VIVA-PSICOM’s Manga is in Filipino for fair competition

The October 2014 issue of Otaku USA Magazine featuring a preview for the Shokugeki no Soma Manga that is distributed by Viz Media in the United States. [File Photo]

We’ve recently released a news post that VIVA-PSICOM Publishing (to be referred henceforth in this piece as PSICOM — take note that the main PSICOM and VIVA-PSICOM are still treated as two entities) will be releasing Filipino editions of Fairy Tail and Attack on Titan manga series by next month through a launch event at SM Megatrade Hall 3 in Mandaluyong. Now, I’ve read some reactions off Facebook saying that they’d rather prefer PSICOM to release the titles in English. I’m going to put up my stand on this with the intention of convincing everyone here that PSICOM’s move is a viable, if not the only choice.

For the record, PSICOM is not the first publisher to distribute Filipino-translated Japanese Manga series — there’s J-Line Comics Center based in Cebu City. We got in touch with them before so you might want to read that as well.

Going back to the topic, setting the language to English pose problems to thee source and the distributors — Possible cases of reverse-importation, much stiffer competition against bigwigs and the ever-present cases of piracy.

There’s actually this scenario where Japanese fans import Anime box sets from Western distributors since a set of four or so volumes costs, say, US$25 in contrast to JP¥700 per volume. If we calculate that, how much is JP¥2,800 in US$? According to Google, that is around US$23 (US$1 = JP¥119 as of today’s posting). That is indeed unfair to the source country, so the distributors overseas are making steps to ensure this won’t be possible. It’s just an example for Anime titles, but it could work with Manga as well. For further reference, we will share you two posts from Mahou Josei (2012) and Raindrops and Daydreams (2013).

Take a look at this other scenario — if VIVA-PSICOM sets the language to English, they won’t do well with other distributors and importers. A bunch of VIZ, Seven Seas and TokyoPop titles are already available in the metro (through National Book Store, PowerBooks, Fully Booked and BookSale among others), and having the same language translation of the same title that are already available in the shelves is redundant and unnecessary, not to mention the possibility of the venture failing down because they are late in competing with an established set of distributors. (Take note as well that VIZ already had their promotion for its Filipino audience.)

Worst case scenario — if they set the language to English, you can just get a copy, scan it and send it online. It’s like paying ten pancakes for the price of one, which is unfair as well. You guys know this a lot — most of you either read at websites that are being target by the Manga-Anime Guardians.

With these things laid out, I hope you get a better understanding of why these things happen. This is not just about patronizing the local language, it’s about sending the medium to the masses while attaining lower risks. It’s a matter of perspective in our part, so let’s think further and support the people who are doing so.