VIZ paying rent on Saturn Apartments May 8th

Apr 30
// Josh Tolentino
Apartment living is pretty cool. Renting is less of a hassle than a mortgage, and the super's the guy you need to talk to about cleaning the drains and whatnot.That's tangentially similar to what's happening next week, as VIZ...

Viz kicking off 2010 with 'Not Simple'

Dec 16
// Brad Rice
We'll often get PR reminding us that one title or another is coming out next month or next week, and we should remind our readers about them. But those titles are often ones that people have a good idea about what they are, o...

Alright, so I lied. We're not done with our SigIKKI coverage. I just couldn't help myself, really: Bokurano is probably one of their most popular titles when it comes to the SigIKKI label, and I'm starting to root the series ...

Japanator Interview: Leyla Aker on Viz's SigIKKI

Nov 11 // Brad Rice
Q. I know that your decision to publish the titles is largely based on the number of views for each title. What will happen to those that don't quite make the grade? Will they continue to be published online, or will the pages be taken down to make space for other titles? A.  The series that are not released in print form won’t be taken down immediately; it’s not an “Off with their heads!” situation. We believe in all the series that are up on the site to begin with—which is why we chose them—so we want to give them maximum exposure regardless of whether they become books or not. That said, there’s always the possibility that down the line we’ll look at mixing up the offerings. Q.  Have there been any surprise hits amongst the titles posted? A. At this point SATURN APARTMENTS and AFTERSCHOOL CHARISMA seem to be neck-and-neck for the dark horse honors. BOKURANO and HOUSE OF FIVE LEAVES we knew were going to be hits; the rest we were hoping would become hits but were harder to call. As it turns out, Iwaoka sensei’s delicate, distinctive art style and the humanism of her storytelling really seem to have struck a chord in readers. Some of Suekane sensei’s works have already seen English-language publication (Once Upon a Glashma, Blood+Adagio), so we thought she might already have some fans here. But really it’s the innate quality of AFTERSCHOOL CHARISMA that speaks for itself. The art is pure eye candy and the story is a lollapalooza. It was fun for me to see some initial reader reactions along the lines of “It’s just another Clone High,” because I knew where the story was going and was thinking Oh, just you wait… Q. It might just be me, but I haven't noticed much promotion for these titles. Are you relying mostly on word-of-mouth to bring peoples' attention to them? A. That’s about right. The thing about the reader demographic that’s into IKKI is that these are not people who just pick up a random graphic novel every once in a while or buy whatever’s on the bestseller lists that month. They’re pretty passionate about what they read. And knowledgeable. And eager to share their opinions. So we figured that they would do a better job of speaking to IKKI’s qualities and would get what we’re trying to do far more than most official press channels. To that end, although we have done promotion at mass events like SDCC, we’re really concentrating on more creator-focused events like APE and working with organizations like the School of Visual Arts. Q. Seinen titles seem to be one of the fastest growing genres in the US manga scene -- or at least that's all I've found myself reading these days -- and so it gives ample opportunity to push boundaries and explore new areas of manga. Are there any boundaries that you're hoping SigIKKI will be able to break? A. Actually, in terms of North American market percentage seinen has remained pretty stable over the years. But I think that’s going to change in the near future. The mantra that a lot of publishers and press have been repeating of late is that the EL market is now maturing to the point that readers are ready for more sophisticated fare. Which VIZ Media believes—or certainly hopes—is the case. But aside from that, one of the main goals of the SigIKKI project is, paraphrasing the site tagline, to show readers outside Japan that “manga means comics.” In other words, although in the West the term “comics” encompasses a huge range of material—everything from Batman to Fun House to Peanuts to Raw—“manga” is still understood as a term referring to a very narrow range of material, the standard-issue shonen or shojo fare. Which is such a pity considering how enormous and diverse the world of manga is. One of my pet phrases is that manga is a format, not a genre. And so with SigIKKI, we’re attempting to demonstrate that in practice by offering as diverse a lineup as we can, with series that go from scifi to period piece to gag to real life.  Q. Are there any boundaries that you think are impossible to cross in the foreseeable future when it comes to manga? Kodomo no Jikan's failure to launch is what comes to mind when I'm asking this question. A.  I don’t think there’s a cut-and-dried answer to this one—the market is still evolving so fast that it’s hard to look further than a couple of years down the line. However, you always have to be aware of the unique sensitivities of the market you’re publishing into, and there are certain subjects and types of material that are harder to handle than others.  Q. Will we be seeing Freesia soon in SigIKKI? Please? A.  Ha ha ha! Yeah, I’m a major Matsumoto fan myself. Duly noted.--I'd like to take a moment and thank Leyla and Evelyn Dubocq at Viz for the opportunity to do this interview, and send my love out to the SigIKKI team for putting out some titles that I am going to become hopelessly addicted to.

We've been covering a number of titles from SigIKKI for the past week now, and so to cap off our coverage of it, I figured that it might be a good time to sit down and talk with someone at Viz about the whole hullabaloo over ...


Some of the stories over at SigIKKI are only a single chapter long, but they show some real promise -- especially their comedy works. Two works in particular caught my attention, and really deserve yours: What's the Answer by...


There's always one bad apple in the group, and in the course of reviewing all the titles up for grabs over at SigIKKI.com, Shunju Aono's I'll Give It My All... Tomorrow fell utterly flat with me.The story is a comedy based ar...


Let's fill a high school with the clones of all sorts of famous characters in history. Unlike the amazing Clone High, this story is all serious-business, and our protagonist, Shiro, is the only non-clone in the school. Things...


Imagine the entirety of the Earth designated as a nature preserve, and human society has moved up to an artificial ring circling the Earth. Pretty cool, right? Well, along with that is the usual class stratification, which br...


IKKI website now fully operational, will be able to destroy whole planets with its new titles

Jul 19
// Brad Rice
A while ago, I proposed to Viz for their setup of the IKKI online magazine. It's truly fantastic, as is Children of the Sea. Well, now they've finally upgraded themselves to battle-ready status in preparation for San Diego Co...

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