Tokyopop in Trouble: More Cancellations, Including Aria

Well, that answers that question. I’m having a hard time finding Aria 4 because Tokyopop has given up on the series, along with others.

Commenter Sebastian pointed out that Diamond’s latest cancellation list includes a number of just-solicited books.

DEC084265 ARIA GN VOL 05 4
DEC084271 CAUSE OF MY TEACHER GN 4
JAN094444 DEMON FLOWERS GN VOL 05 4
JAN094443 DEMON SACRED GN VOL 01 4
SEP084286 DOT HACK SIGN MANGA NOVEL SPECIAL ED 4
JAN094447 ELEMENTAL GELADE GN VOL 11 4
DEC084256 GET BACKERS INFINITY FORTRESS GN VOL 03 4
JAN094449 INITIAL D GN VOL 34 4
JAN094445 JYU OH SEI GN VOL 03 4
JAN094448 KING OF HELL GN VOL 23 4
JAN094455 LOVE HURTS AISHIATTERU FUTARI GN 4
DEC084261 SPEED GRAPHER MANGA GN VOL 03 4
DEC084269 TACTICS GN VOL 08 4
JAN094436 THIS UGLY YET BEAUTIFUL WORLD VOL 01 4
JAN094450 TSUKUYOMI MOON PHASE GN VOL 13 4
JAN094441 VB ROSE GN VOL 06 4

That code 4 means “Cancelled by Publisher”. The Dec08 and Jan09 codes means that these books were just offered in the last couple months. Either Tokyopop has switched to a strategy of “let’s throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks”, or they’re in worse shape than I suggested, to change their mind so quickly.

Is this more fallout of Borders’ financial problems? The book chain used to be a huge supporter of manga but has obviously cut back purchasing. Or is it just evidence of the decline of the publisher that’s been predicted for the last couple of years?

Similar Posts: What’s Up With Tokyopop? New Book Unavailable § Aria Manga Out Loud Podcast Our Entry in the Manga Moveable Feast § Tokyopop Deals § Good Comics Out December 29: Aria Returns, Diamond Video § Tokyopop Releases Digital Yaoi Through eManga

52 Comments

  1. Ed Sizemore

    This means I have to bug Del Rey about acquiring the licenses to both Yotsuba and Aria now. Ali K is going run every time he sees me.

  2. See if they’ll pick up Kindaichi and Beck while you’re at it? Who knows what could be achieved if people knew these titles actually existed…

  3. Of those, the only one I follow is Aria…I’m not sure whether that’s evidence for or against the wisdom of canceling those particular books…

  4. Oh, and I’d certainly buy Yotsuba, Aria and Kindaichi from Del Ray if they did acquire the licenses. Yotsuba and Aria I might even be willing to buy again if they restarted from the beginning (which would make the third time for Aria)…Kindaichi, probably not since there would be so many volumes before it caught up.

  5. Joshua, I feel the same way. Every time I see one of these lists, there’s only one title I read, but it’s usually one I really really like. I figure that the other titles have their own fans who feel similarly. More to the point, it sete up a self-fulfilling prophecy, where people don’t buy the books for fear of this happening again. Also, it surprises me that last month and the month before, they were planning to publish them. That’s an awfully rapid change of heart/plans.

  6. That has to be fallout from the Diamond policy change.

    A little basic math and a quick look at the Top 300 GN sales for any month will show that if you are below 250, then the numbers just do not meet Diamond’s new minimum.

    Look for more of this ‘cost cutting’ as publishers scramble to stay afloat with their already uphill climb getting just a little steeper.

    Bill
    LSP

  7. If that was the case, then wouldn’t they just merit a “3″, and be cancelled by Previews? That’s generally what happens to items Previews opts to pass over due to low orders…. I’ve seen many dvd’s get this notice, but still turn up at other retailers.

    These look to have been cancelled by Tokyopop directly, which paints a different picture….. checking Amazon, Jyu Oh Sei vol.3 now has a June date but should of been April, though Tactics and TUYBW’s dates remain unchanged. I wonder what it all means?

  8. [...] site, there’s news that Tokyopop cancelled some just solicited books — see story here.  Full list over there (I really hope Jyu-Oh-Sei is just delayed but we’ll see, won’t [...]

  9. I wonder if they’re ever going to finish the Dark Crystal prequel and Return to Labyrinth.

  10. [...] traductor para el mercado norteamericano, alemán y británico. Pues hoy surgen malas noticias vía CWR ya que tal parece se van a cancelar los siguientes títulos: ARIA, Sensei no Jijou (Cause of my [...]

  11. As for your troubles finding ARIA #4 – It was reported that they underestimated sales based on volumes 1-3 and did not print enough for demand. (Presumably people who bought ADV volumes did not double-dip.) That doesn’t mean they gave up, and if there is demand, they’ll just do a reprint.

  12. Yes, we’re talking about Tokyopop’s response on the other post. I’m not quite as certain as you are that a reprint is likely, especially given #5′s cancellation.

  13. NO! I adore VB Rose. How sad :(

    To Kelson: Return to Labyrinth is still coming out, but it was pushed back to May 09 due to delays with the story and art:

    http://www.gobblin.net/2008/10/22/an-overdue-update/

  14. Mark: More Kindaichi! Yes! I found myself going on a Kindaichi spree lately and re-reading all my volumes. Otherwise, I’m rather surprised at the apparent Initial D hiatus. I thought the manga was popular enough, despite everything.

  15. From the above list, I am the most disappointed about V.B. Rose. :( I hope they will set another release date soon.

  16. [...] over Diamond’s latest cancellation list, Johanna Draper Carlson catches Tokyopop de-listing sixteen books (Sorry Aria fans, but the fifth volume’s among the [...]

  17. [...] the other hand… Johanna Draper Carlson lists the titles that Tokyopop has cancelled from Previews. Much is being made of this, and I have an [...]

  18. I hope that they won’t eventually cancel my favorites. Perhaps they’ll focus on the best titles instead? *crosses fingers*

  19. [...] Comics Worth Reading posted a list of cancelled Tokyopop titles, but as I pointed out earlier, that list reflects cancelled solicitations, not cancelled series. I [...]

  20. Mangablog.net says they e-mailed Marco Pavia (Tokyopop’s head of marketing). Mr. Pavia is reporting that these titles are just having their release dates changed and will be released at some time. Apparently they are trying to slow down between volume releases. I’m really gald, because I love V.B. Rose!

  21. “Apparently they are trying to slow down between volume releases.”

    Which is also often a sign they have no new series to replace their currently existing series when they end. I’m amazed they’ve drawn out Fruits Basket as long as they have. But drawing out release dates is often a necessity for any ailing company.

    Just reading between the lines . . .

  22. Ed Sizemore

    Rivkah,

    I’m worried about the future of Tokyopop too. In the current Previews they only solicited for 10 books total. I remember when they use to publish 10-15 books a week. At their height, they were introducing 10 new series a month to their roster. I wonder if they can survive the downsizing. It’s a real shame so much of their back catalog is out of print. They published a lot of great series and I hate that gems like Cardcaptor Sakura aren’t currently available for the next generation of manga fans.

  23. [...] later in the year to bear this code, which is why I find Tokyopop’s explanation about their recent cancellations, that they’re just balancing their schedule, a little [...]

  24. [...] This economy thing is really bringing me down.  I’m an adult female who enjoys teen manga and apparently this doesn’t fall under the new stimulus plan.  Here’s a breakdown of some of Tokyopop’s cancellations. [...]

  25. [...] it too hard, I’ll get writer’s block.) It’ll be interesting to see which of the cancelled titles eventually come out when, but so long as we get the promised continuation of Aria with book 5 in [...]

  26. I see in addition to the beloved ARIA… that Tsukuyomi Moon Phase vol 13 is begin chopped…

    At some point I’m going to give up on english-translations completely and just pick up the japanese only because of this unreliability.

    Guess I need to get up-to-date on my japanese TMP series.

    Oh, and I believe Yen Press has picked up the most excellent Yotstubato and is supposed to release the next volume this fall. Obviously check their website for updates.

  27. blargh.. sorry about the typos — it looked fine when I hit “send” .. :P

    Time to troop over to my preferred “order from Japan” site I guess…..

  28. [...] Blogger Johanna Draper Carlson points out that Tokyopop has canceled solicitations for 16 [...]

  29. [...] hoping that Tokyopop continues the series. But even if they don’t, the last story, featuring all the characters celebrating a fireworks [...]

  30. It seems those who are saying these books were postponed, not cancelled, may be right – I just got an email from Amazon saying they had a new delivery date for Tactics 8 and I should get it by April 23. So it was pushed back by about 6 weeks… Hopefully the same will happen with Aria 5 and VB Rose 6.

  31. I sure hope so. But since I can’t find any mention of Aria 5 on Tokyopop’s website, I’m guessing it won’t be soon. :)

  32. [...] searched, I was unable to locate the 4th volume of Aria. Google frightened me a bit when I read on this site that Tokyopop had dropped the series altogether. Upon more research, I found that the series was [...]

  33. I recently heard of cancellations going on at Tokyopop, as they are downsizing their less popular books all over. It happened to Brandon Graham, creator of King City, and the thing is they wont give up publishing rights to the books. So it’s rather doubtful that any of these books will see new publishers.

  34. Kevin Lighton

    IronCrane: Most or all of the titles on this list are Japanese titles, so Tokyopop only has translation and publication rights for a limited time. Eventually, they’ll become available for some other company to pick up and publish.

    In the case of original titles like King City, Tokyopop’s contracts gave them partial ownership of the titles, so they can effectively stop anyone from publishing them as long as they exist (or longer; I really have no idea how things would work out if Tokyopop goes under).

  35. Kevin Lighton Says:
    “IronCrane: Most or all of the titles on this list are Japanese titles, so Tokyopop only has translation and publication rights for a limited time. Eventually, they’ll become available for some other company to pick up and publish.”

    So Erica Sakurazawa’s The Aromatic Bitters vol. 2 and Angel vol. 3 (Angel Town), Mari Okazaki’s Suppli vol. 4-7, Mitsukazu Mihara’s The Embalmer vol. 5, etc. could come out in English after all? :D

  36. [...] know there has been a lot of speculation about vol. 5 of Aria, so when I got this news I figured I’d pass it along right away: [...]

  37. I sure i speak for many when i say that if you spent the kind of money that we have spent to read a story then we deserve to read the ending…. I love the getbackers it breaks my heart to not know what happens next.

  38. I just don’t understand why they cut a popular series like Get Backers

  39. Phillip Temple

    Joanna-
    I’d love to get your opinion on the TokyoPop-Kondansha (sp) situation..It seems
    that (as a friend of mine once said), the three-legged dog is about
    to get another leg kicked out from under. It also goes back to the heart
    of the ‘pacts’ that TokyoPop had new creators sign. “TP can still take
    your sweat and blood and include your books as an asset to be sold
    to anyone that wants to buy TP, if and when it should fail,” as a lawyer
    friend of mine says.

    Hmm.

    I was watching the TV show “Shark Tank”
    the other night, and the mentality on display by the Sharks…hm.
    Any aspiring creators should watch this show to see how businesspersons
    look at the work of creative endeavors..It is simply product to be sold
    for money. Not saying all business folks deal this way, but..
    You have to know what you’re dealing with, and what you gain/lose
    when you sign a business contract, what your rights mean,
    now and in the future.. Be prepared and read a contract..

    VERY

    VERY

    CAREFULLY.. you can’t be overprepared in this area, I think..

  40. I believe Tokyopop when they say they knew about Kodansha no longer working with them a while back and they prepared for it. Tokyopop’s had its problems, but they are still one of the better US manga companies when it comes to marketing and getting word out about their books. Plus, their titles are in demand. I don’t think they’re going anywhere for a while.

  41. Phillip Temple

    Thank you for your reply, Joanna.

    I do believe that this economy will shake out a few more companies before all’s said and done. As per manga companies, though, I can think of TP, Viz, off the top of my head..(There must be more! I hope not too many are lost!)

    If Kodansha moves into the US Market, which seems to be their direction and intention, I’d say they become a big fish in a small niche pool. (This is just my uninformed opinion-) I know
    I’ve seen TokyoPop in the direct market, and also in Barnes&Noble..Borders..Of the two, I’d guess that the big chains
    would mean the bigger volume, hence, bigger $$.
    If TP is ready, how would they plan to meet Kodansha in the
    marketplace? Only way I could see that happening if TP boosted their production with some BIG sellers and covered both direct market and bookstores, and internet also.

    (As an aside, I did read that some institutional bookstores are looking real hard at print-on-demand as a technology/distribution tool..If that catches on, how would such a distribution tool/delivery system rearrange the current book delivery system
    continnum?)

    And just how the heck would a manga look on a Kindle handheld?
    What’s up with that?!!??

    Sorry..I just have a lot of questions…lol

  42. Other manga companies include Del Rey (part of Random House), CMX (part of DC Comics), Vertical, Yen Press, Digital Manga (mostly yaoi), Aurora (on hiatus currently, it seems), plus the comic publishers that put out a few manga titles, like Drawn & Quarterly and NBM. In my opinion, Kodansha may have missed their window for easy establishment of a U.S. manga company. Many bookstores now are cutting back on trying new manga titles as they run out of shelf space.

  43. “Only way I could see that happening if TP boosted their production with some BIG sellers”

    The problem would be, where would they find them? Part of Tokyopop’s decline, I think, is that without an inside track with a big Japanese publisher, like Viz, Del Rey and now Kodansha US have, they don’t have an edge when it comes to acquiring titles, and the competition’s increased.

  44. Johanna Says:

    “Other manga companies include Del Rey (part of Random House), CMX (part of DC Comics), Vertical, Yen Press, Digital Manga (mostly yaoi), Aurora (on hiatus currently, it seems), plus the comic publishers that put out a few manga titles, like Drawn & Quarterly and NBM…”

    Del Rey doesn’t seem to belong in the “manga companies” category any more than Drawn & Quarterly or NBM belongs there. It’s a science fiction and fantasy company/imprint of Random House that publishes novels by Terry Brooks, Harry Turtledove, etc. and puts out some manga titles too. Personally, I remember seeing the Del Rey imprint on some of the non-comic-book science fiction I read even years before I knew what manga was. :)

  45. Phillip Temple

    Joanna-

    hm..not too many manga publishers.. It may be that manga, by itself, may not be enough to sustain a publishing house,
    especially in this horrendous economic time, and yet..

    I have noticed that my local Barnes&Noble is doing this as well, being very tight on doing the “new books vs. shelf space” dance.
    When I asked the clerk about new books and promotion, she said it’s partly corporate, and partly store mgr input. I asked how could the store do that weird dance between keeping new books and keeping some books that aren’t so new, but still popular, given the public’s thirst for new books, and on, and on..

    She responded, with a grin, that when I worked that out, to go ahead and open my own bookstore…Cheeky lass…lol

  46. Ali T. Kokmen

    Hsifeng writes:

    “Del Rey doesn’t seem to belong in the “manga companies” category any more than Drawn & Quarterly or NBM belongs there. It’s a science fiction and fantasy company/imprint of Random House that publishes novels by Terry Brooks, Harry Turtledove, etc. and puts out some manga titles too.”

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, I disagree ;-)

    “Del Rey” is indeed the name of Random House’s long-lived and well-known science-fiction and fantasy book publishing imprint.

    That notwithstanding, Random House has for the past five years also published manga under the imprint name “Del Rey Manga.” I don’t particularly pay attention to such things, but Del Rey Manga has been called the U.S.’s third largest manga publisher, which distinction may still be accurate. In any case, it’s not the case that the manga published by Del Rey Manga are somehow just incidental titles that the publisher happens to put out. Del Rey Manga is an actual publishing program dedicated to manga; just one that exists under the corporate umbrella of Random House, Inc. (under which umbrella also exists the sibling Del Rey science-fiction/fantasy imprint.)

    All that aside, to the extent that the point is that it can be difficult to determine what exactly defines a manga publisher, then I don’t disagree. There are plenty of publishers who have published a book or two that can be considered manga, but who you wouldn’t necessarily think of as a manga publisher. (Similarly, there are plenty of publishers who have published comics/graphic novels and yet probably wouldn’t come up in anyone’s immediate list of graphic novel publishers.)

    But Del Rey Manga? Yeah, we’re a manga publisher.

  47. Has anyone else noticed that the Tokyopop manga is now thinner (thinner paper)?

  48. Kyoko honda

    ya i haven’t noiticed but the econemy is really bad so that sound right about correct that they wouldn’t want to spend too much money. Or mabey its just you but i got no clue.

  49. Phillip Temple

    I suppose the question now is: “Will a form of Tokyopop survive at all?

  50. Tokyopop’s made a lot of smart moves, including reaching out to fans and journalists in cost-effective (i.e. cheap, online) ways. There are other companies I expect to see disappear before Tokyopop does.

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