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News, reviews and features with a focus on manga, self-published works and a Canadian perspective. Enjoy fulfilling your Kuriousity!

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Archive for the Misc Category

Travel the CMX and Tokyopop Timelines with ANNCast

ANNCast - CMX & Tokyopop

ANNCast is always a must-listen for me over at AnimeNewsNetwork but they’re most recent two shows have been especially interesting for manga readers. I highly recommend listening to both:

ANNCast – Tarboxed and Feathered

“Justin and Zac shoot the breeze about some ANN business, and then it’s all awful blurays and the winter 2011 movie season. Then our guest shows up – longtime industry veteran Jonathan “Jake” Tarbox tells the story of his career up to this point, including his stint at Raijin Comics and DC Comics’ short-lived manga imprint CMX, and then takes your questions via Twitter. You can’t go wrong! “

ANNCast – Guy Kiley

“Former Senior Vice President of Tokyopop Mike Kiley is our special guest this week, and he runs us through his long and storied career at the shuttered publisher. We cover it all – the heady early days, the not so heady later days and the company’s untimely downfall. You’ve been waiting for this one!”

The manner in which DC handled choosing licenses for CMX was both fascinating and terrifying. It says a lot about the problems they faced over their years as a manga publisher and makes me more thankful than ever for the great titles we did get from them, some I know we’d never have gotten from anyone else (Key to the Kingdom – I love it, but really?). Knowing it was mostly done via a method akin to a dartboard shows how lucky we were for some. You could really tell things were tightening up over at CMX in its final year for selection and marketing though. It’s so unfortunate it was the beginning of the end.

This week’s ANNCast has Zac and Justin sit down to talk to Mike Kiley, Senior Vice President of the now no-longer-publishing-manga-until-I-see-otherwise, Tokyopop. He shares a lot about his experience with the company from the day it began up until his final days in their office. He’s a terrific guest and speaks very well with a lot of interesting info to offer. I was especially interested in hearing which series sold well and reasons for others not continuing, such as Kino no Tabi. I regret no one, myself included, thought to ask about Tokyopop’s boys’ love imprint, BLU, but it’s a minor quip in an otherwise great look at TP’s life start to finish.

Manga Out Loud Podcast Discusses Manga Digitally

Manga Out Loud - Going Digital

Manga Out Loud isn’t plugged nearly enough on my website – it’s definitely top of my giddy list when a new episode comes out. Ed Sizemore and Johanna bring on a whole bunch of fun and super-knowledgeable guests to discuss different manga titles and topics on the show, plus the two are a great podcast duo on their own. So go! Listen! Enjoy!

Ed and Johanna are also now the second crazy generous people to have me on-board for a podcast with this week’s Going Digital – a podcast where we all discussed different elements of digital manga: what’s out there, what we think of it and the pros and cons, among lots of other things. It was lots of fun and my thanks again to everyone there for having me. It’s a big bummer that my computer/internet wasn’t agreeing with me so unfortunately my sound quality is nearly inaudible at times. Witness listening however the power of a very patient group of podcasters! Once you’ve finished listening, Ed’s podcast post is worth visiting for the extensive show notes alone if you’d like to read more about digital manga and see lots of legal links to access it.

During the podcast I definitely took the pro-book over digital side (not that there were really sides, per say) and it was great hearing others thoughts on the benefits of digital access for them. It was also a big reminder how lucky I am to live in a city with a store like Strange Adventures and a dozen libraries. I’m sure I’ll embrace reading manga digitally more when/if I ever indulge in an iPad but I can’t see it ever taking the place of buying books. Would be neat for one-shots and longer test chapters though to determine buying new series less blindly. Time shall tell! If there’s one thing you can definitely say for digital manga, it’s that it still has lots of changes yet to come.

SDCC 2011: It’s All About the Digital


San Diego Comic Con 2011 is in its final hours today so its round-up time! As the biggest pop-culture convention of its kind, there were many bloggers on site to record all the details, so, while here on Kuriousity I’ll just be giving the brief run down of manga-related news, I’ll also be giving select links of where you can go to learn more.

Digital was the biggest news of the year. For everyone’s benefit, I’ll forgo my usual sad sighs and short rambles at the trend of more digital and less paper and skip right to summing up the news!

Edit (July 25th): More info re: Viz Media’s licenses added

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DelRey Confirms Cancellation of CLAMP in America

CLAMP in America Cancelled

A post over on the CLAMP_now community forums has confirmed what has long since begun to feel like the inevitable: CLAMP in America is officially cancelled.

“The title ‘Clamp in America’ has been cancelled. There is no tentative release date scheduled for this title at this time. The only pending volumes currently scheduled for release from Clamp are XXXHolic 17 in September of this year and XXXHolic 18 in December of this year.”

After initially being announced at San Diego Comic Con 2008, CLAMP in America was an informational and fandom oriented book about the manga group CLAMP and their history, influence and popularity in North America. It was (or would’ve been) written by Shaeon Garrity with interviews and input from fans, comic creators and CLAMP themselves. The book had been delayed every couple of months since then with no word from DelRey saying anything otherwise, until now.

This comes as a pretty big disappointment as I’d really been looking forward to it, both as a huge CLAMP fan and someone who enjoys Shaneon Garrity’s writing. That said, I’m not really surprised, especially since DelRey’s manga licenses recently shifted over to Kodansha Comics (with only XXXHolic currently remaining in their hands until it ends) and Dark Horse being the current CLAMP powerhouse with their omnibus editions. It’d be wonderful, however unlikely, if we could see the book shift over to Dark Horse; it’d be a great compliment to their CLAMP library.

Unfortunate and not the news we’d been waiting to hear but at least we’ve now heard something.

Time For Manga Publishers To Get A Tan – Ideas Wanted!

If you’ve made your rounds of the anime fandom over the years, you’ve no doubt come across a trend called “-tans”, where inanimate objects or companies are rendered as cute little anime-styled characters. The designs are based off the characteristics of the subject from physical appearance down to their ‘personality’. Some of the most popular examples of these are for game consoles such as ‘Wii-tan’, ‘PS3-tan’, etc. with a variety of different takes on the idea easily found around the web (with not all appropriate for all ages so warning!).

Why the brief pop culture lesson? Well I was thinking… what would manga publisher -tans look like? If you were to think of Tokyopop, Viz, Yen Press, etc. as little people, what would they look like? A business man? An excited fan decked out in merchandise? A classy connoisseur? A colourful combination?

I’m looking for your ideas, inspirations and fun brainstorming sessions – I’ll then be taking the most referenced qualities from readers and doing my best to give them some artistic life! Just a little fun during these snowy winter weeks. Or maybe you’ve seen or drawn your own? Feel free to share as well!

So how do you see a manga publisher getting a -tan?

Viz Media Launches New Website and Leaves Much to Be Desired

Viz Media 2.0

Viz Media is starting the new year with a brand new website! And that is sadly where my enthusiasm ends.

I’d stated a short while back that I’d be continuing with my publisher website reviews, a longer than intended hiatus previously taken after several companies requested I wait. Viz Media’s website, or their old one at least, was my newest completed review, a rather frustrating irony in that so soon after I finished did this new site go up. But I digress, this is about the new site and naturally after finishing a review of their old site, and thoroughly going through my likes and dislikes of it to myself, I had presumptuously high hopes that I may see some of my complaints already addressed in this version when I saw it was live.

Alas… Viz Media, what were you thinking?

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Year in Brief Review – Manga Favourites of 2010

It’s New Years Day! And that means the end of 2010 has come and gone – the end of the first decade of the 2000s’, the end of another year of fantastic comics (upon other many wonderful things).

Just for a little living in the past on this first day of 2011, what better time to look back at 2010 with some favourites, surprises, disappointments and neat website tidbits. Sure it would’ve made more sense to have posted yesterday but who has time with all those celebrations going on… right?

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Square Enix’s Manga Store – Digital Manga Not Quite There Yet

This past week Square Enix officially opened it’s online manga store. You can check out their press release for all the nitty-gritty details and of course visit their website yourself to have a surf around. In short, the company is offering volumes of the manga they hold the rights to through their site for a set price. The volumes, once purchased, are available to be read via a browser based reader on their site, a very similar set-up to Digital Manga’s eManga website.

Square Enix’s site has been in the works for a while and it offers up unique possibilities for North American manga readers with its selection of manga from different publishers, currently Viz Media and Yen Press. Unfortunately it’s launch has left some readers cold and I can’t help but look at it as an embodiment of many elements I think are what have been holding digital manga back. This isn’t meant to be anything against Square Enix specifically but browsing through their site got my brain going on the concept itself. It’s got some good things going for it but has some big scare-away first impressions for consumers.

For many in the same boat as I, the “can only be purchased by U.S. residents” is the big kicker and end-all right there but I’ll go forward looking at this as a more broad look at digital manga. WhileI share my thoughts under the cut, I’m interested in knowing what our readers here think of digital manga – yay or nay, why and how? What are you looking for in the format, price and content of digital manga?

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PR: PJT kicks off 2011 with the Cold Steel Redux Tour!

Pop Japan Travel kicks off 2011 with the Cold Steel Redux Tour!

Gardena, CA (December 8, 2010
) – After a busy 2010 that saw the company run more tours in a single year than ever before, Pop Japan Travel (PJT), the premier provider of pop culture-themed tours of Japan, is proud to announce their first tour on the 2011 schedule: the Cold Steel Redux Tour.

A variation on the company’s popular “Cold Steel” tour series, the 2011 tour will include a flight to the northern island of Hokkaido for the Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan’s largest and most popular winter festival. While in Hokkaido, guests will also be whisked to the Shikotsu Ice Festival for a fireworks display, shop in the city of Sapporo, and visit a traditional country hot spring. The tour then returns to Tokyo to visit the numerous attractions the big city has to offer, including Harajuku, Akihabara, and Shinjuku. Finally, for guests interested in exploring a different side of winter in Japan, PJT is offering a tour extension that goes to the Kamakura Festival in Yokote, Akita Prefecture, where local residents in giant igloos invite visitors in to visit and partake in traditional food, snacks and drinks. The extension also lets visitors have a crack at some of the finest skiing and snowboarding that Japan has to offer.

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Swag Bag – Monsters, Monsters and More Monsters

It’s Thursday! And that means new comics were out on comic store shelves yesterdat. There weren’t a whole lot of books I wanted out this week but I still left with a few gems I look forward to jumping into tonight. For consistency’s sake, I’m also going to aim to have these Swag Bag editions up consistently on Thursdays, the day after I buy the bulk of my books. Any I buy other days I’ll save up for the next week’s edition. Can I handle this simple schedule? We shall see!

Toriko (Vol. 03)Two of my current Viz Media favourites came out today – Toriko (Vol. 03) and Pokemon Adventures (Vol. 10) – stories of monsters of very different kinds. I really enjoyed the second volume of Toriko, though I do lament the art on the covers that leaves much to be desired. It’s hard to hold it up to people as say ‘Hey, you should read this!’ and get anything but a funny look in return. This new volume of Pokemon Adventures also marks the start of the new artist. I really loved Mato’s stuff though Satoshi Yamamoto’s look pretty nice upon quick flip through – very similar inking style and layout work, just a notably different lead artist. My real concern though is whose this new girl? Where’s Red and Yellow?! Things got some epic in volume nine! Ah well, we shall see how this pans out.

To round off my small but much-loved purchases, I also picked up the new collected edition of Thor: The Mighty Avenger – an incredibly charming mix of wit and hilarious expressions about the most lovable version of this character Marvel’s ever managed to portray (in my opinion of course). I also bought Dragon Sword and Wind Child, a young adult novel that was one of my absolute favourites when I was a kid so I was excited to get the chance to buy a new edition by Viz Media’s Haikasoru novel imprint.

Also with me today was my roommate who purchased a few extra snazzy books I look forward to borrowing. She bought the last two volumes of Shaman Warrior, a really well illustrated manhwa with epic fight scenes – I can’t wait to see how it ends! I’d forgotten about it for such a long while, I’ll likely go back and reread the earlier volumes first. My roommate also bought a new UDON release, the Darkstalkers manga Red Earth which is done by Mami Otou, the artist for the disappointingly-cut-short manga, Pilgrim Jager. Her art style really suits the characters so I expect this will be a fun read!

How about you? Pick up anything shiny today?

Take me back to the top!