Manga magazine demographics

Alex Leavitt and I exchanged a few tweets yesterday about his (excellent) Yotsuba&! article, and one point that came up was the way to obtain demographic data about manga magazines. I'm surprised it's not better-known, so it probably deserves its own how-to post. Here it is.

As you know, manga magazines are divided into several categories depending on their broad target demographic, mainly manga for boys (shounen), for girls (shoujo), for men (usually seinen, literally “young men”) and for women (josei or ladies' comics, although the latter term may refer to erotic titles as well). These broad categories are used for classification, especially in book shops, so it's useful to know where a certain manga or manga magazine belongs, even though it doesn't necessarily say much about the contents of said manga (these are not genres), nor in fact about the actual gender and age of readers as we will see.

A tribute to Seitokai yakuindomo (updated)

We had a nice karaoke session with some Frenchies last Friday. A long one. With perhaps a tad too many super robot themes. No wonder these sorts of things end badly.

I don't have a decent mic to actually sing this, but if someone wants to give it a shot, I can provide all the necessary material. Be an hero! It's probably funnier on nico douga too.

EDIT: this is awesome! Edited youtube version:

More global doujinshi: The Witches of the Sphinx vol. 2

Firstspear's semi-official, bilingual Strike Witches doujinshi series The Witches of the Sphinx continues!

We presented the first volume on this blog when it was released in April at COMIC1. Volume 2 was released at Comiket 78 a couple of weeks ago, and like the first, is available for purchase right now from Manga Pal, an online store specializing in the international distribution of doujinshi.

Manga Pal and more at Epitanime

Quick annoucement: I received a kind e-mail from the good folks over at Manga Pal regarding their line-up at the Epitanime convention which will be held in Paris, France this week-end. Here's a somewhat belated summary.

The e-mail from Manga Pal actually came in last week, but being in Russia with almost no Internet connection at the time, I was unable to report on this until now (back in France). I hope fellow French bloggers will still have time to pass it over to their own readership.

The Witches of the Sphinx: doujinshi goes global

There aren't many avenues for the distribution of doujinshi overseas. There are even fewer cases of doujinshi creators officially supporting the distribution of their works overseas. And official translations of doujinshi into English are practically unheard of. Perhaps as a result, a significant part of the English-speaking fandom tends to confound doujinshi as a whole with the tiny subset of books that get translated and distributed illegally on the Internet—often shallow and graphic ero parodies of whatever popular anime is airing at the time.

But this may be about to change. ABe Yoshitoshi already did a few experiments with international distribution of English-translated doujinshi in a digital format, on the iPhone or the Amazon Kindle. But today, Nogami Takeshi's doujin circle Firstspear goes one historic step further: its new release, The Witches of the Sphinx, is fully bilingual, and a partnership with doujinshi online store Manga Pal allows it to be shipped internationally in paper form. It is probably the first such project ever.

Status report (2010/05)

A few comments on current matters that are too short to warrant a proper post of their own, but too long to just dump on Twitter. Topics include the Google story and other lolicon stuff, the Minorigate, some events I have attended lately, and thoughts on currently airing anime.

The minori controversy: are VN translators no better than narutards?

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While unauthorized fan translations of copyrighted material are not a legal grey area (it's pitch black almost everywhere in the world, except in very limited special cases), I've usually agreed that some are worse than others. For example, people like Henry Jenkins have argued that anime fansubs, at some point at least, contributed to the emergence of a viable commercial market for anime in the US (and a case can be made that, nowadays, some of that is occurring in developing countries where no legit anime industry exists yet). In order to have a moral, if not a legal, leg to stand on, however, there are minimal standards of conduct that fan translators need to comply with: don't compete with an existing legal offer, don't profit financially from your illegal activities, don't put your dirty names in the staff roll as if you had a part in making the product, respect the creators and their demands, etc.

With respect to these ethical standards, the bottom of the pit is probably somewhere at the level of the American scanlators of Naruto, or even worse, of the ad-supported sites that host them. It's piracy in the vilest sense. And until now, I believed the other end of the spectrum to be visual novel translation: the people involved can claim with a semblance of truthfulness that they sincerely love the medium, that they're trying to promote it outside of Japan, that the current legally-translated offer is very limited and that they actually encourage their audience to buy the original products by only providing translation patches as opposed to complete translated games.

Wrapping up the Google story and some more legalese

Some final comments about the “Google dropping lolicon sites from search results” story, and a quick look at related legal problems elsewhere.

As explained in the previous post, Google picked up on a complaint that loliero scanlation site Little White Butterflies was hosting child pornography, and pulled it from search results after filing a report to NCMEC. Pointing out that the material hosted there was clearly not child pornography under US law, the site owners asked on Google's webmaster support forum that the takedown be reviewed. The request has been ignored so far, and it appears that Google has no intention of addressing the site owners' concerns (not even by telling us that they won't overturn the takedown).

Google removes lolicon site from search results

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Loliero doujinshi scanlation site Little White Butterflies observes (link is safe for work but the rest of the site is very much not) that it has been removed from Google search results following a complaint, filed by an unnamed party, that it was hosting child pornography. Google also reported the site to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children—a legal obligation for US content providers who become aware of child pornography. The removal can be easily verified by searching for “Little White Butterflies” on Google. The site itself doesn't show up, and a notice at the bottom of the page reads:

In response to a legal request submitted to Google, we have removed 7 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read more about the request at ChillingEffects.org.

Shoujo sosuu

At this very moment, I should be having a great time in the hot springs of Gunma prefecture, but a last minute volcanic eruption in Iceland kind of trashed my plans for the whole week, and I am rotting away in my room instead. So now that everything is canceled, I'll try to blog a little for a change.

For starters, I'd like to introduce the first volume of Shoujo sosuu, literally “young girl prime numbers.” It's the latest all-age manga by Nagatsuki Misoka (serialized in Kirara Forward) whom you may know for his LO-published story-heavy eromanga A day in the life, or his later 4-koma HR. Shoujo sosuu doesn't have a lot to do with prime numbers, but it certainly does with young girls. It's the everyday life story of Anzu and Sumire, two twin middle school girls with somewhat constrasting personalities, and of their older brother, their friends, their acquaintances and so on. A standard setting perhaps, but with a rather unique spin on several levels.

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