§ Daily Cross Hatch continues chatting with Paul Gravett and Nick Bertozzi:
Gravett: Exactly. And the point is, these characters—there’s nothing in Japan that’s been artificially kept alive this long, well past their sell by date, and this is one of the ways that manga has kept alert, saying, “what’s going on now in the culture? What do we want to talk about?” It doesn’t have to be completely topical an socially engaged, though. It can also be fantastical. Death Note is a good example. Clearly the stories very often get stretched on, way too long—we all know that Dragon Ball just kept going. We all know that they’re going to keep stringing it along, but we also know that eventually, in one form or another—maybe not successfully—it will come to an end, and there will be no one saying “we’re going to do a sequel,” because the artist has a relative freedom to do something for another audience. Another concept will come along.
§ ICv2 catches up with Tokyopop’s Mike Kiley:
The original English language stuff (I refer to that more as global manga, in this market it’s of course original English language) is the stuff that as a percentage year over year, from our perspective, is growing the fastest. When we began our grand experiment four or five years ago with the first Rising Stars of Manga contest in an attempt to grow our original IP program, we weren’t really sure what kind of obstacles we might be up against. At that point there was a lot of preference for certain kinds of material with certain kinds of pedigree on the part of fandom, and we knew we had a pretty tough road to travel in certain respects.
What’s become clear to us over the past couple of years is we’ve actually built series from scratch, whether they’re things like Princess Ai or Dramacon or I Love Halloween or Bizenghast, that are not only our top sellers, but regularly chart in prominent positions in Bookscan. As a percentage of growth year over year, those things are probably the fastest growing category in my opinion.