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It’s a girls, girls, girls, girls world!

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ICv2 reports that new manga glut is coming this fall:

The number of new manga series launching in September, October and November has reached a new high according to the ICv2 Guide #45: Anime/Manga, which reports that 87 new series are slated to debut during those months. In the manga market report covering the second quarter of 2007, ICv2 reports that, according to retailers and distributors, sales of yaoi manga are growing, but not as fast as the number of yaoi releases, which could indicate the possibility of a logjam in the marketplace this fall since 32 out of the 87 new series are yaoi properties.


Is anyone concerned? Not really. The forecast calls for shakeouts and corrections not implosions. However, the word that the well-received EDEN published by Dark Horse has not been selling well leads various manga commentators to reach a shocking conclusion: Seinen manga — that is books aimed at older men, 18-35, traditionally the sweet spot for the superhero industry — just don’t sell very well here.
SaysEd Chavez:

Endo Hiroki’s EDEN, quite possibly the best title of 2007 (if it isn’t then Endo’s Tanpenshu might be then), is on the verge. Sadly not becauses it taking the world by storm as it should, but the title is not seeing the numbers it should get. And in this day and age that is not something any manga fan, EDEN fan or not, wants to hear. I have never heard a comment like that made at a panel before, so for a fan like myself it really sent a message as to how much DH loves that title and how much it needs help, as well. I never want to see a title discontinued or put on hiatus and generally when they do suffer such fate fans of the series are often the last to know. This time though DH made those at AX aware and the ball is now in the fans’ court.

Kethylia has an even more brutal conslusion

Anyway, the bottom line is simple: Seinen is not widely marketable or profitable in the US right now, and the quicker the boys acknowledge and accept it as The Money Pit of Manga Licensing, the better off we’ll all be.

Brigid rounds up the rest of the commentary.

Woman are consumers…who knew? Maybe this Minx thing has a shot.

  1. Maybe Seinen doesn’t do well because those 18-35 year old men don’t know about it. Sometimes ya gotta tell people there’s a party goin’ on before ya wonder why no one is showin’ up!

  2. As has been said, I’m not entirely sure it’s ‘Women’ thing as much as a ‘Girl’ thing or even just a Youth thing. Josei has likewise been relatively unsuccesful as has most manga aimed primarily at an older audience or, indeed anything pre-late 90’s. While there’s no denying the majority of the manga and anime audience is female, there’s also no denying they’re around 14-16 and tend to favour the more YA stuff/cuter stuff over the more chick-littish Josei or violent Senin. Yaoi arguably being a new face on an already extant fan culture that, due to it’s having an existing term and thus an appearence of exotic acceptability (yaoi as opposed to slash) that allowed it to flourish.

    Also, it’s worth noting the stuff that’s doing especially well tends to have an anime backing it up. Which most Senin or Josei titles simply don’t. So, while there is a prevailing female audience, I question the ‘femaleness’ being the entire driving force as much as the relative youth of the fandom.

  3. I’ve been looking for Eden Vol. 7 for weeks at my local book stores and comic shops. I’ve also been looking to any promotion for the book. Both have come up short.

  4. Kwesi K, have your local boosktore or comics shop order it. The Dark Horse boards has a list of Eden ISBNs on this thread:
    http://www.darkhorse.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=11733&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

    Get used to ordering books that you really want. Come September with the Naruto Tsunami (3 volumes a month for 4 months), who knows what will be orderd by retailers and what won’t? The only way to be sure you can find the manga you want is if you order it.

  5. It’s all well and good to tell Kwesi to simply order the books he wants; in fact, I bet he could just order it through Amazon or someplace else online and get it cheaper and faster than telling his retailer to order it.

    But that advice doesn’t work for me. I’m not very knowledgable about manga in general; when I look at those rows and rows of manga at Barnes & Noble I have absolutely no idea what I should try. I can’t keep track of what the terms yaoi or senin and josei etc mean.

    I’d like to try out some manga, but I have a hard time finding the entry point to find material I might like. It’s funny, because it’s actually the same problem that non-fanboys complain about with the mainstream comic book industry!

  6. I was solving a problem of somebody who was looking for a particular book.

    If you’re looking for an entry, that is an entirely different question.

    If you’re burning to try some manga, you can always go to the library and see flip through what’s there. You’re local librarian may even be able to point you in the right direction. Or you could go to manga sites and blogs to see what publishers and fans are talking about. Heidi links to manga occasionally, but you’ll probably find more links on Journalista.

    The genre vocabulary takes time. I wouldn’t worry about it until you find a couple of titles you like. Instead, concentrate on the art and kind of stories you’d like to see– Slice-of-life, martial arts action, graphic horror, etc.

    This is probably not terribly helpful, but I don’t want to completely derail the thread.

    Simon–I’ve been lettering manga for a long time and I’ve also noticed that what sells has an anime tie-in. I was hoping that when manga boomed some of the things I work on would pick up in sales. But that hasn’t happened yet. It’s definitely an awareness issue.

  7. Like CBrown says,

    You know, most manga being published looks the same. It’s formatted the same, it’s sized the same, it’s all shelved and smushed together at the bookstore without distinction for genres or markets, and almost every character – seinen, shojo, shonen- they all have that anime ‘moeh’ look.
    As a casual reader I couldn’t tell which ones are seinen or whatever. Maybe it would help if the main manga publishers could convince bookstores to use a genre/market-specific shelving system, then promote accordingly.

    and Dark Horse: two years between volumes of Hellsing? For shame.

  8. Seinen manga — that is books aimed at older men, 18-35, traditionally the sweet spot for the superhero industry — just don’t sell very well here.

    There’s your solution: the itch that’s scratched by seinen manga in Japan is scratched by superhero comics in the US. There is no gap in the market for seinen because the consumers most likely to find it appealing already have their needs catered to.

  9. While ordering over the internet is usually my last result, my point was that if DH is having problems moving titles like Eden, it may be due to how little exposure it has in the mainstream world as opposed to titles that get cross promoted with anime and a blitz of media representation.

    Even more so if people who have been keeping up with it are having problems getting current volumes at places where they could easily get it before. I live in a triangle of 3 comic book stores and a flurry of book retailers who reward my business with discounts that make online convinces irrelevant. It’s a shame that I can’t simply go out when I want and pick it up like I have since vol. 1 came out.

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