Viz Outline Picking Manga Licenses For Younger Audience

By Ishaan . September 4, 2010 . 1:32pm In addition to manga for teens, Viz also publish a large number of series aimed at a strictly younger audience. However, the idea of what a “kid-oriented” series is, varies from country-to-country.


Case in point: The Dragon Ball manga is considered kid-friendly in Japan — not so much in the U.S. In an interview with Good Comics For Kids, senior editor of Viz Kids, Traci Todd, discusses how the Kids division operates differently from the rest of the company.


Here’s a short excerpt:


GCFK: Is there a difference in what is defined as “kid appropriate” in Japan versus in America? How does that affect your selection process?


TT: Definitely. As with many cultures, it’s often the humor that doesn’t translate. Sometimes there’s a lot of panty humor in kids’ manga in Japan. Take Dragon Ball, for example. In Japan, that series is meant for children. But all the sexual jokes make it completely inappropriate for American kids. In fact, those jokes–and their accompanying imagery–are pretty much what makes Dragon Ball a T-rated title.


The full interview also reveals that Pokémon, unsurprisingly, is Viz’s best-selling kid-friendly license, while the Dragon Ball and Naruto chapter book publications aimed at children tend not to do as well due to children seeking out their regular manga counterparts.

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  • gatotsu911

    Yet another anime story, Siliconera? Why not just officially relabel yourselves as a gaming AND anime site? (I’m not being sarcastic; that’s an actual question.)

    • Doing that will change something? or is it just personal satisfaction?

    • Honestly, it’s because we don’t have the staff or the time to cover both fulltime. Covering games is our strength and it’s what we’re most passionate about. Stretching ourselves too thin would mean less games coverage and nobody wants that. As to why we started covering anime and manga stuff on weekends…the anime and manga coverage were added primarily because everyone on staff felt that it was a good idea to treat “otaku” content as one single industry due the overlapping fanbase. Aside from that, there’s a couple other reasons. For one thing, there’s the manga audience that doesn’t play games. We certainly don’t expect them to start reading us instead of ANN all of a sudden, but it helps if a site like Siliconera covers both simply because it sends a message along the lines of, “Hey, if you like anime and manga, you might also like some of the games we cover.” This also works the other way…gamers that read SE might start checking out manga/anime via our coverage.Another reason is the “niche casual” audience. These are the people that don’t usually play games, but they’ll take interest in a Final Fantasy or a Kingdom Hearts or a Zelda or stuff like Harvest Moon, because of the fandom surrounding those series or simply because of their aesthetic. So, part of it is trying to get that audience to check out more games.Publishers see it the same way, too, I think. A few months after we started covering anime and manga, NISA announced they were going to publish Persona -trinity soul- and Toradora. Then just recently, Square decided they wanted to be a global manga publisher instead of just in Japan. And now, you have Tokyopop wanting to get into developing games as well.So, it’s not that we don’t want to expand — it’s just a question of taking it one step at a time. :)

      • gatotsu911

        Makes sense to me.

        Actually, I try to avoid going to ANN, because the thought of supporting Zac Bertschy in any way, shape or form fills me with pangs of rage and disgust (I only go there on Wednesdays for “The X Button” and the declining “Anime News Nina”) and I’ve been looking for a decent anime news site for ages. You won’t hear me complaining if Siliconera turns into one.

        • BTA

          Don’t know if this is the best place to ask it, but what’s your problem with Zac, exactly? (Not trying to pick a fight or anything; I’m genuinely interested in hearing what you have to say, since I read ANN and don’t know much about him)

          • gatotsu911

            Basically, he’s a suffocatingly bitter, condescending and confrontational douche who trolls his own forums and ruthlessly mocks not only viewpoints, but people he doesn’t agree with. I have a few specific examples of things he’s said and done that have formed my opinion of him, but I’m not inclined to go digging for links right now. If you can’t take my word for it (or judge for yourself) I can try and summarize them at a later time.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            They’ve also had more than one instance where some half-assed net rumor ends up posted as factual news.

            I share the pain of finding good sites for news/discussion…..that’s what makes this place so damn special.

            It sounds like many here were like me chased away from places one once could congregate — AoD I look directly at you. One does not need to suffer with board bullying by site mods (and owners), a focus on the technical to the point enjoyment is determined by a running ‘artifice’ counter, or just general idiocy.

          • BTA

            Ah, I see. I have seen him be pretty harsh in the forums when I check the comments on articles. I sometimes find myself agreeing with him, but not how he goes about it.

          • gatotsu911

            Oh, yeah, he’s not stupid by any stretch of the imagination, and in fact he sometimes makes some very good points, but it’s the fact that he’s a raging douchebag that makes him so repugnant.

        • RupanIII

          I don’t know who that guy is and I haven’t followed the site in years, but I’m in the same boat looking for a decent site. ANN started bugging me a long while ago. For one thing, I won one of their contests but they never sent the prize and ignored my emails : Classy. But also, their articles, last I was there, seemed to be more along the lines of AoD. That is, obsession over technical details (the dvd plastic wrap comes off nice and easily, A+!!) or fanboy gushing vs. really writing about the content of shows. I wouldn’t even mind gushing, I’m a fan myself, but not when they’re trying to portray/take themselves so seriously

          • gatotsu911

            Really? I’ve found that ANN seems to have a minimum requirement for bitterness, cynicism and condescension in all its writers – makes sense, since it’s Zac Bertschy who’s hiring them. Now, I’m pretty bitter and cynical myself, but even I have my limits, especially when enduring said bitterness and cynicism from people who are absolutely full of themselves. I also remember the site going through a phase where it would try to be “challenging” by posting ridiculously negative reviews comprised of absolutely retarded criticisms against popular shows (like their Death Note reviews that were primarily ranting about the alleged moral bankruptcy of the show – contrasted against their glowing reviews of the manga back before the series’ popularity had exploded; not to mention over 50% of reviews by Casey Brienza complaining about how [insert series here] was anti-feminist or otherwise politically incorrect) and then Zac would antagonize anyone who complained about said reviews on the forums. Sure, there are some decent writers there who aren’t completely full of themselves, like Theron Martin or Todd Ciolek (though he fulfills the “bitter and cynical” quotient in spades), but there are at least as many who range from obnoxious to insufferable. The only real points the site has going for it is that it’s willing to call out moe for the exploitative garbage it is, it’s one of the only major anime sites to give any kind of coverage and review to dubs, and… well, it doesn’t have a whole lot of competition. But I find the general atmosphere of both the writers and forum-goers consistently unpleasant, hence I try to avoid the place as much as possible.

          • Really, it feels like one big debate that goes in circles. I like the staff, though, even Zac. They’re jaded as you can get (and I don’t blame them as they’ve seen a lot of crazy stuff, probably unwillingly – that’s enough to do you in), but after going to their panel at AX, they know it and the people that frequent the site seem to love it, too. “Love” might not be the correct word, maybe more like how people loath Howard Stern, but listen anyway just to see what he says next. I don’t know.
            It’s the reviews, though. Or, rather, “it’s just reviews”. I keep telling people that they are their best judgment, but the crusade goes on, I guess.
            Interestingly enough, an article from Gamasutra came out this week about this very thing:

            That’s why I like the playtests here at Siliconera; just straight up impressions telling what’s what. I do impressions, too, and while I use rating I kind of throw a wrench into it the machine by using colors rather than numbers and stars ’cause really… what I love in a game could very well be the source of what someone hates, which -should- be fine. I like experimenting with colors; it gives more insight about how the game came about and it kind of makes light of the whole “metacritic” standard. I hate what that thing is doing to games, man. While I can deal with people trashing a game I love, this thing takes the “it’s just a game” a little further. Even the games I love, giving this system so much power is WHACK, but business is business.

            Funny enough, Bamboo at ANN kind of inspired to use that method in her Shelf-Life series. She used to “rate” anime by using food. It was silly, but it was really sufficient.

          • RupanIII

            Hm.. I think perhaps I was overlapping my dislikes about AoD with ANN. When I say I haven’t been to ANN in years, I mean since I was hs senior/uni freshman (like 5 years), so I may not recall too accurately. I was getting tired of them even when the industry was in full swing, but I can’t remember the cynicism aspect. What I do remember though was how full of themselves they came across. Okay, you run a popular intarweb site, you’re not brain surgeons, stop taking yourselves so seriously (especially when 9 times out of 10 the writing is not too hot/full of clichés)

            Some replies to other posters since Disqus likes to take away the ‘reply’ option when a thread gets large.

            matty: totally agree on the metacritic point. The whole arbitrary assignment of points and numbers and thumbs up/down has really gotten out of hand and devalued criticism as a whole, across mediums. Reminds me of the big sh*tstorm recently when film critic Armond White gave Toy Story 3 a bad review and ‘sabotaged’ the Rotten Tomatoes ranking from being 100% The result? Scores of death-threats and racist tirades against the critic in the comments section where he posts articles. I guess it’s part of this moronic ‘tldr’ culture online these days. I don’t get much out of some number personally; I want to know the why.

            M’iau M’iaut: yes yes on AoD. ‘Chased away’ is a really good way of putting it. I used to enjoy it there for the non Region 1 DVD coverage, which is kind of hard to come by, and there was an upside to the technical focus if you weren’t sure which version of a DVD to buy. But eventually I stopped going thanks to board mods on power trips, reviews that were 5 paragraphs plot summary, 3 paragraphs technical details, drab writing, etc. I mean come on, if you’re going to review some hentai junk like Night Shift Nurses, don’t do it with a serious, straight face, like you’re considering Picasso or something.

            Even though I gave up on ANN and AoD as they went downhill, and I may be wearing rose-tinted glasses here, it seems like there used to be a lot more options for sites with good, or at least decent, discussion and reviews.

      • gatotsu911

        Tell ya what Siliconera – if you’re spread too thin to cover all the stuff you’d like, I can write in complete sentences and I’m looking for a job. How ’bout it?

    • Well the anime and manga stuff is what drew me to the site, lol; the stuff they say doesnt seem to ever be listed anywhere else well in a reasonable amount of time.

  • Its so odd to see the Pokemon Adventures on my bookshelf with the Viz Kids on it. Im surprised it is doing quite well because they just decided to all of a sudden restart and release the actual mainline Pokemon Adventures series instead of those random spin offs that I thought were odd. It is my understanding that PA is the one that is actually pokemon special, which I guess has been running for years.

    I only see the chapter Dragon Ball and Naruto books in like grocery stores, they look interesting but I never see anyone reading them. I guess it would make more sense to actually read the manga, which for Naruto is perhaps kids appropriate but they do seem to be ramping up the language…Dragonball, I always thought it was for kids which is probably why I never looked into it. DBZ seemed to different from Dragonball.

    But how isnt Yugioh GX a viz kids manga. Their Legend of Zeldas didnt do good (I think those were also kids as well)?

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