It’s been all over the internet for almost a full week now, but in case you’re a manga fan who hasn’t heard: TOKYOPOP is done publishing manga. Head guy Stu Levy is going to concentrate on the film division instead, something I won’t even start to get into at this point. Instead, I’d like to take some time remembering my old high school friend.
The first manga I ever owned was Cardcaptor Sakura, the little, flipped version that came out just as TOKYOPOP was finishing calling itself MIXX. It was the beginning for me; TOKYOPOP introduced me to so many wonderful manga, Mars, Fake, countless other CLAMP series. It helped solidify friendships I had as we bought different series and swapped books around; and I gained new friends through it. And it was something that I could fall into and love while actually not caring that it made me just a little different than everybody else.
I was excited with every new thing they did: unflipped manga, Rising Stars of Manga. I remember when their library was small enough that they could afford a description of each title on the inside cover of books. I cheered for them when the list became longer, taking up a full page, two pages, and eventually becoming too big to even fit in a volume.
Like with many friends, I grew away from TOKYOPOP. I found VIZ, and Del Rey, and they were starting to do more interesting things than my old buddy. I still kept tabs, buying a new volume of Rave Master or Saiyuki. I turned my nose at some of the things they did: they ruined the website! And what is with that giant red dot? We kept losing touch over the years. I came back to them recently with The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko. They changed up the look of the books, getting classier. I was realizing they had come out with some neat stuff over the last couple years. I was ready to go back and hang out with my old friend.
And then they were gone. Poof – no more of the TOKYOPOP that I knew. And while I still have those new friends I made – Vertical, Yen Press, maybe soon Kodansha – I have an empty feeling somewhere in my chest.
Goodbye, TOKYOPOP. I’ll miss you, friend. I wish you didn’t have to go.