Viz Lay Off 40% Of Workers, Close New York Division

By Ishaan . May 15, 2010 . 9:40am Citing “restructuring to adjust to changing industry and financial market realities” as the cause, Viz Media have laid off 40% of their work force, according to a report at Publishers Weekly.


The restructuring efforts were felt throughout the company and also resulted in the closure of Viz’s New York branch, which consisted of 5 employees. Around 60 employees were laid off in total. This number represents approximately 40% of Viz’s entire work force.


A company representative stated that while Viz were, of course, saddened by the restructuring, they “feel confident that with these changes, Viz Media will be more streamlined and able to withstand the climate of the economy at this time.”


The “financial market realities” cited refer to the overall decline of the manga market in 2009 by about 20% over the previous year. Viz aren’t the only company forced to initiate a restructuring; previously, Tokyopop, too, laid off 35% of their work force in order to deal with the decline.


The one consolation in this case, however, is that Viz will not be making any product cancellations the way Tokyopop did. The following message was posted on the publisher’s blog:


We have no plans at this time for drastic measures such as product cancellations or business line closures. Your favorite series are not going away.

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  • mansfieldmassive

    how did I post twice oh god what is this

  • mansfieldmassive

    If this affects Haikasoru I’ll cut you up Viz!

  • Joanna

    Well that is good news, but it makes me wonder whether the quality is going to suffer or the release dates, or both. I refuse to buy half-assed translations/localizations. And yes, even without reading the Japanese version, I can tell because these titles have usually grammar mistakes, lots of slang (and I mean overkill), and dialogue that doesn’t make sense. Seriously, I don’t mind taking a bit of a more liberal approach and localizing jokes, and Japanese slang, but some of the manga Viz has localized has just been plain sloppy. And for the love of all things coherent leave in honorifics, unless it’s a fantasy title, they usually are important for understanding relationships and the like. :<

    • From my experience, Viz does a lot better than Tokyopop at least. I think Viz varies a lot, and it depends also on what manga line it is. Like I love my Pluto manga I bought from them, it’s just so pretty. But from what I recall their Shonen Jump line isn’t of the same quality.

    • RupanIII

      I agree, it really bothers me when they screw-up translations. Especially when fansubbers got the series right before it was licensed. I was quite excited to hear that Honey and Clover was licensed, and then they go and screw up the release so bad that I will not buy it. Based on online reviews and screen-caps, the subtitles are awful, no consistency with names. FAMILY NAME-SAN! becomes GIVEN NAME-SAN! and back and forth, directly contrary to what’s coming out of the characters’ mouths. Or they’ve got the name of a character that isn’t even in the scene, or even names that they just evidently made up and don’t belong to any character in the show. On top of that, they’ve got burnt-in English on billboards and such and allegedly poor transfer quality. Admittedly, I’m not familiar with a lot of their other properties, and perhaps they’ve handled them better, but the way they handled Honey and Clover makes me not at all surprised they’re going broke. Even in a thriving economic market it makes zero business sense to throw away the sure sales. wtf went on at that meeting – “hay guyz! It’s already a niche series, but let’s alienate the fanbase who are the easiest sales to make!!1eleven.” Seriously, who’s going to pay money for a DVD that’s inferior to the fansubs? Okay rant over. The guy/team responsible for the H&C subtitle botch job better have been part of the 40% fired lol

      • Aoshi00

        I know Viz has always been pretty liberal w/ their translation even w/ the YuYu Hakusho manga and such back then, like DB, I like Funimation’s sub much better by Steven Simmons. Wow, I had no idea they messed up Honey & Clover so bad. H&C was one of my fav. series and I actually spent a fortune importing all the R2 DVDs when the show was airing. Do you know anything about the out of print Maison Ikkoku DVD sets? I used to have the whole series on fansub tapes but threw them all away thinking I would upgrade to DVDs eventually. But yeah, sometimes bad and inconsistent sub is really distracting, like constant typos in games. I have a hard time reading diff. subtitle than what’s being said w/ char names, like Orange Road, Ayukawa and Kasuga always referred to each other by last names, but in the sub it would be Madoka and Kyousuke. I understand the reason since people who speak English don’t call their best friends by last names, but it’s still hard to register in my brain.

        • RupanIII

          It’s one of my fav series too. The R2s may have been pricey but seems like you made the right call based on the reports on the R1s. I don’t know much about the Maison Ikkoku sets, but I have a friend who might, I could ask him next time he’s online if you like. Are there R2 Maison Ikkoku sets? I threw out some fansubs myself thinking I’d upgrade then bam, all these publishers close up shop in the U.S. and everything goes OOP. The Eva movies come to mind. I know what you mean tho, I can’t get over hearing one name and reading a different one. It’s gotta be super annoying with Hacikuro too, stuff like “MORITA-SAN!!!!” becoming “SHINOBU-SAN!!”

          • Aoshi00

            lol, that’s so weird, no one even calls Morita “Shinobu”, maybe other than his older bro Kaoru in one episode.. Do you remember many years back Viz was trying to be smart w/ the Fushigi Yuugi manga (in Animerica Extra) by romanizing the secondary characters’ names by their “genuine” Chinese pronunciation, and even then they got it all wrong, so it was super confusing and distracting. I didn’t like what Viz did much other than Ranma 1/2 maybe, but it was only when Sarah Strange was voicing boy Ranma in the early seasons.There were R2 DVD sets of Maison Ikkoku, but they’re all OOP too.. it’d be cool if you could ask your friend if he has them. I don’t care how Viz’s translation is, I could just turn the sub off if it’s weird. I heard they gave Kyoko a southern accent and Yozuya a British accent or something in the Eng dub.. I was cleaning house one day and decided to throw out all the VHS into garbage, figure I don’t even have a VCR hooked up anymore, should’ve saved some valuable ones..

            Yea, HachiKuro was a great series, I loved all those background songs.

          • Ereek

            Oh, I remember Animerica Extra! That introduced me to Utena, X/1999, and Ai.

          • Aoshi00

            I had actually subscribed to the Animerica mag and Extra for years, the monthly serialization was a pretty cool format :) Is there ever a conclusion to the X manga at all? And the short lived TokyoPop thing as well, which introduced me to Harlem Beat, Parasyte, Blade of the Immortal and such. And there were all “flipped” and read from left to right, so the art was slightly off because some weren’t too symmetrical. TokyoPop went as far as renaming the alien monster right hand (Migi) to “Lefty” in Parasyte :)

          • Ereek

            Ah, can’t reply to you down there, so I’m replying up here.

            Nope, there was no conclusion to X/1999, unfortunately. There have been rumors that CLAMP wants to start it back up, though. X/1999 holds a special place in my heart for being the perfect mix of Shoujo and Seinen – rather than shounen.

            I got my Animerica Extra at a movie store where I used to buy my VHS (and a few years later, DVDs) of anime, back when they cost $30 for 3 Episodes.

          • RupanIII

            I picked up Animerica Extra from time to time, but I didn’t read it every issue so I didn’t know that about Fushigi Yuugi’s translation, it doesn’t surprise me at all tho. I used to buy it, perhaps at the same store that Ereek did – Suncoast video, where I bought my super expensive VHS and DVD in those early days haha. Stuff was expensive back then, but it also seemed more plentiful. Lots of shows were licensed and easy to get, if pricey, and unlicensed stuff you could get from fansub VHS trading groups. Now everything’s OOP, and torrenting older stuff doesn’t work since there are usually no seeds. The market sure has change a lot since those days. I guess it’s not surprising in a way though. In Japan everyone went moe crazy, and over here execs, who were fans, figured everyone would want to buy anime, even niche shows. But outside of stuff like Dragon Ball the niche stuff didn’t really sell, except to fans, so companies lost money and went down. I always shelled out the allowance money for the official releases but when I got to university a lot of people would laugh when I told them that and brag about getting Chinese bootlegs (of licensed shows) on Canal St. So I guess in some cases even a lot of fans weren’t supporting releases -_-;

            Anyway, heh you got me all nostalgic thinking about Animerica. I did finally have a chance to ask my friend about Maison Ikkoku. He does have some of the sets, and I told him about the HachiKuro issues and he just said LOL the M.I. subs are fine, but it’s kinda hard to track down even for OOP stuff. He said you could still find the earlier sets in stores about 9 months ago. Yea, the music in H&C really made the show and gave it that bittersweet/melancholic feel :) Great OST. Did you see the live-action movie btw? I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I excitedly imported the R2 and was kind of let down. It’s not bad, but the show’s so much better.

          • Aoshi00

            yea, those were the days, mad expensive VHS (sub vs. dub war before DVD came, and now people are still at it when it comes to games..). I collected a lot of Animerica mags back then (before they were sold at Barnes & Noble I had to order them thru my local hobby shop). People still d/l instantly for free nowadays, which is much easier than getting from fansub distributors back then. Suncoast, haha I almost completely forgot about that name, are they still around at all? I know many closed down before. The thing is you never know what would become rare.. like I got the Evangelion Platinum single disc DVDs one by one when they first came out and now it’s just sold as a bundle set at much lower price and takes so little space.. I figure if I waited a bit price would come down but now it’s OOP. The only old shows I want to collect are Maison Ikkoku from Viz and Kimagure Orange Road from Animego, I think both of these are classic romantic comedies and hold a special place in my heart.I did have the HachiKuro OST. I saw a tiny bit of the live action movie, but I didn’t like the cast at all so I gave up, I guess it’s hard to find a 4 feet person to play Hagu lol. And the guy who played Morita was kind of weird looking right, didn’t like the actor who played Takemoto either.. Actually the latest Maison live action movie w/ Itou Misaki was great, well it was several years back. Really captured the essence of the show, especially the main char Godai, you should give that a try. Technically I could still get the DVDs on ebay, but the sellers really jacked up the price, so.. wish someone would re-release the Maison Ikkoku sets.I know, the Moe stuff these days are so boring, the looks just aren’t appealing at all..

    • I agree! I hate the obvious changes they make to dialog in their localizations, I’ve especially noticed it while reading “We Were There”, it just seems so out of place and bugs the crap out of me…

  • Anyone else see this headline and at first thought “40% off Viz titles?!”, and then actually read the headline and was disappointed?

  • LastFootnote

    The only manga I read is Excel Saga, and I love Viz’s translation. If that team got laid off, I’m going to be very sad indeed. They always did such a fantastic job.

  • TyeTheCzar

    I’ve never liked Viz much. They constantly and stupidly insisted that they edit all the manga sound effects and even censor stuff outright(remember that one FMA incident, anyone?). Because of that, I don’t pity them.

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