If you like buying manga in the States, you’re in for a disappointment. Manga distributor Tokyopop announced that come May 31st, Tokyopop would be shutting down its US offices. The German branch, though, will stay open to handle distribution and its film division.
Founded in 1997, Tokyopop started out as Mixx (“a mix of entertainment, a mix of media, and a mix of cultures), and started out with four titles to its credit–Parasyte, Ice Blade, Magic Knight Rayearth, and Sailor Moon. It also branched out, experimenting with other variations of manga, films, anime and merchandise, with varying levels of success. Throughout the ’00s, legions of new fans of manga and of anime were created. Also of note was a program started by Tokyopop to give aspiring artists/writers a chance at having their own work published, and while only a few were successful, it introduced a new generation of comic creators.
Layoffs haunted the company, and since February, founder Stu Levy had only five other people working with him in the Los Angeles office. Despite the impending closing, Levy is going out with a smile:
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!).