The Trials and Tribulations of Being an Über-Geek Collector: Farewell Tokyopop

Seriously, one volume left?


That’s just wrong and cruel.

R.I.P. 1997-2011

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.

The only pic currently available for volume six, and it's just volume five with a blue background instead of pink! *Sob*

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.

The illusive third volume. Why is it always random volumes in the middle of a series that are hardest to track down?

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.

To be fair, I was mostly interested in this one because of the cover art. Hey, geeks can be shallow, too!

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).

Dark Horse, can you hear me? Dark Horse, can you help me not be frightened (that I'll not get to read the rest of this series)?

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?!?

Be wary of wousing a rizard's wrath - rousing a rizard's - Row! Be wary of making a-a magician angry!

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.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. LLJ
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 14:06:29

    If Funimation ever packed up and went out of business, anime in the U.S. would officially be on its death legs. But then again, I’m not sure companies ever truly die, they just morph into something else. After all, Sentai Filmworks is basically the reincarnated version of ADV now except with less of a market share, and Nozomi has basically taken Animeigo’s place as the Criterion of U.S. anime.

    As for manga heartbreak, I’m still incensed that CMX packed up when SWAN had basically only 5 volumes left.


    • Miss Pink
      Jun 28, 2011 @ 14:29:58

      Apologies for the late reply, I was away from my computer all weekend.
      Morphing into something else is good! I’m hoping that since AitCoH is a “New York Times bestseller” that *someone* will pick it back up, or even reissue the whole series. I can be patient, if I know that good things are on the way!

      Only 5 volumes left super sucks. At least AitCoH has the story mostly wrapped up, even if there are some loose ends left.


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