Dallas-based localization company Local Manga’s representative Christopher Hepburn has announced on Twitter that he is relinquishing ownership of the company as he is moving to a career in academia. He further stated the company’s debts will be “satisfied in full” by December 31, 2022 before the company undergoes the transfer of ownership and rebranding.
Hepburn later stated on Twitter, “freelancers …. deserve to be paid. I’m doing my best to ensure that happens.”
Several Twitter users had alleged after Hepburn’s announcement that Local Manga either did not pay some of its freelancers or did not pay them in a timely manner. A Twitter user asked for a timeline for freelancer payments and whether or not it is something the company was legally allowed to discuss publicly. Hepburn replied to the post stating that he looked “forward to sitting down [them] and explaining things in more detail.”
The company announced in December 2020 that it was no longer able to release a localization of ri-ru-‘s Prince Noir manga due to “legal barriers” beyond its control. The company had announced a release of Prince Noir alongside ru-ri-‘s The Perfect Son manga as its first two licenses, both originally scheduled for an early 2021 release.
It was previously reported by Anime News Network that Hepburn founded Local Manga in Texas in Summer 2018 “as a boutique localization company specializing in Boys’ Love manga.” While the company continued to focus on boys’ love, it had expanded to other genres. The company’s website lists it as a Los Angeles-based company with two employees. Reiko Yamashita is listed as the company’s administrator.