Tokyopop, stylized TOKYOPOP, and formerly known as Mixx, is a distributor, licensor, and publisher of anime, manga, and Original English-language manga in English, German, and Japanese. Tokyopop is incorporated in Tokyo, Japan, with headquarters in Los Angeles, California and branches in the UK and Germany. Tokyopop products are available internationally.
When they were known as Mixx, they sold MixxZine, a manga magazine. Mixx also sold the shōjo manga anthology Smile. Mixxzine later became Tokyopop before it was discontinued. In 2005 Tokyopop began a new, free publication, called Manga (originally Takuhai), to feature their latest releases.
Tokyopop is one of the biggest manga publishers outside of Japan and as such has been attributed with popularizing Manhwa in the United States. Tokyopop "published many Korean artists' work, possibly without Western fans even realizing the strips don't come from Japan. Series like King of Hell by Kim Jae-Hwan and Ra In-Soo, and the Gothic vampire tale Model by Lee So-Young are both Korean, but could easily be mistaken for manga."
In March 2006, Tokyopop and HarperCollins Publishers announced a co-publishing agreement in which the sale and distribution rights of some Tokyopop manga and books, under this co-publishing license, are transferred to HarperCollins in mid-June 2006. The agreement also enables Tokyopop to produce Original English-language manga (OEL) adaptations of HarperCollins' books. Meg Cabot's books will be the first to be adapted into the manga format, while another series will be the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. The first line of Tokyopop-HarperCollins OEL manga will be released in 2007 with the goal to publish up to 24 titles each year.
Tokyopop has released several series based on American games, films, and characters, such as Warcraft and Jim Henson films. They recently released the first volume of a series based on the Hellgate: London video game in April 2008.
During the restructure, Tokyopop laid off 39 positions, equating to 35-40% of its total American workforce. Most of the positions cut were those involved in the direct publication of its books. The publication output from Tokyopop, Inc will be scaled back. Tokyopop reported that it would be cutting the volumes released per year by approximately 50%, to an average of 20-22 volumes per month.
Tokyopop's Japan division will also be split, with one unit operating under Tokyopop Media and the other becoming a subsidiary under the overall Tokyopop Group. In response to Tokyopop's restructuring, declining sales, and losing 20% of its manga market share, Tokyopop UK cut its publication release schedule from approximately 25 volumes a month to 20.
Also in 2004, Tokyopop set up a London, UK office that mainly imports books from the U.S. and distributes them into bookstores in the United Kingdom. Tokyopop released an anime collection in the United Kingdom market in late 2006, including titles such as Initial D and Great Teacher Onizuka. Vampire Princess Miyu was released on DVD by MVM Entertainment, and Kids TV channel Toonami aired the first half of Rave Master in early 2005.
Tokyopop also distributes some of their titles to Australia and New Zealand through Funtastic who recently acquired Madman Entertainment. In Greece, Tokyopop-owned properties are licensed by AnubisComics.
Fans critical of possible mishandling of the Initial D property, voiced concerns regarding "editorial changes" in the localization of the manga and anime. The changes included renaming of several characters and the removal of one character's involvement in Enjo kōsai, a practice in Japan where younger women are paid to provide older men with companionship. In a letter sent to Anime News Network, Tokyopop responded to the criticisms, noting that they felt the edits were necessary because they were marketing the series to a younger target audience than it was originally designed for in Japan. They also felt that the series would reach a larger audience if it had a broader American appeal.
The company alleviated some of the concerns by noting that the anime series would receive an "unedited, subtitled, Japanese language" DVD release. The manga series remained edited except for the first volume, which was accidentally printed before the editing decisions were made.
There are other criticisms of Tokyopop's editing of manga. The sound effects are often left untranslated, and honorifics are removed. Translations of light novels have been criticized as being "stilted and unnatural to the point of being distracting", and manga texts include "numerous misplaced and dangling modifiers, a couple of verb tense and punctuation errors, and a number of misused words that were probably typos that passed the spellcheck test".