Tokyopop Manga Magazine Not Dead Yet

Princess Ai: Rumors From the Other Side

I’m running out of headlines to express my surprise whenever another issue of Tokyopop’s Manga magazine shows up. What’s not surprising, though, is that it’s even slimmer than the previous issue, with only 48 pages this time. It’s cover-dated Spring 2008 and has only three paid ad pages.

One of which is for the New York Comic Con, which starts in three days, so this release date is cutting it a little close, hmm? But I expect that they’re going to be giving away copies of this issue at their booth at the show. The other two pages are for four Funimation DVD sets corresponding to series they publish, shoved in at the very back.

Princess Ai is the cover feature. I’ve completely given up on paying attention to any project involving that character since finding out that the “creator”, “DJ Milky”, is really CEO & CCO Stuart Levy. That fact is nowhere identified in this book, by the way, which I would think would be a key fact for a journalist to reveal to avoid conflict of interest concerns, but I suspect I take the term “magazine” more seriously than the publisher does.

The first article, on the history of Lolita fashion, begins as follows:

In 1955, Russian author Vladimir Nabokov wrote a novel in English about a man obsessed with a twelve-year-old girl. … Thanks to Nabokov, “Lolita” is used now to describe any sexually desirable or promiscuous young girl — an innocent who is not quite uncorrupted or uncorruptable.

Princess Ai: Rumors From the Other Side

It quickly moves away from this subject, but what’s the target age group for this free giveaway again?

Then come three light novel excerpts, given very little context, and then the cover feature starts: page reprints from the book Princess Ai: Rumors From the Other Side, which came out last month. It’s a collection of stories by other creators based on the Weekly World News tabloid. The article ends “it’s just one piece of the ever-growing Princess Ai franchise.” And that’s supposed to be enticing to readers?

The rest of the magazine is solicitation material for other titles and an excerpt from J-Pop Idol, the “first printed edition anywhere in the world” of a “mobile phone manga”. The notes keep quoting “the editor” without ever identifying him/her. Weird.

But then, so is the whole project these days. I shouldn’t be so harsh on it, really — I’m just left confused by what this was promised to be and what it wound up as. For comparison, Viz has its for-sale anthologies to promote its titles. Few American publishers do anything similar. I guess it’s admirable that this is still coming out.

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