Tokyopop’s teen appeal

I looked at this week’s new manga at MTV Geek, and I also took a peek at Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s, the latest iteration of that venerable franchise, coming out in graphic novel form soon from Viz. Meanwhile, David Welsh gives his take on this week’s new manga and Sean Gaffney, always one step ahead, takes a look at next week’s new releases.

Longtime Tokyopop freelancer Lianne Sentar has a great post about the demise of that company at Sleep Is For the Weak in which defends the company and asks why it got so much hate over the years. Her answer is a good one:

My best guess is that Tokyopop was a “teenager” company. It mostly published books for teenagers, it included a fair number of teenagers in its staff, and the changes and/or mistakes that drew criticism – paper changes, printing/typing errors, wacky editorial decisions – were things teenagers mostly don’t care about. They cut corners and were less concerned with pissing off older fans and/or critics than they were with keeping their young fanbase.

If I have to hear another person frame their opinions of Tokyopop as a company based on their incomplete publishing of Aria, I’m going to start smacking people with copies of Bizenghast and Chibi Vampire. You’re not seeing the big picture. The manga industry isn’t just about you. Teenagers are people too, and in many facets of the industry, they outnumber you by about a billion. Their opinions are not invalid just because you don’t agree with them.

There’s much more at the link, and it’s all great. I would totally support getting Lianne a MacArthur grant so she could just write about manga all day.

The Manga Moveable Feast continues at Manga Bookshelf, with a roundtable on this month’s book, Wild Adapter, a roundup of MMF posts on other blogs, a look at three not-so-guilty pleasures of the series, and a reprise of David Welsh’s Flipped column about it.

David Welsh reaches the letter U in his josei alphabet.


Alexander Hoffman on All My Darling Daughters (Manga Village)
Anna on vols. 4 and 5 of Dengeki Daisy (Manga Report)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 5 of Library Wars: Love and War (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Kristin on vol. 5 of Library Wars: Love and War (Comic Attack)
Connie on vol. 6 of Rin-ne (Slightly Biased Manga)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 6 of Seiho Boys High School (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Connie on vol. 13 of Sensual Phrase (Slightly Biased Manga)
Charles Webb on vol. 6 of Soul Eater (MTV Geek)
Daniella Orihuela-Gruber on vols. 1-6 of Sundome (All About Manga)
Anna on vol. 1 of Tenjho Tenge: Full Contact Edition (Manga Report)
Lori Henderson on the May issue of Yen Plus (Manga Xanadu)
Connie on vol. 7 of Your and My Secret (Slightly Biased Manga)

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  1. And yet in the end, one could say that those teenager decisions helped lead to the demise of TokyoPop. Stu may have been the one to pull the plug, but TP was hurting before that.

  2. And yet in the end, one could say that those teenager decisions helped lead to the demise of TokyoPop.

    They also made the company successful in the first place. My point is the mission statement itself drew criticism because of a widespread anti-teen bias among older and/or critical manga fans.

    Also, Tokyopop closing entirely had way more to due with the economy, Borders going under, and being a giant independent while the competition (Viz, Yen, Del Rey/Kodansha) had Japanese and/or English publishers backing them up. You’re right in that Tokyopop was hurting for a long time before Stu pulled the plug.