Several of you may already know by now, but yesterday some sad news was brought to our attention on Mana's blog.
I translated and posted the entry earlier on my Monologue†Garden Translations Site, but for those who haven't read it yet, I wanted to include the translations on here as well.
† Information about the Gothic&Lolita Bible
I think everyone always looks forward to my photos wearing Moi-meme-Moitie in the Gothic&Lolita Bible, but this time I got this from the person in charge
"Every issue we've always requested Mana-Sama x Moi-meme-Moitie pages, but according to the publisher it has been decided that from next issue on plans will come to an end…"
Thats what they said.
I have always taken part in the Gothic&Lolita Bible since the very first issue over a span of some 10 years, so I'm a little sad.
2016/01/29 (Friday) 21:08:02
(original entry: http://manamonologue.blog16.fc2.com/blog-entry-563.html)
Although I can't say for certain whats in store for the future of Moi-meme-Moitie and the Gothic & Lolita Bible, its truly disappointing to think we have reached this milestone. The Gothic & Lolita Bible was first published in January 2001 where Mana also began his appearances in the Mook. There has not been a single issue since that time that he has not appeared, and with the celebration of the GLB's 50th issue back in November 2013, it felt like a major triumph for the Japanese gothic and lolita communities alike (of course this includes the foreign lolita communities as well).
If I were to speak honestly though, I'm not so sure if I personally feel entirely surprised by this news.
The unfortunate truth about Moi-meme-Moitie is that for the past few years now they seem to have gone into a decline...
A lot of items haven't been selling like they used to, especially the prints. Some of Moitie's major sales came from print dresses and I think Moitie was aware of that. The Cemablo Instrument Trio dress seemed to be one of the first print dresses to really lack in interest. Of course there were people who really loved that dress, but it took a considerably longer time to sell out than normal, and if I'm not mistaken several dresses of that print made it into lucky bags. I even noticed Mana tried advertising it more than other items to attempt to boost sales.
From that point on, Kera Shop Angel, the main shop that carries most Moi-meme-Moitie items in Japan, moved locations from Marui One to Marui Annex. Actually, the Marui One building in Shinjuku, where many lolita shops were located, closed down so all the shops inside were forced to either move to the new Annex building or close down entirely. Therefore, it wasn't entirely the decision of the shop itself to move, it was due to that branch of the Marui group.
The point is, when Kera Shop Angel moved to the new building, the structure of the store changed and the Moi-meme-Moitie items were reduced to only a couple clothing racks (in comparison, Moitie occupied an entire portion of Kera shop in the old building). I think it was at this point that it became evident Moitie wasn't faring well. With a dwindling selection in-store, Moitie has ever since started focusing more on online sales. Thats not particularly a bad thing, but its difficult for people who want to see and feel a genuine clothing article before making the decision to buy it.
I think for a short time Moitie tried to revive itself and draw in more interest by selling the Royal Gate dress sort of as an alternative to the famous Iron Gate (this also happened with Silent Moon and Ruins Cathedral prints). It did work to some degree, but in the end I can't help but feel like it may have done more harm than good. Just like the Cembalo Instrument Trio, there are people who loved the Royal Gate dress, but it seemed like the overall reaction once people actually received the dress in the mail was negative. Rather than a screen print, Moitie used a sort of felt-like material for the gate and many people complained that it was too delicate and difficult to see on the on the dress.
After that, it seems like over time the production of Moitie clothes has slowed down drastically. The number of new items shown in the GLB has been diminishing for a long time too. Instead of having 3-4 pages of Mana pictures and one page to advertise new clothes, the number of Mana pictures published per month has dropped down to 2 pages and one tiny section at the bottom of the second page promoting only a handful of goods. To me that felt like yet another indicator that something was going on with Moitie and it's appearances in the GLB. Fortunately the 2 photos published in each issue were able to hold up for a while now, but I had a hunch it might not last and I was worried since that point they might try to phase Mana out.
The GLB in recent years has had a much stronger emphasis on other classic and sweet lolita rather than gothic. Even though these styles have been more prominent for a long time now, there used to be a bit more balance in styles in the early days. Some of the bigger gothic brands (excluding h.naoto) have either closed down or they're no longer featured in the same ways they used to be. I've wondered what that meant for Mana in the GLB and if he is truly the selling point he once was. However, make no mistake that if the GLB itself isn't planning on shutting down the entire project, then its likely there will be a drop in their sales due to a lack of Mana's presence. There are many people who actually bought the GLB just for the Mana pictures. The thing is, even if there is a drop in sales, will it really be enough to affect the magazine as a whole? The GLB shares a lot of similarities with KERA, which doesn't typically feature Mana and they have been carrying out issues monthly for a long time now.
Its extremely painful for me to say this, but I think realistically Moi-meme-Moitie doesn't have a lot of relevance to a large portion of the lolita community anymore. A large majority of Moitie customers are simply Mana fans now days. But even at Moi dix Mois concerts its become visibly noticeable that less people are buying new items. In the past everyone at concerts and events would flood the event space with the newest designs. Now days that scene has practically vanished and everyone tends to wear older items that they personally like.
Besides the fact that Moitie hasn't been doing as well as in the past, its probably also worth mentioning that the Gothic & Lolita Bible itself has recently undergone a change in its publishing company. At volume 54 the GLB (winter 2014) changed from Jacke-Media to MALL OF TV Corporation. While the GLB has changed publishing companies a number of times since its release, I can't help but wonder if the editors at each publishing company consider different variables when deciding on the contents of the GLB. To be honest, I'm really not familiar at all with the management of the GLB, but I get the impression that perhaps whats going on here with Mana and the Gothic & Lolita Bible is similar to that of Game Lab. Game Lab is actually still in print today; the publishing company never actually shut down. In fact, the only thing that changed was the person in charge, so the editor who wanted Mana in Game Lab initially ended up resigning and the new person probably decided they wanted to go in a different direction. Perhaps MALL OF TV felt the need to make changes as well, which excluded Moi-meme-Moitie.
Really, all of that about the publishing company of the GLB is only a bit of speculation, so I can't say whether its completely true or not, because I still don't know what the status of the Gothic & Lolita Bible is. Are they still going to continue to run the series or are they shutting the whole thing down? I tried searching for information online but came up empty handed. I'm sure in time we'll know, but if its simply a matter of taking Mana out of the contents, then maybe the publishers were aware of Moitie's current status within the lolita industry and felt like the new breed of lolitas don't really connect to Moitie anymore.
The main idea I want everyone to take away from this is perhaps we need to think in terms broader than the simple message Mana posted on his blog. I think theres a lot more at play here and there might be many factors included in the decision the GLB made, but at the end of the day the whole situation is pretty devastating for those of us who have supported Mana through the years.
I think the one point that really truly bothers me about the situation is I had hoped it would be Mana's decision to leave the GLB eventually, not the other way around. The message he posted from the person in charge felt a little cold, but maybe they wrote more in that email that he didn't share and he just posted the main point. I hope thats the case...
Anyway, I'm praying Moitie will be able to pick itself up from this situation and continue on successfully. I want nothing but the best for Mana, so I am looking forward to seeing what steps Moi-meme-Moitie will take next. Who knows, maybe this bit of bad news will turn itself around and something good will come from it!
At this point all we can do is continue to support Mana and Moitie, so maybe if the support is strong enough they will find something new that everyone can be excited for.
With that said, let's all continue to do our best for Mana and for Moi-meme-Moitie!