OEL Classification?

I need some opinions from you, my readers. I’m finishing up one of Tokyopop’s OEL books, and I’ve enjoyed it, so I’d like to review it. The problem is, I’m not sure how to tag it. It’s slice of life romance, so the only things at first glance that are “manga” about it are format and publisher.

Would you expect to see it listed under Manga Reviews, Graphic Novel Reviews, or both? Where do you think a new reader would find most helpful?

For comparison, I put Scott Pilgrim under both, and I put Rumble Girls under manga (due to format and more importantly, subject matter), although it’s by an American and published by NBM. Peach Fuzz, another OEL, is under manga only. I just want to be reader-friendly.

12 Responses to “OEL Classification?”

  1. Joshua Macy Says:

    Since the point of tagging is to let people find it, putting it in both seems like the obvious choice. As long as multi-tagging doesn’t make finding something harder (by swamping one of the categories with entries that are in both), I don’t see why not. The last thing I want to do is have to look in multiple categories to try to find something. There might be taxonomy purists who object (the kind of people who probably already object to categorizing the manwha with the manga), but nertz to them.

    Or, if you can create sub-categories, you could make Manga (Translated) and Manga (OEL) subordinate to Manga. I know MT allows subcategories, and I think WordPress does as well…

  2. chris Says:

    I agree, put them under both. Ross Campbell’s ABANDONED hardly looks like “manga” to me, but since it’s from Tokyopop, people may search for it under manga titles. (Besides, my nom de keyboard on various bulletin boards is “notalabel,” so three guesses on my thoughts regarding those taxonomy purists. :-))

    I pity the comic shop owners’ product placement dilemma.

  3. David Welsh Says:

    I would go with both tags. The bonus would be that readers who don’t traditionally follow one category or the other would be exposed to it and might be inclined to branch out.

  4. Johanna Says:

    Both seems to have consensus. My only concern was not annoying/confusing readers who might wonder why it was in “manga”.

    I probably don’t have a lot of those readers, though. Thanks for your help!

  5. David Oakes Says:

    The taxonomist in me dies a bit, but I have to agree to both, or even just manga. People who know it’s from Tokyopop won’t neccessarily know to look under Graphic Novel. Or even what a “Graphic Novel” is…

    (Of course this only emphasizes how the term “Manga” has been used so indiscriminately that it has lost all meaning. Is it a indicator of geography? A type of artistic style? A publishing format? A specific subject matter? A dessert topping? A floor wax? Or just a rallying label for post-Post-Modern hipsters?)

  6. Brigid Alverson Says:

    I’m with everyone else. Post it under both. If I had to choose, though, I’d put it under “manga” because that’s how it’s being marketed, and that’s where the potential reader will find it in a retail store.

    There’s plenty of stylistic and thematic variation in Japanese manga; add manwha into the category and there’s even more. While most OEL manga don’t look like the popular conception of shoujo manga, I’m not sure they are all that different from some Japanese books already on the shelf. Anyway, it looks like the “manga” category is expanding to accomodate them.

  7. Johanna Says:

    David, you have a good point, but starting to question the term “graphic novel” would lead me down entirely the wrong road. I’d end up questioning the entire purpose of this site, and I’m not ready for a redesign yet.

    Brigid, taking into account shopping hints is another good point. I’d like everyone to buy from the links here, of course, because it helps me keep the site running, but knowing where to shop (or browse) is important.

  8. Ray Cornwall Says:

    Truthfully, since I read the feed of this site, and both manga and GNs appear, it doesn’t affect me.

    I’ve had this bit of an issue, though, with my really-it’ll-be-content-filled-any-day-now WhyILoveComics.com site. I have four general tags- What I Love, What I Hate (which will be sparse, per the mission of the site), Weekly Rollups, and general Rants. I decided to break down the What I Love category down with sub-tags, but I don’t want to get too complicated. :)

    Good luck!

  9. Rachel Says:

    I put anything that was originally written in English under “graphic novels” and anything originally written in Japanese under “manga.” Putting them under both categories is could be good idea for your site, just for the sake of user-friendliness, though.

    As a manga-influenced creator, I have to balk at the notion of listing it under only “manga” or “OEL Manga.” There is still contention over the term “OEL” because it has negative connotations in Japan, and it does irk some big-eyed comickers to be labelled by a publisher. (I know it makes my eyebrow twitch if I think about it too long.)

  10. Matthew High Says:

    This is a discussion that has been going around and around in circles for nearly two decades now. It was a heated discussion topic back when I was still in college, fifteen years back, when I was in the middle of the formation of the newsgroup rec.arts.manga. It was a continuing concern when I worked at Antarctic Press (for many years the leading publisher of “American manga”), how do you exactly classify certain books that partially cross the line into manga style? It’s a frequent question in distribution here at Cold Cut, how do you genre-classify certain books?

    I don’t think there will ever be an answer that satisfies everyone. There will always be the diehard manga fans that refuse to accept anything from outside of Japan as ever being classified as “manga”. On the other hand, there are plenty of artists and publishers who have been more-than-willing to place the “manga” tag on their creations to try and ride the wave of manga popularity — when the only thing their books have in common with manga is “big eyes and speedlines”.

    Your best bet is to pick your position, stick to it and BE CONSISTENT. As long as you consistently apply your own definitions and standards, I think people can figure it out; But if you keep switching back and forth, that will only lead to confusion. It seems the best recommendation is to use multiple tags, which sounds reasonable.

  11. Johanna Says:

    Ray, I had the advantage of converting an existing site, so I could create tags based on categories I already knew I used, but here’s my advice: don’t be afraid to remove or add categories later if you need to. Plan ahead, but don’t set it in stone.

    Rachel, thanks for explaining that perspective. I couldn’t do that, though, because I hate the look of the word “manhwa”. :)

    Matt, good advice, as always. Right now, the only thing in both categories appears to be Scott Pilgrim, which sounds about right. I’m going to add Lea Hernandez’s Texas Steampunk books, too, and then several of the OEL books I’m looking forward to reading.

  12. Shawn Fumo Says:

    David, when you put it that way, the answer is obvious. It’s a dessert toping AND a floor wax! :)

    As for me, I don’t even know what to think about any of the naming stuff anymore. I think putting under GN and manga probably works well enough in this case, though.




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