Yuri Network News – January 21, 2012

January 21st, 2012

Yuri Anime

From multiple sources in the Phillipines comes the news that Sailor Moon is returning to TV there. Johann C from the Yuricon Mailing List says that it’s getting “a New Tagalog dub with Jenny Bituin (Misaki Suzuhara in Angelic Layer, Sakura Kinomoto in Card Captor Sakura) as Usagi.”

The first episode of Gokujyouu anime will be streamed for free online on January 30th and if that doesn’t turn you off then we have nothing left to discuss, you and I.

***

Yuri Manga

So, yesterday we announced the partnership of JManga and ALC Publishing to bring Goto Hayako’s POOR POOR LIPS to digital format. Let me address some of the obvious issues that came up, to the best of my ability.

Distribution – I am pushing to try and get JManga to establish access for Yuri publications outside North America, but this is primarily an issue between JManga and the Japanese rights holder. You all know how I feel about this nonsense. If it were up to me, everyone, everywhere would have access to this book. Unfortunately, I am only in a position to suggest.

Digital Format – Yes, this is a digital format only. And only on JManga. JManga is the rights holder, not ALC. We have no say about the format.

Yesterday, this question became an issue, as some people claimed that they preferred to buy books. That may be true, but 1) As I’ve said many times, the book-buying Yuri audience is not yet sustainable and 2) Digital makes a lot more sense going forward than books. We are at one of those moments in time, between two formats and everyone over the age of 18 is digging in their heels saying “But I prefer books.” What we really mean is, “I am used to books.” Digital is not going away and, in days to come you should probably expect more digital, not less. 3) People who rely mostly on scans really, I know most of you do (not all, Okazu readers are very likely to buy when they can and I know that!) really have no voice in the distribution/format wars. I understand fully why you rely on scanlations. You don’t have to justify that. But, when a legit version is available, and a person is still downloading illicit scanlations, and says, “I prefer to buy books,” it’s disingenuous, at best. What that person is really saying is, “I prefer free.”

4chan has already stated that they want rips of the JManga edition. This is what publishers hear when “fans” say “We want a thing.” They could have it, all three current volumes of Poor Poor Lips, but oh wait, not for free. So they’ll just rip it and move on. THIS is why I am not trying to license the print version. There’s no other reason, just this. Until this changes, I have no incentive to invest my money in the market. I don’t have an angel company pouring money over my head, so I have to be very cautious.

So, while I’m very proud to be bringing the Yuri audience Poor Poor Lips, and will do what I can to make it available to as many of you as possible, I’m still frustrated by the instant “I won’t buy it because…” reactions. If you have any reason at all that you won’t support it, you’ve given up your voice in the conversation. As for all of the non-North American fans out there – I want you to know that I really understand your frustration and will keep pushing for your right to read this!

And, in keeping with the concept of anyone, anywhere reading a comic, Tsubomi magazine has put several of their comics online and they do not appear to be region-locked! Of course, they are in Japanese.

Here’s the moral of the story – the market is still changing and changing quickly. Publishers are scrambling to make things available and also scrambling to pay their bills. (Like…if you do work, you should be paid for it. Well, so should the people who work for the publishers.) Japanese publishers are still a bit behind the times, but they are also doing their best. Not too long ago, someone on Twitter asked about using Kickstarter to fund an obscure series and I had to tell them the facts about publishing. The bits you see – translation, lettering and distribution are only a teeny portion of what goes into the licensing and publication of a book. Because most of the steps are invisible to readers, they may think that that’s all there is. But, just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. ^_^ So, please, be patient with the industry. We’re trying.

David makes a good point in the comments – the business model for JManga is off-putting for some folks. I don’t disagree. Honestly, I’d prefer to have ad hoc sales as an option, too. I’ve mentioned that to them as well. So yes, the whole thing is imperfect. You know what? Life is imperfect. ^_^ All we get is to choose how we react to life’s imperfections.

***

That wraps it up 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.

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24 Responses

  1. David says:

    I’m honestly pretty excited for Poor Poor Lips in english, remembering how disappointed I was reading your review of it and figuring I’d never have the chance. Thanks :)

    I’m not so keen on JManga just because their business model is kind of flawed. They require you to have a recurring monthly subscription to purchase manga, but as far as I’ve seen there isn’t enough there that interest me to spend just the points I would get every month.
    I have an account, but not a subscription, because I signed up to buy Girl Friends and then turned it off because I already had 1000 points and nothing I wanted to spend them on. I kind of thing it would be more attractive without the monthly subscription, because in order to spend points already on my account I would have to pay for another month, and it would always end in me wasting money.

  2. @David – I agree 100%. I don’t buy too many things on subscription. I prefer to buy in bulk, then work my way through the pile, then buy again when I’m done. I’ve expressed that to JManga, too.

    But if you do have a subscription, hopefully you’ll use it to try different genres that you might not otherwise give a chance to.

  3. I should also say – it’s not a “flawed” business model – it’s an “inconvenient to me” business model. They are two entirely different things, that should not be confused for one another. Fans do have a tendency to consider anything that inconveniences them, or does not fit their requirements 100% to be “flawed,” but that is just not true. ^_^

  4. David says:

    You’re right, I suppose I shouldn’t have said ‘flawed’. It’s not even really a problem with the business model at all; I would happily have a monthly subscription if there was enough content to justify it.

  5. @David – I really do understand that. I’ve asked for an ad hoc model several times. Unless they get a whole magazine – then I’m on board with subscription. But not for manga volumes – it doesn’t make sense unless they have a substantially long series.

  6. Anonymous says:

    JManga’s subscription plan is kind of confusing to me. I really like crunchyroll’s model and it’s been successful, so I wonder why they didn’t use something similar to that for Jmanga? I’m guessing it has to do with the nature of manga vs. anime licenses. At any rate, glad to see Poor Poor Lips got licensed in some form. :) jmanga/crunchyroll seems Yuri-friendly, so I hope we’ll get to see even more from them in the future.

  7. Lady_Rufus says:

    “As for all of the non-North American fans out there – I want you to know that I really understand your frustration and will keep pushing for your right to read this!”

    Thank you, kind soul! ^3^
    What i really think would be awesome would be if more manga would be made available for ebook readers. I’ve just bought a new kindle and i’m quite partial to the idea of some manga for my new toy ^-^

  8. BruceMcF says:

    @Anonymous, yes, I think its the fact that Crunchyroll licenses the streaming rights that they can get rights to, while on JManga, it all seems to be messier. Messier rights make a la carte pricing harder.

    And I worry that the JManga business model is, in fact, flawed, but I’m not sure whether it is. In any event, you can buy one-off points, if with a bit of extra work, by subscribing for a month, and then canceling the renewal. In that month, you can then buy additional points. I could see someone “dipping in” every three, or four, or six months along those lines.

    But I would very much suggest to them a “token” membership ~ say, $3/3months ~ that comes with very few points if any, but allows the purchase of additional points.

  9. JIN says:

    Do you know or have an idea of what the cost difference might be for the companies and people as far as online digital versus licensed book form manga for the different languages for those who cannot read Japanese? I just wondered if it saved them production but gain profit maybe more and more will come. And what chances of Korean? The chinese already seem to have all anime and many manga a month after it come out but it is not like mine, very cheap, maybe hong kong things? I see not always everything in Korean choices though.

  10. @JIN – I can’t answer a question like that, even if I do know, because every situation is different – there are too many variables. I have no information on Korean comics at all. It’s completely out of my area of experience.

  11. JIN says:

    Sorry, I did not say plainly, it is not of Korean comics, I meant if digital grows larger would we see more than english, like professional translation in Korean language. I have friends who do not read english or Japanese as well as I might even if we live in the usa. I only wondered if such a thing would ever be possible online. I guess it is not a good question, again sorry. In any event, I will sign up on http://www.jmanga.com/ it looks fine. If the amount of Yuri there grows and grows it will be very nice.

  12. Dorota says:

    Hey, thank you for pushing for us non-Americans with the distributors!

    Personally I think it’s just a matter of time before the region boundaries give in and I am waiting it out patiently. Digital Manga is the way for me! I don’t want to have tons of manga volumes lying around the house and at the same time I would like to support the manga market … and it’s sort of more ecological too, which is nice.

  13. @JIN -Sorry, let me see if I understand. You’re asking about the possibility of translation into other languages? Yes, I think that will happen….

    @Dorota – I especially wish magazines would go online. I would love no to have piles of Hirari and Tsubomi around. I agree, we’ll get there, eventually.

  14. Anonymous says:

    As another non-American reader, I just wanted to thank you for keeping us in mind. I’ll be waiting for the chance to read it at Jmanga. :)

  15. Ayra says:

    I do prefer books and I did read translated scans for Poor Poor Lips but I got to say that I’m extasic at it having an official english release! This serie is definitively near the top of the series I wanted an english release for. A big thank you for all the effort involved in bringing this over!

    Regarding JManga’s model, I agree with pretty much everyone else here: It’s annoying at best and flawed at worst. I’m amonsgt those who are sitting on unused points due to lack of titles catching my interest… I am keeping my subscription active to “encourage” them and I assume that I’ll have something to use the points on eventually (Poor Poor Lips, future volumes of Girlfriend, from the little I’ve seen the Queen’s Blade manga has about 1/10th of the anime and looks to be decent reading surprisingly enough and I heard Claymore’s good but there’s no volumes yet) but it is a major annoyance to have to pay a subscription to what amounts to a preorder.

  16. Felix says:

    To Arya and everyone else who is trying to build up a reserve of points in the hope that JManga will get series they like. You do realize that the “monthly” points expire after 12 months? (Bonus points expire in three months!)

    http://www.jmanga.com/guide#point_limit

    Honestly that is my number one problem with JManga, the points you buy (either monthly or via extra blocks) will disappear in the near future if you don’t use them.

  17. Ayra says:

    Felix: I totally didn’t know that! Thanks for informing me about that… I’m not sure if it’s the same in the US, but since a few years ago, it’s illegal to have expiration dates on any paid guarantees (For example, it’s illegal to put an expiration date on a gift certificate you bought, but it’s legal to put one on a company gift/promotion). I never thought that they would take away unused points after a time period… That’s borderline theft! I haven’t lost any points yet and odds are I won’t either, but I’m definitively not happy with that clause.

    I noticed I didn’t actually write “fanservice” in my previous post: I meant that the Queen’s Blade manga has 1/10th of the fanservice of the anime. I read a few badly translated chapters, and it’s amazing that there’s no nudity, storyline is quite different and so on: I’ll be buying the first volume when it gets released (Or if, since it’s been on jmanga since forever with no dates or anything). Since it follow Elina, odds are there’s going to be some Yuri… Maybe.

  18. Felix says:

    @Ayra – You are very welcome. Also sorry I spelled your name wrong.

    In the US the current national law is a gift card’s value can not expire until at least five years after money was last added to it. For many national retailers, like Amazon, their gift cards will never expire since a number of states have gone one step further and said its illegal for for gift cards to expire period.

    http://www.consumersunion.org/pub/core_financial_services/003889.html

  19. ZeroSD says:

    On the “I want books” crowd- would print on demand be possible?

    It’s expensive to buy, but some people are willing to pay the premium, and it means you don’t need to put money up front.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I dunno, maybe you’d like this link?

    http://www.badassoftheweek.com/lamaupin.html

  21. @Anonymous -For a much less obscenity-filled, less sophomoric rendition of her story, try this one: http://www.eldacur.com/~brons/Maupin/LaMaupin.html

  22. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, Badass of the Week uses OBSCENITIES!!! AND SOPHOMORISM!!! with pretty much every badass it covers!!! and EXAGERRATION!!! too!!!1!

    (and links to the not-so-bombastic sources at the end)

  23. Anonymous says:

    @ZedoSD- I’d be willing to pay double the price of the average manga for a Print-on-Demand service.

    I really, really hate reading on the computer. I spend many hours at a time reading manga, and I don’t like to do it with a screen- it gives me a bad headache and makes my eyes feel terrible. I’d really hate to see e-books take over and completely phase out physical copies, though that probably won’t happen terribly soon.

  24. ZeroSD says:

    @Anonymous

    Exactly! I love being able to just pick up a book, and breeze through it in between doing other stuff whereever that may be. I can read digitally, but for many things, I prefer physical.

    Print-on-Demand is a nice compromise.

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