RIP Tokyopop (US Operations)
Anime and Manga fans are mourning the loss of a company that started out the decade with a dominant position in the marketplace, now, they’re shutting down. Thanks for The Beat for splashing the news.
Founded in 1997, Tokyopop and its founder Stu Levy were at the forefront of the manga revolution in the US, introducing such hits as Sailor Moon, Chobits and Love Hina to the US market in the “unflipped” format for the first time. Though by the last round of layoffs in February, they had a mere 6 Employees. It seems that their strategy of bringing in tons of new series to bookstores when the stores themselves were drying up didn’t pay off in the long run.
Dark Horse, Viz, and a few smaller publishers are the only companies releasing manga (officially) in the U.S. Though, we think that at least in the case of Dark Horse and Viz, they have solid platforms to distribute products.
Another thing that comes to mind is if you didn’t know, a film was produced by TokyoPop, Priest. Priest starring Paul Bettany is based on a Korean Manhwa by Min-Woo Hyung, and was released in the U.S. by TokyoPop, and is reaching the big screen on May 13th, so I guess we’ll find out in a month what that does for the semi-dead company.