Today April 15, 2011 it was announced that Tokyopop’s North America publishing division is closing its doors on May 31, 2011. Anime News Network confirmed with Senior Vice President Mike Kiley that the company will be shutting its doors. Stu Levy the founder of Tokyopop (originally “Mixx” posted a message on the Tokyopop website stating that he will spend the rest of the year in Japan making a documentary about the earthquake that happened on March 11th 2011.
Tokyopop was the first North American publishing company to have manga unflipped in its original right to left format. They also had a light novel line, a boys love manga line, a OEL (original English Language) line, along with releasing a few anime series in North America. Their most recent idea is the six part series “America’s Greatest Otaku”.
The reactions from the closing of Tokyopop range from sadness to joy. The forums at Anime News Network seem to be a mixed bag with both ranges of feelings in there. Many people may have disliked Stu Levy, but he did things that others groups have not done, and also changed how manga was published in North America.
The closing of Tokyopop saddens me. Some of the first manga that I bought almost 7 years ago was from Tokyopop. In fact, my first manga purchases were the Love Hina manga, which to this day remains a favorite of mine. Most of the manga in my collection along with most of my favorite titles are in fact Tokyopop releases. While most people have a bad taste in their mouths because of something of the things that they have done in the past, please think about the people who have just lost their jobs. Six people may not sound like a huge amount, however that six people who no will no longer get a steady or semi steady paycheck.
In the end the closing of a company is never good, especially an anime or manga company.