos takes a look at three of Tezuka’s female characters at Otaku Champloo.

The Manga Bookshelf team discusses our Picks of the Week.

Corinna Lawson of Wired’s GeekDad blog takes the Viz iPad app for a spin and likes it better than paper.

The Calcutta Telegraph profiles manga artist Yukichi Yamamatsu, whose Stupid Man Goes to India chronicles his stay in that county.

News from Japan: Kare Kano creator Masami Tsuda will launch a new fantasy series, Hinoko, in the May issue of Hakusensha’s LaLa magazine. That’s the issue to get, apparently, as it will also feature a one-shot by Bisco Hatori (of Ouran High School Host Club fame). The Dengeki Online website is running Oshiete! Mordin-sensei! (Teach me! Professor Mordin!), a webcomic that explains the setting of the Mass Effect 3 game and introduces some of the characters. And Puyo, the artist behind The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi-chan, is working on an Itsuki Koizumi spinoff to run in Altima Ace.

Reviews: For those in a hurry, the Manga Bookshelf team has a brand-new set of Bookshelf Briefs. Ash Brown lays out a week’s worth of manga reading at Experiments in Manga.

Lesley Aeschliman on vol. 2 of Honey Hunt (Blogcritics)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 8 of Rin-ne (The Comic Book Bin)
Dave Ferraro on vol. 1 of Soulless (Comics-and-More)

New licenses from Vertical, Tezuka-fest continues

I’m back from an incredible weekend at MangaNEXT; watch for news, interviews, and all sorts of interesting features in the next couple of days. I posted the big license news at Robot 6 already: Vertical announced two new licenses, The Limit, by Life creator Keiko Suenobu, and Heroman, which is based on a plot by Stan Lee.

Also: I reviewed Viz manga on the Nook at MTV Geek.

Lissa Pattillo takes a look at the past week’s new manga in her latest On the Shelf column at Otaku USA.


Kate Dacey rounds up the Day 5 links for the Tezuka-flavored Manga Moveable Feast at The Manga Critic, and she also posts a transcript of a fascinating discussion about sex and gender in Tezuka’s manga. Connie posts her own Tezuka Index at Slightly Biased Manga. Vertical marketing director Ed Chavez joins Ed Sizemore and Johanna Draper Carlson for a discussion of “Tezuka for adults” on the latest Manga Out Loud podcast. At All About Manga, Daniella Orihuela-Gruber talks about her dream of someday publishing Tezuka’s Rainbow Parakeet, and at PLAYBACK:stl, Jason Green channels his Tezuka-lovin’ 18-year-old self.

Melinda Beasi and Michelle Smith discuss Princess Knight in their latest Off the Shelf column at Manga Bookshelf.

Cast your vote for the best new manga, shoujo manga, and shonen manga in Deb Aoki’s Readers Choice Awards at About.com.

Daniel BT looks at Encounter, a series that was advertised in the pages of Raijin magazine but never ran there.

Digital Manga rounds up the past week’s new digital releases.

Translator Tomo Kimura has some notes on vol. 7 of Kamisama Kiss.

News from Japan: The French site Manganews reports that Kaiji Kawaguchi and journalist Osamu Eya will collaborate on Ore Shika Inai – Kuroi Nami wo Norikoete, about last year’s earthquake in Japan. It will run in Big Comic. Mashashi Tanaka will start drawing Gon again after ten years away from it. Three Steps Over Japan looks at a fairly new magazine AltimaA. And this could be big news: The president of Kodansha announced that the company would begin some same-day print/digital releases, although it is not clear from any of the news reports I saw that he was talking specifically about manga. Perhaps someone who can read Japanese could add some clarity to this?

Reviews

Lori Henderson on Apollo’s Song (Manga Xanadu)
Matthew Warner on vol. 38 of Bleach (The Fandom Post)
Connie on vol. 4 of Blue Exorcist (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 5 of Bokurano: Ours (Slightly Biased Manga)
Justin on The Book of Human Insects (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Connie on vol. 11 of Cipher (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 2 of Close the Last Door (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on Cold Trilogy 01: Cold Sleep (Slightly Biased Manga)
Carlo Santos on vol. 6 of Cross Game (ANN)
Lori Henderson on vols. 1-5 of Dazzle (Manga Xanadu)
Connie on vol. 8 of Dengeki Daisy (Slightly Biased Manga)
Ash Brown on vol. 1 of Dororo (Experiments in Manga)
AstroNerdBoy on vol. 17 of Fairy Tail (AstroNerdBoy’s Anime and Manga Blog)
Connie on vol. 2 of Gravitation (Slightly Biased Manga)
Kristin on vol. 8 of Jormungand and vol. 19 of 20th Century Boys (Comic Attack)
Voitachewski on Junji Ito’s La Maison de Poupées (in French) (du9)
Connie on vol. 11 of Mars (Slightly Biased Manga)
Sweetpea616 on MW (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Connie on vol. 7 of Natsume’s Book of Friends (Slightly Biased Manga)
AstroNerdBoy on vol. 33 of Negima! (AstroNerdBoy’s Anime and Manga Blog)
Kristin on vol. 3 of No Longer Human (Comic Attack)
Joy Kim on vols. 56-60 of One Piece (Joy Kim)
Danica Davidson on vol. 1 of Only Serious About You (Otaku USA)
Lori Henderson on vols. 1 and 2 of Princess Knight (Manga Xanadu)
Anna on vol. 2 of Princess Knight
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 3 of Psyren (The Comic Book Bin)
Erica Friedman on vol. 6 of Pure Yuri Anthology Hirari (Okazu)
Kate O’Neil on vol. 12 of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei (The Fandom Post)
Lesley Aeschliman on vol. 1 of Sugar Sugar Rune (Blogcritics)
Matthew Warner on vol. 11 of Twin Spica (The Fandom Post)
Connie on Want to Depend on You (Slightly Biased Manga)

Food and feasting

I’m heading out to New Jersey today for MangaNEXT—if you’re going to be there, be sure to say hi! In the meantime, check out my review of Viz manga on the Nook at MTV Geek. And I hope you saw my interview with Robert Newman of JManga right here at MangaBlog.

Jason Thompson writes about foodie manga, including Jiro Taniguchi’s Kodoku no Gourmet, Fumi Yoshinaga’s Not Love But Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy!, and the train station bento-box manga Ekiben Hitoritabi, in his latest House of 1000 Manga column at ANN.

The Tezuka-based Manga Moveable Feast continues with host Kate Dacey rounding up the Day Three and Day Four links, as well as a review of Tezuka’s Lost World, at The Manga Critic. Melinda Beasi and Michelle Smith discuss Princess Knight in their latest Off the Shelf column at Manga Bookshelf.

Sean Gaffney takes a look at next week’s new manga releases.

Congratulations to Tony Yao on two years of blogging at Manga Therapy.

News from Japan: Details are emerging of the “darker” R.O.D. Rehabilitation, a R.O.D. side story that will start running in Shueisha’s Super Dash & Go! magazine this weekend. Manga Therapy features a manga that is hot in Japan right now, Crimsons, which is about… salmon.

Reviews: Omar reviews a handful of recent releases at About Heroes.

Ash Brown on The Art of Osamu Tezuka: The God of Manga (Experiments in Manga)
Lori Henderson on vols. 16 and 17 of Black Jack (Manga Village)
Connie on vol. 1 of Buddha (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 1 of Claymore (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 1 of Close the Last Door (Slightly Biased Manga)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 15 of La Corda D’Oro (The Comic Book Bin)
Connie on Faraway Places (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 1 of Gravitation (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 10 of Mars (Slightly Biased Manga)
David Gromer on vol. 1 of Ninja Girls (Graphic Novel Reporter)
Anna on vol. 1 of Princess Knight (Manga Report)
David Gromer on vol. 3 of Sailor Moon (Graphic Novel Reporter)
Connie on Stargazing Dog (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 6 of Tegami Bachi (Slightly Biased Manga)
Leroy Douresseaux on Uglies: Shay’s Story (I Reads You)

Special Edition: Interview with JManga’s Robert Newman

The digital manga portal JManga got off to a slow start, but it has gained traction among manga fans for a number of reasons: Cool, quirky manga, reasonable prices (once the site owners abandoned the original price of $8.99 per volume), and good communication with fans.

We can thank Robert Newman for the latter; from the very beginning, he was out there as the public face of JManga, listening and responding to every review and snarky Tweet–and getting results, such as the price drop. As we mentioned the other day, Newman has been lobbying the 39 Japanese publishers involved in JManga for something else that a lot of people want: Global reach. Currently, JManga is available only to U.S. and Canadian readers, but the demand is worldwide, and Newman has been asking readers to respond to JManga’s Twitter and “Like” their Facebook post on opening the manga portal up to the rest of the world.

I asked Newman if he could talk a little bit about the inner workings of JManga and why they can’t just pull a switch and open it up to the world. As long as I had him, I asked some general questions as well.

Brigid: First of all, what makes you think it would benefit JManga to go global? What sort of demand have you seen from your side?

Robert: We would like to think of JManga going global as being more of a benefit to manga fans than to us as a company. We have received countless comments from manga fans worldwide who have come with high hopes to JManga.com only to be shut out by our sky blue geo-filter screen. Another major merit to manga readers worldwide is that JManga provides a legal and safe alternative to reading manga online that benefits readers, manga artists, and publishers.

Brigid: Why are the publishers reluctant to do it? Is there a general consensus or do opinions differ?

Robert: The main reason is that each publisher has their own policy regarding international development and each publisher’s licensing situation differs. So we have had to develop a system with each policy and licensing situation in mind.

Brigid: Would you consider offering the manga in languages other than English?

Robert: Our system is built to handle multiple languages. We hope to add languages following demand.

Brigid: Are there complications with taking different currencies?

Robert: This is something we gave had to consider carefully. If we can go global, we will start off as a service made for America and Canada, but that can be accessed worldwide. In short a kind if extension of our current service.

Brigid: What are the most popular manga on the site?

Robert: Though we have had a very good reception accross the board, the more niche titles, yuri and foodie titles for example, have been especially well received.

Brigid: Are you noticing any interesting patterns, such as people reading in the evening, geographic distribution, etc.?

Robert: Initially I had expected to see peak views clustered in the evening to night times, but what we have actually found is that readers are enjoying JManga pretty much all day long, from the early morning to the late night!

Another interesting point that we have found is that female readers generally spend more on manga than male readers. This is the same as readers in Japan.

Brigid: How do you see the site evolving over the next year or so?

Robert: Our main goal for the next year is to adapt and enhance our site to the needs of users worldwide and to release as much content as possible.

Tell JManga: It’s time to go global!

First, an important public service announcement: Do you think that the JManga digital manga site should be available to the entire world, not just the U.S. and Canada? Then let them know, via Twitter or by “liking” their globalization post on Facebook, because this is apparently being debated right now in the JManga Secret Headquarters, and your opinion could make a difference.

Here’s my look at this week’s new manga releases at MTV Geek.

It’s a good time to be a yaoi fan, as the new releases, digital and print, just keep on coming. Animate USA announced several new titles, including Kou Yoneda’s one-shot Kanjou Spectrum, and Viz’s brand-new imprint SuBLime Manga announced two more, Youka Nitta’s Kiss Ariki and Hinako Takanaga’s Awkward Silence. Digital Manga announced more new titles, both print and digital, via Twitter.

If that’s not your cup of tea, head over to JManga, which announced five new digital releases this week (including the foodie manga Kodoku no Gourmet) and will have ten more for us next week.

The Manga Moveable Feast continues its focus on Osamu Tezuka this week, and Kate Dacey rounds up all the Day Two commentary at The Manga Critic.

News from Japan: Hikaru Nakamura, who is back from maternity leave, will resume work on Saint Young Men in issue 56 of Morning 2, which is out next month.

Reviews

Carlo Santos on vol. 9 of Bakuman (ANN)
Sean T. Collins on Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths (Attentiondeficitdisorderly)
Erica Friedman on vol. 2 of Princess Knight (Okazu)
Anna on vol. 6 of The Story of Saiunkoku (Manga Report)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 8 of Toriko (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Joy Kim on Twin Spica (Joy Kim)