TOKYOPOP Announces Events and Programming at Comic Con International

TOKYOPOP has announced its full programming for the 2017 Comic Con International.

TOKYOPOP returns to Comic Con with a new wave of new releases, news on the next phase of publishing, and exclusive programming for manga fans of all ages.

“It’s exciting to see mainstream pop culture embracing all things comics, and of course that includes manga,” said founder and CEO Stu Levy. “We plan to continue innovating – if you’re in San Diego this year, please stop by our booth or our panels to say hello and pick up some freebies!”

In addition to the company’s return to publishing and the show floor, TOKYOPOP will be hosting two exclusive events for manga fans attending the show:

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Manga Around the World (6pm – 7pm) @ room 28D
Examining the trends in an ever-evolving world of manga, TOKYOPOP looks at licenses in the US, Germany, China, Korea and around the world. From huge franchises like Attack on Titan and My Hero Academia to indie titles and original language series, learn about manga’s creation and development as Japanese comics continue to expand to a global audience.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Disney Manga: Comics For All Ages (4pm – 5pm) @ room 29AB
With the explosion in manga’s popularity, parents have been rightfully concerned about child-friendly options. With series brought directly from Japan and our own original titles made in collaboration with Disney’s team, TOKYOPOP aims to break down the misconception that all manga is inappropriate for little ones and wants to encourage young readers with this fun line of graphic novels.

Fans can stop by booth #2445 to pick up the publisher’s full line of Disney titles, along with all-new original English manga titles like Sophie-chan’s Ocean of Secrets, and meet the team behind the manga innovator’s return to publishing the very best in manga.

Tokyopop Plans Manga Publishing Relaunch

Tokyopop announced at its Anime Expo panel that it is planning to begin publishing manga again in 2016. The company is seeking to license “hidden gems that are not yet noticed” from small or independent publishers. In addition, it also plans to publish art books and collectors editions, and will consider light novels.

The company is also looking to get into film and television production. Founder Stu Levy said the company has 20 properties — live-action and animation — including Knockouts and Riding Shotgun. The company is also planning an anime review YouTube series.

Tokyopop also announced that it is planning a “Pop Comics” iOS and Android app that lets users upload their own comics to share. Users keep the copyright and 100% creative control of their uploaded works.

Tokyopop shut down its North American publishing operations in May 2011. The company has since collaborated with Right Stuf and Gentosha Comics to release the fourth and fifth volumes of Hidekaz Himaruya’s Hetalia manga, and has uploaded several titles to the Comixology digital platform.

Source: ANN

Right Stuf, Inc. Announces Hetalia Axis Powers Volume 6

Right Stuf, Inc. has announced that the sixth volume of the Hetalia Axis Powers manga will be available on May 13, 2014. Through a special arrangement with TOKYOPOP and Hetalia‘s Japanese publisher Gentosha Comics, the first print run of this book will include an six-page color insert. Once the initial print run sells out, the volume will be transitioned to Right Stuf’s print-on-demand program.

The first five volumes of the Hetalia manga are available now. Volumes 1-6 can be ordered exclusively through For more information about Hetalia Axis Powers, visit

Manga Review: “Kare Kano” Volume One

Article first published as Manga Review: Kare Kano Volume One by Masami Tsuda on Blogcritics.

Kare Kano Volume One is a manga written by Masami Tsuda; Kare Kano is also known under the title of His and Her Circumstances. This manga was published in North America by Tokyopop in 2003 and is rated “T” for teens 13 and up. After reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.

Kare Kano Volume 1
Written by: Masami Tsuda
Publisher: Hakusensha
English Publisher: Tokyopop
Release Date: January 21, 2003

The story focuses on Yukino Miyazawa, a vain high school freshman who strives to be perfect and wants to be the center of attention at school. However, Yukino has a secret; when she’s at home, she’s a spoiled slob who obsessively studies to maintain her grades. She was always at the top of her class in middle school, but was knocked down a peg when she entered high school, due to someone else beating her score on the entrance exam.

Soichiro Arima, a handsome and intelligent young man, is the one who beat Yukino’s score on the entrance exam and became the class representative; he gets all of the attention that Yukino craves so much. Yukino views Soichiro as an enemy, but gets an unexpected surprise when Soichiro confesses his feelings for her. Unfortunately, Soichiro learns Yukino’s secret, and the story follows what happens between Yukino and Soichiro, and how their interactions and relationship with each other evolves.

I saw the first episode of the His and Her Circumstances anime series before reading this manga volume, and discovered that the first chapter is essentially exactly the same as what appeared in the first episode of the anime. I enjoyed that episode enough that I wanted to read the manga, and I wasn’t disappointed in what I read.

The story ends up including twists that I wouldn’t have expected after seeing that first anime episode, but I thought these twists really added something to the series. From what I’ve read so far, the Kare Kano manga seems to have just the right blend of humor and romance to keep the reader interested in the story and characters. When I finished reading Volume One, my interested was piqued enough that I will need to find a copy of Volume Two in order to find out what happens next to these characters.

This volume also includes a one-shot manga story called The Tiger and the Chameleon: A Promise for One Week. It’s another story set at a high school that takes place between a female and a male character. The main female thinks she’s ugly, and she ends up sitting next to a boy who appears to be a juvenile delinquent. One day, after the boy accidentally breaks the girl’s glasses, he insists on being her eyes after she learns it will be a week before her glasses can be repaired. This story focuses on how people perceive others by the way they look. It’s a decent story, and it definitely works best as a one-shot.

Kare Kano seems to be off to a good start for a shojo series, and the storytelling that Tsuda uses helps to make it stand out from other similar series in this genre. If you enjoy reading shojo manga, then I would recommend giving Kare Kano a try.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Kare Kano Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Manga Review: “Songs to Make You Smile”

Article first published as Manga Review: Songs to Make You Smile by Natsuki Takaya on Blogcritics.

Songs to Make You Smile is a compilation of one-shot manga written and illustrated by Natsuki Takaya, the creator of the popular Fruits Basket shojo manga series. This compilation was published in North America by Tokyopop in 2010. Songs to Make You Smile is rated “T” for teens; after reading this manga, I would agree with this rating.

Songs to Make You Smile
Written by: Natsuki Takaya
Publisher: Hakusensha
English Publisher: Tokyopop
Release Date: April 27, 2010

There are four one-shot stories in this release, as well as a bonus chapter for Tsubasa: Those With Wings (which is another manga series by Natsuki Takaya). All four of the one-shot stories share a theme; they all deal with misunderstanding other people.

The first story is the “title story” for this compilation. A high school boy named Atsushi is misunderstood by his peers, because his face naturally has a mean look to it. A girl named Anzu has been teased since middle school, because the other girls though she looked spacey on purpose in order to attract guys. Atsushi, who is a vocalist and songwriter for a band, knows that Anzu is a fan on their music. He makes it his goal to write a song that will make Anzu smile.

The next story is “Ding Dong.” A teenage girl named Chisato is dealing with her father passing away in a car accident, and is living with the woman who became her stepmother three months before her father’s death. Chisato’s mother died when she was very young, and her father tried raising Chisato by himself. Chisato believes that neither her father nor her stepmother truly loved her.

“Voice of Mine” is the third story in the compilation. A teenager named Shu attends a music school, and is also the son of famous musicians. While Shu is succeeding on his own talents, many of the students believe he rides on his parents’ coattails and has pulled strings in order to get the attention that he does. One day, Shu meets Futaba, a viola student who is being bullied by her upperclassmen. The two of them support each other in their situations.

The final story is “Double Flower,” which focuses on a young man named Suguru who enjoys sewing and has made a career out of it. Suguru has been in love with Makoto, the daughter of the shop that purchases what he makes; however, he has never told her his feelings, because she’s im love with someone else. Suguru’s stepniece Aya comes over because she has run away from home, and it’s through her being around that Suguru starts thinking about his life.

The side story for Tsubasa: Those With Wings essentially takes elements from the Snow White fairytale and turn them on their head. Of the pieces included in this volume, this was my least favorite. While I have read the first volume of Tsubasa: Those With Wings and know that there is humor involved in that series, I thought this particular story just didn’t quite fit in with what I’ve read from this manga series.

When it comes to the other four stories, I thought Takaya did a fantastic job portraying each story in one chapter. I don’t know if she had intentionally included stories with a similar theme in this volume or not, but I really appreciate the fact that this compilation doesn’t simply feel like several unrelated stories thrown together that don’t have a theme to tie them together. The only exception was the Tsubasa: Those With Wings side story; that one does feel like it was simply tacked on to the end of the volume to add some more pages.

If you’re familiar with the Fruits Basket series, then you will definitely recognize Takaya’s art style in this volume. That’s not to say that she simply uses the exact same art style in all of her work, but there are definite characteristics in how she draws her characters that make her style recognizable.

If you’re a fan of Fruits Basket or any other of Natsuki Takaya’s work, I think you will also enjoy reading Songs to Make You Smile.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Songs to Make You Smile that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Manga Review: “Angelic Layer” Volume Five

Article first published as Manga Review: Angelic Layer Volume Five by CLAMP on Blogcritics.

Angelic Layer Volume Five is a manga by CLAMP, and it was published in North America by Tokyopop in 2003. The rating for Angelic Layer is “A,” which means the series is suitable for all ages. After reading the whole series, I can say that I agree with this rating.

Angelic Layer Volume 5
Written by: CLAMP
Publisher: Kadokawa Shoten
English Publisher: Tokyopop
Release Date: March 11, 2003

Volume Five continues exactly where Volume Four ended, and it follows Misaki through the remainder of the national tournament. During the tournament, she must battle against two unexpected opponents. I’m sorry for the lack of detail here, but saying too much more will give away spoilers.

However, I can now say with certainty I was correct about the identity of the mysterious dark-haired woman who kept appearing throughout the series. I have to say that since I was able to tell early on who she was supposed to be, it made the revelation of her identity in this volume feel anti-climactic. I also thought her motivations for trying to stay out of sight and not interact with Misaki didn’t entirely work for me.

In my review of Volume Four, I also mentioned that I was starting to suspect what Icchan’s motives were in regard to Misaki; this volume also proved to me that my suspicions were correct. At least it took me a bit longer in the series to figure out his secret in comparison to the secret of the dark-haired woman.

Volume Five was another quick read, due to the amount of action panels that appear in this volume for the national tournament. The only time the volume truly slows down is right at the end of the main story, when the dark-haired woman’s identity is revealed. There are also a couple of chapters that take place after the main story, and they don’t rely on the action panels.

Angelic Layer is a decent manga series for the audience it’s being aimed at and for its short length. However, I wish there had been a way for CLAMP to make the story last a little longer. Even in this final volume, the overall story felt rather rushed.

Readers who have read and enjoyed the previous four volumes of Angelic Layer should be satisfied with how the series concludes. While the series did get a little better for me as it progressed, I still have to say that Angelic Layer isn’t quite as strong of a manga series as some of the other CLAMP titles that I have read.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Angelic Layer Volume Five that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Manga Review: “Angelic Layer” Volume Four

Article first published as Manga Review: Angelic Layer Volume Four by CLAMP on Blogcritics.

Angelic Layer Volume Four is a manga by CLAMP, and it was published in North America by Tokyopop in 2003. The rating for Angelic Layer is “A,” which means the series is suitable for all ages; from what I’ve read of the series, I would agree with this rating.

Angelic Layer Volume 4
Written by: CLAMP
Publisher: Kadokawa Shoten
English Publisher: Tokyopop
Release Date: January 7, 2003

Volume Four begins with Misaki qualifying for the national tournament. However, before she goes to the tournament, Icchan (the crazy scientist who got Misaki started in Angelic Layer) gives her a DVD to watch. On the DVD is footage of an Angel named Wizard in an Angelic Layer tournament.

Misaki goes to the national Angelic Layer tournament, and she is up first. Her opponent ends up being Ohjiro Mihara, and he is the deus for Wizard. The remainder of the volume focuses on Misaki’s bout with Ohjiro.

The mysterious dark-haired woman appears again, and the reader actually gets to see her face. With what I read in this volume, I’m still convinced that I’ve guessed who she is; however, I will not name who I think she is, because I don’t want to wander into spoiler territory. The mysterious woman knows Icchan, and now I’m starting to suspect that I have an idea as to his motivations in regards to Misaki. Since there’s only one volume of Angelic Layer left, I’m very curious to see if I have made correct guesses for both of these characters.

One thing I really noticed in this volume is the fact that the themes of determination and believing in yourself are emphasized very strongly, especially during Misaki’s battle with Ohjiro. While these themes have appeared in the earlier volumes of the series, they seem to be utilized a lot in Volume Four.

The fourth volume of Angelic Layer is a very quick read, due in large part to the number of action panels that appear during the national Angelic Layer tournament. In a lot of ways, I still believe that this series feels rushed, and I’m a little afraid that Volume Five will ultimately rush the series to its conclusion. I hope I’m wrong on this, though.

If you’re a reader who has already read the previous three volumes of Angelic Layer and enjoyed the series, you should be able to also enjoy reading Volume Four. While I’ve come to appreciate this series better than when I first started reading it, I still think it’s not quite as strong of a series as the other CLAMP titles that I have read.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Angelic Layer Volume Four that I checked out through the King County Library System.