Seven Seas publisher Jason DeAngelis has a lengthy post on the company’s message board, explaining why he decided to cancel the controversial manga Nymphet. The answer may surprise you:
First off, to give more context, if you’re not familiar with the behind-the-scenes process of licensing manga from Japan, it has reached a point of being so highly competitive among US publishers, that most of us, including Seven Seas, tend to place offers on titles while they’re still being serialized in the weekly magazines, often before they are ever collected into tankoubon (ie. graphic novels). If not, the license may very well get snatched up by the competition. In the case of NYMPHET, we placed an offer on it soon after the first volume of the tankoubon was released in Japan, with an option to license the rest of the series later on.
It was not until these past few days, actually, that I personally took the time to delve more closely into the rest of the series and the specific content of the subsequent volumes. Sure, I’d flipped through them before, and what I saw on a cursory glance seemed harmless enough. But this time I sat down and read the series carefully in Japanese, and what I found in volumes two and three were very disturbing. (Particularly, pages 129-131 in volume three, which are highly problematic.) So much so, that I now have to retract some of what I said in my first letter where I tried to defend the content, because certain scenes in the subsequent volumes are indefensible and inappropriate, in my opinion. (If there is blame to be cast, I’ll accept blame on our license acquisition and evaluation process. If you were to add up the large number of licenses we acquire, and the total number of volumes per series, it would come to literally hundreds of volumes that we would need to read and review in order to stay on top of all the content and make sure that it is appropriate. In this case, NYMPHET fell through the cracks in our review process.)
So, my primary reason for canceling NYMPHET is due to my recent realization that later volumes in the series can not be considered appropriate for the US market by any reasonable standard. For those of you who have been defending the title and have expressed anger about its cancellation, as a fan, I understand your frustration. But, at this point, I can only assume that you have not seen certain segments later in the series, just as I hadn’t, which very clearly cross the line, and which I can no longer stand by or support in good conscience.
Go read the whole thing. It’s a very well-reasoned thoughtful look at the sort of problems publishers face when publishing controversial and/or potentially offensive material. Be especially sure to check out some of the comments afterward.