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I have recently developed the urge to give people who say crap like "we should boycott Tokyopop!" and "Tokyopop must be stopped!" a sound slapping.

They obviously haven't been interested in manga for very long to come out with tripe like that.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 19th, 2006 05:09 pm (UTC)
Am I gonna see stupid if I ask what's happened with Tokyopop?
Mar. 19th, 2006 05:44 pm (UTC)
Nah, it's not like I went into vast detail. When I do that I end up ranting. :P So here's a response in two parts (it's long...).

A long time ago (back when I was 16, so 6 years ago), manga was HUGELY expensive. There were only really a few publishers out there: Viz, Mixx, Dark Horse and Studio Ironcat. Viz released the majority of the manga, and each manga cost £12.99. As a result, collecting manga was a vastly expensive hobby.

Dark Horse for the most part only did American comics and a few manga (they've now acquired Trigun and a few others).

Studio Ironcat went under after it was revealed they weren't actually paying any of their staff...

Mixx's manga were iffy with the translations, but they were actually very slightly cheaper than Viz.

All the publishers used 'flipped' formats - which is to say, instead of reading the manga right to left in the Japanese style like we do now, they took the original manga and simply mirrored it so you could read like left to right English style. As a result, one of my Evangelion manga has Shinji holding up his left hand and calling it his right. If you wanted to pay about £2-£3 more, you could buy Viz's 'Special Editions', which... weren't flipped. The price hike made NO sense, as you'll see below.

It then transpired that Viz didn't actually have any legal rights to release their manga in the UK; it was all grey-market and everything. So all their books promptly vanished from UK stores (I can only get X/1999 from Amazon even now).

So for a while, there was metaphorical darkness. Then Mixx decided to get their act together. They regrouped, called themselves Tokyopop and started releasing new manga. A short while after, they decided 'to hell with flipping the manga' and took a BIG gamble releasing it like it is now.

It was a big gamble because Viz had, for a long time, thought that UK and US markets would hate reading it the Japanese way. (Ignoring the fact that people who were buying manga at the time were mostly people who were interested in Japanese culture and language, since it wasn't anywhere near as mainstream as it is now.)

It paid off. Tokyopop became really, really popular (as you can tell now from most manga stalls).

But the biggest thing they did was, by not spending extra money on flipping it, they were able to drop the prices. So we went from being able to pay £12.99 for one manga, to £6.50-£6.99. Which I'm sure you'll agree is a LOT better. :D

Also, because of their abrupt re-emergence and sudden cornering of the market, a lot of other manga companies began to come out of the woodwork. As a result, the market began to expand with other publishers entering the fray: even ADV's breaking into the market (very nicely too I might add, they have some of the best presented and translated titles).

Seeing Tokyopop's rapid success, Viz have been trying to emulate them - I now have 9 books of X/1999 and three books of Utena at one size, and two more of each at the Tokyopop standard size, which looks fucking terrible on my shelf. :(

...see next comment for continuation. :P
Mar. 19th, 2006 05:44 pm (UTC)
Second part!...

As to Tokyopop's success... They do things like this: there's a manga called Clover, which in Japan is released with a soft mostly-transparent dust jacket with green detailing, two colour pages on expensive paper at the front and two at the back, and wholly a beautiful style of presentation. I bought the fourth book first, it was too lovely to resist. Then I became mortally terrified it'd end up butchered like most other manga that got released at the time. But instead, all Tokyopop did was flip it and translate it. Every single ounce of presentation was left as it was - for the same price as any other manga on the shelves. It was pretty incredible really.

So no one should boycott Tokyopop. They're responsible for one of the biggest price drops in manga ever! Not to mention that for the most part they have great translation (Saiyuki being a stunning example), even if they do have some bad ones (Pita Ten, which still is only on a par with the appalling localisation Viz decided to do in X/1999, which put me off finishing the series...).

I can't hate a company that has enabled me to basically buy two manga for the price of one and publishes the majority of my complete favourite titles. Anyone who wants them to go down the pan obviously wants a lot of wonderful titles to be pulled from the shelves for no reason other than their own little minds and lack of understanding of how things were...

So... pretty long answer, but that's it, basically. They lowered prices, increased the market appeal and encouraged more companies to begin releasing manga. Is that really such a terrible thing? O.o
Mar. 19th, 2006 06:03 pm (UTC)
Doesn't sound bad at all... so why do people think it IS a bad thing? What ar eyou missing out? Lol

And yes, a friend of mine had an obsession with Clover and after having looked at all four books (in the 'correct order') I can confirm the books are beautiful :) Not seen any of the others, but I agree that Tokyopop doesn't seem to have done much. I'm glad I don't have much to do with the manag "community" but just quietly enjoy it when I can, lol

I need more manga actually... my collection is pretty sparse. Infact, I actually need money... now, where to get some from...
Mar. 19th, 2006 06:47 pm (UTC)
Oh, I don't have much to do with the manga community either. :P

I got sick of the squabbling, the 'OMG yaoi / yuri / het relationships is / are evil!' bullshit, and the rabid pairing of any male character and the ensuing bashing of the female charaters because they were 'in the way of so / so TWU LUV!' and gods know what else...

I'd say at least half my collection is published by Tokyopop, but I've got books by Viz, Dark Horse, Ironcat, DMP, Broccoli, ADV Manga, CPM Manga and one rather weird one by Yacom / Dreamarts (who were publishing manhwa - Korean manga - way before anyone else was). I don't care who publishes it so long as the story is good, the translation doesn't make me want to gouge my eyes out and the art is pretty. ^^;

If you need any recommendations, I think I've got books in most genres out there. ^^; Just have to say what kinda stories / artwork you're liking. :)
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