Lost in Translation Manga comic books are a $4.5 billion business in Japan. Now they're coming to the U.S.--with a few modifications.
(Business 2.0) – Against all odds, karaoke and Hello Kitty have become familiar icons in U.S. pop culture. Now, San Francisco-based Viz Communications is betting that American readers will develop a taste for manga--the phone-book-size comics that generate annual sales of 532 billion yen ($4.5 billion) in Japan. This month Viz will begin stocking U.S. newsstands and bookstores with an English version of Shonen Jump, a title that sells 3.4 million copies, mostly to teens, in Japan each week. The 250-page U.S. monthly will cost $4.95 per issue ($19.95 for a one-year subscription) and target young men 13 and older. But cross-cultural marketing is always a challenge. Peer over the shoulder of a kid reading Shonen Jump in a Tokyo 7-Eleven and you'll see enough sex and violence to make American parents think they're at the movies. "Japan is a little looser about that," Viz CEO Seiji Horibuchi admits. Here are some of the things American kids will find in Shonen Jump ... and some they won't. --Andrew Raskin
In the U.S. edition:
Yu Yu Hakusho Yusuke, a reincarnated teenager, returns to earth to battle demons, find mystical objects, and, according to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim website, "generally kick a lot of ass."
Yu-Gi-Oh! Young Yugi fights evil while playing Monster Duel, an ancient Egyptian card game. Already popular on Kids WB.
Dragon Ball Z Goku and the other Z warriors protect Earth from aliens bent on universal domination. Well-known to Cartoon Network fans.
Not in the U.S. edition:
Pretty Face A teenage boy wakes up after a school bus accident to find his face reconstructed to look like the girl he has a crush on. She mistakes him for her long-lost twin sister and invites him to live with her.
Strawberry 100% The adventures of young Manaka, a junior-high student who is enchanted by his classmate--and her fruit-print underwear.
Dokugappa A middle-school ninja battles some mean upperclassmen by making their clothes disappear. Every once in a while he goofs, casting the spell on himself.