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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Tokyopop is Coming Back!

I remember going into my second year of college when Tokyopop stopped publishing manga and closed their website. It was a very sad day for me and many other people. A lot of people gave up on Tokyopop and thought they'd never come back. I didn't give up, but I wasn't very hopeful either. Then I went to Anime Expo last week and found out Tokyopop was hosting a panel. I didn't know what to expect from this panel, what news they could possibly tell me, but to my surprise it was wonderful mews. They're coming back! They have a plan for getting themselves back into the industry and I think it's all a great idea.

Let me start from the beginning.

For those of you who don't know, Tokyopop was, and now is, a manga publishing company. You can only find their books online or at used book stores for now, but back when I first got into manga which was about 10-11 years ago their manga took up a lot of shelf space at book stores. I have some titles from them and still look for more online to collect. They licensed some of my favorite series such as Peach Girl, Girl Got Game, Vampire Game, and Wild Act. What happened to Tokyopop was that they got bankrupt. According to Stu, the CEO of Tokyopop, the bankruptcy happened because he moved too fast with the company. Stu started Tokyopop back in 1997. During that time manga was not as popular in the United States as it is today. Stu had a lot going on with publishing manga, mailing out magazines to loyal customers, managing a forum based website, and publishing original work that was not from Japan. With all that he did and the manga market not being that great at the time you can kind of see how they got into trouble with the business. So Stu had to close down. He sent out a mass letter to all the users of the website (I got the letter). To sum it up the letter said that the company was going bankrupt and that he was moving to Japan. A lot of people took this as him giving up on the company so he could go live in Japan or just him escaping to Japan. This made him very unpopular with people and he is well aware of this, as he as said this at the panel.

But that's all in the past. Now, they're looking to the future and they're going to take it slow this time. The first thing they're doing is creating a mobile app called Pop Comics. Stu got the idea from Japan. In Japan there's a trend going on with mobile publishing. It's a place for people to publish their stories on a phone app for people to read. It's very popular in Japan, and Stu is bringing this concept to America. Pop Comics is going to be in its beta testing phase soon. The people that can use this are people who make their own manga and people who want to read manga. For people interested in using this app it will be free to use for both Android and iPhones. For manga creators, you will have the rights to your work. Tokyopop will not own your work, you own your work. Be on the lookout for more details on Pop Comics if it seems like something you're interested in.

The other news I got from the Tokyopop panel is that they'll start publishing manga in 2016. The reason for it not being sooner is because they need time to obtain titles from Japanese companies. Think about it. When they stopped publishing years ago they couldn't pay the companies they were getting manga titles from. Now they have to build relationships back up with these companies. It's going to be hard because there are other manga publishing companies who have soared in the manga business such as Viz Media, Yen Press, and Kodansha Comics USA. Tokyopop has a lot of catching up to do. They know that too, but they are also aware that they need to take it slow. The manga they'll be publishing are Japanese licensed titles, Hollywood brands, and original stories. For the Japanese licensed titles they'll be obtaining the more obscure and undiscovered gems. If you have any manga suggestions that you know of in Japan that hasn't made in to America yet you can send your suggestions to info@tokyopop.com or communicate with them through their Facebook.

My favorite Tokyopop title.
The last bit of news is they want to go further with their YouTube page. It's not as active as they'd like right now, but they want to change that. One of the guys that works at Tokyopop manages the YouTube account and plans to start doing anime reviews. It's a good idea because reviews are becoming a popular thing in anime. He doesn't have any detailed plans for the review yet but he's taking suggestions for anime.

So look forward to Tokyopop's future. I'm super excited that they're coming back into the industry. I've been missing the manga they brought to the US and can't wait to see what kind of manga they'll be bringing to us. I'll be making suggestions once the time gets closer. I hope Tokyopop gets a lot of support and that they succeed as a business this time.