200710261151Today’s issue of Variety (we think — it might have been yesterday’s) includes a special “10th Anniversary salute” to Tokyopop. Usually these “salute” sections in the trades are put together as advertising opportunities, and we have no idea how this one came into being, but the general message it sends out is “Hey Hollywood, we have movie properties!” as spelled out in this overview:

Manga film adaptations, however, remain an undiscovered country — even more mysterious to many Hollywood execs and producers than American comics and graphic novels. That makes manga something Tokyopop has to demystify for many industryites.

“Hollywood is still grasping with what is it about graphic novels or sequential art that truly would make a successful film,” Levy says. “Is it the fact that everybody’s heard of Spider-Man, or is there something inherent about the medium of sequential art and the graphic novel that allows for a film to be adapted in a more efficient or effective manner?”

There’s also a profile of the Tpop visionary himself Stuart Levy:

In the early days, Levy says, getting manga licenses from Japan was easy; it was getting manga into stores that was difficult. While some comicbook publishers had tried manga in specialty shops, Levy says that market was too much of a niche to be the company’s sole outlet. “I was always thinking about the malls,” he says.

Waldenbooks was the first to bite. The market then grew steadily, but it took the introduction of right-to-left manga for the category to really take off.

Some will find it odd that this list of Tokyopop Top Ten: The biggest titles from the imprint’s first decade, includes STAR TREK and NOT SAILOR MOON, which was the manga license that not only put Tokyopop on the map but is generally credited with having ushered in the Girl Revolution. Of course Tpop lost the license long ago, so we can understand not promoting this in a piece that showcases licenses they own like BIZENGHAST and DRAMACON.

But there’s also good news for Tokyopop’s Hollywood hopes: ICv2 reports that there’s some live action activity:

Anime News Network is reporting that at TIFFCOM in Tokyo, Tokyopop announced plans to create a live action adaptation of Yuji Shiozaki’s 12-volume seinen fighting manga, Ikki Tousen, which Tokyopop publishes in the U.S. as Battle Vixens. The sexy Ikki Tousen/Battle Vixens manga is a loose adaptation of the classic Chinese saga, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, transposed to Japan where skimpily dressed girls (and the occasional guy) from different high schools fight it out. According to ANN, Tokyopop’s live action version shifts the setting of the story from Japanese high schools to American college campuses.


  1. I believe that the TPop folks also took out a big add in Variety the week of SDCC to herald their signing with a Hollywood agency. It was a back cover or some other such big piece of real estate and featured a composite of many of the characters they had enough stake in to sell to studios, so lobbying for more editorial coverage comes as no surprise.

  2. If I may blow my own proverbial horn a bit, a number of very big-name producers have approached Tokyopop regarding my series “Mail Order Ninja” as well. I can’t really talk about it at this stage, but we do have plenty of “heat” to use the vernacular.

    Plus the first volume is already in its second printing and we’re going strong on number three.

  3. I posted these links in a recent blog post myself. Mind you that’s after I spend about two other posts criticizing TokyoPop and Levy’s molestation of the word ‘manga’ for their own goals.

    I didn’t see that Top Ten list before. That they put Laberynth and Star Trek on there is a joke. Never mind neither is actually manga, I’d think both are already owned by various companies. Plus Star Trek also sold comic rights to IDW.

    Trinity Blood, Fruits Basket, and Kingdom Hearts have all been done as anime or video games already. Why bother listing those either? It’s not like they have the rights to any of those other than publishing books. They say they got the rights to Battle Vixens / Ikki Tousen, buy wasn’t the DOA video game movie bad enough? I won’t even get into the joke that whole Princess Ai fiasco is. DJ Milky, ha.

    Though I will say one does stand out. That original TokyoPop graphic novel series Drama Con might make a good film. It would be like Mallrats for the anime con crowd.