No josei left behind

December 19, 2008

The crew at Manga Recon put their heads together to discuss various manga that should be rescued from licensing limbo, that cold, airless place where a publisher has the rights to a given title, but their efforts aren’t rewarded with audience demand. Sometimes they come back. This year saw the return of Ai Morinaga’s Your and My Secret (rescued from ADV by Tokyopop), Slam Dunk (rescued from Gutsoon by Viz), Black Jack (rescued from Viz by Vertical), and the continuation of books like Parasyte (rescued from Tokyopop by Del Rey). And Aurora’s Deux imprint just saved Cigarette Kisses from Broccoli’s Boysenberry imprint, which has to count as one of the shortest sentences to licensing limbo in history.

I thought I would focus on one at-risk title in particular, Mari Okazaki’s Suppli (Tokyopop), because I really think it’s something special. Suppli is one of those all-too-rare books about grown-ups… people with demanding jobs and complicated personal lives, kind of like Fumi Yoshinaga’s Antique Bakery. There’s plenty of smart, detailed character development and absolutely gorgeous art in Suppli, but don’t just take my word for it:

  • “The drama plays out like a television show you’d get addicted to, only to be outraged when the network cancels it after a few weeks.” – A.E. Sparrow at IGN
  • Suppli is a promising story with interesting art, but what really makes it work is the emotional authenticity that Okazaki achieves.” — Brigid Alverson at MangaBlog
  • “I used to avoid josei, as I often find entertainment aimed at female audiences (Lifetime movies, Sophie Kinsella novels) dull, formulaic, and obvious. Imagine my surprise when I discovered just how funny and honest ‘chick lit’ could be in a manga-ka’s hands.” – Katherine Dacey at Manga Recon
  • “So while I started out wondering if I was not in the book’s target audience (actually, I guess I’m still not), it quickly drew me in with its nicely-done character drama. I’ll definitely seek out future volumes.” — Matthew J. Brady at Warren Peace Sings the Blues