Tokyopop News: Insider Webcast September 2

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I’m attending the Tokyopop online press conference and sharing my notes with you. (I previously attended a similar presentation in July.)

Lillian Diaz-Przybyl again moderated — good to see a friendly face. They opened with this Deadman Wonderland manga trailer.

This new title was created by the team behind Eureka Seven, Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou. Volume 1 of 4 is on sale February 2, 2010.

Deadman Wonderland splash

Deadman Wonderland splash

Hanako and the Teller of Allegory

Hanako and the Teller of Allegory is an earlier series by Sakae Esuno (Future Diary) and will be out March 2, also four volumes.

There are more .hack items coming out.

.hack Announcements

.hack Announcements

This Ugly Yet Beautiful World features a guy with a “hot chick” appearing in his backyard.

This Ugly Yet Beautiful World art sample

This Ugly Yet Beautiful World art sample

Remember is a new color graphic novel from Benjamin, who did Orange for them. Out February 2.

Remember art samples by Benjamin

Remember art samples by Benjamin

Then came a trailer for CSI: Intern at Your Own Risk and mention of Warcraft: Death Knight, out December 1, drawn by a new artist (“this is her first major manga”). If you like the game and want to learn more, they say, buy this.

They are also releasing three StarCraft: Ghost Academy volumes starting in January. (These books, it seemed to me that they were mostly speaking to those who already knew the properties/games.)

After that came the announcement of returning titles:

  • Suppli book 4
  • Pick of Litter book 5
  • Monochrome Factor book 5
  • Never Give Up book 9
  • Nosatsu Junkie book 7
  • Satisfaction Guaranteed book 8
  • King of Hell book 23

No dates given. Lillian said, “The best way to show your love for series is to get your friends to read them and raise sales.”

When asked about the possibility of the Rising Stars program returning, the answer boiled down to “probably not”, due to it being a lot of work for a smaller company. Although they are always accepting submissions and looking for artists on things like the CSI book.

There aren’t a lot of plans for Queen’s Knight right now. (I asked this for tangognat.) Korean manhwa has a lot of trouble making inroads in the U.S. That art style didn’t catch on, although the book was a favorite in the company. But INVU 5 is coming out in November. (Someone from the audience later brought up that Yen Press seems to do fine with manhwa, but Lillian pointed out that they’re part of a huge publisher and have connections that bring them the best of the best, plus she’s not sure just how well it actually does.)

There will be more Fruits Basket bindups now that the series is done. The manga retail landscape is crowded. It’s difficult to get stores to keep older titles on the shelves, but omnibus volumes are a way to get the early volumes back on the shelves. Probably not more coming for Kare Kano, though.

A couple more series were asked about that I missed, sorry. (And I’m horrible at spelling manga I hear properly.) No classic manga series have been acquired recently. Audience is driven by “what’s new and what’s hot, the latest and greatest from Japan”. That’s the company’s current focus.

Aria returns in November with book 5 (announced at last insider). They take into account our opinions when people say on the web “we love this and want it back”, although they can’t do everything.

It’s a shame they’ve lost Kodansha because they had a few series close to completion. But it’s not really a surprise; it affects the company minimally. Writing’s been on the wall for a while.

They’re focusing on successes and things that will do well, so books that are coming back fit in that category. New series are things they’re excited about and really believe in.

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