Tokyopop shutdown, CLAMP launch

Tokyopop shut down their website this week, after sending a blizzard of e-mails warning users to make sure they had copies of anything they posted to the site over the years. The URL now redirects to their Facebook page, where fans are mourning the demise of their favorite publisher. Tokyopop took its fair share of criticism over the years from bloggers, but it’s easy to forget that we weren’t their core audience. The posters at the Facebook don’t follow the intricacies of publishing, but they do want their Hetalia/Alice in the Country of Hearts/Maid-Sama to continue. I hope the marketers from other publishers are looking at this—and noting the fierce loyalty some of these series inspired. Here’s a fairly typical comment, from Anna Elizabeth:

I want Tokyopop to answer this: Why are you shutting down? What about Hetalia? I can’t live without your manga and anime!!! WHYYYYYYYYY!?!?!?

Actually, the digital version of Hetalia will continue to be available, although there is no word yet on whether new volumes will come out in future. Over at MTV Geek, I took a look at Tokyopop’s closing event, a contest in which the winner gets a goodie bag and the chance to buy manga at a discount.

At The Comics Journal, Sean Michael Robinson talks to several Tokyopop creators about the situation regarding their rights.

Dark Horse announced yesterday that they would indeed be publishing CLAMP’s Gate 7 manga; I talked to DH director of Asian licensing Michael Gombos about it at MTV Geek.

Lori Henderson has this week’s list of all-ages comics and manga at Good Comics for Kids, and David Welsh checks out the best of this week’s new manga. Sean Gaffney takes a look at the manga heading our way next week.

The Manga Moveable Feast is going strong with this month’s celebration of Rumiko Takahashi. Head on over to Panel Patter, where host Rob McMonigal has links for days three, four, and five, as well as some fun facts and an interview with the hosts of the Takahashi fansite Rumic World.

For his latest House of 1000 Manga column, Jason Thompson looks at the classic Akira.

Johanna Draper Carlson and Ed Sizemore discuss 20th Century Boys in their latest Manga Out Loud podcast.

Melinda Beasi and Michelle Smith head over to The Hooded Utilitarian for this week’s Off the Shelf column, a discussion of Please Save My Earth. This in turn inspired David Welsh’s latest license reques: Global Garden, which is by the same creator. And Melinda’s Three Things Thursday post at Manga Bookshelf is… three reasons to read Please Save My Earth.

David also reaches the letter M in his Josei Alphabet.

Crunchyroll has just added a news site, Crunchyroll News, with updates on manga, anime, J-pop, and all other aspects of Cool Japan.

News from Japan: ANN has the latest Japanese comics rankings, and they note that vol. 55 of Naruto is tops this week’s Oricon chart. Sakura Ikeda is working on a manga based on Tsukasa Fushimi’s Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai light novels, to run in Dengeki G’s magazine. And St. Oniisan creator Nakamura Hikaru has made five postcards to be auctioned off to help earthquake victims.

Reviews

Anna on vol. 1 of Ai Ore (Manga Report)
Noah Berlatsky on All My Darling Daughters (The Hooded Utilitarian)
Snow Wildsmith on vol. 1 of Amnesia Labyrinth (Good Comics for Kids)
David Welsh on vol. 1 of The Beautiful Skies of Hou Ou High (The Manga Curmudgeon)
Kristin on Cafe Latte Rhapsody and Honey Colored Pancakes (Comic Attack)
Erica Friedman on vol. 1 of Citrus (Okazu)
TSOTE on vol. 4 of Geobreeders (Three Steps Over Japan)
Michael Buntag on vol. 21 of Kare Kano (NonSensical Words)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 8 of Kimi ni Todoke (The Comic Book Bin)
Julie Opipari on vol. 3 of Library Wars: Love and War (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Sean Gaffney on Lychee Light Club (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Greg Burgas on Monster (Comics Should Be Good)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 2 of Oresama Teacher (I Reads You)
Diana Dang on vols. 14 and 15 of Ouran High School Host Club (Stop, Drop, and Read!)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 2 of The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Kristin on vol. 3 of The Story of Saiunkoku and vol. 2 of Oresama Teacher (Comic Attack)

CLAMP’s Gate 7 may finally be here!

It looks like the long-awaited CLAMP manga Gate 7 will finally be published in the U.S. Lissa Pattillo caught the word from a CLAMP fan site that the creative team had announced that Gate 7, which has already been serialized in Japan and France, will be published in book format in North America this summer. Dark Horse had announced several years ago that they would publish this series in mini-volumes they dubbed “mangettes,” but they never materialized. We reached out to Dark Horse for a comment but got no response; ANN had slightly better luck, with a cryptic “stay tuned.”

Don’t forget this week’s Manga Moveable Feast, which focuses on the manga of Rumiko Takahashi. Host Rob McMonigal has all the links to the Day Two writeups at Panel Patter.

Sean Gaffney looks at the top-selling manga in Japan and thinks about which ones he would like to see licensed in the U.S.

Caddy C. posts her thoughts on the Nana anime and manga at A Feminist Otaku.

Yen Press will start its manga-style adaptation of Gail Carriger’s Soulless novels in an upcoming issue of Yen Plus, with illustrations by rem, whom you may remember as the winner of the first Morning International Manga Competition and the illustrator of Tokyopop’s Vampire Kisses. Carriger from now until the book comes out, Carriger will be posting rem’s character sketches at her LiveJournal.

Viz has announced some new omnibus editions for summer.

Digital Manga has a few new licenses to show off, including Koi ni Tsuite and some later volumes of other series.

Manga-ka Natsume Ono (Ristorante Paradiso, House of Five Leaves) will be appearing at Kinokuniya in New York on May 10 to speak and answer questions about her work.

News from Japan: Microsoft is publising a manga called Cloud Girl to promote its cloud services system. Two Kadokawa magazines, Gundam Ace and Newtype, will be collaborating to produce a new manga magazine this summer. At Otaku Champloo, Khursten reports that Nakamura Asumiko is back to work on Sora to Hara, after taking a break due to health problems.

Reviews: Carlo Santos checks out a big stack of recent manga in his latest Right Turn Only!! column at ANN. Ash Brown takes us quickly through a week’s worth of manga reading at Experiments in Manga. Anna has some quick takes on Viz Signature manga at Manga Report. And the Manga Bookshelf gang posts their latest batch of Bookshelf Briefs.

Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 23 of Hikaru No Go (The Comic Book Bin)
Connie on vol. 3 of Maoh: Juvenile Remix (Slightly Biased Manga)
Nicola on vol. 2 of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan (Back to Books)
Connie on Rose of the Rhine (Slightly Biased Manga)
Lori Henderson on vol. 1 of With the Light (Manga Xanadu)

Tokyopop, Takahashi, and Tarts

Tokyopop is not actually dead yet, but the post-mortems continue at a brisk pace. At All About Manga, former Tokyopop freelancer Daniella Orihuela-Gruber takes a well-rounded look at the way Tokyopop brought down rates for translators—but also made manga a mass medium.Christopher Mautner lists his six favorite Tokyopop titles, and reader chime in with theirs, at Robot 6. Johanna Draper Carlson rounds up some Tokyopop reactions and lists her favorite Tokyopop manga at Comics Worth Reading. And Lexie has a list to remember Tokyopop by at Poisoned Rationality.

The Manga Village team looks over the past week’s new releases.

This month’s Manga Moveable Feast, hosted by Rob McMonigal of Panel Patter, will focus on the works of Rumiko Takahashi. David Welsh takes the opportunity to ask his readers to name their favorite Takahashi manga and to check out Ranma 1/2 for the first time. At Otaku Champloo, Khursten Santos highlights her favorite character, Happosai. I won’t link to every post, because that’s Rob’s job; here’s his roundup of Day One links.

The writers of Sequential Tart celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday (and death day) with a look at star-crossed lovers in comics and manga.

Three Steps Over Japan has a quick peek at a vintage issue of Garo.

Yuricon is looking for yuri fans to write about their first yuri anime or manga. Details at Okazu. Also at Okazu: The latest Yuri Network News roundup.

Reviews

Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 14 of 20th Century Boys (The Comic Book Bin)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 14 of 20th Century Boys (Comics Worth Reading)
Kristin on vol. 1 of Ai Ore! Love Me (Comic Attack)
Sesho on vol. 1 of Arisa (Sesho’s Anime and Manga Reviews)
Voitachewski on vol. 1 of Ax (in French) (du9)
Johanna Draper Carlson on vol. 4 of Bakuman (Comics Worth Reading)
Oyceter on vols. 1 and 2 of Children of the Sea (Sakura of DOOM)
Sesho on vol. 1 of Cross Game (Sesho’s Anime and Manga Reviews)
Edouardo Zacarias on vol. 2 of Cross Game (Animanga Nation)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 22 of Excel Saga (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Leroy Douresseaux on Invisible Love (I Reads You)
Lori Henderson on vols. 4 and 5 of Tena on S-String (Manga Xanadu)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 4 of Urusei Yatsura (A Case Suitable for Treatment)

The Tokyopop farewells continue…

The commentary keeps on coming on the end of Tokyopop. Veteran translator and manga scholar Matt Thorn has an interesting post on how Tokyopop drove down wages for translators, which resulted in a drop in quality as well. (Although fans who were reading scanlations might not notice the difference.) Kate Dacey adds her own thoughts, and Tokyopop freelance editor Daniella Orihuela-Gruber weighs in with her point of view in the comments section. Charles Tan has a nice article up at Bibliophile Stalker that delves into the early experiments with format that resulted in the current package. Longtime reader J. Caleb Mozzocco weighs in with his thoughts and a look at his Tokyopop collection. Sho Murase reflects on her (sadly) unfinished series, Me2. Erica Friedman (Okazu) and Lissa Pattillo (Kuriousity) discuss the end of Tokyopop and the future of the manga industry on the ANNCast podcast. And the denizens of Manga Village have a farewell roundtable.

Is the Manga Revolution over? ICv2 reports that Naruto was the top seller in bookstores last month.

Kate Dacey has the April list of good manga for kids, and Lori Henderson has this week’s all-ages comics and manga, at Good Comics for Kids.

Jason Thompson looks at another weird, interesting old manga, Baron Gong Battle, in his latest House of 1000 Manga column at ANN.

Erica Friedman points to the signs of a worldwide Sailor Moon revival.

David Welsh’s latest license request is Aoi Hana.

Manga Therapy’s Tony Yao discusses one of his favorite manga characters, Saito Hajime of Rurouni Kenshin.

News from Japan: Hideki Ohwada has a new comedy manga series in the works titled Tonari no Zarathustra-san (My Neighbor Zarathustra). Apparently it’s about Nietzsche. Natsume Ono is working on a new historical series set in the Edo period, and Future Diary manga-ka Sakae Esuno will launch a new series this summer. The latest issue of Kodansha’s Magazine Special features a Fairy Tail/Rave crossover. An upcoming chapter of Skip Beat! will feature an idea from one lucky reader. Saturn Apartments is coming to an end. And Masahiro Itosugi has announced that volumes 1 and 3 of Aki Sora will not be reprinted; apparently the manga’s incest storyline is the problem.

Reviews: Todd Douglass posts some short reviews of recent manhwa at Anime Maki. Kristin reviews some Harlequin manga at Comic Attack.

Kate Dacey on vol. 1 of Blue Exorcist (The Manga Critic)
Julie Opipari on vol. 2 of Bunny Drop (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Butterfly (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Todd Douglass on vol. 2 of Death Note: Black Edition (Anime Maki)
Collin David on Doing Time (Graphic Novel Reporter)
TSOTE on vol. 3 of Geobreeders (Three Steps Over Japan)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 6 of Karakuri Odette (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Leroy Douresseaux on vol. 2 of March Story (The Comic Book Bin)
Kinukitty on No Touching at All (The Hooded Utilitarian)
Casey Brienza on vol. 1 of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan (Graphic Novel Reporter)
Danica Davidson on vol. 1 of Red Angel (Graphic Novel Reporter)
AstroNerdBoy on vol. 5 of Rin-ne (AstroNerdBoy’s Anime and Manga Blog)
Kristin on vols. 1 and 2 of Seiho Boys High School (Comic Attack)

More on Tokyopop’s closure, plus new manga recommendations

David Welsh looks at this week’s new manga at The Manga Curmudgeon, and he reaches the letter L in his josei alphabet. The Manga Village crowd points to the best of the April 13 new releases. And Sean Gaffney takes the longer view and looks at next week’s new manga. Lissa Pattillo shows off the results of her latest shopping trip at Kuriousity.

The reactions to Tokyopop’s closure continue. At Robot 6, I point out that manga changed the comics world forever—even for people who don’t read it. At Rocket Bomber, Matt Blind blames Stu Levy for bringing down Tokyopop and wonders why he didn’t just sell it instead of shutting it down. Rob McMonigal remembers Tokyopop’s early days at Panel Patter. At Manga Report, Anna is marking the occasion by giving away a few of Tokyopop’s last volumes.

Digital has confirmed that it will not be publishing Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, a manga it announced in 2008; the license has reverted to the Japanese publisher, Gakken.

At The Panelists, which critiques comics panel by panel and page by page, Derik Badman analyzes a two-page spread from Kazuichi Hanawa’s Doing Time.

Anna finds references to the Jewish song Dona Dona in manga and anime.

Reviews: Melinda Beasi and Michelle Smith bring on the boys’ love in their latest BL Bookrack column at Manga Bookshelf.

Connie on vol. 4 of Bakuman (Slightly Biased Manga)
Rob McMonigal on vols. 9-11 of Bleach (Panel Patter)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 3 of Cross Game (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Connie on vol. 8 of Detroit Metal City (Slightly Biased Manga)
Wolfen Moondaughter on vol. 1 of Eensy Weensy Monster (Sequential Tart)
Anna on vols. 7 and 8 of Gatcha Gacha (Manga Report)
Michael Buntag on vol. 7 of Honey and Clover (NonSensical Words)
Kristy Valenti on The Lychee Light Club (The Comics Journal)
Jennifer LeBlanc on vol. 2 of Maiden Rose (The Yaoi Review)
Lori Henderson on episodes 1 and 2 of Mizuki (Manga Village)
Rob McMonigal on vol. 1 of Natsume’s Book of Friends (Panel Patter)
Lori Henderson on vols. 2 and 3 of One Fine Day (Manga Village)
Rob McMonigal on vols. 16 and 17 of Ranma 1/2 (Panel Patter)
Katherine Farmar on vol. 1 of Replica (Manga Village)
Erica Friedman on vol. 1 of Shin Koi Hime Musou~ Otome Tairan (Okazu)
Shannon Fay on vol. 23 of Skip Beat! (Kuriousity)
Connie on vol. 4 of Spiral! (Slightly Biased Manga)
Connie on vol. 1 of Toradora! (Slightly Biased Manga)

Farewell, Tokyopop!

The announcement on Friday that Tokyopop is closing its U.S. publishing division was huge news for U.S. manga readers, as Tokyopop was one of the pioneers in this market. Bloggers, former employees, and creators had a mix of reactions, and Deb Aoki has a good roundup of comments at About.com. Kate Dacey goes a step further with a retrospective look at the company’s history and her own reactions roundup. Some other voices:

Daniella Orihuela-Gruber, who has been doing freelance editing for Tokyopop for a while now, brings the view from inside the office to the discussion. This obviously has a direct impact on her, as Tokyopop was a big part of her income stream, but she also has some insight into the inner doings at the office. Here she is on Stu Levy, who, she says, wasn’t really there much:

Some people kind of demonize him online for ignoring and mucking up the manga publishing side of things, but I felt like he was a non-entity holding a carrot on a stick over the heads of everyone in publishing and really making them work for it. Everyone was trying hard to please him, probably when pleasing the fans should have been number one.

That being said, I wish that Stu had brought in someone else to be totally in charge of publishing. Someone with the talent and passion to publish good books that were commercially successful (or at least, moderately successful) or run Tokyopop more like a smaller manga publisher rather than the powerhouse it used to be.

Jason Thompson reminisces about the heady early days of Tokyopop’s OEL (global) manga initiative, and he points out that many talented creators got their start, or at least a boost, from that line.

Johanna Draper Carlson has a link-filled survey of Tokyopop’s history that’s a good start for those who want to know more, and she also looks at the manga business as it stands now, and she and Ed Sizemore discuss the end of Tokyopop in their Manga Out Loud podcast.

Sean Gaffney looks at the last round of Tokyopop titles and the series that will remain unfinished, and he offers some thoughts on why this happened and what the future may bring. In a followup, he adds that it looks like the May 31 books won’t be shipping.

Steve Bennett writes about Tokyopop from the comics retailer’s perspective, a point of view that is seldom heard when it comes to manga. He talks about how radical Tokyopop seemed at the time, and how retailers at first embraced the new medium and then became overwhelmed by it.

David Welsh, always upbeat, remembers his favorite Tokyopop manga and asks readers to chime in with their own happy memories.

AstroNerdBoy remembers when publishers tried to publish manga in American formats, and how Tokyopop changed all that.

Kelkagandy doesn’t feel there’s much to miss any more. Lissa Pattillo, on the other hand, is going to miss them a lot, and Anna lists the series she will miss at Manga Report.

Dave Ferraro lists his five favorite Tokyopop series at Comics-and-More. Kate Dacey goes him five better and lists her ten top Tokyopop titles at The Manga Critic. And Connie shares her favorites at Slightly Biased Manga.

At The Yaoi Review, the big news is the loss of Tokyopop’s Blu Manga line.

Jason Yadao reminisces about his Tokyopop years at Otaku Ohana.