Bjpalm§ MangaCast has news of SegaToys plans to reproduce 400 mini-manga collecting the works of Osamu Tezuka:

The books are truly mini in every sense including price. Each one of the books is 5cm wide by 6.7cm tall and between .7 to 1.0cm thick! The first set of 200 books will be priced competitively at 73500円 (around 368円 a volume).

SEGAToys is specifically marketing this to the collector sector of fandom. According to a press release .pdf they company is targeting males between the ages of 30~50 who would consider this a fine addition to their figure and collector item collections. Furthermore, as these books are under the 0 Magazine label they should be considered premium Tezuka items with only 3000 of this first set to be sold starting Jan 27, 2007.

Picture ganked from MangaCast — damn they are cute! WE WANT THEM ALL.

§ Meanwhile, ComiPress has a long article on the economics of producing manga in Japan. We’ve translated the currency using Google (rounding to the nearest multiple of 5) in the following portion so you can get some idea of the scale:

In the case of a weekly serialization, because in 2 months a tankoubon can be compiled, a 100-page monthly production rate = 2,000,000 yen.[$16,500]

Even putting together the costs of toner, pens and paper, the necessary expense is around 100,000 yen [$825]. The rent of the office is difficult to evaluate, but we can assume it’s about 100,000 yen [$825]. What requires the most money is the labor cost paid to the assistants.

1 chief-assistant 2 or 3 sub-assistants 1 background artist, it’s a group of 4 or 5 people.

When we include social insurance and even pension (considering such cases are frequent), for one person, 150,000 yen [$1235] should more or less be necessary. Moreover, in the case of the chief-assistant, due to his experience, it’s not rare for the cost to be 300,000 yen [$2475] .

If such salaries exist, and if the assistant start to work in their 20’s or 30’s, they can barely make a living (if they give up the idea of having a house, a wife and kids). So, the wage of a mangaka, counting only the labor cost, should be around 750,000 to 900,000 yen {$6185-7420]. If they have a weekly serialized story, with approximately 10,000 yen ($82) for each manuscript page, they should feel like they’re earning money.

In the case of a tankoubon publication, there will always be problems on the publisher’s side. Even with 10,000 copies, each costing 420 yen ($3.50), the sales would be around 4,200,000 yen ($34,630). Also, for tankoubon at the price of “New Book Edition”, the minimum circulation required must be 10,000 volumes. For example, “Norakuro” is an old manga, but it is being re-published in a splendid format. The front cover is a hard cover, and it’s boxed. The price for it at the moment is around 2,000 yen [$16.50] per volume, which is unreasonable.

We’re not sure how this relates to the American comics economy, but it has always been known that the need to pay all the assistants necessary to keep cranking out the pages keeps the average manga-ka from being as wealthy as you might think.

§ The Toronto Star finds out more about the artist behind that Manga Simpsons illo.:

Who says fandom doesn’t pay?

Nina Matsumoto is living proof. A few weeks ago, the 22-year-old Vancouver artist posted a piece of art she called Simpsonzu – an anime salute to the citizens of Springfield – to under her pseudonym, Space Coyote. The picture quickly rose to the front page of that site and then to several content aggregation sites like and throughout the blogosphere. Matsumoto’s picture became an instant meme, and as she jokes on her site (, she became “e-famous.”


  1. So the lead creator uses this $16k/month to pay himself and all his assistants? Do they get royalties when the serialized work is collected, or adapted to film?

    Why is $16.50 “unreasonable” for a “splendid format” hardcover collection? That sounds like a steal to me!