Top Manga publisher set to make India entry
“The Indian market is especially important to us as we expand our reach and distribution of our English language manga around the world,” says Kevin Hamric, director of publishing and marketing of VIZ Media, which has headquarters in San Francisco and distributes, markets and licenses anime and Manga titles from Japan.
Manga are Japanese comic books, read from right to left, covering a broad range of genres, including action and adventure, science-fiction and fantasy, romance, historical drams, sport, food and the paranormal.
The two main categories are Shonen – generally for boys and tending to be more action orientated, and Shojo – for girls and tending towards romance and the paranormal.
“With India’s growing book and reading sector we have identified it as key to our growth. We receive many, many requests each and every month from fans in India to bring our product here,” Hamric, who was in India this week, told PTI.
He is very enthusiastic about the Indian Otaku or Manga enthusiasts.
“We are very enthusiastic to bring our industry leading Manga to the thousands of fans in India who have been patiently waiting to purchase and read the likes of Naruto, Bleach, One Piece and many other series.”
While the Naruto series is about an adolescent ninja Naruto Uzumaki who constantly searches for recognition and dreams to become strongest ninja in his village, Bleach follows the adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki after he obtains the powers of a Soul Reaper which helps him take on the duties of defending humans from evil spirits and guiding departed souls to the afterlife.
Hamric says VIZ Media doesn’t have any immediate plans to adopt Indian stories but was not averse to the idea.
“We don’t have any plans at this time but we are always searching for new and interesting Manga and stories and that could include those that do not originate in Japan.”
He, however, said that the company is not planning to launch Manga in Indian languages like Hindi.
“That would be a decision for our parent companies in Japan. VIZ Media is essentially a licensee whereby we obtain rights to publish Manga in English,” he added.
It launched its own iPad app in November 2011 rather than joining comiXology. Another dramatic move was to convert its
monthly digital magazine, Shonen Jump, to a digital weekly and sync it with the Japanese Shonen Jump, so that North American
readers can get their new chapters of Naruto, One Piece, and other Shonen Jump manga the same day as Japanese readers.
While replying to the question whether VIZ had any plans to make all books digital, Hamric says, “We currently have over 1500 titles available digitally in North America available through our proprietary reader, iOS, NOOK and Kobo. What I would say is to stay tuned regarding the availability of titles internationally,” he said.