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Manga Before Flowers — Ask not what the manga industry can do for you…

Well, usually I’m all for being a responsible fan but since today happens to be my birthday, and I also happen to be sick (still, sigh, so not cool on one’s birthday) I’m going to make unreasonable demands of the manga industry. Because the good folks here gave me a blog and by god I’m going to use it to further my own self-interest!

Or is that not what a blog is for? Oh well, I’m sure I’ll get it right one of these days…in the meantime, feel free to chime in with your demands wishes for the manga industry.

1. I wish for Drama Queen to publish again! — Well, well, well. I must have been born under a lucky star (as an incredibly off-topic aside: why are so many manga characters born April 1st? Or is that just CLAMP’s doing?) My first birthday wish has already been granted! Brigid Alverson confirms the small(er) publisher will resume putting out titles this May here. I’m particularly looking forward to checking out their pg-13 boys’ love title The Summit, since I’m a big fan of the author’s romance title You’re So Cool (the first volume of which will also be released by Yen Press this spring). Welcome back, ladies, and next time don’t stay away so long!

2. I wish for Go! Comi to release on schedule! — While I’m very, very fond of this publisher, the (now) completely predictable delays in their publishing schedule is kind of (read: very) annoying as all books seem to come out almost exactly a month after their scheduled release date. This wouldn’t be such a big deal except for the fact I currently need my After School Nightmare fix bad (Amazon.com claims volume 7 is due out April 1st the bastards). Otherwise, keep up the good work, Go! Comi! You’ve earned a generous serving of my devotion by releasing consistently good titles in such pretty, well-done packages.

3. I wish for Tokyopop to release Fruits Basket faster! — Really, Tokyopop, 5 months between Fruits Basket releases? You’re killing me. Killing. me. Can’t you end the torturous months between volume releases…which I suppose would end the anticipatory glee of waiting for one of the five best shojo manga (according to me!) currently being released in English? Oh wait. Now I’ve made the wait sound like a good thing…

4. I want Dark Horse to commit! Two volumes of Bride of the Water God published and the third is no where in sight. Eden: It’s an Endless World and Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service are described as “underperformers” and, therefore, the publisher may have to discontinue their production in English (eventually. One of these days. Perhaps. Probably. Most likely.) I’m sorry, Dark Horse, but if something wonderful underperforms you should think about selling it better. (For the record, I have no sympathy for people who complain about the higher cost of Dark Horse manga or that they can’t find it at the bookstore. Amazon.com people, learn it, live it, love it. Also Barnes and Noble is the devil, don’t even expect to find the good shrink-wrapped stuff there.)

5. I want Review Copies! Johanna Draper Carlson has put together a wonderfully practical guide for how mature bloggers should treat / request review copies here. I did try to get 801 Media to send me review copies but I think they realized the audience here may not have been all that interested in my reviewing gay porn for them (I certainly would have enjoyed it though!). The sad part is I have no interest in “Free Stuff” for the sake of free stuff — the otaku in me just thinks it is really cool to have books in hand before their release date. So. Clearly I’m not the right person to send review copies. But this being “unreasonable birthday demand day” I thought I’d mention it anyway. Because reviews copies are cool.

6. I want DMP to publish volume 4 of Flower of Life. I think this one speaks for itself. The title so gosh darned good and it seems a crime against the English manga world to deny us the conclusion of Yoshinaga’s high school slice-of-life hilarity.

Well, enough of my selfishness — I’ve got birthday cake to eat and a birthday nap waiting for me (clearly I live life on the edge). See all next week for more traditional programming!


Hey guys who print Manga,

It’s lapsed manga reader Pedro. I haven’t read you guys since Nausicaa and Gunsmith Cats but I accidentally picked up BECK when it was 4 for 10 at my local. It led me to want to pick up the other 6 books that were out in America.

I then hit a dead spot. No new trades of Beck until like whenever, and there were like 31 books with the schedule of 5 -6 a year? So I got to wait 3 more years to finish a series that in all honesty I could find translate on the net?

It’s to the point, I don’t even want to read manga if it’s not all printed out and ready to buy. Slam Dunk is killing me right now.

About DH…

Yeah, that killed me too. I love the samurai stuff! What happened to Satsuma Getchiden (sp?)??? :(

Heh. I share the same wishes. I remember when TOKYOPOP put out a new Fruits Basket volume each month over a summer, and now they’re 4 or so months apart (19 was in March, 20 is July, and 21 is November). It seems silly when the series is /done/ in Japan.

I’ll add one of my own:
7. I want Yotsuba& 6! And so do lots of other people!

The rest of my wishes are all license oriented, and I think you already had that column a few weekes ago. :)

Happy Birthday!

And more or less, word on the DH thoughts. Its also worth pointing out that you can order these books at the bookstores themselves. I’ve gotten about three or four volumes of Eden from Borders by placing in store orders for them.

I do wish that DH could figure out how to get KCDS and Eden into the public eye better. I dig both series and I’d hate to see them go byebye.

Happy Birthday, Danielle!

Andrew Collins

April 8, 2008 at 11:19 pm

2. Agreed. I’ve been waiting nearly two months for the last volume of Train+Train from Go! Comi

3. Oh hells yeah. I know they’re trying to milk it for all its worth, but it is extremely frustrating to have to wait so long between volumes. I was so desperate at one point I almost considered ordering the Australian imports, which were up to volume 19 at the time while we were stalled on volume 13 or 14. IWE just finally got volume 19 and I have poured over it many, many times since I bought it.

4. Agreed, again. I’ve been loving Shaman Warrior, but so far volumes 7+ have yet to be solicited. And just when I was starting to get over the 3×3 Eyes fiasco…

[…] piggybacking on Danielle Leigh’s posts over at Comics Should Be Good. In her latest, she delivers a wish list to manga publishers. Here are some of my […]

Regarding Fruits Basket, I imagine Tokyopop are panicking. It sells 10 times better than anything else they have, and in 4 volumes it will be over. Several people are suggesting that once TP loses Fruits Basket sales, they may go under. No wonder they’re stretching it out…

You might very well be right, Sean, but if that IS the case, then why didn’t they think to stretch out the releases many volumes ago? Why did it take them almost TWO years before they figured out that perhaps they should stretch out the release if they were going to be in trouble once they ran out of releases?

Taking that one step further, they also seem to have done a pretty poor job with repackaging the volumes they already released.

The Ultimate Collections was a great idea in principle, but in execution…not so much.

[…] Comics Should Be Good, Danielle Leigh celebrates her birthday with a wish list of not-so-unreasonable demands, mostly that publishers publish their books and do it on time. Over […]

Danielle Leigh

April 9, 2008 at 5:32 am

hi folks, I was too ill last night to respond to your great comments,

First thanks for the birthday wishes!!! I was too sick yesterday to eat cake but my boyfriend greeted me today with “Happy Birthday” so it looks as though I’ll be stretching out the b-day celebration aaaaaalll week.

Just like Tokyopop is drawing out Fruits Baskets. Anyway….

Tokyopop must have other steady sellers that can support them — while FB is their bestseller nowadays (is that really correct?) they still have a few important titles left running….and sadly, I’m too tired this morning to remember what they are (obviously they need another FB and will probably never have it again. They should really reconsider reprinting Sailor Moon but mabe the days of Sailor Moon selling well are past us?)

Danielle Leigh

April 9, 2008 at 5:33 am

I meant “is FB their ONLY bestseller nowadays”? (sigh)

Doug Atkinson

April 9, 2008 at 5:33 am

“You might very well be right, Sean, but if that IS the case, then why didn’t they think to stretch out the releases many volumes ago? Why did it take them almost TWO years before they figured out that perhaps they should stretch out the release if they were going to be in trouble once they ran out of releases?”

In 2004/2005, Tokyopop had a better share of the market than they do now, and they probably expected that they would be able to get more high-profile licenses when Furuba was over. That hasn’t really happened; I can’t think of another license they have that’s still ongoing and brings that level of sales or interest. Also, the series didn’t end in Japan until 2007, so they didn’t know what their ending point would be. In retrospect they would have done better to put it on a steady 3-month schedule and keep it there, but that’s with the benefit of hindsight, and I can’t blame them for not being psychic.

Doug Atkinson

April 9, 2008 at 5:36 am

In the case of Sailor Moon, they may not have the option of reprinting it; the TV show isn’t currently licensed in the US because the rights-holders don’t want it to be, and that may be the case with the manga as well (or the rights may have expired). It would certainly do better if the TV show were available to bring in new fans.

Happy (belated) birthday, Danielle! Expect to begin receiving review copies from Yen in the near future.

Although it doesn’t seem your mailing address for review copies appears to be posted on the site. If you could forward that along, it would greatly facilitate the process.

Danielle Leigh

April 9, 2008 at 5:58 am

Well, seek and they shall appear!

I’d be delighted to review Yen Press manga — you can contact me at oldviolin7 at aol dot com (I might try to track down your email as well to forward that information along).

Danielle Leigh

April 9, 2008 at 6:12 am

My email & address information have been sent to the main yen press email (yenpress at hbgusa dot com). Hope that will be okay!

Pedro Bouça

April 9, 2008 at 6:20 am

At the moment, I only wish Viz would finish Even a Monkey can draw Manga. I’m not asking for much!

Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Very astute schedule-reading, Danielle! Our books have been running exactly a month late ever since last fall. This was an unintended side-effect of ramping up to 4 releases a month.

I assure you, the staff has been beating their brains out to get us caught up on our schedule, and we will be back on track beginning in June. As for “After School Nightmare” #7, it just shipped to the distributor, and should start hitting the bookshelves shortly.

Speaking of ASN, we had dinner with Setona Mizushiro last week. Look forward to a full report, including pictures, on our website blog in the next few days. (http://www.gocomi.com/index.php?module=blog)

PS: Please, never NEVER believe a release date you see on Amazon! As near as I can tell, they pull these dates out of thin air.

We never give specific release dates. This is because we have zero control over the shipping process once the books leave the printer. They must go to the distributor, then to the distributor’s shipping centers, then to the wholesalers and big chains’ distribution centers, then the wholesalers and chains must get them to the individual stores…hopefully you get the idea. Day-and-date releases are only possible with powerhouses like Harry Potter.

If you check our website, you’ll see the release date for ASN7 is simply “April.” And it WILL be on shelves before the end of the month.

PSS: Email me your address and we’ll put you on the comp list.

Danielle Leigh

April 9, 2008 at 10:45 am

hi David!

Thanks for dropping by to explain the publishing schedule — I’m a big fan of the company and your titles (ASN is without a doubt one my top titles being published in English so I can’t wait to read the blog update on your dinner with the mangaka), so of course, I just like to get my hands on them as soon as possible (I’m also in some strange midwestern pocket where Diamond sometimes ships your books late to my comic book store *sigh*).

Not sure where to email you directly but I’ll send my information to sales at gocomi dot com (hope that will be okay). My email is oldviolin7 at aol dot com if that helps.

I’d be very excited to review Go! Comi manga for the site (you all have a lot of interesting new titles coming out this Spring & Summer)

Concerning point #4, I’m not sure that Darkhorse CAN sell books like Eden or Kurosaki better than they already are. They just don’t seem to have the ability to consistently put their products on bookstore shelves like Del Rey or Viz do, and that pretty much limits them to the direct market. They’re disorganized enough as is and their financial problems at the beginning of the “Manga boom” certainly didn’t help matters.

Danielle Leigh

April 9, 2008 at 11:14 am

hi Huff,

Well, even though intellectually I know you are right, I just think of Dark Horse as a “big” name company (certainly Diamond treats them as such even if the bookstore market doesn’t) and I’m frustrated that they sometimes talk as if they are “hurting” for funds (I don’t believe they are and I don’t think the are losing money on Eden or Kurosagi…they probably just aren’t making enough it according to *their* standards of how those books “should” sell. I think they should probably readjust their expectations, to be honest, rather than simply discontinue their manga projects …I don’t really trust them as a publisher due to that and it makes me NOT want to pick up new projects from them (It looks as though Eden, Kurosagi & Bride of the Water God may be it for me when it comes to Dark Horse manga because of that).

My demand is for all of Osamu Tezuka’s manga to be translated and published in English. Sure, that’s unlikely, but can we at least get Princess Knight, New Treasure Island, The Three-Eyed One, and any other good stuff that I can’t think of right now? And while we’re at it, how about anything and everything by Kazuo Umezu, Hideshi Hino, Go Nagai, Moto Hagio, and all the other Magnificent 49ers? That would be good, kthx.

“they probably just aren’t making enough it according to *their* standards of how those books “should” sell. I think they should probably readjust their expectations, to be honest, rather than simply discontinue their manga projects”

I think it’s a little unrealistic to expect a company to do something like this. I mean I’d love for them to just publish a title regardless of how little it sells, but that unfortunately isn’t how buisness works.

“I just think of Dark Horse as a “big” name company (certainly Diamond treats them as such even if the bookstore market doesn’t) ”

I don’t think being one of the top four DM publishers really amounts to all that much, especially when you consider how wide the gap is between the “big two” and everyone else. The fact that they’ve had trouble keeping things that were being turned into films in print suggests that they’ve still got a long way to go.
But it is frustrating to see the company that first introduced me to manga years ago continue to have difficulties. Their editors are definitely some of the most passionate fans I’ve encountered, and I don’t think that something like Eden (whose sales really are quite poor) would still be around if people like Horn weren’t so passionate about it.

Peter Urkowitz

April 13, 2008 at 5:59 pm

There’s a few manga series that have had incomplete runs in the US for one reason or another. One good series was “Bow Wow Wata” (or “Gau Gau Wata”), which had two or three good volumes before its US publisher went out of business. It was a fun story about a boy learning, reluctantly, to be a veterinarian, who finds out he can talk to animals. Similar in some ways to Viz’s “Inubaka Crazy for Dogs,” but with plenty of unique elements. I would love to see somebody pick up that series again.

[…] shamrock &8211 are often displayed beneath …http://www.sterlingtimes.org/memorable_images65.htmManga Before Flowers ?? Ask not what the manga industry can do for you?? – Comic Book ResourcesI want DMP to publish volume 4 of Flower of Life. I think this one speaks for itself. The title so […]

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