Tokyopop hits 10-year mark
VARIETY, that bastion of weekly entertainment news, recently published a few articles profiling Tokyopop founder Stu Levy and his vision to conquer the world through the multimedia spread of what he called the "manga lifestyle." Or something close to that grand vision, anyway.
That package of stories, posted at www.variety.com/tokyopop, offer views of a company in transition as it marks its 10th anniversary this year. Indeed, the publisher has come a long way since its early days publishing a monthly translated manga anthology under the banner of Mixx Entertainment.
Included among the extras was a list of Tokyopop's top 10 biggest titles in its history. On Variety's list: "Bizenghast," "Dramacon," "Fruits Basket," "I Luv Halloween," "Kingdom Hearts," "Princess Ai," "Return to Labyrinth," "Star Trek," "Trinity Blood" and "Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy."
Now, I have no idea what exactly is "biggest," but your friendly neighborhood anime/manga columnist would prefer to take a look at the bigger picture. Here are a few more series that positioned Tokyopop as one of the industry's largest publishers:
"Sailor Moon" (1997): Without this title, the MIXXzine anthology would have debuted with the series "Magic Knight Rayearth," "Parasyte" and "Ice Blade" -- all respectable manga, but none with quite the drawing power that a magical girl punishing evil in the name of the moon had at the time.
"Love Hina" (2002): It's difficult to pinpoint exactly which series ought to be the flag-bearer for Tokyopop's "100 Percent Authentic Manga" initiative, which got unflopped, right-to-left-reading manga -- and lots of it -- into bookstores. I'll go with this, the first Tokyopop series to really capture my attention in the first wave.
"Initial D" (2002): One of the more controversial titles in the Tokyopop canon for its Americanization of the characters' names and dialogue. Tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J., a self-described "Initial D" fangirl, nearly gets epileptic seizures when reading each new volume, partly from the utter glee of having new material to read and partly because of that bastardized, localized dialogue.
"Rising Stars of Manga" (2002): Original English manga, or manga produced outside of Japan, got a real kick start through this anthology, featuring the winners of an annual Tokyopop contest. Sure, comics inspired by manga existed before this contest came along, but "Rising Stars" really brought these creators to the forefront.
Suncoast stores at Pearlridge Center and Windward Mall are hosting "Animania" events once again on Sunday.
Buy any anime-related item -- DVDs, CD soundtracks, toys, manga, stuff like that -- and a second item of equal or lesser will be 50 percent off. Buy two anime DVDs, and fans can also get a $5 anime gift card in return. An all-day trivia contest, and a cosplay contest are also planned ...
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao