So what’s the big deal? Whenever a small manga publisher goes bust, it normally won’t be any big deal. But Tokyopop is one of the largest and most common publishers we see out there
Closing announcement goes “Today, we are sad to inform our loyal community of manga fans, our passionate creators of manga content, our business and retail partners, and other stakeholders who have supported us through the years that as of May 31, 2011, TOKYOPOP is closing its Los Angeles-based North American publishing operations.”
Tokyopop’s founder Stu Levy says “I'm laying down my guns. Together, our community has fought the good fight, and, as a result, the Manga Revolution has been won –manga has become a ubiquitous part of global pop culture.” The full statement is below in a spoiler tag because its quite long.
Way back in 1997, we set out to bring a little-known form of Japanese entertainment to American shores. I originally named our little company "Mixx", meaning a mix of entertainment, mix of media, and mix of cultures. My dream was to build a bridge between Japan and America, through the incredible stories I discovered as a student in Tokyo.
Starting with just four titles -- Parasyte, Ice Blade, Magic Knight Rayearth, and, of course, Sailor Moon -- we launched MixxZine, aspiring to introduce comics to girls. These four series laid down the cornerstone for what would eventually become TOKYOPOP and the Manga Revolution.
Over the years, I've explored many variations of manga culture – "OEL" manga, "Cine-Manga", children's books we called "Manga Chapters", the Gothic-Lolita Bible, Korean manwha (which we still called "manga" at the time), video game soundtracks, live-action films and documentaries, anime, and various merchandise. Some of it worked, some of it didn't – but the most enjoyable part of this journey has been the opportunity to work with some of the most talented and creative people I've ever met.
Many of you also allowed me the indulgence to not only produce works but also to take a swing at creating some of my own. I've learned that it's much easier to criticize others than it is to create from scratch – but in doing so, I've also in the process learned how to better communicate with creators.
Fourteen years later, I'm laying down my guns. Together, our community has fought the good fight, and, as a result, the Manga Revolution has been won –manga has become a ubiquitous part of global pop culture. I'm very proud of what we've accomplished – and the incredible group of passionate fans we've served along the way (my fellow revolutionaries!).
For many years Japan has been my second home, and I have devoted much of my career to bringing my love for Japan to the world – and hopefully in my own way, I can give back to the culture that has given me so much joy.
In closing, I simply want to thank all of you – our incredibly talented creators from all over the world, our patient and supportive business partners and customers, our amazingly dedicated TOKYOPOP team – full-timers, part-timers, freelancers and interns, and of course the greatest fans in the entire world. Together, we've succeeded in bringing manga to North America and beyond.
Only the North American office will be shutting. The office in Germany will carry on, and so will its film division. The office in Germany will still handle liscencing rights for Tokyopop. I don’t know
So what will be going? A list of some of some manga produced by Tokyopop….
- Sailor Moon
- Fruits Basket
- Battle Royale
- Love Hina
- Hetalia Axis Powers
- Alice in the Country of Hearts
- Chibi Vampire
- .hack// *insert series name here*
- Maid Sama!
- Pet Shop of Horrors
- Tokyo Mew Mew
- Trinity Blood
- The Gothic Lolita bibles
- Vampire Kisses
- And theres a lot more…
What do we think will happen? Well, seeing as we don’t know if the Germans will publish manga in English, so we have to go from there. Let’s assume that the German’s will produce manga in English. The cost of manga, being imported from Germany, will (for the Americans at least) go up (before they didn’t have to import it). No idea what that will do to the price of manga in England seeing as it’s already imported.
Now let’s assume that the Germans don’t publish manga in English. Then what will we do? We’re hoping that somebody else will obtain the English rights to some of these titles, especially the more popular ones like Hetalia once they realise that they are goldmines and to licence them is a great investment.
Now let’s assume Tokyopop refuse to sell the licenses. In which case we will not be getting any manga from some amazing series and therefore we will have lost a whole host of great manga.
Other people’s opinions? Well, Luvable Nutcase says something like “I suppose that the manga that is completed will be released and the ones that aren’t will be picked up by someone else. I’m going to miss the Gothic Lolita bibles, they never released number six did they…AAH! Who’s going to translate Hetalia???. The GOOD news is that its only the American office that’s shutting so likely it will still be released but will be expensive. Since manga is such a huge moneymaker in the US, they wont THINK about shutting it down completely.”
Amamizu says”Tokyopop doesn’t have a reputation for treating artists/creators well so I’m not sure I feel too bad for them shutting down.”
Maryspam/Mimz (depending on how nice we’re feeling on the day we contact her) says “I wanted to read that manga….now I have nothing to look forward to.”
Iza says “I think its *censored, profanity*”
Nina and Katy say ”Well we still have anime of various things and the stuff that we wanted to read most of it we’ve read. Hetalia will probably get picked up by someone else (Viz media, Yen Press, Dark Horse and others : TIP- Pick it up! It’s a goldmine!!) and some other popular titles may or may get picked up. We’ll be sad to see Fruits Basket and Alice in the Country of Hearts go, and Chibi Vampire we got through anyway. Maid-sama! We would have liked to read (we liked Ouran and Maid-sama is in a similar genre), but most now we probably won’t. In conclusion, we think that Tokyopop have a great selection of manga and we're pretty disappointed that they're going".
And where will this leave us in the world of manga? Well, we still have Viz Media (you may know it by its imprints Shojo Beat and Shounen Jump, and these guys are responsible for Death Note, Naruto, Bleach, Vampire Knight, Nana, Godchild and other things. We have Yen Press responsible for Black Butler, Bamboo Blade, Pandora Hearts, Haruhi, Soul Eater and a lot more. We have Dark Horse manga responsible for Reiko the Zombie Shop, Mail, The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service and some other things.
So yes, there will still be some manga out there, and some pretty good manga at that. But we’ll still miss Tokyopop, and all the great titles it brought us.