Yesterday, Right Stuf announced a partnership with Tokyopop and Gentosha Comics to release the third, unpublished volume of the megapopular fangirl favorite Hetalia manga. And the sleeping beast of Stu Levy hatred awoke.
So a bit of history: Matt Blind did a very nice article that pretty much captures my dislike very well. Basically, a lot of manga fans see Stu Levy as too flighty and self-absorbed to follow anything through and he’s the main reason Tokyopop died.
With Right Stuf’s announcement, many manga fans, who really really want Hetalia, have flat out said they will refuse to buy anything that is even remotely attached to Stu Levy. The ANN forum thread is filled with rage and gnashing of teeth, going so far as to make silly demands like Right Stuf not using any Tokyopop translations and redoing everything.
Right Stuf says if Hetalia v.3 succeeds, they are very interested in taking this further, making many series with OOP volumes available once again for reasonable prices: i.e. $15 instead of $30-$100 (or sometimes $999 as some ridiculous Amazon merchants think they can charge).
I hate Stu Levy. I love manga. And I love Right Stuf. I will be buying Hetalia v.3, even though this is not my favorite series, and I really am not that interested in buying volumes. I have many many other manga that I would rather have. But! If I buy Hetalia v.3, I may get some of these missing volumes! And I’m totally ok with spending $15 (or $11, which is the preorder price) in order to show my support in this venture.
Shawne Kleckner of Right Stuf has said that the money will be going to the mangaka and Gentosha. I can support this.
I’ve already sent Right Stuf my massive list of unfinished or OOP manga series that I would love to see released:
Stellar Six of Gingacho, Maid-sama, Gakuen Alice, Secret Notebooks of Lady Kanoko, VB Rose, Aria, Suppli, Your and My Secret (although JManga has this one and is releasing it digitally)
From Eroica with Love, Swan, Emma (I have Emma actually, but it’s a crime that it’s not still in print; Kaoru Mori is a goddess)
Monster, Banana Fish (utter travesty that these are OOP)
Moyashimon, Nodame Cantabile, My Heavenly Hockey Club (all in publishing limbo)
Worst (actually I haven’t requested this yet because I forgot. Also this is a huge series, so I have my doubts of anyone getting this anyways)
So my very very best wishes to Right Stuf in hopes that they succeed! And if you want to support this venture, go order the Hetalia volumes! Only 3 of them for now. Not any huge wallet breaker. It’s a cute silly manga on the lives of the countries if they were attractive, cute boys (for the most part; there are some female countries, too, like Hungary). It’s very slashable (i.e. people write fanfiction or make art of their favorite pairings), and it’s kinda hard finding official manga art doing a Google image search because there is SO much fanart.
EDIT: Added a video that Right Stuf posted today, showing what the POD copies will look like. It’s looking REALLY good. I am impressed. They even got the spines right, which is something a lot of nitpicky manga fans will rage about, if they don’t match.