Last year's predictions are here.
And as for 2011 . . .
- eManga will bloom big time, and the J Manga Portal will pretty much clinch that Manga are going electronic. Devices that can read eManga (and eComics) will be a must have among fans. They will also become more popular in Japan.
- Print On Demand from the Japanese companies holding manga rights could finish off American manga companies, especially combined with online portals. I give it a 50-50 chance that some Japanese companies will make an aggressive move to eliminate or adsorb American companies.
- American Manga companies will be bought, change, merge, or otherwise experience (or plan) transformation starting in 2011, but the full impact won't be felt until 2012.
- Due to the eManga explosion, near the end of 2011 bookstores will be decreasing some of their manga holdings.
- At least one American Manga company will make an aggressive move towards cultivating self-publication or semi-limited self-publication starting late in 2011.
- Anime will continue to move online and to Streaming. Netflix will look to lock up more titles or host them.
- Crunchyroll will continue to rule the world, but will start getting suitors and attention – not all of it welcome.
- The increasing online availability of Manga and anime will slightly raise the profile of the artforms in the media.
- The "porn laws" in Japan will get play in the news because of the increased profile and accessibility of manga and anime online will make it a story for some bored newspersons.
- Digital distribution will be the word here, as both anime and manga slowly move away from hard copies – books and DVDs – and toward streaming and E-publishing.
- Big Manga will continue to gradually embrace the iPad and make more and more of their works available electronically. However, they will not go as far as to use digital methods to distribute older and niche titles that could win a loyal audience without necessarily selling in the Naruto numbers. That will be left up to Digital Manga and several other E-manga publishers that will spring up within the next year. (Speaking of Digital Manga, their model of hiring fans to translate works for commission will be a success, and will be imitated.)
- Crunchyroll will continue its leadership in the anime streaming field, and I can easily see them expanding their product offerings even further beyond anime, to encompass more J-dramas, J-rock concert videos and music clips, maybe even traditional Japanese entertainment like Kabuki. Big Anime will continue to imitate them.
- Media Blasters will continue its resurgence and act as the true alternative to Viz and Funimation, releasing niche titles that the other two would consider not marketable enough (like shonen ai/yaoi anime). Look for them also to make a surprising score of a fairly big-name title, which they will be able to successfully monetize through both sponsored streaming and DVD sales.
- Yen Press will start leaning more toward manga adaptations of popular Western young adult fiction, though they will continue to publish popular manga like Soul Eater and Black Butler. Following their smash adaptation of Twilight, I would not be at all surprised to hear them announce a forthcoming Harry Potter: The Manga (either a straightforward adaptation or new material by Rowling – such as the story of Harry’s real last year at Hogwarts after the end of Deathly Hallows).
- One trend that will crop up in anime is a scaling back of dubs. (Yes, I know I called dubs-as-boutique-items last year, and it didn’t happen, but I think the time is right now). Companies will release a title as sub-only and see how it does, and if it builds a strong following, only then will a dub be done – see what Media Blasters did with Loveless.