Friends who know me well enough will know that I’m a manga collector who treat my manga like gold. I collect raw manga, the English version and sometimes, the Mandarin version (traditional/simplified). They’re kept in top notch condition, no dust, no dog ears and they’re as good as new.
After mindlessly ranting on scanlators doing a bad job, I reflected and feel that I should not complain when goods are free. Hence, this time I’m going to rant on the bad quality of goods that I’ve paid for. Since I’ve a library of manga that is published in English, analyzing the pro and con would aid not only me, but the many manga shoppers out there too. Based on my personal life experience, I’ll be stating my opinions and pointing out the good, the bad and providing some personal side comments on the various publishers. I’m usually concern with the below and will only mention if the various publishers fall short of my expectations or over-exceed them.
- quality (cover page, pages, print)
- accuracy of translation (grammar, sentence structure)
- availability (whether it can be found easily or it’s some ninja publisher)
- freebie (color page)
*Arranged alphabetically from A-Z, please be aware that I do not patronize manga from certain publishers and hence, they’re not included.
Titles that I hold: Gunslinger Girl (~S$16.15)
- Color page included.
- Print quality (Gunslinger Girl)
- Some bubbles left blank (Gunslinger Girl) <<NB: I personally filled in the words that were missing from the bubble after referring to the raws>>
- Website: My grandmother moves faster than their website and the site is always not up to date.
- Series published on an irregular basis
- Unavailability. Once a volume is sold out, local book shops have difficulty trying to get a re-stock due to whatever reason. Strangely, it only happens to products of ADVFilm.
Hyn’s Personal Comment: The website is horrible and it’s impossible to search for anything there. Not only so, the feedback box on the site is a bluff as my feedback never seems to get through.
Publisher: Chuang Yi
Titles that I hold: Blood+ (~S$8.50)
- Color page included (Blood+)
- High quality pages and cover page (Blood+)
- Affordable and available since it’s a local publisher.
- Limited genres, they’ve more into Mandarin translations as compared to English and some genres will never make it to Chuang Yi, we all know it.
Hyn’s Personal Comment: Please support Chuang Yi.
Publisher: CMX Manga
Titles that I hold: Variante (~S$21.90)
- High quality.
- Price, it’s one of the most expensive around.
- To prevent others from reading their products free, CMX Manga wraps their product so tightly that the book would suffocate to death if it’s alive.
Hyn’s Personal Comment: I’m still waiting for volume 4 of Variante.
Publisher: Dark Horse Manga
Titles that I hold: Blood+ (~S$19.00)
- For American comic and Korean Manhwa lovers.
- Ugly fonts. (Blood+)
- Price, it’s expensive.
Hyn’s Personal Comment: Vol1 of Gantz is out by the way, I’m not a fan of Gantz though.
Publisher: DrMaster Publications Inc
Titles that I hold: Lunar Legend Tsukihime (~S$13)
The Good: I’m sorry to say this but I have nothing positive to say about this publisher.
- Irregular price range, volume 1 is S$16.55 while volume 5 is S$13.
- Bad page and cover quality, feels like toilet paper material to me.
- Too few series under their wing.
Hyn’s Personal Comment: An "ulu" publisher; I only know of DrMaster through Tsukihime.
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Titles that I hold: Kashimashi (~S$19.50)
- Publishes series that are not main stream (eg: Yuri titles like Strawberry Panic, Kashimashi and Venus Versus Virus).
- Good quality cover page.
- Japanese terms are kept as it is (onee-sama, neechan, san, etc)
- Unavailability (I challenge you to find Strawberry Panic in Singapore)
- Price, on the costly side.
Hyn’s Personal Comment: N/A
Titles that I hold: Battle Club (~S$16.65), Battle Vixen (~S$15.20), Chibi Vampire (S$15.10)
- Great website that’s utilized fully by the company. Easy navigation, easy information gathering, there are even times when you’re able to read free manga online on TOKYOPOP.
- Price, TOKYOPOP manga are cheaper than the others.
- Availability, TOKYOPOP manga is available almost everywhere.
- Wide genre coverage. TOKYOPOP covers a wide range of manga; from yuri (Kannazuki no Miko) to shoujo (Karin) to yaoi (Junjou Romantica).
- Horrible cover page, the cover page is toilet roll material. (Chibi Vampire)
- Horrible paper quality, the paper is toilet paper quality. (Chibi Vampire)
- Bad printing quality.
- Background effects are untranslated.
- Bubbles are not fully utilized, words are font size mini-me but they take up only half the bubble space. What’s the remaining space for?
- Unreadable bubbles. Some bubbles are too near the binders and they’re unreadable. (To read, tear the page out)
- WTF translations with broken english. (Battle Vixen)
Hyn’s Personal Comment: TOKYOPOP, you suck!!! The free to read manga that’s on the site won’t be able to save your reputation since they’re usually series (eg: The Tarot Cafe and Bizenghast) that are not worth reading IMO.
Publisher: VIZ Media
Titles that I hold: Claymore (~S$13.45), Pretty Face (~S$13.45), Rosario+Vampire (~S$13.30), Special A (~S$14.95)
- Background effect/sound is translated.
- Publishes a volume on a regular series.
- Cover page bends naturally to a side over time.
- Debatable terms in translations. (Claymore)
Hyn’s Personal Comment: Please support VIZ Media.
The other publishers that I’m aware of but I do not own any of their products would be Broccoli Books, Del Ray Manga and Infinity Studios. Both Del Ray and Infinity Studios products are on the expensive side but I’m unsure of the quality since I’ve not bought any of their goods. After visiting Infinity Studios’ site, fans of manhwa would definitely like them since the few products they have there are mainly english published manhwa. I would like to give Del Ray a try as I’m going ga-ga over Pastel recently and might grab volume 1 from my local bookshop. Personally, VIZ Media is my favorite so far when it comes to quality and price. On the other hand, I would mourn whenever TOKYOPOP or ADVFilm announces that they’ll be licensing a new series that I like. That’s all from me, hopefully this post can be a "useful guide" somehow. (: