Those crafty devils at Seven Seas never just rest on their laurels, do they? In the last couple of days, they’ve talked to Publishers Weekly Comics Week and ICv2 about their new yuri line, Strawberry.
Seven Seas publisher Jason DeAngelis summed up the line’s philosophy for PWCW’s Calvin Reid:
“DeAngelis says Seven Seas will focus on strong stories, ‘then the elements portrayed in the art become secondary. We’re dedicated to leaving the material we license uncensored, so we will be releasing a wide range of yuri aimed at different age groups. That said, we have no intention of releasing outright pornographic material.’”
(For those who are struggling with the distinction between yuri and hot, girl-on-girl action, Tina Anderson provides a concise, not entirely work-safe explanation.)
The ICv2 piece makes the interesting note that you’re much more likely to find a romantic relationship between two girls in mainstream manga (shôjo or shônen) than a male-male match-up:
“As a genre yuri is not nearly as big in Japan as yaoi, but lots of manga and anime series including Revolutionary Girl Utena, Rose of Versailles, My-Hime, Noir, .hack//SIGN, Read or Die, and Project A-ko feature central yuri relationships.”
At MangaCast, Ed Chavez takes exception to the classification of the new Seven Seas titles as yuri:
“I have said that here for a while, and obviously that was before this new imprint was announced. Strawberry Panic and Tetragrammaton Labyrinth (by Itou Ei) at least have girl-girl relationships throughout. I will say that neither one is really directly marketed to female readers (Tetra actually is in the same magazine as IkkiTousen and Mahoromatic…. so you might agree with me that those are Seinen titles for the seinen in your family). I am not a manga lord or magistrate to designate genres so your mileage with this will vary.”
But Ed notes that marketing is a fickle mistress:
“Ahh, so I guess my next question is who is 7S marketing this to. My gut feeling is = guys! To that I say whatever. I don’t see anything wrong with it. Books are marketed to the wrong audiences all the time here and outside of myself and maybe some industry people who wonder why their books aren’t moving, I don’t think people (in this case readers) care. And if the sales of these titles mean more titles like Boogiepop and some of the LightNovel imprint. Great! I want to see 7S take even more risks (Yanki/Zoku manga… HINT HINT).”
As Ed says, mileage varies.
ALC has been waving the yuri banner for a long time now, putting out both licensed work and original global yuri. (I’m particularly crazy about quirky, lo-fi Rica ‘tte Kanji!?) ALC’s Erica stops by the Anime News Network discussion thread to give a little background on the publisher’s philosophy:
“We also tend to focus on work by lesbians that identify as ‘yuri'” artists, instead of artsits who don’t like to think of themselves that way.”
In the same thread, harsh words are exchanged over category labeling and opposing fandoms. Shocking!