Sooooo…. I know that manga fans can be a little “finnicky” when it comes to the condition and design of their books. They want the sizes to match between editions. I appreciate that… I know a bunch of folks were caught way, way off-guard when Viz did a line-wide switch of the size and design of their books a few years ago, to keep up with Tokyopop. Heh, poor bastards, collecting Rumiko Takahashi’s Ranma 1/2 for 10 years, only to have the last 20 volumes show up in a new format… But it doesn’t stop there! So Viz switched from the big-size to the Tokyopop size, then they changed their corporate logo from the old downward-pointing-triangle VIZ logo to the new (current) VIZ MEDIA logo on the spine of all of their books… 6 volumes before the end of their release of Ranma 1/2, making it almost impossible to have a complete set of Ranma 1/2 with the same spine designs. The best though is that, since then, they’ve changed the spine design AGAIN removing the old “action” logo and replacing it with their new stylized ‘V’, but so far as I can tell not every volume is available with the same spine design, because of the differences between printings.
If you’ve got even a little bit of the old OCD, that’s gotta be killing you. If I didn’t think Viz were above such things, I’d ALMOST think they were doing it on purpose, just to make their readers crazy. Actually, the way in which that drives people crazy is one of my secret favourite things in comics…
But that’s a 36 volume series, released over 15 or 16 years. We’ll… we’ll cut them a little bit of slack. But seriously, what’s Bandai’s excuse for changing the design of a current series they’re releasing with almost every volume?
So this is the CODE GEASS series of manga, based on the popular anime series. It features designs by CLAMP!, it’s pretty popular, you know? I bet it was a coup for Bandai to get this series. And what do they do with it? Well, geezus, look at it. Out of 8 books there, only 3 of them have the same trade dress. Code Geass: Suzuku changes entirely between volume 1 and 2. Code Geass: Lelouch actually matches up for 1 and 2, but the entire design changes for volume 3, including the logo for the book itself! The next two books are the novels, and they don’t keep a consistent trade dress with the line, or even with each other. I mean, things can be “off” in the design stage, but look at the way the Bandai logos (almost) match up but the STAGE x graphics don’t… The designer is just totally asleep at the wheel. Then we get the next manga, which is (I believe) the most recent in the series: Code Geass: Nunnally. It has a different logo treatment again, and the volume number is now IN the logo, rather than in it’s own graphic or matching up with anything. And the spine text is a different treatment too.
These books have been released monthly since October 2008. Either the designer is getting fired after every book and destroying all of his files and stealing all of the reference copies each time, or this is the single most unprofessional design and editorial team in manga.
But wait, it gets better. Let’s check out another Bandai release: Eureka 7.
No digital trickery here. This is actually the vooks in order. Volume 1 is clearly labeled volume one. Then volume 2 has a completely different spine design, and NO VOLUME NUMBER. I promise you, that is actually volume 2, we didn’t just grab like a random novel or something and slide it in there. Here, I’ll show you:
Scroll back up to the previous picture. At the end of the volume 1-6, there’s a second series, “Eureka Seven: Gravity Boys and Lifting Girl”. It’s got a tiny little subtitle, but it’s there, and a clearly-placed “Vol. 1″ And then right next to it? Why, that’s Eureka Seven: Gravity Boys and Lifting Girl Volume 2, except it’s missing the subtitle, making it look exactly the same as the regular series.
It’s really the second series volume 2, but because the first series volume 2 is fucked up AND this one is fucked up, this one looks like the first series volume 2… Which creates no end of problems for people looking for it on the shelf, or in the overstock. Again, these books are coming out more-or-less monthly, which means it’s really just a total lack of interest… and quality control… on the part of the folks at Bandai. They’re a major international publishing company working in a variety of media. This is kind of embarassing?
This was brought to my attention by Parrish, today, as he sighed drammatically about how fucked up this is. So I decided to blog his misery! Attention employees: your sadness is fodder for my blog. Thanks!