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.

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