A look at the French manga scene; Nijigahara Holograph preview

Here are some photos of Inio Asano’s Nijigahara Holograph, which is due out from Fantagraphics any day now.

Posting has been spotty because I’m busy writing up my Angouleme reports; here’s my look at the French manga market, which is very different from the North American scene.

The Manga Bookshelf team looks at this week’s new releases and discusses their Pick of the Week.

Erica Friedman takes a walk on the seinen side with a look at Futabasha’s Manga Action magazine.

Matthew Kirshenblatt has written a two-part essay on the suffering-artist figure in Osamu Tezuka’s Phoenix: Karma (part 1, part 2).

Competition update: George Alexopoulos, whose Go With Grace was one of the original Tokyopop OEL manga, has taken one of the Silver Awards in the Japanese foreign ministry’s international manga competition for his comic Paris. Meanwhile, on the Vertical Tumblr, Ed Chavez (I assume) explains why the Morning international manga contest is no more; basically, those interested in entering leaned toward shoujo and shonen genre manga while Morning is more varied and experimental.

I picked up that last fact from Justin’s roundup of manga and anime Tumblrs, which is very interesting and includes some news bites as well as a list of industry Tumblrs for those who want to start following them. Justin also has a helpful list of places where you can buy manga and anime.

News from Japan: Wandering Son creator Takako Shimura is working on a new series, tentatively titled Wagamama Chie-chan (Selfish Chie-chan), which will run in Comic Beam magazine. A new Saint Seiya manga, Saint Seiya Episode.G, will launch in the April 5 issue of Champion RED Ichigo magazine. Dengeki Daisy manga-ka Kyousuke Motomi has a new series, QQ Sweeper, which will begin in the April issue of Betsucomi. The Wallflower creator Tomoko Hakayawa is bringing her current series, Real Face, to an end. There are 1 million copies of Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal in circulation.

Reviews: The Manga Bookshelf team lines up a new set of Bookshelf Briefs to keep us up to date on recent releases. Ash Brown looks back in manga with a week’s worth of manga reading at Experiments in Manga.

Anna N. on vol. 2 of Alice in the Country of Joker: Circus and Liar’s Game (Manga Report)
Anna N. on vol. 1 of Attack on Titan (Manga Report)
Joe Iglesias on vols. 1 and 2 and vols. 3 and 4 of Battle Angel Alita (Eastern Standard)
Ogiue on Busou Renkin (Ogiue Maniax)
Justin on vol. 1 of A Centaur’s Life (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
TSOTE on vol. 16 of C.M.B. (Three Steps Over Japan)
L.B. Bryant on vol. 1 of Deadman Wonderland (ICv2)
Maggie on vols. 1 and 2 of Don’t Tell My Husband (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 27 of Excel Saga (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Derek Bown on vol. 32 of Fairy Tail (Manga Bookshelf)
Ash Brown on vols. 2 and 3 of Genkaku Picasso (Experiments in Manga)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 23 of Hayate the Combat Butler (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Naru on Her Sheikh Boss (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
L.B. Bryant on vol. 1 of High School Debut (3-in-1 edition) (ICv2)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 24 of Higurashi: When They Cry (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Joe Iglesias on vol. 1 of Knights of Sidonia (Eastern Standard)
A Library Girl on vols. 1 and 2 of Legal Drug (A Library Girl’s Familiar Diversions)
A Library Girl on vol. 1 of Mixed Vegetables (A Library Girl’s Familiar Diversions)
A Library Girl on My Only King (A Library Girl’s Familiar Diversions)
Ash Brown on vols. 2 and 3 of No Longer Human (Experiments in Manga)
Philip Anthony on vol. 1 of Princess Knight (Manga Bookshelf)
Naru on vol. 1 of Raintree: Haunted (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Derek Bown on the January 27 issue of Shonen Jump (Manga Bookshelf)
Ash Brown on vol. 2 of Short Cuts (Experiments in Manga)
Jocilyn Wagner on vol. 1 of Shrine of the Morning Mist (Manga Bookshelf)
Maggie on Start with a Happy Ending (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Justin on part 2 of Summer Wars (Organization Anti-Social Geniuses)
Ash Brown on vol. 2 of Vinland Saga (Experiments in Manga)
Ash Brown on vol. 6 of Wandering Son (Experiments in Manga)
A Library Girl on vol. 1 of Yggdrasil (A Library Girl’s Familiar Diversions)

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  1. Any suggestions on where to buy French Manga in North America? There’s a number of older series (namely Leiji Matsumoto’s works) that have been translated into French but not English and I’m thinking about picking them up, but don’t know if I should just go about ordering them off Amazon.fr or if there’s a N. American importer that might be a better choice.

  2. forest fairy 801 says

    Thank you very much for your report on the French manga scene and inside information from Panini. I read quite a lot of their comics these days; in fact when I did the math the other day, it turned out I bought far more French manga that US manga in the last 6 months! Their offerings are more varied than here, especially in the seinen/josei genres. I find that most of their series are released far faster than here in the US, so I’m not sure why they are complaining about the time lapse (of the ones I read, only Bleach and Black Butler and released more quickly in the US). Maybe it was the time lapse problem that allowed them to publish some great 1970-1990s manga that would never have seen the light of day across the Atlantic.

  3. I know what you mean. I’m from Germany, but since I started tapping into the French manga market a couple of years back, I also arrived at roughly 20% English, 20% German and 60% French releases. Their market is definitely the most diverse western market (and most of their publishers have a very fine printing quality), although there is some stuff out in Italy that even the French don’t have (Yawara!, as a current example, or some of the older Adachi titles).
    Faster releases… sometimes. Some other titles, like Nodame Cantabile are 2-a-year now, but at least not canceled like in the US.
    What else is different? Dust jackets. 95% of all French manga releases have dust jackets. Looks very nice most of the time, but can be a bother if you are concerned with the condition of your books (sometimes the machines that fold the dustjackets misproduce whole batches of books, so they are skewed or otherwise messed up). I like to go into brick-and-mortar stores and choose my own copy from the stacks, though Amazon generally delivers good copies, too.
    Ordering from the US? Hadn’t asked myself that question yet. Amazon.fr and Amazon.de have in the past year mingled their catalogues for pocket books and manga (not the oversize French comic albums) quite well, so I can order them in Germany under the same conditions as if I were in France (they just need 2 more days and come from French warehouses). That is apparently not (yet?) the case for Amazon.com. Seems like not much of the French catalogue is available on *.com. You could try Amazon.ca, but they add their import shipping, are a month delayed in some releases, and their export shipping is almost the same as Amazon.fr direct, so *.fr would be better. The only other exporter I have used is Archonia.be in Belgium. They have a different shipping plan. Could be cheaper in bulk, but they have only standard mail as option. Importers I don’t know any, but I’d guess if there were any, they wouldn’t be cheaper.

  4. forest fairy 801 says

    I’m so happy that series dropped in the US still continue in France! Also I love the dust jackets and the fact the manga is smaller/thinner, so I can cram more of them on the shelf.
    For someone living in the US, the easiest way to get your hands on French manga is amazon.fr Their selection is much better than the Canadian site’s and it will generally take about 7-10 days for the books to get to you once they ship. They ship DHL Global (slower) or Royal Mail (faster). This is the lowest cost option and you cannot choose which shipping company you’ll get . Be prepared to pay a lot more than via US Amazon – the cheapest option makes a book cost between $12-15 when you include shipping, euro to dollar conversion and the foreign purchase fee your credit card company will charge you. There are also used manga sellers on Amazon.fr willing to ship to the US, but those books will cost even more – $20-30.
    If you cannot wait for something or if Amazon.fr does not have it, your other option is fnac.com Lightning-fast shipping – you’ll get it within 2-3 days but be prepared to pay a very steep shipping fee, around 16 euro for one book.

  5. Nice to see attention payed to the French industry in English. I’m also a little surprised with the comment about a 4-5 month lag on releases considered slow. I guess it always depends on what you read. 2/3 of my French copies came out before an English release (and that’s not even counting titles which aren’t even licensed.) The shinsoban version of Sailor Moon is the only mainstream title I collect, which it is about 9 months behind Kodansha U.S.A. I think.
    I understand speed is a big concern but, I’m a quality focused person. (Or maybe it’s just because I was a teenager during the time before the piracy was prevalent. So you had to special order and import manga if you wanted it.) In my experience French versions are generally handled better than the North American counterparts. So I certainly hope publishers don’t face a big correction in the market in the future like what happened elsewhere (those sales estimates have to hurt).

    For importing I’ve ordered from all over. But, I’d add that Book Depository does carry a few titles in French at times. Prices can be similar to elsewhere or much cheaper. It’s unfortunately case by case. But, fabulous if you find a copy at discount with their free shipping.