We talked to Deb Aoki, the influential Guide of manga.about.com, after her panel about “The Best and Worst Manga of 2010” at this year’s Comic Con. It’s a short interview, where we ask just a few basic questions. Pardon the noise in the video–it was shot with an iPhone and and things were just a bit hectic after the panel!
Thanks to Deb for letting us interview her! And happy belated birthday–consider this a late present of sorts. :)
The San Diego Comic Con has been around for years, but nothing draws in the media like scandal. So it is unsurprising that the media flocked to rumors on Twitter of a stabbing, complete with (entirely fabricated) gory details like blood-drenched shirts and gaping wounds. The reality of it was more schoolyard fight than slasher, more petulant than perverse. This was no Akihabara knifing or even “Apple store incident.” What happened?
Around 4:00 p.m., two adult males attending the convention got into a scuffle shortly after a panel in Hall H of the convention center. – LA Times
That’s right – a man got scratched in the face with a pen, and the police took his assailant away. There’s even video, courtesy of elguapo1:
To be sure, the attempt at violence was there. And to be sure, the police were right to identify this as a case of assault and haul the perpetrator away. All the lurid fictions, however – the tales of betrayal, of passion, of dark secrets – now appear entirely unjustified. Instead it appears that anime otaku, like all other people, are capable of losing their temper and lashing out. When this happened, the police were there and the situation was under control.
Is that truly so surprising?
Officer Stafford describes most of the attendees of this years Comic-Con as peaceful, saying “They don’t drink, so that cuts down on the fights.”
– LA Times
If you’re dead set on selling an image of otaku as dangerous, antisocial, and violently out of control, perhaps it is unsurprising when rumors of a stabbing start, or surprising when they turn out to be vastly exaggerated. Viewed with some perspective, though, this minor altercation is just business as usual for a large convention. The real surprise is that people keep playing to stereotypical expectations instead of heeding the true story.
2:02 PM—Talking about Priest. Saw the Hall H movie preview for this yesterday. I find it interesting that a manhwa is the first potential breakout for TP. The same artist, Min-Woo Hyung, is doing another one called Ghost Face which TP is also publishing.
2:04 PM—Skelanimals. “Adorable and creepy”: not much of the latter if you ask me :)
2:04 PM—social media strategy on Facebook. Also, digital distribution via Zinio. I remember reading an Adobe creative magazine via Zinio magazine reader. There’s also e-books via the public library. (I should get my Sony Reader back…)
2:08 PM—Van Von HunterDVD–that looks like a live action parody? Looks like a personal project of the staff of TP.
2:09 PM—current releases: a graphic novel based on the movie Labyrinth called Return to Labyrinth. The writer of it is a panelist and he’s been talking about it.
2:15 PM—still talking about Return to Labyrinth. It goes on sale on August 1.
2:20 PM—Another adaptation, this time for another Jim Henson property, Legends of the Dark Crystal. It’s 80s fantasy film time! Other adaptations: StarCraft 2.
2:22 PM—Hanako and the Terror of Allegory vol. 2, by Sakae Esuno.
2:24 PM—New releases: Karin (I refuse to call it Chibi Vampire!) Airmail, which is an anthology. Also How to Draw Shojo Manga, which is done from the artist of Ouran, Fruits Basket, Vampire Knight among others. It’s actually produced by the Japanese publisher of various shojo magazines.
2:25 PM—Continuation of Happy Cafe and Alice in the Country of Hearts and Ratman and Future Diary.
2:26 PM—Hetalia comes out in October. To much cheering, of course, from the fangirls! Also something based on World of Warcraft. There definitely seem to be a lot of those kinds of titles lately.
2:28 PM—Demon Sacred “featuring super hot demon boys!” That says it all. “Cute girls, unicorns, and hot guys.”
2:30 PM—Saving Life, from the author of Girls Bravo!. “A fan-service bonanza.” Hah, it got no crowd reaction…this is not a fan service crowd I see.
2:31 PM—Summoner Girl. Plus, The Stellar Six of Gingacho, which the editor compares to Honey and Clover but with younger characters. Really? That would be nice…though color me skeptical.
2:33 PM—December releases: Eensy Weensy Monster, which, believe it or not, is by the author of Kare Kano (Masumi Tsuda). I see a stick figure on the cover: is this why they went with stick figures and sketchy art in one of the later episodes of the anime?
2:36 PM—.hack light novels. Full Metal Panic light novel, following the story of The Second Raid.
2:38 PM—I see they have a BL line now called “Blu.” They publish Gakuen Heaven, Baseball Haven (incoming pitcher and catcher jokes!)…see a pattern with these titles here?
2:40 PM—There’s a new Joss Whedon movie called The Cabin in the Woods coming soon. They’re doing the graphic novel of it. That’s the first I heard about this movie…
2:42 PM—Lives, by the author of Battle Royale, which is, well, quite gory. A lot of disemboweling, apparently. (BR was too much for me. See our review of one of the omnibus editions.)
2:43 PM—LOL: Mr. Clean, Fully Equipped! An OCD clean freak saved by a girl.
2:45 PM—it’s Q&A time now. I’m not sure there were actually any new licenses after all, or maybe they just mixed them in with the upcoming releases. Seems that new license announcements are a crapshoot at Comic Con in general–I totally didn’t expect Bandai to have any this year.
6:01 PM – Funi and the anime industry: it’s not as bad as it looks. The bad economy is a big factor. After all, AX was huge…recall the “DON’T PANIC” theme from 2008. They are committed to continunig dubs.
6:04 PM – 51% of the anime audience is older than 25. But the biggest group online is 13-17 years old.
6:06 PM – Social media strategy on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc. Stats.
6:09 PM – Antipiracy efforts. Just one lawyer and three staff? They go after the counterfeit goods, torrent links, streaming/download, direct link storage sites. Simulcasting.
6:10 PM – My Bride is a Mermaid (aka Seto no Hamayome). Trailer. I loved this show.
6:12 PM – Master of Martial Hearts (Zettai Shogeki). I like their ad: “I can has double moe cheezburger.”
6:15 PM – Casshern Sins.
6:16 PM – Corpse Princess (Shikabane-hime), which they had been streaming for a while. Finally coming to DVD release. Great for the zombie fans!
6:18 PM – Hetalia Axis Powers (to much squeeing). Finally coming out on September 14th on DVD. I always thought this show was an excuse to indulge as much national stereotyping as possible :) They’re streaming it now. And that’s right–they hired their dub cast recently.
6:23 PM – Eden of the East (which I love dearly). Described as “Jason Bourne, the anime”–well, there are some similarities and one direct reference…See our interview with the creators here. Blu-Ray in September 25th. The dub voice for Juiz is actually pretty good.
6;25 PM – Contest winner for the “Fullmetal Free Ride” video contest. It’s to show how big of a FMA: Brotherhood fan you are. They’re bringing the winner, Megan Hewlett, up to show the video. Funi apparently taped the reaction shot of them telling them they won.
6:32 PM – Alien vs Ninja from Sushi Typhoon, their live action Japanese cult film imprint. Also includes Mutant Girls Squad. They’re introducing the Japanese producer of these movies. They have a panel later tonight at 8:15 PM, with full screenings tomorrow night.
6:37 PM – AX Announcements: Geneon rescues: Technolyze, Ai Yori Aoshi, Armitage III, Haibane Renmei, Hellsing TV, Serial Experiments: Lain, the entire Tenchi franchise.
6:38 PM – Darker than Black s2. Shana S2. Railgun and Index. Black Lagoon OVA. Hellsing Ultimate V-VII. Trigun movie.
6:41 PM – Q&A section. That’ll be it for me today.
4:38 – Best manga (teens/all ages): Twin Spica (Vertical) by Ko Yaginuma. Described as a cross between Moyashimon and Planetes (both which I like).
4:42 PM – Cardcaptor Sakura (Dark Horse) omnibus edition. This is something of a re-release. + Clover. Edited by Carl Horn; I remember him being a worshiper of Hideaki Anno back in the Evangelion days. Christopher says Clover is an “interesting failure” though.
4:45 PM – Cat Paradise (Yen Press) by Yuji Iwahara. Deb Aoki: “X-Men with cats.”
4:47 PM – Chi’s Sweet Home (Vertical) by Kanata Konami. Christopher: surprisingly dark. Really? Never watched the anime though. Carlo Santos is not so hot on it—he found it a bit episodic. The anime episodes were like 5 minutes each right?
4:51 PM – Karakuri Odette (Tokyopop) by Julietta Suzuki. I’ve never heard of it.
4:52 PM – Kingyo Used Books (VIZ) by Seimu Yoshizaki. “Manga for manga nerds” (Carlo Santos). It’s apparently a manga nerd paradise. Nostalgic for manga we never had….Christopher likens it to Pluto.
4:58 PM – Kekkaishi (VIZ) by Yellow Tanabe. “You know who likes Kekkaishi in Japan? Freakin’ everybody…..Kinda like Bleach.” (Gets booed.)
5:01 PM – Best for adults: Oishinbo, 20th Century Boys, Pluto. I remember this was mentioned in last year’s panel…
5:02 PM – Stuff by Jiro Taniguchi: A Distant Neighborhood and The Summit of the Gods. I’ve been meaning to check his stuff out.
5:03 PM – Ooku (VIZ) by Fumi Yoshinaga. Christopher doesn’t like the way it’s translated though.
5:03 PM – Detroit Metal City. A Drifting Life (Yoshihiro Tatsumi).
5:05 PM – Age Called Blue/Red Blinds the Foolish (Deux/Netcomics) by Est Em. This is BL/yaoi.
5:06 PM – Not Simple (VIZ) Natsume Ono. I actually like this one. It’s a pretty intense story.
5:06 PM – Black Lagoon (VIZ) by Rei Hiroe. But of course!
5:10 PM – International category. Twilight the Graphic Novel is mentioned, to much booing and consternation. Deb Aoki: “it’s the money machine that makes all other manga possible.”
5;10 PM – WORST: Orange Planet, Togainu no Chi.
5:11 PM – Red Hot Chili Samurai. .hack books (“ALL OF THEM”) :) Maximum Ride, an adaptation of James Patterson story. They generally don’t like manga based on licensed existing properties.
5:13 PM – Most anticipated manga. AX Alternative Manga anthology (Top Shelf). Genkaku Picasso by Usamaru Furuya: draws very pretty girls, with a sick sense of humor. A Drunken Dream by Moto Hagio, who is here at Comic Con apparently. This is the author of They Were Eleven, and was one of the founders of shoujo manga.
5:17 PM – Not Love but Delicious Foods. Cross Game (VIZ), by Mitsuru Adachi. (I like the anime.) The Strange Tale of Panorama Island by Suehiro Maruo.
5:19 PM – UNLICENSED: Kami no Shizuku: this is the famous wine manga. It’s not licensed yet, but it’s seen some mainstream exposure already. Saint Young Men by Hkaru Nakamura: Jesus and Buddha as modern roommates. Otoyome Gatari, from the author of Victorian Romance Emma. The Music of Marie: “this is Miyazaki on LSD.” Atagoul by Hiroshi Masumura. The Rose of Versailles–really, this has never been licensed? Perhaps Ms Ikeda is asking for tons of money.