manga bookshelf

Recalibrating the Manga Radar

Sorry for the recent radio silence, but in addition to non-internet demands on my time (and there are a few) I was also a tad hesitant: I posted the Manga Radar report each week (with each new set of Manga Bestsellers) but wondered if any of them [and there have been 10 so far] were accessable to readers and were of value.

I think I’m presenting some valuable information about the manga market from a unique viewpoint, but as has been pointed out to me, it is also merely another long list of manga titles without much context. *I* get the context because I spend a lot of time wading through the data to compile & post the manga bestsellers but my understanding and intuitive grasp of the market is, well, far from intuitive.

In seeking out feedback from manga mavens on twitter, the primary complaint was that long lists of manga titles tend to be eye-numbingly dull. I recognize the complaint, and the rationale behind the complaint, but long lists of manga (properly sorted) are kind of my thing. It’s what I do.

I do, however, take reader feedback to heart (especially when I specifically asked for feedback and all but cornered a few folks until they gave it up) and so I will endeavor to not only provide context for the long lists, but also to break down the lists into more manageable, digestible chunks.

There is a lot of value in the data I have. Perhaps you missed it, but these are books that fans want so much they have preordered them online—I don’t actually add a book to my database until it sells, somewhere, online. In looking at how new titles are preforming as preorders—how many volumes are preordered, how far in advance, and how strongly in relation to other available manga—publishers may get clues to the performance of titles not available from other sources, fans might get clued in on new titles that weren’t previously [cough] “on their radar”, and perhaps most valuably: retailers with limited resources have an objective source—recommendations backed by actual data—for items that they should perhaps order into their store. This was one of the points I wanted to make in the recent sales analysis post and now I’m making it explicitly: My bestsellers track online sales—following the pulse of fan demand—so if I see preorders for new volumes 6 to 9 months out it might be something worth stocking on shelves.

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All of the titles I include (and have blogged in the past) in these “Manga Radar” posts are notable because they did not previously show up in sources, to the limits of my methods. [I’ll point out here that ‘to the limits of my methods’ includes not only 7 different web sites but also the top 1000+ manga listings from Amazon, weekly.]

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Manga Radar: 11-26 February 2012

We have 3 weeks of data to cover so the lists only get longer – I’ll walk you through it all, though; it’s not so bad, stick with me.

Part of the new format is breaking the list up by date: first up are the Database Additions, older titles that somehow I missed [amazing considering I’ve been at this for close to 5 years and have more than 10,000 manga titles already in the database, but it would seem there are always new odd corners of manga publication history that continually come to light].

Candidate for Goddess 1 – Tokyopop, Apr 2004 ::
Candidate for Goddess 2 – Tokyopop, Jun 2004 ::
Candidate for Goddess 3 – Tokyopop, Aug 2004 ::
Candidate for Goddess 4 – Tokyopop, Oct 2004 ::
Candidate for Goddess 5 – Tokyopop, Dec 2004 ::
Princess Ninja Scroll: Tenka Muso 1 – DMP, Nov 2005 ::
Princess Ninja Scroll: Tenka Muso 2 – DMP, Feb 2006 ::
Shinobu Kokoro – Tokyopop Blu, Nov 2005 ::
Our Everlasting 1 – DMP Juné, Dec 2005 ::
My Only King – DMP Juné, Mar 2006 ::
Solfege – DMP Juné, Apr 2007 ::
Ichigenme: The First Class Is Civil Law 2 – 801 Media, Jun 2007 ::
Momo Tama 3 – Tokyopop, Sep 2009 ::
Momo Tama 4 – Tokyopop, Mar 2010 ::
Navigating the World of a Purple Shoe – Sodansha CoLtd, Dec 2010 ::

Candidate for Goddess was an anime actually shown on Cartoon Network back in the day; I had no idea there was a manga. Similarly old-school are the DMP titles—quite a few of which pre-date DMP’s Juné imprint and have “DMP Yaoi Manga” on the cover dress as opposed to Juné’s familiar white rose.

I had previously logged Ichigenme: The First Class Is Civil Law but wasn’t aware there was a second volume; similarly the last 2 volumes of Momo Tama aren’t new, per se, but are new to the database.

That last one, though: Navigating the World of a Purple Shoe [isbn 9781456441074] is a real enigma: it’s only 52 pages but it seems that there was an actual book, not just an e-manga edition. It’s not a self-published title so far as I know, but the publisher is listed on some sources as “Sodansha” and on others as “CreateSpace,” an Amazon division [purchased in 2005] that was previously known primarily for press-on-demand DVDs. It’s credited to “Shu-hey Fujisawa” (possibly author Shuhei Fujisawa) but that doesn’t tell us anything about the art. So: a mystery presented to us by the byzantine ways Amazon reports “manga” in search results, compounded by the new illogical inconsistencies in the way Amazon reports items as “books.”

Here’s a second batch of Database Additions, not from the distant past—merely from last year

Red Hot Chili Samurai 4 – Tokyopop, Mar 2011 ::
Countdown 7 Days 1 – DMP, May 2011 ::
Sonic the Hedgehog 15 – Archie Comics, Jun 2011 ::
Fate/Stay Night 11 – Tokyopop, Jun 2011 ::
Ghostface 1 – Tokyopop, Jun 2011 ::
Hanako & The Terror of Allegory 4 – Tokyopop, Jun 2011 ::
Sonic the Hedgehog 16 – Archie Comics, Oct 2011 ::
Yuichi Yokoyama: Color Engineering – PictureBox, Oct 2011 ::

The Tokyopop titles came up recently at buy.com: it seems they located a cache of late-publishing Tokyopop titles from around the time of that publisher’s closing announcement last May. There are additional T’Pop titles that I was able to change from “cancelled” to “published”—but these are still dear and exceptionally hard to come by. (I won’t post a full listing of Tokyopop’s final hurrah unless asked.)

Additionally, I’d previously been tracking the Sonic licensed comics from Archie, and while these trade paperbacks aren’t brand new, this is the first time these particular volumes showed up in sources

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In this and future posts, following the database additions will be two new categories: the new releases, and then the preorders by month.

Here are the New Releases — which like the top 50 listed in the Manga 500 reports are the new manga titles released this month & last:

Kanjou Spectrum (ebook) – Animate/Libre, Feb 2012 ::
Kiss Ariki (ebook) 7 – Animate/Libre, Feb 2012 ::
.
Sonic the Hedgehog 17 – Archie Comics, Feb 2012 ::
.
Betting My Life with You (ebook) – DMP Digital Manga Guild, Feb 2012 ::
Blooming Darling (ebook) 2 – DMP Digital Manga Guild, Feb 2012 ::
Chayamachi’s Collection: Noir (ebook) – DMP Digital Manga Guild, Feb 2012 ::
Classmate (ebook) – DMP Digital Manga Guild, Feb 2012 ::
Indefinite Sociogram (ebook) 1 – DMP Digital Manga Guild, Feb 2012 ::
Long Version (ebook) 1 – DMP Digital Manga Guild, Jan 2012 ::
Long Version (ebook) 2 – DMP Digital Manga Guild, Feb 2012 ::
Mad Cinderella (ebook) – DMP Digital Manga Guild, Feb 2012 ::
Neck-Tie (ebook) – DMP Digital Manga Guild, Feb 2012 ::
Reset (ebook) – DMP Digital Manga Guild, Feb 2012 ::
Sadistic Boy (ebook) – DMP Digital Manga Guild, Feb 2012 ::
Sunday’s Child (ebook) – DMP Digital Manga Guild, Feb 2012 ::
That Cute Kid Is Mine & Mine (ebook) – DMP Digital Manga Guild, Feb 2012 ::
The World Is Full of Cheating Boyfriends (ebook) – DMP Digital Manga Guild, Feb 2012 ::
Want to Depend on You (ebook) – DMP Digital Manga Guild, Feb 2012 ::
You & Tonight (ebook) 1 – DMP Digital Manga Guild, Jan 2012 ::
You Get an Angel (ebook) – DMP Digital Manga Guild, Feb 2012 ::
.
Three P – DMP Project-H, Feb 2012 ::
.
The Secret World of Arrietty 1 – Viz Ghibli Library, Feb 2012 ::
The Secret World of Arrietty 2 – Viz Ghibli Library, Feb 2012 ::
.
Toriko 8 – Viz Shonen Jump, Feb 2012 ::
.
Ice Cage (ebook) – Yaoi Press, Feb 2012 ::

The DMG doesn’t usually dominate the list in quite this way, but since I’m playing catch-up, we have 3-weeks-worth of releases to consider—that qualifier in place: Damn, but the DMG is really pushing out manga. These are only the titles I’m tracking because they show up in sources [primarily Amazon, but some are also coming out for Nook] and likely doesn’t include every title that is made available through the program.

The Digital Manga Guild isn’t the only publisher releasing yaoi ebooks; we also have two new titles from Animate/Libre this month, and while Yaoi Press might be slower with their release schedule, each release typically ranks higher; Ice Cage is the most recent addition but there were two other releases—Zolabarth Bi and Trapped Wizard—that had stronger preorders and so aren’t “new” to the database this week (but are still new).

Past the merely new, though, are the titles now showing up as Pre-orders:

Stepping on Roses 7 – Viz Shojo Beat, Mar 2012 ::
The Earl & The Fairy 1 – Viz Shojo Beat, Mar 2012 ::
Reaper Zone (ebook) 1 – [self published, Rewat Immak], Mar 2012 ::
Blue Sheep Reverie 5 – DMP Juné, Mar 2012 ::
Is This a Zombie? 1 – Yen Press, Mar 2012 ::
.
Countdown 7 Days 2 – DMP, Apr 2012 ::
Replica 2 – DMP, Apr 2012 ::
.
Castle Mango 1 – DMP Juné, May 2012 ::
Good Morning – DMP Juné, May 2012 ::
Private Teacher 3 – DMP Juné, May 2012 ::
.
Kamisama Kiss 9 – Viz Shojo Beat, Jun 2012 ::
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan 9 – Viz Shonen Jump, Jun 2012 ::
.
Sonic the Hedgehog 18 – Archie Comics, Jul 2012 ::
Gate 7 vol 3 – Dark Horse, Jul 2012 ::
Finder Series 6 Passion within the View Finder – DMP Juné, Jul 2012 ::
Toxic (anthology) 1 – Udon, Jul 2012 ::
Book Girl and the Wayfarer’s Lamentation (novel) – Yen Press, Jul 2012 ::
.
Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee 10 – Viz Shonen Jump, Aug 2012 ::
Inuyasha VizBig Edition 12 – Viz Shonen Sunday, Aug 2012 ::
Tenjo Tenge vols 15-16 collection – Viz Signature, Aug 2012 ::
Heart of Thomas – Fantagraphics, Aug 2012 ::
.
Gunslinger Girl Omnibus 5 – Seven Seas, Sep 2012 ::
Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden 10 – Viz Shojo Beat, Sep 2012 ::
Otomen 13 – Viz Shojo Beat, Sep 2012 ::
Bakuman 14 – Viz Shonen Jump, Sep 2012 ::
Loveless 9 – Viz, Sep 2012 ::
.
Negima! 36 – Kodansha Comics, Oct 2012 ::
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Sailor Moon 8 – Kodansha Comics, Nov 2012 ::

One reason I first pitched “Manga Radar” as a column was the information above: something like Sailor Moon vol 8 won’t really show up in other reports for another 6 months at least, but how interesting to note that fans are pre-ordering it online nine months in advance—it’s a stronger indicator of fan interest than anything else I can note, especially considering each preorder is backed by a valid credit card. There are some properties here that never show up in top 10 lists: Kamisama Kiss, Book Girl, Tegami Bachi, Gunslinger Girl, Fushigi Yugi, Otomen—and yet each of these has a fan base that is not only following the title but is hungry for the new releases.

This is the kind of information that I wanted to present—the insight into the market that I hoped to share. In future Manga Radar posts, I’ll take the extra time needed to give you the context and to provide these manga properties with the spotlight they deserve. And of course, I’d like to remind you that I not only find new releases each week, I rank them. My manga bestsellers are not just mildly entertaining and of interest to the fans, I’m also providing tools that retailers can use to stock their shelves, and inform their ordering process.

I hope this “new-style” Manga Radar report is an improvement over the original; please give me additional feedback if you feel there are other areas where it could be improved.

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About Matt Blind

Matt has been a bookseller for more than 11 years, and a blogger for more than 9. His first manga was Planetes in 2003, his first anime was Star Blazers (Uchu Senkan Yamato) in 1981: In fandom terms, this means he is ooooold. Despite advancing decrepitude, Matt maintains the world's only steam-powered differential computation engine dedicated to manga (which occasionally spits out bestseller lists) & still holds down a 45-hour a week job at the bookstore.

Comments

  1. “I won’t post a full listing of Tokyopop’s final hurrah unless asked.”

    This I would actually like. And similarly for any other closed/stalled publishers you might have data on. One of the big PITAs of the dead-publisher situation is trying to figure out what was actually released vs. solicited but never printed, especially when the last few printings are in limited supply. I have a zillion things on my to-buy list labelled with “does this exist?”; being able to sort them into “vaportext, quit now” vs. “enough looking and money might land this” would be great.

  2. Thanks, Matt, for giving us the benefit of more of your insight. I found it a huge help.



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  1. […] finally caught up on the charts, I’ll try to give you a weekly or bi-weekly peek like this, as was previously promised. Welcome back. Share this post: Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us. […]



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