90% Authentic Manga?
TOKYOPOP has rapidly become one of my favorite publishers. I never personally had any big gripe against them like so many other fans, but in the past year TOKYOPOP has done an amazing job licensing and releasing a significant number of my favorite titles.
Two years ago, would anyone have believed that both Kodomo no Omocha and Marmalade Boy would be released in North America unflopped and unedited?
No, no one believed that would ever happen; in fact those two titles were listed as prime examples as titles (both the Anime and the Manga) that would never get licensed.
Well, they also happen to be two of my favorite titles, along with GTO, Love Hina and of course Cowboy Bebop. So it's no surprise that I like TOKYOPOP given the fact that they're releasing so many of my favorites in a very unaltered form.
Now, let's not be ignorant of the fact that one of the reasons that TOKYOPOP is releasing these titles in the 100% Authentic Manga format is that it is both cheaper and faster to release them this way. TOKYOPOP has always been upfront about this, and that in itself is another thing that I like about them.
Their recent public letter about Initial D is also very straightforward and honest… pity that's not enough.
TOKYOPOP has made a huge PR leap in the past year, completely shedding their previous image as a company that couldn't give a damn about the fans. Why throw it all away now? Well, if you've read their letter regarding Initial D you'd see that they have a number of very good reasons to edit Initial D… all of them green. Let's not kid ourselves, like every other Anime and Manga company, TOKYOPOP is a company and they have a responsibility to their investors to make a profit… I'm all for them making a profit, and if releasing an edited version of Initial D will help them do this then I say go for it…
But what about 100% Authentic Manga? Recently TOKYOPOP told us that they were committed to the 100% Authentic Manga format, so where is the commitment? A Manga with changed names and edited scenes certainly isn't 100% Authentic, and if they release it under the 100% Authentic Manga line they will make a complete mockery of the image that they have built up in the past year.
So what to do?
They keep calling it their marquee product; why not give it the marquee treatment? As it stands, no fan could honestly consider an edited manga part of the "100% Authentic Manga" line that TOKYOPOP proudly sells. If TOKYOPOP really wants... needs to release Initial D in the edited format, then the only solution I can see for them to save face with fandom would be to also release it in a second, unedited format.
Obviously such a move would affect their bottom line, but how much will the failure to do this affect the image they have worked so hard to create? TOKYOPOP has had an excellent reputation this past year, they've worked hard for it and deserve it …but no one should be forced to accept a "100% authentic" manga, edited and changed in any significant way.
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