Random Thoughts on the Digital Manga Guild experience

It’s been a while now since Digital manga Guild was launched by Digital Manga Inc., and on the whole i think it’s safe to say that it’s been a success.

The idea behind the business model is that we, the fans, do the work under the guidance of the pros over at Digital Manga. Once the work is done the manga is sold over on EManga and then every one from the original Japanese publisher to the guys working on the release get a cut of the profits.

A great idea that seems to be working well both with the fans and the publishers. When it was first announced i had high expectations for this, as did a lot of other people. However, while it is being successful so far, it isn’t really living up to the expectations of fans like myself.

When it was first announced and the concept explained, a lot of people, myself included, had this vision of niche titles suddenly having a possibility of release. Titles such as The Music of Marie, Akumetsu, and Family Compo suddenly had a glimpse of getting licensed and released. Sadly it hasn’t worked out that way, and if I’m honest, i don’t think I’m surprised.

The vast majority of titles that seem to be coming out of DMG are one-shot, or short series titles, and again the vast majority of them are of the Yaoi/Shounen-ai vein. This is where i was disappointed. I don’t have anything against Yaoi/Shounen-ai, however i do feel that there’s plenty of publishers out there already pumping out volumes left right and center, DMP itself has several imprints totally devoted to Yaoi.

I was hoping that DMG would be a more of an all rounder style publisher, with releases coming from every genre, yes including yaoi, but also including seinen, shojo and everything in-between.

What’s more, the quality of the releases, seems, to me at least, to be dipping a lot lately. I had a number of DMG titles on my reading list for reviews, so i decided to sit down and read and review them. That would have been nine one shot volumes read and reviewed today and tomorrow, all but two were yaoi, and all but two were terrible.

I sat down and re-read the reviews I’d written for them and decided i couldn’t publish them, if i had we would have had seven in a row all saying they were crap. The two that weren’t, the just posted Barbara review, and an upcoming shojo release.

The problem one-shots have is that they’re pre-disposed to sucking, due to the fact that the manga-ka is trying to get everything into a few short pages. with yaoi (or any form of sexual content release) where there’s sex scenes, it’s even worse. Most one-shots end up feeling cramped and don’t flow well.

The fact that DMG seems to be churning these out left and right is a bit of a let down. I’d like to see them slow down, spread their wings and pick up some medium length series from all genres, not just yaoi.

DMG has the potential to open up a whole new avenue of publishing for manga, if it’s prepared to take a gamble and branch out. Hell, i can see other publishers following suit and doing similar if DMG shows it can work. I’d love to see a DMG style publisher for light novels, as well as Korean and Chinese releases. There’s so much untapped potential here and at the moment it feels like (to me) it’s being left to rot while they focus on one genre, Yaoi.

Hopefully DMG will become the publisher we (or at least I) hoped for, or that another will rise and take it’s place.

Author: Ryu Sheng