Hi all – I’ve been debating how to address this here on Okazu, hence the delay in my response. And the short answer to the question above is, obviously, “no.” No turf wars here. :-)
Y’all probably know that this week Seven Seas announced their new yuri imprint, “Strawberry.” They’ll be putting out titles like Strawberry Panic and Saigo no Seifuku under this line, although their previously announced license for Kashimashi Girl Meets Girl will not be.
As you can imagine, as a yuri fan, I’m thrilled. Seven Seas is going for the titles that are, in Japan, marketed primarily to guys, and several of which are attached to popular anime series, so have high recognition value. I’m all for it and I’ll be among the many purchasing their titles, and hoping for them to go after Hayate x Blade as well, since it’s another Mediaworks title.
In their press release, Seven Seas claims to be launching the first-ever line of yuri in the US. This is patently not true. ALC Publishing has been releasing yuri titles in the US since 2003. That’s “first” by my book. :-)
I, and many other people, have emailed Seven Seas to politely point out the mistake. I was really, honestly, hoping that they’d retract the statement, or at least issue a vague correction…or something. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten any response at all. I’m not taking it personally, I know that businesses are often much more complex than the sum of their parts, but I want to make my position clear.
Here is the email I sent to the major anime news services, and to Seven Seas:
To Whom it May Concern –
My name is Erica Friedman, President of ALC Publishing, the world’s only all-Yuri publishing company. I would like to correct a mistake in the Seven Seas press release about their Yuri imprint “Strawberry”. Seven Seas mistakenly refers to their imprint as the “first-ever” line of Yuri manga to be released in America.
ALC Publishing has been putting out 100% Yuri publications since 2003, including translations from Japanese yuri manga artists such as Rica Takashima, Eriko Tadeno, Akiko Morishima and, looking forward into 2007, doujinshi circles Sakuraike and UKOZ. Our translations, light novel series and Yuri manga anthologies are available in comic book, G/L/B/T and chain bookstores.
All of us at ALC are *very* excited and pleased to see more Yuri entering the American manga market, but we would like it to be known, on behalf of the artists, writers, and all the folks that work on our books that Seven Seas is not the first. And hopefully, they will not be the last – there are many wonderful yuri titles which we at ALC would love to see on American shelves.
All of us at ALC, the oldest publisher of Yuri in America, wish Seven Seas the greatest success!
Now it is obvious to me that Seven Seas and ALC are NOT in direct competition. ALC focuses on stories by primarily, although not exclusively, women who identify as lesbian, for an audience of adult women (and men, of course.) Our primary focus is on the many folks whose work is not attached to an anime, and will not otherwise be seen by people in English-speaking countries – I’m speaking of course, of the lovely people who draw yuri doujinshi.
ALC is dedicated to bring high-quality yuri, what I like to call 100% yuri, by women, about and for women (and anyone else who wants to read it.) We’re not seeking to license yuri done for a broader audience. As a result, we are doomed to always be small potatoes, even in the genre we pioneered here in America. :-)
That’s okay. We love what we’re doing. We love the people doing it with us.
And we are, as I said, thrilled to see more yuri come on the market…but the operative word is “more.”
If you have a moment and want to add your voice to those who have pointed out the mistake in the Seven Seas release, feel free – but please be polite. Seven Seas may be the new kid on the block, but we want to be able to play nice. :-)
If you’ve ever bought a copy of Rica ‘tte Kanji!?, WORKS, Shoujoai ni Bouken or any of our Yuri Monogatari anthologies, on behalf of everyone at ALC, thank you for your support!