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Tokyopop Shutting Down Its U.S. Division

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The comics publishing culling of 2011 claimed its most prominent victim as it was announced today that Tokyopop is shutting down its US operations, as of May 31. The German office will stay open to handle publishing rights and the film division will continue.

Founded in 1997, Tokyopop and its founder Stu Levy were at the forefront of the manga revolution in the US, introducing such hits as Sailor Moon, Chobits and Love Hina to the US market in the “unflipped” format for the first time.

Sales surged as the manga bookstore revolution took over in the early part of the last decade. An ambitious program of publishing original manga by creators from around the world — many of them barely out of the teenaged readership years themselves — proved controversial and ultimately saw only a handful of successful franchises but introduced a new generation of creators to the comics scene.

In February, a last round of lay-offs had reduced the company to a mere 6 employees…making the shut down all but inevitable.

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