Posts Tagged yen press

Spice and Wolf US Cover

This is long overdue, but as the book was recently actually released, I decided to write and post it anyways.

In September, Yen Press announced that they would be publishing the Spice and Wolf light novel. The light novel market in the US is barely in existence, and most of that comes from Yen Plus and their sister company, Little Brown. They have begun publishing the Haruhi novels to a very limited success that stemmed from the previous fanbase for the Haruhi anime.

In an attempt to appeal to a larger fanbase, Yen Plus took it upon themselves to release the light novels with a custom cover, seen below. There has been an virtual riot at the release of this cover which has filled the comment sections of Yen Plus’s blog posts concerning the light novel. In the end, the company took steps to try to calm their readers, but to little avail. Most ‘fans’ of the series are still moaning about how horrible the cover is, and how the offered dust jackets simply aren’t enough.

In this post, I’ll be restating many of the things I’ve said within the comments of Yen Plus. Try to bare with me if you’ve followed those comment pages.

To start with, I personally rather like the cover. When I saw it, I immediately thought of the art book I own, imported from Japan. Unfortunately, I gave away the art book to a friend who is a bigger fan of the series than I. Let me describe the cover to you, though: Holo is nude, lying down, smiling mischievously, and artfully covered up. Hmm. Sounds familiar. I don’t feel that Yen Plus’s cover is far from the images presented within the light novel itself, nor really throughout the series. No, Holo is not always nude. But she is in the beginning, and this is the beginning.

Past that, I really admire that Yen Plus took the steps they did to satisfy their fanbase. Few companies care nearly enough to include a dust jacket with the original art as a bonus in their magazine (I do not feel that this was only to garner magazine sales, but rather the only reasonable way to get the dust jacket to their customers). Hardly any would even think of contacting online retailers and ask them to provide the dust jackets with future sales. But no, this is simply not enough for ‘fans’ of Spice and Wolf. The ‘fans’ apparently expected Yen Plus to throw away every copy so far printed of the books and make completely new ones, and have the available by the already promised date.

Frankly, if companies relied on these sorts of people, pretty much everyone would be run into the ground. If EA Games scrapped and remade every game that people complained about they’d probably still be in business. But for the most part, no one can afford to make the finicky people happy. It just can’t be done.

You may notice that I’ve been setting off ‘fans’ with those apostrophes. I have my reasons, I promise.

There is nothing wrong with viewing content which is not licensed in your country for free. However, no matter how legal it used to be to read the Spice and Wolf light novels online, or read the manga, or watch the anime, it still does not contribute money to the author. Hasekura Isuna is a very talented and very hardworking creator. Does Hasekura-san not deserve money for her work? Of course she does. I personally have imported a few of the light novels from Japan, even though I can only read so much of them in Japanese, because I enjoy the series and believe it’s worth the money. Clearly, not everyone can do this. Importing can be difficult and is almost always expensive. I understand that. But many ‘fans’ have said they are boycotting the series until Yen Plus fixes their mistake. In doing this, you are not just hurting Yen Plus. You are hurting Yen Plus, Hasekura-san, and the light novel industry itself. You are preventing the further publishing of light novels.

Please, don’t boycott the series. Buy it anyways, and tell Yen Plus how you feel. Boycotting the series doesn’t say, “I don’t like this cover.” It says, “I don’t like this series.” Yen Plus is young enough that they can listen to our complaints. By the time the announcement was made, it was far too late for them to do anything more than they have done. However, I have no doubts that if they publish the next installment in the light novel series, it will be with a veritable option for the original cover. However, as a fan of their replacement artwork, I look forward to the new artwork they might come out with.

Oh, and by the way, guys, her name is indeed Holo. If you don’t understand how the Japanese phonetic system, you can’t speak on what her name is. Anyone who listens to Japanese regularly with the ability to understand it can watch the anime and hear clearly that her name is Holo. She even writes it in Roman letters as Holo. So no, Yen Plus didn’t ‘change’ it just because your fanlators said her name was Horo

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Yen+, March Issue Review

March’s Yen+ features the return of Maximum Ride, complete with several colored pages and a wonderful interview with Narae Lee, the illustrator.

The interview was definitely interesting. It provided a good insight into how manga- and manhwa-ka are born. Though Narae Lee’s story is far from typical, it’s inspiring none-the-less. She’s a very talented artist, especially for being so young, and I don’t think I’m alone in expecting some really great work from her in the future. I think it was interesting for many to realize that though the story is American, the artist lives in Korea. Speaking of the story, it would have been nice to see an interview with James Patterson, to see how the story was formed, and not just art and character design.

Many of us Yen+ readers were frustrated that rather than picking up with Maximum Ride where January’s issue left off, a chapter was actually skipped. To be honest, it doesn’t sound like Narae Lee took a month off to me, but rather that Yen Press wanted to force us to pick up volume one of Maximum Ride to read that last chapter. I don’t know this for a fact, but several other readers share this opinion with me. However, Yen Press did give a little present with a few full color pages to open up the chapter. I wonder if these will also appear in the second volume of the manga? We won’t find out for a while.

Another full color surprise was the fanart section. There’s a really great picture of Jack Frost that I think fans of the comic will really enjoy. I’m a little disappointed in some of the selections the Yen Press crew makes, as I’m certain they must get some really great pieces that get left out. In the future, I really hope that keep up with the colored fanart section.

This issue also featured a new little blurb called “Otaku Pimp,” which is apparently written by a friend of the editor’s. Hmm… At any rate, I was far from impressed. It was really a waste of paper in my eyes. It was merely the ramblings of some guy who likes Japan, wants to be a pimp, and think’s he’s pretty awesome. You could find that guy in just about any comic book store. Maybe the section will get better, but if it continues to be exactly what it was in this issue, I’ll simply be skipping over it in the future.

The preview of Goong is getting a little old. It appears for its third installment in this issue, which seems a bit ridiculous. I love that Yen Press decided to implement previews, and I plan on buying Legend due to its preview a few issues back, but it’d be nice to see more variety. Perhaps much of my ill-will towards it lies in my not liking Goong (the art irks me and the story doesn’t do much to make up for it to me), but even if this were something I liked, I would be getting tired of it. I wish that if YP were going to practically serialize volume one of something, they could at least stick in another preview in the third issue. On top of this, instead of previewing something new next month, it looks like we won’t be getting a preview at all.

Chapter Spotlights
Pig Bride
was interesting. We got to see a side of Doe-Doe that we haven’t seen much of. I’ve been looking forward to see more of that harshness, more of who she really is.

Time and Again is seeming pretty interesting so far. Like a lot of the stuff that’s come over from Korea so far,  it has a nice historic, traditional basis. The characters seem to have quite the backgrounds from this month’s chapter. Can’t wait to see more of that!

In Nabari no Ou, we’re being shown more about how the secret world works, which I definitely love. I like the way in which they’re presenting that, rather than having explained it all from the beginning. It gives us a chance to really feel like we’re in Miharu’s shoes. I imagine we have quite a lot to expect from this one, since it’s been in serialization for about four and a half years in Japan now.

I think my favorite chapter from this month was Soul Eater. A lot of plot development is going on (something I didn’t really expect to see here), but the flavor of comedy is still totally there. I’m anxious to see where this goes.

All in all this was a pretty good issue with some great chapters. However, there was room for improvement (like not skipping a chapter of something!).

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Yen Press Releases: March

The Antique Gift Shop Vol. 7 | Lee Eun
Hissing, Vol. 6 | Kang EunYoung
An Ideal World| Weidong Chen, Chao Peng
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Vol. 2 | Nagaru Tanigawa, Gaku Tsugano, Noizi Itou
Mr. Flower Bride | Lily Hoshino
Suzunari! Vol. 2 | Shoko Iwami
Very! Very! Sweet! Vol. 3 | JiSang Shin, Geo
With The Light, Vol. 4 | Keiko Tobe

I’m very much looking forward to Haruhi and With The Light!

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Yen Press Releases: February

Black God, Vol. 5 | Dall-Young Lim, Sung-Woo Park
Comic, Vol. 5 | Ha SiHyun
Goong, Vol. 4 | Park SoHee
Higurashi: When They Cry, Vol. 2 | Ryukishi07, Karin Suzuragi
Moon Boy, Vol. 6 | Lee YoungYou
Zombie-Loan, Vol. 5 | Peach Pit

I’ve already grabbed Higurashi for this month. I only have the last chapter to actually read (as everything up to that chapter has been published in Yen+), but I’m really, REALLY looking forward to it. I can’t wait for volume three in May!

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