Saturday, June 14, 2008

The End of DramaQueen?

Wow, some scary things have been popping up on the 'net concerning our favourite publisher.

In a blog post from, a translator working for DramaQueen, L.L.C. states that the investors may not pull through for DQ after all. Our beloved publisher seems to be disappearing off the face of the Earth along with Be Beautiful. Read that post here.

What has happened? Is this a sad time for the Yaoi Kingdom? Is it a genre destined to fall? Two Publishers already bowing out of the game (DQ, Be Beautiful), new Publishers taking their place (Deux, Yaoi Generation), and too many titles being licensed(June, DQ) all spell trouble for this ailing genre.

Methinks Yaoi is not as popular as the Publishers think. They need to re-evaluate the situation and look at license choices. For example, I read "Say Please" from Deux Press, but I would have rather read "Naked Jewels Corp." or "10k Lover"(Aijin Ichimanyen). These titles may never see the light of day as English releases, but they're the type of licenses I want to see more of.


  1. Oliver,

    I too am saddened and disturbed by the troubles these yaoi publishers seem to be having, but I think it's still a little soon to diagnose this genre as "ailing" or to conclude that the market is oversaturated with yaoi titles. From what I've been reading and from discussions I've had with other pubishers, it seem like the main issues at play are the usual suspects -- underfunding and perhaps poor management.

    The sad truth is that many small businesses fail -- some say the failure rate is as high as 60% within 5 years -- so while it is hard to see publishers we really like (and who produce good product) struggling, it doesn't necessarily mean there wasn't a strong market for that product they were putting out.

    In the case of DQ, that post you linked to gives the biggest clue to what's happening there -- they were relying on outside financing that has yet to (and may well never) come through. Meanwhile, BeBeautiful had licensing and contractual issues with publisher Libre for a number of popular titles.

    Whether the right titles are being licensed for English readers is a fair question -- I certainly didn't care much for Say Please myself -- but for now, I don't think those two cases tell us much about how popular yaoi is or can be in the West. So, scary though this may be, I think you can be confident of having some good options in English language yaoi for the foreseeable future. :-)

    Cheers and keep up the good work,


  2. @Alex:

    Thank-you for your detailed message about the Yaoi industry and I do agree with you that it has different factors affecting it.

    I guess licensing choice was only bothering me because I really thought the line-up DQ offered was exceptional.

    I saw the industry as over-saturated because there are many Yaoi-only publishers offering good products that it's hard for some poor fans to choose. Also, the fact that June releases approx. 7 books a month factored into my thinking.

    Thanks again for providing insight on Yaoi in North America!


  3. Oliver,

    I realize that I'm posting this comment over a month after your original post.

    I don't want to see Drama Queen go under either. They put out a beautiful product and are holding licenses to many titles I want to get my hands on such as "Omen" by Makoto Tateno, the several titles by Shushushu Sakurai and others.

    But I don't know what everyone sees in Be Beautiful. I have several of their titles and in my opinion I think they look like someone just printed out poorly done scanlations, and slapped on a $15+ price tag on it (I am still trying to get my grubby little hands on a copy of Haruka Minami's "Virgin Soil" and Embracing Love 2 and 5). Yes, they hold licenses for some great titles, but I think that is another publisher like 801 Media would be a better vehicle for the titles.

    I must ask, why do you like Kitty Media so much? I only have the three "Scandalous Seiryo University" books and I am very disappointed in the production value of it. After reading a few pages, the manga is missing way more ink than it should (because its all over my hands), spelling mistakes abound, and other things that are not good. Especially in the last book.

    Deux Press is a really good publisher in my opinion, they use high quality paper and the ink stays where it's supposed to. The editing is good because typos are rare and they do make many good choices with licenses. Besides, they have several Shiuko Kano titles (in my opinion, she is one of the world's greatest mangaka).

    Every publisher has hits and misses with their titles, but I'd rather read the titles that are Japanese translations as opposed to titles that are originally written in English and are American based ie Yaoi Press. I have been very disappointed with their work.


    PS - Congrats on finally getting your copy of Ayane Yamano's "A
    Foreign Love Affair." And I have another 801 title that is a must read, "The President's Time." It is a riot from beginning to end.