Tag Archives: industry

Manga Industry Panel with Vertical Inc. at Anime NEXT

I don’t believe I have ever made it a secret that I am a Vertical Inc. supporter. As a publisher, Vertical is a pretty small imprint, but they publish not just graphic novels, but have gone into other areas such as fiction, cookbooks, puzzle books etc. So as a publisher, Vertical doesn’t make it out to as much conventions. SO it was VERY cool that they were at Anime NEXT this past weekend. Ed Chavez (@vertical_Ed) spoke about what were the future publications properties expected for later this year and early next. So here are my notes.

  • Black Jack is finally back on schedule, going to be finished at 17 volumes within this year or so. The last volume is in consideration of a special cover.
  • Chi’s Sweet Home volume 6 would be out in the fall, but Mr. Chavez definitely made a plug that was dear to me, he spoke about similarity with Aria‘s cat world. In volume 8 which is the current volume from Japan, there is an essay from Mr. Chavez himself of Vertical’s American success story with this pint size cash cat. So with the manga still ongoing, Ms. Konami who is the author of Chi, may or may not put Vertical’s staff in the background in later volumes.
  • Vertical is expanding into Children’s books, they spoke about publication for a children’s book of On the See Saw Bridge about a hare and a fox stuck on the ends of a tilting see saw.
  • The Book of Human Insects by Osamu Tezuka is a retelling to Ayako, will be out by August 16.
  • Velveteen & Mandala by Jiro Matsumoto is a dark tale of zombie comedy, between two girls who are in charge of dealing with corpses dropped from a plane. Out around August 23.
  • Drops of God by Tadashi Agi, is an influential title that is being translated. Its interest extend beyond the manga/anime as a draw for the wine/food enthusiasts. Volume 1 would be out by Sept 13. There are currently 28 volumes in Japan, with the story still ongoing.
  • Princess Knight by Osamu Tezuka will be release in a two part-er.  Where they would be re-translated from Kodansha bilingual edition. There is going to be 30 additional pages specifically from Tezuka Productions, so this is going to be a special release from Vertical.
  • No Longer Human by Usamaru Furuya. Street date for volume 1 is Sept 27, volume 2 is Nov 22. Volume 3 is Jan, 2012 and is the current latest version in Japan.
  • GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka) This is Mr. Chavez’s own love, since he is an Onizuka fan. Vertical would be finishing the prequel that Tokyopop never finished, so they would be continuing where Tokyopop left off. If sales are great for this, then re-release for the earlier volumes is a given.
  • Twin Spica Volume 12 is last volume and out March 2012.
  • Dorororo volume 4 by Osamu Tezuka is going to be released entirely and repackaged within an omnibus format.
  • Vertical is coming out with one more Sudoku book, and it is with Borders closing that has impacted this publisher only with their puzzle book publications.
  • Enma the Immortal by Fumi Nakamura is a Golden Elephant award winner, that the trade paperback will be out on April 2012. Comic is adapted by Dark Horse.
  • City of Refuge by Kenzo Kitakata’s date keeps on being pushed back. It is a hard boiled detective tale.
  • A Caring Man by Akira Arai is a suspense thriller that also won The Golden Elephant Award. Print copies was avaliable at the convention and will be avaliable in ebook format as well as print retail distribution around July.
  • Cinema Cafeteria by Nami iijima. This is the  next cookbook on film foods recipes.

Chi at Vertical Table

Now I mentioned that Vertical were also at the dealer’s room. Where I spent a good portion of my time and money at, when I was at the convention itself. Take a look at my favorite fictional feline kitteh. So if you purchase enough books, from them they give you a great/cool/very sturdy/seemingly weight proof tote bag. (It was sold out by Saturday.) It is a manga lover must have… perhaps I am exaggerating a bit, but yes I am on my second one, and so far they have survived the amount of weight I put in them.

Lycee Light Club Cosplay

I wish I was able to get a better image of this cosplayer from the Lychee Light Club, but alas I have this. She was pretty surprised that I was able to recognize her, but I definitely counted my luck on finding a manga character cosplay among the sea of anime cosplayers.

I was speaking recently to a friend, and he mentions not being able to find Vertical books at big name bookstores, if that is the case then. You can ask your bookstore to order the book, or go online for it. They are distributed by Random House. Or if you do as I do, find and corner them at conventions. Vertical is to my knowledge at American Library Association, Otakon, San Diego Comic Con, and New York Anime Festival. So I imagine be sure to say hi to Ed, and talk with him!

Stephanie Sheh on the anime industry


Stephanie Sheh is a voice actress whose works include the English versions of Lucky Star, Gundam Unicorn, Naruto, Bleach, Gurren Lagann, and Eureka Seven. She describes herself as an “actress, director, photographer, shortie.”

Following a dispute Sheh had with fansubber deviryuu over the motives, means, and impact of fansubbing, I contacted her to discuss the state of the American animation industry. The conversation was eye-opening, both in terms of what industry insiders think and in terms of the sociological factors that predispose them to think in certain ways.

For example, a commonly-touted argument now is that the industry depends on purchases, so by purchasing, a consumer is contributing to future anime, and by not purchasing, a consumer makes it less likely that anime will be produced in years to come. Implicit in that argument is the idea that a downloader cares about anime production in the future. While the idea that one cares enough to spend money holds true for serious anime fans, it is an assumption that probably should not be made when it comes to the broader audience of downloaders. It is, in short, the sort of argument an emotionally invested fan would think up, and Sheh’s assertion that American industry insiders were fans first serves to drive that home. (Being emotionally invested in what you produce is good – but inability to see past that one perspective when formulating policy could be disastrous.)
Continue reading Stephanie Sheh on the anime industry

Free Food = Free Manga = Free Anime? Wha?!

What does free food has anything to do with free manga + free anime? Is Pizza Hut finally doing a campaign tied in to anime in the US? OH BOY!

Well, if you look at the first pic, you will realize this is about opinions on supporting the manga industry – don’t leave yet! There is free food! Or that’s being mentioned, at least!!! Also fan service pictures are posted through out the article!

After many years (yeah, 3 years) of thinking and probing (don’t go there) about the issue from every angle, which is encased in today’s cyberworld under the tyranny of the global Giga banker-controlled economy – think the Genom Megacorp in Bubblegum Crisis or the Tyrell Corporation in Blade Runner, I’ll give you my reflections. It’s not going to be a long article, trust me, because when you boil it down to basics, it ain’t that complex.

Continue reading Free Food = Free Manga = Free Anime? Wha?!

Thank you, ADV

Now that’s more like it. From Anime News Network:

Anime Network, A.D. Vision‘s television channel in the United States, has begun streaming Gainax‘s hit Gurren Lagann series online for free with English subtitles.Gurren Lagann‘s streaming is part of the official opening of Anime Network’s broadband service today. The streaming also launches Anime Network’s First Look effort, which presents new series that have yet to be released on North American home video. As one new episode ofGurren Lagann is added each week, at least two archived episodes will remain online for people who missed a week. 

Mike’s take:  this, friends, is a big part of the future of getting TV anime to fans; ADV is clearly taking a page from NBC, Hulu.com, and other American TV network ventures in putting up recent episodes for free by streaming online. The best thing about this is that it’s, at last, subtitled rather than dubbed too. And it happens before the DVD release. No, it’s not as fast as we would like as Gurren Lagann has already finished, but that may be out of the hands of the American side of the equation. I suppose ADV out of all the major American anime distributors is also the only one big enough to have the resources to take this kind of chance. Hats off to you, ADV! I will be following Gurren Lagann, which I foolishly put on hold long ago, in this way. (I may even blog it.)

I would like to see someone start a streaming subscription service along these lines in the near future–for, say, $5/month, you can watch all the anime you want subtitled, not just recent episodes (which should be free like it is here) but everything. For one it’d keep the review flow of this blog going. :) Offer downloads alongside it for $2 per episode with no DRM, and it’d be perfect.

Edit: Tried 3 different Mac browsers (Safari, Camino, Firefox), and none of them work for Gurren Lagann. The ads seem to play, though. I’ll try again tomorrow. Anybody got it working, say, in Internet Explorer? (I don’t have access to Windows at the moment.)

Everything we really wanted to say about the fansub debate…

…is in Anime Diet Radio, episodes 13 and the mailbag sections of 14 and 15. Justin Sevakis’s editorial said a lot of the things that I think we would have said: the companies, especially Japanese ones, must find a way to distribute electronically soon after Japanese broadcast and directly compete with the convenience of fansubs.

Justin’s piece is well-written, reasoned, and eloquent, and in a very influential forum to boot. I hope the industry listens. Give it a read, if you haven’t already.

I don’t feel like I have anything else to add, really; I’m a little tired of the topic. Personally, I think the difficulty is in large part simply because anime is a foreign entertainment product to the world outside Japan, and foreign work is never going to make enough money from DVD sales alone because it will always be a niche market. Plus, for the most part,  it’s TV. Pretty much every argument can be boiled down to that in many ways.

Odex’s Misfires Cross Oceans…

From Anime News Network and DarkMirage:

The American company BayTSP has acknowledged that it accidentally processed warning notices for allegedly unauthorized anime downloaders in France, Japan, and the United States last week, according to a Wednesday report in The New Paper periodical in Singapore. Odex, an anime licensee in Singapore, had asked BayTSP, a firm that deals with online intellectual property, to pursue unauthorized anime downloaders in that country only, and not worldwide.

Mike’s Take: I remember seeing the original story about fansub downloaders being served in the US, France, and Japan and feeling a bit of a chill down my spine. Could this be the end of the anime blogging scene based on new releases?, I thought melodramatically. Of course I suspected in the long run that the efforts would meet the same fate as the RIAA’s efforts to crack down on illegal downloads, and the chances of being caught are still close to infinitesimally small. That said, who’s in the least bit surprised that this is actually fallout from the long Odex drama in Singapore and BayTSP’s careless (or perhaps overzealous) handling of the matter?

It should be noted the US downloader who was served was on Comcast, who is notorious for throttling all BitTorrent traffic, period, legal or not.

This subject has been covered in numerous podcasts of ours, and our general point still stands: fansubs will continue to exist and thrive until a convenient and reasonably priced (and hopefully unencumbered) electronic way exists to acquire subtitled new releases not long after their airtime. I think the MangaNovel service that just opened offers a genuine way forward that I hope the anime distributors will take a closer look at.