Remember the time, a few years ago, when it looked like manga was going to totally take over American comics? Probably not happening anytime soon: Tokyopop announced on Friday that it’s shutting down its American publishing operations at the end of May. (A German office handling global rights will remain open.)
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Founded in 1997, Tokyopop became one of the biggest American publishers of translated Japanese manga, including the Sailor Moon, Love Hina and Fruits Basket series, all popular in their time. They also experimented extensively with original English-language works created in a manga-style format, as well as translations of Korean manhwa titles.
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Over the past few years, though, Tokyopop lost the licenses to some of its more popular series, including all the titles from Japanese manga giant Kodansha. The company underwent several rounds of layoffs, beginning in 2008, and the collapse of the Borders bookstore chain, which had been one of the largest outlets for manga in America, was apparently the final straw.