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Animanga in the News: 10/23 - 10/29

+ posted by Asahina in Anime/Manga News on Oct 30, 2011 00:00
This week we've got two live action movies being produced, manga artists warning about forgeries that they've witnessed, a Japanese University launches a manga community website, voice actor of Orochimaru (from Naruto) gets married, a Japanese-American singer performs the 'Berserk' movie ending song, and an interview concerning Viz Media's plans! Read On!~

Are Manga Publishers Missing Out?

ComiXology Hits Six Wednesdays As Top Grossing App.

With the news, as seen in the press release, that the comiXology main app has charted once again as the top grossing app for the entire Apple App Store for six Wednesday’s in a row, the day that new comic books are released, a question had to be asked – Are the manga publishers missing out? With a lot of buzz around comiXology and the way the major US comic book publishers are working with them, manga is virtually absent here outside of the brief flirtation that TOKYOPOP did with them regarding Hetalia.

Other than that, there’s very little to look at in the app when it comes to manga. At present, the manga publishers like Viz Media, Yen Press, Dark Horse and Digital Manga are doing their own thing with their own apps, which we heartily endorse. At the same time, what people also want to see is for publishers to make sure that the content that they are releasing gets into as many retail channels as possible. It’s great to have your own branded app that you control completely, but the more you segment yourself off, especially as you get top tier apps like comiXology out there, from the manga side they’re losing a chance to get their books looked at by a larger audience.

The numbers themselves aren’t out as the publishers are keeping sales figures to themselves, but there’s something to be said when the biggest app out there bringing in revenue is a comic book app. And comic books are currently at their lowest circulation numbers ever possible. But they’re seeing new audience, new eyes and a new casual push. Will the manga publishers try to get in on that, getting their product out to as many people as possible, or will they continue to cater to just those that already know about them?

original source

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Naruto's "Orochimaru" Voice Actress Kujira Marries

Japanese voice actress of Orochimaru and Otose starts newlywed life.


On October 25, the 50-year-old voice actress Kujira announced on her Twitter account that she recently got married. She wrote, "Today, we were put into the family register. It gives me the feeling that our newlywed life is really starting." Kujira did not identify her husband.

Kujira is known for playing Orochimaru in Naruto and Otose in Gintama. Her numerous other roles include Madame DuBarry in La Rose de Versailles, Ella in Sonic X, and many minor characters in Lucky Star.

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Japanese-American Singer Ai Performs Berserk Ending Song

Berserk Ōgon Jidai-Hen I: Haō no Tamago's "Utsukushikumono" is singer's 1st for fantasy work.


Ai, a Japanese singer born in Los Angeles, is performing the ending theme song for the Berserk Ōgon Jidai-Hen I: Haō no Tamago anime film which opens in Japan next February. The new song "Utsukushikumono" is her first song written for a fantasy work, although she performed the ending theme song for the 2005 film Crayon Shin-chan: Densetsu o Yobu Buriburi Sanpun Pokkiri Daishingeki. Ai is also the first female musical artist involved in the Berserk franchise.

The first film in the three-part retelling of the Golden Age arc of Kentaro Miura's manga will open in Japan on February 4. Ai will appear at the Michael Jackson Tribute Live concerts in Japan on December 13 and 14.

original source, 1

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Hen Semi's TAGRO to Launch Ikigami-sama Comedy Series

Manga of girl who meets a god in the form of a seemingly homeless old guy.


TAGRO, the manga creator best known for Hentai Seiri Seminar and Abnormal Physiology Seminar (Hen Semi), will launch a new manga series called Ikigami-sama on November 11. The new series will appear in Ohta Publishing's online magazine Pocopoco.

The comedy story centers around a girl who discovers that there is a god living in her town. "Ikigami-sama," a god from far away and long ago, has come to her peaceful rural town on the sea coast. Ikigami-sama just happens to look like a scruffy, homeless, unemployed man. The manga follows the slightly odd everyday life of the mortal girl and the not-so-mortal guy.

TAGRO created a one-shot manga story by the same Ikigami-sama title in Kodansha's story story collection, Don't trust over 30. While the manga series version of Ikigami-sama will have the same premise and setting as the one-shot manga version, its story will start over from the beginning.

TAGRO's Abnormal Physiology Seminar manga inspired two anime DVDs and a television anime series.

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Manga Creator Moto Hagio Warns of Forged Drawings

Auction claimed to have Heart of Thomas sketches drawn, signed by creator.


Editor Matt Thorn reported on Monday that an online auction claimed to have sketches drawn by manga creator Moto Hagio, but Hagio confirmed that she did not actually draw those sketches.

The auction, which ended on Sunday at 85,600 yen (about US$1,120), claimed to have sketches and a pin-up poster from Hagio's 1974 shōnen-ai manga Heart of Thomas (Thomas no Shinzō). Specifically, it listed the signed and inked sketch for the seventh page from the manga's 14th installment, as well as the draft sketches for panels and pages in the second, third, and fourth installments.

According to Thorn, Hagio wants to file a report with the police. Thorn also asked people who know the auction's final bidder to get in touch.

Fantagraphics announced last month that it will release the manga in North America next August. Thorn is editing and translating the manga, just as he did for last year's Fantagraphics release of Hagio's A Drunken Dream and Other Stories. The story follows the protagonist Juli after the death of his friend Thomas one winter morning.

Anime character designer Akemi Takada also reported on similar forged sketches of her Kimagure Orange Road work last month.

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Ookiku Furikabutte/Big Windup Manga Returns After 11-Month Hiatus

Baseball manga creator Asa Higuchi had taken hiatus to "recharge" for her health.


The December issue of Kodansha's Monthly Afternoon magazine revealed on Tuesday that it will resume Asa Higuchi's Ookiku Furikabutte (Big Windup!) baseball manga in the magazine's January issue, which will go on sale on November 25. The magazine also revealed that the manga's 18th volume will go on sale on November 22.

The magazine revealed that Higuchi would take a long hiatus last December. At that time the magazine's editors said that Higuchi was taking a break "for her health and to recharge." Higuchi also noted then that the manga would resume its serialization around November.

The manga has been running in Monthly Afternoon since September of 2003, and the 17th volume (pictured at right) shipped in September. The manga has 10 million copies in print. The story inspired two television anime seasons, and Funimation released part of the anime in North America.

original source

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Neo Angelique's Kajiyama Starts New Manga in Asuka Mag

Romantic comedy manga about older sister and younger brother who switch places.


The December issue of Kadokawa Shoten's Monthly Asuka magazine began serialization on a new manga from Neo Angelique's Mika Kajiyama on Monday. The new romantic comedy manga, titled Ore to Atashi no Kareshi-sama, is about an older sister and a younger brother who suddenly switch places.

Mika Kajiyama and Kairi Yura drew the Neo Angelique manga (pictured at right) from 2006 to 2008. That manga adapted one of the newest titles from KOEI's Neo Romance line of romance simulation games for female players. Shin Katagai and Yumeta Company animated two seasons of the story on television under the title Neo Angelique Abyss and Neo Angelique Abyss -Second Age- in 2008. JManga released the first volume of the Neo Angelique manga series digitally in English in August.

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Moyashimon Manga Holds Beauty Contest by Reader Vote

Winning character to be crowned Miss Agricultural University in story.


The 22nd issue of Kodansha's Evening magazine is announcing on Tuesday that Masayuki Ishikawa's Moyashimon manga is running a contest for readers to choose the next Miss Agricultural University in the manga. Readers will select one of six characters for the title by voting with a paper ballot included with the current issue of Evening. The seinen manga's website is also conducting a poll to determine which character readers believe will win the contest for the story.

The candidates are Aoi Mutō, Chisa Nakayama, Kosaka, Hazuki Oikawa, Kei Yūki, and Nishino. Evening readers can vote for one of these Moyashimon characters until November 8.

Moyashimon follows the story of Tadayasu Sawaki, an agricultural university student, who has the ability to see and communicate with micro-organisms. The comedy manga began serializing in Evening in 2004 and received an anime adaptation in 2007. Ishikawa's manga also inspired a live-action television drama in 2010.

The tenth compiled volume of Moyashimon was one of the top-selling manga in Japan in the first half of 2011.

original source, 1, 2

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Distant Star Manga's Sahara to Launch Itsuya-san Manga

My Girl creator also draws boys-love works as Sumomo Yumeka.


The December issue of Tokuma Shoten's Monthly Comic Zenon magazine is announcing on Tuesday that Mizu Sahara (The Voices of a Distant Star, The Place Promised in Our Early Days) will launch a new manga titled Itsuya-san in the next issue on November 25.

Sahara launched the Tetsugaku Letra manga in Shogakukan's Monthly Sunday magazine in April, her first series in a shōnen magazine. She is also publishing the second chapter in a three-part manga called Bus Hashiru -Sakuramachi Teiryūjo- in the next Monthly Comic Zenon issue.

Besides adapting the The Voices of a Distant Star anime into manga, Sahara also drew the Same Cell Organism and The Day I Become a Butterfly boys-love manga (both released by North America's Digital Manga Publishing) under the name Sumomo Yumeka. She drew My Girl, a manga about a man raising his former girlfriend's daughter, in Shinchosha's Weekly Comic Bunch magazine from 2006 to 2010. This manga inspired a live-action television series in 2009.

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Humanoid Monster Bem Drama's Debut Earns 18.9 Rating

Manga-based live-action show's premiere peaks at 22.9% rating.


The live-action adaptation of the classic supernatural adventure anime Humanoid Monster Bem (Yōkai Ningen Bem) premiered on Japanese television on Saturday with an 18.9% average rating in Tokyo's Kanto area, according to the survey firm Video Research. The drama's peak rating for its first episode was 22.9%. The recent live-action drama Don Quixote, which aired from July to September starring actor Shota Matsuda, received a lesser average rating of 11.7% for its first episode.

In the original 1968 anime, Bem, Bera, and Berro are ugly humanoid monsters (yōkai) who fight for justice. The monsters live among humans and protect them from evil yōkai. The three find themselves ostracized from both humans and other yōkai, but the three continue to fight in hopes of one day becoming humans themselves. In the live-action series' first episode, Bem saves a human and meets a detective who could become the trio's friend. However, Bem's secret could risk his relationship with the human before it gets a chance to develop.

Kazuya Kamenashi (Gokusen, The Wallflower, Kami no Shizuku) of the musical group KAT-TUN is staring as the title character, while model/actress Anne plays Bem's teammate Bera and child actor Fuku Suzuki (2011 Hana-Kimi) plays the young monster Berro. Masafumi Nishida (Tiger & Bunny) is writing the live-action Humanoid Monster Bem series, just as he did for another recent live-action adaptation about supernatural creatures caught between the human and monster worlds (Kaibutsu-kun).

The 1968 anime inspired a remake in 2006.

original source

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Super Dash & Go! Light Novel/Manga Mag Posted Online

Free online version available until November 18; print version debuts October 25.


The Japanese publisher Shueisha posted the first issue of the Super Dash & Go! light novel and manga magazine on the Nico Nico Seiga website on Friday. The magazine featuring light novel-based manga, manga-based light novels, and projects with anime and other media tie-ins is launching in print form on Tuesday. The free online version will be available until November 18. The main target audience of the new magazine are male readers from middle school to college.

original source

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Flash Animator Frogman Launches New Dokan-kun Shorts

FROGMAN, the Japanese Flash animator, is launching comedy shorts.


The Japanese Flash animator FROGMAN (Eagle Talon, Keihin Kazoku) is launching a new series of Dokan-kun television comedy shorts on Wednesday on NHK's E Tele channel. Tobidase! Dokan-kun will be a part of the Digista Teens program.

original source

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Kyoto Seika University to Launch Manga Community Site

Mangaku interactive learning site created by established manga university.


Kyoto Seika University will open its Mangaku interactive manga community website on November 1. Users will be able to submit their original manga on the site as well as recommend and comment on others' works. Mangaku's goal is to provide an opportunity for readers to enjoy manga while learning the craft of creating it.

Contributed manga will receive reviews from Kyoto Seika University faculty as well as a chance for discussion of the works with manga author Keiko Takemiya (To Terra, Kaze to Ki no Uta, The Door Into Summer). The university's Faculty of Manga teaching staff, comprised of manga artists and editors, will manage the new website. Mangaku will also run contests for the contributed works.

Although the Kyoto university will operate the new website, its use will not be limited to Kyoto Seika University students and staff. Anyone can register for access to the site and the ability to contribute manga and use all of Mangaku's features. Opening manga learning to the public is one aim of the new interactive website.

Kyoto Seika University has a 40-year history of academic study in manga and animation. The university was first to install a specialized area of manga studies in 2000, and it then created a Faculty of Manga in 2006. It was also the first to establish a master's degree program in manga last year, when it accepted 20 students. In June, the university announced it will accept 4 to 12 students in a manga doctorate program in April of next year.

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Moto Hagio Adapts Yū Nagashima's 10 Hours Short Story

2-part Jū Jikan manga runs in Shōsetsu Hōseki magazine.


Acclaimed manga creator Moto Hagio launched her two-part adaptation of Yū Nagashima's Jū Jikan (10 Hours) short story in the November issue of Kobunsha's Shōsetsu Hōseki magazine on Saturday. The story centers around sisters in a poor, fatherless family in northern Japan. In addition to the first half of the manga, the magazine published comments by Nagashima.

The two-part story is part of a larger project to have manga creators adapt many of Nagashima's works. Fantagraphics Books published Hagio's A Drunken Dream and Other Stories in North America last year, and it will print her Heart of Thomas (Thomas no Shinzō) manga next August.

original source

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Sazae-san Voice Midori Kato Honored by Japanese Government

Voice actress has been working on long-running TV anime series for 42 years.


The Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Japanese government awarded voice actress Midori Kato with its 2011 Secretarial Public Recognition award on Monday. The awards recognize those who have contributed to the promotion of Japanese culture. A total of 40 people were chosen for this year's award.

Kato has been portraying Sazae Fuguta in the Sazae-san television anime series since the series' premiere 42 years ago. She received the award because of her work on Sazae-san and because of her "significant contributions to the arts and culture" of Japan. Kato had also won a merit award at the Tokyo Anime Awards in January.

The agency will host an awards ceremony for Kato and the other recipients on December 5 at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

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Vampire Miyu's Kakinouchi to Launch Fairy Jewel Manga

Narumi Kakinouchi's romantic fantasy of fairy who loves a human, strives to become human.


Manga creator Narumi Kakinouchi (Vampire Miyu, Ryoko's Case File) will launch a new series called Fairy Jewel (lefthand side in image above) in the January issue of ASCII Media Works' digital magazine Dengeki Comic Japan on November 25. The romantic fantasy revolves around a fairy named Matama who loves a human. So, Matama aims to earn 100 points in the Fairy Exam to assume the human form.

Toshiki Hirano and Kakinouchi have been serializing a Vampire Miyu spinoff called Vampire Princess in another web manga site, Flex Comix, but that manga will end in the next installment. The anime studio AIC released four episodes of the Vampire Princess Miyu original animation video (OAV) from 1988 to 1989, and AnimEigo began releasing the anime in North America in 1995. Akita Shoten published five volumes of the New Vampire Miyu manga from 1992 to 1994 and released ten volumes of the separate Vampire Princess Miyu manga beginning in 1999. A Vampire Princess Miyu television remake of the OAV, directed by Hirano, aired in Japan from 1997 to 1998 and Tokyopop distributed the series in North America from 2001 to 2002.

original source, 1

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Ghost in Shell SAC, Hipira, Final Fantasy XIII Win 3D Awards

3D presentations of Ayumi Hamasaki, Kumi Koda's concerts also honored.


The Japanese Committee of the International 3D Society honored Ghost in the Shell S.A.C. Solid State Society 3D, Hipira: The Little Vampire, and Final Fantasy XIII in the first annual "International 3D Awards Lumiere Japan" on Thursday. The awards recognize exceptional works in various categories such as film, television, documentaries, and advertising.


Kenji Kamiyama's Ghost in the Shell S.A.C. Solid State Society 3D (Production I.G) won the Movie award, while Shinji Kimura and Katsuhiro Otomo's 3D-converted Hipira: The Little Vampire (Hipira-kun, Bandai Visual) series won in the Television: Animation category. Production I.G created new 3D Tachikoma na Hibi shorts for the 3D-converted Solid State Society release, while Kamiyama directed a "Xi AVANT" anime film short will play with the Solid State Society film. He has continued to embrace stereoscopic 3D techniques by making a Cyborg 009/Pepsi Nex 3D commercial, and he is now directing a 009 Re:Cyborg feature film remake of the Cyborg 009 manga.

Sony won an award for the 3D theater ads that it ran for the Final Fantasy XIII role-playing game. Other winners include NHK for Kumi Koda's televised 3D live concert of "Dream music park in Yokohama Stadium." The grand prize went to Sony for the theatrical presentation of the "A3D Ayumi Hamasaki Arena Tour 2009 A - Next Level –" concerts.

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Live-Action Kite to Be Shot in S. Africa for US$12 Million

Film Business Asia: Shooting to begin in January on "full on female actioner."


The Film Business Asia website reported on Thursday that the live-action film adaptation of Yasuomi Umetsu's Kite anime will begin shooting in South Africa in January on a US$12-million budget. According to Film Business Asia, the South African production company Distant Horizon will reveal the film's actors at the American Film Market in California next week.

Director David R. Ellis (Shark Night 3D, Cellular, the sequels Final Destination 2 and The Final Destination, Snakes on a Plane, Asylum) was attached to the project earlier this year. Distant Horizon's Anant Singh and Brian Cox are producing the project along with Moisés Cosio and Alejandro Saevich of Detalle Films in Mexico.

According to Variety, the Kite remake will be an action film about a young woman with financial troubles. A corrupt security force that had been selling young women murders her police officer father. The woman teams up with her father's former partner to uncover the mystery of his death, unaware she was betrayed from the start. Film Business Asia said that "Distant Horizon sources describe the new film as a 'full on female actioner' with 'gritty realistic action.'"

Media Blasters released Kite and its sequel Kite: Liberator in North America.

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Live-Action Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Footage Streamed

Video shows Hiroki Narimiya as Phoenix, Takumi Saitō as Miles, Mirei Kiritani as Maya Fey.



The Sōkai Jōhō Variety Sukkiri television series' "All Entertainment Quiz" segment aired footage from the upcoming live-action Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Gyakuten Saiban) film this week. The footage features Hiroki Narimiya (Gokusen's Noda, NANA's Nobu, Akihabara @ DEEP's Page) in his role as Phoenix Wright (Ryuichi Naruhodo). It also has Takumi Saitō (RoboGeisha, Princess Princess D) as prosecutor Miles Edgeworth (Reiji Mitsurugi) and Mirei Kiritani (Arakawa under the Bridge's Nino) as Maya Fey (Mayoi Ayasato).

Takashi Miike's film adaptation of CAPCOM's videogame franchise will take place in a parallel Japan, where a large increase in harsh crimes has led to a new court system. Under this new system, the defense attorney and public prosecutor have three days to battle cases out in open court to determine guilt or innocence of the accused, placing priority on speed instead of thorough investigation.

The film will open in Japan on February 11.

original source, 1, 2

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Taiwan's EVA Airways Relaunches Line of Hello Kitty Planes

3 planes featuring Sanrio characters to run from Taiwan to Japan, S. Korea, Hong Kong.


The Taiwanese airline EVA Airways is relaunching a line of three Hello Kitty airplanes this month. The outsides of the planes, along with the cabin, boarding passes, napkins, luggage tags, and flight attendant aprons will all feature Sanrio's Hello Kitty characters.

The "Hello Kitty With Magic Stars" plane (pictured at right) will service the Taipei-Hokkaido route, the "Hello Kitty Around the World" plane will service the Taipei-Tokyo and the Taipei-Hong Kong routes, and the "Hello Kitty Loves Apples" plane will service the Taipei-Fukuoka and the Taipei-Seoul routes.

The planes will commemorate EVA Airways' 20th anniversary and will be used to boost travel between Taiwan and Japan, which has decreased since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The airline originally launched a line of two Hello Kitty-themed airplanes in 2005 and 2006. Those planes were retired in 2008 and 2009.

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Kraft Cheese Sponsors New Dog of Flanders Anime Short

"Carbonara of Happiness" promotes parmesan cheese, streams until December 31.


Kraft Foods Japan recently collaborated with the World Masterpiece Theater anime showcase producers to create a new Dog of Flanders anime short titled "Shiawase no Carbonara" ("Carbonara of Happiness"). The video runs about 12 minutes and began streaming on YouTube and the project's official website in September.



The story centers on a boy named Nello who is transporting milk when his cart breaks down. Nello gets help from a boy to fix his cart, and Nello gets a chance to return the favor when the boy runs in trouble in the street the next day. With the help of a mysterious fairy named Parme and other children, Nello works to solve his friend's problems and reunite him with his mother.

"Carbonara of Happiness" promotes Kraft's parmesan cheese, and the project's website includes various pasta recipes that use the product. The anime short will be available streaming online only until December 31.

Marie Louisa de la Ramee's original 1872 A Dog of Flanders novel first inspired an anime adaptation in 1975 as part of Nippon Animation's World Masterpiece Theater anime collection based on world literature. The original television anime received a remake in 1992 and an anime film version in 1997.

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One Piece Gets New 3D Event Anime Short in December

"One Piece 3D Gekisō! Trap Coaster" to play at select theme parks, theaters.


The Japanese studio Toei Animation announced on Monday that it will release a new 3D anime short called "One Piece 3D Gekisō! Trap Coaster" at events starting December 1. The short will run about 12 minutes long and play at stereoscopic 3D theaters at Aichi Prefecture's Lagunasia theme park, Nagasaki Prefecture's Huis Ten Bosch theme park, Kanagawa Prefecture's Yokohama Landmark Tower, and Hiroshima Prefecture's NTT CRED Hall.

In March, Toei released the One Piece 3D: Mugiwara Chase anime short in theaters in a double-billing with Toriko 3D: Kaimaku Gourmet Adventure!! in theaters nationwide. The Lagunasia marine resort complex hosted a "One Piece Memorial Log in Lagunasia" attraction last year, and Huis Ten Bosch built a replica of the Thousand Sunny pirate ship from the anime and Eiichiro Oda's original manga this year.

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Viz Launches Yaoi Line

It is called SuBLime.


Viz Media announced at Yaoi-Con that it is launching a new yaoi manga line, SuBLime (the caps in the name play on "boys love"), in partnership with Animate, Ltd., and Libre Publishing Co., Ltd. The new venture will publish in print form and digitally on its Website (including Download-to-own). Libre is the biggest boys love publisher in Japan, Animate is a 100-store anime-manga retailer.

The first SuBLime print titles will be:
  1. Three Wolves Mountain, by Naono Bohra (spring)
  2. Hachimitsu Darlin, by Norikazu Akira (spring)
  3. Punch Up Vol. 1 by Shiuko Kano (summer)
  4. Aitsu No Daihonmei Vol. 1, by Suzuki Tanaka (summer)
Digital releases will launch in December with Love Pistols by Tarako Kotobuki, Dannasama To Mitsugetsuchu by Haruka Minami; continue in January with the launch of Ousama No Bed by Sakae Kusama; and in February with Sweet Pool by Nitro-CHiRAL. Additional digital titles planned for 2012 include Shizuku Hanabira Ringo No Kaori by Toko Kawai, Devil’s Honey by Isaku Natsume, Kekkon Zenya by Kou Fujisaki, Adult Teacher Wa Osuki? by Kiu Aion, and Yokubou No Shizuku by You Higashino.

The move is a reflection of the opportunity presented by the collapse of Tokyopop, which was a pioneer and a major publisher of boys love titles in North America. And the strong digital focus follows strong digital publishing efforts and response to date, including many of the earliest titles that have been offered on the Kindle. The adult female consumers of Yaoi, like other readers of romance fiction, are taking to digital formats in a big way.

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Digital Comics Fans Older

And More Male than Paper.


According to demographic info about print and digital comic fans gathered from Facebook, digital comic fans are older and skew much more male than print fans, according to GraphicPolicy. The difference in age was over a decade (30s for digital vs. 20s for print), according to the report. Men were over 81% of digital fans and only around 63% of print comic fans.

The info on digital comics consumers’ age would seem to support what we’ve been hearing anecdotally, that there are many returning lapsed comics fans among digital consumers. It also makes sense that if the digital consumers are indeed returning fans that weren’t buying comics recently, that digital sales are not cannibalizing print to any great degree, another observation we’ve been hearing anecdotally (and which the robust sales of DC’s New 52 would also seem to support).

The gender difference may be due to the types of comics that have moved to digital first; with fewer independent and manga titles, there may be less to attract female consumers in digital than there is in print.

original source

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Why Cancel One of the Bestselling Comics in the U.S?

Viz, Shueisha Execs Answer.

After the stunning Viz Media announcement at New York Comic Con that it was canceling its North American Shonen Jump magazine in favor of a weekly digital edition, Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha, many questions remained. One was why Viz was canceling a comic title that’s the bestselling comic in North America many months of the year. The staffs at ICv2.com had the opportunity to ask additional questions about the company’s plans. They've spoken with Alvin Lu, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Viz Media, and Hisashi Sasaki, who runs Shonen Jump at Viz co-parent Shueisha in Japan.

Why are you canceling the print version of Shonen Jump in North America?
Quote by Alvin Lu:
Once we had the possibility of doing a weekly publication digitally, it made the print magazine, not obsolete, but the content is not as fresh. We feel that manga in its native form is a periodical, a sort of live performance, as it were. We went with the print magazine in the first place because it was the closest we could get to that given the limitations that we faced at the time. Once the possibilities of digital came into play, doing something much more live and fresh came into play, having a print magazine lagging behind that became less essential.

Have you done any research on how those readers feel about migrating to digital?
Quote by Alvin Lu:
We have. Obviously there will be a segment of the readership that will miss the print magazine; we will miss the print magazine. We also understand that some of the subscriber base and the readers won’t want to move to a digital format. At the same time, I think what we saw here was the potential for something much larger. We want to give the current readers every opportunity to try out the digital magazine. If they don’t, we’re definitely respecting that. In some sense, our subscribers to Shonen Jump magazine are our most treasured fan base and we want to give them all the respect we can.

Why is digital more necessary in the United States than it is in Japan?
Quote by Hisashi Sasaki:
In Japan there are about 20,000 bookstores in such a small area. There are more so-called convenience stores everywhere. People are so used to reading Shonen Jump magazine weekly, weekly, weekly--just go out of the home and just buy it. At the kiosk at the station, at the convenience stores, book stores, it’s much easier. That’s their kind of lifestyle. Instead of turning on the computer, starting up the Web browser, Japanese people are so used to reading paper print magazines.



Are you hoping this will have an impact on illegal downloads?
Quote by Alvin Lu:
Yes, definitely. I think having the price point, the convenience of use of the platform we’ve developed (which I don’t think should be understated, with our ability to reach younger readers online, I actually think with that 99 cent price of entry it’s easier to get your favorite Shonen Jump titles every week this way than to go out of your way to an illegitimate source.

How are you going to get new readers? You said you expect it to be bigger ultimately than the print edition; what kind of marketing other than social media and PR and so forth are you doing?

Quote by Alvin Lu:
We have a number of marketing options. We’ve developed our online marketing capabilities in a number of ways. The Viz family of Websites itself draws a very significant amount of traffic. That will be one of the major entry points, and from there we will build a base. We’ll basically grow our marketing strategy from there.

A year from now, how will you evaluate the success of this program? If it sells less than the physical Shonen Jump is now, will you regard that as a disappointment?
Quote by Alvin Lu:
The immediate goal is to get the circulation to the point that it is now. We’ll have to see what the adoption rate is before we can decide how quickly we can get there.

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Asahina (news finder), Gintara (banner designer)



Since saladesu is out for a while, if you would like to help in finding and translating news of this nature, please contact Asahina via PM, or any staff. ^^ Please, feel free to PM Asahina any interesting bits of anime or manga news you find floating around the internet, too.

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Comments
#1. by Hamy (MH Senpai)
Posted on Oct 30, 2011
Higuchi Asa just gave birth recently... Meaning I think her hiatus was for a maternity leave :D
#2. by Asahina (News Writer)
Posted on Oct 30, 2011
Quote by Hamy:
Higuchi Asa just gave birth recently... Meaning I think her hiatus was for a maternity leave :D
Thanks for clarifying that Hamy. :D

Asa Higuchi taking a break "for her health and to recharge" makes complete sense to me now; because before, I was thinking along the lines of she was sick or she was in the hospital since she could have been working on her manga for too long which caused her to have health problems. It's just weird how her "giving birth to a child" was left off the news. In a different case, I'm not really fond of her manga. The anime adaptation of her baseball manga is what I like though. I've watched the English dubbed version on the FUNIMATION channel, and it is really likable. I loved how they have that shiny-cute spot for their cheeks to exemplify their faces.

I'm really interested for the Japanese/American singer that is going to perform the Berserk film ending song. Really excited about that since she was born in the same city as me, Los Angeles. I feel sooo united with her success about this. I know, I'm weird...but hey, this excites me! xD

As for the Kyoto Seika University launching a manga community website - I find that unique. I mean, I understand that they have had a "master's degree" program in manga for a year so far but a PHd - doctorate degree in Manga Arts/Writing? How is that beneficial? How is that even possible? Will they automatically be considered mangaka' afterwards? What kinds of jobs can they obtain? It just doesn't seem clear to me as much. If manga publishers start to accept the notion that "you must have a degree" before creating a manga worth being looked at by them, then would we have less younger determined artists as we do now, or will this just mean better quality manga? Will the university create their own publishing magazine? I look forward to how things will end up for future mangaka like this.
#3. by Charlie (Halfway)
Posted on Oct 31, 2011
Wow lots of big news, thanks for keeping us informed Asahina.

I had a weird feelings about Orichimaris seiyuu getting married. Perhaps it was the side by side pics of them? Kind of creepy when you do that but you have to keep fiction and reality separate, lol.

I wish them good luck, as well on her baby.

Also interesting news about VIZ again. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this turns out.

The hello kitty planes are so cute.
#4. by Hamy (MH Senpai)
Posted on Oct 31, 2011
News on this was posted in the magazine that publishes the manga:

http://photozou.jp/photo/show/699949/100413031

Not much save dedicated fan journals bothered to translate it :X Anycase it also does make somewhat more sense why the page counts of the recent chapters dropped dramatically.

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Alias: Asahina
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