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Love Hina, ComiPo! Creators Discuss Future of Manga

posted on by Gia Manry

The 2chan.us fan blog posted a five-part English translation of a discussion between Love Hina/Negima! creator Ken Akamatsu and Kentaro Takekuma, co-creator of the Even A Monkey Can Draw Manga manga series and of the ComiPo! manga creation software. In the conversation, originally posted on the Japanese ITmedia website, the two men discuss what they see as the future of manga. Japanese writer Masahiro Yamaguchi conducted the interview.

Highlights from the conversation include:

  • Akamatsu and Takekuma agree that publishers seem to look down on using a free ad-supported model, instead seeing the print business as the sale of publications. However, both see the ad-supported model as a potential opportunity.
  • Akamatsu revealed that J-Comi, his free ad-supported manga distribution project, brought in 525,000 yen (about US$6,370) for creator Mayu Shinjo, and that he is currently working with Google to create a web viewer with "dynamic advertising" for the project. Akamatsu also acknowledged that while the "big names" might make considerably more than this, he still feels that for most, "even 50,000 yen" (about US$607) per volume would be "something to celebrate."
  • Akamatsu notes that the Wonder Festival model kit event uses one-day licenses to deal with copyright issues involving fan projects based on other works, and that Comiket dōjinshi (self-published works) event does not do the same.
  • Akamatsu indicated that translated versions of J-Comi! are currently in the works.
  • Takekuma noted that J-Comi! is primarily restricted to manga series that are no longer in print with a mainstream publisher, and then revealed that 10 years after Shogakukan canceled Even A Monkey Can Draw Manga he asked them to officially declare the series "out of print" so that he could publish it elsewhere. Shogakukan responded by reprinting the series.
  • Takekuma revealed that he had a stroke shortly after the reprinting of Even A Monkey Can Draw Manga.
  • Takekuma discusses how manga artists' page rates — the fees charged for creating a single page of manga material for a magazine — generally stayed constant over the decades despite the rising costs of living. He also revealed that one unnamed publisher currently does not pay higher than a 50,000 yen (US$610) page rate.
  • Takekuma notes that publishers and editors are noticing individual talents at conventions like Comiket and online websites like pixiv.
  • Akamatsu claims that editors at magazines running major titles are too fearful of making corrections to those major titles. As a result, the editors are not developing the necessary skills to guide new artists.
  • Akamatsu said that he has “no intention in betraying” his print publisher Kodansha by releasing a new manga series through his J-Comi service.
  • Update: Typo fixed. Thanks, CliffSaos.

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