2 publishers of manga suffer setbacks
Life isn't always sunshine and lollipops in the manga publishing world. Sure, the category has largely taken over graphic novel best-seller lists, but there's a darker side to this industry success, one that has made its presence felt in recent weeks.
In a news item that first surfaced on the Anime on DVD online forums and was later confirmed in an article by Kai-Ming Cha at Publishers Weekly, Media Blasters has canceled a number of its seinen manga titles. Seinen manga are manga with more mature themes that are aimed at an older male audience, ages 18 and up.
Published reports quoting Media Blasters Managing Editor Frank Pannone confirmed that "Apocalypse Zero," "Baron Gong Battle," "Flesh for the Beast," "Kamunagara: Legend of the Demon Slayer" and "Pilgrim Jager" will neither be reprinted nor continued by the company. All five titles were part of the company's initial foray into manga in 2004.
But that doesn't mean the publisher is giving up on manga. Far from it. It's instead focusing its efforts on releasing titles in yaoi and shounen-ai, the increasingly popular genre associated most with pretty boys and homoerotic overtones.
The company plans to return to the nonyaoi market in the future, although when that future is has yet to be determined. Also left up in the air is the fate of "Eiken," which has yet to be canceled outright ...
Meanwhile, things are not particularly beautiful right now for Central Park Media's Be Beautiful line of yaoi manga.
In a statement published both in English and Japanese at www.b-boy.jp/info17.html, Japanese yaoi publisher Libre Publishing posted what amounts to a public cease-and-desist order demanding that CPM stop translating and publishing its titles in the United States.
"We wish to make it known that these publications are considered illegal because they have not been authorized by us," the statement notes. "It should also be known that the cartoonists and authors are being victimized by this illegal act, and they are very annoyed by it."
According to a subsequent statement from Libre posted on manganews.net, at issue are the licensing agreements in place between CPM and now-bankrupt yaoi publisher BiBLOS. Libre argues that BiBLOS' bankruptcy filing last April effectively voided pre-existing agreements.
A quick survey of Anime on DVD's manga database reveals that 10 out of the 11 titles in the Be Beautiful line originated in BiBLOS anthologies, meaning the imprint could effectively be dead if the issue isn't resolved and all licenses are pulled.
CPM has yet to comment publicly on the matter ...
In Sunday's 'D&Q'
My tag-team partner, Wilma J., will be joining me in the Sunday Today section to look at an assortment of single-volume manga and see what's worth a look ...
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao