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License Requests and What’s Getting Licensed

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.



Shojo Beat License Requests



Laura: What titles would you like to see Viz license?



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.

My Wishlist

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.

  • Ao Haru Ride – Io Sakisaka: Just finished in Japan and is complete at 13 volumes. (No excuse, Viz.)
  • Akatsuki no Yona – Mizuho Kusanagi: Ongoing and is at 16 volumes. (long- possibly why we’re not getting it)
  • Akagami no Shirayukihime – Ongoing and is at 12 volumes in Japan. (long – same as Yona)
  • Haru Matsu Bokura – Anashin: Ongoing and is at 2 volumes in Japan.
  • Kedamono Kareshi – Saki Aikawa: Ongoing and is at 7 volumes in Japan. (possibility it could go on for a while)
  • Love So Life – Kaede Kouchi: Ongoing and is at 15 volumes in Japan. (couple reasons we’re not likely to get it)
  • Namaikizakari – Mitsubachi Miyuki: Ongoing and is at 3 volumes in Japan.
  • Orange – Ichigo Takano: Ongoing and is at 4 volumes in Japan. (We’re getting this digitally on Crunchyroll. I’d just like hard copies)

  • 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.



    Licensing Trends

    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:

    2014:

  • Manga Dogs
  • Love at 14
  • Black Rose Alice
  • My Love Story!
  • Kiss of the Rose Princess
  • Phantom Thief Jeanne (Rescue)
  • Spell of Desire
  • Yukarism
  • Millennium Snow
  • Honey Blood
  • He’s My Only Vampire
  • Sword Art Online – Aincrad
  • Wolf Children
  • Demon From Afar
  • Ani-Imo
  • Milkyway Hitchhiking
  • Attack on Titan: No Regrets
  • My Little Monster
  • Say I Love You
  • Alice in the Country of Joker
  • In Clothes Called Fat
  • Vampire Knight: Life (Digital)
  • Orange (Digital)
  • Kiss Him, Not Me (Digital)
  • 4 titles by Moyocco Ano (Digital)
  • Trends in 2014:

  • All but one series licensed by Viz have a supernatural element.
  • 2 new names from Viz, 2 from Yen Press, 2 from Crunchyroll, 2 from Kodansha
  • Kodansha took a risk on My Little Monster and Say I Love You and it payed off.
  • The slice of life series mostly came from Kodansha, with one slice of life from Viz – My Love Story!, and one from Crunchyroll – Orange.
  • Vertical gave us one new josei title from Moyocco Anno.
  • Moyocco Ano now has the most licensed josei works (Counting Vertical and Crunchyroll.)
  • The only 10+ volume series are coming from Kodansha.
  • 2015:

  • Meteor Prince
  • Requiem of the Rose King
  • Let’s Dance a Waltz
  • Komomo Confiserie
  • First Love Monster
  • Ancient Magus’s Bride
  • So Cute It Hurts
  • Alice in Murderland
  • Demon Prince of Momochi House
  • Emma (Rescue)
  • Maid-sama! (Rescue)
  • Idol Dreams
  • QQ Sweeper
  • Bloody Mary
  • Fairy Tail Blue Mistral
  • L-DK
  • Angel of Elhamburg
  • Kiss Him, Not Me (Print version)
  • Boys Over Flowers 2 (Digital)
  • Trends in 2015:

  • More slice of life series this time: 3 coming from Viz, 1 from Yen, and 2 from Kodansha.
  • Again 2 new names from Viz, 1 from Yen, 2 from Kodansha, 1 from Seven Seas
  • Viz is actually getting a simultaneous release with Boys Over Flowers 2 which would be the first time they’ve done a simultaneous title for girls – but it’s officially a shounen title, so I don’t think it should count for shoujo even though the prequel is shoujo.
  • The only series for sure over 10+ volumes are L-DK from Kodansha and So Cute It Hurts!! from Viz.
  • No josei series licensed for 2015.

  • Conclusions

    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.



    License Requesting

    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.

    What about you? What license would you like to ask for?






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    Laura

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    Super mom and teacher until the kids go to bed, then romance manga addict and writer until the caffeine wears out! Specializes in the shoujo and josei genre of manga and anime.
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    23 Comments

    • I really loved your article there are a bunch of serine i’d love to see on american bookshelves. i’m noticing where getting a lot more series recently.
      Such as Haikyuu!! and The Water Dragon’s Bride, a lot more series are seeing English release. Now one in particular I could think of, Its a verily old manga so the chances of it getting licensed are very slim, but recently I’ve been reading Gakuen babysitters. Its super cute and the characters are fantastic. It’d be really amazing if something like that could get licensed in English.

    • I absolutely adored Love So Life, and I’d like to see Taiyō no Ie (House of the Sun), Kore wa Koi no Hanashi (This is a Tale of Love), and Faster Than a Kiss licensed too– I’m a sucker for age gap slice of life! 😊 Btw, do you think there’s a big enough audience here in North America to get any of those published? What do you think about the popularity of age gap stuff?

      • I know a lot of girls who enjoy the age-gap series, including me. One of my favorites right now is Tsubaki-Chou Lonely Planet. There have been a couple we’ve gotten licensed here in NA – Dengeki Daisy and Black Bird come to mind. As for slice-of-life age gap, it’s not so lucky. Mostly because slice of life is harder to get licensed because it doesn’t sell as well here in North America. The publishers definitely shy away from teacher-student age gap because it is a moral taboo in North America, which is why I think Faster Than a Kiss doesn’t have much of a chance.

    • I would also like to see these series get licensed someday!

      Shoujo :
      – Love so Life
      – Kare wa Diablo
      – Twin roll
      – Koisuru Harinezumi
      – Tiara (Manwha)
      – Kaichou-kun no Shimobe (One of my fav’s ever!)
      – Sensei Kunshu
      – Love attack (Would like it to get relicensed with all 13 volumes)

      Others:
      – Tanaka-kun Wa Itsumo Kedaruge
      – Gakuen babysitter (So cute~)
      – Fukigen no mononokean

      Boy’s love:
      – Super lovers (Shounen-ai)
      – Recipe No Oujisama
      – Radical Blood Monster
      – Kare No Tokubetsu Na Kare

      There are lots more boy’s love manga’s i would like, but many won’t be likely to ever get licensed, so I’ll just hope for atleast Super lovers since it’s a my favourite shounen-ai! And there are a LOT of shoujo’s I keep finding that are just worth getting licensed, I seriously hope some of these will get licensed

      • and the BL: kore wa koi ni fukumare

    • Great article! I personally would love to see atleast one of these 4 shoujo’s licensed someday.
      – Haru matsu bokura
      – Last game
      – Hibi chouchou
      – P to JK
      But I’m still glad with the new titles that are getting licensed. I’ve seen some great new series getting licensed by Vizmedia, hopefully I’ll get to see one of these series get licensed someday!

      • Wouldn’t it be great if we got those? I’ve read all of them, and really enjoyed them as well. Last Game is just ending, and I love P to JK which is getting a live action movie. That’s another age-gap manga, though. I’m looking forward to more announcements coming this summer and fall. Hopefully I can mark some more of my requests off the list.

        • Oh! I didn’t know P to JK was getting a live action movie, I can’t wait. I’ll definetely will go watch it!and I seriously loved Last game, still a bit sad that it’s coming to an end but it was totally worth the read. I hope there will be more great announcements and that some can be crossed off of my list, can’t wait for more licensed series!

    • I’ve just really gotten back into watching television let alone anime and rally reading way more manga. I always thought that if the anime was out then the manga would be out in English as well. It’s such a bummer to really get invested in an anime and not be able to finish the story later. Knowing that the manga is still going on in Japan.

      -The World is Still Beautiful
      – Brother’s Conflict
      – Snow White with the Red Hair
      – Wolf girl and the Black Prince

      Are very high on my list!

      • Snow White with the Red Hair was a huge miss on the publishers locally. I think it would have sold well had we had it in a timely fashion with the anime. There are many others that have missed the “window” to be marketed well here in North America. It’s really sad.

    • Dame na Watashi ni Koishite Kudasai and Monokuro Shonen Shojou…. Oh and Torikagosou no Kyou mo Nemutai Juunintachi…. And yes I’ve been waiting for that one for ages. Monokuro is one of my all time favorite manga’s as I am an idiot and can’t help but love that ridiculous idiot Ukyo. While I haven’t done ENOUGH research to figure out who prints what in Japan I can only say one of the reasons I stopped buying Manga was when Tokyopop went under and retained all of their licensing for a great deal of manga I was looking forward too. The last two volumes of Millennium Snow are the first copies of manga I’ve purchased in a very long time. You know with age comes the ability to attempt to put more into something like your collections but when your favorite stories are being overlooked it’s a bit of a drag.

      • I agree. I wish someone would license Dame na Watashi ni Koishite Kudasai, especially with it getting a live action movie. It’s by the same mangaka who wrote Lovely Complex, or LoveCom, for those who aren’t familiar with it. Seems like a possibility for Viz, but no telling. They did license Tanemura’s josei title.

        I really like Monokouro Shounen Shoujo as well. I like all of Ryouko Fukuyama’s works. I reread what I have of Fukumenkei Noise just last week.

    • Loved reading your article 🙂 I would love to see Daytime shooting star, Tsubaki-Chou Lonely Planet and Nijiiro Days licensed. Im really glad that Horimiya one of my favourite mangas is now being released in english.

      • Thanks for commenting!
        I know there are sooo many others who would second your requests for Mika Yamamori’s works. Like Ao Haru Ride, Daytime Shooting Star got completely scanlated as well, so I’m not sure how publishers would take that. Now would be the time to license Tsubaki-Chou, though. I’ve got Nijiiro Days on the radar since they’re making an anime of it – it could become a possibility. Horimiya was one of the better licenses we got this year, IMO. 🙂

    • I would love if both Boku Girl and Nisekoi Doumei would get licensed in English because they are currently my two favorite manga and I’ve gotten pretty fond of both series. I researched and found out that Nisekoi Doumei is licensed in English and it’s a digital manga if i’m correct so I don’t know how it works when it comes to digital manga but i would hope that after the whole series is completed that the publisher would license it to be released in the US.

    • 😀 Very nice and interesting article. Thank-you!

      What I would LOVE to see published in English is Taiyou no Ie. It was recently completed with 13 volumes, and won the 38th Kodansha Manga Award for best shoujo. It’s a wonderful piece with lovely artwork, and a heartwarming story.

      I saw your post about Akatsuki no Yona the other day… I’m absolutely thrilled that it is finally getting licensed!! Bless you VizMedia xD I know some guys who follow this series, which is awesome.

      • I like Taiyou no Ie as well. The only thing I can think of that might be an obstacle for that series is the age gap relationship. Like in Faster Than A Kiss – which is older male teacher / younger female student. That seems to be a thing that publishers shy away from licensing. Kind of sad too, because there’s a lot of good shoujo series that include that – Love So Life and Daytime Shooting Star and Tsubaki-Chou Lonely Planet to name a few more.

        Hallelujah for Akatsuki no Yona!! I’m so excited we got that license! Makes me want to say, “About damn time, Shojo Beat!” There have been a lot of popular series in Japan that we haven’t gotten licensed. I’ll be shocked if we get Akagami no Shirayukihime. Then I can’t say the red-haired princesses are elusive anymore. 😀

    • Really enjoyed this article…thank you for writing it. I’ve mostly given up hope for many of my favorite series ever being published in English. (I’ve been emailing Viz about Ludwig Kakumei for years now..lol) but was heartened to see Kodansha pick up Princess Jellyfish (just announced this last month.) I will admit to reading scans online because I can’t read Japanese very well, but just because I read scans doesn’t mean I wouldn’t purchase the actual print copy if it was licensed and sold here. (I’d be so poor but it would be so worth it lol.) Anyways I love Shoujo and Josei titles.

      Some of my wish-it-was-licensed series include:
      Ludwig Kakumei
      Sora Log
      Dear!
      Tsbubaki-chou Lonely Planet
      Ludwig Kakumei
      Last Notes
      Yume no Shizuku, Kin no Torikago
      Akaiito
      Hiyokoi
      Koisuru Harinezumi
      Watashi no Ookami-kun

      Rescues:
      V.B. Rose
      Swan

      • Hello! Thanks for commenting – I love to hear about what the audience is reading as well!

        Looking at your list there, I like any would enjoy several of those titles as well.

        Akaiito is one of my favorites from Sho-Comi. I really love Koisuru Harinezumi as well – it’s too cute! And like I mentioned above, I adore Watashi no Ookami-kun. I even bought the Japanese volumes of it.

        Did you know that Tokyopop had the license grants for Hiyokoi but they never got a volume published before they folded? I kind of doubt that mangaka will make a deal with another publisher on that series. Which is too bad because it’s really cute too.

        You know, V.B. Rose was one of my favorite series from Tokyopop and I’m really sad it never finished. Banri Hidaka has some really great work. I hope that she’ll be willing to work with a U.S. publisher again.

        Thanks again! It was really interesting to write this article and I’m hoping that publishers will listen to the readers a little more and not base licensing on what’s worked in the past.

    • GREAT and insightful article. It really is a shame that we hardly get any titles. Mostly because it seems that the male audiences support shonen exclusively. Thankfully, there are true men lol out there who do give shoujo a fair chance-Chibi Reviews, The Black Critic and Immortallium on Youtube to name a few. Chibi adores Kamisama Kiss and Spice and Wolf and Ao Haru Ride, which goes to show that even guys can appreciate shoujo. I am grateful that Viz has licensed Kamisama because looking at how it is at 21 volumes in Japan and still ongoing and Viz has continued to release them, I am beyond grateful. I buy every volume and have even spent my money on new titles this year(Angel of Elhamburg, Requiem of the Rose King, Meteor Prince, Ancient Magus’s Bride, Komomo Confisire, Emma, Maid, Emma) because I want Viz and other companies to see that shoujo sells. And I know that you also do the same, so I honestly have to thank you for your support! Girls need more to choose from. We read shonen and shoujo, but most guys would balk at the idea of giving series aimed for females a chance. That is saddening, especially since our culture is becoming more accepting of embracing both genders.

      If more popular Youtubers would talk about shoujo and more people actually bought them instead of reading scans we might have sway on licenses. It annoys me that girls who only read scans could complain that more shoujo titles aren’t released in English when they don’t bother to support them.

      Great post and I am sorry for this long rant.

      • Viz put a chapter of My Love Story!! in their Weekly Shonen Jump anthology as well as the crossover chapters with Nisekoi so I think it would be interesting to see if that has affected the sales/demographics of the series. Shojo Beat listed it as one of the titles that is doing relatively well for them which I’m glad about as I think it holds a universal appeal.

        • I’d like to see if that has encouraged more male buyers as well. I would anticipate My Love Story doing relatively well, but it’d be interesting to see sales data. 🙂

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