YKK Forum

How much would it cost to license YKK?

Let's see... a very unpopular manga... running in a small otaku publication... I can't imagine more than a few thousand dollars, if some royalties are guaranteed.

Of course, then we'd have to find some way to publish it.

Is this a sensible idea, or am I dreaming?

- Anonymous
Saturday, May 28, 2005

Actually, I'm wrong-- it must be somewhat popular if there was an OVA made from it. I'm just imagining that because nobody had heard of it at my local BOOK-OFF.

- Anonymous
Saturday, May 28, 2005

I would hardly call Afternoon a "small otaku publication"... it runs some unknown series like Oh My Goddess, Blade of the Immortal, Genshiken, Blame!....

Ok. Otaku is probably an OK way to describe it.

But YKK is regularily on the cover, so it isn't exactly "unpopular"

- silver
Saturday, May 28, 2005

The way your going to get it licenced is to make it really popular as a scanlation. The anime companies here use the fansub/scanlation base as a big free market research base (would this one work here or not, because really, some manga are just too japanese to sell well) and its a big reason why they tolerate it in the first place.

- anonyguy
Sunday, July 10, 2005

YKK is the thinking reader's manga. That, sadly, is a small niche. Possibly microscopic niche rather. My guess is that anyone who would license it would do so to as part of a decisive entry into this niche. I have no idea what that would be but it would be interesting to know.

Advertisers divide their customers by intellect in a highly un-PC way, YKK fits in at the top, a small place for whome you see few few ads. Off the top of my head I can only recall 2 ads that adressed this group.

Google statistics time:
11000: YKK
194000 Video girl ai
221000 Kare Kano
808000 Evangelion
983000 Naruto

From this it would seem YKK would go cheaply and that demand is small.

- C_P
Tuesday, July 12, 2005

May I suggest that someone with a firm grasp of the Japanese tongue send an email to Afternoon inquiring what the possible cost of licensing it for the US would be?

I would be willing to donate several tens of dollars to any fan effort to bring the manga to the US in official form.

- Boris
Friday, July 15, 2005

Licensing costs are the tip of the iceberg. There's also:

translation costs - the big difference being that you would be producing a commercial product, so the current translators wouldn't keep working for free

production costs - Reproducing the artwork, overlaying the text, (possible) SFX translation, and actually printing the books... all of these are far more involved than scanlation.

advertising costs - if you can't sell to anyone other than the readers of this (and mangaproject's) webpage, don't expect to sell any more than about 200 copies

distribution costs - If you want it in book stores expect to pay, a lot. If you don't, don't be surprised if it doesn't sell. That's the plain and simple truth.

If you want YKK in the US, your best bet is to contact companies that release manga in the US. If anyone brings it over, my money is on DMP. They've brought over several niche titles, a number of which have been from Kodansha. Dark Horse also has ties with Kodansha (I believe that Studio Proteus even expressed interest in YKK), but YKK doesn't really seem to be their style.

- Silver
Saturday, July 16, 2005

Has anyone asked Animeigo? They are a small company that has the license for the Ah My Goddess, and Urusei Yatsura anime. The YKK anime and manga both would appeal to the sorts of folks they seem to sell to. I believe they are the last real fan run company in the U.S. Also, the quality of their subtitles and translation are the best in the industry. They don't sell manga, but they might be sold on the idea if enough people ask.

Look at their website, they are nothing like VIZ or Tokyopop.


An organized pester effort might yield results at least for the anime.

- Soyokaze
Saturday, July 16, 2005

how about we get a petition of a sorts going and than send it over to them?

- Roy Zhou
Sunday, July 17, 2005

Yes, I think a petition might work. Even better I was thinking about sending them my legitimate (non-bootleg) copy of the first OVA and several volumes of the untranslated Manga. If they are made into fans of Ashinano san's work, they might license it as long as they can make a little money. As good as a petition will be, letters from long-time Animeigo customers who have bought a lot of DVD's from them in the past will help too. I have a bunch of their stuff, so I feel they might listen.
They do all of their work in house. Right now they are working on the last of their Urusei Yatsura episodes. I do not know if they have plans to license anything else right now, but I do not think they have the resources to bid for the next Satoshi Kon anime, or anything big like that. But when they finish UY later this year, they might need something new to work on.
The YKK anime should have low production costs given they do not need to do a videotape transfer. Also there is relatively little dialog to translate. I am afraid they took a bath on their Macross license with all of the time they spent on restoring the transfer. YKK should be simple and cheaper. This is the company I would want to put YKK out. I have a great deal of faith in these people not to hack up this title.
I will send the CEO Robert Woodhead a polite e-mail today. In the e-mail I will include a link to the excellent Animefringe article on YKK from last year.

Here is where to find Animeigo contact information, if you would like to try this.


Here is where Janet Crocker's great YKK article can be found:


Again, if you have bought a lot of stuff from Animeigo, they might take more notice. Also the possibility exists that they will start to lurk in this board if we start to pester them. If they do they will see how many people would be willing to support them in putting out this title. If you include a self addressed stamped envelope they are more likely to reply or return materials sent to them.

Acta non Verba

- Soyokaze
Sunday, July 17, 2005

Here is the letter I sent to the CEO of AnimEigo ([email protected]) today. Please feel free to borrow points from it. If anyone has some better ones, I would like to add them to the handwritten letter I will send them later.
If there are a dozen different toughtful letters on this subject waiting for him on Monday morning, each letter will have more impact than a form letter.


I would like to ask your company to consider licensing Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou ("Record of a Yokohama Shopping Trip") by Ashinano Hitoshi. It has been running monthly for years in Kodansha Afternoon. Recent stories almost unobtainable as the copies of Afternoon always sell out at the Kinokuniya bookstore in Seattle. It is a little too Japanese for any other company here in the U.S. to do, but I feel that this title would appeal to the large Japanese culture fanbase your company has access to. I understand AnimEigo is not a manga company, however there are also four nice animated OVA episodes of YKK that stand little chance of ever being released here. A quality duel language edition with unaltered artwork along the lines of old Mangajin translations might also appeal to many students.
YKK must be very popular in Japan given that it has been out for a decade now. The beautiful artwork in each edition will stand out from other titles on the store shelves, and especially on your website. Here is a link to a wonderful Animefringe article on YKK:


Again I ask that you give thoughtful consideration to this title. There is no other company in the U.S. that will put this material out, and no other company that would do a better job of it than yours. I have purchased directly from AnimEigo every episode of Urusei Yatsura put out so far along with Bubblegum, and Otaku no Video. No other company can translate all of the little cultural details better.

Thank you for your consideration,

- Soyokaze
Sunday, July 17, 2005

Excellent job, can someone setup an online petition?, Anyone have any idea how to do one?

- Roy Zhou
Monday, July 18, 2005

It would seem to me we need a separate page with both a web counter, and a guestbook. A single page of text pleading our case with a nice YKK background should be sufficient. This page of text can be written in such a way to nicely target AnimEigo, and use the free AnimEigo link and banner ad from their website. The page can then be linked to in any correspondence with AnimEigo, or any other company that might want to step up to the plate. Everyone on this forum can then sign the guestbook, and leave a brief message on why YKK should be licensed. Many people on this forum have deep affection for this title, thus some of the left messages will be very compelling. At the very least we will get their attention. Of course, I have little idea how to do any of this.

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- Soyokaze
Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I'll see if I can draft up a page

- Roy Zhou
Tuesday, July 19, 2005

If you're looking or considering the costs of lincensing the OVAs, I have a good idea of what it would cost. This is based loosely on ADV's licensing and production cost statistics however the numbers should be somewhat accurate...

Licensing cost: ~$650,000 for both OVA series.
Production cost*: ~$12,000 per episode
Distribution cost: unknown/figures never made public

Total cost: ~$725,000

*Production costs include remastering, dubbing, translation, editing, subtitling, etc...

The OVA series are owned and controlled by Sony Media which normally would result in higher licensing costs however, as the tilte is small and relatively unknown I'm assuming one might be able to acquire the rights for slightly less than the norm. At the same time, thanks to the shortness of the series, production costs can be kept to a minimum thanks to the limited amounts of dialouge. Production costs for those four episodes would, most likely, never exceed fifty thousand dollars.

Distribution costs are largely unknown but assuming the series are sold as two DVD, one for the original OVAs and a second for the Quiet Country Cafe OVA, then followed by a boxset might sell relatively well amoung devoted fans. The issue is whether the series would sell real well in North America for the casual anime fans. If the manga's popularity amoung fans is any indication, it appeals to a rather small and niche market. Coupling this with the recent announcements by major licensors that they will be cutting back on and even stopping the licensing of niche market series, the odds of it being licensed grow even smaller.

It could happen but in all honesty I don't see it happening any time soon. I'd be happy if it were licensed but I can't see 20,000 people buying the first DVD then ~15,000 buying the second DVD/boxset...

- Paper
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I don’t know too much about this, but I find these figures astounding. At an average license fee of $650,000 for the four episodes, that equates to $162,500 per episode. That means that the cost for the 200 Urusai Yatsura episodes would have been $32.5 million! Is there any good way to compare/compute the total cost of small OVA’s of about 2 hours in length as a rough guide. I am thinking of titles like Cat Soup, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku (an ADV title), Project A Ko, Oh My Goddess (an AnimEigo title also from Afternoon). Of course all of these could have been money losers. I can see why the industry seems to be contracting. Even at a high price point of $10 per episode, that is only $400,000 in sales on volume of 10,000 four episode disks.
I wonder about the original economics of these titles in Japan. How does Sony Music calculate the value of the music tie-in? I am looking at the back of a 3990 yen copy of the first OVA I got from Amazon Japan and noticing that it lists all of the Gontiti tracks. I have imports of both of the soundtracks and I see they are both Sony titles. Do some of these small titles get done partly to sell music or promote artists? I always thought they were done as a big thank-you to long-time fans of the manga and to promote Afternoon regardless of the economics. Were these titles big sellers when they came out?

Does anyone know about manga costs?

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- Soyokaze
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I think that the ~$650,000 quote is way too high.

I recall them giving a quote of about $500,000 when Berserk (a hugely popular 25 episode series) was licensed, and that was considered extremely expensive. There's no way that a 4 episode OAV would be $650K.

- Silver
Thursday, July 21, 2005

I found this link on Ain't it Cool News. It gives a little more information on costs and the shrinking of the Anime "industry".


It seems a shame to me that there are dozens of great titles like YKK that won't be put out because they are too old, too short, too long, or not violent enough. Hopefully, with the popularity of some titles, prices for legitimate disks, licenses, and downloads can reach some sort of equillibrium where everyone can be happy. Are there any Lurkers here with more inside info on this topic?

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- Soyokaze
Thursday, August 11, 2005

I think Gainax might be a better idea?
I mean,they have the Kare Kano,Midori no Hibi and Evangelion under their belt...

- Ryo Hakusho
Friday, August 12, 2005

Em, point the first, Gainax didn't do Midori no Hibi....
Point the second, with all due respect, YKK kinda doesn't seem to be in the direction that Gainax has been going lately. (Unfortunately for Gainax.) Besides, if they stopped the anime for YKK the same way they 'ended' Karekano, it'd just make more people upset at yet another Gain-axed ending, and (as with KKNJ) make leave people too ticked off to bother with going to the manga.

... and I, for one, would prefer not to see YKK start being compared to Kore ga Watashi no Goshujin-sama (He Is My Master).
Maybe it'd be worth it to try talking to Ponentmon/Fanfare about a YKK manga licence? They produced Taniguhci's "The Walking Man" for British publication, and seem to be working on Homunculus (!!!), so this may be rather more up their alley. www.ponentmon.com. Fanfare UK doesn't seem to have its own site, but there's an email address on the shared site for it.

- Speaker59
Saturday, August 13, 2005

When it comes to determining the size of the potential fanbase, I really would like to know the current usage statistics of misago.org and cafealpha.org.

I'm one of the few seeders of the two Mangaproject sets at the Hurricane tracker. It's safe to say that we can greet each leecher personally. (3..5 downloaders in a good week...)

- Beaker
Sunday, August 14, 2005

Another company for the manga I've thought of is Vertical Inc.: http://vertical-inc.com/

I think they might be interested because they're in the process of releasing Tezuka's <i>Buddha</i> manga which was originally written in the late 70's but hadn't appeared in translation until now. Much like YKK, it's pretty...."brainy" and there's very little action, but it's won two Eisner awards since its English debut.

- Hekima
Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I just got an interesting e-mail back from Infinity Studios <www.infinitystudios.com> which has licensed many kinds of seinen manga:

"Please know that we take all licensing requests seriously and it never hurts to look into things, regardless of whether or not we eventually license the title. Please do know that while we are very selective about what titles we add to our product line, we do consider a broad genre of titles. In addition, you should note that many titles do get licensed without the consumers hearing about it for a long time. This is the case because most companies don’t like to announce titles until just before they release the title… in other words, if YKK really is popular, it is very likely that it was already licensed by someone but not publicly announced."

They could just be bringing up that point at random to be encouraging, or they could actually be hinting at a license... anyway, I do feel encouraged by their response!

- 莫囂圓隣
Monday, October 3, 2005

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