How JoJo’s Weird Localization History Is Still Causing Issues for U.S. Fans Today

U.S.: JoJo’s Weird Localization History Still Has Issues Fans Today

Viz was unable to locate the JoJo manga in its original location and the effects are still felt by fans today.

It has never been easier to read the manga. With manga’s increasing popularity and digital distribution, more manga series are being translated into English. Some major titles are available in English in just hours after their chapters arrive in Japan. This is not the case with the cult favorite JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure as the American release is many years behind. Part nine of The JOJOLands is a big hit with Japanese fans, but American viewers are just starting to see part six ( Stone Ocean). JoJo’sutterly absurd location history is partly to blame for this bizarre situation. Its after-effects still impact the series and its fandom today.

JoJo’s Strange History of Localizations

In 1987, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure manga was first published in Japan. Part one, Phantom Blood, was serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump. Viz Media purchased the rights to the manga early in the 1990s. They planned to bring it to America as The Strange Adventures of JoJo. Unfortunately, this was not to be. Viz Media continued exploring the possibility of bringing JoJo to America.

In 2002, Viz was considering releasing the series in comic form. Viz used this format for Dragon Ball. Viz decided to abandon the idea again after this format experienced a slowdown in sales. The JoJomanga was first introduced to Americans in 2005 when Viz began serializing Stardust Crusaders. However, the brand was relegated to obscurity after its final run in 2010. Interviews with Viz revealed that they had tried to localize more of their series but it was impossible due to American copyright laws. The series didn’t re-enter American Serialization until 2014 when Viz retold the story and began serializing Phantom Blood. Viz has maintained serialization since then, but because it started much later than its Japanese counterparts, American manga releases have been years behind.

American Fans: Issues

JoJo has a strong fan base, but it doesn’t have the mainstream popularity that its peers have. This is partly due to these localization decisions. As non-Japanese fans are spoiled via social media about the upcoming plot points, the hype is greatly reduced due to delayed American releases. It is difficult for fans to keep their interest and the series to generate enthusiasm because they already know what’s coming. This lack of hype also means that the franchise is not able to get a lot of promotions for free, which results in lower sales for each volume.

This gap, along with the manga’s unclear localization history makes it difficult for new fans to get into the series, particularly for those who are familiar with the anime adaptation. It can be difficult to determine which chapter to start and whether the chapter is available in a localized version. This is especially true for fans who want to buy a physical copy, which is even slower than a digital one. Although this is not a major problem, it will deter anyone who is curious about the series.

It is easy to sympathize and understand the Viz situation. While it may be tempting to rush through the backlog or skip to the current series, this could cause serious damage to the brand. People would find it difficult to access the series and the story would feel disconnected for those who are currently reading it. As many fans cannot afford multiple volumes, it would hurt sales.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure‘s history of localization shows that it is possible to be proactive and take risks when localizing. It’s impossible to predict what series will be the next big thing. Although Viz cannot be blamed for its difficulties with copyright, it is clear that Viz (and other localizers) have learned a lot over the years. Publishers are also working faster to bring manga titles to America, which allows them to build more mainstream fandoms.

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