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Viz Media Sacks 40% of Staff – “We Won’t Cancel Anything!”

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Major US manga publisher Viz Media has confirmed that it will be sacking 40% of its workforce.

The cuts will see 55 people fired at its main San Francisco offices, and a further 5 terminated with the closure of its New york office, roughly 40% of the company’s total workforce.

Viz puts a brave face on the mass layoffs, saying it is “restructuring to adjust to changing industry and financial market realities,” and that it “had to refine its workforce by eliminating certain positions and making cuts in other areas.”

The company attempts to reassure fans it will not be cancelling their favourite manga: “We have no plans at this time for drastic measures such as product cancellations or business line closures. Your favorite series are not going away.”

In explaining the cuts, for once it seems a publisher is capable of acknowledging the effect of the business cycle rather than blaming the evils of technological change: “we feel confident that with these changes, Viz Media will be more streamlined and able to withstand the climate of the economy at this time.”

Recent years have seen dramatic reductions in the size of the US manga market, as well as poor performance in Japan, and both American and Japanese publishers have been keen to blame this on piracy rather than economic conditions or their own dying business model – staffing cuts would appear to be unavoidable in the circumstances.

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128 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    Even if naruto doesnt become readable it will still be published becuase of Blind-Die-hard fans like myself.

    I agree With Shiro that Usa is only a minimal part of the world with a lot of influence but the series is over.

    But, For real! It hasnt ended! My country is the third poorest in America and everyone seen the ending.

  • Anonymous says:

    I really don’t understand why Viz doesn’t put out there own eletric copy. I refuse to beleive that unpaid teenagers can do a better job than paid professionals and IF that is true just fire whoever you have and replace them with the teenagers. They should be able to put out a higher quality copy that’s faster AND official before scanlators can sniff it.

    No money in it you say?
    Scanlators sometimes ask for donations. And they get them.
    You could either:
    a. Ask for 7 dollar year subsription, and charge a dollar per chapter or
    b. Give ’em away for free and advertize for amazon/bestbuy/whatever on the side. It’s not like the scanlations are banner free.
    -Either way you make some penny and bring the focus back on the company that’s supposed to be bringing them here in the first place. Some assholes scanned mag will always be worse looking than an official prettied up copy.

    Hell, sell it for 2 bucks as an iphone/ipad app. But asking the consumer to wait 2 years, AND buy something they get for free is just asking for trouble. If thery’re worried about cannabalizing their printed copies, then they clearly are just out of touch.

  • Barbarian of Gor says:

    Time to layoff?

    Time to boycott.

    Too many companies lay off good people during hard (and good) times not to save the company, but so the CEO can have 10 mansions and 15 yachts despite his disastrous business decisions and “Multi Level outhouse” management technique.

    I’m sick of swine that live off the labors of others but think they are gods because they maybe give some of their slaves dead end jobs even with years of talent and college and proven work and dedication.

  • Anonymous says:

    Dude, it’s “scanlation,” not “scanslation.” Other than that, you bring up some good points. As a person who does actually buy printed manga and who uses scans to preview, I have a hard time defending the pricks who don’t spend a dime. If you’re not helping my hobby stay alive, you are of no inherent worth to anyone who is involved in this hobby, be it the Japanese creators or people like myself.

    And what’s with all the objective statements about various shounen series? There is no “best” or “ten times better.” You can’t quantify subjective taste, assholes. Like what you like and leave it at that. Christ I hate most otaku….

    • Anonymous says:

      i see the iq level of most of you is rather low, if not non existent. yeah keep rejoicing on how companies go down, let them all go down and not only will you loose your hobbies, whatever they are, but soon you will have to face the need to get a job and maybe you could have worked on a hobby related company, maybe you even had a great manga in your
      head, but thanks to your attitude by the time when you get there there won’t be any one to hire you or
      to publish your work. so you will have a bullshit job, and what is worse when you get home guess what…
      …you won’t have your loved hobby either.
      so keep up the attitude.

    • Anonymous says:

      I just particularly love the people that even go so far as to complain about the translation of the printed manga. I guarantee 95% of people that complain about that do not even know Japanese and have no leg to stand on. What a load of shit.

  • Anonymous says:

    After reading this thread, I have learned the following.
    1. Scanslations somehow make licensed printed manga sell better. (No proof is given, it is simply assumed prima facie.)
    2. Licensed manga comes out too slowly (which could have something to do with “printing” them on “paper” and possibly licensing issues) and the translations suck (which the fans seem to know despite obviously not reading Japanese).
    3. Scanslations are better and faster. However:
    4. Publishers should put out their own digital copy, which will, of course, come out more slowly than scanslations and be of lower quality.
    5. ????
    6. PROFIT!

    There will never be any way of getting fans to stop justifying their support of scanslations, because there does seem to be some guilt, and any excuse they can come up with to assuage that guilt (especially the “scanslations sell manga” idea) is going to be eagerly grasped.
    The reality is that it will almost be completely impossible to lure scanslation readers over to printed books and away from their quick, easy, free fix.
    Other comments were also interesting.
    Purchasing “net rights” will stop scanslators? Now THAT is some funny shit, right there.
    Licensors couldn’t use scanslation scripts for “copyright” issues? That’s also some funny shit. Scanslators have no rights at all in their translations. Translations are what are called “derivative copyrights” and it is that that the licensors are purchasing. Without a licensing contract behind them, scanslations are “owned” by no one. But scanslation teams are invited to tell it to a judge if they don’t like that. Not that any of the professional companies would use a scanslation, for obvious reasons.
    I’m left with one last thing I hope at least some people will consider: when it comes to licensed books, the artist–who you respect and admire–actually gets paid. So I beg you all to at least make a “guilt buy” whenever a book you read in scanslation is officially released. You don’t even have to look at the translation (which will, as so many seem to believe, be crap anyway). But at least the artist will make his royalties in return for you reading the scanslation.

  • Anonymous says:

    They need to see how the comic book industry does things, IE lots of merchandising. Anime in JP have plenty of merch, but their manga doesnt. In fact, most of the popular manga get absolutely nothing till they’re turned to anime.

  • Anonymous says:

    Biomega is a viz release…

    A short series, that’s far more interesting than the sickeningly drawn out Blanch, Naruturd, or One Piece (of crap).

    I hope this cut back doesn’t affect the release of less ‘profound’ series…

  • Anonymous says:

    Viz publishes Ichigo 100% I believe. I buy those because I like the series a lot. I’m not going to buy every manga I’ve ever read, but the ones I enjoyed a lot I’ll buy.

    It’s too bad that people get sacked, but I suppose there’s hardly another way. Manga just doesn’t sell all that well anymore.

  • erochichi says:

    I used to buy much manga and anime from VIZ during 90s in English translated form. But about 8 years ago VIZ decided to sell rights for all their products in western Europe to some German publisher. Reason to this was told as “German is more widespread language in western European market than English”. I live in Sweden. I can read some German, but this change felt still strange. So VIZ items disappeared, BOTH in English and German form from the market, because that German publisher did not have enough translators to adapt new titles from Japanese or English to German. I guess VIZ sales in Europe dropped sharply. I couldn`t find those in my old stores anymore.
    Countries like France, Italy and Spain have their own publishers for those languages.
    Perhaps they have done similar stupid decisions elsewhere?

  • If the publishers produce good quality fast many more would buy the manga. Some people actually prefer having the real thing over reading on the screen.

    Alas they take ages to translate and waste more time and money because they edit the soundwords and / or censor the manga, mirror the manga…

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank God somebody said this. I do not want to read stuff on a screen, I would rather have the real goddamn thing. It is completely different from watching fansubbed anime.

      I have nothing against Viz. Apparently they censor cuss words from some series, but honestly, I don’t really care too much. We’re not all 13 year old boys, I don’t think we need cuss words to let us know we’re cool.

      They do have one problem though: They do not release anywhere near fast enough. 3-4 months per volume is really, really damn slow.

  • Anonymous says:

    Really? Which “people” do you mean?

    A relatively small yet obsessive core of otaku, or the wider audience that watches things on TV and never sees the original Japanese? I’ll bet you that most of the kids that found out about Naruto or One Piece from TV didn’t give a crap about the dubs.

    Sure, they could cater to that hardcore purist base, but that dooms them to the same state as, say, the American comics industry, or even the Japanese anime industry when it was being criticized for pandering to the moe-obsessed otaku while losing large chunks of the larger general audience.

  • So if they all suck then what do you prefer (action wise?) I bet you can’t make anything better and you’re just a stupid faggot troll that wants attention. Or just a faggot that watches moeblobs with horrible storyline and cheesy romance plots

  • Anonymous says:

    A company that relentlessly and inconsistently censors their manga titles to sell to a “wider audience” has finally shown signs of going downhill?

    Good news for me. Maybe some other company could get their hands on titles like Naruto, One Piece, or Claymore once Viz goes down in the future and get those releases unedited for once.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hate to break it to you, but the American groups aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, as Funimation owns 60% of the American Anime Industry, while Viz Media I assume is a similar percentage in terms of manga, and obviously because hundreds, if not hundreds thousands (including myself), continue to support these groups by purchasing their products.

      And even if they were to cease operation, there is always Disney with their Miyazaki dubs.

      Also to some of you fan-group elitists on here, neither the unpaid teens nor the paid adults are ideal when it comes to their translations.

      If the unpaid teens were 100.0% correct then they’d be aware that kuso has an ambiguous meaning, and that the f-bomb is non existent in the Japanese language (from what i’ve gathered), and how am I supposed to know that itadakimasu pertains to eating if I were a newcomer to anime?

      So for THE definitive 100.0% accurate script, your better off learning the Japanese language yourself, but really the fact that the younger generation of anime fans need everything to perfection just goes to show how much more whiny & nit-picky they are, honestly i’m all for a translation that’s fairly faithful at the very least.

    • Anonymous says:

      Manga volumes cost about Y800 to Y1000 in Japan. That’s about $8.50 to $11 in USD.
      In the US, the publisher gets 40% of the cover price and no returns (the unsold books are destroyed.
      In Japan, the publisher gets 60% of the cover price and unsold books are returned.
      So, in fact, the US publishers are giving you a hell of a deal.

  • Anonymous says:

    no mater how good or bad a manga/anime is there will be always be haters :p
    stop the complain and use the time for read more manga’s or watch more anime’s retards trolls ???

  • Anonymous says:

    So they think by firing half of the workforce and producing a lower quality procuct they will make more money?

    I give them a year before they go under because of people switching to scans instead of paying for their shitty quality garbage.

  • Too many eggs in a couple of baskets and too much fucking around with titles that people want to see/read.

    I always like how they blame piracy and not their own business practices and the current economic situation.

  • A new business model is needed, and new stratagies for gaining interest. Viz, don’t be like american comic makers and keep trying to appeal to ONLY the same crowd over and over.

  • Shimikami says:

    Meh. I srsly couldnt care less about this. I read my manga online. I might have bought manga IF they had better translations and more series to pick from. As it is now its just Naruto, Bleach, One Piece and a couple more shounen series.

  • Anonymous says:

    eh not like they can’t have the entire series translated to current by now sitting on some computer with a timed sending to the print shop. I mean if you released a volume once every month and were able to do more manga you’d be way better off then waiting 2-4 to release 1-2 manga volumes for a few series. really it comes to the fact that they are screwing themselves over by 1. not purchasing Net Rights (which would block scanalators Sorry.) 2. Under saturating the market. after all it’s a small market and they are keeping it that way rather then effectively trying to expand it.

  • Anonymous says:

    I feel ya. I had never bought or read a Manga until i decided to check a few online. Sp far this year i have spent 300.00 on Manga and have several hundred more dollars in queue as I can afford it. Like a lot of anime’s it just sucks waiting for stuff to take a 2-3 year journey to get here.

    • Anime is one thing. Those DVDs cost cash when you want to buy several at a time. But, manga is quite different, even in highschool I used to buy several manga volumes at one time (usually 3 or 4) per month. So yea, that kind of bill can tally quick. These days I only buy the ones I really want (in no small thanks to scanlators giving me a free preview)

  • Anonymous says:

    Scanlations are awesome. I would prolly never have bought a manga unless i could read some first. Its unfortunate though that Viz is cutting 40% of the workforce. I am hoping they mean it when they say they won’t be canceling books.

  • Why don’t they actually start translating series faster? Then people might start paying for things they didn’t read for free on the internet two years ago.

    If a bunch of teenagers over the internet can do this from their own bedrooms in their spare time without pay, then I don’t understand why some grown-ups who get PAID to do this for a job can’t.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Mikorio – right on, agree 100%.

      I can go to the bookstore and buy “new releases” that are 3, 4 years behind scanlation.

      I faithfully buy stuff that isn’t on the scanlation sites like Battle Angel Alita: Last Order.

      I still think they need to create an official online reading site – that would give them many things, both in terms of revenue and frankly, much needed legal leverage.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because each editor is working on multiple manga at the same time, on top of other projects that are company related.

      The reason they “teenagers in bedrooms” can pump it out is because they pump out shit. Editors actually have to get the script translated, then the manga has to get lettered, and then it has to be edited. This whole process takes time…

      Oh not to mention, they have to make sure they delete things for copyright infringement, edit it for American sensibilities (bitch about this all you want, but I’d rather have purchasable and professionally localized manga then NO manga), on top of long ass list of miscellaneous shit they have to cover.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wait? So internet scanlation teams don’t have the same fucking process minus publishing? Some guy gets raws, passes it to a translator who translates it, hopefully simultaneously some guy cleans the scans if they were magazine raws and/or redraws it/levels it, some guy might proof the translation and check for errors, it gets typeset, quick qa, resize the fuckers, shipped out online.

        The only point you have is the localization and even then I’m sure a scanlation team would run circles around the paid guys.

        • Anonymous says:

          On the net, you can put out subs with no issues fast, because the process itself is fast, and your not worrying about revenue or other costs.

          For a US Anime/Manga release, there are rights issues to worry about, as well as the schedule and costs of printing the books, shipping them to retailers, etc, as well as balancing the releases throughout the year to maintain a profit margin.

    • Anonymous says:

      OMG thank you so much. Lol, I couldn’t understand for the life of me, the same thing. I got into fansubbing a while back, and with school & work, it really wasn’t a problem to do an episode or two a week. And I did a lot of work. I did on a regular basis, encoding and karaoke, but sometimes editing and qcing. I didn’t get paid for it, and the quality was good. Why can’t ppl who get PAID to do this, do the same damn thing?

      The worst thing about fansubbing tho, are the fansub critics. They complain about your subs no matter how good, or fast you release them. Some value speed subs over quality subs, but either way you’re gonna get ppl complaining. These stupid fucks don’t understand that we don’t get paid for what we do, so stfu sit down and wait for quality subs, or deal with speed subs.

      • Anonymous says:

        The problem there is that those people only ever want speed subs and never wait, quality or not. If the people waited they would wait for the official release. Or in the case of FMA: Brotherhood, Durarara, etc, they could just wait a few days.

    • Anonymous says:

      I may be wrong here but it wont make much difference if the adult getting paid were to translate faster because basically it just takes one person to buy the book and upload it up for everybody to read.

      Yes, you can copyright it but somehow I just feel that either they don’t bother about it much or its a double edge sword ( being either allow free translation online to boost up buying or stop translation online and don’t advertise their manga which sales might drop )

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not a problem of translating faster, it’s problem of not releasing faster. They release a volume per series every 3-4 months so the buyers can supposedly have some spending room.

      But the stupid thing is, just cause you release it all at once and they don’t buy it all right away doesn’t mean they won’t buy it later. People that have the money can buy it right away and people that don’t can buy it every couple months.

      • Anonymous says:

        The problem is that retailers don’t want to wait for people to “buy it every couple months”. If it ain’t flying off the shelves the instant it gets put on them, they’re going to give the shelf space to something that will.

    • “If a bunch of teenagers over the internet can do this from their own bedrooms in their spare time without pay, then I don’t understand why some grown-ups who get PAID to do this for a job can’t.”

      And those unpaid teenagers [i]still[/i] put out better translations then those paid adults do.

      • Anonymous says:

        I might be wrong here but even if the paid adults were to translate faster than those unpaid teenagers, results will be the same. Once its out, a guy will buy 1 copy of the book and scan it and upload in the net.

        So basically the differ is that the paid adult will be doing something while the unpaid teenager will be looking at certain sites since being free and all.

  • Shiro_Amada says:

    Well, Naruto’s a crappy manga anyway, I wouldn’t mind at all if it were to be cancelled. Actually, I’d say that it was about damn time it happened.

    Same goes to Bleach, One Piece and Dragon Ball.

    Edit: Scanlations For The Win.