While I am not back to full speed on the blog, I wanted to bring back a few of the long-running series that I have worked on in the past – the most popular of these is Manga Widget Investigates, and so we are back for more license requests and grovelling.
I have complained about the lack of josei manga published in the USA again and again, and to be honest, there still isn’t a lot published in the USA. We can call Bunny Drop josei, and there is plenty of BL, but there isn’t a whole lot of material besides that, and it’s a pretty big shame.
I’ve campaigned for other josei series in the past - so my bias for the content is pretty clear. Those other josei titles at least had a running chance at being licensed. However, the title I’m focusing on today is more of a long shot – not because it isn’t potentially a good series, but because it focuses on two things that are a little foreign to the US reader – salary-manga, and pachinko.
3 AM Dangerous Zone (午前3時の無法地帯 or Gozen 3 Ji no Muhouchitai) by Nemu Youko is a story about a girl recently graduated from college intending to become an illustrator, who ends up working for a design firm that does nothing but designs for pachinko machines, a popular form of gambling in Japan. These games are somewhat like the game of Plinko in the United States, and they revolve around acquiring metallic balls from machines. While Japanese law prevents exchanging the balls directly for cash, they are generally exchanged for some nominal token prize which is then “sold” to a handler for cash.
In 3 AM Dangerous Zone, the main character, Momoko, ends up getting sucked into the life of the firm and works like crazy to get experience and to get some sleep (she is constantly working all ends of the night). The series supposedly deals with her dislike for her working environment, her relationship with her boyfriend and other men in the department, and the comedy/drama that ensues from working at such a crazy company. Also, look at that haircut! And these covers!
Published in Shodensha‘s Feel Young josei anthology, this series seems like it has a mix of exuberance and romantic drama that would make it a fun read. It clocks in at a scant three volumes, however it also has two separate sequels, 3 AM Terrible Zone and 3 AM Dissonance Zone.
From what I understand, TokyoPop previously did work with Shodensha, including their line of books from Erica Sakurazawa and Happy Mania from the author of Sakuran, Moyoko Anno, but it is unclear what their current relationship with that company is; my assumption is that it is like most other relationships that Tokyopop has with publishers – broken.
Of note, critically acclaimed (and as of yet unfinished) Suppli is also from Feel Young. Still waiting to hear back on when I am going to get more volumes of Suppli.
I doubt that this manga has much of a life in the world of print manga, so my assumption is that the biggest target for a request here is JManga, which has already published Shodensha‘s COUSIN and Love My Life through their online platform. This book may add to JManga‘s growing josei presence on the internet, and seems like a small and fun license. At 3 volumes, it’s not a huge risk, and if it turns out to be very successful, we can also get all the sequels associated with it. A win-win for josei fans and JManga!
One thing of note here – most publishers are listening, especially JManga and Vertical. These publishers take great steps to connect with fans via social media, and I think that’s a great way to express your wants and desires. So JManga, you are officially on notice – I want more josei, and I want it to be like this. Pretty please?