TokyoPop Explains Why Series Go On Hiatus

TokyoPop Explains Why Series Go On Hiatus

TokyoPopTokyoPop LillianDP has an interesting article describing the manga sales process of getting it from the publisher to the retailer.  It really is a good piece and I encourage you all to read this.

That said, I did want to address one aspect of the article, that being the issue of people waiting to see if a series gets dropped or not.

What happens if only 5 copies sell, though? Maybe 25 people were thinking of buying the title, but decided to wait and see if it gets “dropped.” Now the stores (and us) are thinking, “Well, I guess we made a mistake with this series—looks like one wants it after all.”

The real question is (and the article doesn’t address this) is why people would get the balmy notion that a manga series might get dropped?

There’s the idiom, “once bitten, twice shy.”  Many manga fans (and anime fans too) have experienced this first hand.  For me, it was TokyoPop’s treatment of the Slayers light novels (I don’t count the Scrapped Princess light novels because I gave up on that about the same time TokyoPop did).  The main storyline for Slayers has only two arcs with the first one taking place in volumes one through eight.  Unfortunately, TokyoPop decided only to license the first six novels and then dropped the series, leaving a lot of angry fans hanging in the wind.

Now to be fair, TokyoPop did listen to their customer base and did license the final two novels in the arc but have not seen fit to license any of the Slayers novels from the 2nd arc, nor any of the prequel novels featuring Lina and Naga (or the side novels for that matter).  However, when a consumer of a product who has been buying a manga title right from the start (as TokyoPop suggests in their article) gets slapped with a “sorry Charlie but we are dropping this title and you won’t get to legally read how the story goes from here,” the “once bitten, twice shy” idiom comes sharply into focus.  Said consumer now sees the newest offering from TokyoPop and what’s the first thing that they think of now?  Could it be, “I wonder if TokyoPop will see this title to the end?”

So while I understand TokyoPop’s statement encouraging fans to go ahead and buy volume 1 of a title they like rather than take a wait and see attitude, TokyoPop can’t just expect fans who’ve had their hands burned on previous occasions to just happily put said hands out there again.

Hopefully, the transition to digital manga (both online and through e-manga) will make the dropping of a licensed title a thing of the past.  In addition, going digital should allow classics like Love Hina to hang around for new batches of readers. ^_^

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8 Responses to “TokyoPop Explains Why Series Go On Hiatus”

  1. Krono says:

    “Now to be fair, TokyoPop did listen to their customer base and did license the final two novels in the arc but have not seen fit to license any of the Slayers novels from the 2nd arc, nor any of the prequel novels featuring Lina and Naga (or the side novels for that matter).”

    And that they did eventually publish volumes 7&8 to finish the 1st arc, does not change the fact that volume 6 lacks it’s afterword as part of their attempt to pretend there wasn’t any more novels.

  2. O-chan says:

    Um,dude. Tokyopop did release the first 8 novels of Slayers. I think the last two may have been a more limited release (i.e. didn’t make it to a lot of bookstores) but they did put the first 8 out (which covers the entirety of the fisrt series and the NEXT storylines with elements from the two newer series). Just thought you should know, they did leave off on a closure point…

  3. AstroNerdBoy says:

    @Krono — There’s that point too.

    @O-chan — I did mention that. ^_^;;

    Now to be fair, TokyoPop did listen to their customer base and did license the final two novels in the arc but have not seen fit to license any of the Slayers novels from the 2nd arc, nor any of the prequel novels featuring Lina and Naga (or the side novels for that matter).

    This was my first experience into the “we’re not going to finish what you started” experience. I may have been lucky in that I did get the final two volumes (never have read them for some reason) but the experience still makes me think, “will this manga series be completed?” For light novels, I don’t even bother any more because there’s no point (amongst other reasons).

  4. O-chan says:

    My whole issue with Tokyopop (since in the last week I’ve given my thoughts on CLAMP and Dark Horse ^_^;) is probably an issue I have with the American industry as a whole. The overall message is: Be careful with what you invest in, especially when there are so many (legal) online alternatives (of course this applies more to anime then to manga).

    Pretty much Tokyopop, which was mainly responsible for expanding the American manga industry and making it what it is today (explained in more depth in my blog), didn’t have enough business sense to survive once the anime bubble burst. Dark Horse (despite their delays), Viz, and Del Ray all didn’t put their eggs in one basket and knew how to keep their titles going strong (mind you, Viz has had it’s falters but none that severely affected them like it did Tokyopop). Outside of Sgt. Frog and Hetalia I don’t think they get much attention from me these days.

    As far as light novels as a whole I’m actually quite surprised at how the Vampire Hunter D and Haurhi Suzumiya series have been holding up. There is a good chance both their licensors might throw in the towel but my attitude is “Cherish what you get!”

    God, I’m still reeling from the fact that there isn’t anywhere to get a good affordable copy of the Full Metal Panic Vol. 3 novel.

  5. Nick says:

    I tend to purchas manga that i see will go a long way and already have solid fan base and have very little chance to get dropped
    (Negima,Dance in the vampire bund,Fairy tail, Claymore ect.) there still plenty of manga out there i do wanna buy but problem is the waiting period between releases for most, i tend to buy in bundle so i dont buy one volume and wait several months for the next.

  6. AstroNerdBoy says:


    Pretty much Tokyopop, which was mainly responsible for expanding the American manga industry and making it what it is today (explained in more depth in my blog), didn’t have enough business sense to survive once the anime bubble burst.

    And that is something that Stu can be blamed for. That’s when I see his “D.J. Milky” name and think, “If you hadn’t wasted so much time trying to be hip, things wouldn’t have been so tough on TP.” Still, TP does appear to be poised to do more things such as print-on-demand.

    Dark Horse (despite their delays), Viz, and Del Ray all didn’t put their eggs in one basket and knew how to keep their titles going strong (mind you, Viz has had it’s falters but none that severely affected them like it did Tokyopop).

    Actually, I would say that in a way, Del Rey did put all their eggs in one basket. All they licensed were Kodansha titles even though I read Dallas saying that they didn’t have an exclusive deal with Kodansha. Now Kodansha pulls all of their titles, save xxxHOLiC which CLAMP controls rather than Kodansha, and where’s Del Rey? I hear rumor that Del Rey retained the School Rumble license but that they won’t be releasing anything else there for another year or two. *_*

    Outside of Sgt. Frog and Hetalia I don’t think they get much attention from me these days.

    Sgt. Frog (roughly two volumes a year) and Gakuen Alice are the only TP titles I’m currently collecting.


    As far as light novels as a whole I’m actually quite surprised at how the Vampire Hunter D and Haurhi Suzumiya series have been holding up.

    I bought the first Haruhi novel because I was led to believe that if one bought one version with the original Japanese cover, the adaptation would have Japanese honorifics and the like. Not sure how I came to believe that but obviously after the book came in, I discovered the truth and didn’t even bother reading it much less buy anything else.

    God, I’m still reeling from the fact that there isn’t anywhere to get a good affordable copy of the Full Metal Panic Vol. 3 novel.

    I own that but have yet to read it for certain reasons. *lol*

  7. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I tend to purchas manga that i see will go a long way and already have solid fan base and have very little chance to get dropped
    (Negima,Dance in the vampire bund,Fairy tail, Claymore ect.)

    I only recently started buying and reading Fairy Tail. I’d long heard of it and heard positive things about it but in addition to the character designs being a turn off, to be honest, I wasn’t sure if something like this would make it. At twelve volumes from Del Rey and a transfer to Kodansha Comics, I did decide it was safe enough to invest in. ^_~

    there still plenty of manga out there i do wanna buy but problem is the waiting period between releases for most, i tend to buy in bundle so i dont buy one volume and wait several months for the next.

    I buy in bundles too so as to save on shipping costs. However, I come into manga through two means. The first is through anime where said anime series is based on an original manga. The second is through a wide variety of positive word-of-mouth, to include learning if said title has my Japanese honorifics.

    I said there were only a couple of means to get me into manga, but I just remembered that I started Negima! and A.I. Love You because of Akamatsu-sensei’s Love Hina.

  8. geri_chan says:

    Thanks for your post–I absolutely agree with you. I do spend money to support my favorite manga, but I’ve been burned by Tokyopop so many times in the past that I’m a little leery about investing in new series with them.

    Just wanted to add that I had no idea that Slayers 7 and 8 had been released until I saw this post–I thought it had stopped at 6! I didn’t see them in the stores I usually shop at, and I didn’t see any publicity about them being released, and I’m certainly not going to be looking for new volumes in a series that had stopped more than two years ago. So Tokyopop lost out on a sale that they would’ve made if the series hadn’t been on hiatus so long, or if they’d at least had better communication with their readers.

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