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By otakuman5000 On 20 Apr, 2011 At 02:15 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, News | With 2 Comments

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After years of bringing Manga to so many Americans TOKYOPOP Closes its doors.

On Friday, April 15, 2011, Stu Levy, the founder of the manga publisher TOKYOPOP, announced in a personal message that the company will close its Los Angeles publishing division. TOKYOPOP’s German office will continue operation, and the company’s film division will remain open.

While this is disheartening news to many fans, it comes as little surprise to those who have been watching TOKYOPOP over recent years. TOKYOPOP lost many of its titles when their Kodansha licenses lapsed in 2009, and just last February the company laid off a number of people. The company was also affected by the book selling chain Borders filing for bankruptcy, as the chain was unable to pay money owed to the publisher.

Magic Knight Rayearth published under MIXX Manga

TOKYOPOP opened in 1997 under the name MIXX, starting with now-classic series like Sailor Moon and Magic Knight Rayearth. The company helped bring female fans into the realm of manga and comics, and also pioneered many other initiatives like OEL (original English language) manga, cine-manga, and, something that all fans find necessary now, un-flipped manga.

TOKYOPOP will end production of manga on May 31, 2011. There have been no announcements made about what will happen with the manga the company currently has licensed, and many fans remain worried over what will become of series that remain unfinished in English, like Hetalia and The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko (recently reviewed on Real Otaku Gamer).

The next big project for TOKYOPOP is the film-adaptation of the Korean manhwa Priest, which will be released in theaters on May 13, 2011. The film is a product of TOKYOPOP’s film division. TOKYOPOP has also created an online documentary series called America’s Greatest Otaku, searching for the greatest otaku in America. Stu Levy also recently announced that he will be traveling to Miyagi prefecture in Japan to make a new documentary on the effects of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.