When TokyoPop announced that they'd be shutting the doors on their North American manga publishing operations last month, there were a few lingering questions that were left unanswered.
- What about the Japanese manga series that were left unfinished?
- What about the rights to the original graphic novels that TokyoPop published (and never finished in print), like East Coast Rising by Becky Cloonan, Me2 by Sho Murase and many, many more left in limbo?
- What about all the manga that TokyoPop published in the past that's probably in some warehouse somewhere?
Question #3 was answered when TP announced their Garage Sale in early May, and subsequently announced that they'd be holding another blow-out liquidation sale of manga and memorabilia at the AM2 anime con at the Anaheim Convention Center from July 1 - 3, 2011.
Question #2 remains unanswered -- but fans finally got a response to Question #1 on TokyoPop's Facebook page today:
It's been a while since we've commented on the status of all the titles that are left unfinished or unpublished. Just so you know, we're still reading all of your comments and want to explain a few things."
"Our general absence on Facebook hasn't gone unnoticed, but it's mainly due to the fact that we were looking for answers to all of your questions too! Shutting down a publishing company like TOKYOPOP isn't exactly pulling a plug out of a wall, so please understand that it might take a little bit longer than usual before we get to your questions."
"Secondly, we're very grateful that even in these hard times, our fans still stand behind us. Of course, there are some rants here and there ... but we can't blame you for being emotional; so are we. It means a lot to us to still receive fan mail on a daily base and read all of your comments here in Facebook. It's good to know that even when TOKYOPOP is gone, the community will still remain."
"Thirdly, the unfinished/unpublished titles. What is going to happen to them? To be honest: it's out of our hands now. The licenses belong to the original Japanese creators, so it's up to them what to do with the series. They might pull the plug on some series, or find another publishing company to complete their series. The best thing that you can do is keep supporting the original creators, hoping that they'll here your cries like we did so many years ago."
"If you have any questions, we will try to answer as many of them as possible. We're here, we're listening and we're answering ..."
If I'm reading TokyoPop's letter correctly, it's up to you to plead your case with the remaining North American manga publishers to pick up these now up-for-grabs titles, and convince them that it'll be worth their while to pick up their now abandoned titles (e.g. that it'll sell enough copies to justify their investment if they spend the time/money to pick up the license to publish it in English again.)
I posed this question on Twitter, but I'll throw it out there again for posterity: which unfinished TokyoPop series would you most passionately want to see picked up by another publisher? Many of you tweeted a long list of worthy titles like V.B. Rose, Aria, Silver Diamond, Vassalord, Suppli and Future Diary -- but here's your chance to make your case to your fellow fans, and maybe a publisher or two who are looking for your tips on which former TokyoPop manga series matters most to you. Add your comments below, and let's see where this goes.
Image credits: © TOKYOPOP, © Becky Cloonan / TOKYOPOP, © 2008 Hidekaz Himaruya / GENTOSHA COMICS INC.