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?