Via Hindustan Times
Overall, membership of the Mumbai club has grown from the original handful to a total of 3,000 registered members, most of whom rarely meet offline, collaborating online instead to share manga comics or tips on sketching characters, and to offer feedback on a growing collection of independent works of Indian manga. At the official monthly meet-ups, attendance is now frequently upwards of 300 people.
This thriving club is part of a pattern across India’s metro cities, with dedicated fan clubs, manga libraries and Indian manga publications emerging in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai over the past five years.
The Bangalore anime and manga fan club, for instance, has grown from 500 members two years ago to more than 2,000 members today. In Delhi, there is a dedicated manga section in the Japan Foundation library, with more than 1,000 titles available in English and Japanese. The Delhi comic convention or comic-con also hosted its first manga-only stall in 2013, and sold all issues of the 40-plus titles on display.
Now, publishers have begun looking to cash in too. A manga work published in India in 2012, Stupid Guy Goes to India, became one of Blaft’s bestselling titles, selling more than 6,000 copies.
“The Indian market is ripe for a manga takeover and we will be facilitating the entry of over 125 manga series into the Indian market over the coming months,” says Kevin Hamric, senior director of sales and marketing at Viz. “The Indian audience has already been initiated into manga via cartoon channels. Some of our titles have been brought into the country by parallel importers and they have done very well.”