Tag-Archive for ◊ Yen Press ◊

• Thursday, May 03rd, 2012

So in commemoration of the Avengers movie opening tonight, I decided to browse through my old blog and pull up something that is no longer relevant. Note that this was written over six years ago.

Oh, and speaking of American comics… what’s with these Original English Language (OEL) manga that’s been filling up bookshelves in the manga section? Two years ago, I took it for a passing fad, but now every comic-book publisher appears to be releasing their own versions of “Home-Made Japanese”. Some of them steal the Japanese right-to-left format (I see no reason to do this since English should be read left-to-right.) and after reading the shitty stories within some of them I’m beginning to wonder if Americans are just trying to adapt all the wrong aspects of Japanese comics…?

The Hair
To quote the Shopping Blog on the thankfully-deceased Garnier’s Manga Head advertising campaign, “Looking for a wild new hair style? Garnier suggests a new style based on the popular Japanese Manga comics.” If you’re too new to the manga scene to have missed seeing the L’Oreal line making such beautiful asses of themselves, their “Manga Head” page featured images of poorly drawn dragonball-esque characters, possibly submitted by primary school students all across the United Kingdom, all with one unique characteristic: gravity-defying hair. Accompanying these awful flashy pictures were images of real people imitating the hair style with Garnier’s Fructis Style product.

So there we have it. Clear proof that one of the defining points of manga to the ignorant west are the buoyant hairstyles. There is a bit of truth to this; it would be be nigh impossible to find a manga in any shounen publication that does not make use of the pointy hair, the floating bangs or the middle antennae. However, fans of more true-to-life artist such as Ikegami Ryoichi(MAI THE PSYCHIC GIRL) and Marita Masanori (Rokudenashi Blues, Rookies) know this to be not true. […] Still, their knowledge doesn’t seem to extend beyond the scope of the hair.

The Eyes
If you were to make a comic and you wanted to call it a manga, but your Japanese vocabulary is very limited and you couldn’t draw a decent manga setting if hell came after you… how else could you affirm its status as a manga? The answer is of course, the eyes. Apparently having the eyes take up more than 40% of the face constitutes any drawn image as an official Japanese character. Sometimes giving them Japanese names like Sora, Tsubasa, Bob and the like makes them all the more authentic.

Big eyes are definitely a Japanese drawing trait, and it wouldn’t be a lie to say that the trend of bigger white:pupil ratio is influencing the drawing styles of many new and upcoming American comic artists. What separates them from the slew of other American manga-artists is that their work is still labeled “comics”.

So where exactly is the fine line drawn? I’m sure it must be the language barrier or in the inking. Maybe it is the Japanese’s heavy usage of tones to create atmosphere and moods, made obsolete in American comics because of our preference of having everything in color, or could it be…

The Setting
OELs are interestingly enough always about silly relationships, furries, vampires and goths, geeks, all of the above, or about the actual medium itself: Japanese anime and manga. In that sense, I guess there isn’t much differentiating them between their Japanese counterpart. Well, except for one thing….

The OELs are just fucking awful. A futuristic setting with samurais and gunslingers is fine… if you’re Japanese. If you’re an American, you’re better off making a story about Jedis. At least you’re playing on your own field then. It just doesn’t seem right. I used to expect class whenever I read American works, but these OELs are just killing me.

Americans are just too engrossed with making their comic more than just a “comic”, into something called “manga”, that they overcomplicate it with silly American wisdom when what they really need is something nice and simple. They could start off by making a decent story and calling it a comic. [M]any people in America have come to expect their manga to have depth (and pretty art), maybe with a slight scattering of humor throughout every chapter in moderate amounts to prevent it from becoming all serious and no play. The American “manga” I have read either take it too far with the humor, or go nowhere with the depth. It’s overall a bland read, and I sometimes stab myself at night so that I’d never pick up any american OELs again.

Anyways, It’s 6 in the morning and I’ve gotten sleepy. I’ll check back later and this post will seem very retarded in the afternoon.

And I now leave you with a picture.

Oh, so true...

• Sunday, December 25th, 2011

Very large book publishers Random House and Hachette Book Group have decided to support and lobby for The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the US. If SOPA or its backup bill Protect IP Act (PIPA) pass it will greatly change the Internet in many harmful ways for websites all over the web and their users. Random House handles distribution for both Vertical and the American division of Kodansha while Del Rey is a branch of Random House and Yen Press is apart of Hachette Book Group.

The Senate version is PIPA and SOPA is House of Representatives and if either passes it’ll include ways for the government to order American Internet service providers to block domain names of websites, payment services like PayPal to close accounts, search engines to modify their search results to not include sites, and ad services like AdSense from paying out to domains. Under SOPA Internet service providers gain immunity from blocking domains independently without request including if they’re blocking competitors if they themselves deem them as copyright infringing. Both bills would remove the provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that protects web hosts if they make an effort to remove copyright materials upon request. Variations of fee, lawsuit, and prison penalties for unauthorized steaming and downloading of copyrighted materials are there too. All without being under the public eye and without any method to counter or dispute it before actions are taken.

Protecting copyrighted materials for artists is one thing, but this is an extreme and dangerous addition to already existing laws and abilities that can already be used against piracy. Many law professors already have declared the changes unconstitutional as entire sites would mean even protected speech is suppressed, burden of proof is on the accuser, and people are innocent until proven guilty. A blog or user of a site would have to be careful who they’re linking to that the site has original content or permission from copyright holders even if the site just has photos of a vacation, fan art, and screenshots. SOPA also means toying with DNS of domains which could mean a less stable Internet or even less secure, but neither SOPA or its sponsors address this.

Discussion of SOPA and PIPA isn’t enough and along with registering to vote there’s more. Contacting corporations who support these laws, canceling orders with SOPA and PIPA as cancelation reasons, not buying products and services from supporter and their companies, and contacting your politicians are more examples of taking action.

If you see any information as incorrect or have more ways to take action, you may comment here or on the forums and this entry will be edited. Merry Christmas.

Contact Politicians
Phone & email at AmericanCensorship.Org including email for US State Department if not in US
OpenCongress.org pages for SOPA and PIPA
Contact Publishers & Distributors
Contact page for Random House
Vertical info@vertical-inc.com and specific employees
Contact page for Hachette Book Group

• Monday, September 28th, 2009
What an ugly cover.

What an ugly cover.

A recent article from Yen Press reveals the cover for the new English version of Spice and Wolf, and boy does it suck. Do people really buy novels based on the cover? Unfortunately, yes. It’s a rather shallow way of approaching literature; no, rather than shallow, I’d have to say contradictory… Therefore I can understand their reasoning behind why they would pull something so daft. Many people are less inclined to buy novels with anime characters on the cover, including myself. However, I’m sure whoever gets tricked into buying spice and wolf will feel betrayed upon seeing the inner illustrations, so I think pulling that move was rather stupid and unnecessary on Yen Press’s part.

Not to mention, I’m pretty sure a lot of potential buyers didn’t buy the Haruhi novel because the cover for the paperback sucked. Besides, even though the cover was not anime-oriented, they still stuck it in the “manga” section of every bookstore I’ve gone to. It seems everything is just working against these people’s genuine efforts to bring Japanese light novels to a wider audience. Oh well, I don’t think too highly of any of these children’s books to begin with, so I’m not too affected.

To be entirely frank, I’m not completely enamored of Spice and Wolf, and its elementary economics, or its token furry heroine. I don’t care if the series gets ruined because it got a horrible eyesore as a cover, or the fact Yen Press’s logogram experts can’t come up with a title design that does not look like some early 90’s RPG. Let’s just say, I’m content with what I see. Hah!

• Sunday, October 26th, 2008

This is where someone would say sorry for the lack of blogging, but it’s best to blog instead. Just a series of unhelpful events and uncertainty of life. There’s been a lot of good things this year.

Moon Boy returns – Yen Press took off as it announced many new series along with the manhwa picked up from ICEkunion. One of them being this adventure of rabbit and wolf people. Volume four had a September release and it can be found on Amazon for a fairly cheaper price.

The basic idea of the story is that these rabbit like people once lived on the moon, but were forced off and came to earth. It’s either that or be eaten. These people fit in society like normal, but many have no knowledge of this or their power. Myung-Ee Joo is the (loud…) main character who’s…okay stop. She’s not really the main character. The story pretty much drags her along with it.

Back to the basic idea. You have these loose rabbit people along with a fighting force called Rabbit Tribe who helps Myung-Ee Joo and protects Yu-Da Lee. Their goal is to save Yu-Da Lee from the foxes who believe they’ve completely wiped his mind and surround him everyday. Both sides are able to form swords either from fox claws or by the will of a rabbit.

Each volume comes with a small folded poster, the art is always styled, and the series gets straight into the fun and drama. There’s not really any character development minus learning about what one capable of and their different ways of not being serious. Publishers Yen Press and Orbit are now under one roof so now there’s going to be volumes of the Moon Boy series with three different logos and companies on it…

ADV and Tokyopop – Tokyopop licensed Mirai Nikki as Future Diary with the first volume in May 11, 2009. Other than that ADV and Tokyopop have been more of a pain than good. Tokyopop dropped Lagoon Engine, Beyond the Beyond, and others. ADV dropped Sergeant Frog and gave up after releasing 5 Centimeters per Second.

More? Yes and who knows what ADV Manga will do when and if volume two of Lagoon Engine Lagoon Engine Einsatz comes out. With Yotsuba&! being on hold and the big list of canceled manga from ages ago…Gamerz Heaven, The First King Adventure, and Rise R to the Second Power as examples. ADV tossing out both the profiting Newtype USA and the poorly thought PiQ anime magazines.

Mirai Nikki from Tokyopop? No thanks.
Kaiba was a crazy adventure, Yozakura Quartet is animated, Kyo no Gononi has a new series, a cosplay magazine comes to the US with a large massive hard cover, and Soul Eater became popular.

Where’s the hard cover of Q Ko-chan volume two, though?

Next year maybe Geneon will return, Lolifox the web browser will make a come back, Letter Bee has a TV series announcement, and more Japan based comic publishers will cross the sea themselves to other countries. Guess this entry serves more of what to expect in future writings (but hopefully easier to read and coherent).