The Fantasy Five (5 Things I’d like to hear announced as licensed at Comic-Con, but they won’t be)

July 20th, 2010

Robot Six started it, with Six by 6. Then David Welsh continued it with his wish list of Comic-Con licensing announcements. I knew I had to steal this meme immediately. I couldn’t pass up the chance. But….

I’m very realistic. This is not a Wish List – this is a full-on fantasy, fueled by ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, and with decidedly low chances of ever happening (with some exceptions.) Nonetheless. Here’s my Fantasy Five wishlist, in ascending order of probability, and suggestions as to which company might want to look into it and why they won’t. ^_^

Octave – There’s pretty much no chance of this ever being licensed because none of the US companies knows it exists.

Recommended Company: In past years, I might have suggested Tokyopop, but this series has low likelihood for becoming an explosion-filled movie, so they are probably not looking at it nowadays. It’s not wacky fun romance, so Viz Shoujo is out. I’m going to throw a dart randomly and say DMP would actually be a good fit for this series AND they have a potential target audience all wrapped up already – adult women. They could totally make a go of it.

Strengths: Beautiful art, very adult and real storyline.

Problems with it ever being licensed: It stars two bisexual women in a pretty realistic relationship. That’s just not Barnes & Noble shelf material. I give this a less than 5% chance of ever being licensed

Poor Poor Lips – I have already suggested to this to Yen Press, but don’t get your hopes up. It’s got an actual lesbian in it. That’s always awkward, when trying to sell Yuri. Incestuous catgirls – no problem. Real lesbian – no way.

Recommended Company: Yen Press. It’s a 4-koma gag comic. It just happens to have a real story in it, as well.

Strengths: GREAT story. Good solid characters. Only slightly painfully goofy. One gag that actually morphs over time.

Problems with it ever being licensed: That darn lesbian. If only she were a loli, fox-eared, kimono-wearing witch! Then we’d have it already, I have no doubt. But Ren persistently remains an adult, out lesbian. How vexing of her. Chance of being licensed, Less than 20%.

Aoi Hana – They have it in France, but France actually appreciates elegant manga. The reason we don’t have this boils down to one thing – we have no companies that DO this. It’s not action, it’s not romantic comedy, it’s not gag strips, it’s not BL.

Recommended Company: If anyone were going to even look into it, I’d hope it was Vertical, but the chances of this, like Octave, ever selling enough to make it worth investing in is very iffy. Like Octave, I think DMP could make a go of it, if they ever decided to branch out for real into GL.

Strengths: Everything

Problems with it being licensed: Size of market and that’s that. If there were 20,000 people who would buy it, I’d mortgage my house and get it myself. But there isn’t. Chance of it being licensed ever: 25%

Gunjo – Where to begin with this? There is a lot here that would be problematic, but a lot that would not. The characters are adults, which makes this safer territory than Aoi Hana, oddly. Psycho lesbian murderers? Yeah, the US does that okay.

Recommended Company: Viz Signature. They already have IKKI magazine. I’d like to see them add Gunjo to their online lineup. I could sell it for them, no problems.

Strengths: Violence, action, lesbian sex (and deep, awesome emotion, but no one cares about that)

Problems with it being licensed: Some stuff happened with it that made it an awkward sell. But if we all write Viz and ask nicely, maybe they’ll do it. Or barring that – send me all your money so I can afford to print it. :-) Chance of being licensed: 30%

Ribon no Kishi – I have no idea what the hold up with this is. Vertical has been putting out Tezuka, this is a Tezuka title and everyone I know has asked them about it. All they keep saying is that it’s not on the release schedule yet. I wonder why? Do they think Ayako will sell better than a title that is this well-known? No clue. I won’t speculate.

Recommended Company: Vertical, obviously

Strengths: This is a well-known title, has Girl Prince glamour and I know a lot of people are waiting for it to be added to the Vertical catalog.

Problems with it being licensed: None that I can see, so no clue what the hold-up is, just priorities, I guess. Chance of it being licensed – 50%

There it is. My fantasy five. I would be delighted if any of these make it to our shores, in any format. (Heck, I’d actually cough up for a digital system/platform/reader if that’s what it took to get these over here.) I don’t actually expect any of these soon, or at all, but I’d love to be wrong!

2012 Update: Princess Knight (Vertical) and Poor Poor Lips (JManga) have been licensed. Two down, three to go.

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12 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Josei? But I thought that Octave ran in Afternoon, a seinen magazine?

  2. @Afternoon, like Ikki, Comic Beam, Morning, Morning 2, Evening, Rakuen Le Paradis is more or less for “people who read it.” They aren’t strictly for adult men, just adult readers. But yes, based on the basic five categories, it is seinen. You are correct. I’ll fix that.

  3. oneplusme says:

    Whilst I agree on at least three of five here (and am endeavouring hold out actual hope of seeing Gunjo via Viz), I’d have to add Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou as an even more improbable long-shot. I figure it’ll turn up right after my mail-order unicorn.

    Much as I love Octave, I’m not sure I entirely agree about the art – the characters’ noses seem to wander off in strange directions on a regular basis…

    (It’s entirely non-Yuri, but I’d give over my final wish-slot to Memories of Emanon, simply because it’s so utterly beautiful and, again, probably impossible to sell.)

  4. Fantagraphics is dipping their toes in the manga waters with another Takako Shimura work, Wandering Son. (Along with a collection of Moto Hagio stories.)

    It’s not going to race to the top of any bestseller lists, but if it gets a good enough reception, they might be willing to pick up Aoi Hana as well.

  5. Sailor Kitty says:

    Well, another company is realeasing a hardcover edition of “Hourou Musako”, by the same mangaka as Aoi Hana, so yeah. It’s soon in the 50% mark too, I think.

    I hope Ribon No Kishi would get licensed, too, though it seems Vertical is more focused on more mature series and the reason they did Dororo was because it was more mature than the standarad shonen series, I think. Still, I’m wishing with you about RNK, it’s an important treasure to any princely girl. In the worst of cases, at least you can try and find the bilingual copy.

    Oh, and Gunjo? Yessir. I think it would be good for a company like dark horse to release it, sine it seems more fit for a non-manga company.

  6. @Angelica Brenner, Sailor Kitty – Yes, Fantagraphics has got “Horou Musuko.” And Moto Hagio. And I wish them well with it. I also expect them to slam head on into the “audience size does not equate to market size” that hobbles the rest of the manga industry.

  7. Pocky says:

    I kinda hope some companies would even consider licensing these books in digital formats, at the very least

    I mean, it’s untested waters for most, but it would at least give people the opportunity to read these manga, legally and at the same time, show the company that it would be worth the investment for printing

    or they could just make printing on-demand, so that they know how many manga to actually print up, maybe even sell them via online shops that they mail to you…

    but now I’m just rambling o3o

  8. I don’t quite understand the audience/production supply demand aspect since I talked to the Head of Wildfire about where exact the CMX books now were. He didn’t know, didn’t really care, it wasn’t his problem anymore (except the graphs showed that manga brought in higher profit ratio to cost than many other aspects of DC). He was genuinely surprised to find out that Emma volumes were now selling at over $100 each (likely 7 is over $200 by now), and Name of the Flower at over $150. It is like Maka Maka which went out of print……until after selling consistantly for $100-200 for a while, they were reproduced in a less expensive format. How many $100 used copies does it take to make a 2,000 print run? For sheer explosive cost, Seven Seas’ titles now including Venus v. Virus and others which go for years out of print at high prices showing that there are certainly Yuri readers out there who are willing to drop the dollar (or $50, or $100 for a manga).

  9. @Elizabeth McClung – Secondary market sales put $0 in the pocket of the company, so a rare book up on eBay for $100 nets the company nothing.

    The cost of a 2000-book run is the cost of a 2000-book run, regardless of the price of a copy from the first printing on eBay.

    A company only sells books once. They only make income from that sale once. And that book that a year later coast $100 only netted them about $4. That second printing…they’d still get $4/book. A third printing? Same.

    No company make more money because a book goes out of print and the cost of getting it back in print is the cost of printing a book. If you don’t have it, you don’t have it.

  10. I agree that secondary market sales does not net the company any profit. However, words like ‘demand’ or ‘interest’ (as in ‘not enough interest’) are used to determine what to print and what not to, and with manga selling in the $13-$24 range for trade mini, when the audience is willing to pay, or a measurable percentage is willing to pay above market price, that is a measure of demand and interest, particularly in long term publication views, which companies like Vertical invest in (hopefully Fanagraphic as well). Vertical Editor says they will keep the books in print, because they are looking for long term sales, continued sales while Del Rey for example, dumped titles because they were not anticipating profit return that quarter. Seven Seas could up the price of Yuri titles by 25% and still sell out, but they are still slow to reprint. When the light novels of Strawberry panic are both out of print and volume 2 sells used (no profit to publisher) for $300 to start, I don’t understand why a reprint of the titles is not done, charge more, fine! Ballad of Shinigami light novel vol 1 has gone out of print in regular sales in not 1 but 2 different publishers. Would this not be an indication of ‘interest’? And the price point between the high demand Venus Virus single volumes and the ‘omnibus’ is $4, for a trade paperback they ask an extra $1. While great for fans, it is behind market ($11.95 for trade paperback?). The second run should be less as art design, pagination, and other costs have already been covered (paper costs going up could kill that though).

    If Yen press announces a series on a 12 year old being married in Historical Asia, I think they can put it on the shelves and they might do the same for Octave (if you can convince the Owner the profit is there). And as you point out, DMP, they did Utahime, a doujinshi as a release, and they publish and import a lot of Japanese Yuri.

    Aoi Hana: Why not Last Gasp which printed and reprinted Town of Evening Calm, Town of Cherry Blossoms? Or Viz who put out Solanin, or Toptron Ltd T/A Fanfare (are they in biz?) whose bestseller is Blue, Drawn and Quarterly with Red Snow and other works doesn’t seem worried about theme limitations, and want art, gekiga and exploration. I hope there are companies that do Aoi Hana, since it seems a perfect ‘elegant’ series.

  11. voxie says:

    How about we set up an online petition somewhere for Gunjo’s English licensing to get grabbed?

    Those still work right?

  12. @voxie – Good luck with that.

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