U.S. Still Having Issues with JoJo’s Weird Localization Story Fans Today
Viz had difficulty at first localizing the JoJo manga and its effects are still being felt today.
It’s easier than ever to read the manga. Because of the popularity of manga, digital distribution has made it easier to read them. Many major titles are translated into English within hours of their Japanese counterparts. The American release of the cult-favorite JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is several years behind. While Japanese fans are excited about part nine ( The JOJOLands), American audiences are only now getting to part six ( Stone Ocean). JoJo’sutterly absurd locale history is partially to blame for this peculiar situation. The after-effects of it still have a negative impact on the series today.
JoJo’s Localizations: A Strange History
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure manga launched in Japan in 1987. The first part, Phantom Blood was published in Weekly Shonen jump. Viz Media bought the rights to this manga in the early 90s. It planned to bring the manga to America under the title The Strange Adventures of JoJo. This never happened, but Viz Media explored the idea of bringing JoJoto America.
Viz would consider releasing the series as comic books in 2002. Viz had used the format previously for Dragon Ball. Viz canceled the idea after experiencing a slump in sales. Americans would not get the JoJomanga until 2005 when Viz began serializing Stardust Crusaders. The brand ended its run in 2010, and it was never seen again. Viz stated in interviews that while they wanted to localize the series more, it was hard due to American Copyright Law. Viz didn’t allow the series to re-enter American serialization before 2014 when Viz went back to the beginning of the storyline and began serializing Phantom Blood. Viz has been serializing manga ever since, although it began much later than its Japanese counterparts.
American fans: The Issues
JoJo enjoys a vocal fanbase but doesn’t have mainstream popularity like its peers. Partly because of these localization choices. Non-Japanese viewers are often spoiled via social networks about the plot points. This reduces hype. Fans are unable to keep up the intrigue, and it is very difficult for the series to generate excitement since they know what’s happening. The franchise also loses out on lots of promotional opportunities, which leads to lower sales for each volume.
This gap and the manga’s complicated localization history make the series difficult to access for new fans, especially for those coming from the anime version. It can be hard to find the right chapter and determine if it is currently available in a localized form. This is particularly true for those who are looking to purchase a physical edition, which often lags behind digital releases. This is not an impossible task, but it will keep people from being curious about the series.
It’s easy for us to sympathize. Although it is tempting to jump ahead and finish the backlog quickly, it could endanger the brand. It would be harder for people to watch the series and it would leave the story feeling disjointed for the ones who are reading it. Because many fans are unable to afford several volumes at once, rushing production could hurt sales.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure‘s locale history is a great example of the power of taking risks and being proactive when it comes to localizing. You never know what series might become the next hit. While Viz is not to blame for its copyright problems, it’s evident that Viz (and all localizers) has learned from these mistakes. Due to increased demand for the manga, publishers are working harder to bring titles to America faster, thereby allowing them more prominent and mainstream fandoms.