Hello! I just filled out the Vertical survey, and while I was filling in my (extraordinarily unlikely) license requests, I wondered how historically-themed series tend to do? I suspect not well, since they tend to be uncommon.
Yup. Just about anything without a media tie-in does not do to well. However there are exceptions…
Racy shojo and teen love
Racy or fanservice heavy seinen
The US market for manga is not really a content quality driven one. It in most cases is a derivative market influenced heavy by anime (and video games). It is tough to hear, especially since I generally only read alt manga, seinen and josei, but as someone who has to evaluate the business it is easy to understand and recognize.
The only way to change this is by changing buying habits. But I have to say that is a very very tough thing to make happen on a broad scale.
Manga artist Moyoco Anno and husband, anime and film director Hideaki Anno are just like any other married couple: They binge-watch TV shows, try to find shelves to accommodate their collections, eat junk food (although they really try to eat better, with mixed results) and sometimes drink too much.
You know, all the normal couple things.
Moyoco Anno’s Insufficient Direction (Vertical, 2014), is…
Have you considered licensing Saint Young Men in North America? I've seen the OVAs pick up a following here on tumblr, but I'm worried we may a legal translation because of publishers fearing backlash from the religious. Thoughts?
Yes. Yes we have. It is a priority title for us…and has not been available.
But you almost have the correct reason why it isn’t in English. It isn’t a publisher problem. At least two US publishers have been rejected by the author as she has been intimidated by the potential reaction by the religious community.
I wished that would have changed after the manga was published in France (and I think it was optioned for Italy at one point), but last I heard that has not changed. Who knows, maybe it will come over someday.
Hello! Being that it's your licensing poll season, I've been wondering: do you guys look up titles people suggest, regardless of the number of votes? Only if you are unaware of them, of course. Additionally, is it easier or harder to work with small publishers? Lastly, and I know you said you don't have the staff for other Asian comics, but do you know how manhwa and manhua generally sell compared to manga? Thanks! PS. Can't wait for Ajin/Demi-Human!
First, the survey is not a poll. This is not a democratic voting process. We have stated this following fact many times - the higher a title is on the list in terms of submissions the less likely we will be able to license it. Now there are many reasons for that but the biggest reason is that most publishers are already going after those titles, so there is more competition for those works. And being one of the smaller publishers (in terms of content released) that puts us in a tough spot.
The majority of our licenses have come from these surveys. And most of them have fallen in the middle-of-the-pack or lower in our surveys.
Here are examples of titles previously listed:
Lychee Light Club
Mobile Suit Gundam THE ORIGIN
Knights of Sidonia
What Did You Eat Yesterday?
Tropic of the Sea
Out of the titles above only What Did You Eat Yesterday? and Knights of Sidonia ranked high on our surveys; the rest ranked in the middle or only got a couple of requests. ORIGIN was pretty low on the list. Summer Wars only received maybe four or five votes; same for Tropic of the Sea. Most of the top submissions receive hundreds of requests. And we obviously don’t consider them all, but we look at almost all submissions (there are some we ignore immediately though…like the requests to license TWIN SPICA, AJIN and BLACK JACK. Which we already have licensed.)
How easy is it to work with smaller publishers? It depends. We work with a few small publishers:
Ohta Books is an indie alternative manga publisher. They only publish one magazine, with new issues every two months. They are tiny.
Magazine House is another alternative manga publisher. They are so small they no longer even have a manga magazine. They were a little larger in the 90’s but they have never been a major (or even mid-sized) manga publisher.
Shodensha is a josei and fashion magazine publisher. While they are the premiere josei publisher for young women, they are mainly a fashion magazine publisher and they have a pretty small office in Jimbocho.
Shinchosha, Media Factory, enterbrain each are parts of larger publishing companies that release a lot of other forms of media. But these manga divisions are small, and well curated.
For the most part our partners are great to work with. However as is the case with relationships details can make a difference. Every contract is different. We might have global rights for one book from one publisher and not for another book with the same publisher. We might get eBook rights for one book and not for another. We might not have digi-files for one book and not for another (even when they were made in the same year…2012!!!). So there will always be issues, but for the most part size doesn’t matter.
I will say one thing though… Sometimes when publishers have little international exposure they might not be fully prepared for what foreign publishers need - digital files, unlayered color pages/cover art… extensive accounting departments.
The last question… We have not published Korean or Chinese comics, so I do not have first-hand data. However, the data I have researched from BookScan and Diamond is not very good for either. While there have been a few exceptions, most Korean titles do poorly in the US. And Chinese/Taiwanese titles have done even worse. Hong Kong comics briefly did well when that was a thing in the early 00’s but sales in the US were limited to a few regional markets - LA, SF, and NYC.
So while I do not often read comics from outside of Japan (I do not read many American comics either, by the way) I do know of some good works from other Asian territories. Marketing the best of the best could work for publishers like Yen, Seven Seas and Dark Horse. But even A- or B+ titles will have a hard time in the US without a lot of marketing money since those titles often do not have cross-platform media connections. (Seriously the most popular manga titles are almost always titles with anime or video game connections.)
So I made the mistake of filling out the survey before reading Insufficient Direction! If I had read it before hand, I would have requested more autobiography style manga! Are there any other translated manga in this style??
Nope. Actually bio manga (or a Essay Manga as it is called in Japan) rarely comes over. There are only a couple but none of others are comedies - Doing Time, Disappearance Diary (both are dark and kinda sad dramas).
The closest thing is Fumi Yoshinaga’s Not Love But Delicious Foods, where Fumi raves over her favorite places to eat (the places are/were real dining spots in Japan).
OMFG “What Did You Eat Yesterday?” by Fumi Yoshinaga is getting released in English in March I MUST HAVE IT!!!!!!!
q0q you guys should totally read it (ORDER IT HERE) it is such an adorable manga, it’s a slice-of-life series about a middle-aged gay couple (a lawyer and a hair-stylist) and their daily lives, and has a section each chapter or so about the lawyer cooking up awesome food (with cooking tips included!)
Hi there! I saw the comment you left on my Kyo cosplay. Was the manga you were talking about the one that comes with a Blaster Blade promo? My friends have been talking about it, but more for the card and not so much reading. Haha, got any insight on what's in store for it? I'm curious myself since I really only play the game more than follow the anime/manga
Yup. We will begin publishing the Vanguard manga starting next month. The first printings for each volume comes with a Vanguard PR card. And volume 1 comes in two versions:
Regular edition - volume 1 with Buster Blade PR-046EN (featuring an alternative design) $10.95
Special edition - volume 1 with Buster Blade PR-046EN (with alt design) and 2 25-card Flash Fight half decks and expert play guides. $19.95
As noted all volumes will come with its own PR card. We’ll be announcing the card for volume 2 in a few weeks.
Are you guy concerned about being undercut by Kadokawa's planned ComicWalker app? Is this going to affect your relationship with them in the future? And will it discourage you from licensing any titles that they include on the app?
At this time, not really. We really do not know too much about the service. However, I do wonder what this means for future licenses from us. As we are kind of in the dark, we do not know what licensing will be like or even if licenses will be available for titles on the app that are not in print in the US.
I hope we will continue to have a relationship with Kadokawa. They are a major licensor for us. Wolfsmund, Gundam the ORIGIN, My Neighbor Seki, Summer Wars all come from the Kadokawa Publishing group.
Can you talk at all about how the decision to license the Cardfight!! Vanguard manga came about?
We were introduced to BushiRoad by a mutual friend of our companies, who also happens to translate some of our books, at New York ComicCon 2012. After that we went through discussions with them and their manga publisher Kadokawa Shoten for around 8-9 months.
Shonen titles that skew very young tend to have been a challenge for Vertical. And we have never done a title with pack-ins before. So we really weren’t certain if we could take on such a project, or even if we could hit the right readership since we tend to skew towards people in their 20’s.
But we worked out a deal where we the contract was not too risky, and we would also get access to the cards. BushiRoad on the other hand has been very helpful with promotion and they have been giving us some help with info on their current card sales. So we’ll be doing some cross promotion through the summer (like we have ads in Diamond Previews coming up) and will have info on the manga and cards at conventions throughout the con season.
We hope fans of the game and anime will give the manga a shot. It is something very new and exciting for Vertical. And we really would like to see this succeed.
As noted the first book comes with Blaster Blade PR-046EN. I believe this card comes with an alternative art design from the existing one! And the special edition comes with a two 25-card Flash Fight half-decks! Many of the cards in this set are also with new art. And the sets are different from the set found in the Japanese box set!
RE: Patreon proposal: would there be a digital only tier planned? I ask because I would expect shipping costs (especially internationally) would be pretty lethal to such a plan. I like the idea (I've subscribed to a couple of music labels on Drip FM, which is basically the same idea: pay $x/month, get everything said label releases during your subscription), and I would consider subscribing to such a plan pending monthly cost.
Interesting but at this time I am not sure if that is possible. We do not have digital rights to all of our books, so such a plan would really not work well.
I am considering varied plans for international, but to be completely honest due to shipping costs I almost feel we would have to exclude those outside of North America (unless people are willing to add $15 per month…for shipping)
Still now that I thought it over a bit… Not all our books are available for sale overseas so we could in theory create a plan just for international that could be reasonably affordable and it could include only our global releases. Hmm.
why is it so hard to license Dynamic Pro works? what's their deal, why are they so hesitant towards english translations? they have no problem with france and italy. I'd buy like the whole Getter SAGA and Devilman stuff and a good chunk of the Mazinger
You’ll have to ask them.
Seriously, we want to work with them, and we do not want to hurt our existing relationship with them. There is no way we are going to air their dirty laundry publicly or reveal concerns discussed in private. Nor are we gonna spread rumors (cause there are plenty of rumors out there).
Will the other cfvanguard releases come with extras like cards and such? Im really excited for it and thanks for this manga license pickup. Each year you all bring at least one manga franchise that keeps me adding a vertical manga to my collection!
Yup. First printings for all the Vanguard books will have a card.
PR-046EN Blaster Blade will be included in volume 1. Blaster Blade is the featured card in volume 1 and BushiRoad decided to include this for continuity reasons. HOWEVER, this card will come with a new art design!! So it’s value will be pretty high amongst Vanguard collectors!
We just made a decision on the card for volume 2. We should announce it at the end of this month.
Hello Vertical would it be possible to obtain "A Certain Magical Index". I'm have no clue how the stuff between Square Enix and Yen Press works but I seen that Heroman was published by Square Enix so thought I would ask if you could obtain Index. I know it's 12 volumes and still going but unlike most manga this one is not a risk. It's counterpart "A Certain Scientific Railgun" sells very well and makes the NY Times best seller list every volume and every fan of Railgun that I know wants Index.
Please scroll down fill out the survey we have running right now.
If the series is over 10 volumes it would not qualify, though.
Since you picked up an older Satoshi Kon manga, because it got a recent reprint from Kodansha, could you also do the same for Blue Seed, since that also got a re-issue through Kodansha? It's only one book, too.
Please use the licensing survey and read the rules… I think this is from 1992, so it would not qualify.
Hello again, I know someone asked you before, but I'm also wondering if its possible for you to license the Chihayafuru manga? Its probably my favorite josei series~ And the anime is really great too~!
Is it possible in theory: yes…But in reality, no. We do not have the finances or allocated risk to take on a title that long.
I’m not sure if many American publishers these days have those resources anymore.
Like another request we got a few days ago…I think this would be a great Crunchyroll manga title though. Heck there could be some crossover promotion between the manga and anime on the site, too.
Hello! Just finished Insufficient Direction; A little short but incredibly cute. I shared some of the stories with my mother and we both laughed because it reminded us of my dad (especially when it comes to trains and small figurines). Also I burst out laughing at the "extra" chapter. How sad that she had to go through that. Anyways, this wouldn't be a vertical ask without a manga license question: What do you think of Kangoku Gakuen by Akira Hiramoto? and any more Josei in the future?
We have Fumi Yoshinaga’s What Did You Eat Yesterday? debuting later this month and then in July we have Moyoco Anno’s In Clothes Called Fat.
Any idea why more of Otomo's manga hasn't made it overseas, either in new reprints (for Mother Sarah and Domu), or his short stories and anthologies? This is probably more speculation than anything, but given the success of Akira it seems like more Otomo would be a relatively safe bet.
A quick pass through our archive and you could find this…
What is vertical's fastest manga book to sell out completey?
Well, this is a weird question… Cause selling out completely means going OOP. And generally speaking if a title sells very quickly it will not go OOP.
Chi’s Sweet Home 1 and Gundam the ORIGIN 1 both sold out their first printings very quickly (in about 6-7 weeks). Both have seen multiple reprints though.
A book that went OOP quickly was Twin Spica 11. Libraries and a certain comic shop in Boston ordered a good chunk of this volume once we announced the series was going OOP. I think this was in stock for only half a year or so.
would you guys ever consider publishing a suehiro maruo book? I know that last gasp did "the strange tale panorama island" and are potentially doing "caterpillar" but I love "laughing vampire" and his short stories as well, even tho they might be a bit intense.
Nope. We are aware of Maruo. We have read Maruo. But despite all that we have never at one point considered him.