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The Kodansha-TokyoPop Split: Which Manga Are Left in Limbo?

By September 1, 2009

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Initial D Volume 33Now that TokyoPop has confirmed that Japanese publisher Kodansha has opted to not renew their manga licenses, many fans were left wondering: What does this mean for [insert favorite manga title here]? I was wondering too, so I dug a little deeper to find out which titles are left in limbo, which were rescued by other publishers, and which completed series will now be officially out of print.

As I was looking over the list, I noticed a few trends. Like any troubled relationship, the signs of an impending split often show up months, sometimes years before the two parties part ways. While Kodansha titles were a big part of TokyoPop's line-up at the start (Sailor Moon, Parasyte, Great Teacher Onizuka, Magic Knight Rayearth, Love Hina and Initial D come to mind), in recent years, TokyoPop's announcements of new Kodansha titles started to become much less frequent.

By my accounting, the last time a new Kodansha title was added to the TokyoPop roster was Tokko by Tohru Fujisawa, which made its debut in July 2008. The last time new volumes of continuing TokyoPop / Kodansha titles hit the shelves was around March 2009... Well, more or less. You get the idea. If you've the type who reads the tea leaves of the manga publishing biz, you kinda sensed that things weren't quite the same as they used to be.

Life Volume 9In recent years, Kodansha has been largely "going steady" with Del Rey Manga by giving it several of its top titles (including Fairy Tail, Negima! and Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture), allowing it to pick up titles once published by TokyoPop (Parasyte). Meanwhile, Kodansha has given Dark Horse the nod to pick up several titles by CLAMP to complement their much-anticipated "mangettes" project they're cookin' up with this manga-ka supergroup.

Kodansha's manga library is vast, and still full of riches yet to be shared with the English-reading world. Still, a moment of silence please to honor the TokyoPop titles that will now be officially out-of-print, and for those whose fate is left hanging... for now.


Title Creators Volumes Status
Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad Harold Sakuishi 34 Vol. 12 published in June 2008
Boys Be... Masahiro Itabashi 32 Vol. 17 published in August 2008
Cyborg 009 Shotaro Ishinomori 36 Vol. 10 published in March 2005
Dragon Voice Yuriko Nishiyama 11 Vol. 10 published in February 2008
GetBackers Yuya Aoki
Rando Ayamine
39 Vol. 27 published in July 2008*
GTO: The Early Years Tohru Fujisawa 15
Vol. 10 published in February 2009**
Harlem Beat / Rebound Yuriko Nishiyama 29
Vol. 18 published in December 2007***
Initial D Shuichi Shigeno 39
Vol. 33 published in December 2008 (ongoing series)
Kindaichi Case Files Yozaburo Kanari
Fumiyo Sato
17 volumes published, last in March 2008
Life Keiko Suenobu 20
Vol. 9 published in June 2008
Love Attack! Shizuru Seino 11
Vol. 6 published in March 2009

*After Volume 25, title changed to GetBackers: Infinity Fortress Volumes 1 - 2 / a.k.a. Volumes 26 - 27

**Originally a 31 volume series, GTO: The Early Years was released in double-sized omnibus volumes

***Started as Harlem Beat for first 9 volumes, then title changed to Rebound, and re-numbered as Volumes 1-18

You'll also notice that many of the series left in limbo are quite long -- several are 20 or more volumes in their entirety. If you've ever wondered why manga publishers aren't picking up many epic series of this length anymore, this might give you a clue.


Title Creators Volumes Status
Cardcaptor Sakura CLAMP 6 Dark Horse will republish as omnibus editions
Cardcaptor Sakura: Master of the Clow CLAMP 6 Dark Horse will republish as omnibus editions
Chobits CLAMP 8 Dark Horse will republish as omnibus editions
Clover CLAMP 4 Dark Horse republished as a single omnibus in 2009
Magic Knight Rayearth CLAMP 3 Dark Horse to republish omnibus editions
Magic Knight Rayearth II CLAMP 3 Dark Horse to republish omnibus editions
Parasyte Hitoshi Iwaaki 8 Republished by Del Rey Manga
Rave Master Hiro Mashima 35 Del Rey to publish Vol. 33 - 35 as a single omnibus edition in September 2010
Samurai Deeper Kyo Akimine Kamijyo 38 Vol. 34 published by TokyoPop. Del Rey Manga to publish Vol. 35/36 and Vol. 37/38 as omnibus volumes

It's pretty promising that Del Rey Manga has committed to publishing those last few volumes of Samurai Deeper Kyo so fans can finally see the end of this long-running series. But when asked if they'd be re-printing new editions of Samurai Deeper Kyo Volumes 1 - 34, the folks at Del Rey opted to stay mum on their plans.


Title Creators Volumes Status
A.I. Love You Ken Akamatsu 8 out of print
Baby Birth Sukehiro Tomita
Haruhiko Mikimoto
2 out of print
Blame! Tsutomu Nihei 10 out of print
Cherry Juice Haruka Fukushima 4 out of print
Confidential Confessions Reiko Momochi 6 out of print
Culdcept Shinya Kaneko 5 out of print
Dead End (The End) Shohei Manabe 4 out of print
Deus Vitae (D'V) Takuya Fujima 3 out of print
Dragon Head Minetaro Mochizuki 10 out of print
Dream Saga Megumi Tachikawa 5 out of print
Et Cetera Tow Nakazaki 9 out of print
FLCL Hajime Ueda 2 out of print
Girl Got Game Shizuru Seino 10 out of print
GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka Tohru Fujisawa 25 out of print
Heat Guy J Chiako Ogishima 1 out of print
Heaven!! Shizuru Seino 3 out of print
Ice Blade Tsutomu Takahashi 19 out of print
Instant Teen: Just Add Nuts Haruka Fukushima 4 out of print
Jing: King of Bandits Yuichi Kumamura 7 out of print
Juline Narumi Kakinouchi 5 out of print
Kami-Kaze Satoshi Shiki 7 out of print
Kamichama Karin Koge Donbo 7 out of print
Kedamono Damono Haruka Fukushima 3 out of print
Kilala Princess Rika Tanaka
Nao Kodaka
4 out of print
Love Hina Ken Akamatsu 14 out of print
Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi Satoru Akahori 2 out of print
Mars Fuyumi Soryo 15 out of print
Mink Megumi Tachikawa 6 out of print
Miracle Girls Nami Akimoto 9 out of print
Mobile Fighter G Gundam Hajime Yatate
Yoshiyuki Tomino
3 out of print
Mobile Suit Gundam Side Story:
The Blue Destiny
Mizuho Takayama 1 out of print
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Koichi Tokita 3 out of print
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing:
Battlefield of Pacifists
Katsuhiko Chiba
Koichi Tokita
1 out of print
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing:
Endless Waltz
Koichi Tokita 1 out of print
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing:
The Last Outpost
Koichi Tokita 3 out of print
Peach Girl
Peach Girl: Change of Heart
Miwa Ueda 18 out of print
Peach Girl: Sae's Story Miwa Ueda 3 out of print
Pixie Pop Ema Toyama 3 out of print
Planetes Makoto Yukimura 4 out of print
Le Portrait de Petite Cossette Asuka Katsura 2 out of print
Psychic Academy Aki Katsu 11 out of print
Remote Seimaru Amagi
Tetsuya Koshiba
10 out of print
Rose Hip Rose Tohru Fujisawa 4 out of print
Rose Hip Zero Tohru Fujisawa 5 out of print
Sailor Moon Naoko Takeuchi 18 out of print
Saint Tail Megumi Tachikawa 7 out of print
Sakura Taisen Ouji Hiroi
Satoru Akahori
Ikku Masa
7 out of print
Shaolin Sisters Narumi Kakinouchi
Toshiki Hirano
5 out of print
Shaolin Sisters Reborn Narumi Kakinouchi
Toshiki Hirano
4 out of print
Smuggler Shohei Manabe 1 out of print
STONe Shin-Ichi Hiromoto 2 out of print
Telepathic Wanderers Yasutaka Tsutsumi
Sayaka Yamazaki
4 out of print
Tokko Tohru Fujisawa 3 out of print
Tokyo Mew Mew Reiko Yoshida
Mia Ikumi
7 out of print
Tokyo Mew Mew Ala Mode Reiko Yoshida
Mia Ikumi
2 out of print
Tramps Like Us Yayoi Ogawa 14 out of print
Ultra Cute Nami Akimoto 9 out of print
Voices of a Distant Star Makoto Shinkai
Mizu Sahara
1 out of print
Warriors of Tao Kuwahara Shinya 4 out of print
Zodiac P.I. Natsumi Ando 4 out of print

Keep in mind, the availability of these "out of print" titles will vary. Obviously, it will be harder to find older titles, but many of the more recently released manga will likely still be available to purchase at your local comics shop, book store or online retailer -- just get 'em while you can, because TokyoPop won't be reprinting any of these anytime soon.

Did I miss a Kodansha title from TokyoPop's roster? Add your comments below and I'll update the list. I'll also update this list if/when these titles get picked up by other publishers.

UPDATE: Moved Rave Master and Dragon Voice to the "Left in Limbo" and updated volume count for Card Captor Sakura.

UPDATE 2: FLCL is indeed only 2 volumes of manga, and TokyoPop has confirmed by email that they will continue to publish The Twelve Kingdoms light novel series.

UPDATE 3: Here's a link to my report on the September TokyoPop Insider webcast, with more comments about the TokyoPop split and announcements of new and returning titles.

UPDATE 4: Del Rey Manga announced at NY Anime Festival 2009 that they will publish the remaining three volumes of Rave Master as a single 3-in-1 omnibus edition in September 2010.

Image credit: © Shuichi Shigeno, KODANSHA, © Keiko Suenobu, KODANSHA


September 1, 2009 at 2:45 am
(1) Kiri says:

Really disappointed with this even though a majority of the titles are ones I’ve either already completed or never cared for. But freakin’ BLAME! As if that thing wasn’t hard enough to find already! D: Really hoping someone else picks it up, but I think it’ll be unlikely.

September 1, 2009 at 8:43 am
(2) ms p says:

I’m a bit confused about the OOP list.

Rave Master has 2 or 3 volumes to be completed. I would have thought that it would be “left in limbo”.

Dragon Voice has 1 volume left also.

September 1, 2009 at 9:21 am
(3) manga says:

that’s interesting — according to all the sources I looked at, Dragon Head was only 10 volumes long, and TP published all 10. Same for Rave Master, which has 35 volumes and as far as I could see, all 35 were published by TP.

September 1, 2009 at 10:01 am
(4) Cipher10000 says:

Well, this change will mean a lot to tokyopop
They just lost major titles that were helping them
With their international exposure, this will affect their artists, because some of them are working for kodonsha through tokyopop. When you have an editorial change like the one tokyopop did this will happen. However, it does not say much about the other issues, kodansha’s competitors will jump on this like “shueisha”; it would benefit them to have a company like tokyopop. With American artist rising up, bring manga to the western world and proving many people wrong about the not being able to draw manga just because they are American. Nevertheless, this will not stop the manga revolution!

September 1, 2009 at 10:21 am
(5) Michelle Smith says:

Thank you for this comprehensive list! One note about the CLAMP titles: Cardcaptor Sakura is 6 volumes, as is Master of the Clow, which is where the overall total of 12 comes from. :)

September 1, 2009 at 11:48 am
(6) ms p says:


Dragon Head isn’t Dragon Voice. Dragon Head is complete. Dragon Voice has one more volume to go.

Rave Master isn’t complete. I know because I’m collecting it and have been waiting for the finish. Rave Master 32 was the last to be released. There is a solictation on Amazon for #33 but it’s a notification of availability only.

September 1, 2009 at 12:06 pm
(7) Kate says:

Is Twelve Kingdoms counted in this? Can we get some confirmation on that? They said ‘manga’ so I’m hoping that ‘light novels’ don’t count. (Poor light novels…)

September 1, 2009 at 12:11 pm
(8) Jan says:

What is the status of RG Veda?

September 1, 2009 at 2:01 pm
(9) manga says:

Hi Ms P and Michelle: thanks for your fact-checking. I went back into the list and made the edits you’ve pointed out. thanks for your eagle eyes.

Kate: My understanding of the situation is this affects all titles licensed from Kodansha — so I’d imagine it includes light novels. I can of course check, but I’m not expecting to hear otherwise.

Jan: RG Veda was originally published by Shinshokan in Japan, not Kodansha, so it’s not affected directly by this news. However, since RG Veda is a fairly old TokyoPop release, I’d imagine that they’ve let the license lapse on that particular title as well.

September 1, 2009 at 3:15 pm
(10) ms p says:

My understanding is that the light novels from Kodansha are still with Tokyopop. At least that’s what folks are saying. So 12 Kingdoms is still with TP as far as I know.

September 1, 2009 at 3:35 pm
(11) Kristen says:

The FLCL series by Ueda was only two volumes. . . Unless he began publishing more after the initial release many years back.

This isn’t the first time that Tokyopop has cut ties, or upset a publisher, though. I’m sure everyone recalls the great Kino’s Journey debacle. I hope the company learns to not burn bridges anymore.

September 1, 2009 at 4:36 pm
(12) Tim Agen says:

FLCL in print is very confusing to me. Amazon does have a listing for the 2 vol series, and I can find that one tokyopop.com too. Published in ~2003. But there is also a reissue? vol1, 2 and 3 (in March 2009) which according to amazon’s page counts, is longer than the 2 vol version published in 2003. Help? If I snag that 3 vol set, do I have the complete FLCL manga?

September 1, 2009 at 5:36 pm
(13) Tim Agen says:

I withdraw my comment! I see now that the 3 volumes released are novels, not comics. Oops!

September 1, 2009 at 9:47 pm
(14) G Clark says:

Shouldn’t Sakura Taisen be on the Left In Limbo list as well?

September 2, 2009 at 1:01 am
(15) manga says:

Sakura Taisen is one that I really couldn’t find clear info on — it looked like TokyoPop published 7 volumes — but was it really 9 volumes in Japan? I’ll have to check with TokyoPop on this one.

September 2, 2009 at 12:35 am
(16) Kyuu says:

I’m pretty sure Clover by Clamp only has 4 finished volumes…

September 2, 2009 at 1:01 am
(17) manga says:

You are correct — Clover does only have 4 volumes. That was an oversight on my part when i copy/pasted table rows. sorry!

September 2, 2009 at 1:35 am
(18) Connie says:

Thank you for this very comprehensive list! The “left in limbo” category isn’t quite as long as I thought it would be, though some of those are pretty tragic letdowns. Dragon Voice only had the one volume left, and Rave Master and Initial D have been coming out for years and were so close to completion. Initial D was one of the launch titles for Tokyopop’s “100% Authentic Manga” line, if I recall.

I thought it might be helpful to point out that the Boys Be series that Tokyopop licensed was “Boys Be… Second Season” and not the original. It’s only 20 volumes long.

September 2, 2009 at 1:58 am
(19) Torisuna says:

Dragon Voice was already dropped by Tokyopop like last fall. Before that, volumes 9 and 10 were online release only. Volume 11 was supposed to be released online. As in, several months ago. But that didn’t happen. I know, because mine’s been on Amazon preorder for going on 12 months now. As a huge fan of the series, I think I’ll be significantly more likely to see a release this way.

September 2, 2009 at 5:58 am
(20) ms p says:

hmmm… I have actual volumes of Dragon Voice #9 and #10 and was waiting for #11. Maybe it was a limited run and I was lucky enough to get books.

According to icv2, TP will continue with the light novel line. 12 Kingdoms will continue with them.

September 2, 2009 at 2:49 pm
(21) manga says:

Yes, that’s correct. TokyoPop reps confirmed via email that they will continue to publish The Twelve Kingdom novels.

Saikura Taisen is a bit of a mystery still yet, but I hope to get a little more clarity via email soon.

I hadn’t been following Dragon Voice, so it’s kind of interesting to hear that a few volumes of Dragon Voice were online only releases? That’s the first I’ve heard of that, since TokyoPop had mentioned that they weren’t planning on including Japanese licensed titles in their new online manga program. Today’s TokyoPop Insider webcast could be pretty interesting!

September 2, 2009 at 11:48 pm
(22) Torisuna says:

Sources about last year’s Duke Nukem Never postponement of DV 11 (and other victims like Beck, Initial, and Life) here:


The online only stuff was only temporary (meaning I wasted shipping fees on 9 and 10), but annoying and basically killed 11 dead at a time when bookstores were downsizing.



September 4, 2009 at 2:11 am
(23) TofuQueen says:


Shounan Jun’ai Gumi…..Kindaichi….. Sure hope someone else picks those two up; I don’t care much about any of the others but those two – !

(sigh) Guess it’s time to get to work on my Japanese skills and start hunting for tankoubon.

September 4, 2009 at 6:25 pm
(24) Spirit says:

Initial D & Getbackers. Awww. I own almost all of ID in Japanese but I was planning to collect them in English too. Maybe sure Del Rey or Dark Horse will pick it up.

And your comment about publishers avoiding long series scares me because it’s true.

September 5, 2009 at 8:23 am
(25) Yumi says:

what about “Atelier Marie and Elie”
i see that TP has included the first 2 Vol in their list.. but they has already released 4 out of 5 vol ..
so what?? does that mean they keep reprinting vol 3 & 4?? and there is some hope for 5??

September 5, 2009 at 9:54 am
(26) manga says:

Well, Atelier Marie and Elie is one I haven’t listed here because it’s a title that TokyoPop licensed from Enterbrain, not Kodansha (which is the focus of this list).

TokyoPop has not specificially mentioned their plans for releasing the next volumes of this series, but as they’ve mentioned in both of their recent TokyoPop Insider webcasts (both the August and September editions), they are announcing the return of series that are on hiatus, but on a slow and steady basis.

One thing they emphasize is that your opinions count, and so do sales. If you want that title to come back sooner than later, tell your friends about it, buy copies, etc. and send notes to TokyoPop telling them of your interest in it — these things help get it noticed.

Keep in mind that TokyoPop is a business and in a tough business environment, they had to make some tough choices. You and other fans of this series can make a difference by showing your support by buying it and talking about it. Make sense?

September 7, 2009 at 6:06 pm
(27) SR says:

I am actually furious typing this, I am raging, Yes times are tough but come on!!!! people like me who have spent, 0ver 300 or 400 collecting a 30 volume series then get left in the lurch like this!!!!

What about the people who have spent thousands on your stuff Tokyopop just to have some of their favorite series canned and buyers disregarded as ”non-proftiable” now.

I’ve got GTO sat there complete and now only ten volumes of Shonan Junai Gumi sat there with no end in sight so far just left in limbo it’s a disgrace!!!

I was looking forward to having the complete GTO Saga.

5 more volumes, that’s all i needed i mean WTH!! Toykopop, you can find time to make a DOMO manga series but leave GTO Early Years unfinshed & same with Inital D.

Howcome our money was good for all those years and not now!!!

If it’s not Tokyo pop cancelling stuff it’s DC & Marvel as well arghhh collecting comics and manga is not a enjoyable hobby anymore it’s all profit this, profit that, screw the fans and the artists etc. etc.

There’s no heart in the big companies anymore or consideration for the fans or talent that work for them.

That’s it no more money from me from now on Tokyopop you’ve blown it.

September 7, 2009 at 9:19 pm
(28) manga says:

SR: I know you’re disappointed and angry — but I hope you read the article carefully enough to realize that this was NOT TokyoPop’s decision. This development came from their Japanese licensor, Kodansha, and it was a development that had been percolating for a while.

September 7, 2009 at 6:12 pm
(29) SR says:

Also most of the blame can lie at Tokyopop’s feet for not even advertising to an acceptable standard most of those series they cancelled anyway.

Maybe people didn’t buy enough and caused money problems but at the end of the day Tokyopop didn’t bother it’s self convincing people that they should buy it.

Great blog Deb keep up the good work!

September 11, 2009 at 8:46 pm
(30) Vint Banjin says:

Cipher10000: Shueisha and Shogakukan already co-own Viz Media. Why would they let Tokyopop license stuff in the US and Canada? (They did let Tokyopop license stuff in Germany)

September 14, 2009 at 7:36 am
(31) catlover says:

I hope Magic Knight Rayearth will stay longer…all i need is one more month! Then i can buy all of the Magic knight rayearth volumes!

*prays* >,<

September 19, 2009 at 1:29 am
(32) Avery says:

I will miss shonan junai gumi…. and i am curious if anyone knows what’s going on with del rey they used to have a list 3 or 4 volumes ahead and now I can barely find out what it coming this month.

January 9, 2010 at 11:52 pm
(33) Sanny says:

Kilala princess actually is left in limbo, it was never completed by Tokyopop but the last volume came out in Spain recently. It was a run of five, I believe. Not a 100% sure since they might have split the books smaller for tokyopop, but the volume number in Japan was five. So this is actually a limbo title, instead of simply out of print.

Thought you might want to know! ^_^

August 9, 2010 at 10:25 am
(34) Book Publishers says:

Dragon Voice was already dropped by Tokyopop like last fall. Before that, volumes 9 and 10 were online release only. Volume 11 was supposed to be released online. As in, several months ago. But that didn’t happen. I know, because mine’s been on Amazon preorder for going on 12 months now. As a huge fan of the series, I think I’ll be significantly more likely to see a release this way.

August 9, 2010 at 2:53 pm
(35) Book Publishers says:

What about the people who have spent thousands on your stuff Tokyopop just to have some of their favorite series canned and buyers disregarded as ”non-proftiable” now.

September 20, 2010 at 11:56 pm
(36) me says:


all the manga i’ve ever felt obligated to buy are now out of print. it ticks me off whenever i find out i can’t complete a series evurrr. and that happens every time i try collecting a new series. it’s like i have all the time in the world, and POOF, just before i get the last one, or when ive barely started, they’re gone forever. tokyopop, stop doing this to your company. if you go like adv and geneon did, i’ll be downright sad and angry…

September 21, 2010 at 12:02 am
(37) ya says:

i think some people we have to thank for out favorite serie going out of print would have to be the jerks reading the scans online instead of actually buying a physical book and reading that instead. it ruins it for the rest of us who prefer not to read online. it’s much easier to simply take the book off a shelf right next to your bed than going on the computer and adding to your monthly bill with hours of manga-reading by looking at a bright screen that hurts your eyes and makes you wear glasses later on.

please, manga-readers… if you care about the further distribution of manga, please be a good person and buy them… or at least rent them at a library or something…

September 28, 2010 at 7:50 pm
(38) Baruman says:

@ Ya: how’s about telling Publisher to release the series faster so that legitimate buyer don’t have to wait for months for a release? Why pay for something that got delivered so late?

And you blame the on-line scanlator? You know, thanks to them, I get to finish reading several series (ya I bought them) which got shafted by publishers who drop series or leave it in limbo.

After so many disappointment, you tell me, why should I, a legit buyer, give my money to the publisher for such disservice? Now there are only 2 companies I buy from: Del Rey and Yen Press. Viz with their needless censor and all-over-the place edit on Naruto left a bad taste in my mouth. And of course, no TokyoPop for me seeing how their print quality and commitment to publish a certain series have gone horribly bad.

December 10, 2010 at 2:59 am
(39) Valiant says:

I’ve literally just started Rebound and Dragon Voice…. what do I do now? If I send an e-mail to TokyoPop will I get a reply as to how long these series will be ‘in limbo’ for?

April 6, 2011 at 6:37 pm
(40) vince says:

do you know where you can find harlem beat/ rebound manga scans? and what does “left in limbo” mean

April 7, 2011 at 12:42 am
(41) manga says:

Well, first of all, I can’t/won’t point you to Harlem Beat/Rebound scans. Sorry, in case you haven’t figured it out, those online scans are copyright violations that don’t benefit the creators of the manga you love to read.

Secondly, “left in limbo” means that these titles have remaining volumes that will not be published by TokyoPop because Kodansha has taken back the rights to publish these titles in English. It remains to be seen if Kodansha Comics will re-publish and complete these titles in English, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

June 2, 2012 at 7:43 am
(42) LaLa says:

Kodansha has begun reprinting Sailot Moon and other series as well. Although this is old news, TP did not keep their promise to continue with The Twelve Kingdoms novels. Hopefully Kodansha will being reprinting this series as well because purchasing the 4 volumes TP released has become expensive.

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