In light of the anime adaptation of 2012 manga Land of the Lustrous, Kodansha has begun adapting the source material. The story features genderless gems fighting for their lives on Earth — which may sound a bit like another animated series with a large fan base. And while Steven Universe definitely came after Land of the Lustrous and the two series are different in tone and intent, it’s safe to say the plot might catch the eye of a Steven Universe fan, right?
Apparently, this assumption has not gone over well.
In the Copy
The back cover of the first volume carries a fairly straightforward marketing quote: “An elegant new action manga for fans of Steven Universe!” The “new” may be deceptive as it’s only new to Western territories, and the comparison certainly isn’t perfectly accurate. But it would make potential fans pick it up and give it a try.
However,the comparison upset several Land of the Lustrous fans, with one in particular taking the grievance to Twitter. (Their name has been omitted here on purpose.) They considered the comparison an “insult to the creator,” stating that works should be able to speak for themselves and not need to “piggyback” off more popular titles.
The argument picked up steam on both sides… and Kodansha found out. Reportedly, the company has apologized, and states that starting from Volume 3 the sentence will be absent from the back cover.
As for the original tweeter… they apologized to Kodansha, explaining that they “didnt [sic] intend for this to get so big.”
But Is It True?
Opinions were divided across the Internet. Some agreed with the tweeter, with others pointed out that that’s just how marketing works. …The tweeter said later that they still stood by their opinion, as the two series are for very different age demographics.
Despite the fact that this did get a bit out of control, is there something to take away from this? There’s no question that the concept of Land of the Lustrous would intrigue a Steven Universe fan, but should more thought be given to the suggestion? Manga do carry age ratings, which should clear up misconceptions. But could more be done to create more nuanced suggestions in marketing text?
That’s a difficult question to answer, even for people who write for a living. But one thing’s for sure — the uproar convinced a lot of Steven Universe fans to give Land of the Lustrous a try.
Are you watching Land of the Lustrous? What do you think of the comparison? Let us know in the comments!