(My desktop PC and notebook both are malfunctioning, which is why I didn’t post this ~ a week earlier. This is how I browsed the net for more than a week! Violet/magenta/pink/fuchsia/whatever lines and a resolution of 640*480! My eyes still hurt!)

Tokyopop‘s December newsletter not only contained information that Kodansha let their license expire, but addressed two more matters. First, the usual list of January releases (I’ll post them once I’m at my university residence again), but more importantly: their new manga licenses for summer 2009.

Before I’ll post their list of new licenses, here are my thoughts on the “cancellation” of Tokyopop‘s titles from Kodansha.

I know that two of the canceled series were having a very, very hard time on the German market: Beck and Cromartie High School (last volume released in September 2007). I assumed, at first, that this would help Tokyopop.de financially, because both manga must have been a big strain on their resources. But then I looked at the other three, School Rumble, Hell Girl and Perfect Girl (Edit: The Wallflower ;)), before realizing something was amiss.

School Rumble appeared in their in-house charts (charts that Tokyopop.de has full control over) frequently. It never achieved a top 10 position, but placed decently in the top 10-20: Volume 11, 15, and 16 were able to stay in the charts for their respective release week. While volumes 13, 14, and 17 lasted a week longer, they never even managed 12th place like volume 12, which additionally was able to stay in the charts for three consecutive weeks.

The first Hell Girl volume – on the opposite end of the spectrum – did stay in the charts for 7 consecutive weeks, placing itself at spots: 8, 7, 5, 6, 13, 12, and 7. I doubt it wasn’t financially successful. Volume 2 even had a similar run, on it’s publication week it got 9th, and then further improved its position to 6 and 8, until it went off the list after a 10th place in its fourth week in the Top 20.

Same applies to Perfect Girl. It managed to stay in the charts for a very long time, even getting as high as 1st place on several occasions. And despite the fact that long-running series have a very hard time in Germany, it appears to have a very broad and loyal audience over here.

In conclusion, we have 2 very bad running series and 3 good running series. The fact that Kodansha did pull back the license for Perfect Girl, Hell Girl and School Rumble must hurt Tokyopop.de. A one-sided cancellation of the two bad-running manga would’ve looked suspicious; a cancellation of Kodansha‘s whole property doesn’t. The ones who’ll have to suffer from this trade will – as usual – be the fans, especially if Kodansha decides to apply the same policy to other German companies in the future. When that happens… NO.

Now to the good news! The new licenses!

Elfen Lied – Special Edition by Lynn Okamoto (12 Volumes / Complete)*

Death Note – Black Edition by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata (13 Volumes / Complete)**
Rosario + Vampire by Akihisa Ikeda (10 Volumes / Ongoing – Sequel)

Sekai wa Bokura no Tameni! by Maki Enjoji (1 Volume / Complete)***
Ousama no Iinari by Kasane Katsumoto (1 Volume / Complete)***

Chocolate Cosmos by Nana Haruta (4 Volumes / Complete)
Dream Fantasia by Sae Rom Ok (? Volumes / ? / demographic unsure)
Princess Ai: The Prism of Midnight Dawn by Misaho Kujiradou ( ? / Ongoing / Sequel to Princess Ai)

Shounen Ai
Yubisaki wa Koi no Aji by Rie Honjoh (1 Volume / Complete)

Benjamin: Flash by Benjamin (1 Volume / Complete)
Daemonium by Kôsen (Spanish) (? Volume(s) / Ongoing)

Comment: As I expected, most of the manga licenses are aimed at their female readers. I know that many (male) fans have requested Elfen Lied to be licensed, mainly because the anime is widely known and liked (for whatever reasons). Let’s see if the people who liked the anime will also purchase the manga; I don’t think they will though. Since I’m personally not a big fan of either, I don’t care, except that I welcome Tokyopop.de‘s attempt to establish their mature line for male readers. It’s about time!

The only manga from their license list on my probable purchase list is: Flash by Benjamin. After my disappointment with Remember and Orange, I’m just not sure. It looks like an art book and his art, unlike his story, is epic. Still the high price of 30€ is a turn-off. I hope I can find some French reviews and some sample art from the book, so I can make up my mind.

PS: If anyone knows the person who writes their newsletter, please ask them to NOT continue to use smilies in their newsletters?! (^_______^ looks ugly and is horribly childish and unprofessional.)

* 2 in 1 and in the Battle Royale-format (21,4 x 14,4 x 4,2 cm)
** 2 in 1, bigger format, more colored pages, refined covers, limited print run of 6,666
*** the two have been mentioned in my earlier post, but under a different name.