Next Entertainment: Turning an obsession into a company

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Next Entertainment: Turning an obsession into a company

 

Anime and manga culture has been lighting the hearts of people all over the world since ages, regardless the age or the gender. From wanting to become like the fictional characters to wanting to develop the characters while growing up, fans view anime and manga with a little extra emotion.  Even in Nepal, the fictional characters have inspired many along the journey, and today, there is a group of individuals here who have derived dreams from their childhood to create characters, build stories and inspire people as a company. This is the story of Next Entertainment.

Next Entertainment is a publishing company founded together by Kavin Shah, Shalini Rana and Krishant Rana on 25th December 2014. They are the pioneers of publishing magazines based on growing manga subculture in Nepal – Otaku Next and Rumble. They also organize events such as Cosplay Convention to bring all Otaku – a Japanese term that describes the people obsessed with something, commonly anime and manga – in Nepal together.

“When sales of hardcopy books and magazines are going down all around the world, manga sales are still going up in the digital world,” says Kavin. Regardless of those international statistics, given the niche of manga and anime fandom in Nepal, the journey hasn’t been all nice and easy, but the obsession has proven to be invincible.

 

The trinity of Next Entertainment

Watching anime and reading manga has been the favourite past-time for all the three co-founders. Kavin has been watching anime since he was a 3rd grader, and has watched around 200 different anime till date. Krishant, who lived in the US, found no other passion than to stay in the room, read manga and watch anime until 21. Meanwhile, Shalini has been an avid reader of manga since school. They all believe that manga and anime come with an in-depth story with a message that portrays about good and evil, friends and families and the importance of having them around, the story that develops over time. “This is one of the most famous anime/manga and is going on for 15 years now, and the writer says it will go for next 15. That’s a story of 30 years. People grow with this. It’s not something you watch and let it be. You live with it, grow up with the characters. It has a different emotional attachment with people who watch it,” explains Kavin showing one of the manga – One Piece.

It’s not something you watch and let it be. You live with it, grow up with the characters. It has a different emotional attachment with people who watch it.

The trinity found a common ground on this emotional attachment, and the big idea of Next Entertainment was built from the same. Kavin and Krishant are family friends and they met in Indonesia where Kavin showed his sketches of characters to Krishant for the first time. They discussed if it was possible to develop them as characters and start their own series of manga. Krishant has a background in design and always wanted to work in the creative sector. Kavin and Shalini had connected instantly to each other for their obsession over anime/manga since school. “She was the first Nepali I met who was into Anime as much as me,” says Kavin.

Two years later in 2014, they all came together to build what they had dreamed the most: their own version of anime.

 

Testing the water

The idea didn’t translate into business right away; they had to test for feasibility. They didn’t know if people watched anime or read manga, or even if they could draw and write stories as such; they thought there were only about 25 people who were into anime/manga in Nepal. To validate the assumption, they organized a Cosplay Convention through Otaku Club of Nepal. They gave out flyers about a manga competition they were trying to organize. “Many people submitted really good ideas, and that motivated us to establish Next Entertainment,” says the team. 

After receiving the submissions from the competition, they released their first magazine with seven stories. They assumed their market to be around a thousand people, but they estimate that the size of Nepali anime/manga fandom to be at least 30,000.

 

The obsession finding its purpose

Next Entertainment is striving towards a purpose bigger than the product. Firstly, they want to unite all the Otaku of Nepal. There are many companies printing t-shirts with anime prints, stores like Otaku Store where they sell merchandise related to anime/manga. “We want to bring these people, along with all the Otaku so that they can share this experience together. The anime/manga fandom and its market is so huge all over the world, it can also be significant in Nepal,” says Kavin. Secondly, they want to provide a platform for young mangaka (Japanese term for manga artists, usually referred to author of manga) in Nepal to fuel their passion and continue doing what they love. “Every chapter they bring inspire us more in what we do because we can see how hard they work,” says Shalini. “We sign contracts with them and provide them royalties. We want to motivate them to utilize their creativity and skills while they also earn from it,” mentions Kavin. Thirdly, Nepali Otaku have always been watching anime or reading manga online.  “They are missing out on the experience of reading a physical manga, which we want to give,” says Kavin.

We want to bring these people, along with all the Otaku so that they can share this experience together. The anime/manga fandom and its market is so huge all over the world, it can also be significant in Nepal.

 

The test of time

Next Entertainment had to test their idea against many obstacles. Firstly, since they are a magazine, they need advertisements to sustain, which was hard to get given the unfamiliarity of corporate people with anime/manga. “We have few ads, but it is still difficult. People perceive it as more of a cartoon than anime/manga,” says Kavin. Secondly, manga fans in Nepal have been absorbing everything for free online. So the team finds it difficult to match the standards and quality of Japanese anime/manga. Finally, the mangaka are given two months’ time to work on their manga, which makes it hard for the team to fulfil the demand. “We don’t have the capacity to come up with magazines early than a month. People forget stories within a month, and they don’t get motivation to follow up on the next chapter of their stories,” says Kavin.

We have few ads, but it is still difficult. People perceive it as more of a cartoon than anime/manga.

 

The magazines

Currently, there are two monthly magazines: Otaku Next and Rumble. It is targeted to young audience and existing people who know about manga and currently has 300 readerships. Otaku Next contains the featured manga while the rumble series contain the new entries from new mangaka. However, following the Cosplay convention happening on July 30, 2016, they are thinking of stopping Otaku Next, as the readers have to wait until the next month to read another chapter. Rather, they are looking to publish individual volumes, so that they can engage more readers.

 

The evolving economic engine

Next Entertainment is a bootstrapped business and its economic engine is still evolving. “We earn minimal from magazines because we haven’t been able to attract more ads yet. Our biggest revenue stream has been our events. Our last event targeted 1000 people, but around 16,000 people joined us. Apart from magazines, we also sell merchandise like key-chains, bookmarks and so on,” adds Kavin.

 

What Next?

The next level of the Next Entertainment lies into making anime in the future. They also want to create a one-stop online store for all anime/manga related merchandise. They also want to bring Comic-Con, an international company that organizes events as a Cosplay globally, to Nepal.

 

Comments

  • Guest
    Milan Monday, 27 June 2016

    Definitely a good read..nepal has quiet a number of manga fans based here..had "next entertainment" thought about inviting mangakas and organise some sort of workshops?..nepali artists no doubt have the talents but they need the proper skills and trainings to do so... it's just a matter of time till we have our own nepali manga characters

  • Guest
    Zenith Sunday, 14 June 2020

    Is there a manga artist in nepal
    . Do we have to go jhapan to be a manga artist

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