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Answerman - Since When Can Publishers Other Than Viz Publish Jump Titles?


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Lord Geo



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:13 pm Reply with quote
Well, to be fair, Seven Seas doesn't seem to be the one contacting Shueisha (or even Akita Shoten) directly, as every volume of releases like Yuuna or Saintia Sho, or even the various Go Nagai manga (which would be Dynamic Pro) all state in the back (along with the translation credits) that they were licensed with the assistance of a company called Tohan Corporation, which had also apparently helped companies like TokyoPop & Media Blasters arrange licensing rights for titles like Arm of Kannon (a Gentosha title) or Samurai Man (yet another Akita Shoten title) years ago. I remember seeing something similar with TokyoPop's release of B't X, which credited a company called Tuttle-Mori Agency (&, checking ANN, this company also helped TP with a bunch of CLAMP manga, too).

Really, in the end, it's all about connections, and it looks like Seven Seas has found some connections via Tohan that are helping them gain access to publishers they likely wouldn't have been able to work with on their own. As Deb states, Viz obviously has right of first refusal still, but hopefully this can only open up more titles being given a chance here, since we don't need to rely on Viz for "everything" from Shueisha or Shogakukan anymore.
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CatSword



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:13 pm Reply with quote
Love the fact that Seven Seas was able to get these coveted Jump titles.

Also, it's not like Viz never tried ecchi - it just simply was almost never successful for them, because they didn't know how to handle it. The "mature content" stickers (which Seven Seas doesn't apply) might have cost them some sales but had to be there to protect their reputation. Furthermore, they dealt with controversy over initially censoring I''s (before deciding to release later volumes uncensored with their dreaded "mature content" sticker) and didn't finish publishing Strawberry 100%. The likely reason Pretty Face made it all the way through was because it was only six volumes.


Last edited by CatSword on Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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samuelp



Joined: 25 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:19 pm Reply with quote
Lord Geo wrote:
Well, to be fair, Seven Seas doesn't seem to be the one contacting Shueisha (or even Akita Shoten) directly, as every volume of releases like Yuuna or Saintia Sho, or even the various Go Nagai manga (which would be Dynamic Pro) all state in the back (along with the translation credits) that they were licensed with the assistance of a company called Tohan Corporation, which had also apparently helped companies like TokyoPop & Media Blasters arrange licensing rights for titles like Arm of Kannon (a Gentosha title) or Samurai Man (yet another Akita Shoten title) years ago. I remember seeing something similar with TokyoPop's release of B't X, which credited a company called Tuttle-Mori Agency (&, checking ANN, this company also helped TP with a bunch of CLAMP manga, too).

Really, in the end, it's all about connections, and it looks like Seven Seas has found some connections via Tohan that are helping them gain access to publishers they likely wouldn't have been able to work with on their own. As Deb states, Viz obviously has right of first refusal still, but hopefully this can only open up more titles being given a chance here, since we don't need to rely on Viz for "everything" from Shueisha or Shogakukan anymore.

Tohan is one of the book licensing agent companies in Japan (like Tuttle Mori, the first and biggest one... There's a great piece about its founder and the history of licensed manga for those curious: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2018/05/27/general/will-digital-piracy-ruin-future-manga/#.W5LA-egzbAQ )
Seven Seas _most definitely_ talks directly with Shueisha, shogakukan and all the other Japanese publishers, but the contracts often have to go through agents for historical or business reasons.
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OjaruFan2



Joined: 09 Jul 2018
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:20 pm Reply with quote
Looks like the whole rumor of Viz Media being the only North American manga publisher with access to Shueisha and Shogakukan titles is entirely false. That's good.
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configspace



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:55 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Shonen Jump and Shonen Sunday. that have been built up a reputation with readers, librarians, booksellers and comic shops as having primarily teen-friendly content.

But To Love-Ru and Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs are shounen, published in WSJ (and Jump Square for TLRDarkness) and thus are supposed to be teen-friendly Very Happy
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st_owly
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:05 pm Reply with quote
configspace wrote:
Quote:
Shonen Jump and Shonen Sunday. that have been built up a reputation with readers, librarians, booksellers and comic shops as having primarily teen-friendly content.

But To Love-Ru and Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs are shounen, published in WSJ (and Jump Square for TLRDarkness) and thus are supposed to be teen-friendly Very Happy


Japan and the West's definition of teen friendly are not the same.
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TarsTarkas



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:34 pm Reply with quote
st_owly wrote:
configspace wrote:
Quote:
Shonen Jump and Shonen Sunday. that have been built up a reputation with readers, librarians, booksellers and comic shops as having primarily teen-friendly content.

But To Love-Ru and Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs are shounen, published in WSJ (and Jump Square for TLRDarkness) and thus are supposed to be teen-friendly Very Happy


Japan and the West's definition of teen friendly are not the same.

Most definitely.
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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:22 pm Reply with quote
samuelp wrote:
Tohan is one of the book licensing agent companies in Japan (like Tuttle Mori, the first and biggest one... There's a great piece about its founder and the history of licensed manga for those curious: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2018/05/27/general/will-digital-piracy-ruin-future-manga/#.W5LA-egzbAQ )
Seven Seas _most definitely_ talks directly with Shueisha, shogakukan and all the other Japanese publishers, but the contracts often have to go through agents for historical or business reasons.


That makes sense. I just don't tend to see Tohan or Tuttle-Mori listed in the copyright/translation sections of most manga, but I guess that's because most of the publishers here in America are already partially (if not wholly) owned by a Japanese publisher already, so there's likely no need to involve those two agencies in those cases. I'm sure those two are mentioned much more often in other countries' manga releases.

Quote:
Looks like the whole rumor of Viz Media being the only North American manga publisher with access to Shueisha and Shogakukan titles is entirely false. That's good.


I wouldn't say that it's completely "false", but rather more a case of it making more sense to work with other companies. Years ago, when manga was a smaller market, Shueisha & Shogakukan probably thought that Viz was enough to work with, since the manga industry here wasn't that big in general, so they likely did turn away other companies, barring some exceptions like Dark Horse (or that time Vertical did a Shueisha manga, because the creator personally asked for that company to release it in English).

Today, however, with manga regularly outselling even the biggest names in American it'd be insane for Shueisha & Shogakukan to turn away offers from other companies, because now they likely see manga as being big enough that Viz can't possibly be enough for them.
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katscradle



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:13 pm Reply with quote
This goes for any kind of exclusive business relationships, it would really, really be unfortunate if others did not have a shot at licensing something simply because all businesses have their own constraints and preferences.

Quote:
a given manga also has to make sense for their overall brand and be a good fit for their line-up of titles. While VIZ may publish some titles that have “mature” content with violent action or horror scenes (see Terra Formars or Junji Ito's manga), or Boys Love manga (for example, BL manga on their SuBLime Manga imprint) they tend to shy away from outright ecchi / sexually explicit content, especially on imprints such as Shonen Jump and Shonen Sunday. that have been built up a reputation with readers, librarians, booksellers and comic shops as having primarily teen-friendly content.


VIZ also built its reputation by censoring a lot of titles it released across all age demographics and imprints for a variety of content, not just sexual. (Sans SuBLime AFAIK they just don’t license something if there is a content issue.) Lots of publishers have done the same but, VIZ were likely the biggest in this regard. Some of their titles still have caused little dust ups out in the wild too, along with being a good size company that can make you a target. So they probably have a bit of a reason to be paranoid. VIZ is still to me one of the most cautious publishers of Japanese comics in English. Though, their way of doing business has clearly worked well.



CatSword wrote:
The "mature content" stickers (which Seven Seas doesn't apply) might have cost them some sales but had to be there to protect their reputation. Furthermore, they dealt with controversy over initially censoring I''s (before deciding to release later volumes uncensored with their dreaded "mature content" sticker)


Been a long time since I heard someone mention I"s. I can barely remember any details myself. Just some line about fitting the criteria of the US audience. But, sometimes an advisory sticker/logo is not something the publisher decided independently. It can be a requirement of the book buyers for stocking the title. Even if a title had warnings on it or, was rated higher did not necessarily mean the contents were in line with the Japanese edition either. I have at least one title from VIZ that was shrinkwrapped and has all kinds of warnings but, was still too much to be published uncensored in English.
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Shay Guy



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:03 pm Reply with quote
The article really doesn't posit any answers to the biggest question that jumped out at me from the submission: "Why might Viz, which had right of first refusal, have turned down Silver Spoon, a popular manga from the creator of Fullmetal Alchemist"? (And Yen Press's license took quite a while too, six years into the series and three years after the end of the anime.)

One theory I have is another branding issue; "agricultural high school" isn't skeevy like the Jump titles mentioned, but could still be hard to figure out how to sell. The other is license price. And of course, it could well have been a mixture of both.
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configspace



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:50 pm Reply with quote
st_owly wrote:
configspace wrote:
Quote:
Shonen Jump and Shonen Sunday. that have been built up a reputation with readers, librarians, booksellers and comic shops as having primarily teen-friendly content.

But To Love-Ru and Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs are shounen, published in WSJ (and Jump Square for TLRDarkness) and thus are supposed to be teen-friendly Very Happy


Japan and the West's definition of teen friendly are not the same.

Ok yes I was being sarcastic. But parts of the west outside of the US, or outside of the Anglosphere, seem ok with it:
https://www.amazon.de/Love-Ru-Darkness-Blu-ray/dp/B0791XV7KB/
https://www.amazon.de/Testament-Sister-Devil-Departures-Blu-ray/dp/B07CXBXMKJ/
To Love Ru Darkness and The Testament of Sister New Devil Departures (OVA) are rated age 16 in Germany and so are not adult-restricted. This coincidentally is in line with Seven Seas' older teen rating for their ecchi titles

katscradle wrote:
CatSword wrote:
The "mature content" stickers (which Seven Seas doesn't apply) might have cost them some sales but had to be there to protect their reputation. Furthermore, they dealt with controversy over initially censoring I''s (before deciding to release later volumes uncensored with their dreaded "mature content" sticker)


Been a long time since I heard someone mention I"s. I can barely remember any details myself. Just some line about fitting the criteria of the US audience. But, sometimes an advisory sticker/logo is not something the publisher decided independently. It can be a requirement of the book buyers for stocking the title. Even if a title had warnings on it or, was rated higher did not necessarily mean the contents were in line with the Japanese edition either. I have at least one title from VIZ that was shrinkwrapped and has all kinds of warnings but, was still too much to be published uncensored in English.

To my knowledge Polemon is still censored by Viz, previous Naruto volumes still are, Dragonball still is, despite the "uncut" label (which they later admitted to), and Bokurano is still censored despite it being labeled "mature".

I'm glad that Seven Seas does not use warning labels to ruin the front covers for any of their manga at all. One can get age info on the back if needed.

Shay Guy wrote:
One theory I have is another branding issue; "agricultural high school" isn't skeevy like the Jump titles mentioned, but could still be hard to figure out how to sell. The other is license price. And of course, it could well have been a mixture of both.

I can understand the marketing/selling aspect, but does the license price really matter? Since Viz is wholly owned by Shogakukan-Shueisha their budget ultimately comes from the licensor themselves and likewise money flows back to the parent corp


Last edited by configspace on Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:58 pm; edited 2 times in total
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classicalzawa
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:57 pm Reply with quote
Since others can, in fact, publish SJ titles, I really really hope that Ed Chavez's new company, Denpa, will get Space Adventure Cobra. Ed's personal love of this manga is well known (way back when, he actually tended to cosplay as Cobra at conventions!) and now that he's not under anyone's thumb, I hope he can pursue publishing Cobra! (For everyone, not just him! But mostly for me!)

Speaking of "Denpa", did anyone play that 3DS eshop game Denpamen? It's pretty fun and cute! And every time I see the new company name, it reminds me of that game Wink
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Angel'sArcanum



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:37 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, I always wondered even back to when Gate 7 and Blood Blockade Battlefront from Jump Square were picked up by Dark Horse when other Square titles were put under the Shonen Jump label (Tegami Bachi, Blue Exorcist, Seraph of the End, etc), so I figured Viz had a sort of direct partnership with Shueisha and Shogakukan almost like the American divisions of Japanese companies like Aniplex and PonyCanyon and had license priorities over other companies, though I guess on that note, titles from those Japanese companies had been given over to American distributors not immediately connected before, so I guess there's leeway. It's jarring to me with Jump especially though, because that was like THE manga magazine over here, and that label was like a special brand connected to all these titles, had a kind of special air to it, and then you see Gate 7 or B3 on shelves that qualify but don't have the label on them, then the Dark Horse logo and it feels so weird
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Cave



Joined: 02 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:29 pm Reply with quote
katscradle wrote:

VIZ also built its reputation by censoring a lot of titles it released across all age demographics and imprints for a variety of content, not just sexual. (Sans SuBLime AFAIK they just don’t license something if there is a content issue.) Lots of publishers have done the same but, VIZ were likely the biggest in this regard. Some of their titles still have caused little dust ups out in the wild too, along with being a good size company that can make you a target. So they probably have a bit of a reason to be paranoid. VIZ is still to me one of the most cautious publishers of Japanese comics in English. Though, their way of doing business has clearly worked well.


This. Definitely. They are by far the biggest culprits of manga censorship in the states so much so that I stopped buying from them a while back and only recently started again. Well, only WSJ and Platinum End monthlies.

Not only do they censor, but their translations in the past were also horrific (I couldn't believe what happened to Prince of Tennis, which I was obsessed with back then) and their continued butchering of art by replacing SFX (I'm really amazed they still do this). Even recently, they censored and completely cut a page from Robo x Laserbeam. It really amazes me 10+ years later they still continue this nonsense.

It is nice to get a simulpub of most of WSJ each week, but I'm really glad to see other publishers get some Shueisha/Shogakukan titles. It would be nice if a better company were able to take over it altogether.
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darkestabsol



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:39 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, I had questions about how Yen Press got Silver Spoon rather than Viz. Not that I'm complaining, since it's finally getting released of course.
On a side note, this gives me vague hope, however slim and infeasible, that someone might pick up Magic Kaito despite Viz seemingly having no interest. (Which is fair enough, given Aoyama's other work, Detective Conan, never did especially well in English.)
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