Recently I was surfing the internet, minding my own business, and doing my daily routine which, unsurprisingly, means checking out some manga at onemanga.com. When suddenly this notice comes up on the home page stating that publishers suddenly, out of the blue, feel differently about scanlations and that onemanga.com would be shutting down- which happens to be my main source for all things manga. So I guess the only question that remains is WHAT THE $%$@ ARE THESE PUBLISHERS THINKING!?
The Argument (I think)
Well, I guess the publisher’s perspective is that they are bearing all the risk and cost of developing these franchises i.e manga, just to have them scanned and posted on the internet without proper distribution rights, or in other words, without publishers earning a dime. So the idea is to rid the world of the scourge of scanlations so that publishers can legitimately license their works to respective territories and be properly compensated for their work. Because without which publishers would lose tons of “possible earnings” which will result in a domino effect of complete hysteria resulting in the end of manga as we know it. That pretty much sums up the oppositions argument. Oh and the fact that scanlation is a form of piracy, and the only pirates that are cool are the straw hats, the rest are obviously evil.
Well, I should first like to point out that though it may appear that I’m pretty bias, being a manga reader and all, I completely understand where the publishers are coming from. I mean I’m kinda in the same industry myself, different product but same yin yang. So I will first begin with the disclaimer that publishers are entitled to all of their rights and to being compensated for their work. I truly believe that. The only problem is that the way there are going about attempting to reserve their rights and profit is absolutely 100% ridiculous. Here’s why: 1. Alienated your fan base is never a good thing, they are the reason why anyone overseas knows of you. 2. 95% of manga isn’t ever going to be license outside of Japan because it will never go over well with the general market. For instance, here in the good ol’ USA, manga has a very limited audience since most adults would never be seen caught dead with a manga, most teens for that matter also, So unless your trying to license the most commercially viable manga possible i.e bleach, naruto, etc.. there’s no hope of actually getting licensed. So basically publishers will actually be prohibiting the “unlawful” distribution of manga that will never be disturbed outside of Japan-how unfair! 3. Let’s be real, we all know, hopefully, that all manga publishers recoup their profits through domestic distribution, serialization, selling volumes, and then making an anime to sell more volumes. The idea that publishers are actually counting on foreign distribution to recoup any losses is madness and a joke- if you can’t win at home, how are you gonna win overseas?
I really believe there is a solution to all of this that can make both sides happy. I believe that publishers need to first know that their cult following fanbase is their number one asset when it comes to introducing new manga series to foreign territories. It behooves these publishers to cherish them and treat them well. Another thing that these publishers need to realize is that these fanatical cult status otakus are gonna get their new manga chapters, even if it means torrenting, creating proxy servers, or creating ingenious innovative ways to get their manga fix. And do you know why: 1. because otakus are addicted feigns who will stop act nothing to satisfy their lust- this includes me!!. 2. manga is big business for pirates!! For example, Onemanga.com was one the 1000 most visited sites until recently, in other words cha-ching. The first step to the solution is to really understand this, because only then will the next step make sense; which is to create new means of distribution, via the internet, where content can be uploaded and profits can be obtained through advertising and subscriptions. Will this decrease the sell of volumes in foreign territories? Sure will! But I believe that can be recouped through more lucrative avenues like having wide spread content to premium content at a price or creating a larger consumer market through ease of access.
In the end of the day unless a meeting of the minds takes place through publishers and otakus, nothing will change and there will just be continued variance between the two groups. I believe crunchyroll.com has paved the way in showing a great example of what can happen when a meeting of the minds does take place. I for one know that nothing short of apocalyptic forces will stop me from reading my cherished manga. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone- power to the people!
I AM G-MAN!!!!