All posts by Linda

Linda is a life long fan of anime, and dabbles in a lot of things. She writes with a tentative neutral voice.. and as for that three year anime blogging mark, she tries to defy that as she is gaining a voice in other mediums ie: Twitter. Find her at other places online. "They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it's not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance." -Terry Pratchett

Do you want to have a matchmaker like Jane Austen’s Emma?

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Jane Austen is a beloved author in English literature who is remembered for the many strong minded female characters that she has created. Her stories has been retold and adapted into multiple formats and media. Probably an example that would date me, but would be perhaps familiar to readers who remember the mid-1990s with the movie Clueless (1995). The movie is on Cher’s matchmaking. Going back to the original story though it is the heroine, Emma Woodhouse who wants to play matchmaker for her friends. Because of her meddling, she learns about her own nativity and oblivious desires. In a conclusion that is prototype for the happily ever after romance story endings, Emma still ends up finding true love herself.

Continue reading Do you want to have a matchmaker like Jane Austen’s Emma?

Interview: Voltage Games

Voltage Games is a prominent Japanese publisher of mobile otome games (i.e., dating sims featuring several men to choose from, aimed at young women) such as My Forged Wedding, Kissed by the Baddest Bidder, and more. We had the chance to speak to company founder Yuzi Tsutani as well as VP Kentaro Kitajima at their booth at this year’s Anime Expo about their games, the challenges of adapting to an American market, and more.

The interview was conducted by Michael Huang, with question help by Linda Yau. Their games are available in the US in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

You are primarily a mobile game company. What is your take on being a mobile company vs PC games?

When we started the company in Japan, we started with Japanese cell phones (keitai). We never thought about doing PC or console games.

What’s your opinion about crowdsourcing funding, like with Kickstarter? Do you think you might pursue any games at Voltage that are crowdfunded as opposed to traditionally funded?

I don’t think so. Our budgets are much bigger than what crowdfunding sites get. People use crowdfunding when they are starting their business…but for us, it’s more like an investment. We are listed already [on the stock market].

Tell us about your best selling game, My Forged Wedding.Why do you think it’s so popular?

We feel that marriage and weddings are popular with women, an important part of their lives. We feel like using that as the main topic for the app, and so it’s become very popular.

Most of your games are aimed at young women. Do you see yourselves as role models? What do you hope to bring to them?

There is that aspect, but our number one goal is to create apps women will enjoy first and foremost.

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In many of the games, you have to buy the routes a la carte. What types of routes are most popular?

Usually we have 5 characters in a game. The most popular one is the bossy character, then the cool character. The younger character is not as popular.

Have you had any opportunities to collaborate with other companies or brands, and is that something you would like to do in the future?

In Japan, we are working on releasing an app based on Hana Yori Dangowhich is a very popular anime/manga series. If that does well, we’d consider more of them in the future.

You were adapting a very popular title in that case. Has it worked the other way around, adapting some of your games?

Some TV companies are considering making a program based on one of our stories. We can’t say which title. But some have already been made as a manga–our very first title was made into a manga.

Since you’re bringing these very Japanese games to an American audience, are there things you have to change or emphasize differently to appeal to a different culture?

Sometimes in Japanese games, things happen that wouldn’t make any difference there, but directly translated into English may be offensive. We have to be extra careful when we are localizing those aspects.

[Also] in Japan, a very quiet and [introspective] character is a norm, but that’s not the case in America. People prefer a much stronger, more self-aware character, so sometimes we have to adapt them.

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What kind of games do you hope to release in this country?

Our next step is Labyrinths of AstoriaThis is kind of between Japanese and US characters. It’s the first in our new series of Amemix titles, which aim to blend what’s great about Japan and America. We use anime style art, but with stories based on western concepts like Greek mythologies, with a very diverse cast. So we hope to create a new market with a new series of apps.

Interview: JAM Project

JAM Project, one of the biggest anisong “supergroups” in the industry, was founded in order to further the genre of anime songs specifically. Consisting of a number of veteran anisong singers, today it now comprises founding members Masaaki Endoh and Hironobu Kageyama, as well as Masami Okui, Hiroshi Kitadani, and Yoshiki Fukuyama, who all joined between 2002-2003. They are best known for songs for shounen action shows such as Cardfight Vanguard, Nobunaga the Fool, GARO, and New Getter Robo, as well as video games like Super Robot Wars. Their operatic rock seems to fit those genres especially well.

Unfortunately, the audio for our transcript recording was sometimes fuzzy so not all attributions were 100% clear. Apologies for lack of clarity on those questions and answers.

We started by asking Masaaki Endoh about his famous predilection for bringing instant noodles with him on tour.

Endoh-san, what kind of instant noodle did you bring this time?

Masaaki Endoh: Six different flavors of mini-sized ramen! But I don’t have a water boiler due to luggage weight limits, and unlike in Japan, they don’t have hot water dispensers in every room.

Your stagecraft and style of music is very theatrical and almost operatic.  Is that a reflection of the sort of anime that you do music form or is that your natural style?

Hironobu Kageyama: Actually it is influenced by the type of anime the songs are for. So if it’s anime that has robots, like Super Robot Taisen where there’s a lot of fighting and energy, the songs will be influenced by that.

How do you think your style has adjusted over the past 15 years?

Kageyama: We don’t so much change our style as look for something new to do.

So would you ever do a song for a moe anime?

Kageyama: If someone ever asked us to, sure. We have girls in the band. [looks at Masami Okui] But we don’t ever get asked to do that sort of thing…

How do you relax when you’re off jam project? Individually? Or collectively?

Kageyama:We always like to talk together sometimes. Outside of music…well, we always thought about making our own jam. Jam Project jam!

What flavor of jam?

Strawberry!

What secret hobbies or hidden talents do you have?

Kageyama: I’m the oldest, so working out is my hobby. Recently I’ve been cycling and scuba diving. And this year, I’m challenging myself to train for a short distance triathlon.
Hiroshi Kitadani: The fans on twitter probably already know this, but my hobby is cooking. I do it every day, and when I make my own dish and drink alcohol, it’s very relaxing and therapeutic.

What’s your favorite dish?

Kitadani: Oden! It’s easy to make.
Masami Okui: As for [my hobbies], in Japan or all over the world, I like to visit “power spots”–places with spiritual energy. In Japan, that would be shrines or temples I love. When I’m off work, I go there a lot. This year, though, I want to go to Mt. Shasta.
Yoshiki Fukuyama: I have no hobby. So my hobby now is to look for a hobby.
Endoh: I love animals, so I have a lot of pets. It’s a dream that I want to be surrounded by animals in a big place.

Kageyama-san, you said last year at Anime Boston that you started the band when anisongs were in decline . Do you think the anisong industry has revived since then? Where do you see it going?

Kageyama: Anime songs are much more popular popular in Japan compared to 10 years ago. There are a lot of live events and concerts now and the audience has increased a lot. And variety of artists have shown up. So, it has changed a lot over the course of 10 years.

Who is the first musical artist that grabbed your heart?

Kitadani: I love Kiss.
Kageyama: I love Motley Crue.
Fukuyama: I love Deep Purple.
Okui: I love Kageyama’s vocal band, Lazy.
Endoh: I love the Beatles.

You’re all at Las Vegas now, do you plan to gamble and do you feel lucky? 

Okui: Living is a gamble.
Kageyama: I don’t feel the urge to gamble. But if I was, I’ll pull a slot machine handle once.
Kitadani: It’s a little scary, but I would like to try roulette.  Try betting on black. Ehh, really but what about red? You can split it 50/50, like your hair! [Laughter–ED: Kitadani had colored half his hair red, as in the picture at the bottom.]
Fukuyama: I never tried gambling, but I have seen it a lot in movies, so I like to try it like they do it in the movies.
Endoh: I like hitting the jackpot.

You’ve done a lot of songs for sentai series. What are your sentai colors?

Kitadani: [points to Kageyama]: He’s red.
Kageyama: Oh, I’m red, huh?
Okui: I’m pink.
Endoh: I like red, but red’s been taken, so I’ll be green.
Fukuyama: I’m blue.
Kitadani: I’m yellow.


The interview was conducted by Jeremy Booth with additional questions by Michael Huang. Rome Yamashita, Raymond Hu, and Linda Yau translated from the audio for this transcript.

12 Days: Where’s More of Gintama?

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Yes I am cheating on this post with an image from season 5’s conclusion and Kondo’s heavily censored a** saying “sorry.” But where’s more of Gintama? I expected or wished for the anime to continue with a 7th season in the fall after the 6th season aired in the Spring. Did the movie that was promised in Japan for the summer flop? These are questions that, as an American fan, must be finally written about..

I do know that the manga is still continuing, but I am sad that Viz discontinued the English manga at vol 23, and knowing that the manga in Japan has released 50+ volumes frustrates me.

Granted, I do hear the seiyuu of Gintoki, Tomokazu Sugita, loud and clear in other 2013 anime like Gingitsune and Samurai Flamenco. But how I long to hear Gintoki and the rest of the Yorozuya.

I can’t help but say that I really buy into this series’s formula. Are there any other longish series that you want never to end?

12 Days of Christmas: Passion Supports Yowapeda

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Yowamushi Pedal has been my top anime for the fall. This is a sports anime on bicycling, so there are the typical themes of competition, the underdog and of course a fiery passion. The protagonist, Ononda, happens to be an otaku who pedals on a utility bicycle weekly or daily from his school to Akihabara. He unsuccessfully tries to re-form an anime club, but fails; so he ends up joining the bicycle club where he becomes the unexpected hidden talent among the other more serious bicyclists.

The screen cap is from a moment at Ononda’s welcoming race, as he races to be the first on the top of the hill. In a race, there are critical moments when the body is exhausted, and to beat the other competitors is vital. The need to find motivation is clear, so this was his way of finding that last bit of energy.

What makes this heartwarming for me is the fact that Ononda finds solace in his niche hobby, and this can translate in reality as a passion or support for enriching life. I remember reading an entry MangaTherapy wrote on his blog that speaks about challenges. It is like choosing a career. Typically a person chooses what they find the most happiness in completing. But the harsh reality is how many would succeed in a field of their passion? Having multiple hobbies and passions makes life easier.

For me, Yowapeda brings inspiration and fun as I think about the various slashable couples and anime moments that make me a fan.

12 Days of Christmas: Echoes of Reality in “Silver Spoon”

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What a series…Okay, Silver Spoon is definitely not a revolutionary anime, but it is a simple coming of age tale. A slice of life story that I would have definitely have enjoyed if I were 10+ years younger.

Hachiken finds himself burnt out by exams and makes a life altering decision to move to the boonies, where he attends an agricultural school. He becomes surrounded by classmates that basically are expected to inherit family agricultural businesses and farms.

Being an urban kid, this is definitely different, and his experiences of being thrown in as a new kid makes this one of my top anime for 2013. In my own life, I have learned that trying to gain employment in my chosen career field is difficult, with bittersweet temporary working periods. Knowing about Hachiken as he makes his life choices makes me feel like we are comrades. Hence my choice for this screencap, since he realizes that reality is not that easy, nor is it fun and games.

There is going to be a second season next year and as I wait, I know that I can relish memories of the first season, when there was a pizza party episode, his first road kill, curing Tonkatsu and watching little moments for his sparks of awareness.

NYCC 2013: Seeking Anime/Manga Panels in a Sea of Comics and Tsunami of People

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Since last year’s announcement that New York Comic Con would officially embrace New York Anime Festival, seeking out anime/manga goods and panels became a navigating challenge, whether it was on the show floor, artist alley, or at panels. The anime and manga panel block this year was smaller, and at certain times there were conflicts or panels were located at rooms where the room was already maxed out. Due to fire regulations, rooms were not cleared after each session, so people who wanted to go to a particular panel would have to have either sit through an earlier panel or wait outside in long lines.

For the anime/manga panels this year, I was able to get into the Vertical, Kodansha, Yen Press, and Viz’s History of Ranma ½, Aniplex, and Daisuki. The following are notes that I took during the convention.

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Vertical
This is Vertical’s 10th year in publication. Since New York is the headquarters of Vertical, Ed Chavez, Vertical’s marketing director, considers NYCC’s presentation to be a state of Vertical.

  • Biggest seller for this year happens to be the Gundam Origins series.
  • Two new titles were announced at this convention and they were In Clothes Named Fat, a manga on eating disorders from Moyoco Anno and Attack on Titan: Before the Fall light novel. Both titles are to be sold around Summer, 2014.
  • Prophecy by Tetsuya Tsutsui is also a new license announced during the panel. It wasn’t announced at NYCC, but it is a title that Vertical acquired directly from the creator’s agent, though this was originally published as a Shueisha title.

 

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Kodansha
Ben Applegate, manga editor, moderates this panel with input from other Kodansha staff.

  • Thanks Attack on Titan fans right off the bat; it has been the biggest seller this year with 500,000+ English copies in print.
  • Announces a series catch up for Attack on Titan, and will be caught up with Japanese releases in January, 2014.
  • Announces four additional Attack on Titan books that Kodansha will publish. Attack on Titan Guidebook being released June 2014. Titan Junior High, an alternate reality of cast being in middle school. Attack on Titan: No Regrets, a spinoff manga on Captain Levi. Attack on Titan: Before the Fall, comic adaptation of light novel that Vertical licensed.
  • Manga for My Little Monster and Say I Love You is going to be coming out next Spring. My Little Monster is going to have 12 volumes. These are titles that had gotten anime releases that streams on Crunchyroll.
  • Monster Soul, a two volume series by Hiro Mashima, is going to be out Spring 2014. This is a work that has been released prior to Fairy Tail. This is going to a be a print and digital release.
  • xxxholic Rei is coming out in 2014, with omnibus for xxxholic and Tsubasa Chronicles being released as well.
  • Negima spinoff series is to be available Spring, 2014.
  • Kodansha iPad app no longer updates. Kodansha has been selling on Apple platform and various ebook platforms for Kindle and Nook.
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Stance from Kodansha on ebooks

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Yen Press
Kurt Hassler moderates this panel, with the rest of the Yen Press editorial team.

  • These are titles that Yen Press announced during the panel that they would be releasing. Ani-Imo, Void’s Enigmatic Mansion, Demon From a Foreign Land (new license from Kaori Yuki), Alice in the Country of Diamonds Fan Book, High School DxD, He’s My Only Vampire
  • Due to licensing concerns, Yen was pretty mum about a lot of titles.
  • Light Novels has worked for Yen Press, and they reassured fans that they won’t shy away from long running series.
  • Digital releases have worked for Yen, but it is only a very small part of their business.
  • Many of Yen Press’s e-publications has been available in the .epub format, they want to make their publications more accessible in all emarket devices.
  • Yen Press’s stance on speeding up on series as not a great thing for a series.
  • Due to contract and licensing conditions, they won’t be releasing their digital magazine on the Apple market anytime.

Sunrise
Robert Napton moderates with Shin Sasaki and Akane Hagino on panel.

  • Recent Sunrise titles to be released on DVD for the U.S. includes Tiger and Bunny, Daily Lives of High School Boys.
  • Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere and Good Luck Girl (Binbogami Girl), to be officially streamed online via sites provided from Viz, ANN, Huly, Crunchy Roll
  • Love Live School Idol Project Season 2 is green lighted after surprising popularity of season 1. Due to be aired next spring.
  • Tiger and Bunny: The Rising will have a 2014 theater release, and will be released onto DVD.

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Viz’s History for Ranma ½

  • This panel was meant to be a pair for Viz’s screening on Thursday of Ranma 1/2 and heavy marketing seen at New York Comic Con is meant to show Viz’s sincerity to re-release and reintroduce to a new generation one of Japan’s initial mainstream manga successes in the English market.
  • Manga of new Ranma will be two volumes combined into an omnibus of 300 pages. They would be using Japanese covers, and will only be 19 volumes of the initial 38 volume series. This is a remastered edition.
    Viz had done two different editions of Ranma in the past, so slides of the previous releases in comparisons to the new English manga release was shown.
  • The anime is going to be done in original Japanese episode order. Viz pushed blu ray more than the DVD to be enjoyed by fans.
  • Anime is not going to include OVA and Movies, only the tv series.
  • Manga is only going to be in print version, there is going to be no digital version.
  • Spring 2014 is the schedule for both anime and manga. This re-release by Viz is meant to be the definitive version for this beloved gender bending comedy.

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Aniplex

  • For those who follow Aniplex and were at the convention, take note that this panel had a room change at the very day it occurred to a larger room. It was pretty packed since Aniplex is an anime company that produces anime and has also released physical copies of DVD/Blu-Ray to be owned by those who appreciate physical media.
  • Anime that is produced by Aniplex that is currently streaming are Montagatari 2, Magi 2, Valrave, Samurai Flamenco, Kill la Kill.
  • Anime that is current available in blu-ray/dvd are Madoka movies, Gurren Lagann, the DVD was called a “Box of Awesome” and the Blu Ray a “Cinderbox of Awesome”,  Blue Exorcist, Geo Tokyo Fish Attack, Blast of Tempest, Sword Art Online, Fate Zero, Blue Exorcist the movie
  • At this panel they made an announcement for the Madoka Rebellion to be seen at American theaters in December. Premiering on Dec 3 in Hollywood, CA and release on Dec 6 to theaters in Canada and the US.  At the last time I checked New York theater tickets have all been sold out.
  • Magi‘s English Cast was also announced during this panel.

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Daisuki
Robert Napton moderates this panel with Eri Maruyama and Kunihiko Shibata on panel.

  • This is their first Q and A time ever with fans in the United States.
  • Daisuke began May 2013, and is founded in part by a group of already established Japanese anime companies. Companies include Toei, NAS, Sunrise, TMS and Aniplex.
  • Other than providing anime online, Daisuki also has a store that sells anime merchandises.
  • This is a streaming site, with no plans to distribute media in other formats.
  • As a site Daisuki would have plans to stream other Japanese media content like JAM Project pvs, or personalized messages from creators.
  • Daisuki currently streams, Magi, Kill la Kill, Valvrave, Sword Art Online and more.
  • They have an iPad app that was released around the time of NYCC.
  • Daisuki is ad supported, but ads are only seen at the beginning, and there is no breaks in the middle.
  • At this time, it would be too early to say if they would ever bring down any of their current content.
  • Comments are welcome and encouraged on their Facebook and Twitter.
  • Due to surveys conducted for older series, Daisuki will be streaming the entire series for Cowboy Bebop, but can’t say if other older titles that were surveyed will be out of the running.
  • There is a different streaming schedule with older series vs. newer series. They would be airing one old anime episode per week. The example they used was One Piece.
  • Daisuki promises to be a world wide streaming service.
  • Daisuki will consider if they would take donations.
  • Resolution of video at this time would only be 720p, and not 1080p yet.

So that ends my notes from NYCC 2013, this year. Clearly there is a great love for the anime and manga business in the United States. Since this is an importing business, there is a great deal of money limiting what can be brought over or not. The anime and manga presented at this convention represents a small portion of what is out there. What I observed was that on the anime aspect, many of the title announcements as either blu-ray or dvd releases were limited to what already has a fan base and popularity, whereas the manga titles being announced had more variety. I learned that there are only specific titles that American publishers (other than Kodansha USA or Viz) can take from the pie of Kodansha Japan or Shueisha.

NYCC 2013: Con Reflections

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New York Comic Con, an industry driven behemoth convention, spans over four days. Initially, this was a three day convention, but with more demand, a fourth day was added for professionals and those who are hard core fans.

Tickets for 2013 rapidly sold out earlier in the year, so it is assumed that 2014 would be a similar situation as it was this year. Comic Book Resources reported that attendance for New York Comic Con hit San Diego Comic Con numbers.

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For the press, VIP’s, pros, and exhibitors there was a different entrance from the general public, and that was located closer to 34th street on 11th avenue. This was referred as the blue entrance.

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Attendees had their bags inspected and badges scanned as they entered and exited the Javits. There was an issue Thursday on unauthorized tweets and facebook messages automatically generated by NYCC as a way to socially be the big thing, but it definitely created a negative ripple that Reed repealing this authorization breach on Friday. I had an unauthorized tweet, that I found and definitely deleted due to phishing fears.

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Badges were mailed out prior to the convention, so lanyards were available around the convention’s information booth to people who needed it.

Whether attendees were shopping, cosplaying, waiting on huge lines for either panels or autographs, Javits was packed. The main attraction was on the third level for the enormous show floor. Panels were held at 1-A. Autographs at 1-B. Main events and theaters were around 1-D to 1-E. Artist Alley was at the North Pavilion.

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Mobile technology was the key to getting updates or tweeting. Charging stations were also provided at designated areas around the Javits, either on the show floor or at stations like this.

The convention for me began on Thursday morning and went on until Sunday afternoon. Thursday was when the professional targeted panels occurred. These are targeted presentations/panels for individuals whose careers and livelihood stem from working within the industry. Pro panels are slightly different from industry panels.

There are several reasons why people who would choose to attend pro panels and this is not an exhaustive list.

  • Learning
  • Networking
  • Contributing editorial views
  • Showing sincerity (this ties in with learning)
  • Topics to affirm what you know and bring back to your professional life

Industry panels at conventions are conducted by various companies that would talk about their current products, upcoming releases, and announcements.

Throughout the weekend, there were plenty of things occurring on the show floor as well as all parts of the Javits. It took good shoes, layers, convention survival tactics, extra batteries, planning, and patience. This was all within a small part of New York.

For this year’s New York Comic Con, Anime Diet had myself and Eric Chu covering the convention. Photographs we took have been uploaded to Anime Diet’s Flickr, so be sure to check that out.

Otakon 2013: Vertical Industry Panel

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Vertical, the one Industry panel I was able to attend this year. As people who follow me on twitter, can see.. I did make an attempt to live tweet the panel. Ed Chavez, marketing director from Vertical Inc that day, cosplayed as a general from the Gundam series. The following are notes that are either from presentation slides or my Twitter, many of this is similar to what Ed presented at AnimeNEXT.

  • Chavez stressed the survival of Vertical is dependent on pre-orders made, before seeing Vertical books published.
  • Knights of Sidonia: Vol 4 on sale August, 2013.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origins Part 3 on sale September, 2013. This is a prized project of Vertical, there’s going to be an anime next year.
  • Flowers of Evil: Vol 7 on sale October, 2013. There’s a completely new style of cover, and that got revealed.
  • Chi’s Sweet Home: Vol 10 on sale August, 2013. Ed reiterated that Chi is a very big seller for Vertical. Konami Kanata, mangaka who was a guest at Toronto Comics Arts Festival in 2012 was quite impressed by fans and decided to extend the series to being concluded in 13 volumes instead of 10 volumes as planned.
  • Insufficient Direction on sale February, 2014. This is Moyoco Anno’s manga on living life with her famous husband, Hideaki Anno who was responsible for directing Evangelion. Moyoco Anno previously published Sakuran in English with Vertical.
  • What Did You Eat Yesterday? By Fumi Yoshinaga, this title was announced at Otakon, and targeted to be released around March, 2014. This is a 10 volume series that speaks about being homosexual and living in modern Tokyo with foodie experiences being mention.

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So after all the Vertical announcements were over and with time remaining. Ed jumped right into educating audience of this panel to the professional side of what it takes as a publisher to license and release manga in America.

There are several steps that includes Research & Development, Budgeting, Bidding, Contracting, Production, and Scheduling.

Research & Development involves a lot of reading. Ed mentions how lucky it is for non Japanese fans to get the best of the best when there is a lot of mediocrity in the manga market. He stresses that Vertical is very accessible to fans over on Tumblr. But he does mention that Vertical would listen to media companies more. Many of their titles like Flowers of Evil, From the New World and Gundam the Origins has anime adaptations and reaches a wider audience, so if there was other interests in it, then they would listen to the bigger group.

Budgeting involves seeing how much money would the publisher have. This also ties into Bidding and Contracting. Scheduling is the agreed upon time, so a publisher must print in a proposed time or they lose out. This happens to many American companies who are no longer in the manga business. The concept for Out of Stock is different from Out of Print. Japanese companies operate on a different scale than American companies. They require all money up front, before American publishers localizes any title. Also apparently there is the current standard for publishing and pricing digital books. It is definitely more cheaper for consumers to purchase digital, but behind the scenes it takes three times the price for publishers to produce such digital copies. It does sound like a strange concept, but it can be said that publishers such as Vertical is selling print book to afford emanga.

Nobuo Uematsu’s Pinocchio take in Blink-0 1946

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Any video gamer familiar with Square Enix RPG games would know Nobuo Uematsu’s credit on being the composer of Final Fantasy music. This summer of 2013 however, Blink-0 1946 was released as Uematsu’s first ebook credit. The story takes place in the period after WW2, where German doctor Dr. Mabuse successfully created artificial intelligence in a robot named Blink-0.

Similar to Pinocchio’s story, Blink-0 lives with a dream of becoming a human. There is a morality lesson to be learned in this tale. Not to spoil too much of this story, there are two ways to experience this product. One is to purchase the book to read on the iPad, or another is purchase the three specific track that is composed especially to tie into Blink-0 1946’s story. 

The three songs are “Blink-0 1946″, “Ah But Why?” and “So Close.” Upon my first time of listening to these pieces I was reminded greatly by Vocaloid music with its digital voices, but it can also be compared to MIDI music. So a reader reads the story and embedded within the pages are the songs itself.

I don’t have to say much about who the writer and composer Nobuo Uematsu happens to be, but for the illustrator of Blink-0, this is Hiroki Ogawa who works as a director under Uematsu’s founded music label for Dog Ear Records. The story is short, but for fans of Nobu Uematsu, this is a good book to experience.

(This Ebook was received as a review copy)

Comissioning at AnimeNEXT

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This topic has probably been brought up before, but as a disclaimer this is something based on my own experience and is not necessarily experience by others. I may have a personal bias since I happen to know both artists who I commission from. The two times that I have specifically asked for commissions are surprisingly done in conjunction with AnimeNEXT which had an artist alley that is position specifically across from the Dealer’s Room at the Garden State Exhibition Center.

Consistently, I have had a love and hate feeling for AnimeNEXT’s Artist Alley…well hate is a pretty strong word, so I should say Love and Tears. Love because I always always love a lot of things that I see in the Artist Alley and Tears because, well the money that goes flying out of my wallet. Personally speaking, what I see at AnimeNEXT is at times not seen at other conventions. I am mostly going on about their availability for origami crafts jewelry. But enough gushing about what I see at AnimeNEXT’s artist alley.

Typically artists at the convention alleys often purchase table space to sell their products to attendees. To earn beyond the cost of purchasing the table space equals to a profit for artists. It is also as I learned a great place to network, and get exposure. A great deal of artists typically has prints, buttons or comics to sell. I also see fashion accessories, plushies or all types of crafts. If the artist is an illustrator, there’s most likely an advertisement on their booth that offers commissions for a fee to be completed during the course of the convention.

How does a person go about commissioning artwork? Well there should be an interest in artwork, and appreciating an artist enough to throw money at them. An artist does a lot of their artwork out of love for the subject and a commission is a transaction that is done one on one with a fan seeking an artist to use their artistic trade to create a custom image. These tips are also done within a very short period of time, if this is typically the first time commissioning a artwork or product.

Tips:

  • Hold onto your wallets, because the goal is to keep within a budget. Yes an artist would probably want you to throw as much money as you can to them.
  • Give a walk around the artist alley once without buying anything. Observe, giggle and yes this may be best done alone or with a small group of friends. There is often not enough space to have a large crowd. Do a couple of walk rounds if you have time.
  • Make mental observations to art styles or mediums used by the artists. Inquire about pricing and commission sizes. What are negotiable is the anime character, (more for one character), position, and tone of the product. Different prices are set between colors, or black and white. You can ask if you would want to have the artist emulate the official art or use their art style to convey that character.
  • Inquire first if the artist knows the character/series you’re talking about, if not then have a reference handy.
  • Settle on price and leave payment.
  • Wait to pick up product.

arale fanart

The two commissions I have complete are actually tapped to by wall, protected in their original plastic coverings. If there is ever room, the option is also in my mind to frame the artwork. Yes this is not original artwork by the creator, but to appreciate a fandom and love in an artistic manner. Commissions are one way to support and have an enjoyable experience. Thanks to Juri and Lily for drawing your versions of Arale for me!