Some Thoughts on Josei Manga

I’ve been following the Tumblrs and Twitter feeds of US and Japanese publishers. Lately Kodansha USA has been answering fan questions.  You should check out their Tumblr (LINK). This morning there is some discussion about josei manga. It seems the observation is josei manga doesn’t do well in the US despite many attempts.  The exception is “Nana”. This got me thinking about my limited exposure to josei manga.

First of all, I get bored with josei manga quickly. “Nana” got on my nerves, “Butterflies and Flowers” got repetitive and I didn’t finish the series. I don’t even look at anything from DMG/DMP.  I have enjoyed:

While thinking about this topic, I’ve launched a large purchase to check out the latest licenses (except for “Happy Marriage?” because everything I’ve seen on Tumblr about it makes it look rapey unappealing to me.) I’ll write something up as I read my purchases.

Okay, back to josei! As for finding josei content for Omari’s Sister, it’s been extremely difficult. The vast majority josei are office romances with rapey softcore porn overtones.  I don’t understand the Japanese fall-in-love-with-your-rapist fantasy. It’s a disgusting notion and I can’t and won’t support it. There is also a lot of slice of life dramas… ugh… boring… I end up gravitating toward fantasy, supernatural, and horror series and oneshots. I particularly love fairytale redos.  I think that’s also the inclination of the readers of this blog.  However, so far we are getting a lot of office romance licenses. I can’t say whether this is a mistake or not. I also can’t recommend buying this stuff if you don’t like it, because it doesn’t mean we’ll get more different josei. Rather it means we’ll get more office romance because the publishers will think that’s what we want. It’s understandable since the publishers don’t have extra money to take chances.

As for performance on Omari’s Sister, the josei works we have selected have been received extremely well. Our readers read the hell out of “Lovely Vampire Weddings”. It blew past all of our other series 6x, with the exception “Kanojo ni Naru Hi” which is performing similarly well. Butakai Ouji also get a lot of readers and lots of positive feedback. I don’t know whether this is bias because the selections suit our audience or whether this is a true signal that readers want fantasy.  Regardless, I would like to see a fantasy or sci-fi josei license to test the waters.  I doubt it’s going to happen anytime soon because the US publishers are extremely cash strapped.

To wrap things up, if there’s licensed josei manga you like out there, buy it so there will be more josei licensed. Money always speaks louder than words.  Also, if you have an interest in josei, let the publishers know and send them your wishlist. They may not do much about your specific request, but it’s good to let them know that there’s general demand. And as a personal request, get out there and support Vertical Inc. with your dollars. Vertical is probably our best bet for non-office romance josei, so let’s do our best to keep the printing presses running!

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