This month’s issue of Monthly Shonen Sunday, otherwise known as Gessan, was an exciting one – and not just because it carried the announcement of a second season of Karakai Jouzo no Takagi-san. The popular monthly magazine also had another exciting announcement up it’s sleeve, in that it had picked up the popular Twitter webcomic Giji Harem (False Harem) for serialization. Original creator Saito Yuu took to Twitter to show the title page for his new serialization:
— 斉藤ゆう (@54110yu) January 11, 2019
Yuu’s series has been continuously updating for around half a year now, beginning in June of 2018, and has now seen 25 “chapters” uploaded to Twitter. The story follows Acting Club members Kitahama Eiji and Nanakura Rin, as Rin acts out different archetypes in order to make Eiji’s dream of having a harem come true. It’s a pretty good story, featuring lots of cute moments as well as an evolving relationship as it turns from horseplay into what could be seen as genuine romantic interests on both of the characters’ parts.
In this respect, I can’t help but compare it to Karakai Jouzo no Takagi-san, which features a remarkably similar premise, albeit with more “tsun” than “dere.” It seems fitting, then, that Giji Harem will be entering into serialization in the same magazine as it – perhaps offering another series for fans of Takagi-san to enjoy that aren’t down for the more raunchy take on the premise in Nagatoro-san.
Saito is no stranger to Gessan however, having enjoyed a strong and fruitful relationship with the imprint over his career. He won first prize in Gessan’s 21st Newcomer Competition with the one-shot Run! Love Calendar, and was picked up for serialization shortly afterward with his debut work, Getsuyoubi wa 2-gen kara (Monday is from 2nd period). So it’s no surprise to see him returning to Gessan once more, where he probably has strong contacts.
But it is interesting to see that his Twitter webcomic has been picked up for publication. Clearly, in at least some sense Shonen Sunday looked at the numbers that the webcomic was getting – almost 10,000 retweets per chapter – and figured that its popularity would transfer over to the magazine, but the fact that the publisher was fine with serializing something from social media and not from traditional sources is telling indeed.
There’s clearly been a shift in the landscape of the creative industry in Japan, and despite many elements to it still being rather behind the times, it’s clear that things are changing – especially when it comes to how you go about getting a serialization. It’s no longer just a case of applying to different magazines with one-shots – sometimes you can go it alone and prove that you’re worth picking up for a “proper” gig later on.
After all, some of the most popular series of recent years have originally been self-published online, from the shonen giant One Punch Man to the light novel behemoth Sword Art Online, and Giji Harem merely serves to underscore how much things have changed in this regard. This change in the world of manga should only serve to spur on the newest generation of creatives, as it only proves once more that when there is a will, there is a way.
The first chapter of the Giji Harem serialization is available to read in this month’s issue of Gessan, but you can also check out the Twitter version here.