Otakon 2011: Industry

The presence of industry at events such as Otakon has been evolving and changing over the last couple of years. Instead of focusing on what is coming out now, which is still done, there is a shift to talking about streaming or the next big thing. This was driven home by Sunrise running their own panel this year. While there were no huge announcements from Otakon (which we’ve come to expect with Anime Expo and San Diego Comic Con in the same month), there was still much to talk about.

I have mostly decided to follows Patz’s philosophy and avoid going to industry panels unless I have a burning question that needs to be asked. With so many bloggers and news sources reporting and commentating on industry panels as they happen there is little need for me to show up. The nitty-gritty will be available for everyone to see as soon as it is announced. This lets me sit back and pick what I want to comment on. I like that approach.

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IKKI: Online Manga Website, Sig Hansen, Sig Sauer, and now Sig Ikki

Considering the favorable reaction to our review of the Bandai manga website we decide to tackle VIZ’s Signature brand web site IKKI. When I sat down to start work on the review it was if the Gods themselves were trying to tell me this was the correct course of action because a bombshell news announcement made this review 1,000 times more relevant: a coalition of Japanese and American manga publishers joined together to take legal action against 30 scanlation sites. The interesting side debate that came up is what are the manga publishers doing to fill a void that would be created when these sites are shut down. With this question on everyone’s lips I think it the the prefect time to examine what VIZ is doing with IKKI.

When VIZ started the IKKI website it was an experiment to see what they could do to join in the digital revolution. Now it a growing community that is still improving itself, finding new solutions, and hopefully becoming a destination for readers. The Signature brand isn’t that broadly known for VIZ, but it has gotten plenty of critical praise, so with this site the leap into trying to attract more of the main manga crowd has begun.

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The Manga Counter-Revolution

hisuiconIf you have attended a number of industry panels at the major anime conventions in the last few years you will remember an insistence on there not being a manga bubble. The rapid growth of the U.S. manga industry was the natural pace of a maturing market and that while there might be a slowing of growth there would not be a crash. And here in 2010 we see the end of Go! Comi and CMX, layoffs at VIZ, and uncertain futures for Del Rey, Tokyo-Pop, and Aurora. It seems there has been a manga crash after all.

Over the last few years there have been major changes in both the anime and manga industries of the U.S. While the anime industry was (is) unstable, the manga industry had been on a steep incline with more and more companies entering the market and a huge library of titles gracing shelves. But maybe manga was just playing catch up to its older brother.

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