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Thread: Spice and Wolf's Contemptible Cover - Okay, who thought THIS was a good idea?

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    Default Spice and Wolf's Contemptible Cover - Okay, who thought THIS was a good idea?

    Copied directly from my website at :

    I'll admit, I'm not exactly a follower of Spice and Wolf, or anything at all that I can't get at my local bookstore or on television, for that matter. But then, when you frequent TV Tropes as much as I do, you learn a lot about series you'd otherwise never hear about, purely through osmosis. Add that to the fact that light novels virtually never come Stateside (except when the franchises they spawned become pretty famous in the U.S., such as the inescapable Haruhi Suzumiya), and you can imagine my surprise to hear that the original light novels for Spice and Wolf have been announced for the U.S..

    But don't break out the confetti just yet, ladies and gentlemen. See, someone at publisher Yen Press thinks the original cover art featuring ex-harvest goddess and eponymous lupine Holo (and it is Holo) in cute anime girl form will have red-blooded American readers marching against them in armed rebellion. No, instead they've gone for a cover design that's intended to appeal to a different audience...the American male crotch.

    Dare to compare:

    Sleazy U.S. cover
    Original Art Cover

    I mean, seriously. Which would you prefer to display on your bookshelf? Sure, the one on the right can mean anything from "I'm a fan of anime and manga" up to "I have a thing for kemonomimi (and possibly a full-blown furry fetish)", but the one on the left unambiguously says "I let my zipper choose all of my reading material". I understand that Holo does spend a fair amount of time naked (her natural form is a full-fledged wolf, after all), but seriously: the cover on the left makes it look like a trashy romance novel. Or, less charitably, porn. Which is sad, because I hear that Spice and Wolf is a fairly intellectual story: the spice the title alludes to is not the stuff you see in the U.S. cover, but the fact that its other protagonist is a trader. Who, in addition to adventure, has to deal with (and explain to Holo) the concerns relevant to his profession. That's right...plenty of fantasy novels are steeped in political intrigue, but this is one steeped in economics. And such a crazy-sounding concept is enough in and of itself to sell me on it.

    None of this is to say that I have an issue with them changing the cover. With the above in mind, it's possible this book might have a much wider audience than the anime/manga fans that the original cover would rope in. But trying to sell Spice and Wolf purely on naked Holo is only going to drive this potential audience away. If you're going to pander to an audience, pander to the people who might appreciate an intellectual fantasy story, a tale with a distinctly non-standard protagonist with non-standard goals and motivations. If Yen Press is so afraid that anime-styled Holo is going to scare away readers, then maybe they should try selling the story on the spice instead of the wolf.

    Got an intellectual, reasoned argument against this contemptible cover? Go to Yen Press' blog entryand give them what for!

    (And if you don't have one, then please, stay the hell away! The last thing Yen Press needs to think is that the only people complaining about the cover are nutjobs saying they're the devil incarnate for not calling her "Horo"!)
    Last edited by Gjallarhorn; 10-19-2009 at 03:19 PM.

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    Welcome to the world of marketing, where you realize that not everyone is a raving weeaboo, and if you actually want to market something to a wider audience, you have to make it available to the wider audience.

    I think YenPress's decision to market Spice and Wolf to a wider audience is a great idea. For one, a lot more people will be reading it, outside of the typical anime-and-manga audience. Second, considering that Horo is naked half the time in the story, I think the nude image of her on the over is just as appropriate as the clothed image. Calling it "sleazy" is ridiculous simply because of that fact. People beyond the anime-and-manga fanbase can and most certainly will appreciate " an intellectual fantasy story, a tale with a distinctly non-standard protagonist with non-standard goals and motivations". If anything, most of the anime-and-manga fanbase in the US is composed of half-retarded 13 year old girls blabbering over Naruto fanfiction.

    If you're targeting something to the anime and manga audience, you have a very, very small market. But if you can alter something in a completely irrelevant way to bring it to a wider audience, by all means, do it. See...the Spice and Wolf novels are not anime or manga. They are novels. They don't need the stylized artwork, because the 99.9% of the focus of the work is on words. All the content that actually matters is still the same. The manga styled cover can fly in Japan because there it is commonplace...it's nothing out of the ordinary, and it extends across many demographics. One cannot say that about the US, by any stretch. If you're going to market it with the manga styled artwork, the only people who are ever going to read it will be manga fans...a very, very limited market. There are plenty of fantasy and sci-fi fans in the US...easily a market with millions of consumers...these are people who would not read manga, but read novels all the time.

    For marketing a novel in the US, the new cover is...well...normal. Ever been to your local bookstore recently? That sort of thing is commonplace amongst modern well-selling novels.

    The point is, these novels are good. Bring them to a wider audience. Let more people experience them. Create a real market for light novels in the US so we can get more of them! It's just a goddamn cover.



    Of course, everyone who sees this is too busy flipping their heads over in weeaboo rage without even putting a single thought into it, and emptyheadedly following the opinions of whoever the hell rages about it first...but then...that's what most anime fans tend to do anyway.
    Last edited by Gjallarhorn; 10-19-2009 at 03:33 PM.

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    You didn't read a thing I said, did you?

    I said I understand them changing the cover, but not them changing it to some sleazy porno-looking thing. They think anime Holo will drive away readers? Fine. Put the focus on the guy instead. Emphasize what makes the story different from your average fantasy novel without pandering to the lowest common denominator. They could have done a hundred different things with the cover, and they came up with something the likes of which Terry Pratchett ribbed in the first Discworld novel.

    The U.S. cover looks like trash. The Japanese cover is cute, but it won't sell books in the U.S.. What they need is something smarter.

    Let butterflies spread until the dawn...

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    This is America. Sex sells better than...just about anything. Is it the best choice? No. But it's not a bad one.

    "The color fades along the intervals I follow."

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    hmmm i think the cover may drive the ppl who saw the anime away cus for me i was like "thats not right.....", and if imagine someone who doesnt know anything about the book, sees it on the book shelf, picks it up, sees the cover, yes i agree they would probably think it was some cheesy romance novel (well actually it kinda reminded me of Beowulf dvd cover xD).

    Quote Originally Posted by RaShayRitto View Post
    this thread made me facepalm so hard my hand went through my skull and grabbed the head of the person reading over my shoulder before ripping their head off and pulling it through the hole in my head.

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    the U.S one is misleading i think. I really like the original. They should have just left it alone. It pisses me off that they'd even feel that they have to change it to get ppl to buy it

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dingo_Brainz View Post
    the U.S one is misleading i think. I really like the original. They should have just left it alone. It pisses me off that they'd even feel that they have to change it to get ppl to buy it
    lrn2market

    And...misleading? The Japanese one has a wolf-girl holding a basket. The American one has a wolf-girl naked. I'm fairly sure Horo is naked more often than she is holding a basket...in fact...her being naked is more relevant than her holding a basket.

    "The color fades along the intervals I follow."

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    What I believe their point in that the cover is misleading is that those outside the anime/manga/light novel circles would, upon glancing at the cover, expect a romantic story not dissimilar to Twilight.

    Of course, then they'll buy it and realize it's got a bunch of stuff about markets in Medieval Europe and go "WTF?"
    .::ANIME is DOPAMINE to me::.

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    To put this into simple words, and sum it up quickly.

    Sex sells, that is all.

    .:[☆Akira Kogami☆ - Lucky Channel's Super Cute Idol]:.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AznOtaku View Post
    What I believe their point in that the cover is misleading is that those outside the anime/manga/light novel circles would, upon glancing at the cover, expect a romantic story not dissimilar to Twilight.

    Of course, then they'll buy it and realize it's got a bunch of stuff about markets in Medieval Europe and go "WTF?"
    This is why books have summaries, and a wise consumer reads them.

    "The color fades along the intervals I follow."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gjallarhorn View Post
    This is why books have summaries, and a wise consumer reads them.
    Have you seen a wise Twilight fangirl?
    .::ANIME is DOPAMINE to me::.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AznOtaku View Post
    Have you seen a wise Twilight fangirl?
    *Stops reading her books*

    Wait, what!?! This is news to me. Since when do wise Twilight fangirls exist? Last i checked they were just a bunch of fad-induced wannabe emo vampire girls.

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    Gentlemen. Ladies.

    This is what happens when you give Spice and Wolf its current cover:

    http://zip.4chan.org/a/src/1257092299082.jpg
    .::ANIME is DOPAMINE to me::.

    [[
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    Quote Originally Posted by AznOtaku View Post
    Gentlemen. Ladies.

    This is what happens when you give Spice and Wolf its current cover:

    http://zip.4chan.org/a/src/1257092299082.jpg
    Okay, and a large number of anime and manga fans in the US just happen to be young girls. Actually, anime is more popular among girls ages 13-18 in the US than any other demographic.

    Guess which demographic is also completely insane over Twilight?

    You'll find that most female anime and manga fans are also Twilight fans.

    "The color fades along the intervals I follow."

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    I don't necessarily like the alternative cover, but I understand that Japan and the United States come from different cultural contexts.

    That aside, I mean, are you kidding? If I'm not mistaken, we're talking of light novels here, and they don't call them light novels for no reason. If anything, I think the guys who came up with the U.S. cover truly knew what they were doing.

    And for those of you who are saying Spice and Wolf is somehow supposed to be sophisticated, I don't know who you're fooling; the economics is only a flavor, like there are light novels (or visual novel games) with a SF-flavor or a high fantasy-flavor or a horror-flavor. They're all different arrangements of the same basic moe-formula. The people who read them expect nothing more and nothing less.

    If you want an intelligent read, read a real book. Personally, I read light novels when I want to turn my brain off for for a couple hours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gjallahorn
    See...the Spice and Wolf novels are not anime or manga. They are novels. They don't need the stylized artwork, because the 99.9% of the focus of the work is on words.
    I disagree. For example, take Suzumiya Haruhi's extremely iconic yellow hairband fixed with a ribbon. If you read the original novel, you will find the text itself makes no mention of a ribbon; but Ito Noiji, the illustrator, drew her that way, and the image stuck. Now we can't imagine her without it. So you can see how large a role the illustrations can actually play.

    If you only took the words, then most light novels would be too poorly written and weak on details to be even remotely readable, which is why presumably light novels are rarely translated into English. As such, I'm curious as to how they're going to do the translations in this case.

    Ah, and just to put things in perspective, the cover of the Japanese translation of Twilight:

    Last edited by Datenshi; 11-01-2009 at 04:01 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Datenshi View Post
    Ah, and just to put things in perspective, the cover of the Japanese translation of Twilight:

    I LOL'd.
    .::ANIME is DOPAMINE to me::.

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    That cover is disturbingly bleh.

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