Disney owns Star Wars. Disney owns Marvel and Marvel Studios. Disney owns the friggin’ History Network and National Geographic. It’s only a matter of time before Disney gains the rights to your wife, children, and soul. Don’t believe me? Try some Disney manga in your fandom and see how you like the taste.
Humble Bundle announced a new digital bundle of Disney manga, worth $269 (USD), including titles such as Toy Story, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Tangled. Some of the titles featured are original stories involving Disney’s stable of well-loved characters, and others are adaptations of the movies of the same name.
All of the manga on offer is published by American manga distributor Tokyopop, in a collaboration between Tokyopop and Disney that was first hinted at in 2015. That said, the news piqued our interest here at J-List HQ because, really, is Disney manga, manga?
Disney Manga? Really? What Now?
It’s not that strange for Disney to license their properties for manga, if you think about it. Disney is all about illustration, like manga, and they love getting their IP out into the world in a way that makes money. Businesses got to business, monopolies got to monopolize!
And to be fair, Disney is a major religion in Japan. You can have a Disney wedding in Cinderella’s Castle at Tokyo Disney Land, then take a Disney cruise for your honeymoon. After that, Disney branded diapers and bibs for the newborn, stationary for their time at school, and we’ll be shocked if you can’t find a Disney-themed coffin for that final trip we’re all destined to take. For Japan, Disney is a dream incarnate, a tangible fairy tale that makes life that little bit more magical.
Manga’s a lot like Disney magic, permeating Japanese culture and highly accessible. For example, it’s quite common to see all kinds of texts get the manga treatment, from staff handbooks and public announcements to the Bible. Makes sense, then, that you’d see Disney playing in manga’s sandbox.
Manga By Any Other Name… Is Still Manga
In the west, the word manga typically means comics from Japan. That might be a sticking point when Disney gets involved, but in this case, the manga is certainly produced, at least in part, in Japan, by Japanese artists. As far as we care, if it’s good and it supports the manga industry, we’re happy. Hand over the comics… I mean, um… manga.
After all, one of the most beautiful things about manga is the diversity. There is, very literally, something for everyone when it comes to manga.
DRM, Region Locks, and eReaders
Be warned though that the Disney manga files you’ll be purchasing are encrypted and you’ll need to read them online through eBooks.com or with their special e-reader — an e-reader intended for western books. You also can’t access the bundle if you’re not in the US, and we’re not entirely sure which other regions might have access to it. I had trouble accessing the Humble Bundle page, even with a VPN.
While DRM and region locks might turn many away, this bundle could be the perfect way to introduce younger readers to the joys of manga and support a good cause while you’re at it. Or you could find some original Japanese titles made for kids instead, titles that had very little western input in their creation, other than translation work. I’m not here to tell you how to live your life or enjoy your manga, but there is a lot of manga to choose from out there. Go and explore it, you’ll find something to fall in love with, I promise. Mickey doesn’t need your money anyway.
Stop, Drop, Roll
If you’re anxious about Disney getting its paws on your hentai, have no fear. The J-List Store has plenty of Disney-free anime and manga goods, as well as top-quality onaholes for boys and toys for ladies.
Need someone to rant to about the state of manga today? Join us on Discord and let’s argue about the best waifus and Vtubers! It’ll be fun.