Manga Before Flowers — Tokyopop & Us
Tokyopop’s recent instability makes it incredibly difficult to figure out which series will make it through the company’s “restructuring” and which series won’t. While we can make educated guesses — a lot of OEL won’t make it, a lot of manwha won’t make it — there have been some surprises on the cancellations list, at least as far as I was concerned. (For example, the cancellation of Nosatsu Junkie surprised the heck out of me, since it was a fairly well-reviewed shojo series, which means I assumed it was TP’s bread and butter.)
I just finished reading the third volume of Suppli this week and while I was pleased with the series’ sudden uptick in quality, that pleasure was quickly followed by depression when I realized it is quite likely we won’t see volume 4 in the states. There are folks who are very angry with TP because of certain cancellations and refuse to buy anything else from them once they finish up their on-going series with the publisher. I’m weak so I’ve already started a bunch of volume ones this summer (which I’m sure was a very bad idea but well. Books pretty. Me weak.) But I certainly feel — if not angry — that the publisher has let me down as a customer. Which is obviously not a happy place to be.
Even though I’m not *angry* at “TP” I do feel that the company as a brand has badly disappointed their readers. I certainly can’t blame their company’s editors, translators, and general staff and so on for the current state of the company but clearly very bad decisions were made *systematically* when it came to licensing and in general the company seemed to be relying upon a thorough mis-reading of the manga market in the U.S. On other hand, it is becoming more and more obvious publishers need deep pockets in the U.S. to survive and TP just doesn’t have them.
I’m certainly glad TP is still around and putting out books, but they aren’t doing themselves any favors by not being more upfront about what exactly “restructuring” means for the publishing arm of their operations. Certainly their current mode of operation is better than putting out *nothing* and saying *nothing* about that fact (ADV publishing & DramaQueen are pretty much dead in the water now, although we lack confirmation or communication of any kind).
I mention Suppli by name because after reading the third volume I am convinced we are losing a wonderful title (honestly, everyone has that one title TP has cancelled that just kills them and this just happens to be mine) but also that we are losing out on something there is so little of in the market. I know, I know, just because bloggers love josei doesn’t mean the reading public does but sometimes you just need to have certain things because they don’t exist elsewhere. At least as far as I’m concerned.
I will still continue to buy TP books when they put out books I *want* — I’m not going to blindly buy their books simply to support the company, nor should I have to. And I am still managing to buy a number of series in spite of their recent cut-backs on releases….but I’m a little heart-sick over the (potential) loss of quality series like BECK, Suppli, Off*Beat, etc….but maybe I’m even more disappointed that Tokyopop is really not behaving in a manner befitting the corporation that created the manga volume as *we know it in the U.S. today*. I guess my disappointment stings a little more than I thought it would….
Random aside (& because I have a thing for lists): On-going series I continue to follow from TP so long as the company continues to release them:
Petshop of Horrors: Tokyo
Tea for Two
Voice or Noise
Your & My Secret