Yuri Network News – April 16th, 2011

April 16th, 2011

Other News

Top News this week is the shuttering of the US publishing division of Tokyopop. This seems rather inevitable after the recent layoffs there. A few years ago, this may have been cause for alarm, but Viz’s Shoujo line and Yen Press remain pretty strong. Dark Horse has been putting out some classic manga and Kodansha USA will soon know whether the US market is robust enough to support manga sales. So, while this is a sad day for those of us reading The Secret Diary of Lady Kanako, it’s not yet the end of the world here. Tokyopop is keeping the German office open, so Europeans will still have access to those licenses.

Discussion of Tokyopop on Twitter led to a side discussion with someone whose comment was “what about digital manga?” I pointed out that Viz, Yen, Square Enix, DMP and other publishers had come up with digital options, and had been announcing them. Since this person didn’t follow any of the many news sites out there, they were unaware of the state of digital manga. I said this to them and I will repeat it to all of you – there is no way that companies can beam their news directly to your frontal lobe. You do have to make at least a little attempt to read news sites to find out what is going on. (Realistically, if companies *could* beam news directly to your brain, it would be very annoying, I have no doubt. ^_^) I reminded this person that, just because they didn’t pay attention, doesn’t mean a company is doing nothing. ^_^

Of course, what is not yet in existence is a portable, scalable, non-proprietary solution so a reader can read any manga they want from any publisher in the format that works best for them and on the device they choose. But I still believe that that will happen. Which brings me to….

Negima and Love Hina creator Akamatsu Ken is taking a fantastic, out-of-box approach to the idea of legitimizing downloaded scanlations. I love this idea and hope that this can be eventually expanded to include the global market.

Now, for something completely different!

‘Strawberry Marshmallow manga characters give Shizuoka taxis a soft touch.’ A Shizuoka taxi company is offering “special tours” (I read that as meaning “outrageously expensive tours for obsessive moe fans”) with a commemorative card by Barasui. Amusingly, the title for the Japanese article is significantly different and mentions “moe-taku,” so I think my reading of “special” was right. ^_^

***

Yuri Manga 

New YNN Correspondent Jeffrey T. did some investigative journalism and contacted DMP to find out the status of the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS manga and was told that the manga had been canceled. No real surprise, I’m sorry to say. Western Nanoha fandom had already proven that it was only “fans” of the series when they could get it for free. This series is a perfect example of the ongoing problem with western fandom; lots of “fans” – not so many people who actually buy the books and DVDs. Which once again leads to me to thank all of you Okazu readers, because I know you do pay for what you watch and read. The industry appreciates it…and so do I. ^_^

Not necessarily Yuri, but of interest, Aoi Hana‘s Shimura Takako is launching a new manga about girls in an opera school. Hints have been dropped that some of the Aoi Hana characters will make cameos. My wife suggests that this would be a perfect venue for yet *another* manga version of Der Rosenkavalier, which, if you care, has already been covered in Pride, Volume 11, by Ichijou Yukari.

***

Yuri Anime

Sentai Filmworks has licensed and Anime Network is streaming Maria+Holic Alive.

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Yuricon Site Update

I keep saying this, so feel free to roll your eyes…

Now that we have the new Yuricon website /rolleyeshere/, we can get back to doing some interesting stuff. First up – Contests!

I’ve opened two polls, where you can tell me which kind of contest you are more likely to enter:

On the Yuricon Mailing List and on the Yuricon & ALC Facebook group.

Now, here’s the thing, the new Yuricon is going to be more interactive, less passive. My goal is getting as many of you to *participate,* rather than waiting for others to entertain you.

So, don’t pick what you want to see as a Yuricon contest – pick what you want to participate in!

***

That’s a wrap for this week.

Become a Yuri Network Correspondent by sending me any Yuri-related news you find. Emails go to anilesbocon01 at hotmail dot com. Not to the comments here, please, or they might be forgotten or missed. There’s a reason for this madness. This way I know you are a real human, not Anonymous (which I do not encourage – stand by your words with your name!) and I can send you a YNN correspondent’s badge.

Thanks to all of you – you make this a great Yuri Network!

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22 Responses

  1. GregC says:

    “moe-taku”

    Wow. I didn’t know it was possible to hate and love a word so much at the same time.

  2. Rynnec says:

    Eh, other than the occasional .Hack and Kingdom hearts, I hardly have anything from Tokyopop. It must suck for those who’re fans of some of the series they were publishing, but I’ve heard that the company’s translation and paper quality left much to be desired though.

  3. @Rynnec – The paper quality thing wasn’t ever a real issue – it was an excuse by “fans” who prefer to complain than support manga with actual money. The translation was always dependent upon the team that handled that particular manga. Most were good, some very few weren’t. Again, what the real problem was that “fans” got used to things the way scanlators did them, then bitched when the official version were different. That doesn’t mean they were bad, theyjust weren’t what “fans” expected.

  4. Rynnec says:

    @Erica Actually, the complaints I heard were from moderators of a site that’s against mentioning scanalations, and (I would presume) actually buy the stuff they like (if they can). Other complaints I heard were picking series only to drop them a few volumes in or delaying them. Granted, it could be the “fans” you mentioned, but when you start dropping series a few volumes before said series end…

  5. @Rynnec – If volumes don’t seel enough to support more volumes, that’s what happens. It’s not companies being mean or incompetent. Books have to sell or they can’t make more books.

  6. Cryssoberyl says:

    I’ll never understand Nanoha’s lack of financial success in the US. Far, far worse shows have had enough success to see multiple seasons released. (UFO Princess Valkyrie, I’m looking at you.) How did Nanoha, a respected and popular franchise, fail so hard they couldn’t release StrikerS? My collection’s just not complete without it…

    Maybe Nozomi will do a rescue eventually. It’s come to the point that I almost expect Nozomi to miraculously license and release series nobody else could and somehow make money while doing it. I don’t know what kind of magic dust Rightstuf is using to make that keep happening, but thank goodness for it…if only the rest of the industry could get some.

  7. Rynnec says:

    @Erica True, but some of the series they dropped were actually selling well though(Or so I heard.) There were also complaints of business decisions, among many other problems. While I’d normally be weary of such complaints, the fact that I trust the site where I read this stuff, and combined with the fact that this is a company that wasted money on “America’s greatest Otaku” certainly raises a few questions.

    @Cryssoberyl I’m actually quite suprised that the series isn’t available on Crunchyroll or Funimations video sevice. It seems like it would do a lot better as an official stream than a DVD release.

  8. Jeffrey says:

    I concur with your hopes, Cryssoberyl. I do hope someone releases StrikerS sometime (I considered the Japanese editions, but at $70 per 3-episode disc, I think I can live without it). It occurred to me regarding the comic that since it’s apparently a compliation of side-stories that occur during StrikerS, it’s a bit problematic to release. Aren’t the people who don’t steal things and only buy legitimate English releases exactly the ones who haven’t been able to watch StrikerS in the first place? Unless they know Japanese, in which case they can just buy the Japanese volumes…

  9. Ashrie says:

    It’s sad to see Tokyopop go. I acknowledge that I haven’t bought a lot of their new releases (except for Neko Ramen), but I’ll always be grateful to them for releasing Sailor Moon, Card Captor Sakura, and Fruits Basket, to the English speaking market.

    Unfortunately, the incredible sales of VizMedia’s Naruto, One Piece, and the like; and the decline in sales thanks to scanlations, probably had a lot to do with this. Apart from that, Tokyopop’s recent titles just were not strong enough to counteract all of this.

    Now there will be no more (legal) English translations of Strawberry Marshmallow… :(

  10. @Rynnec – You heard wrong. Fans are quick to blame companies for everything. The reality is more complex.

    Companies do not cancel series that sell well enough to pay for themselves. Very few series sell that well in the western market.

  11. @Ashrie – Well, there’s not much missing. Only one more volume of Ichigo Mashimaro was collected so far. It’s not like the series has an end to get to, either, so you won’t be missing “the end.”

  12. @Cryssoberyl – I feel the same way, although I don’t know if Valkyrie really sold well, or putting all four seasons of that out was a contractual obligation or what.

  13. @Jeffrey – The StrikerS comic is a very condensed version of the anime series. I didn’t review it here, because there is no Yuri. Because it’s so condensed, the personal relationships are all but removed from it.

  14. Candy says:

    A few months ago I tried to pick up and purchase the funemation distribution of Nanoha A’s set only to find it fruitless :/. Nobody has it in stock anymore anywhere. I waited 2 months when I thought I found a seller of the dvds only to have them cancel and refund my money. It’s frustrating when one is TRYING to buy stuff legally and all the doors of your fandom are closed.

  15. @Candy – I sympathize with your problem. The problem is that unless you buy a series right away, comapnies have no incentive to make another printing for people who come afterward. It’s the problem with the current comics publishing model,as well, where the number of pre-orders determines the size of the printing.

  16. DezoPenguin says:

    So in essence, unless you know you want to buy an anime series before it’s released, you’ll never get the chance to buy it. In an industry that’s so niche that advertising dollars are largely unavailable to be spent, so that the only way you’ll be able to decide if it’s something you want is either by word of mouth or by watching a legal stream or a fansub.

    Something is very broken here.

  17. @DezoPenguin – Yes, but it’s no one’s *fault.* There needs to be a model where the fans don’t want desperately to steal things before they can get out legitimately, and run back to scans at the least little provocation and a way for localizing companies to maximize the reach and scope of IP without having to bankrupt themselves doing it. This simply doesn’t exist yet.

    The reason I keep explaining the complexities of the market over and over and over is to get fans to take their heads out of their asses and help industry figure out a better system, instead of just whining all the damn time.

  18. ana says:

    I own the StrikerS manga Erica and you missed a bit of the point of it, which is that it also provides backstory to the show and makes a lot of the gaping plot holes in Nanoha Strikers seem a lot smaller. I can understand why you didn’t review it here because unless it is read in conjunction with watching the show it really wouldn’t be a unique experience on its own.

    I really hate how you put “fans” in quotation marks like that. Just so you know. I’m certainly not a regular reader of your blog (and was just linked here) but your doing that is part of why I dislike reading what you have to say. A fan is a fan whether they buy american releases of DVDs or simply watches the subtitles available online. It is a very privileged perspective to qualify being a fan of something with the ability to spend commercial dollars on it. Not everyone has the money for that.

  19. @ana – Leeches are not part of a body, no matter how much they might think they are when they are drinking blood.

  20. Jeffrey says:

    I had the same problem as Candy. The only things I’ve found are the occasional eBay auction (the last one went for $95 or so). The first series is available all over for pretty cheap in its compact re-release form, but apparently Funimation’s licensing of it through Geneon expired or something before they got to A’s. In order to watch the series, I eventually found out Netflix had it, so I renewed my membership with them and got it that way. I’d still like to buy it, though.

  21. Egio says:

    “@ana – Leeches are not part of a body, no matter how much they might think they are when they are drinking blood.”

    Erica, you took the words right out of my mouth. It’s sometimes vexing how certain groups of “fans” get wrapped up in their self-entitlement and do not grasp what the supporting the industry really means.
    While there are a lot of fans that complain, there are those who provide morale support but unfortunately morale support alone will not help a studio/production house pay the bills and their employees to keep producing.

    And to Ana….true, I remember during my college days back in the early 90s, I could hardly afford anything but that didn’t stop me from purchasing legitimate Anime products.
    So much of this generation seem to take the “fast and free” route that they somehow can’t fathom that you can actually SAVE your money for something you really desire.

    Back in the early nineties Anime and manga was not available to view online. Only options were 8th generation VHS tapes and even earlier back BetaMax LOL. But a lot of us shelled out for Licensed products when available….and most of the time it was one episode per tape. Even worse when purchasing licensed import tapes. I remember spending $40 for one episode of my favorite series. It was depressing but I knew I had to do my part as a fan to help out the industry in any way possible.

  22. Rynnec says:

    Regarding Nanoha’s problems in the U.S:

    StrikerS manga: this one’s obvious, especially since it’s a condensed version of the anime. Why settle for something like that when you’d rather have the real thing? I may like Nanoha, but I wouldn’t exactly buy everything with the franchise’s name attached to it, especially if it’s lacking in quality. (Not too mention that it’s based on Strikers, which is easily the hardest segment of Nanoha to sell to a U.S audience.)

    The Anime itself: Lack of a TV deal, official streams, and (presumably) bad marketing, were probably huge factors.

    Not getting a TV deal wasn’t too suprising, since the only place where it could have aired; Toonami (Cartoon Networks saturday night block) was on it’s way out by the time it reached the U.S.

    The lack of any steaming deals as of 2011 is pretty odd though, considering Funimation usually streams most other shows they have. There’s always a chance that they’ll stream it somewhere eventually though.

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