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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:

Fruits Basket

Gakuen Alice

Gatcha Gacha

Junjo Romantica

Jyu-Oh-Sei

Love Mode

Petshop of Horrors: Tokyo

Silver Diamond

Suppli

Tea for Two

Vassalord

Voice or Noise

Your & My Secret

18 Comments

My current TP list is:

Chibi Vampire
Fruits Basket
Welcome to the NHK

Danielle Leigh

August 7, 2008 at 4:17 pm

yup. all those should be safe! (Although only the Chibi Vampire manga, I haven’t heard promosing things about the novel series)

Tom Fitzpatrick

August 7, 2008 at 6:07 pm

Still haven’t seen Vassalord.

Do you swear on your mangaic-soul that this one is worth picking up?

Yeah i heard the novels for chibi vampire are toast. I never started them so the sense of loss is not as big as it could be. Danielle, you like Your & My Secret? I read volume 1 way back in the ADV days and wasn’t too impressed, but that was long enough ago I don’t really remember anything about it. What are your thoughts on the series?

Admittedly after learning about Tokyopop’s troubles I’ve been trying to close the gap in my Sgt. Frog run, still about 4 volumes short though. I’m not too worried about it being dropped yet, but one never knows.

Danielle Leigh

August 7, 2008 at 7:30 pm

hi Tom, on no, if you read my tongue-in-cheek review I can’t claim any redeeming value. Basically there is no reason for this comic to exist….But if something makes me laugh then I’m pretty forgiving of its flaws (it doesn’t hurt that I’m a fan of yaoi, which Vassalord plays with quite a bit.)

Grico — I actually like Your & My Secret best of the Ai Morinaga titles that have come over the U.S. but if the first volume didn’t thrill you I wouldn’t bother to pick up more (the first volume probably being the strongest of the first four volumes, although I thought vol 2 was quite enjoyable as well once you bought into the premise and just went with it).

Andrew Collins

August 7, 2008 at 9:49 pm

I’ve bought probably more TP manga titles than any other publisher since I got back into manga around 2001 so this whole debacle has just been very frustrating for me as a fan. I know of a handful of my series that look “safe” based on continued solicitations. This list including Fruits Basket, Chibi Vampire, Trinity Blood, Tsukuyomi~Moon Phase, Tokko, and a few others.

But there are a lot of my series still up in the air. BECK and Sgt. Frog have a decent shot of continuing, but I don’t know about Kindaichi Case Files, Kedamono Damono, Priest, Rebirth, and several others that are soooo close to completion, like Atelier Marie And Elie, which only has ONE more volume to go! Ugh. I hate not knowing for sure. Than again, I get the impression TP doesn’t either. It may be months before we’re able to piece together a decent picture of what’s coming back and what isn’t- since I doubt TP will ever publish an official “list” of titles that aren’t coming back ever…

Andrew Collins

August 7, 2008 at 9:50 pm

Your And My Secret looks to be safe for a couple reasons. In the newest Previews, volume 3 is solicited. Also, TP just announced a recent partnership with a couple Japanese publishers, one of them was Mag Garden, who are the rights holders for Y&MS. So, I believe it will continue. Hopefully, so will another book on my list, Mamotte Shugogetten, which is also from MG.

The only thing that Tokyopop’s cut that ticked me off is ‘Poison Candy’. I was looking forward to the second volume. It’s supposedly going to be published online, so the massive cliffhanger from the first book will not ultimately cause me to go out and hurt people, but still…not the same.

I continue to hold out hope that Suppli 4 is merely going to be drastically postponed and not outright cancelled, but it’s also the title that saddens me the most.

Here’s what I’m still getting from Tokyopop:
Fruits Basket
Gakuen Alice
Jyu-Oh-Sei
Silver Diamond
Suppli
V. B. Rose

And I will get:
Phantom Dream
Tsubasa: Those With Wings

It’s like I have the touch of death- so many series I adore, recommend widely to friends etc, get canceled. Since I have a taste for josei and manhwa, I guess that’s not much of a surprise *but* it still hurts when you own half a series and then there’s the deathly silence.
TP titles I am currently buying:
Fruits Basket
Junjo Romantica
Silver Diamond
Suppli (this is going to hurt)
Tea for Two
Seduction more Beautiful Than Love (I’m not holding out much hope for this one)
Welcome to the NHK

[…] Leigh wishes Tokyopop were more open with fans about which series are on and which are […]

hi Thirstygirl — I really enjoyed Seduction More Than Love as well, but yeah, its manwha and I think its josei. OUCH!

Jun — our taste overlaps quite a bit (I just add a lot of yaoi to my regular reading stack!)

I’m still getting three of the titles on your list, along with a handful of others. I am very sad about Suppli likely being discontinued and am very afraid for the Twelve Kingdoms and Trinity Blood novels. If the latter end, I’ll sad but not heartbroken however, if Twelve Kingdoms is dead in the water, I’m going to have to seriously consider whether I ever want to try one of their volume ones again. Why invest (emotionally or financially) when we’re going to be left with no more than a fraction of the story?

I’m not buying much yaoi because I already have so much that I haven’t yet read. I do have 4 or so volumes of Love Mode, 2 of Junjo Romantica, and both volumes of Voice or Noise. So, even further overlappage! :)

Has there been any word on what will happen with Aria? I really hope this series doesn’t get dropped AGAIN.

hi Alex….I don’t believe it has been delayed…yet. So we’ll just have to keep hope alive for that title!

My biggest loss is Blade of Heaven, and Most likely King of Hell, Both Korean Shonen Manga.
Blade of Heaven finishes in 5 books. and King of Hell is ongoing, and i get the horrible feeling that i will not see either of these finished.
My girlfriend is going to be heart-broken about nosatsu Junkie.

Score one for the scanlators i think

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