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Manga Publishers and Me (Part 02)

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Today it’s part two of my little manga publisher look-ats. Part two shares my thoughts on Dark Horse, Seven Seas, Yen Press and ADV Manga. See here for part one.


Dark Horse (website)

Dark Horse is my go-to company for the mind blowing, both in price and in quality. I love their selection and anxiously await every new volume of Blade of the Immortal, Berserk, Mail, Shaman Warrior, etc. etc. From all the boys’ love, shonens and shoujos, it’s great to have some mature, violent, scary and downright meaty stories to sit down with. Dark Horse offers lots of substance in their selection, which has seen consistent and steady growth for years since the days of BotI and Oh My Goddess floppies.

I always enjoy the publishing quality of the books where it seems special care is taken into the way each is published, including interesting (and really nice) paper type and texture used for covers. It feels like part of the experience just holding the book before you even open it. That and they look just downright classy.

While I cringe each time I see the bill for these often more expensive books, I think it’s worth it in the end, even if it means I have to wait a little longer for my budget to allow the extra cost.


ADV Manga (website)

ADV… how much you have let me and so many others down. I thought they did a really nice job with the books they did put out so I have no faults with them for that. But where’s the rest of them? Thanks to cancellations many of the books on my shelves will never see completion. No more Rune Soldier or Your and My Secret (yay for license transfers!), among others, and perhaps one of the most devastating is the current teetering fate of the comedic gem, Yotsuba!. I understand things happen and we can’t all get what we want, but lack of communication with consumers, on-the-fence answers for far too long and the cancellation of too many series too far in have permanently stained ADV manga in my eyes. Which is sad because when they were putting stuff out, it was really good.


Yen Press (website)

Admittedly Yen Press didn’t make much of an impression on my radar at first. They had a few interesting looking titles but none that piqued my interest enough to order them. When they acquired Ice Kunion’s mahnwa titles, however, suddenly they had my attention as I’d been collecting a few, most notably One Thousand and One Nights.

Then through fortune and circumstance, I was in contact with Yen Press and have been really impressed with how nice they are. Nice you say? They respond to e-mails promptly, politely responded to my concerns and they even have a website that’s simple, informative and navigational! Crazy I know. But what about their books?

I’d had the pleasure of reading a bunch of their books now and have enjoyed many of them quite a bit. They have a good eye for stories, picking up some gems that I think would’ve easily been overlooked by other companies. Translation work is nice and the quality of printing is great, including lots of in tact full colour pages. Problems lie however in one particular area: gutter. Nearly all the books I’ve read some Yen Press suffer from cut-off problems with their gutter. In the large scheme of things, it really is a small quip but one I hope they can better learn to manage in time.

With a few highly anticipated releases including their upcoming Yen+ magazine, Yen Press may be a smaller company but it’s one worth keeping an eye on for some quality work buried under the big guys’ shadows.


Seven Seas (website)

I haven’t had too much experience with Seven Seas yet but what I have bought has been pretty impressive so far. I really enjoyed their print publication of the Aoi House series and thought they were great releases, from nice printing to lots of extra goodies including full colour comic inserts among other things. While some of the others titles of theirs I’ve picked up impressed me much less, it was the title and not the publisher that failed to capture me.

They also have an awesome website (which means a lot to me in case you can’t tell). Easy to find information on all their titles, an archive of reviews and extra content for several of their on-going books? Yes, yes and yes.

So as far as Seven Seas is concerned, thumbs up from me and I look forward to trying out a few different titles they currently have under their belts.


To be continued yet again. Next time it’s my take on some of the yaoi publishers out there so interested parties check back in the near future.

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Kuriousity.ca. Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.



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7 Responses

  1. gia says:

    It worries me how quiet Seven Seas has been. After their big announcements at Expo (new yaoi line and new kids' line), neither seems to have actually happened– the yaoi title was completely (and quietly) removed from their site. I don't think they've announced any new licenses since AX07, either (though I could be wrong).

    They've also had some serious delays: some of the novels they announced in September '06 that were due out in April '07 *still* aren't out, such as Vamp!, Kanokon, and Gun Princess. Some of their OEL– including one I'm very interested in, It Takes a Wizard, which was due April 08 –hasn't been released either.

    I think that the Tor alliance was supposed to alleviate some of the difficulties, but that happened back in January and I still haven't seen or heard anything from the company, in spite of my and others' (both press and fans) attempts to get in touch with SS. The company hasn't said anything about the aforementioned books, although they are regularly putting out others.

    They have a lot of really interesting titles I'd like to see come out and I think that their quality is good– but their lack of communication makes me wonder what's going on back there…especially since a company so determined to make a big splash at AX07 has been so amazingly quiet since then.

  2. Lissa says:

    @gia: All interesting, if not a bit disheartening to hear. Hopefully it's not another company slowly spiralling out from beneath us. Seems to be a popular trend lately, this maybe-we-are-maybe-we-aren't slow deaths of anime and manga companies.

    I forgot about Seven Seas' yaoi line, though it definately rings a familiar bell. Hopefully Seven Seas won't be another company people avoid for fear of starting a series that will never see completion.

    Maybe we'll hear something during this busy con season.

  3. gia says:

    Well, they're not on the exhibitor list for AX, but they ARE on the list for San Diego Comic Con, so here's hoping.

  4. […] Pattillo gives her impressions of several manga publishers at […]

  5. The problem with SS is the garbage they've been spewing for near a year now with regards to their distribution network. They've blamed everyone and everything, and they still haven't got a solid distribution.

    Tor firmly blame SS stating they can only distribute titles they have, if they havent got them they cant distribute them (kind of obvious). SS finally admited they had screwed up, but still refuse to give reprint dates for several titles, most noteably Kashimasi and Strawberry Panic.

    As a result they're forcing people to turn to scanlations. Frankly i think it's just a matter of time now before SS goes belly up. After all there have been roumors of financial trouble in SS for a while now, and they refuse to comment on it.

  6. DocWatson says:

    Pardon me, but you have Viz's logo on the ADV Manga review. ^_^;;

  7. Lissa says:

    @DocWatson: So I do! Whoops ;p Thanks for pointing it out! All fixed now ^^

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