Shueisha have launched Shueisha Manga-Art Heritage, an initiative that will utilize blockchain to promote the most influential and best works of manga art produced today.
Manga is more popular than ever around the world, and there’s a growing appreciation for the cultural impact of these works and the stunning artwork that brings these series to life. The issue is, despite this appreciation, that most manga artwork is only made available in the context of their releases, in deteriorating magazines and book printings that don’t allow the artwork to shine to their maximum potential.
Shueisha Manga-Art Heritage aims to produce museum-quality prints of this artwork that can be sold to groups and individuals, recognizing the value of the art itself while reproducing them in releases designed to be passed down and preserved for future generations.
According to the official website for the program, while recognizing that manga is ultimately entertainment, ‘original manga drawings have an artistic impact that cannot be reproduced in a commercial publication’, while ‘here is a large amount of uncatalogued original manga art, and few public institutions that collect such material’. This aims to change that.
Artwork sold through Shueisha Manga-Art Heritage will be available under three collections.
The Real Color Collection will be printed on 100% cotton velvet fine art paper used in museum collections to ensure a maximum range of color is retained in both A1 and A2-sized prints.
The Press, meanwhile, is designed for black-and-white artwork printed using an original Heidelberg Printing Press manufactured in the 1960s to reproduce the high-quality letterpress-style printing, while printing the artwork itself in an enlarged A2 size.
The Original, as the name suggests, features the original art in one-of-a-kind pieces. The example shown for this collection is Blood Painting by Shinichi Sakamoto, artwork of the heroine of Innocent Rouge, Marie, which the creator produced digitally but enhanced by painting over it with clotted blood.
Most intriguing of all, however, is that the artwork will be certified using blockchain. Ignoring ecological concerns that come about through the use of the technology, the artwork itself will be registered through a certificate stored through blockchain that must be registered upon purchase.
While original prints are one-of-a-kind, even other prints are only being made available in small 15-20 unit runs. Considering the inherent collectibility and high-quality materials, you may be unsuprised to hear that all of this comes at a price. Artworks are being made available via lottery, with winners selected to purchase the pieces afterwards.
Eiichiro Oda’s iconic Unseen Worlds One Piece art, Rihoko Ikeda’s Rose of Versailles artwork, and Shinichi Sakamoto’s Innocent / Paris – Touch of Revolution are the highlighted pieces, while various pieces of art are available from each of these three artists in the shop. Prices start from a substantial 198,000 yen and rise to 495,000 yen for The Press prints, making them collectors-only items that celebrate the cultural power of manga.
You can find out more over on the Shueisha Manga-Art Heritage official website.