Last week, Calvin and Brigid and I had the chance to pool our resources and put together a quick, state-of-the-manga story. I felt that reaching out to Viz Media was important for obvious reasons and this weeks bestsellers list drives the point home. Naruto, Naruto, Naruto.
Here are some additional thoughts on the state of the manga industry from Viz vp of production, Alvin Lu:
“Manga publishers can look at their category and know that they’re not only in a position to determine their own fate, but to do so from a position of strength. It’s not an easy market climate right now, but the manga category overall is still in a growth pattern.”
Manga continues to grow, but I’m starting to get confused as to what we mean by “growth.” Is buying more copies of Naruto (and buying deep) on the retail end growth? Is increased sales of Naruto, Yu-gu-Oh, and Full Metal growth? Manga keeps growing for Viz – as it well has to. What happens when their flagship title goes quiet? No really, guys, I’m asking for real: what happens when Naruto ends? Erik Ko brought up this question when I was talking to him, and then a lovely teenaged bird whispered something in my ear – something about Kishimoto-sama wanting to end it at chapter 500. Is that why he’s been killing off characters? (Of course, this begs a whole slew of questions, topping the list: will they let him end it?)
Viz has all sorts of projects in the works and all sorts of plans for expansion (or world domination, whichever you choose) so I’m far from worrying about the health of that company. I just wonder about how Viz’s health affects or disproportionately skews the market.
Next up, Viz Productions and their foray into Hollywood. Here’s head of productions at Viz Pro, Jason Hoffs:
“the film studios are very interested in manga. The next frontier will be bringing our properties, particularly the shojo properties that are very character-driven and targeted to girls and women to television.”
So someone is taking notice of the popularity of Hannah Montana, HS Musical, and Sex in the City, and they’re going to capitalize on it? Jeez, I hope so.