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Monday, July 08, 2024 

Manga specialty store in Cincinnati finds big success

WCPO-9 ABC has a report on a manga specialty store in Cincinnati that's become a big deal:
Owner C. Jacqueline Wood doesn’t claim to be an expert on manga. She’s a filmmaker who became interested in anime movies and manga books after watching the films of Hayao Miyazaki, the legendary Japanese director who has won multiple Academy Awards.

Two years ago, Wood took a chance. She opened what she says is our region's only Japanese comic book shop.

"Everyone knows someone who loves manga or anime,” Wood said.

So what started as a store with 2,500 books quickly grew to more than 5,000.

College Hill officials tell us this small business is making a big impact in Cincinnati. And Wood says she wouldn’t have been able to open without help from the College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation.

Emmanuel Karikari runs that nonprofit organization, which focuses on developing the neighborhood’s business district. He says his group offers lower rent to small business owners. They also helped Wood move from one building to another to get more foot traffic.

Karikari laughs when asked about his manga knowledge, but he said he’s consistently surprised by the crowds drawn to the store. People come from all over.

“We’ve never had anything like a manga shop anywhere near College Hill,” Karikari said.

Wood said she’s been more successful because of their help, which includes sponsoring an anime film festival that starts this month.
What this can tell us is that, if there's any comics succeeding in USA sales today, it's foreign products, certainly far more than mainstream USA products. Though I do find it annoying the proprietor was inspired to open this store based on viewing the films of a leftist like Miyazaki, when there are plenty more anime producers and directors in Japan whose productions could be just as compelling, and even more. And it's not availing when some of the people involved hint they're not experts on Japan's medium any more than the domestic.

Apart from that, a manga specialty store is certainly a great idea, and if people in Ohio find this more absorbing than the sorry state USA comics are in now, that's good.

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