Perhaps taking the prize for most photo-op worthy booth in the entire venue, MANGA Plus by SHUEISHA at New York Comic Con featured multiple sections, detailed cut-outs, and faux-brick paneling to create a perfect little manga hideaway nicely sectioned off from the rest of the venue.
Having a booming platform and new subscription service can bring a certain level of notoriety and appeal, but it takes a special kind of care and focus to capture the desires of fans and put into perspective what they want now and are likely to want in the future. We got the chance to interview Mr. Shuhei Hosono on the mindset behind the MANGA Plus exhibit at New York Comic Con and the state of the platform itself.
New Kinds of Marketing
There were two main parts to the booth. One part, around the periphery of the area, contained sections for popular manga like Chainsaw Man and My Hero Academia, with brightly colored manga panel backgrounds and a three-dimensional cut out of a character. The panels are reproductions of original manga artwork and each came with an image of a manga volume cover, a QR code linking to the series, and a short summary of the plot. This, combined with a plush square of carpet beneath the section, created perfect alcoves for not only taking photos but also seeing a microcosm of a series’ art and what makes it appealing. The other part focused on new manga or manga that were rising in popularity. I recognized some of the manga in this section but many were new to me. The section featured a contest where convention-goers voted on their favorite of the new(er) titles.
Hosono said that the mindset around the structure of the booth was both to generally raise brand awareness and spotlight manga series with high potential. The voting element involved people placing stickers as their vote. At the time I walked by Sakamoto Days was in first place, followed a bit behind by Dandandan. This makes sense as, while certainly not as known as more established titles in the exhibit like My Hero Academia, both of these are pretty popular. When asked which of the newer manga he personally hoped to see do well in the future, Hosono pointed to Red Cat Ramen, a rather interesting looking manga about a ramen shop run solely by cats which hires someone who considers themselves more of dog person. While this was rather far behind as far as voting was concerned, I think its presence made clear the diversity of titles showcased. Not every title was action-focused and any amount of votes amounts to valuable market research for MANGA Plus, a sentiment Hosono agreed with.
Exciting Things to Come From Manga Plus
Shueisha’s MANGA Plus launched a new subscription service called MANGA Plus MAX earlier in October. Hosono noted that while it had only been a bit over a week, reactions to the service seemed to be going pretty well. The service’s standard plan includes 80 works totaling around 6,000 chapters while the deluxe plan includes 190 works for upwards of 16,000 chapters. There’s a large amount of content and set improvements on the app side of things, but Hosono said that the future of exhibits like this rely a lot of feedback from the people who see it. The winner of the vote at New York Comic Con will be featured on the MANGA Plus app and the votes at all levels will make it clear what people want to see. The future will involve compiling that useful feedback and determining where else to have more shows just like this one.
Shueisha first launched online manga platform and app MANGA Plus around the world back in 2019 and there are 6 million monthly active users. The first and most recent chapters of tons of manga, as well as more chapters of select or spotlighted manga, are available to read for free.
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