One thing that seemed to tangential to bring up in the column came from the historical analysis of Tokyopop over at The Anime Almanac. It’s a really solid piece, but I did find myself disagreeing with one section:
“Earlier this year, Tokyopop released an completely unique Japanese title called Manga Sutra. This ‘guide to getting it on,’ as the company puts it, has been a huge hit in Japan for many years and is completely unlike anything out right now in the American market. As I wrote in a piece earlier this year, the title has the potential to make it big in America because of its novelty. However, Tokyopop squashed all hope for it reaching a wide audience by not selling the book at national book chains and hiding it from the general consumer. If you wanted to get the book, you would have to activity look for it online and have it mailed to you.”
I actually did purchase this at a Borders store. It wasn’t in the graphic novel section, but was shelved with the human sexuality books. That struck me as sensible at the time, because one of the things you hear pitched by various folks is the shelving graphic novels by category (mystery, science fiction, romance, and so on) where people uninitiated with the medium would find them next to stuff they’re already reading. (And frankly, no good could come from shelving Futari H right next to Fruits Basket.)
Just from a personal perspective, I thought the novelty of the book only went so far. Aside from the amusing weirdness of its premise and the odd contrast it provided to most of the licensed titles that are readily available, I found the book pretty boring, which doesn’t seem like a good thing to say about a sex guide. Again, that’s just my reaction, and aside from liking weird, off-brand manga, I’m not really the target audience.