New York Anime Festival 2009

by Carlo Santos,

Panelists: Lillian Diaz-Przybyl, Kasia Piekarz

Tokyopop's panel at NYAF 2009 was simultaneously webcast to online viewers. However, due to technical difficulties, editor Lillian Diaz-Przybyl opened up the floor to questions first. One attendee asked about the recent change to thinner, duller paper stock (which was done to allow more flexibility with reprints); this new choice of paper was negatively received and so Tokyopop's releases will be returning to higher-quality paper starting in October 2009.

The main portion of the panel began with some trailer videos featuring current titles including Chibi Vampire, Princess Ai: The Prism of Midnight Dawn, and Domo-kun. It was also mentioned that the movie adaptation of Min-Woo Hyung's manhwa Priest is due out in 2010. In addition, a new Priest series, Priest: Purgatory, comes out in July 2010. Another new title, The Cabin in the Woods, arrives in February 2010 and is based on the upcoming film by Joss Whedon. Also based on a movie is the graphic novel adaptation of Shutter Island, due out in January.

For Fruits Basket fans, new releases include the Fruits Basket: Banquet fanbook, due in May 2010, while Fruits Basket: Ultimate Edition will continue after a brief hiatus with Volume 4 in January 2010 and Volume 5 in June. Another Natsuki Takaya work, a collection of early short stories titled Songs and Laughter, comes out in May 2010.

The .hack franchise continues with .hack//Link's first volume arriving in August 2010. Other new titles from Japan include superhero spoof Ratman by Comic Party creator Inui Sekihiko in May 2010, and fanservice-laden action series Qwasar Stigmata in August 2010.

Meanwhile, Jim Henson-based properties Legends of the Dark Crystal and Return to Labyrinth will see their final volumes released in August of next year. Fans of Blizzard video games can also look forward to titles such as Warcraft: Death Knight in December 2009, Warcraft: Mage in June 2010, and other one-shot volumes based on the individual character classes.

In the boy's-love BLU line, upcoming releases for current series include Junjo Romantica Vol. 12 in April 2010, You will drown in Love Vol. 2 in May 2010, and Voice or Noise Vol. 3 in August 2010. The first half of the year will also see a number of new one-shot volumes including including Croquis by Hinako Takanaga, Blood Honey, Love Knot, Cute Demon, and Love Story in the Isolated Island.

The recent restructuring of Tokyopop has left some fans concerned about the fate of their favorite series, but several series are now back on track for publication. The upcoming release schedule includes: Aria Vol. 5 in November 2009, tactics Vol. 8 in January 2010, V.B. Rose Vol. 8 and Pick of the Litter Vols. 5-6 in May 2010, as well as Elemental Gelade Vol. 12 and Suppli Vol. 4 in July 2010.

At this point the panel was opened up to further questions, mostly about individual series. Original Tokyopop series Van Von Hunter has been adapted into a film and will be ready for a "friends and family" screening soon. Manga Sutra (Futari Ecchi), which has had four volumes released so far in premium format, has been struggling due to low sales and high production costs. Diaz-Przybyl said that Manga Sutra "may come out eventually, but not sure in what form." The Scrapped Princess novels have also been on hiatus to due high translation costs, and there is no firm decision yet as to what will happen with this series. Lastly, when asked about the publisher's various media tie-ins, Diaz-Przybyl noted that original Tokyopop adaptations of other works comprise about 15-20% of the publisher's catalog.

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