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.
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.