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Yaoicon 2011: Viz Media Launches SuBLime BL Imprint

Viz Media Announces BL Imprint Sublime

It’s Yaoi Con this weekend and that means good stuff for boys’ love fans! The big anticipated news of the con is Viz Media expanding their manga offerings into BL territory. Credit for the titles below goes to @debaoki who attended their panel.

Viz Media’s new boys’ love imprint is called SuBLime. Viz currently has a placeholder website up at SublimeManga.com, as well as Twitter and Facebook acounts. The line-up is in partnership with Animate (Japan’s largest anime/manga retailer) and Libre (Japan’s largest publisher of BL) but Viz Media noted that the partnership isn’t exclusive. This means they can license from other publishers which means ‘license rescues’ from other groups is not out of the picture for fan-favourite titles.

Speaking of which, their first license announcement was a rescue indeed – Tarako Kotobuki’s  Love Pistols. The title was originally published by Tokyopop’s BL imprint, BLU.

The full list of titles are:

Love Pistols** – Tarako Kotobuki
Husband & Honeymoon** - Minami Haruka (December 2011)
Ousama no Bed** – Sakae Kusama (January 2012)
Sweet Pool** – Nitro_CHiRAL (February 2012)
Shizuku Hanabira Ringo no Kaori** (Vol.01-02) by Toko Kawai (April 2012)
Devil’s Honey** by Isaku Natsume (May 2012)
The Night Before the Wedding** – Kou Fujisaki (May 2012)
Do You Like an Adult Teacher?** – Kiu Aion (June 2012)
Droplets of Desire** – You Higashino (August 2012)
Three Wolves Mountain – Naono Bohra (August 2012)
Honey Darling – Norikazu Akira
Punch Up – Shiuko Kano
Aitsu no Daihonmei – Suzuki Tanaka

Now that is an impressive (and lengthy) launch line-up of titles!

Three Wolves Mountain (Vol. 01)In December 2011, SuBLime will begin putting up their digital-only releases (**), all of which will be available worldwide. This in contrast with their recent Shonen Jump Alpha news which was restricted to those residing in North America only. Interestingly, these digital releases will be sold as downloadable PDFs that readers can then load onto their various eReader systems and not require the internet to read. This is a big step forward for people feeling they ‘own’ digital manga they purchase, though there are no details yet how they plan to prevent piracy of the material. They are aware of the potential issue though and will “re-evaluate the model” should buyers start illegally spreading the downloads. The cost for each release will be $5.99.

In June 2012, SuBLime will begin releasing select titles in both digital and print. The first confirmed is also coincidentally my absolute favourite and most-anticipated in the list, Three Wolves Mountain. Other confirmed print titles will be Honey Darling, Punch Up, and Aitsu no Daihonmei. They’ll be released at $12.99 each.

News of the largest English manga publisher releasing boys’ love comes as exciting news, especially since their widespread distribution should make it easier for fans to get access to the niche material. Digital-only titles still make me sad as a print-lover but SuBLime is starting strong with promising publishing methods and titles for all BL fans. It’s fantastic to hear some titles will still make it to print at all; I was worried this was going to be a digital-only imprint when I first heard of it.

The prices of SuBLime books look really good compared  to what we’ve seen for similar material as well. From a digital perspective, it’s also great seeing Viz Media marketing more adult-targeted material to a platform that’s still most accessible to the 18+ demographic who have the most access to things such as credit cards and eReaders/tablets.

Overall, I’m really impressed by this launch. Titles ranging from softer to hardcore, a bunch of fan-favourite creators and a good balance of digital and print releases. Nice work, Viz Media! I’m eager to see the first releases this December.

Viz Media’s BL line was originally ‘revealed’ back in June when Viz Media put up a lising for a BL/Yaoi Editor. They’ve since hired The Yaoi Review‘s Jennifer LeBlanc for the position. In more recent hints, artist Kano Miyamoto posted on her Twitter account that some of her books would soon be published online by Viz this past Thursday (though she was not one of the artists mentioned in this opening launch). Viz Media’s recent reveal they licensed the remaining volumes of Yun Kouga’s Loveless also served as a good stepping stone to their BL announcement two weeks later.

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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14 Responses

  1. Nana says:

    Digital-only? Wow that is so disappointing. Not something I would ever buy.

    • Lissa says:

      Only some are digital only though. If BL print fans rally and really support the titles that do see print, we should see even more! I\’m really glad the Naono Bohra title made the print-cut for a start and I\’ll be buying all the other print titles to show my support :)

  2. Lila says:

    Judging from the price tags for the print titles of 12.99, would it be safe to assume that these titles would be given something similar to Viz's Signature treatment? As in larger size and other sorts of wonderful goodies?

    As much I want to support the print side, I would love to know if my money was being made worthwhile:)

    • Lissa says:

      Someone asked SuBLime Manga staff on Twitter that question and their answer sounds like the books will be the same size as the standard Viz Media titles, so the same as their Shonen and Shoujo titles. I\’m not sure yet if they\’ll include colour pages but it\’d certainly be a snazzy extra!

      I\’m glad Viz Media is able to keep the prices at a reasonable $12.99 for print though. BL is unlikely to sell close to the numbers their more mainstream titles do so they need to offset the cost somehow. This especially since even some of their popular titles have had increases in cost over recent years to make up for different factors. Still, the more people buy, the cheaper each book becomes – so who knows, we could really surprise them and help ourselves at the same time ^^

  3. [...] of Viz’s yaoi imprint, SuBLime. Deb Aoki was live-tweeting the panel, and Lissa Pattillo rounded it all up with some good commentary. Viz rescued one title, Love Pistols, which had previously been published by Tokyopop under their [...]

  4. [...] publisher Libre. And some of the volumes will be published in print form. Lissa Pattillo has a good summary of the news, including a list of the 12 titles that Viz announced this weekend, at her blog, [...]

  5. madao says:

    Thanks for the comprehensive report! The pricing is quite fair for the digital titles so it might induce me to check out digital for the first time. There are many titles I’m looking forward to, especially Miyamoto Kano and hopefully more Akira Norikazu, though I’m disappointed by how many more titles have been announced for digital release over print. I’m thankful for the Love Pistols rescue and hope to see it in print someday!

  6. Nie says:

    So disappointing to see more publishers going down the route of only doing digital releases. I refuse to buy that…
    I hate that several of the titles I’d like to buy are digital only, especially Love Pistols, a manga I really wanted but missed out on buying from Blu since they’d gone out of print when I was about to buy them. And Devil’s Honey and e few others.
    I’m really pleased to see that Three Wolves Mountain, Honey Darling, Punch Up and Aitsu no Daihonmei seem to be in for a print run at least. I love those titles.

    I’ll support them in the print releases, but I refuse to pay them for digital releases. If I give them my money then I want a proper, physical, copy that I can read even if my computer crashes.

    • Lissa says:

      I\’m not a fan of digital either but I much prefer it being there as an option rather than \’not at all\’. That\’s what it would mean in instances like these too – Viz Media can\’t afford to license and print those books when the buying market is still pretty small. But they can afford to publish digitally so at least BL fans have the choice. When it comes to digital versus nothing, digital will always win in my book whether I read it or not :)

      Impressively, and to their credit, these digital releases are a downloadable PDF copy, which is really rare these days since it\’s so easy to steal (why some people ruin it for the rest of us drives me batty!). That means you can save it and read it on your smart phone, eReaders, tablets, laptops, computers, and back it up by burning to a CD or harddrive so no worries about losing it in a tech crash! That they\’re offering it for everyone around the world, and it allows for reading digitally without the internet, really shows they\’re trying to offer the most convenient and requested digital experience they possibly can. Print for the win but kudos for the strong digital effort; I know a lot of people are really excited for it.

      • Nie says:

        Yes, it’s better than nothing and the way they’ve gone about it is commendable in many ways. (Especially in how they’re not being as North America-centric as companies often are.) But I’m still afraid that many companies will completely stop releasing proper books if they feel that digital gives better and easier profits.

        I am in rather a fortunate position though, since I do read japanese (not terribly well, but well enough). That means that, as much as I’d like to support the release of manga in english, I do have the option of buying the japanese printed editions. (Though the cost of importing to my country is ridiculous.) And I think I’ll rather do that than support the digital releases, because I worry that it’ll increase the possibility that more books get digital-only releases and we get fewer proper books. And I, personally, don’t want to support that. I will, as I said, buy their paper releases though. (Vote with your wallet and all that.)

        But yes, I appreciate that I’m in a priviledged position and that for most people digital is better than nothing. That doesn’t mean I don’t get to voice my personal disapproval though.

  7. [...]  It seems that the ANN article was not enough and Lisa Patillo has some answers to my questions [...]

  8. [...] further info, please do check this site. Share this:DiggFacebookStumbleUponTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  9. [...] read a title through a connected viewer. It will also be DRM-free, a welcome choice. Based on this panel report, digital copies will be [...]

  10. [...] – Viz Media’s BL publishing partner – was at the show, marking the one-year anniversary of their original start-up announcement and greeting fans with a nice list of new [...]

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