Anime Central 2003 Sunday Industry Panels
Company Representative: Kei Blue
Four new manga have been acquired. These are: Nanaka 6/17, Complex, How to Catch an Angel, and My Grandma is an Idol. All four titles will be released in bimonthly graphic novel form at a $10.95 price point. Nanaka 6/17 will be released starting in October, with the other three following in November.
IC will be developing separate imprints,or labels, to market and distribute their various titles under. "White Rose Comics" will be the imprint used for the shoujo titles, and others will be created for horror and shounen titles.
AmeriManga volume 1 has sold out. Upcoming issues will include the work of a minimum of ten artists each and will be packaged with various extras such as stickers and posters. Five new titles are set to start appearing in the upcoming issues: Dust Bunny (the winner of the AmeriManga Mini Comic Contest), Zombie King, East Coast Rising, Tiger Crash, and Phoenix Sage Saga. Regardless of how much it expands, Ms. Blue explained that there are no plans to increase the price of AmeriManga from the current $7.99 an issue. Depending on their popularity, individual AmeriManga titles may also be released as standalone graphic novels.
The Digi Charat graphic novel will be released sometime in August 2003, at a $10.95 price point. A graphic novel collection of the first year of the webcomic Real Life is set to be released shortly.
Ms. Blue made an interesting comment regarding future company plans. According to her, I.C. is currently engaged in a limited partnership with an anime production subcontractor, working on an anime title to be announced at a later date.
Finally, she commented that the manga D.N.Angel has possibly been licensed for U.S. distribution by a company other than I.C. This however remains unconfirmed.
Company Representative: Carl Horn
Carl Horn had one new Anime acquisition to announce for Viz, the Flame of Recca TV series. Viz also has the rights to the Manga and will be releasing it shortly (see below).
Inu-Yasha has been dubbed through episode 65.
Maison Ikkoku will be released in boxes of 3 DVDs each, beginning July. Viz anticipates releasing a new box every 3 months, but is still uncertain. Assuming 12 episodes per box (the first volume has 12 episodes), it will take 8 boxes to release the entire 96 episode series.
The first Corrector Yui DVD is set to be released in July, with subsequent volumes following every-other-month. The first two volumes will have 5 episodes, while the subsequent 4 volumes will have 4 episodes each (6 volumes, 26 episodes, 5/5/4/4/4/4).
Additionally, Viz distributed a pamphlet confirming that they hold the licenses to the Boys over Flowers anime (rumored several months earlier) as well as the Flame of Recca anime.
New Upcoming Manga releases:
Boys over Flowers (Hana Yori Dango)
Flame of Recca
Discussing the growth of the North American market for Manga, Carl made the remark that, "For years, manga has been the little brother of anime" but now starting to prove itself as an independent, viable industry. He cited as an example, several titles that are being released in North America before their Anime, or that don't even have Anime. Examples amongst Viz titles include Basara (an Anime exists, but no one has announced a license yet) and Tuxedo Gin (no Anime adaptation yet).
An additional point made was that the Japanese manga industry is seeing an increase in sales in 2003 for the first time since sales started dropping after a high in 1994.
Boys over Flowers and Excel Saga have release dates set. The first volume of each will be released in July, followed by another volume in August, and then subsequent volumes (volume 3 and on) will be released every-other-month (ie: October, December …).
On the topic of Excel Saga, Viz has been given permission to “improve” the Manga by its original creator, Koshi Rikdo. When Excel was published in Japan, there were certain things that Rikdo could not include in the Manga, for example, “the City of F” is actually the city of Fukuoka. In Japan it would not have been acceptable to slander the city's name in such a way. The Viz release of Excel Saga will take place in Fukuoka, not “the City of F.”
Viz is working on the Phoenix manga right now (Viz has published 2 volumes of Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix to date, A tale of the Future, and Dawn). Interestingly, the translation of Phoenix will be based off of a 1977 fan-translation by Fredrick Shodt. Viz is working from Xerox copies of Shodt's work.
Viz will be releasing Shonen Jump titles in graphic novel format priced at $7.95 a volume. Other (non-Jump) graphic novels will range in price from $7.95 to $12.95
Viz will also be re-releasing various Manga, including titles that were previously flipped, in their new smaller format. Examples mentioned by Mr. Horn include Maison Ikkoku, Evangelion (probable), and One Pound Gospel (possible). For the Evangelion manga, they want to go back and correct some errors in Viz's original run and add some additional material that was not included the first time.
It's possible that Viz will release the Urusei Yatsura manga , if Takahashi's other mangas are popular enough (Inu Yasha, Ranma, etc)
The outlook wasn't quite so bright for fans of Viz's Pulp label. Outside of it's current titles (ie: Banana Fish), Viz currently has no plans for the label. Mr. Horn said that he would like to work on similar adult orientated content in the future.
Viz currently has 70 employees… a few more than Manga Entertainment.
Note: Viz has actually published 2 volumes of Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix to date, A tale of the Future, and Dawn.