Publisher’s Digest: Glossy Magazine Edition

I think this post has more in common with this post than any other, hence its name – its aim is to inform, but not like a Wikipedia article (you’d actually go to Wikipedia for that). Note in order to understand more deeply about where I’m coming from on some aspects of this post, such as the significance of Kadokawa, you might need to read that post first.

Much like there are bucketloads of manga that come out every year that don’t even see the light of day in terms of an English release, there are loads of magazines. Not just the big doorstopper manga magazines like the physical Weekly Shonen Jump, but also magazines with a glossy cover like the ones at your local newsagent’s (or whatever equivalent your region may have).

Sidebar: For the record, I did discuss one of these without making a distinction between the types of magazines – Monthly Mu.

…Welp, I didn’t realise exactly how friggin’ many of them there were until I stared at Bookwalker‘s “Practical Use/Utility” section and recognised some magazine names from my time translating Boueibu tweets and wandering Anime News Network.

Generally, if you’re an anime fan who follows seasonals, you’ll want to pay attention to these 4 publications: Animage, Animedia, PASH and Newtype, although anime collaborations with the more standard fashion magazines aren’t unheard of (see, for instance, Shiro Usazaki illustrating for Playboy). Bookwalker has digital access to all of these bar the last one I listed, so from their listed data (and then a bit of research for Newtype), they hail from the publishing companies Tokuma Shoten, IID (a media marketing/publishing company, previously Gakken Plus), Shufu to Seikatsusha and Kadokawa Shoten respectively, although curiously, Bookwalker is run by Kadokawa, so them specifically not having access to Kadokawa Shoten’s magazine is a bit…suss.

Sidebar 2: The name “Animage” might ring a bell due to this post. That, indeed, was what sparked the idea for this post.

Occasionally, these will have spinoffs like Otomedia and Stage PASH, or irregular publications detailing specific topics, such as this guide to working in the anime industry from Newtype.

Also, the magazines have different focuses: Newtype has a heavier focus on Kadokawa properties such as Demon Slayer and Bungo Stray Dogs (as implied in Publisher’s Digest, its name hails from the Gundam series), while PASH is aimed more towards the demographic which likes bishonen, although all of them can have small segments focussing on voice actors, stage plays, tokusatsu etc.. (The PASH I’ve linked below, which is my main reference because I have a digital copy of it, even has stuff on the Japanese dub of Mo Dao Zu Shi and BTS…which is why it wasn’t my first candidate for purchase…I don’t mind the donghua stuff, but I’m not a K-Pop fan.)

Much like how English-translated manga used to have imprints like it did in Japan, some manga runs in these magazines, rather than the doorstoppers – because these magazines are monthly affairs, they can run on a schedule comparable to some regular manga magazines. Notably, there was an English version of Newtype around for a while – it’s currently defunct though, because it was run by AD Vision (a company which is now dead) – and from what I’ve seen of Neo pre-COVID, the English side runs OEL manga in their magazines. Likewise, some art is especially commissioned for these magazines, so you’ll see the poster art circulating as soon as people pick up their preorders of the magazines.

As hinted at earlier, you can buy digital versions of some magazines, but one of the big tickets about getting these magazines in physical format is the bonus items (furoku). Although it’s not unheard of for manga magazines to have bonus items (shoujo manga magazines tend to be fairly great with theirs – see the relevant reference for what I mean), the glossies have some pretty nice items themselves, such as clear files with exclusive illustrations. Obviously, digital formats can’t always facilitate furoku unless you buy the physical publication, but shipping complicates things a lot on those…

Anyways, I blabbed a lot again. To be fair, I’ve wanted to look into at least one of these magazines I listed ever since I considered reading an Animedia with Demon Slayer on it while in Narita airport. My recent Bookwalker spending sprees doubled that (but also put a large hole in my wallet…), but I’ve decided if I’m paying for anything, I’m paying for an experience first and foremost (regardless of if you’re paying for goods or services), so in the end, I’m more than happy with it when taking it with that view in mind.

Over to you now, people – have you ever purchased one of these magazines, either while in Japan or via online shopping? What sorts of furoku have you seen?


References

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