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Viewing Blog: Vertical Blog, dated 9/2012
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Vertical translates the best contemporary Japanese books. Vertical selects their popular novels, graphic novels, and quality nonfiction from a rich, variegated stock: Japan's huge and vibrant book market.
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Eikichi Onizuka is a classic Anime and Manga character. In Japan, his live action TV show remains one of the most popular of all time. Being the main character of four different manga over the past twenty years certainly has helped, but ultimately this is because the great teacher himself has been, and is still, a formidable inspiration. From his silly antics, beating up and getting beaten up, and inspirational speeches and gestures, Onizuka has become a modern manga great who has entertained many and has given hope to even more. If you’ve never read any of the GTO series, I highly implore you do, though I bet most of you are at least familiar with it. Like some of you, I have a long history with one Eikichi Onizuka, one that definitely pre-dates our releases of GTO: The Early Years and GTO: 14 Days In Shonan, and I want to talk about it.
My first experience with the great teacher that is Onizuka was way back in 2004. What a time 2004 was if you were a manga fan living in either the U.S. or Canada. It was the beginning of the manga boom, where more and more manga was starting to be released stateside, where the art-form and story-form was gaining popularity, where we would start to see big manga sections in Barnes & Nobles and the now and unfortunately defunct Borders. I was only twelve at the time and I was finally delving into the world of manga past what Shonen Jump was offering. Having read much of the stuff by Clamp, Love Hina, and Kodocha (which still holds up quite well), like others during the time, I had fallen in love with manga and I wanted more. I forget how exactly, though it was most likely through the advertisements found in old Tokyopop books that made up the majority of manga-shelves at the time, but I stumbled upon the existence of GTO and decided to purchase it. Yet, no sooner did I purchase it and tried reading the first few chapters did I decide that I hated the work and literally left the book it in the mall where I had bought it. Literally, I left it behind a potted plant on a ledge and hoped for the best. It was just too much for little twelve year old me.
A few years later, at a point where the original GTO was starting to get hard to find, Tokyopop began releasing the title that we are now just about to finish, GTO: The Early Years. I was older (and I’d like to think I was at least a little smarter too) at this point and I had wanted to give the series another shot. In short, I loved it. I found the characters entertaining, the story lines engaging, the fights fun, and the whole badass/yanki attitude of the entire thing very enjoyable. Most of all, I was upset at my 12 year old self for not enjoying the original GTO, because it was now very hard for anyone to find all 25 volumes of the series. If you’ve been following the manga industry since the mid 2000s, you know that a couple years before their demise (semi-demise? I’m not really sure.) Tokyopop stopped publishing all of their comics that they licensed from Kodansha. It would be years before we ever saw the conclusion to Samurai Deeper Kyo and Ravemaster, and other titles like Getbackers disappeared from America completely. GTO: The Early Years was one such manga.
If you’re reading this post, you should know that Vertical finally picked up this title and released it, but in the interim in between tokyopop’s release and ours, I was able to get my hands on all of the original GTO. A few years ago, a friend of mine posted a status asking if anyone wanted to buy the manga from him for a discounted price, and I snapped it up. Boy, was that the right choice. I fell in love with that manga. I fell in love with what the manga was doing, the classmates, and most importantly, Onizuka himself. His excursions of trying to court women had continued, and honestly were as funny as ever, but his stakes were even higher; Instead of just defending his friends, he’s trying to give his classmates someone to look up to and count on. No matter how tough the situation or how much physical danger he may find himself in, if you’ve read the series, (or it’s prequel or sequel) you know that he succeeds. Smiles and tears the entire ride. Truth be told, I had a picture of the last page of the manga as my phone background for a good year.
When Vertical announced that they were picking up the rest of The Early Years and 14 Days Of Shonan, I was ecstatic. This was way before I ever joined this company as an intern, and is actually probably one of the reasons I really started to fall in love with this company. Getting to read 14 Days Of Shonan and seeing Eikichi continue doing what he does best makes me happy every time I pick up a volume. Getting to finish The Early Years, watching Eikichi grow up (well, who knows if he ever really did) to become the greatest teacher that he is, has been wonderful. I’ve been reading manga for a long time, and the entire GTO franchise is one that has been with another, from the beginning, in one way or another. I love Onizuka, and if you don’t, you should tear open a space in your heart and let him settle in. You’ll be glad you did.
By: Anne Ishii,
Blog: Vertical Blog
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I’ve been an intern here at Vertical for two weeks now, and in that time I feel like I have already done a fair amount. I’ve done some write-ups for our manga, relaunched a blog, packed some envelopes, spent several hours of my life discussing manga and the world of the manga industry with Ed Chavez (who’s office I occupy a tiny space in) and have gone to and from the post office more times than I can already count. All in all, being here at Vertical Inc. has already been an interesting experience, and I figure some of you might be interested in hearing a bit about what interning at a manga (and other Japanese works) publishing company is like.
First off, I figure I should describe to you a bit of what the office is like. While it’s not a big office, it’s honestly one I really like, and it’s also one that I’m able to walk to three mornings a week, which is nice. As one might possibly imagine, the office is just full of manga. Translated manga, untranslated manga, our releases, Japanese manga-mags, for a manga-lover, this place is a small little heaven in which you can loose yourself in the world of comics from Japan. Because there’s too many books just to fit in the office rooms alone, there’s even a library which has even more manga inside of it. The other two things that there are an abundance of within this office are cardboard boxes, both filled and unfilled, and Vertical bags. The very same bags you yourself could own if you spend $30 or more dollars at our booths at various anime conventions. There’s a pile of them right next to the desk I’m using, actually.
As I stated, I work out of marketing director Ed Chavez’s office, which makes sense because he’s who I directly report to here. If you’ve attended any of our panels, or have bought anything from us at a con, he’s the man you’ve talked to. Working in the same room with him, I end up getting to talk to him (or rather, bugging him) a lot. In my short two weeks here, I’ve already learned a lot about how the american manga industry, and the publishing industry in general, exactly works. I’ll go into this more another time, but, even for a long time manga consumer like me, there’s a lot that I’ve never even considered that comes into play. I get to hear a lot about what sells, what doesn’t, and why, and while I can’t say anything super-specific one way or another, it’s all very interesting to be around. I’ve been a manga buff for sometime, but now working with a long-time industry vet like him, I feel like I’m just a novice who’s barely scratched the surface of the world manga has to offer.
I’m not the only intern here at Vertical at the moment, but right now, I’m the only one who isn’t involved with the production of books. The thing that I’ve done most so far are the write-ups our manga that appear on our website. They’re just three paragraph blurbs on each book to help explain what they are about, but having to figure out how to exactly write each one has been challenging. I have to read said manga, figure out what aspects of it are most prominent and impressive, and then put it all in my own words. I’ve also had the pleasure of compiling the wine list for the new The Drops of God volume, and have done some of the translation notes for GTO: The Early Years, both of which have basically included a lot of googling.
Of course, I’m now also getting to blog as a part of my internship, and I think that’ll end up being really fun over the course of my time here. I’ve only been here for two weeks, but again, it’s been totally fulfilling so far. I’ll post about this subject again, if not before New York Comic Con, soon after . I’ll be doing some booth-work, to be sure. I’m really excited to be working with Vertical at a convention for the first time, opposed to being a regular attendee. While the manga industry isn’t as big over here as it used to be in the mid ’00s, it’s certainly lively, and it’s certainly been great to be interning inside of it.
Like some of you may, I listen to a fair amount of Japanese music. In fact, I’ve recently become rather enamored with Kyary-Pamyu Pamyu because dang if her songs are not infectious… Please don’t judge me. I figured I’d do some posts every now and then about Japanese music as it’s relevant to Japanese culture, and a lot of it is rather enjoyable. I must admit, I don’t keep up with the popular J-Rock bands and, with the exception of Kyary, the popular J-Pop stars. My tastes are somewhat off the beaten path. You won’t see any Viz-Kei here, nor will you see any vocaloid, but maybe, if you give yourself the chance, you’ll end up enjoying some of these songs regardless. At the very least, a listen won’t hurt!… Will it?
- Rin Toshite Shigure is a Japanese rock band from Saitama. They’re known for their impressive and varied guitar riffs, their dueling,wailing, male and female vocals, and high-paced intense musical output. Give their song “Telecastic Fake Show” a listen.
- Midori was a Japanese punk band with a heavy jazz influence, an interesting combination if I must say. Led by frantic singer Mariko Goto, this band has high energy and it just pours out song after song. I’ve never heard another band like them. Check out rockin’ live video of their song Yukiko San.
- School Food Punishment, who unfortunately just broke up, is one of my favorite Japanese bands. They’ve gotten some mainstream success and have had their songs of theirs in some anime, like Eden Of The East, [c], and Ungo. Their music is a perfect blend of electronic and rock, fronted with the beautiful vocals of Yumi Uchimura. You May Crawl has remained a favorite of mine for years.
Okay, that’s enough for now. I figure I shouldn’t load everyone with too much off the bat. Though, I do hope you give these bands and these songs a chance, because they’re pretty great. Let me know if you enjoyed any of this stuff or if you want to see more music related posts in the comments or on the facebook page!
I lied. There’s one more thing I need to post. As I said above, I’m a big fan of Kyary. Her new video got released and, well, if you’ve seen any of her videos before, this one holds up. Watch it. It’s great.
As you may have seen here, we are, in fact, bringing out the lovely Moyoco Anno to New York Comic Con! She’ll be at NYCC doing panels and book signings, so if you’ll be at the con, please come out and see her! One of the reasons we are bringing her out, aside from the fact that she’s a phenomenal artist and writer, is that just a few months ago, we released her absolutely gorgeous manga Sakuran. If you haven’t picked it up yet, now’s the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to this captivating bittersweet josei tale.
In case you aren’t familiar with Sakuran or Moyoco Anno herself, I figured it would be a good idea to give her some introduction. A Kodansha Manga Award recipient, she’s one of Japan’s top female manga creators, and has had several of her works be turned into Anime, Dramas, and Films. Previous to Sakuran, two of her manga, Happy Mania and Sugar Sugar Rune, have been published here in the U.S. before. In addition to writing manga, Moyoco Anno also dabbles in fashion writing, and her fashion kn0w-how comes through in the gorgeous clothing that appears in her work. While she hasn’t debuted a new series in a while, and isn’t currently running anything, Anno recently announced she’d have a new manga coming out next year! One final tidbit: That last name is not a coincidence, she is married to a certain Hideaki.
So, again, if you’re going to be at NYCC, come and see Moyoco Anno! When we get conformation of when the panels and signings will be, we’ll certainly let you know. Until then, stay tuned!
By: Anne Ishii,
Blog: Vertical Blog
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Hello Vertical Readers!
As you may or may not have noticed, this blog has been kind of… dead. For a while now. I apologize for that. The good news is, that after a few high risk surgeries with a certain scarred unlicensed doctor, the Vertical Inc. blog has been officially resuscitated! Yes, this is a relaunch of sorts.
All kidding aside, Let me introduce myself. My name is Chris. I’m a new intern here at Vertical and I’ve been tasked with blogging my heart out to the lovely manga reading masses. When this blog was running before, it was generally an Asian culture blog that did not focus specifically on one thing or another. You’ll still be seeing these kinds of posts to a certain extent. Though I will also be writing posts that have to do with our properties, Japanese culture (and food. Most likely a lot of food.) in New York City, the life of an intern at a manga publishing company, and whatever else that may be deemed relevant to post. Though, if there’s any sort of thing you (hopeful) readers would like to see post here on this blog (which I promise will be updated frequently) or you have anything you want to ask, post in the comments or leave us a message on our Facebook page and I’ll see what can be done.
Phew, Okay. That seems like enough of an introduction. There’ll be new content here *very* soon so check back often! I’m excited to be writing here, and hopefully you’ll find it bearable enough to read every once in a while. See you soon!