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Anime Expo: Day Two

by  in Comic News Comment

My day two went like this: panel, panel, panel, panel, panel, panel, panel. And then more panel. (It’s like that SNL Christopher Walken skit, “I need more cow-bell!” That is how I currently feel about panels. Um. Except in reverse).

I managed to see Viz, DarkHorse, DMP, Nozomi/Right Stuff, and ADV. That is a LOT of industry. Too much, I think, in the end.

Before I forget, folks who want to get in touch with me after the manga and anime in academia panel should just use the email attached to this blog (just click on the contacts link/sidebar!).

I’m fascinated by the way each corporation is relating to the fans….Viz relates the worst and DarkHorse & DMP the best. Everyone else false in between. (Yes, even ADV seemed to understand its fanbase better than the Viz representatives. That’s just sad really).

First, let’s discuss corporation number one. Individually all the folks from Viz were quite charming but as a panel….not particularly pleasant. Basically Viz talks to itself and expects its fan to just be happy with what they get. Now, I don’t particularly care for fan entitlement either (it can be incredibly nasty and just generally ridiculous sometimes) but wow. Their self-presentation could use some major work. Of course, the truth is they are Viz. They don’t have to cultivate a fanbase, they can do whatever they want. And that is just the way it is.

We were surprised by the fact Viz actually made announcements, though. I don’t care about their media devision (sorry, anime fans!) so we’ll talk manga.

1. Oishinbo, a food manga! All the manga bloggers / foodies will be so happy and even I feel the excitement a little. Since that manga is over 100 volumes long, Viz is going to focus on publishing volumes which cover food that is culturally significant to Japan. Smart move, I think.

2. Honey Hunt by Miki Aihara. All I can say is that so far this is much better than Hot Gimmick in terms of shame factor (I can’t even type title HG without also reminding everyone that it may be the most anti-feminist shojo manga available in English). But since it is Aihara it remains a pretty good soap opera (not quite as compelling as HG but you know. Less shame). I don’t even think the Viz panel mentioned that the title will be serialized in Shojo Beat then collected in volume format by March of next year.

3. Otomen by Aya Kanno. This is about a boy who likes girly things, which sounds kinda lame but is totally NOT. Aya Kanno is really quite talented, everyone needs to support her. Also: dear god, Viz has so much good shojo it is really criminal. They don’t even need more shojo but yet still it comes. Oh well, guess I’ll just have to buy more…..and then start selling blood or something to fund this little habit.

4. Gestalt by Yun Kouga. We had a horrible moment in the panel where a fangirl wanted to make sure there was no “pedophilia” in this title. You know, I have issues with Loveless too but ….just no, fangirl. Please be quiet.

5. Manga I don’t really care about: some massage manga (it is shojo) and um…something called Heaven’s Will. You got me.

Moving onto DarkHorse. Unlike Viz, with DarkHorse you can feel the love these folks have for their manga line. They’ve put their heart, soul and entire being into their manga and it shows. I’ll still probably curse them for a few months if Eden really eventually cancelled (sorry, DH, you know how temperamental us fans can be!) but at least know I’ll know that they’ll be cringing inside about the cancellation (other companies clearly feel no such responsibility. Or at least *refuse* to show it, which is a major mistake in my view).

They announced one of the Eva manga — the shonen version, I guess? Now there is the Eva manga that covers the anime story-line (Viz) and then there’s Angelic Days (is that…Bandai? Can’t remember)…which is the shojo version? Anyway, I’m not really sure how the shonen version and Angelic Days are that different from each other…anyone want to weigh in?

Anyway, Kurosagi continues to live on (thank god, I shudder to think about the blogger blood-bath that will occur if DH ever stops publishing it.)

Other stuff happened but generally, this was a very pleasant experience and I really enjoyed how DarkHorse communicates with its fan. Yes, Viz, *communication*. Which means DH talks to its fans and then listens & responds when its fans say something back.

Third, we get to DMP. I don’t have a lot to say about DMP except they are a fun bunch. I’m not particularly wild about the way the June line is being handled — too many one-shots, I think, but these people enjoy what they do and enjoy spreading the (steamy man-) love.

We are going to get new titles from some of my favorite mangaka — Riyu Yamakami, Yaya Sakuragi, Toko Kawai, Hyouta Fujimaya…but, not necessarily their best work (except for Hyouta Fujimaya’s Junjou which is quite exceptional in its portrayal of a difficult but *generally* not abusive relationship between two men who basically just have to learn to be a couple). I will buy these mangaka’s works but there were a large number of names on the licensing list that don’t mean much to me…which means they are going to be a much harder sell. I wish DMP/June would get a little more selective to be honest but I’m sure they have their reasons.

Finally, I don’t have much to say about the anime panels….save this. I think Noizomi is making a huge mistake with Gakuen Alice. This is a supposed to be a children’s show….not dubbing it seems like cutting off the possibility of selling this set to an entire demographic…which the show is actually CREATED FOR. I do think subs only are a good solution to some problems with the anime industry (shows can be released faster, at a cheaper price, and so on) but certain shows need to be marketed to a wider audience and this is one of them.

That’s it for now…I will try to make the Go! Comi panel today but I’m not sure if I can take the bile that might spring forth at the Tokyopop panel. I’ll probably skip Funimation (yes, yes, Fumination, you now own all the anime ever. Good for you!) in favor of fan-run panels. Or I’ll sit in nice quiet, dark rooms and watch anime. And rest. It may go either way.

By the way, Gia’s got all the announcements (man, that woman an absolute storm on the reportage front!), so go check out her incredible coverage.