Childhood manga series come back on shelves


With a large young population, Vietnam has been an emerging market for manga. Thanks to more and more manga series imported every year, their readers are now scattered across all age groups.

However, Vietnam used to be a hot spot for unauthorised publishing. It was not until Vietnam became part of The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works in 2004 that Vietnamese publishers took copyrights matters seriously.

As the latest achievements in this reformation, Kim Dong and Tre – two leading manga publishers in Vietnam, have announced titles that will be released in 2022. Some of them are classics that took the publishers ages to acquire the publishing rights for.


Famous manga series from your childhood have come back


Remarkably, among the upcoming line-up, are titles such as Dragon Quest, Chibi Maruko-Chan, and Shaman King. These manga series used to be published in Vietnam in the 1990s and the early 2000s. At the time, they were met with enthusiastic responses from young readers, making them an essential part of the millennial generation.

However, since many local publishers were not fully aware of intellectual property laws, the publications were usually of low quality due to distorted translations and patchy artwork.

That’s why when the return of Dragon Quest, Chibi Maruko-Chan, Shaman King was announced, the community of manga readers in Vietnam did not hesitate to express their excitement. The new versions of these childhood manga series are expected to be introduced with a new translation, complemented by impressive designs and intricate craftwork.

Because these manga series are not only appealing to teenagers but also meaningful to the adults who grew up with them, we can expect some collectible editions coming soon.


Previously published as Vua Pháp thuật (The Magic King), Shaman King will officially return in 2022 with the original title and two cover versions. This is one of many privileges readers can get from the copyrighted manga.
Image credit: Tre Publishing House


The return concludes years of negotiation with Japanese creators


With Dragon Quest, Chibi Maruko-Chan, Shaman King, and more back on shelves in 2022, the publishers have achieved what they have been pursuing for a decade. According to Kim Dong, in order to acquire the copyrights for these manga series, the publishers have been persistently negotiating with their Japanese counterparts over that period of time.


Kim Dong teased its manga return with a jocular rant: “If you are discouraged that your pursuit hasn’t led anywhere, remember that some titles take us more than a decade to acquire the copyright for.”
Image credit: Kim Dong Publishing House

Apart from high technical demands, Vietnamese publishers have to face other difficulties. One of the most challenging burdens are the piracy activities in Vietnam. Despite the government’s efforts in IP law enforcement, some individuals still produce and sell unauthorised copies of many manga series. Some even go further to scan and upload them for online viewing.

Yet, thanks to the readers’ increasing awareness of copyright-related matters, it is likely that we will have more high-quality copyrighted manga to enjoy in the near future.


Still in a witty tone, Kim Dong subtly reminded its readers of the illegal publishing issue: “‘Kim Dong should claim the copyright for this title [Chibi Maruko-chan] soon, and urge the readers to join hands in battling unauthorised books,’ said Shueisha and Sakura Production.”
Image credit: Kim Dong Publishing House


An unmissable treat for manga readers


Starting with the Dragon Quest: Emblem of Roto Saga published at the end of 2021, Vietnamese manga readers are going to have a great reading experience with more titles coming this year.

As authorised publications, these manga series are expected to be of high quality, not to mention containing various associated perks for the readers. That’s why it’s not only exciting for those who want to reminisce about their childhood, but also promising to younger generations. Plus, buying these copyrighted manga titles is also a great way to stop illegal book piracy.

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Cover image adapted from: Kim Dong Publishing House and Tre Publishing House  

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