We’re not going to be revisiting every big news story that broke while we were away, but there was one that happened late last week that’s worth mentioning. Namely, Japanese publisher Kodansha’s out-of-the-blue decision (scroll down) to pull all of its licenses from Tokyopop Germany. The affected books include Beck, School Rumble, Hell Girl, and Cromartie High School. If you can read German, the full announcement is here.
Obviously, unless you purchase your manga in a foreign language other than Japanese for reasons best kept to yourself this news doesn’t really affect you directly. But it does point towards the rumored troubles and discontent between the two companies and suggests that TP is far from out of the clear yet. At least two folks have offered commentaries so far — Simon Jones:
There are plenty of possibilities, and not many of them bode well for Tokyopop. Is TP Germany a victim of soured relationships at the parent company? Is this another clue to Kodansha’s international manga ambitions? Has Del Rey been posting recruitment ads for German translators recently? Absent any explanation from the above parties, I’m tilting away from this being isolated to the German arm alone. But there is another potential avenue to explore… Carlsen and Egmont are German publishers who also hold Kodansha manga titles, so whether or not they experience similar issues in the coming months (or perhaps, pick up a bunch of new licenses) may give Kodansha’s actions some context.
And Chris Butcher:
Tokyopop and Kodansha have had a rocky relationship for years, reportedly being exacerbated by the launch of Del Rey’s manga imprint and Kodansha awarding top manga properties XXXholic, Tsubasa Resevoir Chronicle, and Negima to the new pub instead of to TP, leading to statements that Kodansha refused to license to TP any further. In recent years, Kodansha licenses had been showing up at TP again (including BECK), but many of Tokyopop’s biggest back-catalog titles are Kodansha licenses, and losing them would substantially reduce their catalog.
The ANN forum offers its thoughts here as well. If this is far from just an isolated “only in Europe” incident, then we may expect to see series like Beck, which TP still promises future volumes of, to be canceled in the US in the near future.
In the meantime Kodansha, can you put some pressure on ADV to get those Cromartie books out sometime soon?
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