Thanks to my partner, who is never quite as much of a cautious adopter as I am, we’re now proud caregivers of a couple of iPads. I’m still figuring out what exactly to do with it aside from coo over the fact that it’s really neat, but I’m sure I’ll be able to incorporate it into my time-wasting infrastructure without too much difficulty.
So far, I’ve only dabbled with a few comics apps and downloaded a few freebies, mostly from Archie, to see how they read. They’ve all looked fine, and my protests of being a dead-tree partisan will undoubtedly abate as more material becomes available. I won’t be quite so cautious when it comes to making unreasonable requests about just what kind of material I’d like to see.
In that direction, it’s very convenient that Kate posted the latest i-nnouncement from Viz Media over at The Manga Critic. My first reaction to the content available on the Viz app was that it was extremely cautious. That’s a sensible enough decision to make from a business standpoint, but it doesn’t exactly set my consumer’s heart racing. Their initial offerings were exactly the kind of titles I’d have absolutely no difficulty finding in any chain bookstore just about anywhere in the continental United States.
The recent round of additions is a bit exciting in that three of my very favorite current Viz titles – Children of the Sea, Cross Game and The Story of Saiunkoku – have been added to the roster, but that’s the excitement of a partisan seeing increased availability of and exposure for products he enjoys and admires. So while it’s rewarding to see Viz add more shôjo and seinen, they have a ways to go before my personal needs will be served.
One of Kate’s suggestions for Viz particularly resonated for me:
“(3) dig into their archives and resurrect out-of-print gems such as A A’, Banana Fish, Eagle: The Making of an Asian-American President, Firefighter! Daigo of Company M, From Far Away, Please Save My Earth, and Urusei Yatsura.”
And since I can never resist the urge to list things, I thought I’d throw out five Viz properties that should be made available on the iPad:
Sexy Voice and Robo, written and illustrated by Iou Kuroda: Part of my love for this comic is the physical production of it, with its phone-book dimensions and appropriately pulpy paper. It’s hard to find, though, and if we can assume that the average iPad user might be a little older, I think this book might find a new audience through this device.
Phoenix, written and illustrated by Osamu Tezuka: Until Vertical works out contractual agreements and unveils its own app, this is seems like a reasonable opportunity to get one of Tezuka’s masterworks available in digital form. You’re in great shape if you can read Japanese, but English-only readers are out of luck so far.
Four Shôjo Stories, featuring works by Moto Hagio, Keiko Nishi, and Shio Satô: This one is a result of pure selfishness, as the available copies of this out-of-print collection are just too damned expensive. From a more self-righteous place, I think every manga publisher should devote at least some effort to publishing challenging, off-the-beaten-path works by women for women. The iPad seems like a natural habitat for that kind of material.
The Drifting Classroom, written and illustrated by Kazuo Umezu: Seriously, is there any mass transit experience that couldn’t be improved by the ability to read deranged Umezu manga? Sure, you risk strange looks from fellow travelers as you giggle at the over-the-top violence and total disregard for the well-being of children, but come on. Tell me this wouldn’t rock. I dare you.
Monster, written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa: In spite of near-universal critical acclaim, Urasawa’s works don’t seem to have earned matching commercial success, which has always struck me as odd. He writes the kind of genre-bending, sort-of-intellectual thrillers that a lot of prose readers really love. Maybe digital availability would give those prose readers incentive to give a graphic version of their genre of choice a shot.
So what Viz titles would you like to see on one of their digital platforms?