The boom in manga publishing continues with the announcement that both ADV Films, one of the largest U.S. distributors of anime, and Broccoli International, a Japanese anime and character development firm, are launching U.S. publishing programs aimed at the burgeoning market for Asian graphic novels in English translation.

Houston-based ADV Films is the fourth largest U.S. distributor/producer of anime, the animated film version of Japanese comics. Its new publishing unit, to be called ADV Manga, has licensed about 100 multivolume manga series and will publish about 600 titles over the next few years.

Susan Itin, publishing director of ADV Manga, said the titles were licensed from a number of major Japanese and Korean publishers. The Japanese books will be published in the "authentic" format (reading from right to left), while Korean manga will read left to right. Itin said the books are aimed at "all ages from youth to teenagers, but we're focused on teens."

ADV Manga will release about 18 titles by the beginning of 2004—mostly manga plus illustrated titles about manga and its characters. Among the forthcoming manga are Full Metal Panic by Shouji Gatou, a comic story about a cute high school girl targeted by terrorists; and Azumanga Daioh by Kiyohiko Azuma, a series about the daily antics of another group of high school girls.

Kevin Corcoran, v-p, CFO and COO of ADV Films, said that while some of the titles are tied to DVD and video releases, many are not. "It's not a priority, but it is an advantage when there is a tie-in," Corcoran said. ADV also owns the Anime Network, a cable network specializing in anime, and NewType magazine, which focuses on anime news. Corcoran told PW that the company will be using its cable and print media units, as well as fan conventions, to promote the manga titles. "The manga market is growing fast; it's geared to girls and has wide potential," said Corcoran. "DVD releases are fueling the market," he added.

Broccoli Books

Broccoli Books is the U.S. branch of Broccoli International, a multinational multimedia company that produces anime, games, manga, illustrated books and other pop culture merchandise. The company specializes in creating cute characters, like its popular Di Gi Charat. The characters serve as models for male and female fans (known as otaku), who dress up as their favorite characters (it's called "cosplay") for fan conventions and events. The popular practice began in Japan and has spread to the U.S. along with other aspects of Japanese pop culture.

Satsuki Yamashita, editor of Broccoli Books, told PW that the company will release about 60 books in 2004. The books will be black and white, 5"×7" paperbacks in the right-to-left Japanese format popularized by manga publisher Tokyopop. Broccoli manga will be distributed to the book trade by Diamond Book Distribution. Yamashita said the house will also release illustrated book titles, posters, and action figures and sculptures based on its manga characters.

Yamashita said she isn't overly concerned about the rapidly increasing number of manga titles being released into the market: "It's okay. The same thing was said about the anime market a couple of years ago. But the anime market is still growing. We're focused on the quality of our books, rather than quantity. We know we have to make them distinctive."