Weekly Shonen Magazine is offering free face masks based on some of the publication’s most popular series, such as Fire Force and Tokyo Revengers, to anyone who brings in a manuscript to the Kodansha offices. In-person manuscript submission, or mochi-komi (持ち込み), had been suspended for a long time to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which begs the question: how exactly has Magazine managed to find so many popular new series? And how might the resumed practice impact the publication?
The face masks are pretty neat. Based on a wide variety of series (some of which aren’t even serialized in Weekly Shonen Magazine), they were originally made for employees at around 150 manga speciality bookstores (such as Animate and Tsutaya) for ‘working hard every day.’ They were initially handed out to staff on 17 November, but you can net one for yourself by bringing a manuscript into the Kodansha offices.
In announcing the resumed in-person manuscript submissions, Kodansha was quick to emphasise the safety measures they’ve taken to halt the spread of COVID-19. Not only have they installed perspex partitions and regularly use antiseptic in the Magazine meeting booths, they also require all submission hopefuls to wear a mask while inside; pretty standard stuff.
Returning to the questions: how might in-person manuscript submissions affect Weekly Shonen Magazine? It is important to note that Magazine hasn’t suffered for popular new series as of late: The Cuckoo’s Fiancee is breaking all of the company’s records, alongside Shangri-La Frontier and Kanojo mo Kanojo, which is the fastest series in Magazine history to get an anime.
But how did these series get submitted if in-person submissions were suspended? The answer probably lies in something to do with the authors: The Cuckoo’s Fiancee is penned by Miki Yoshikawa, who was already serialized in Magazine from 2012 to 2017 with Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches; and Shangri-La Frontier is penned by Ryousuke Fuji, based on the original light novel by Katarina. Both of these authors’ prior connections probably got them special treatment.
Still, the resumption of in-person manuscript submissions for the general public and rookies alike might see some more interesting ideas make their way into Weekly Shonen Magazine yet. We live in hope.