Friday, February 25, 2011

Prepublication in France

You may or may not know (or care) but I'm French, as French as one can be (if you except the fact that I do blog in English, am blogging about Japanese things and that half of France think I'm German, indeed ^^).
My point was just to show you a bit of what happens in France in terms of manga publishing, today's topic is : prepublication.

You all know it, but, aside from a few mangas, all of them are published in various magazines before being published in legitimate books. Most popular is of course Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump, but well the purpose of this article is not to tell you how mangas are done, if you want to know about that go read Bakuman.

As I was saying, prepublication magazines which is supposed to be a Japanese thing are starting to produce little babies and spread throughout the world, if I recall correctly there's an American Jump but since I've never got my hands in one I can't talk about that experience, what I can talk about though are French BExBoy and the newest one Akiba Manga.

First, these are the only experiences I know of, at least in France, so yeah, it's still rare. Second, I shouldn't even compare them since they're VERY different. Now you know about let's dive.

I'll start by the nearly 2 years old BExBoy, a "creation" of Asuka

You may have guessed judging from the cover, this one is yaoi, as I don't care much about yaoi I read only when a kind soul lend it to me, which like, happened once in my life.
This one is based on the Japanese BExBoy and it features mangas already published in Japan and translated to French, mostly as a teaser of the future releases of the editor, they publish a few chapter and then if you want to read what's next go buy it. Except for Viewfinder, which is apparently running in the magazine since the very first issue (I'm still wondering how the hell no one ever complained their children are reading this, more often than not there's no special warning or anything and it's fucking kinky, more than most thing, hentai and yuri included, I ever read)
On the other hand this one is really thick, nearly as thick as a Jump, it's definitely worth your money if you're a girl into yaoi that is.

Now the big one, or the most Japanese one as you may say, and this article is already pretty long, well I hope you'll bear with me. This one is called Akiba Manga and has a special website you can find HERE. This one is edited by our own version of Square Enix, meaning they're everywhere, games, magazines, original mangas, translation of existing mangas, music, figures, an anime and now this.
This one is closer to what you can see in Japan, original mangas and then people vote for their favourite manga which will continue and apparently if one is last 4 months in a row it gets cancelled and if it lasts long enough it'll be released in tankobon format. Simple, especially since there's only 7 series, but it also means the chances for something getting cancelled are extremely low.
But I like that, makes the user feel  involved in the process. They also publish photos of the mangaka's desks and interviews on the website, it's totally a marketing strategy but it works.
As for the quality of the mangas themselves, all of them are collaboration between a French story writer and a Japanese mangaka, which I like and dislike at the same time, don't really know how to explain it, but there's something disturbing, like they just asked them to draw to say "Hey it's Japanese buy our magazine" you see what I mean?
Anyway, there's a lot of different genres, well shonen, seinen and shojo (or so they say but well it opens on a suicide scene so I don't really know about this), the drawing styles are all very diversified too (see the website for this) which is something I really appreciate.
Don't really know what to add, the cover is pretty, glossy, not a lot of text, emphasis on the (gorgeous) Hime, they also added a small "manga review" part, half of them dedicated to their publications (not that they're bad, don't misunderstand but well, come again for an objective review), there are articles on Japan too and recipes.

All in all I will continue to read because despite everything I like these mangas and I want to support the idea, if only to get more magazines with more specialized content. And because I'm totally supporting Agent Suicides /shot