As of August 31st, Tokyopop no longer has rights to sell Kodansha manga in the U.S., and has designated all of its Kodansha titles “out of print.”  This means that Tokyopop will ship no more copies of those titles, although there is undoubtedly inventory at retail and wholesale levels.  Returnable channels will have six months to return unsold merchandise if desired. 


Titles affected include Chobits, Love Hina, Samurai Deeper Kyo, Rave Master, Initial D, Kindaichi, Life, GetBackers, and Love Attack, among many more.


Tokyopop said that Kodansha had not communicated the reasons for its decision, but it follows the elimination of Tokyopop as a licensee in Germany (see “Tokyopop on Kodansha in Germany”) and Kodansha’s listing of former Dark Horse titles Akira and Ghost in the Shell under its own brand for October shipping (see “Kodansha Titles Turn Up on Amazon”). 


Tokyopop said of Kodansha’s move, “We have received many emails and phone calls about titles related to this announcement, and given the nature of the negotiations, we could not definitely answer any of those questions until now. We love all of these series, and we are disappointed that we will not get to enjoy the outcome of some of our favorite manga. We hope to see these series completed some day…. However, if they are ever published again, they will not be published by Tokyopop.”


We asked Tokyopop about the impact on the company and received the following response.  “At one time, a majority of what we published were series from Kodansha. If that were still the case, we would be in a lot of trouble. But a few years ago we diversified the means by which we obtained content, which included reducing our exposure to just a handful of Japanese partners. Since then we have licensed only a handful of new series from Kodansha, while continuing to publish continuing volumes from some of their most popular series. This announcement has little bearing on Tokyopop’s current or future stability. But for the fans, the uncertainty of knowing when some of their favorite series will finish is a big blow.”


Tokyopop will continue to publish licensed fiction from Kodansha, including Twelve Kingdoms (see “Tokyopop to Release Twelve Kingdoms”). 


Some former Tokyopop titles have been picked up by Del Rey (see “Del Rey Acquires New Manga”); others will presumably be published by Kodansha itself. 


Kodansha and Random House (of which Del Rey is a division) have a wide-ranging relationship, including a joint venture publishing operation in Japan.  Titles published by Kodansha here will be distributed by Random House (see “Kodansha Manga Distributed by Random House”). 


A full list of the Kodansha Tokoypop titles has been derived from Tokyopop’s OP list by the Precocious Curmudgeon blog.