The news came from an "anonymous tip" that led Gia to a press release on the Japanese website of Broccoli's parent company that explained the situation. Citing "extensive competition in the manga and character merchandise fields here," the decision was made to close the Los Angeles, California-based offices of Broccoli USA by the end of February 2009, and to revert all current manga licenses back to their Japanese owners by the end of 2008.
According to Broccoli's Managing Editor Shizuki Yamashita, negotiations are underway to transfer some of Broccoli's popular manga series to other publishers, so U.S. readers won't be left hanging. As she explains in the Broccoli Book's blog:
"All of the book licenses revert back to the Japanese publishers at the end of this year. And we are working w/ them so that the titles can be released by other US publishers sometime in the future. We are gathering all production material, including finished books that haven't been printed yet, so that the new licensees will be able to use the materials if they choose to do so."No definitive word on which titles will find new homes with other U.S. publishers, but Yamashita promises to update fans on the Broccoli Blog as she learns more.
After several years of expansive growth, the U.S. manga publishing market has been experiencing some of the pains that other U.S. businesses have been experiencing lately. News of layoffs big and small have rippled across the industry at several companies this year, and it's really sad to hear that the nice folks at Broccoli are affected this way. If you love Broccoli's books, including Disgaea, E'S and Di-Gi-Charat, drop a line at the Broccoli Books blog and add your words of support and thanks to the Broccoli crew. They will definitely be missed.