By: Alexis Bejarano
Announced at this year’s YaoiCon 2017 was an exciting new project venture between yaoi manga artist Sakira-Sensei, and Digital Manga, Inc.’s June Manga by company founder and president, Hikaru Sasahara. With having spent over 20 years bringing manga titles to the U.S with 13 of those including the yaoi genre, Sasahara-san has taken his devotion one step further by acquiring Sakira-Sensei’s help in creating an original yaoi manga straight from the U.S. entitled Ore Miko!.
“Ore Miko! is probably the very first yaoi manga that is co-ventured by an established Japanese yaoi manga-ka and U.S.-based yaoi publisher. I was actually quite surprised at the fact that she immediately accepted the idea when I presented it a year ago. By working closely and directly with Sakira, we don’t have to go through the hoops of corporate politics.”
Sasahara-san speaks from personal experience. Unknown to many fans are the inner-workings that make it possible for the U.S. to receive licensing for works that originate from Japan. Normally, in short, U.S.-based companies like Digital Manga, Inc. find a potential title and gauge its popularity in the U.S. to see how successful it may be. If a positive response has been received, the Japanese publisher is then contacted where a deal is made and a contract is signed. The minimum guarantee (MG) is paid as an advance against royalty payment, and it is then that the U.S.-based company receives the production data files. These files then go straight to production where translation, lettering, proofreading, and designing take place. When all of the technical work has been completed, if printed editions are being made, the print data is then sent to the print shop for production, and if digital copies are being made available, the data is then uploaded onto the appropriate platform(s) where it then becomes accessible to the public for purchase. Finally, the sales report and payment from the work’s sales are then sent to the Japanese publisher, where they generally split the revenue 50/50 with the creator. In the case of Ore Miko!, licensing isn’t an issue. However, the waiting period regarding payment for both Sakira-Sensei and June Manga is a bit more tedious than one might expect.
“While both Sakira and June are extremely excited about this project, both of us also share the pain of it at the same time. Sakira is unable to receive payment for this until the Kickstarter campaign has ended successfully and has been fully funded. She usually gets paid soon after she signs a contract and submits a few chapters of her manuscript in Japan,” Sasahara-san says. “June also has to provide a substantial amount of labor for organizing and orchestrating the whole project with no pay until the campaign ends successfully.” Luckily, this Kickstarter campaign may not be that far off as more information regarding this project will be released this upcoming Spring 2018.
Aside from the innerworkings that are needed to make this project come to fruition, it turns out this venture provides Sakira-Sensei with a new creative opportunity, which is one of the reasons why she agreed to it in the first place. “Usually, magazine publications decide on the direction (of a work). For this project, I’m allowed to do exactly what I want to do instead. Because of this, I did something that’s not of this world. It is supernatural and ghost related.”
“This (project) would also greatly help her to factor in what the U.S. yaoi fans are looking for.” Sasahara-san adds, “Which means, yes, this book will be published as “uncensored”!” With a contagiously passionate drive befitting a founder of a company, Sasahara-san hopes to change the yaoi publishing industry in the U.S. for the better. “I am simply trying to change the yaoi publishing industry from corporate-driven to fan-driven.” With so many fans in the U.S. wanting more from this genre, this upcoming project is already a success in the making.
This may be all there is to know as of now for this project, but why not read the first chapter of Ore Miko! for free right now while you wait? It’s a work you won’t want to miss! Follow Sakira-Sensei on Twitter @saaakira and Digital Manga, Inc. @digitalmanga for the newest releases and updates!
Juné has announced today that it will be starting its own fan driven publishing to revitalize older BL titles. The campaigns will be hosted on our ecommerce site, junemanga.com, through Shopify.
The decision to move into a more fan driven practice was made by the president of DMI, Hikaru Sasahara, who has stated “We are one of the few small, indie manga publishers left. Our focus is on our readers who are so involved in this niche genre that we want to give them an opportunity to be an even bigger part of the picture. They can say ‘I helped create this!’”
The campaigns will go by the title “Juné Classic Revival” and aim to bring back titles that have been out of print anywhere from the last 2-10 years. In addition to the small print runs of older titles, Juné will also be offering new perks for the books such as new covers, dust jackets, and colour inserts.
The campaign has now begun and will be available to back for 30 days. Juné will be offering three titles for backers to support: the manga Secrecy of the Shivering Night by Muku Ogura, the manga Endless Comfort by Sakuya Sakura, and the novel A Promise of Romance by Kyoko Akitsu.
Anime Expo is coming up right around the corner and Juné is preparing for four days of yaoi-banza! Ｏ(≧∇≦)Ｏ This year we will have our biggest booth yet, filled to the brim with BL goodies! Our manga will be for sale with HUGE discounts across the board along with some extra goodies.
As most of our content is adult themed, our booth will be curtain to comply with AX's new safety standards. So find us in behind the black curtains in the exhibit hall at booth #3511!
Join us on Monday at 3pm to meet YaoiCon special guests OliRoux before the big event in October. We will also be offering special deals for the con, available only at our booth!
We will be right next door to our sister store, Project Hentai, for those of you who wish to read a little something from all spectrums.
Hope to see everyone from July 1-4 at booth #3511 only at Anime Expo!!
Visually stunning if somewhat plot deficient, Beast and Feast follows the forbidden and truly torrid romance between Hyodo and Kazuha, a Yakuza and detective.
This is pretty much the most classic cop x criminal story possible, in which childhood not-particularly-friends have grown up and gone down opposite paths, reconnecting thanks to a criminal investigation. We learn that Hyodo, the Yakuza, has carried a torch for Kazuha, the detective, for many years, though the story would work just as well if this weren’t the case.
Hyodo of course takes the opportunity to demand sex from Kazuha as payment for information. Kazuha successfully refuses this coercion, but Hyodo ultimately gets what he wants after rescuing Kazuha from a separate group of miscreants.
It seems both parties feel Hyodo is entitled to have his way with Kazuha in light of having rescued him, which is quite disturbing, but since I doubt anyone views yaoi as a bastion of healthy sexual mores, no harm done.
After an intriguing setup and astonishingly hot first encounter, the plot hits a bit of a rough patch. Actually, said rough patch lasts the whole rest of the book. There are minor hills climbed but no real climax; just a series of oddly heteronormative emotional struggles and minor crime related drama that is all resolved quickly and somehow never feels urgent.
Even the most nearly compelling plotline evaporates in a convenient deus ex machina, just in time to wrap up the book with a superfluous side story about the heroes’ history together.
Overall Beast and Feast reads like a salaryman romance, as if it couldn’t commit to any of the grit of the Yakuza genre. Our Yakuza doesn’t even have any tattoos!
Even if the story is hardly pulse-quickening, the smex decidedly is! And there’s a lot of it. Sexual language and images are not sanitized in any way, and this is a very manly couple with very manly bodies. Sweat drips, blush blossoms, and the panels veritably pulse with energy. There is a beastial nature to the sex and our heroes appear as predator and prey, tense and heaving. If you are a reader who values these scenes especially this is a book not to be missed!
The art all around is terrific. The design of the main characters is well considered and develops their personalities. This is particularly true in the case of Hyodo, who with his bright eyes and prominent canines (not to mention active tongue…), is every inch the eponymous beast.
The author uses chibis, caricatures, and implied line sparingly but very effectively, sometimes communicating more with missing information. The art elevates the star score of this book significantly and makes it a valued denizen of my collection.
Overall, Beast and Feast is a title that I’m sure readers will revisit many times, even if it is flipping through to find the sex scenes. These are some of yaoidom’s most gorgeous characters and the relationship really is sweet at the end of the day. Don’t buckle up for a story that will stick with you, but look forward to a visual feast of beautiful beasts!
Review by Dot Ringo
Black Sun has been one of my favorites for years. It is a shining denizen of that strange genre that draws from an historical framework, and is at once pure fantasy.
We meet our heroes, a general of the Approximately Ottoman Empire, and a prince who has just failed to protect his fortress from falling to the imperial army. The prince is to be the next conquest of course, trading his freedom and chastity for the lives of the fort’s inhabitants.
As the pages turn, the scope of the story gradually irises out more and more until what started as a personal passion more or less only concerning the central characters develops into a much greater conflict with implications far beyond them.
Be aware that this story starts with quite a lot of rape, and it could easily be argued that this is a Stockholm Syndrome story. Our darling uke will experience this assault outside the central relationship as well. If this will not sit well with you, please be warned.
This story structure is graceful, exciting, and very action-packed. Each character is satisfyingly wrapped up, and the side stories included in both volumes give the story both depth and levity.
The cast of supporting characters are each more engaging than the last, from the Emperor, to the wicked turncoat knight, all the way down to the palace’s pet panther. The characters each have a well considered, voice, character, and look, and each one has a backstory that the reader comes to understand not through exposition so much as storytelling.
It is very impressive how the author is able to fully develop such a complex story and so many complex character, with so much smexy time, in only two volumes and not have it feel rushed anywhere or have dry stretches.
The action is hot and plentiful, especially since it is uncensored! The bodies are beautiful and their endowments are certainly impressive. No matter what the characters are up to the proportions and movement are always on point, communicating tension in the right places and practically vibrating on the page.
Black Sun definitely exhibits that classic yaoi syndrome of heteronormalizing gay sex and simply not considering real life mechanics whatsoever, which can be a bit distracting if you’re sensitive to it, but there is plenty great enough about this book to make it a non issue.
The art is gorgeous and the world is truly sumptuous; Faux-historical Fantasy at its yummiest! I especially enjoy the costumes, and mercy me, our heroes (and everyone else) are hot. Ogasawara definitely has a mold that she uses to make faces, but they are always expressive and it’s always easy to tell characters apart because they’re so well designed. A convincing context is created well within the history that inspired it.
I sincerely recommend Black Sun, and I suggest purchasing the pair together for sure. The first volume ends so dramatically, I was very grateful I didn't have to wait for the conclusion. Unlike some multi-volume stories, this one's pace is consistent and exemplary across both books.