VanillaCupcake Feb 03, 2017
So I’ve been asked on twitter and on the site recently what I would like to see licensed. There are several series I’d like to get my hands on, but I want to show you a conversation some fellow bloggers and I had a couple of years ago.
This was for a Manga Moveable Feast centered on Shojo Beat Manga in September of 2012. Three of us, Anna, Lori and myself, got together to discuss the recent licensed manga and shut down of the magazine Shojo Beat. You can read the whole post on Anna’s blog Manga Report. I asked the others what they would like to see licensed. Take a look at what we predicted/requested in 2012.
Lori: Not an easy question, but off the top of my head, I’d like the sequel to St. Dragon Girl, St. Dragon Girl Miracle. And there are two titles from Kaori Yuki that I would love to read; the one volume Bloodhound about a girl and a host club vampire, and Ludwig Revolution, a Yuki take on fairy tales. There is a sequel to Ludwig Revolution, Ludwig Fantasia that seems just started last year, so I’ll add that after we get the first series.
Anna: I am really bad about license requests because the titles I want most have nothing to do with economic reality. I loved the non-Shojo Beat title Basara, and I would like to be able to read another of Yumi Tamura’s series like 7 Seeds, a look at a hazardous post-apocalyptic world inhabited only by a few humans. Since that is extremely unlikely to happen, I’d just like to see more titles aimed at older readers that straddle the line between shojo and josei likeNana.
Laura: Okay, Bloodhound sounds like fun supernatural story with vampires. I could go for that as well as the sequel to St. Dragon Girl. I think for Shojo Beat I’d like to see Ao Haru Ride by Io Sakisaka get licensed. That’s the same author as Strobe Edge that’s coming out here in the next month or so. I really would like to read Love So Life by Kaede Kouchi, but she is a fairly new mangaka. Hoshi wa Uta, or Twinkle Stars by Natsuki Takaya of Fruits Basket is another one.Akatsuki no Yona is a fantasy adventure series by Mizuho Kusanagi of Mugen Spiral/NG Life that I’d like to read as well. For josei I’d have to request Hapi Mari by Maki Enjoji. I could keep going but that’s enough for now.
Anna: Thanks for joining me for this discussion, Laura and Lori!
Of the series we listed, only one got licensed. Happy Marriage! by Maki Enjoji. Notice I haven’t even reviewed that series. I own it and I’ve read it, but my expectations for it were so high that I was kind of disappointed in the end.
Three years ago I was asking for Ao Haru Ride, Akatsuki no Yona, and Love So Life. We hadn’t even gotten Strobe Edge yet here in North America, and there wasn’t really any of AHR scanlated at that time. I hadn’t read those series in 2012, either. I chose those titles based on what I kept seeing repeatedly on the shoujo magazine sites. Those titles still haven’t been licensed today, and AHR and Yona have even gone on to get anime they’re so popular in Japan. AHR got a live action movie and now Strobe Edge too. So it kind of stumps me that these series that are shoujo hits in Japan don’t get licensed over here in North America. I thought maybe I was the only one feeling this way until I saw the reactions of others in the Anime News Network forum about the Honey So Sweet and Bloody Mary license announcements. Take a look if you have a minute.
Also after reading the responses one of the editors at Shojo Beat posted a response of sorts on the Shojo Beat tumblr that explains more about their license acquisitions. Biggest stumbling block is that people aren’t buying the books! Geez. We can’t get more if they don’t make a profit from them.
So what do I have on my wish list now? That’s what I’ve been asked a lot recently. So here’s a list of titles I’d love to see get licensed in North America.
Looking at my list, that’s 2 epic shoujos and everything else is slice of life. The only title I’ve read recently that’s supernatural is Watashi no Ookami-kun. Which is cute, but only has 1 tankoban out in Japan.
If you take a look at what has been licensed the past two years, you do see a trend. And it really does comes down to what has sold historically in manga here in North America. If I had to guess at which series have sold the best for shoujo in the states I’d pick Sailor Moon, Vampire Knight, Fruits Basket, Black Bird, Alice in the Country of XXX, and Kamisama Kiss. MAYBE Kimi ni Todoke and Skip Beat! are there too.
So let’s look at what has been licensed in the shoujo market the past two years:
Well, looking at licensing, I am a little more encouraged. Looks like North America is slowly following Japanese trends. I hope that it continues to. While supernatural series are highly sought after for licensing here in North America because of their ability to continually sell, the Japanese market seems to be putting out more slice of life series at the moment. That’s what’s popular right now, and if that’s what’s available then we’ll be getting more of those series as well. I think josei may be having a hard time in the NA market, and it comes down to audience size. Maki Enjoji and Tomu Ohmi are selling because the younger girls like those type of fantasy romances with bodice ripping smut. I’m kind of surprised there’s not an announcement for one of those since Spell of Desire will finish this year. There are a lot of josei titles I’d love to see get licensed, but publishers just aren’t willing to take a chance on them at this time.
Let’s say you have a title you just absolutely want to see published in English. How do you go about lobbying for it? There’s several factors involved when it comes to licensing, and it’s better to be prepared before you just ask randomly. Let’s say you want to request a shoujo title. If you want to request a license here’s a great checklist of things to know:
1. Which Japanese publisher does your series/title belong to?
Some of the US publishers are run by specific Japanese publishers, and Viz including Shojo Beat is one of them. They mostly work with Shueisha and Shogakukan. Those two are explicit for them, so don’t expect another publisher like Kodansha or Yen Press to license a title by Shueisha or Shogakukan.
2. How old is your title – what is/are the dates of publication?
Some publishers in North America only want more recent titles to help combat the likeliness of the whole series already being scanlated. Also, the more recent a series the more likely it is to be easier to translate/reprint because of technology and digital assets. It’s better to have a more recent title in mind, but older series and rescues are not totally off the table.
3. How long is your series/title?
Knowing how many volumes your title may be is good ammo for making requests. Shorter series tend to get licensed sooner than longer ones because of the loss of interest that may happen if it runs longer that 10+ volumes, and the amount of time it takes to translate and edit them. Some publishers don’t even consider titles that are longer than 10 volumes. So that saga series that is 28 volumes isn’t likely to get published in this market right now. (Unless it’s shounen.)
Also like I mentioned before, it’s good to know which Japanese publishers the US publishers can work with. Viz has exclusive rights to Shogakukan and Shueisha, so you can’t ask Yen Press or Kodansha to print one of those titles. If you want to know what publisher owns your series you can look it up on baka updates manga. A great resource I found for knowing which publishers to ask to license your title was from Justin on OASG.
Publishers are looking to hear from readers what titles they would like them to license. You can submit requests on most of their tumblr or ask.fm sites. I’ve submitted requests on Kodansha’s tumblr and Crunchyroll’s ask.fm. Twitter is a great way to contact publishers as well. Vertical recently did their online survey, but it’s now closed. The only one I know of that doesn’t really directly ask is ShojoBeat, but I think it’s because they get requests all the time without having to ask.