The pressure on U.S. distributors of manga, anime and other J-pop products has proved unbearable in recent cases. TokyoPop, a trailblazing distributor and publishers of manga and anime in the United States, responsible for global versions of the Sailor Moon series, closed its manga publishing division for good three months ago. “I’m laying down my guns,” wrote founder Stu Levy, who built his company from scratch in 1997. “Some of it worked. Some of it didn’t.” Levy is a friend of mine. His passion for manga and anime is palpable. If he’s quitting the biz, it’s a good bet that the biz is battered.
By Roland Kelts.