Seriously, one volume left?
ONE VOLUME LEFT?!?
That’s just wrong and cruel.
Hello again, dear reader. I’ve been trying to muster up the energy to write a real review today, but I’m just too bummed out. First and foremost, you’ve probably already heard the news that Tokyopop is officially shut down, at least in North America. True, this happened nearly a month ago (May 31st, to be precise) but thanks to being busy with one thing or another, it has only now fully dawned upon me just what that means.
My manga collection is still somewhat limited, but my Tokyopop volumes always stood out as especially great. In fact, if I recall correctly, Alice in the Country of Hearts was my first manga series, and it remains one of my favourites. Just an hour or so ago I was browsing manga books online when it hit me: Alice in the Country of Hearts is Tokyopop, and it has only ONE VOLUME LEFT IN THE SERIES! It was scheduled to be released at the end of July, and I was so excited that I pre-ordered it. So I just checked: now you can no longer pre-order, and there’s just a lonely “sign up and we’ll email you when this item becomes available” button. That, as any online purchaser of goods knows, is the kiss of death.
But I have to know what happens at the end of my fav manga! One of my biggest pet peeves as both a storyteller and a collector is having an incomplete collection. It’s a fly in my ointment, a scuff mark on my otherwise spotless marble floor. It’s the black dress with a white streak of deodorant under the armpit. I can enjoy it, and others may even compliment me on my ointment/marble floor/dress, but I’ll never fully be satisfied because I will always know that something is off. I experienced this sort of disappointment constantly when I was a voracious comic book collector in high school. Today, luckily, there are fancy hardbound collections of most of the big names that I collected such as Sandman and Tank Girl and Johnny The Homicidal Maniac, but there are still those random comics I found in various bargain bins with stories that will never be completed. Now I’m experiencing that heartbreak all over again with manga.
I scrambled to finish what Tokyopop series I could, and for the most part I did alright. I got the second (and final) volume of Legends of the Dark Crystal, and I thought I’d collected all volumes of Return to Labyrinth, but then I received the dreaded “We couldn’t complete this section of your order” email regarding volume three. Booooo. It looks like I might have found it somewhere else, but I’m holding my breath until I have the book firmly in my hot little hands. As for the other series that I was interested in from Tokyopop such as Vampire Kisses, Vassalord, Silver Diamond, Chibi Vampire, etc., forget it. I can’t take the stress of trying to track down any more missing volumes!
Sure, it could be worse. I sighed heavily with relief that Vampire Knight, Black Butler, and Bride of the Water God are all from different publishers, not to mention a few other series that I have been interested in checking out (such as Ouran High School Host Club).
But I’m sad to see one of my favourite (and most welcoming to manga newbies, in my humble opinion) publishers hang up its hat. And just six months after I got into manga and anime, too. On top of that, TinierMe has changed its format so that it is now substantially less fun to play if you are a non-paying user like yours truly. The Gachas are almost all G-coin, and the few Chibi Coin Gachas, well… they’re crap. I’ll probably quit playing soon, which in all honesty would be better for my writing (and for getting things done in general). But what’s next? Will Funimation lock up its doors too, denying us English-dubbed second seasons of Black Butler and Darker Than Black? Will my cable company stop offering anime on demand, making me sit for hours (more hours than I do already, that is) hunched over my computer to catch new episodes of the shows I that love? Will (perish the thought!) J. Michael Tatum decide to retire his golden vocals in favor of a life at sea? What is happening to this crazy world?!?
Oh well. As Schmendrick the Magician once said, “There are no happy endings, because nothing ends.” In the case of some stories, that is especially true. Heck, when I was younger I made it a point to never read the final book in my favourite series because I never wanted the story to be over! Perhaps these half-stories will simply encourage us to create our own endings and send our original ideas and art out into the world at large. One person’s ending is another’s beginning, after all.
Even so… it still kind of sucks.