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Tuesday, July 19, 2005
July's Manga, and Other Previews Comments
I'd just like to note that releasing huge amounts of manga in one week, like Viz did two weeks ago when they released nearly 30 titles at once, is very bad for our manga sales. The Shojo Beat titles would have done much better if they'd been released at a one-a-week rate. As it is, people who would normally have been buying them have been passing them by because buying all the titles they normally get, plus sampling several new first volumes of on-going series, is too much of a strain on their budgets. If the releases were spread out a little more I have every confidence they would have done better. Manga publishers, please note; you have, on average, four weeks a month in which to spread out your releases. They don't all need to come out the same week.
Dark Horse Hellsing: Impure Souls: It's a manga fumetti, and we just can't sell those. So we'll get one for the guy who gets all things Hellsing, and call it a day.
Berserk Vol. 9: I don't get the appeal of the title, but it's immensely popular.
Oh My Goddess: the first volume in the "traditional" manga format. I think the time for this title has pretty much come and gone, so we'll get a token copy and that's probably it. There are so many other, better drawn and written titles that tread the same "unappealing guy has several beautiful, magical women fall in love with him" theme, that this just looks dated and tame in comparison. Heck, I hate Love Hina, and it's better than this.
Samurai Executioner vol. 8: Samurai drama does nothing for me, and sales keep fluctuating wildly on this book. We'll sell out on one volume and then get stuck with the next. I'm going to cut orders slightly, because I'd rather have to re-order than get stuck with extras.
DC/CMX Chikyu Misaki vol. 1: This tale of a girl who moves next door to a shape-shifting monster looks cute, and it may have potential, but I'm going to go conservative. Again, because I'd rather have to re-order than have extras, but also because the CMX books, after a slight flurry of interest, have died back down again, sales-wise.
Pieces of a Spiral vol. 1: Yeah, we'll go conservative on the tale of reincarnation and demons. The cover art is pretty, but it looks and sounds like too many other titles to give me any confidence in it's long-term prospects.
Devil Does Exist vol. 3, Monster Collection vol. 3: Not really generating much interest from our customers.
Sword of the Dark Ones vol. 3: One of the few CMX titles actually building an audience with our customers.
Seimaden vol.2: One of those titles that, based on what are customers tell me they want, and what they are buying, should be selling better than it is.
ADV Full Metal Panic: Overload vol.2: It's got an audience, so who am I to judge? We'll keep orders at their current level.
Orphen vol. 3: This has been a slow mover, though. Very conservative orders are due, I think.
Broccoli Galaxy Angel vol.5: Fan-service manga sells well for us.
Del Rey Negima vol. 7: Bumping orders up yet again...
Ghost Hunt vol. 1: I've heard good things, and I'm looking forward to it myself, so I'll go with optimistic orders on this shojo romance horror title. How's that for genre blending in manga?
Othello vol. 5: Gets good reviews, but that hasn't translated into sales yet.
Sugar Sugar Rune vol. 1: This story about rival witchs striving to become Queen of the Underworld looks cute, with all ages potential. I'm going to err on the side of conservatism again, because, y'know...rather reorder than...
Alone in My King's Harem: I suspect we'll do okay with this. One of the reasons I think we've been able to do well with yaoi titles is that the chain book-stores, as near as I can tell, aren't carry them. So it'll be interesting to see what happens when Tokyopop's "Blu" line debuts. I expect book-store buyers may balk at the idea a bit, given how strongly manga has become associated with teen readers at bookstores. That may be what finally starts to prompt those "kids are reading dirty Japanese comics" stories that people seem to be anticipating.
Yellow vol. 2: Another well-regarded title that I'm actually looking forward to sampling myself. With it's mix of crime and sexy guys, it should appeal to the same audience that made Fake a hit.
Princess Ninja Scroll Tenka Muso: I don't know quite what to make of this title. It's ninjas vs. samurai, but is it shojo action or fan service shonen? I'll go with conservative orders until I can make sense of it.
Dr Masters Hanidori Girl, Stellvia, and Tori Koro: Fan service, fan service, and yet more fan service.
Rahxephon vol. 2: It's a manga novel. Can't give those damn things away. Even the person who special ordered the Vampire Hunter D novel stiffed us, and that was the one manga novel I expected to sell.
Tsukihimie vol. 2: I actually sort of hear good things about this title, but I don't recall vol. 1 shipping yet, so I'm going to stick with conservative orders for the moment
Last Gasp Pure Trance: I realize that Junko Mizuno is one of those manga artists that the hipsters adore, but word has yet to reach Ventura that all the cool kids are supposed to dig her stuff. I honestly don't know what to do about this book. Mizuno is one of those manga artists whose work I feel like we should have in stock, and previous books of hers have sold...eventually. But $20 seems a bit steep.
Seven Seas Captain Nemo vol. 1: I've actually been disappointed with the bulk of Seven Seas sales, so very conservative orders here. I'd actually rather see an English translation of Captain Harlock than a pastiche.
Unearthly vol. 1: I really think this would probably do better if Ted Naifeh was drawing it himself.
Tokyopop Amazingly, the TP section is mostly in alphabetical order, with a clearly defined division between the featured new items and the rest of the solicitations. A very welcome improvement to the ordering process.
I Luv Halloween: Should appeal to Keith Giffen fans. Though I don't know why Tokyopop seems to feel that pointing out he used to write Legion of Super-Heroes is a selling point for a gross-out horror-comedy.
Devil May Cry 3 vol. 1: I'm constantly getting pestered for any kind of comics tie-in for this video-game property. Of course, that probably means that people will have no interest in this by the time it finally comes out...
Dramacon: This is one of the OEL titles that's getting a lot of positive buzz, but by and large those have been hard sellers for us. Mostly, our customers want "real" manga, not American, Chinese or Korean comics drawn in a "manga-style."
Kingdom Hearts vol. 1: I'm going with optimistic orders on this one, largely because we have a strong contingent of customers who buy any and all things Disney-related. So I hope I can talk them into this. That it doesn't have a "creator" credit listed gives me slight pause, but at the lower page count and price I'm sure I can move them eventually.
Lights Out vol. 1: We actually had...okay sales on Ragnarok, so I expect this series by the same creator to do...okay, at best, as well. What gives me pause is that it's in a significantly different genre, so it may not attract the audience as much.
Steady Beat: Again, an OEL title that's managed to generate some pretty positive, pre-release buzz, so I'm hoping it'll do well.
Justice N Mercy: A $40 art-book is asking too much of our customers. Pass.
Arm of Kannon vol. 7: I've actually been able to sell this by describing it as "the most graphically violent manga I've ever seen."
Chronicles of the Cursed Sword vol. 13: As far as I can tell, we do manage to sell at least one copy of this consistently.
Chrono Code vol. 2: I think I went with conservative orders last time and was happy with those, so we'll continue with that.
DearS vol. 4: See my comments on Chrono Code.
Doll vol. 6: Another one of those titles that very quietly sells a copy consistently.
Dragon Voice vol. 5: This doesn't really seem to be grabbing our customers.
Et Cetera vol. 6: Nor does this.
Hyper Rune vol. 4: It's from a former member of CLAMP, but it somehow manages to exceed even my cuteness tolerance levels.
In Dream World vol. 3: Yet to really make an impression on our customers.
Liling-Po vol. 3: There was some interest in the first issue, but not much to give me confidence in the long-term prospects of this title.
Mahromatic vol. 7: A consistent seller, thanks largely to the high fan-service quotient. Heck, TP is even pushing the frequent nudity in the solicitation.
One vol. 8: Another title yet to make an impression on our customers.
Peach Girl vol. 6: And we'll be passing on the reprints of this book from here on out. We simply have too many of the first printings still floating around to justify giving space to something that's only a marginal seller.
PhD: Phantasy Degree vol. 4, President Dad vol. 4: Just not doing it for our customers.
Planet Blood vol. 3: "Will appeal to fans of Krull" says TP...
Rave Master vol. 17: Actually sells, despite being utterly incomprehensible to almost everyone who has picked it up. Kids seem to dig it.
Remote vol. 7: Notable for being the only fan-service heavy title that doesn't seem to sell.
RG Veda vol. 3: The title that you must really be a CLAMP completist to get into.
Sorcerer Hunters vol. 4: The only re-issue TP book that is selling consistently.
Soul to Seoul: Say it with me--no impression on our customers.
Clamp No Kiseki: Even Borders is marking these down. Pass from here on out. $30 is simply too much.
I do plan on getting the Takuhai bundle, as it's exactly the sort of thing I've been looking for to easily educate our customers on upcoming releases and gauge their interest in them.
Viz Shojo Beat: sales on the first issue are finally in, and a slight lowering of orders are due. Shonen Jump: I'm dropping orders on this a bit more, though, as the monthly format seems to be wearing out it's welcome with our customers. The only issues I'm consistently selling out of are ones with bonus cards or other give-aways, and Viz isn't good at giving advance notice of those. So I'm willing to risk selling out in order to reduce costs a bit.
Fullmetal Alchemist vol. 1 novel: I'm actually going to be bold and order a copy of this for the store. We did finally get people to notice that we had the FMA manga in stock and not only sold through our stock but picked up some subscribers for it, so I'm hoping that the popularity of the franchise will move this off our shelves as well.
I'm not willing to risk the same for the Ghost in the Shell or Socrates in Love novels. I just don't see Viz's novel line having much interest for our customers, and while we do have an audience for Ghost in the Shell merchandise, I think $20 is a bit much to ask them to pay.
Art of Shonen Jump One-Piece Color Walk: Although $15 is a more reasonable price for manga art-books, I just don't feel like it's something that our customers will be interested in. Of course, I'll always be willing to take special orders, but I don't think I want to risk ordering a shelf-copy in the hopes that it'll sell. And it's not just manga art-books we have this problem with, it's all art books. I'd just as soon not order them outside of special requests, as they tend to be too pricey for our customers and they get shelf-worn really quickly from people flipping through them with no intention of buying.
Beet the Vandel Buster, Bleach vol. 9: Very poor sales on these, to be honest.
Dragonball Z vol. 22: I think I have, maybe, one customer still regularly getting these, and the rest of the sales are from kids just buying whatever volume happens to have a cool cover.
Hikaru no Go vol. 5: I've got a very small audience for this comic, which just goes to show, there's some market for just about any comic.
One Piece vol. 8: Given how popular I'm told this series is, I'm vaguely surprised this doesn't sell better.
Rurouni Kenshin vol. 19: I'm cutting sales, as it now appears that our customers have lost interest. I rather suspect I have a customer with this on their pull-list who is putting copies back rather than buy them, but has yet to actually tell us they no longer wish to subscribe to the book. We really don't like it when customers do that. It messes up our orders, since we always use the number of subscription copies needed as a minimum ordering number.
Yu-Gi-Oh Duelist vol. 9: Despite being assured by my game-side co-workers that the property is "dying," I'm having to up orders on the manga volumes.
Yu Yu Hakusho vol. 8: Selling decently, but nothing to get too excited about.
Death Note vol. 1: A title with strong buzz, but you'd never guess that from the solicitation copy, which doesn't give me a clue to what the title is about. Here's the quick and dirty: genius high-school student finds a magical notebook. Anyone whose name he writes in the book, dies. He decides to "improve" the world by killing criminals. Which, of course, brings him into conflict with the police, who are trying to solve the mysterious string of sudden deaths of criminals. It's the sort of thing I think has a lot of potential to be a break-out hit, and probably get lots of concerned parents complaining about it. (Plus, uh, I've seen some scanlations, and it's very twisted with an appealing art style...)
Eyeshield 21 vol. 4: Funny, I had lots of people asking about this series before the first volume shipped. Now it just sits on the shelf.
Bastard vol. 9: It has a small but devoted following.
Beyblade vol. 7: And we're dropping this. It just doesn't move. And really, that probably shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.
Flame of Recca vol. 14: Another in the long list of shonen titles that seem to have developed more female readers than male.
Midori's Days vol. 2: I'm always nervous about ordering second volumes before first volumes have shipped. The arched eyebrows the series concept seems to generate in everyone who hears about it doesn't help. I'm going to knock orders down a bit from vol. 1 and re-order if necessary.
Project Arms vol. 10: Again, a small but devoted following on this title.
Tuxedo Gin vol. 14: I think this may be the penultimate volume in one of my favorite series.
Video Girl Ai vol. 13: Still a consistent seller, after all this time.
Zatch Bell vol. 3: Again, I hate ordering volumes before first volumes have shipped. I expect it to do well, but I'm dropping orders a bit just in case the first two volumes are met with indifference.
Maison Ikkoku vol. 13: I really liked this series when it first came out, and I was tempted to pick up this second edition because of the inclusion of chapters skipped the first time around. It sells consistently, but only to a small audience.
Monster vol. 1: Another strong buzz book, with the promise of a twisted premise. Luckily Viz gives slightly better solicitation material for this one, so I'll order fairly confidently on this.
Saikano vol. 6: It's well-reviewed, but we've only been able to cultivate one customer for this title.
Tough vol. 4: Hasn't impressed our customers.
Howl's Moving Castle Picture Book: Another art-book. Pass.
Howl's Moving Castle vol. 3: The Ghibli fumetti books due tend to have okay sales, and I've had customers specifically request this one, so it should do okay.
Angel Sanctuary vol. 10: Very dark and twisted comic with a small audience in our store (including myself).
Banana Fish vol. 10, Basara vol. 14, Boys Over Flowers vol. 14, Hana-Kimi vol. 8, Sensual Phrase vol. 10: More titles with small cult followings.
Fushigi Yugi vol. 16: As much as I love Yu Watase's work, I've had to cut orders a bit. We seem to have encountered a foul-up in our orders here, where they were much higher than they should have been, due to some problems with the subscriber pull-lists, but I've got a better idea of what we should be ordering on this now.
Full Moon vol. 3: I'll go conservative, since the first volume I don't recall making a big impression...did it even ship?
Meru Puri vol. 2: I was going to drop orders, but then we had a subscriber add it to their pull-list. This is before vol. 1 has even shipped. So, I need to keep orders matched to vol. 1, at least until I see shelf sales.
Tokyo Boys and Girls vol. 2: I'll drop orders a bit, now that I've seen shelf sales. I expect it to do well, and I think the problem is that Viz simply released too many new vol. 1s at once.
Socrates in Love vol. 1: It's got a lot of buzz...but I'm starting to smell the over-hype machine at work on this property. Other-media success in Japan hasn't translated into US manga sales success in the past for our store.
Image Fell #1: I sometimes get the impression, based on creator comments and observations from other comic readers, that we must be the only store in the country carrying Warren Ellis comics.
Corpse Bride and Wallace and Gromit action figures from McFarlane Toys: Ordering blind is really, really annoying. When we don't even have any indication of what the figures are going to look like, our enthusiasm for ordering them at all is significantly diminished.
After Hours Sherman's Room: Chris Elipoulos does another all ages title. It should be charming.
AIT/Planet Lar Smoke & Guns: Cigarette girl gang war. Perfect high concept.
Colonia vol.2: At long last. This is a great comic, and I'm glad to see the second volume make its appearance.
Alias I almost feel like I'm picking on them at this point, but 8 pages of solicitations for 15 titles seems a bit much. Especially when the vast majority of the titles can be charitably described, at least in our experience, as shelf-warmers.
Avatar For every 303 or Scars, there are about a dozen Belladonnas, Lady Deaths or Thresholds, each with about a dozen covers a piece. And that's not even getting into the over-kill on licensed properties like the New Line horror comics or Stargate comics.
Bongo Horror greats contribute art and story to the latest volume of Treehouse of Horror. Should be good.
Dynamite Why do I get the feeling that the Red Sonja book only exists to generate cheese-cake variant covers?
Devil's Due I like how Brian Pulido apparently felt the need to publicly distance himself from the Chaos! comics DDP is publishing at one of the Comic-Con panels. As if the DDP product is going to fail to live up to the high standards he set while working on the title...
Dynamic Forces Solar, Man of the Atom statue: If you buy this, you have too much money.
Absolute Crisis on Infinite Earths HC-Signed: for only $500. If you buy this, you have far too much money.
Ibooks Lots and lots of resolicited material. It's frustrating that the third volume of Blacksad is just sketchbook material, but I'll be getting it anyway.
The real surprise here is Ultimate Casper. I honestly never expected to see any of the Harvey characters in comic book format ever again. My gut instinct, though, is that the people who ask us for Harvey comics will not be willing to pay $15 for a trade edition.
Illusive Arts Dorothy vol. 1: It's good, you should be buying it, and if you passed on the individual issues, here's your chance to check it out in a compiled edition.
Top Shelf I just moved our existing Owly volumes into a more prominent display, so I have high hopes for volume 3 sales.
Video I said it was yaoi month, didn't I? As far as I can tell, Sensitive Pornograph adapts several yaoi comics into anime form.