Kingyo Used Books Cancelled in English

According to this series review by Shaenon K. Garrity, the meta-manga series Kingyo Used Books has been cancelled. Four books came out in English, with the last appearing in 2011. Garrity says,

Viz published Kingyo as part of its SigIkki line, but was forced to cancel it after four volumes. It just became too difficult to acquire U.S. reproduction permissions for every manga featured in Kingyo (which hail from a variety of publishers; Kingyo definitelyisn’t just shilling for its own publisher, Shogakukan, and in one volume Yoshizaki even apologizes for the conflict of interest in plugging a Shogakukan magazine), after the Japanese publishers had already gone around laboriously acquiring the Japanese permissions several years before. Ultimately, Shogakukan gave up and halted the English translation.

It’s probably just as well. I enjoyed the first book, with its stories about people who loved manga and how the right book changed their lives, but by the fourth, two problems had become apparent. 1) It’s hard reading about how cool manga series are when you can’t read those series yourself and 2) The bits with the continuing characters were getting too confusing for not appearing very often. So I guess I’m not surprised to hear that the legalities killed the series, especially since it wasn’t terribly successful as far as I know, but it’s good to have it confirmed.


  1. Very sorry to hear this, although I can understand how laborious the rights issue must have made publishing the title. I’ve been reading it on and off as I came across the volumes, and was enjoying the chance to expand my knowledge of other manga series (even if, as you say, many of them will probably never be published in any Western language) – it felt a little like Frederick Schodt’s MANGA! MANGA! in that way. As for the background story about Kingyo-ya itself, I gather it was based on the real life of Hiroshi Hashimoto, who comments on the series cited at the end of each volume. He says himself that used bookstores like Kingyo and the manga lending library which appears in vol.3 are now considered anachronisms in Japan – the chapters about them seem to have a nostalgic quality which, for me, echoes some of the feeling in the 1970s chapters of the otherwise very different 20TH CENTURY BOYS.

    Well, I’ll hang on to and enjoy what we do have!

  2. Those essays were my favorite part of the series. I loved hearing about how the market worked and background to the manga series covered.

  3. […] the year, it’s sad to also have to say goodbye to another series. Kingyo Used Books has been cancelled in English. The series, which started serialization online as part of the SigIkki experiment by Viz Media, was […]

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.