Tokyopop Confirms Its Kodansha Manga Licenses Have Ended (Update 3)
posted on by Egan Loo
The North American manga publisher Tokyopop has confirmed that the Japanese publisher Kodansha has decided to let their manga licensing contracts expire. That means Tokyopop will not be allowed to complete any ongoing manga series from Kodansha or reprint its back catalog of Kodansha titles once the existing stock runs out. According to Tokyopop, the company does not know Kodansha's reasons for the decision. Among other titles, Tokyopop has licensed Chobits, Love Hina, Samurai Deeper Kyo, Rave Master, Initial D, Kindaichi Case Files, Life, GetBackers, and Love Attack from Kodansha.
Update: Tokyopop's Germany office had acknowledged in January that Kodansha let their manga licenses in Germany expire. Just like Tokyopop's American office, Tokyopop Germany said that Kodansha had not given a reason for the decision. Another North American manga licensee of Kodansha manga, Dark Horse Comics, is no longer listing Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira and Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell in its catalog as of this year.
Update 2: In June, the North American publisher Del Rey announced that it acquired the newer volumes of Samurai Deeper Kyo. Tokyopop had published the first 34 volumes, and Del Rey will publish an omnibus book that will combine volumes 35 and 36 in December. Dark Horse confirmed at Comic-Con International last month that it is publishing omnibus versions of Clover, Chobits, Magic Knight Rayearth, and Card Captor Sakura — all Kodansha titles by CLAMP that Tokyopop once licensed.
Update 3: ICv2 has confirmed that Random House is distributing the Akira and Ghost in the Shell manga on behalf of Kodansha in North America; the two titles have already appeared on the pre-order lists from the online retailer Amazon and the August issue of Previews magazine. The About.com:Manga website has posted the lists of Tokyopop's incomplete Kodansha titles, Kodansha titles that have been relicensed, and completed Kodansha titles that are out-of-print for now. Tokoypop emphasized to ICv2 and AnimeVice that it minimized the effects of Kodansha's decision a few years ago by diversifying the sources for its content. The publisher added that the decision "wasn't completely unexpected" and "has little bearing on Tokyopop's current or future stability." Thank you to Aaron Deslauriers for the Previews news tip.
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