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Tokyopop Webinar: Part One

Tokyopop Webinar

Early this afternoon (or early this evening as in my case), Tokyopop held its first webinar: a live webcam-based session where Tokyopop staff took the time to share some information about upcoming titles and answer a whole lot of questions from the attendees.

Thanks to a quick transit home, I was able to attend this first-of-two sessions and you can read about what was said under the post cut.

As for my impressions of the Webinar as a whole: fantastic idea. It allows the opportunity for a convention-type industry panel but that people around the world can join in on from the comfort of their own homes. It’s a great way to communicate with fans and I give Tokyopop major kudos for putting it into place. Most impressively was the number of questions they were able to answer thanks to the in-order, streamlined method of submission. Very organized and a great opportunity to hit a lot of proverbial birds with one stone (I had all my questions answered so that was snazzy). I certainly hope I can attend the next one as well.

Tokyopop hasn’t had an official industry panel since Anime Expo 2008 so this webinar was a welcome sight to press, fans and Tokyopop alike. The webinar will be two parts because of the sheer volume of information to be delivered and to allow more time for questions.

The first portion of the panel was about some upcoming releases, including new series and returning volumes of series put on hold during TP’s restructuring last year.

Written by Clint Bickham, Art By Lindsay Cibos & Jared Hodges (Peach Fuzz), REM, Sonia Leong
On Sale: 9/1/09
The Domo book, a collection of short stories by multiple artists, will be full colour and, as with Tokyopop’s other full colour graphic novels, be a larger cut size than their manga properties. It has a shorter page count than the average and is aimed more predominantly at the children’s market though still has lots to enjoy for anime/manga fans who know of Domo’s popularity overseas.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

D.N. Angel – Yukiru Sugisaki
(Vol. 12) – 8/4/09
(Vol. 13) – 12/01/09 (Edit: Last compiled, on-going)
D.N. Angel returns after a lengthy hiatus. Volume 11 was released in August 2006.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Chibi Vampire – Yuna Kagesaki
(Vol. 14) – 09/29/09
This newest volume of Chibi Vampire will include some bonus material including never before seen art and an interview with the creator.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Princess Ai The Prism of Midnight Dawn – Christine Boylan, D.J. Milk and Misaho Kujiradou
(Vol. 02) – 12/01/09
This second volume of the series will include lots of focus on Ai-Land (Ai’s origin home) with lots to discover about it’s politics and “what it’s really like.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Game x Rush – Mizuho Kusanagi
(Vol. 01) – 7/6/09
(Vol. 02) – 11/3/09

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Bloody Kiss – Kazuko Furumiya
(Vol. 01) – 8/4/09
(Vol. 02) – 11/3/09
“Everyone likes vampires… it’s kinda the trendy thing these days.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Zone-00 – Kiyo QJO
(Vol. 01) – 8/8/09
(Vol. 02) – 11/3/09
(Vol. 03) – 2/2/10

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Mad Love Chase – Kazusa Takashima
(Vol. 01) – 9/1/09
(Vol. 02) – 1/5/10
“…I’ve been trying to get this title since I started working here.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Momogumi Plus Senki – Eri Sakando
(Vol. 01) – 8/4/09
(Vol. 02) – 1/5/10

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Maria Holic – Minari Endou
(Vol. 01) – 9/1/09
(Vol. 02) – 12/1/09
(Vol. 03) – 3/2/10
This series sounds really amusing. It’s about a girl who has a phobia of men so she attends an all girl’s school looking for the perfect yuri-girlfriend. She ends up falling in love at first sight with a beautiful young woman… who turns out to be a crossdressing young man. Presumably hilarity ensues.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Karakuri Odette – Juliette Suzuki
(Vol. 01) – 9/29/09
(Vol. 02) – 2/2/10

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Mikansei No. 1 – Majiko!
(Vol. 01) – 11/3/09
(Vol. 02) – 4/6/10

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Happy Cafe – Kou Matsuzuki
(Vol. 01) – 1/5/10
(Vol. 02) – 4/6/10
“…in highschool but looks like she’s nine…” (( Be warned? ))

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Alice in the Country of Hearts – Hoshino Soumei, QuinRose
(Vol. 01) – 2/2/10
A reinterpretion of the story Alice in Wonderland, except here Alice is a strong-willed, sarcastic young woman who is dragged to Wonderland by the white rabbit. “… the white rabbit is not only the white rabbit but also a hot guy with bunny ears.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Portrait of M & N – Higuchi Tachibana
(Vol. 01) – 2/2/10
Story of a girl who is a masochist (M), and a guy who is a narcissist (N). She seems to love feeling pain while he wears glasses to constantly being compelled to press his face against glass to stare at own reflection. …and the two become romantically involved. This one is a definitely a must-see for fun, odd-sounding plot.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Kokaku Detective Story – Yoshitsugu Katagiri
(Vol. 01) – 4/6/10
A samurai-era story about a young samurai “addicted to chili peppers.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Haru Hana – Yuana Kazumi
One-Shot – 3/2/10
Haru Hana is the story of a young girl who is allergic to boys and breaks out into horrible hives whenever she touches one.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Cause of My Teacher – Temari Matsumoto
One Shot – 9/29/09
“…student-teacher relationships… great thing about working with manga, some things are just totally acceptable!”
This one-shot also sees the return of two ninja characters from Temari Matsumoto’s Shinobu Kokoro (previously released by BLU).

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Liberty! Liberty! – Hinako Takanaga
One Shot – 11/3/09

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Madness – Kairi Shimotsuki
(Vol. 01) – 12/1/09
2 volume series, 250 pages each

Multiple series originally taken off the schedule during Tokyopop’s restructuring are now back in the listings:

“…we feel we’re in a much more stable place right now…”

V.B. Rose (Vol. 06) – 9/29/09
Aria (Vol. 05) – 11/3/09
Fruits Basket Ultimate Edition (Vol. 04) – 1/5/10
Tactics (Vol. 08) – 1/5/10
Chibi Vampire Novel (Vol. 06) – 4/6/10
Trinity Blood: Reborn on the Mars (Vol. 03) – 11/3/09

It was also noted that if the Fruits Basket Ultimate Editions show continued popularity and sales, that all future volumes could continue as hardcover editions.

The second half of the webinar was a pleasnatly lengthy Q & A session. Below are the majority of the questions asked (lots of a good ones so worth a read!):

Q: Any Yuri titles coming out?
– “Not specifically but we’ve gotten requests to do a Yuri-specific line in the past… we don’t intend to have one but we’re not trying to be judgmental about Yuri.” Tokyopop staffers also noted that many of their series have Yuri attributes already.

Q: Why is manga more expensive?
“…hopefully there won’t be any more price increases… we realize that this is a kind of luxury item for people…” A neat fact staffers shared was that but once titles break the $10 mark on Amazon, you’re actually getting it cheaper than before because of the price break cut. Convenient!

Q: What happened to Kampai volume 3?
The artist isn’t currently feeling up to doing it at the moment and benefits more from the popularity of their hit series, Gravitation. As Tokyopop put it: “Don’t hold your breath.”

Q: Why did it take so long to license M&N?
This title was actually licensed almost two years but only recently placed in the release schedule.

Q: Any new volumes of Genju no Seiza coming out?
Genju no Seiza is one of those series we’re trying to figure out what to do with… unfortunately it’s not super pretty, not super new looking… manga market is very trend-oriented.” Tokyopop does state that Matsuri Akino’s Pet Shop of Horrors Tokyo is doing very well for them (yay!) and they have hopes that it will foster more popularity for her other works including Genju no Seiza which is “certainly a title we believe in.”

Q: If Maria Holic is not yuri, what do you call it?
“…it’s certainly got Yuri elements but it’s not running in a manga that’s designated Yuri …it runs in one of the crossover magazines… really meant for an otaku audience… Yuri-centric but hard to describe… it’s the awesome category!”

Q: What do you think will be the next shoujo hit?
Possible canditates include: Happy Cafe and Haru Hana “Fruits Basket is tough to beat… that’s a real challenge for us. I could go on for hours about how great Fruits Basket is.”

Q: Any future plans for Sailor Moon?
“…another question we’ve got a lot!” Tokyopop notes that there also hasn’t been any new Sailor Moon releases in Japan for a while but they would “love, love, LOVE to release Sailor Moon now… we could do it so much better than we could 12 years ago.”

Q: What’s your next mahnwa release? Why do you think they’re not as popular?
INVU (Vol. 05) – November 2009
“Tough question… cultural difference or art style…it’s not the left or right thing, I think people are smarter than that… too much of it and not enough quality?”

Q: Are there any plans for a new for those who don’t like how it is now?
“Yes… and no…” Tokyopop is gradually trying to refocus the website but it’s a very complicated website that’s expensive to fix. They highly suggest that those who want manga-centric news sign up for the newsletter.

Q: Any plans to license Battle Royale‘s sequel, Requiem?
They admitted they haven’t heard of Battle Royale‘s sequel series before but do admit they’re currently looking into some of the artist’s newer series. They’ll definitely take Battle Royale‘s sequel into consideration and remind readers that they’re always listening to fans about possible licenses.

Q: Any plans to license Fruits Basket creators new series? (Which I believe is Hoshi wa Utau?)
“Yes! …we’ll do our best.”

Q: What happened to Tokyopop’s pilot program?
“The pilot program was something that we did very briefly in 2008; we were basically commissioning chapters for OEL and original manga…” Tokyopop would then post the chapters online and look to reader-votes for ideas of what series would be most successful in full runs. Unfortunately the project fell through on the eve of its success due to the Tokyopop restructuring when there just wasn’t enough manpower at the company anymore.

Q: How do you decide what to preview as online manga?
Tokyopop is currently focusing on new releases as promotion when deciding what preview chapters will be posted online. They would like more series to have online previews but it requires special permission from the original owners of the properties.

Q: Will Tokyopop license the newest .hack manga?
“We’ve had tremendous success with the .hack series… what is successful tends to mean you’ll see more of it.”

Q: Will you be releasing more OEL series with Harper Collins?
“Yes, they’ve been really successful… it’s been great working with Harper Collins.” Warriors and Vampire Kisses are two examples of Tokyopop’s most popular Harper Collins series.

Q: What con will you be at next?
The next anime convention that Tokyopop staff will be attending is the upcoming New York Anime Fest in September.

Q: Will you be publishing more full colour graphic novels?
Tokyopop says yes and that the next book is another by Benjamin (artist of Orange). The book is titled Remember and is tentatively scheduled for early 2010.

Q: Will you be joining the (Tokyopop) forums?
“Hi moderator, thanks for stopping by! …I think all of us have profiles on the forums but most of us don’t really follow them…. we’re very busy.” They do say they’d like to be more involved however and plan to be as the schedule allows a little more flexible time in the near future.

Q: As publishers, did the fall of Shoujo Beat magazine startle you?
“Not at all. It’s a terrible time to be a magazine publisher.” They also pointed out the factor that Viz has already cited as one of the greatest determinant factors and that’s that “girls are much more eager to read shonen manga than boys are to read shoujo manga.”

Q: When is RePlay 3 coming out?
“As soon as she’s done with it.” Recently there have been delays in completing the newest volume due to artist falling ill and being busy with other priorities but Tokyopop assures fans they’re only a few chapters left. “You’ll know as soon as we do.”

Q: How does the internship program work? What is the acception rate?
The chance of getting accepted is apparently very high. If you’ve managed to make it into college and 18, you’re in a pretty good position, they say. “Interns are always a very integral part of our group.” They’re always looking for diverse, talented people to be a part of the team and earn class credits while gaining the experience.

Phew, and that about wrapped it up! Another thanks to Tokyopop for hosting the short but informative event. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to attend the next one, which I do believe is still date/time pending.

Bonus: As a screensaver-esque waiting room, they also played a fun trailer for the upcoming Domo graphic novel. You can watch it over on YouTube.

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.

Kuriousity does not condone or support the illegal distribution of manga online.
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12 Responses

  1. julie says:

    I wish I would have been able to see more than the last ten minutes of this, but I had to work.

    I get a little alarmed seeing all of the new series on the release list. One of my faves – Nosatsu Junkie – was dropped, and it will take some time before I trust TP not to do that again. I wish they would finish releasing what they started. They could offer some of the less popular series as ebooks.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this up :)

    • Lissa says:

      I don't blame you on the worry over Tokyopop's recent history with dropping series. I was glad to hear during the webinar that they feel they're in a stronger position for releases right now but the concern remains. I asked the question about Genju no Seiza, one of my favourite series they're currently (or were currently) releasing. I've got my fingers crossed it comes back though regret we can't get our hopes too high about anything that doesn't at least poke near the bestsellers' lists.

  2. lys says:

    Ha! I see you got screenshots of the covers for the new titles they announced! I was too slow to get Happy Cafe's cover (it was the cutest one, too!) but I nabbed the rest. I am a cover-design-nerd…

    I loved hearing them talk about the new and upcoming series—it was fun and made a few titles I didn't have an interest in seem worth checking out! The preview pages from M & N cracked me up.

    Julie- I'm bummed we haven't heard anything about Nosatsu Junkie too! (Zig*Zag as well.) One of the editors (Lillian) mentioned that the delayed titles were still being looked at/discussed, and it seemed like she was hinting that there was stuff she couldn't currently discuss, so maybe there are some sorts of alternative plans in the works…? Or maybe it's my usual blind optimism…

    Yes, Lissa, thanks for doing this writeup! Great job catching all those quotes!

  3. Tina says:

    "Unfortunately the project fell through on the eve of its success due to the Tokyopop restructuring when there just wasn’t enough manpower at the company anymore."

    That's a nice way of saying 'criticism of the concept killed the Pilot Progam.' I was a little annoyed that many comments on those projects seemed geared at scolding the company for being so uncool about the contracts. :/ It seemed like they were ragging on the artists in lieu of being able to rag on the company face-to-face.

  4. Lorena says:

    I really wanted to attend this, but was unable due to work. But, I hope that there are other licenses that they'll be in the stronger position to bring back, like Suppli. I've loved that manga from the start and even went so far as to watch the entire Japanese drama based on it when it began to lapse. Unfortunately, the drama took a LOT of creative license and so I still want to read the rest of this series!

  5. […] Here’s Kuriousity’s post about the Tokyopop Webinar where this information was announced. […]

  6. kelakagandy says:

    "Trinity Blood: Reborn on the Mars (Vol. 03) – 11/3/09"

    Oh gosh, I'm sooooo glad you posted this, since I wasn't able to make the webinar and didn't think they would even mention the Trinity Blood novels anymore (since they have a habit of just kind of ignoring series they've dropped, which I thought they were).

    It's nice to see they're bringing Furuba Ultimate back too, since I can't bring myself to buy all the smaller paperback ones now that I have hardback ones. xD

  7. Ruth says:

    Oh, thanks for asking the question about Genju no Seiza!! I've been checking for -any- information on its status for too many months now. Its by far one of my favourite series and I hate the cliffhanger its left off at in volume 7. Good to hear at least some recent-ish info on it!

    *come on awesome manga*

    • Lissa says:

      You're most welcome – it was the number one question I wanted to ask since Genju no Seiza is one of my favourite series. I really appreciated their honest answer, even if it doesn't bode terribly well for us fans. Fingers crossed though!

  8. […] of the top entries posted here on Kuriousity in 2009 include Farewell to Viz’s Shojo Beat, Tokyopop Webinar: Part One, YaoiCon 2009 – Digital Manga, There Are Some of My Favourite Things… And Yours? and […]

  9. […] work for us Westcoasters).  But Lissa Pattillo of Kuriousity was kind enough to give a detailed report.  I agree with Lissa, this is a great way for publishers to communicate with not just the press, […]

  10. […] But now with Lillian in particular gone (never had I felt more in-touch with TP than via their webinars), and the continued production of money-sucking events I don’t really understand, I really […]

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