17 April, 2011

NEWS: Tokyo Pop

Tokyo Pop will be closing its North American Division on May 31st. This is very sad to me. Like so many fans of anime and manga my first experience with Japanese comics came from a Tokyo Pop book. Many people have credited Tokyo Pop for starting the “manga revolution” in the United States. Im sure there will be speculation of why Tokyo Pop is shutting down, some will say it was the scanlations others will point to the economic down turn in the U.S. but most likely we will never know the full truth behind it. What we do know is that we are losing another member of the anime and manga community and to me that just flat out sucks. R.I.P. Tokyo Pop you will be missed!

Here is a letter from the founder of Tokyo Pop Mr. Stu Levy talking about the closing of the North American division of Tokyo Pop.
"April 15, 2011
Dear TOKYOPOP Community:
Way back in 1997, we set out to bring a little-known form of Japanese entertainment to American shores. I originally named our little company “Mixx”, meaning a mix of entertainment, mix of media, and mix of cultures. My dream was to build a bridge between Japan and America, through the incredible stories I discovered as a student in Tokyo.
Starting with just four titles -- Parasyte, Ice Blade, Magic Knight Rayearth, and, of course, Sailor Moon -- we launched MixxZine, aspiring to introduce comics to girls. These four series laid down the cornerstone for what would eventually become TOKYOPOP and the Manga Revolution.
Over the years, I’ve explored many variations of manga culture – “OEL” manga, “Cine-Manga”, children’s books we called “Manga Chapters”, the Gothic-Lolita Bible, Korean manwha (which we still called “manga” at the time), video game soundtracks, live-action films and documentaries, anime, and various merchandise. Some of it worked, some of it didn’t – but the most enjoyable part of this journey has been the opportunity to work with some of the most talented and creative people I’ve ever met.
Many of you also allowed me the indulgence to not only produce works but also to take a swing at creating some of my own. I’ve learned that it’s much easier to criticize others than it is to create from scratch – but in doing so, I’ve also in the process learned how to better communicate with creators.
Fourteen years later, I’m laying down my guns. Together, our community has fought the good fight, and, as a result, the Manga Revolution has been won –manga has become a ubiquitous part of global pop culture. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished – and the incredible group of passionate fans we’ve served along the way (my fellow revolutionaries!).
For many years Japan has been my second home, and I have devoted much of my career to bringing my love for Japan to the world – and hopefully in my own way, I can give back to the culture that has given me so much joy.
In closing, I simply want to thank all of you – our incredibly talented creators from all over the world, our patient and supportive business partners and customers, our amazingly dedicated TOKYOPOP team – full-timers, part-timers, freelancers and interns, and of course the greatest fans in the entire world. Together, we’ve succeeded in bringing manga to North America and beyond.
Stu Levy
Founder, TOKYOPOP"
Tokyo Pop

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