Comics, Manga

Shinbun Saturday: Eluding Government Bans and Facing IP Laws

Queen Emeraldas. Story & Art by Leiji Matsumoto. Kodansha.Classic science fiction manga coming to North America

Move over, Udon Entertainment. Classic manga fans were granted a boon this past week at Otakon with Kodansha announcing their licensing of 1978 series Queen Emeraldas. The series follows Hiroshi Umino as he sneaks onto a spaceship to escape from Earth. It will mark Queen Emeraldas’ first translation into English, and readers will be able to pick up the first of two giant volumes in July 2016. Each volume will be over 400 pages long, and published in hardcover format.

Princess Jellyfish to return to serialization next month

In other Kodansha news, Princess Jellyfish mangaka Akiko Higashimura will resume her shoujo series in the magazine’s September issue. It will alternate with Higashimura’s other series Tokyo Tararareba-jo! each month. Kodansha will also be bringing Princess Jellyfish to English-speaking readers in February 2016.

Death Note. Story by Tsugumi Ohba & Art by Takeshi Obata. VIZ Media/Shuesha.Chinese fans circumvent government ban

Earlier this year, the Chinese government drew global attention from the comics industry when it banned 38 manga series. Included among the titles are Attack on Titan and Death Note. But where there’s a will, there’s a way! Chinese fans have flocked to Sina Weibo, a microblogging site, to discuss and share links to banned series. It’s proving effective: posts on the #DeathNote hashtag have been read more than 100 million times. Yet more proof that the best way to get people to read something is to ban it.

New Intellectual Property Protections Could Spell Disaster for Doujinshi

Never heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement? Don’t worry. Until today, neither had I. Now why would a free trade agreement between multiple countries be of interest to manga fans? Easy. If the agreement is signed, it will strengthen intellectual property protection to such a degree that it could threaten the existence of Japan’s Comic Market, aka Comiket. For those who don’t know, Comiket is a huge biannual event where artists sell their self-published manga–many of which are fan comics of copyrighted works. These fan comics, or doujinshi, have served as the breeding ground for up and coming mangaka for years. CLAMP got their start drawing Devilman and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure doujinshi. Because of this, mangaka and publishers have tolerated Comiket’s existence; the TPP could potentially change all that.

Attack on Titan continues to dominate

Earlier this month, Kodansha announced that more than 2.5 million copies of the post-apocalyptic adventure series are now in print. Hardly a surprise when it’s spent almost 2 years on the New York Times bestseller list! Now for some perspective: while the figures are impressive on this side of the world, the latest volume of the manga moved 1 million copies in its first week of publication in Japan alone.