Manga licensing is a tricky business. There are companies that won’t work with other companies, titles that are too expensive to reasonably bring over the U.S., mangaka who are wary about having their work brought to an English-speaking audience and many other things to consider before licensing a title for the finicky U.S. market. It’s especially hard to judge demand when there are so many people reading scanlations. Is this title popular enough despite all those people who’ve already read it for free? Will fans devote their money to a manga regardless? It’s hard to judge a risky market like manga publishing sometimes. The best that can be done sometimes is to listen to their demands, but that might not always be the easiest thing to do because of all the restrictions mentioned above.
But what if we pretended to wipe the slate clean and have our own publishing companies for a moment? You’re given the opportunity to license any two manga titles that you wanted to, regardless of price, publisher politics or the relative lack of demand for the titles you pick. What would you license?
Rose of Versailles? Sailor Moon? Jungle Emperor Leo? What are you dying to publish the most?
I’ve tried to give the subject matter a lot of thought. It’s really hard to pick just two titles because there’s probably two dozen on my mental shortlist. Do I really want this one over this other one? I’m not sure, because I’d probably buy either in an instant.
But I’ve decided. I would want to bring over Osamu Tezuka’s Nana-iro Inko (Rainbow Parakeet), which I’ve mentioned wanting before, and Saint Oniisan (Saint Young Men) by Hikaru Nakamura.
Had I a chance to bring over a third title, I would have probably picked Moto Hagio’s A Cruel God Reigns, but I think the above two titles would have to be my first two picks. Nana-iro Inko because it sounds like a fun, under-estimated Tezuka title and Saint Oniisan because I read it (when I felt less guilty about scanlations) and loved it so much. (I would buy for myself in an instant and recommend it to all my friends who have a good sense of humor about religion.) It would break my heart to never ever see either title in English, in my lifetime. (Whereas I just want to see more of Moto Hagio’s work and had a hard time picking between A Cruel God Reigns and Poe no Ichizoku.)
So I’ll ask again: If you could have any two titles published in your language, regardless of any extenuating circumstances, what would those two titles be?
Masakazu Katsura’s Zetman and Hiroyuki’s Doujin Work. The latter because Katsura’s a really good artist, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen any of his works in America (at least, that’s what it seems!); the former because the last two volumes haven’t been released for some weird reason in the states (Darn you Media Blasters!) for years now, but I can’t find any sites that have it scanlated either. Hmm…
Hmmmm. I don’t think I’ve heard of either, but I’ll have to check them out. 😀
My number one is definitely Kazue Katoh’s Space Traveller Robo and Usakichi. The second one… probably Master Keaton by Hokusei Katsushika and Naoki Urasawa.
Robo and Usakichi is a gorgeous series (IMO) which is super touching and makes me tear up with each volume, every time I read them. Plus, the story is fun and the characters are really neat. I’m hoping that since Viz has her current work, Blue Exorcist, Robo and Usakichi will have a better chance!
And Master Keaton, well, come on, it’s MASTER KEATON!! Great story, interesting characters, fantastic art. And are there any characters more badass than Keaton? I highly doubt it!
Master Keaton was totally on my shortlist! I just wasn’t sure how badly I wanted it and, honestly, Saint Oniisan and Rainbow Parakeet were the first two to spring to my mind as series I REALLY REALLY WANTED.
I’ve never heard of Robo and Usakichi, I’ll have to look it up sometime. ^_^
Oh man, limiting it to two choices is tough! Oh, well here goes:
Hakaba no Kitato/GeGeGe no Kitaro by Shigeru Mizuki: I really love older, classic manga titles and I think Kitaro is definitely one of the most important titles in the whole of manga. Mizuki’s artwork is great and I love the subject matter which draws on traditional ghost stories/Japanese folk tales. Who knows, now that D&Q have licensed a couple of Mizuki titles, we might see this in the future? I also think it would be perfect for Vertical.
Any works by Yoshiharu Tsuge: D&Q have been doing some wonderful work bring alternative/gekiga work, nearly all of which was originally published in Garo, but so far no Tsuge, one of the masters of this style. Apparently, Tsuge is reluctant to translations, though a small amount is available in English and there have been French releases of his work. It’s a shame no one can convince him otherwise as I think a collection of his work could eclipse all the other excellent titles that have so far arrived on our shores in this genre.
ps. I would also love to see Saint Oniisan get an English release, too.
I know! I was thinking of not limiting it, but then I’d just lists and lists of “OH AND I WANT THIS MANGA TOO.”
I definitely want to see GeGeGe no Kitaro in print too. I don’t know why it hasn’t been done yet, actually. I wonder if there’s some weird licensing hold-up, but he’s got other works in English.
As for Tsuge, I remember Sean Michael Wilson commenting on how difficult it is to get Tsuge to license his work. Apparently he just doesn’t want to do it for some reason? But I think the people who really care about gekiga are trying hard to persuade him.
Yay! Saint Oniisan! If only the creator didn’t have tons of trepidations about publishing it stateside. ._.
Number 1, always, is Yoshiki Nakamura’s Tokyo Crazy Paradise.
2) Fuyumi Soryo’s Cesare.
Those are the two titles I most want for my shelf right now. 🙂
Those are two titles I wouldn’t mind seeing in the U.S. either. :3
My choice: Umi no Triton from Osama Tezuka and Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen-mae Hashutsujo from Shonen Jump. Of course there’s plenty of other titles I want to read in English… but these titles are on my mind a lot.
Great Tezuka choice! It wouldn’t be my first pick, but I’d definitely be happy to see it licensed. I haven’t heard of the other one though.
Actually also a lot of other titles that did make it over here, but was never finished, so really want to see an ending. City Hunter is definitely topping my list.
On another day I might have a slightly different answer, but today I would choose… Love Catalog by Masami Nagata and anything by Miyuki Yamaguchi. (is that allowed? If I had to pick a specific title I guess I’d go with her current series, Tenkuu Seiryuu, but I would be so so so happy to have any of her work in English.) For some reason I’m not normally a huge fan of fantasy settings in manga (despite reading almost exclusively fantasy books in middle-highschool) but her settings, her characters, her art, it’s all gorgeous and fascinating and I love it to bits. And Love Catalog is just a really great, solid shoujo that will probably never be licensed because it’s 34 volumes. But if I keep making a fuss about it, maybe…!!
Anything by a specific mangaka is fine. I mean, you’d have to choose one if this were a real-life situation, but it’s not. ^_^;;
Fantasy settings in manga can be a bit weird, but there are a few I like, such as Basara and From Far Away.
I enjoyed From Far Away quite a bit too 😀 I’m keeping myself away from Basara entirely until I figure out a way to read it all affordably (my library’s missing a few volumes and I seem to recall some OOP volumes with scary prices) but everything I’ve heard tells me I’d probably like it a lot too. But Yamaguchi-sensei’s artwork is my absolute favourite! It reminds me of 70s-80s children’s books; it’s got a kinda fairy-tale quality…
I managed to get (most) of Basara for pretty cheap/original sale price. But two of the volumes I’m missing are the most out of print ones! I am sooooo sad about that. I might just pay a ridiculous price for them if I don’t get my hands on copies sooner or later. BUT I WILL ALWAYS BE LOOKING. *_*
I hope something of Yamaguchi’s comes out sometime!
I would like to see the ending of series being canceled first: Swan and From Eroica with Love, or the ending of Two Flowers for the Dragon and Venus Cappricio.
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou by ASHINANO Hitoshi and any series by Hikawa Kyoko (the author of From Far Away) specifically Onnanoko wa Yoyuu! which the last chapter is publish in From Far Away volume 3 (I think!)
I’d really love that too. Especially Swan, but I wanted to give first priority to manga that have never ever been published before. (As opposed to those that have been published, but not finished.)
I’d love to see more Hikawa Kyoko stuff too! From Far Away is one of my absolute favorites!!!
Mmm…Hitoshi Iwaaki’s Parasyte was a very good shonen title, so I’d love to see his follow up, Historie.
I’d also love to see GeGeGe no Kitaro! Classic manga for the win! 😀
But my heart will always crave the conclusion of Apothecarius Argentum, one of my all time favorite shojo titles, sadly cancelled about 2 volumes or so before its completion by the demise of DC’s CMX manga division…such a beautiful, well told but severely under appreciated story, that isn’t even translated by scanlators…are there any other fans out there?
I’d love to see both of those, for sure.
I’m also an Apothecarius Argentum fan so I’m RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. Most of those CMX titles are going to wither away into oblivion, which is going to break my heart. If I ever start my publishing company like I want to, I’m going to rescue those licenses, but offer them digitally only. Print is just too costly for how poorly they sold, but digital would be able to recover the new costs over time.
Oof … I’ve been going back and forth on which I’d pick as my two out of a pool of three. My choice would probably shift every day (twice on Sundays) but I think I’ll start with Ashita no Joe (Tomorrow’s Joe). I’ve heard so much about it — a hero rising from juvenile delinquency to become a boxing champion! A rival whose death inspired fans to hold a real funeral! An iconic ending that’s garnered tributes and parodies in countless anime and manga since! — that I’d love to read it in English.
The second, to echo Miz above, is Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen-mae Hashutsujo, the long-running comedy about life at the police station in front of Kameari Park in Katsushika Ward by Osamu Akimoto. A manga that’s hit 171 volumes in Japan — and counting! — has to have SOME sort of appeal to have lasted this long. (Granted, it could’ve also turned into the manga equivalent of Garfield by now, but let’s think positive.)
Third place by a reeeeeeeaaaaaallly narrow margin: Fujiko Fujio’s Doraemon. I *suppose* 12 Shogakukan Bilingual volumes will suffice, although it would be nice to give more people a chance to see it.
Ashita no Joe would be awesome, but I didn’t realize Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Koen-mae Hashutsujo was as long as it’s name! I think that one might actually be an impossibility. We don’t have the kind of manga consumers in the U.S. that would buy 171+ volumes of something so religiously.
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I narrowed it down and narrowed it down and then cut out my heart but couldn’t get rid of one from my final three. So I’m cheating and naming all three.
Ookiku Furikabutte by Asa Higuchi. 15 volumes and ongoing, seinen sports manga about high school baseball. No chance in hell that this will ever get licensed.
Amatsuki by Shinobu Takayama, 12 volumes and ongoing, a weird mix of science fiction and fantasy aimed at josei/shoujo crowd with beautiful art. Slightly more likely to be licensed than Oofuri but since it hasn’t even been published in Frech, who knows.
The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese & The Carp on the Chopping Block Jumps Twice by Setona Mizushiro. Why this hasn’t been published in English yet is a total mystery. Fantastic yaoi drama in two volumes.
I wouldn’t be so down on Ookiku Furikabutte. It’s not impossible, it just has a number of things going against it. But at the same time, we’re starting to see sports manga published again.
I really hope The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese, etc. get licensed too, but Setona Mizushiro has a weird history of being published in the states. ^_^;;;
There’s only one for me: Haru wo Daiteita by Nitta Youka.
A few volumes were published by CPM before they went bankrupt but no other publisher has since picked up the license. It’s a modern BL classic so I live in hope even if I have to wait decades… There are plenty of other titles that I’d like to see in English but this is the one that I’d give up the rest of my manga library for.
Well, technically speaking (even though I didn’t mention it), I was hoping people would pick new licenses instead of license rescues… but OK! Especially if you’re that passionate about it.
I agree. I would buy this whole collection right now.
Ah, yes yes, they NEED to re-license Haru wo Daiteita!! O.O I mean, Juné already re-licensed other popular be-beautiful series, so why not Haru wo Daiteita too?!
I have no idea… Perhaps there’s some other roadblock in their way, like the creator doesn’t want it translated in English for whatever reason.
Nah, I think it might be the scandal she was involved in in 2008… she drew a “copy” of a picture from a diesel ad for her manga.
It seems Juné had planned to license it, but withdrew because of that scandal…
Hmmm, in that case, I think it’s fair to say it won’t get licensed here. Wouldn’t want Diesel going after DMP just because of something they licensed.
No, but apparently, Diesel said afterwards, when it turned into a scandal, that they didn’t mind at all…
Still, it’s just kind of shady.
Yeah, it probably IS the reason…
Too bad. I really liked that series D:
I would like to second Historie & Ashita No Joe. Especially Historie because I think it’s better and probably would be more popular.
I also really like Vinland Saga and I think it would be a hit over here too.
Lol, if I was starting a publishing company right now, those two would be the most popular license requests (based on this comments thread.)
Zetman, Vinland Saga, Saint Young Men, & Liar Game are the titles that I want to see here.
That’s four titles not two! Oh well, they all sound good. :3
OOPS! Well, hmm, I was going to do an entry on what I want to see brought to America. You beat me to it for now. 😛
Lol, no worries. But sorry I keep stealing your blog ideas? I don’t mean to! I swear!!!
Haha, well the two I really want to see are Zetman and Saint Young Men.
Echoing everybody by saying that picking just two is tough!
My gut feeling is to say Sailor Moon, but as terrible as the Tokyopop editions were, at least it was released. I’d rather license a fresh series, so my first choice is to go with another Naoko Takeuchi manga, The Cherry Project. I’m a huge, huge figure skating fan, so this cute story about a girl wanting to skate pair with the boy she loves is right up my alley. IMO, it’s a shame that the only skating manga to come out here is Sugar Princess, and if I had the power, believe me, I would rectify that right away. (I actually have a whole list of skating manga I would like to read, but The Cherry Project is my number one choice.)
My second choice is Ai Yazawa’s supernatural Kagen no Tsuki. You’d think with the popularity of NANA and Paradise Kiss, plus the fact that the live-action adaptation was released here in the States, this would be a no-brainer license, but it unfortunately hasn’t happened yet. 🙁
Both excellent choices.
I don’t know why Kagen no Tsuki hasn’t been licensed either… You’d think Viz would pick something up to tide over the hungry, hungry Nana fans while Yazawa is on hiatus…
Well, you had mentioned Sailor Moon, so I figured rescuing was fair game.
Ah good point. I just figured someone would come in screaming “SAILOR MOON OR DIE!”, so I didn’t even think about it’s license rescue status. Frankly, at this late stage, it’s hardly a rescue as it’s been so long dead. >_>
Ryuguden (Castle of the Dragon)
This must be the best manga I’ve ever read. It is surreal, funny and heartbreaking. True piece of art from cover to cover. Will love to have it on my bookshelf.
I’d also be great if Matsumoto’s “No. 5” series is finally printed.
Never heard of Ryuguden, but it sounds fantastic!
Boku to Miraiya no Natsu
Beyond the Beyond
…are some of my choices.
You were really only supposed to pick two…
But Flat is the cutest series! I wish it would get licensed!
Two! Only two?!? But my list is 30, 40 titles at any given time… Although Vertical just chopped two off of my list. 🙂 And since someone is supposedly sitting on Vinland Saga I’m not going to use up one of my wishes on it.
I would second Lys’s wish for one of Miyuki Yamaguchi’s titles; her earlier work is the sort of tween-ish fantasies that CMX used to be so good at bringing over… she’s since switched to Melody, a josei mag. Harutsuge Komachi is a moving story in I’m guessing Edo-period Japan; her most recent, Tenkuu Seiryuu, is a fantasy. But I would be overjoyed for Tajjii Majjii or Feminine wa Utau as well. Beautiful, timeless art, and the shojo stories are very sweet, but not overwhelmingly so.
My second wish is Rose of Versailles. If Princess Knight can happen, then this seems slightly less impossible. I think that its appeal to the more academic side of manga/”graphic novel” readers combined with the more familiar European setting would help it hopefully not be a total black hole of low sales.
Sorry! I know it’s hard to narrow the list, but I wanted people to really think about what titles they absolutely wanted to have. ^_^;;
Rose of Versailles does seem more possible now, especially with omnibus editions gaining popularity. Can we hope? Sure, but I’m just not going to bet too hard on that series considering no one’s managed to snag it yet.
whos sitting on vinland? firstname.lastname@example.org
As for choosing which titles I’d like to see, it’d probably be a lot easier for us to divide our choices according to targeted demographic. Choosing two Shojo/Shonen/Josei/Seinen series each would be a more reasonable scenario. However I have to admit I’m not that imaginative for requesting titles I haven’t seen. I would LOVE to see The Glass Mask in paperback form even though the scanlation has slowed to a crawl. I also vividly remember seeing a translation of the crudely-drawn Chibi Maruko-Chan that looked hillarious, and thought it’d appeal to fans of Calvin since she’s basically a selfish lazy girl with a large vocabulary. She’s like the anti-Yotsuba; and that’s not a bad thing, since she’s also based on the author’s memories.
Just to let you know, I’ve edited your comment so that the paragraph about the GeGeGe no Kitaro scanlations cannot be seen by other readers. I know the scanlations in question are no longer up, but I absolutely do not want scanlations promoted via my blog. I’m sorry that I had to moderate your comment. It’s the first time I’ve felt the need to edit a reader’s comment like that.
My views on scanlations are such that I wouldn’t fault anyone for reading a manga that is either completely unavailable or OOP, but at the same time, I don’t want my blog to become a venue for sharing links to scanlations. I hope you understand.
As for the rest of your comment… I know it’s hard to choose, but I limited it to a small number so it would really make you think about which titles you wanted the most. Pairing it off into the gender categories or genres could open up this comments section to long, long lists of “OMG, and I want this and this and this!”
That being said, I’d love to see Glass Mask in English too. (Although it might be too long for most publishers to consider.)
Galaxy Express 999 by Leiji Matsumoto.
The film was one of my first introductions to anime. Viz published a couple volumes of the manga, and I saw a few chapters of the published in magazines. Nonetheless, I’m not aware of the entire series ever being available in English. Viz still holds the license for the manga (last I checked), but doesn’t appear to have any plans of actually translating the series. I’ve read what I could get my hands on to death and I’ve been tempted to import the French translations to read. The fact that it’s so close to being available just makes it all the more frustrating, but seeing as no one is even bothering to produce scanlations of the series I doubt publishers are seriously interested in taking up such a project.
Well, this wasn’t supposed to be: I would RESCUE this license, but OK. I wouldn’t mind seeing Galaxy Express 999 in English again. :3
My two picks are from Kodansha! Giant Killing and Kuragehimeeeeeeeeeee! There are a couple of Shonen Jump titles I want licensed too, but those are will probably be picked up eventually, I just have to be patient =)
KURAGEHIME! I APPROVE!!!
I really hope they publish that and that there’s a second season of the anime. o_o
There’re soo many good series… but there’s exactly two series I’m dying to have licensed in English:
1) Moto Hagio’s “A Cruel God Reigns”
2) Keiko Takemiya’s “Kaze to Ki no Uta”
Excellent choices! I would definitely read both. ^_^
I finally found a full set of Kazeki on ebay, and ordered it IMMEDIATELY (translating it will be hell though), but I can't for my bare life get my hands on A Cruel God Reigns in any convenient or affordable way (okay, I'd accept it if it was expensive too)!
The best thing would definitely be having them in English though ^^
…though it seems as though it'll never happen…
Oh well, at least Sailor Moon got re-licensed and is being released in September… that's SOMETHING to look forward to at least ^^
I know how you feel. There are just so many titles I’d love to see in English…
Don’t get down though, you never know these days. It seems like publishing very good, old manga is slightly popular these days amongst publishers who love comics no matter where it comes from. ^_^
Yeah, I know ^^;
Yeah, it seems so… we got A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, right! XD And also Sailor Moon….
But now one of my favourite modern yaoi has gone out of print, it seems, before I managed to snatch all three volumes -.-
Jungle Emperor Leo is WAY over due. A lot of Tezuka’s works are out, but JEL needs to hurry up…. it was one of his most beloved works. We hardly get the Anime either, so… :/ At LEAST give us the manga.
You do have to remember that there are a lot of Tezuka titles out there, so while JEL is considered a classic Tezuka work, publishers might be putting other Tezuka titles on the top of their list. I know Vertical’s Tezuka selection leans toward older readers, mostly because there are so many fans of Tezuka who prefer his mature work. There’s also the possibility of reluctance to publish it coming from Tezuka Pro too. With manga licensing, there are so many reasons why a manga just wouldn’t be picked up. That’s why there are so many titles out there that fans think are no-brainer licenses, but you don’t see manga publishers picking them up. Rose of Versailles, for example. It’s been translated into so many languages around the world, why not English yet?
That isn’t to say there’s no hope for JEL, just that the stars aren’t quite aligned right yet.
If i had to pick solely manga
Mysterious girlfriend X is all, i can’t really think of too many manga i’ve read or want to read currently that haven’t been licensed
if i could pick a manga and light novel
Mysterious girlfriend X and baccano