No question the big news of this week (and likely of the year) is that Tokyopop’s CEO Stu Levy announced that as of May 31st, the company would be closing down shop in the publishing industry.
This comes as a huge blow to many manga readers. While the company may not be releasing as much now as they have in the past, they’ve still got numerous series on the go that’re now in limbo including several recently premiered (such as Clean Freak, Little Butterfly and Lady Konoko). Most poignant though is the rattling of faith seeing that what was likely the biggest and most-influential English manga publisher go down. Love them or hate them, this is the end of an era.
There hasn’t been a lot of details regarding the shutdown for things such as the fate of licenses and any potentially returning story rights to OEL artists. More information on things such as liquidation of any remaining stock will likely come in the near future. The Yaoi Review has confirmed with Tokyopop that their boys’ love imprint BLU will also be shutdown, and the Tokyopop German division seems to be going strong still.
If you’re looking for more information and reactions about the news, I recommend Katherine Dacey’s round up over at Manga Critic.
I could go on for pages upon pages about my thoughts on Tokyopop and what they mean to me as a company. I’m not going to now though (at least not yet) but I will say this: I’ll miss them terribly. I love Tokyopop. Yes they’ve made mistakes (that website, gah!), but at the end of the day I own hundreds (if not thousands) of Tokyopop books for a reason. I’m really sad that several series I’m collecting may never see completion now such as Pet Shop of Horrors and Shinobi Life, but I also know I’m one of few people saying the same so whose to say they even could’ve been finished regardless of TP shutting down. But they gave the titles the longest run they could (Genju no Seiza for pete’s sake!), they released tons of series with a little for everyone and they were there with something new and shiny every time I went to the comic or book store over the past decade.
Tokyopop was manga for me and will always be a big part of manga for me now, from the piles of books surrounding my room to the many Tokyopop books I’m bound to buy even in the years to come. Goodbye Tokyopop – it really was a good ride and even though you’ve chosen to stop it, I’m not quite ready to get off yet.