My TokyoPop Manga License Rescue Dream List

I took some time to take the books down from my manga bookcase in order to do some much-needed dusting and get some new titles inserted such as Fairy Tail. As I did this, I looked at the TokyoPop manga titles and lamented the fact that it is very possible that some or all of these manga titles may never be published in the U.S. again. However, considering some of TokyoPop’s former manga licenses have been rescued, there’s always a possibility of rescue.  So, here’s my dream list of titles I’d like to see rescued.

Gakuen Alice

Gakuen AlicePublishing Status: incomplete (16 volumes published by TokyoPop; 30 volumes complete in Japan a/o June 2013).
Personal Status: 16 volumes from TokyoPop read..

For those who don’t know, the story involves the orphaned elementary schoolgirl Mikan, who’s best friend Hotaru is transferred to Gakuen Alice, an academy for gifted students. Mikan runs away from her grandfather’s home to be with Hotaru. However, when she’s found by a member of the Gakuen faculty, Mikan is discovered to posses an Alice, a supernatural ability. Since Gakuen Alice was created to educate students with Alice abilities of all types, Mikan is immediately taken in. However, Mikan soon learns that there’s a dark side to Gakuen Alice as she works to gain acceptance with her classmates and deal with those in the school who would use her unique Alice abilities for their own nefarious purposes. At the same time, she has to deal with becoming a young woman and the two boys in her class who have feelings for her.

I started reading Gakuen Alice because I wanted to continue my education in shoujo manga titles. I put this manga at the top of the list because I’d love to be able to continue to read this. So, how about it Yen Press? Seven Seas?

Sgt. Frog (Keroro Gunsou)

Keroro Gunsou (Sgt. Frog)Publishing Status: incomplete (20 volumes published by TokyoPop; ongoing in Japan with 24 volumes published; volume 25 coming out March 26, 2014)).
Personal Status: 20 volumes from TokyoPop read.

The story involves a failed invasion by an alien army from the planet Keron. A squad of these frog-like aliens are left behind, the leader of whom is Keroro. Keroro makes the mistake of attempting to hide in the Hinata home, where single mother and manga editor Aki lives with her teenage daughter Natsumi and younger teenage son Fuyuki. Keroro is discovered and eventually an arrangement is made whereby he does household chores for the family in exchange for living there. The remaining other members of his squad are discovered by other kids that are Natsumi and Fuyuki age and they form friendships based on their shared alien experiences. Keroro and team then build a massive, high tech base under the Hinata home where they continue to plan doomed invasion schemes as well as defending their territory from other aliens.

If memory serves, I started watching the Keroro Gunsou anime first, found it to be a hoot, and so decided to pick up what TokyoPop had published, which was a couple of volumes. Because the nature of the manga is such that there’s no real ongoing plot, should no one rescue this title, it won’t leave anyone hanging in the wind like Gakuen Alice. However, the manga is often charming and fun and it would be a shame not to pick it up.

Ai Yori Aoshi

Ai Yori AoshiPublishing Status: complete (17 volumes).
Personal Status: 17 volumes from TokyoPop read.

College student Kaoru is heading home when he encounters a girl in traditional Japanese garb at the train station who’s clearly having difficulties. After helping her get to her destination, she’s devastated to find the address she was looking for is a vacant lot. Kaoru allows her to come to his apartment to gather herself when he discovers she’s holding a photo of him as a child. The girl turns out to be Aoi, whom was betrothed to Kaoru when they were kids by their powerful families. However, since Kaoru has rejected his family and struck out on his own, the marriage has been canceled. Aoi set out to learn why as she has been raised to be Kaoru’s wife and she loves him dearly even if she hasn’t seen him since their youth.  Aoi’s mother gets involved and decides to allow Kaoru and Aoi live together in one of their family’s western-styled mansions, where Kaoru will officially be a renter. Aoi’s guardian, Miyabi, moves in as well to make sure nothing untoward happens. Along the way, other girls in Kaoru’s life manage to move in as well as renters, none of them suspecting that Kaoru and Aoi are a couple and all of whom develop feelings for Kaoru, leading to interesting and humorous situations.

This is one of my favorite seinen manga titles, despite its copious, detailed nudity, especially of 1st-year high school girls. I started reading the manga because of my love for the anime. While the anime never completed the story, the manga does and things are a little different in the manga than the anime in spots, especially towards the end.  Looks like something that would work well for Seven Seas and considering that the Twins did a good job with the TokyoPop translation, there’s no need to have this retranslated (unless the Twins would like to tweak their work a bit and add translator notes to later volumes).

A.I. Love You

A.I. Love YouPublishing Status: completed (8 volumes).
Personal Status: 8 volumes from TokyoPop read.

The story has nice guy, high school programming genius Hitoshi work on creating the perfect artificial intelligent female program. With the completion of Program 30, Hitoshi has succeeded in creating his dream girl except that she’s only a computer program. Through a freak lightning strike, Program 30 manages to manifest herself in the real world with a real body. She takes the name “NAMBA Saati” (how the Japanese would pronounce the English “Number 30”) and becomes his live-in girlfriend, though she is very chaste and punished Hitoshi for any perverted acts on his part. She has to learn to adjust to life in the real world and along the way, her older sister, Program 20, is brought to life and takes the name NAMBA Toeni (“Number 20”). Eventually, Toeni and Saati want a younger sibling but their actions end up creating NAMBA Fouti (“Number Forty”) who’s both male and female. As “Fouti-kun,” he takes after Saati in being prim and proper. As “Fouti-chan,” she takes after Toeni and is more of a free spirit and fun-loving girl. Hitoshi has to learn to live with this strange household, sort out his feelings for Saati or a real human girl, and deal with those who would steal his programs and technology.

This is Akamatsu-sensei’s first major manga title and while it starts out as a clone of Fujishima-sensei’s Ah! My Goddess, there are elements here that would go over to Akamatsu-sensei’s second title Love Hina and other elements that appear to be a part of Akamatsu-sensei’s current title, Negima!  I admit that the manga isn’t that unique but it is sweet at times and it’s Akamatsu-sensei. So, a license-rescue of this title by Kodansha Comics in omnibus form could bring them some additional money, providing Kodansha Comics marketed it right.

Ikki Tousen

Ikki TousenPublishing Status: incomplete (15 volumes published by TokyoPop; ongoing in Japan with 21 volumes published a/o March 2014).
Personal Status: unread.

TokyoPop released this as Battle Vixens, which is basically a massive re-write rather than an adaptation and thus why I avoided it. I know this is an ecchi title, and that is a negative for me, but I confess that I’m curious to know the actual story based on my watching the first anime adaptation. Maybe I’m wrong and the unmolested Japanese story is nothing special, but I wouldn’t know that based on the molested, domesticated version from TokyoPop.

So, how about it, Seven Seas? This seems like something that fits with some of your other ecchi, licensed titles and if you retranslate it from scratch, I promise to give it a read. ^_^

Fruits Basket

Fruits BasketPublishing Status: complete (23 volumes).
Personal Status: 23 volumes from TokyoPop read.

The story has orphaned 16-year old girl Tohru living in the woods in a tent. She’s paying her own way for high school by working as a member of a cleaning crew at an office building. The land she’s camped on belongs to the large, rich, but secretive Sohma clan and she’s discovered by her classmate SOHMA Yuki and the adult cousin he lives with, Shigure. A landslide wipes out her campsite so in exchange for becoming Yuki’s and Shigre’s live-in domestic help (cooking, cleaning), they give her a room to live in rent free.  When the high-strung SOHMA Kyo arrives to attack his rival, Yuki, Tohru discovers the terrible secret of the Sohma clan — certain members are possessed by the spirit of the Zodiac and thus when hugged by a member of the opposite sex, they turn into their Zodiac animal form. As Tohru meets the various other members of the Zodiac in the Sohma clan, she realizes that she has to do something to lift them from the curse their clan has been under for generations.

Like most manga I’ve read, I started reading this because I loved the anime and wanted to know the whole story. While I might not care for Takaya-sensei’s character designs by the time she ends the manga series, I do like the manga and it was well translated by the Twins.  It seems to me that this would be a nice addition to Yen Press’s lineup and wouldn’t need retranslation short of allowing the Twins to make any tweaks they might wish to make.

Groove Adventure Rave

Rave MasterPublishing Status: complete (35 volumes; 32 volumes published by TokyoPop; 33-35 published by Kodansha Comics).
Personal Status: Unread

Known as Rave Master in the U.S., technically, this has been license-rescued by Kodansha Comics, at least to complete the series for U.S. fans. That said, with Mashima-sensei’s Fairy Tail now a top-10 manga seller when its most recent volume is released in U.S. markets, will Kodansha Comics re-release volumes 1-32 for U.S. consumption?  So far, I’ve seen nothing to indicate Kodansha Comics is willing to do this but we’ll see.  I’ve liked Fairy Tail enough that I wouldn’t mind taking a peek at Rave Master.

As an aside, I did sneak a read at the Fairy Tail/Rave special crossover one shot manga that Mashima-sensei did, which was fairly amusing even if I didn’t know the Rave characters.  I liked that Mashima-sensei poked fun at himself by pointing out certain common elements between the two series.

There are a number of former TokyoPop titles which have been license-rescued such as Love Hina (Kodansha Comics), Cardcaptor Sakura (Dark Horse), Angelic Layer (Dark Horse), Chobits (Dark Horse), Sailor Moon (Kodansha Comics), etc.  So hopefully some other manga publishing companies will pick up the ball and rescue more TokyoPop licenses. After all, there are a number of good titles out there and I’m sure there are good ones that didn’t make my own list.

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9 Responses to “My TokyoPop Manga License Rescue Dream List”

  1. Nick says:

    I dont doubt its a matter of time before some tokyopop titles get License rescues, many of the ones they have are great sellers. Still i hope Initial D, Deadman Wonderland, Moonphase, and Great Teacher Onizuka get picked up in addition to most all the ones u mentioned.

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Deadman Wonderland is the only one on your list that I’d not heard of.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m surprised that you didn’t mention Viz as a possible publisher to rescue
    Fruits Basket, Gakuen Alice, or Ai Yori Yoshi. Just a few months ago, they announced deluxe omnibus editions of X/1999 by Clamp to come, so I can’t see why they wouldn’t try to stab at deluxe editions of Fruits Basket or Gakuen Alice.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I heard that Deadman Wonderland is having another volume released by TP. Is that true?

  5. Nick says:

    @ANB

    Based on most your blogs i doubt Deadman Wonderland is ur cup of tea its really violent and graphic but at same time its a great read if you have time to pick up something different i would suggest giving it a try because its going to be ending soon.

  6. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I’m surprised that you didn’t mention Viz as a possible publisher to rescue
    Fruits Basket, Gakuen Alice, or Ai Yori Yoshi. Just a few months ago, they announced deluxe omnibus editions of X/1999 by Clamp to come, so I can’t see why they wouldn’t try to stab at deluxe editions of Fruits Basket or Gakuen Alice.

    Doesn’t Viz usually just publish manga from their Japanese family line?

    I heard that Deadman Wonderland is having another volume released by TP. Is that true?

    Um…I’m not sure. ^_^;;;

    Based on most your blogs i doubt Deadman Wonderland is ur cup of tea its really violent and graphic but at same time its a great read if you have time to pick up something different i would suggest giving it a try because its going to be ending soon.

    Ending in Japan or the last volume is to be printed in the US?

  7. Nick says:

    Ending in Japan as far as i heard and based at where we are in the story.

  8. emichii says:

    i don’t know if CY (chuang yi) released manga is available in your area, but it has already released the entire series of furuba, in fact, they were up-to-date and faster than tokyopop was when furuba was still ongoing.

    😛 but i think CY is primarily marketed to australia and NZ so maybe that’s why.

  9. […] I honestly thought I wouldn’t be writing a lengthy piece on TokyoPop after I had posted my TokyoPop license-rescue wish list. However, after reading Lianne’s insider thoughts on TokyoPop’s closure and her […]

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