New Yuri Manga Kid on the Block – will it mean turf wars?

October 26th, 2006

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.

However.

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!

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10 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hmm…As much as I like the idea of Yuri maybe becoming mainstream, I like getting free manga scanslations more. Seven seas already stopped Kashimashi being scanslated by Dynasty, so I hope they don’t stop SP! as well…

    (Just curious, but can you even go to jail for continuing to scanslate something that was copyrighted after you started it?)

  2. neo_hrtgdv says:

    I saw this on the YML and I already sent them a message too ^-^

    Really, I think Erica has more fans than she’s aware of >.> and naturally I am going to support ALC and Seven Seas; as Serge said in the YML “if you consider yourself a true Yuri fan, dig through the couches for loose change, eat ramen for 2 weeks, tell your parents you need more school books, or whatever you need to do legally so you can buy/import these books when they hit the shelves or online retailers. If you don’t buy, you are teh suck and I will hate you forever.”
    So yes, we should buy more Original Manga from Japan, Yuri stuff from ALC and imported Yuri from Seven Seas. All those who say there’s no alternative are running short on excuses because now we have original manga, manga publishing AND imported manga, so there is it: suport Yuri and buy a few of it ^-^

  3. > (Just curious, but can you even go to jail for continuing to scanslate something that was copyrighted after you started it?)

    Yes. It’s called “violating copyright”. It’s also called stealing.

    It may be nice for you to download scans for free, but it is not so nice for the artists and the companies who put it out. This is why i recommend people buy even Japanese manga, to pay the artists who are laboring to bring you the stories you say you enjoy.

    I am vehemently against dowloading any anime or manga that is available for purchase or rental legitimately. You can call it whatever you’d like, but you’re just stealing.

  4. > Really, I think Erica has more fans than she’s aware of >.>

    Not on the YML, at any rate. I don’t read there often, but I do know that not too many of those folks appreciate Yuricon efforts or buy ALC manga. I fear that that would be one of those places that responded “at last” to the news, as if we haven’t been around for nearly 4 years. :-)

    But I appreciate your support!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to the wonderful world of you-don’t-count-unless-you-sell-stock. Or maybe you-don’t-count-if-you’re-run-by-fans. Something like that, anyway.

  6. hxb says:

    I think scanlations have a place though, especially for poor students like me, lol. Anyway, it was after reading lililicious scans (and your reviews) that I bought Yuri manga which I would never have known or even thought of buying in the first place.

    Just wondering, maybe you could review ALC’s manga here the way you normally review other titles. I don’t remember reading any reviews on Okazu. It’s just mostly dates of releases and a few sentences. I would probably buy it if I find any stories that interest me.

    I’m not in the US, so this turf war thing doesn’t really affect me, but it would be nice of Seven Seas to show a little respect.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think Seven Seas meant to insult anyone. They have been around since 2004 so they are a new company, too. Their website says “America’s first mainstream” Yuri line. To be fair more people know of Seven Seas than ALC publishing so they are mainstream in a way.

    Regardless of who was first I’m glad to see more companies starting to distribute Yuri titles in the U.S., it is long overdue.

    I will definitely still be buying publications from ALC as I have in the past and I will continute to buy from any company that sells a Yuri title in the future :)

  8. It’s my pleasure to say that Seven Seas has both responded to my (our) email(s) and also changed the press release, which is why it says what it says now.

    S7 was very nice about it, and I hope that going forward we can work together to promote Yuri in America. :-)

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  10. > Just wondering, maybe you could review ALC’s manga here the way you normally review other titles. I don’t remember reading any reviews on Okazu.

    Here’s the link to the review of WORKS:http://okazu.blogspot.com/2004/04/Yuri-manga-works.html

    Here’s the review of Rica ‘tte Kanji!?: http://okazu.blogspot.com/2004/02/Yuri-manga-rica-tte-kanji.html

    You probably missed them because they are older posts.

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