Jan. 30th, 2009

UGH!

Jan. 30th, 2009 08:52 am
teddog: (I AM mellowed out)
As I've ranted before, I was struggling to get a copy of Aria 4. Everyone was mum on what was going on.

Well, there's finally word on what on Earth was going on...

Some Tokyopop Manga Volumes Out of Stock:
http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-01-30/some-tokyopop-manga-volumes-out-of-stock

Retailers are listing several Tokyopop manga volumes, such as Aria volume 4, as out of stock. The Comics Worth Reading blog notes that Diamond Comic Distributors lists the following solicitations as "Cancelled by Publisher":

DEC084265 ARIA GN VOL 05
(There's more listed at the link, but that's the only one of note for me)

These books may not be permanently out of stock; it is normal for a solicitation to be cancelled but still relisted or rescheduled at a later date. MangaBlog contacted Tokyopop Marketing Director Marco Pavia about Aria volume 4's status, and he said that it is sold out "mainly because orders came in much higher than projected." However, he was noncommittal about when or if Tokyopop will reprint the book and explained, "It all depends upon demand — we do monitor our inventory very closely. I'm sure you can understand that we have to be very careful in this economic climate."


This is very NOT GOOD. We have a book that's exceeded expectations, has sold its print run out, will not be getting a new print run and has it's next volume either canceled completely or pushed to a later date. In the past few months, however, showing up as "Cancelled by Publisher" and being a Tokyopop book translates to "It's dead"

And at this point, I'm willing to say the same about the company. If you need Tokyopop books, I'd buy them NOW. Personally, I'm probably never going to buy from them again, since they've canceled one of the best series I've ever read.

::sighs::
teddog: (Never show me another fic!)
I got bored last night and rewatched the final arc of Higurashi again. It's very much a "because I can" sort of thing. I find the closing arc fascinating, because it's so far removed from the start of the series.

Usually around the last handful of episodes, I'm reminded of a type of riff that shows up in Mystery Science Theater. It's usually towards the end of the movie when one of the characters, often Tom, points out that the movie has strayed far from its original point. An example I can recall off the top of my head is "Hey, wasn't John Saxon in this movie?" from the episode Mitchell.

One of the big deals with Higurashi is that everything is interconnected. EVERYTHING. Slight references and off-handed comments early on carry huge wieght later. How the final arc plays out only makes sense if you had been following the actions of the minor characters up until this point.

Which begs the question... is the proper way to carry out character development?

Higurashi is, in the end, a murder-mystery with supernatural elements, which might explain why the audience is pulled along for so long. However, a lot of the character development is rushed in the last two arcs, as suddenly the true nature of the characters needs to be cleared up to understand how the events play out. The role of one character who serves mostly as comic relief isn't touched upon until the last ten minutes of the show. For reference, this is a series that runs for 50 episodes. That's a very long time to have something under the surface.

The creator of the series has admitted that he enjoys confusing readers; his stories are written for people who enjoy trying to piece together the puzzle. People looking for a story told straight up need not apply. Thus, he's relying on this level of interest to fuel his readship and in turn, his fandom. However, it's not a large fandom and a good amount of the fandom over here became angry when the tone of the work later changed.

I often worry while writing fic that I keep too many details too subtle to the point that there is no impact for the reader. If there's no impact, is there a reason to keep going? At the same time, I'm reminded of Higurashi's fandom. The end that signed up for a horror story later complained that the storyline was one giant bait-and-switch.

So, to those still with me:

Writers, be it fic or pro - How subtle is too subtle? Should an author lay out his/her cards all out on the table early on? Should he/she be expecting the reader to follow every tiny detail? How those one deal with someone missing the point completely?

Readers, not just of fic but in general - What's your opinion on a storyline that starts extremely subtle? Do you still feel the urge to keep reading? And are you annoyed and upset when the plot suddenly twists and it's based on plot details that you ignored up until now?

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