Manga Before Flowers -- Viz Releases on 9/4, Too much of a good thing?

Tomorrow Viz will "officially" release 26 manga and one manga magazine (Shonen Jump) via Diamond. Now, a great many of those books have been available in the chain bookstores for a little while (maybe a week or so?), and they have definitely been available through amazon even longer. However, if we are talking the direct market that is a lot of manga to shove out there on a single day.

I would say a number of these manga titles are quite good, a fair number are mediocre and a few are...not great. (This is me trying to be polite.) Now the Viz price point (7.99-9.99) makes it possible to pick up a fair number of books relatively cheaply...but if you follow, like I do, a good number of series, it adds up quickly if you get your books all in one day.

By the way, I like to check Midtown Comics' website for the weekly release list -- they usually update Thursday afternoons, which gives me the maximum amount of time possible to pine for next week's releases. (I like to start obsessing early, what can I say.) Not even considering other manga companies' releases this week (yes, there are other companies putting out manga besides Viz, although weeks like this it is hard to remember that), I've ordered 7 of the 26 released titles.

That number is actually *low* because I don't buy collected versions of Honey & Clover and the Sand Chronicles simply because I read them through Shojo Beat (i.e. the other manga magazine Viz puts out). I will be picking up Bleach 24, Gintama 8, High School Debut 5, NANA 12, Skip Beat 14, Slam Dunk 1, Vampire Knight 5.

And you know what? I'd love to be able to afford to pick up Whistle! 20, Love Com 8, or even Mixed Vegetables 1, or hell, even Naruto 31. But good god, how many manga could one person buy in a single month?

Is Viz flooding the market or is it not a problem because the majority of what they release falls under the category of good, solid, entertainment? A few of their titles go beyond merely "good", but generally Viz excels at creating stability across its various brands (Shonen Jump, Beat, Signature, Action, etc). Not all Viz titles hit it out of the ballpark but almost all are very, very solid books.

Now, another thing to keep in mind is many titles on this week's release list are bi-monthly, meaning every two months I have to budget for titles like NANA, Skip-Beat, Gintama, High School Debut, etc. while other titles come out every 4 or 5 months, often because they are serialized in one of the manga mags and, therefore, take longer to be collected in graphic novel form. This is really a perfect storm of manga, as Honey & Clover, The Sand Chronicles, Slam Dunk, and Bleach (serialized series) just happen to be released in the same month a lot of bi-monthly manga comes out too.

But the real question is --- which manga would you absolutely have to have THIS VERY SECOND? Once you've answered that, you've figured out which manga you'd buy no matter what else comes out this week. For me it's Skip Beat but NANA comes a very close second....

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