Rocket Bomber - article - publishing - commentary - If I count all posts - this is "Kodansha VI"

If I count all posts, this is "Kodansha VI"

filed under , 11 April 2010, 21:45 by

Kodansha Puzzles
Kodansha USA III
An Open Letter to Messrs. Cthulhu and A-Nony-Mouse, with a side note for Mr. Green
Checking in with Kodansha and Cthulhu
I’ll have my hat, with a side of crow, and some humble pie.


This has been a rocky road [to Dublin] but a discussion on Twitter [& twitter being what it is, I can’t link to that particular conversation; I could copy it whole but it’s kind of tangential to the whole thing] led to a number a people asking: So, what’s up with Kodansha Comics?

Well, first: they still haven’t resolved any of the web site issues I noted 7 months ago — there is no Kodansha Comics web site, or at least, not one that isn’t being hoarded by a cyber-squatter [short editorial: you cyber-squatters *suck*, but Kodansha really should have fixed this by now].

To get anywhere I’ve been reduced to trawling the New York Department of State, Division of Corporations and their current listings.

This is so far from actual news I’m almost embarrassed to propagate it, but once again: no one else is reporting it. Dear Internet, Please Note: just because I can do business searches doesn’t mean I want to; is there really no other blog willing to go there?

My complaining aside:

Kodansha USA, Inc. is the current iteration of Kodansha in [*cough*] the USA.

Name history:

In July of 2008, two older divisions, Kodansha International (USA) Ltd. and Kodansha America, Inc were folded into the new Kodansha USA, Inc.

Confusingly, there is also a new company Kodansha USA Publishing LLC — which as far as my understanding goes is the actual publisher of Kodansha Comics (distributed to the book store market via Random House) while Kodansha USA is the official rights holder, and is responsible for any (to date: non-existent) marketing on Kodansha titles, while also being the new, official publisher of all non-comic Kodansha titles, previously published by Kodansha International and still distributed by Oxford University Press.

[if they could make this any more complicated I’m not sure how… oh, wait: they could set up a new umbrella company using an unpublicised legal dodge and corporate card shuffling and not let anyone know: WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY DID. Did we get too close? Is it such a sin to know where our books are coming from?]

My bitching aside, the other reason to post an update is both Akira and Ghost in the Shell (formerly of Dark Horse but now re-released [with no edits, and also retrograde in that they’re releasing first editions not the later ones] by Kodansha Comics) on top of my comments in the parenthetical aside, have also been delayed.

Ghost in the Shell, Vol 2 18 May

Akira, Vol 2 8 June

Akira, Vol 3 13 July

Akira, Vol 4 12 October

I suppose the good news, such as it is, is that we still have dates for these volumes and they didn’t just slide off the face of the earth (as it first seemed)

Still: no other titles announced, or even hinted at.

If I die in the next six months, I want “Kodansha Releases Did Him In” carved into my tombstone.


  1. Or maybe even Kodansha VII, but we’ll call it the 6th post for now.

    Comment by Matt Blind — 11 April 2010, 23:10 #

  2. Kodansha ought to be worried that almost no one seems to care that the volumes were pushed back.

    Heck, they should take some of their $2M start-up capital and buy a mystery manga publisher or two. That would get people talking.

    Comment by Simon Jones — 12 April 2010, 07:11 #

  3. The last time I looked (maybe last summer?) Kodansha USA, Inc. and Kodansha USA Publishing LLC were also listed as seperate addresses. It would appear that the latter either no longer has a physical address or has moved under the former’s roof. Either way, a Park Avenue adress would eat up that $2 million pretty quick.

    I owe you an apology, Mr. Blind. I was the anonymous(e) poster you reference here. I have no insider knowledge or secret agenda, and maybe I was just having a bad day. But my concerns are the same now as they were then. Wherever “Cthulu” got their info from or the accuracy of such is small potatoes next to the question of what American manga publishers are going to do when (not if) the Japanese pubs start setting up shop in the U.S. What stuck with from the original rumor was the feeling of a huge shadow over the shoulders on the American comics industry. In the time since, that feeling hasn’t gone away.

    Comment by M.Nicolai — 12 April 2010, 15:48 #

  4. I already own the Dark Horse adaptations of Ghost in the Shell, which are pretty nice (and pricey). There’s nothing Kodansha could do to get me to buy them again. And Akira is just too old and over with; way past the saturation point of most interested fans to be much of a seller.

    Historically in Japan, a fan-loyalty habit exists that allows companies to release the same things several times with complete confidence than fans will buy each one to express their love and support. (This is most clearly taken advantage of in the J-music business, where people will buy several iterations of each single, album, special collectors single, ad nauseam, even though they aren’t really getting anything new.) If Kondansha expects to find the same market conditions here, it is in for a rude awakening. This goes double in the post-90s multi-cover-comics glut world.

    Kodansha has such a huge wealth of material to choose from, it could be a force to reckon with in the U.S. if it ever gets past its old-school corporate mindset.

    Comment by An interested observer — 13 April 2010, 17:53 #

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