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Manga Mortality Paints Bleak Picture at Media Blasters

Word comes from Robert’s Anime Corner Blog that Media Blasters has “indefinitely removed” from their schedule three upcoming manga releases – Gay’s Anatomy Episode 0, Drawn to Him (both boys’ love titles) and the sixth volume of Akihibara. (Thanks to Tina Anderson who initially posted the news on her Twitter account)

Schedules being pushed back and books being postponed is a fairly common occurence but outright cancellations aren’t as often, and rarely ever as upfront. So what does this mean for Media Blasters’ manga divison?

Well, they say no news is good news and it’s always felt like the company’s motto, having a nearly non-existant online presence and little interaction with its consumers outside of convention appearances. It’s obviously worked pretty well for them though as they’ve stuck around in the anime market for over a decade and have been releasing manga nearly as long. Still, 2010 has been a year of more news than usual and it hasn’t been good – first news of lay-offs in March and now book cancellations.

I’ve shared my thoughts on Media Blasters in the past but this among other things have really got me thinking about the company. I love them for their treatment of Yayoi Neko’s Incubus and their willingness to license (and have fun with) boys’ love titles of the more risque and silly variety. Still, the release quality of said books in recent years has dwindled significantly. Pick up a book from MB in 2004 and you had a professional looking package – pick up a book from MB (boys’ love in particular) after 2007 and yikes. Crimson Spell and Yokai’s Hunger, both popluar series with high-profile creators amidst genre fans, had some pretty shoddy treatment in regards to lettering and adaptation, especially comparatively to their older books. It’s a real shame.

During my recent trip to Anime North, I stopped by Media Blaster’s small booth several times in hopes of speaking with some of the company’s attending staff (and learned from those attending the table who weren’t with MB that I have the worst timing in the world). Though the table had a decent selection of their anime and live-action films, there wasn’t a single volume of manga on the table. I was both confused and a little disappointed, having seen their tables with lots of their manga in the past. It didn’t set off any warning bells at the time but maybe it should’ve?

Adding potential insult to possible injury, Media Blaster’s Sales & Marketing Director Alex Sena has also moved on from the company earlier in the month. It’s not evident if Alex was laid off or quit (stating they did find a job elsewhere in the publishing industry) but as one of the few contacts people had within the company, it was sad to see them go. That said best of luck to Alex in all future endeavours though!

Staff layoffs, cancelled books and a continuing lack of information don’t spell out good things for Media Blasters but the implications still remain all speculation right now. As a big fan of publisher-interaction and an avid internet user, I still think it’s not too late for Media Blasters to take some steps (like a simple workable website!) to put their manga-name out there to the more casual buyer and promote the series they have, many of which already have strong pre-existing fan-bases. I’m not saying it’s a fix all, but I like to think it definitely couldn’t hurt.

But is it getting to be too late?

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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10 Responses

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lissa, Thomas. Thomas said: RT @kuriousity: New Blog Post- Manga Mortality..at Media Blasters http://bit.ly/dvEvck [...]

  2. Aaron says:

    I heard this and it's sad I just hope this doesn't end up like what happened with ADV Manga and broccoli's Manga division because when those went under I had to wait until 2009 when Yen Press picked up the license to get Yotsuba&!. I shudder to think but hopefully everything will work out in the end hopefully…

  3. [...] that Media Blasters has apparently put three volumes on hold causes Lissa Pattillo to speculate about the company’s [...]

  4. Monica says:

    All this is just a sign of the times – a bad economy. What a major bummer.

  5. Ephidel says:

    Gah, I knew it had been delayed once before, but I was still hoping it would come out – the sixth volume of Akihabara@DEEP is the final book :(

  6. Erica says:

    I just spent some time at AnimeNext with Media Blasters. They are still alive and kicking. What they *aren't* is masters of modern communications.

    Yes, they laid off staff – mostly in the game and manga division. Therefore, their work in both their game Altiel and their manga line have been slowed. I don't want to stay stopped, because I don't know that, but I do know that neither is a priority right now.

    Media Blasters is not dead, rumors aside. What they are is lacking in public presence. They attend a gazillion events, and that, and their eBay store, are their major distribution streams. They aren't on Facebook or Twitter, they don't answer emails, but they aren't dead. They just aren't good at reaching out. If you stop by their table at any one of the gazillion events they attend, they are more than glad to tell you what's up.

    Their PR is behind the times. They have a mailing list. Sometimes they send out a press release when they remember to. Their website is always running a little behind. But they aren't dead.

    What they *are* is busy. They are at an event pretty much every weekend of the year. Find them at an anime con near you. That's where Media Blasters shows plenty of signs of life. :-)

  7. [...] Pattillo of Kuri-ousity picked up the “indefinite” removal of three manga titles by publisher Media Blasters from online [...]

  8. Tina says:

    They forgot to mention 'they aren't dead, they just don't know how to market the BL they license to fans' AND 'they just dropped some BL manga from their list because their lack of online presence in the fandom failed to build up interest in those books.'

    I don't want to hate on MB, I was very excited by their early licensing choices – but it seems to me they got into the BL game during a time when BL fans would buy anything just because it was BL. Now that fans expect more quality productions, and need more communicative publishers, MB is getting hit with fans loosing interest. :/

  9. [...] news of any upcoming manga publishing. Last we heard concretely from MB about their manga line was back in June 2010 when they cancelled a handful of their boys’ love titles. Stock on existing Media [...]

  10. [...] a catalog of about 20 yaoi titles and was planning a shift from shonen to yaoi. Three years later, it canceled most of those titles. Blogger Lissa Pattillo commented back then that quality had slipped quite a [...]

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