Legal | Writer Scott Henry details the lengthy attempt to prosecute Dragon*Con co-founder Ed Kramer on charges of child molestation. The case began in 2000 and has yet to go to trial. [Atlanta Magazine]
Publishing | Bandai Entertainment will discontinue sales of manga, novels and anime, with the final shipment of manga going out at the end of October. The company, a subsidiary of Namco Bandai Entertainment, had stopped publishing new work in January and was focusing on sales of its existing properties. [Anime News Network]
The big news in anime and manga circles last week was the announcement that Bandai Entertainment will stop releasing new anime and manga. The current catalog will stay in print, and the company will focus on licensing its products to other companies, but three of its five employees have been laid off.
Like manga, the anime industry in the U.S. has been troubled for a long time, and it’s tempting to blame this on piracy. Indeed, that’s exactly what Charles Maib of Kotaku did. Maib admits he doesn’t follow the anime and manga scene much any more, but that doesn’t stop him from delivering some strong opinions. What Maib does know is what it was like to be an old-time otaku, when you made your own fansubs with love and VHS tapes and chewing gum and chicken wire (which may have been technically illegal but wasn’t harming the industry at all), and also how much work it is to make your own content. Maib himself is a content creator, and he has a long paragraph where he explains all the steps you have to go through to make an animated cartoon.
And nobody seems to care. “Consumers have become selfish monsters who are strangling an industry that is already on its knees,” he says, and he points the finger squarely at fansubbers and other pirates, and those who avail themselves of their services:
We created the beast, and we continue to feed it. We’ve reached the point that it’s not uncommon for major websites to publish links to pirated content. Pirating has gone mainstream, and unless we as consumers have the fortitude to reverse our actions, allow the market to work as it should, and develop the patience to wait for new products to become available in our region, or even not become available, the face of the internet and digital media will change. It’s inevitable.
Publishing | The anime and manga company Bandai Entertainment will stop distributing new products in February, although its existing catalog will continue to be available until the licenses expire. The company will shift its focus to licensing its properties for digital distribution and merchandising. President and CEO Ken Iyadomi said the decision to shut down new-product operations was made by the Japanese parent company without his input, and he strongly implied the underlying problem was that the corporate parent wanted to charge more for its anime than the current market will bear. Bandai published the Lucky Star, Kannagi and Eureka Seven manga, among others; all new manga volumes have been canceled, which means Kannagi will be left incomplete, at least for now. [Anime News Network]
Awards | The finalists for the Cybils, the blogger’s literary awards for children’s and YA books, have been posted, and they include five nominations each in the children’s and YA graphic novel categories. [Cybils Awards]
The second day of Comic-Con International, which began with the official word of Warner Bros.’ Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters video game, concluded with the presentation of the 22nd annual Eisner Awards and news of a feature-film adaptation of Will Eisner’s landmark graphic novel A Contract with God.
In between, there were plenty of other comics announcements:
• During DC’s “Batman: The Return” panel, Grant Morrison revealed he and artist Yanick Paquette will launch Batman, Inc., an ongoing series that will see Bruce Wayne joined by a number of other characters wearing the mantle of the Bat. CBR TV spoke with DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio about the new title.
• In the “DC Nation Special Edition” panel, Geoff Johns revealed plans for a second ongoing Flash series titled Flash: Speed Force, which will focus on the other speedsters of the DC Universe. DiDio also said the publisher will begin reprinting Young Justice material in October.
• Top Shelf unveiled plans to publish Jeffrey Brown’s Incredible Change-Bots Two, five new graphic novels for kids (plus new volumes of Korgi and Owly), Kagan McLeod’s Infinite Kung Fu, and Jess Fink’s Chester 5000 XYV collection. The publisher also previewed a page from Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century #2 — 1969.
Bandai Entertainment is chiefly known as an anime publisher, but it also produces a very nice line of manga, mostly related to their anime properties. Its big manga announcement at Comic-Con International is Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens, which inspired the anime of the same name (which is also, conveniently, published by Bandai).
“The manga tells the story of Nagi, a goddess who is accidentally awakened with a mission to cleanse the world of impurities,” the official press release says, and that sounds pretty standard-issue for seinen (young men’s) manga, but there was a curious controversy about the latest volume: Some fans became outraged because Nagi, the main character, mentioned an ex-boyfriend, which suggests that she is not a virgin. (Here’s a detailed but decidedly NSFW account of the whole, er, affair from Sankaku Complex.) The series is on hiatus in Japan because creator Eri Takenashi is ill, although her younger brother recently launched a Kannagi spinoff in the same magazine that carries the original series.