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Tokyopop Reorganizes

14 Jun, 2008 By: Chris Tribbey

Anime company Tokyopop, best known for its “GTO” and “Initial D” properties, has split its North American business into two different companies, one for manga and one for anime.

Tokyopop Inc. will be the manga division, with Tokyopop Media LLC taking on anime. In the process, the company eliminated 39 positions. The company also announced it was pulling out as an exhibitor at this year's Comic-Con International convention in San Diego.

“This reorganization is the right business move, but we are doing it with a heavy heart,” said Tokyopop CEO Stuart Levy. “It involves saying goodbye to 39 of the most talented, creative and compassionate people I've ever known. While it goes without saying, it's important to note that our restructure is not at all a negative reflection on them.

“The time is now for us to focus our publishing business to overcome current market challenges. Fewer releases will allow for less cannibalization at retail. At the same time, the opportunity is significant in the digital and comics-to-film space. As one of the largest comic book companies worldwide, we must adjust our overhead to properly execute this new business plan.”

Publisher Mike Kiley takes over senior executive duties for Tokyopop Media.

“Our goal is for Tokyopop Media to become one of the go-to production entities in Hollywood by building global entertainment franchises across media platforms,” Levy said.

Tokyopop stopped self-distributing its DVD products in 2006, instead partnering with anime giant Funimation for distribution.

Tokyopop is known as one of the top manga publishers in the United States, with its anime properties limited to a handful of action-adventure and children's series.

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