As I mentioned in the podcast, “Twin Spica” sold so poorly that in order to complete it Vertical started publishing the series as two-in-one editions from volume seven onwards. Now that it’s finally over, we’re getting an idea of just how bad sales were courtesy of a thread on their Facebook page. The short version is that if you were on the fence about buying this title then you’d better get off quick because this will “most likely” be the first of Vertical’s titles to go out of print.
Though the opinion I held of this series for most of its run was a minority one, it still received almost unanimous praise from most of the critics out there. So what went wrong? According to the representative from Vertical who was commenting in the thread, the covers had a lot to do with it. I’m in agreement that they don’t convey the themes and subject matter of the series well at all, and they did make it appear to be a generic shojo title as well.
That said, it was a little jarring to hear the rep refer to “Twin Spica” as a seinen (young men’s) title as that’s the group that this title would appeal to the least -- in my opinion. It’s just one more example of how gender classification in manga is bound more to the magazine a title is published in than its own style. Of course, that’s a subject so specific and nerdy that it’d be best left for someone like Jason Thompson to cover in detail.
There was one interesting bit of information that emerged from this. You see, the last couple of volumes did make the New York Times manga bestseller list, which was a little difficult to reconcile with this news. In case you didn’t read Vertical’s response to my question on the thread, it turns out that libraries made up the bulk of sales for these volumes. I didn’t realize that those kinds of sales were counted in a list like that, but it may also explain why we’re seeing a lot of other titles that you wouldn’t normally expect to see there in the past year.
In the end, it’s too bad the series never found the audience it deserved in spite of its flaws. At least we got to see it all, thanks to Vertical’s dedication to seeing it through no matter what.