I've always liked Viz's plan in the US manga market: release safe, boring hit titles, make a ton of cash, and then use some of it to fund the distribution of awesome under-the-radar titles that could never possibly break even.
For example, why not have an anthology for older readers? Viz used to run Pulp, but the mag arrived before its time-- it was over before I knew it existed-- and as we know, the market for anime/manga just gets younger and younger as it moves further into the mainstream. Today, Viz is back at it with IKKI, an online magazine focusing on the kind of unusual Japanese comics that are both sorely needed and completely unwanted by the print market.
Technically, sigikki.com launched a while back with one title, Children of the Sea, a beautiful coming of age story about mysterious kids who are bonded to the sea in a way which isn't quite human and isn't quite animal either. I was considering making a post back then, but decided to wait until a formal rollout: a one-title anthology just isn't much to talk about. Of course, as Children of the Sea has been ongoing for a few months, there are ten chapters available. All of the other titles only have one chapter available, or are listed as "coming soon". The site seems to update on Thursdays, and I assume that each week we'll have new chapters for half of the titles, and the next week we'll have new chapters for the rest.
The other titles currently up are Bokurano, Dorohedoro, Saturn Apartments, and I'll Give It My All... Tomorrow. There isn't too much to say about these titles or where they're going from one chapter, but I'll do what I can. Bokurano is by the guy who did Narutaru, and his thing seems to be realist deconstructions of stock kids' manga stories with kids who are as cruel as real children. Narutaru was Pokemon, were it cruel, and Bokurano is going to be a take on super robot stuff. Obviously, I'm looking forward to it. Dorohedoro, being violent fantasy, is probably the most mainstream-attractive title: you can't really beat a first panel where a lizard-head is about to bite a dude's head off.
Saturn Apartments is a laid-back piece of sci-fi in the vein I particularly enjoy: the world is dramatically changed, but the story isn't about the tech that guides that, it's about the ordinary struggles of people living in that world. Specifically, the story revolves around a humble window-washer, cleaning the outside of the gigantic space colony/apartment building that surrounds the now-vacant Earth. I'll Give It My All... Tomorrow is a mid-life crisis story about a pathetic salaryman who quits his job for a quest to find meaning... and ends up laying around his house playing videogames all day. Meanwhile, his elderly father and teenage daughter cope.
I'm not too crazy about the interface, though: the notable (and less legitimate) manga-reader sites out there allow you to read as much of the title as you like in a single window. The Viz reader, though it thoughtfully loads pages of a chapter in advance, must be closed and reopened every time a chapter is over. This feels really unintuitive, and I hope that in the future they fix up the interface so I don't have to do this little, annoying thing.
Viz has also started a Shonen Sunday site which I'll probably take a look at too, but the titles obviously don't interest me nearly as much. When I do read it, I doubt I'll actually post about it, you know?
I think this is the first time I've used "Naruto" in a post title. I expect my hits to skyrocket. This will eventually lead to tagging all of my posts with "Twilight." Look forward to it!