Category Archives: Articles

Stories and musing about specific manga titles or manga in general.

Tokyopop.com Goes to the Darkside

Avatar to Support Sixxx

A situation has arisen at Tokyopop.com that I don’t think should be kept only there. As many of you may know from Brigid’s posts on the Mangablog, people have been frustrated about the condition of the Tokyopop.com website. Namely, since the “upgrade” to 2.0, it has been buggy and not well managed. One of the users of the site, an artist known as Sixxx, has been very vocal about the bad code and poor management on her blog. Last weekend, she was banned from the site and her profile was wiped from the system.

Sixxx was a popular person around the site. She was on the front page every day as a “Most Popped” user. Her art was used as avatars, and was often featured in other blog posts. She also spoke her mind about the problems on the site. Her posts weren’t mean or nasty. They were written by someone who obviously cared about the site and was frustrated at what it had become. Apparently, after another venting on her blog, which Sixxx had the comments set for moderation before posting, the webmaster of Tokyopop.com, Matt Paladino, aka MP (who was also on Sixxx’s ignore list) left a comment on the blog that appeared without Sixxx’s approval. The only way he could have done this is by using his power as a webmaster. This was a blatant abuse of power, and Sixxx called him on it. A few days later, while Sixxx was logged in, she was kicked from the site and banned. Her account was removed and not a word has come from Tokyopop.com to Sixxx or to anyone inquiring about it. For more information, check out this Live Journal.

I don’t normally get involved with these kind of situations, especially since I don’t even know Sixxx except by repuation. But what Matt Paladino did, and Tokyopop.com approved of my their inaction really gets me riled. It was completely wrong for MP to abuse his power like that and flaunt it so blatantly. His actions are more like a petty tyrant than a webmaster. But then, we all know what happens when the wrong people get power. If MP didn’t like what Sixxx was saying about the site, he should have just fixed it and not played little games. Users should not be afraid to speak their minds, especially when they have been violated. It’s one of the basic freedoms in the Bill of Rights, and part of what this country was founded on.

Some might contend that Tokyopop.com was in their right to ban Sixxx, as it is their site. And honestly, in their Terms of Service, it does say:

“TOKYOPOP reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to reject, refuse to post or remove any posting (including email) by you, or to restrict, suspend, or terminate your access to all or any part of the Website or Services at any time, or to terminate your Membership for any or no reason, with or without prior notice. “

Employers can terminate employees as well if they are “at will”. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have to have a good, justifiable reason for termination. Employers who don’t end up paying for it. I see no reason not to hold Tokyopop to the same standards. From the evidence I’ve seen so far, there is no good justifiable reason. A bruised ego is NOT a reason for banning. Not if you truly want to build a site for users to come together. But with the way the site “upgrade” has been handled, I am really beginning to wonder if that’s what they want.

Tokyopop can continue to ignore this, and try to pretend that Sixxx never existed. But to continue to do so will only hurt their reputation more and more. How can you trust a publisher that censors it’s fans? Businesses that treat they customers badly will find that they have no more customers. And with more and more competition out there, I don’t think Tokyopop can afford to be pushing away it’s customers. If they want to keep on good relations with their users, then Tokyopop should issue some sort of statement. Whether it’s to Sixxx directly or on their site, it doesn’t matter. My personal opinion is that they should lift the ban immediately and issue a public apology. But, I think there’s too much pride at Tokyopop.com to do such a thing. They should say something. The longer they stay silent, with their heads in the sand, the worse they are going to look. There is no “innocent until proven guilty” in the court of public opinion, and there is no greater proof of guilt than silence.

Tokyopop Drops the Ball…Again

I really shouldn’t be surprised. This certainly isn’t the first time I’ve been disappointed with Tokyopop. But this really shouldn’t have been *that* hard. What am I talking about? The touted “12 days of Manga Holiday”, they were doing on the website. They just couldn’t finish it, with just two days left to go. Did they not have this planned out? Did all the programmers go and vacation and no one told the interns what to do? Do they just don’t care? More and more I’m feeling it’s the last. Either that or they just keep trying to do *too* much and everything gets dropped.

Oh well. Merry Christmas anyway.

Edit:  Well, Tokyopop did finally manage to update their page, not that they told anyone…  The eleventh day was an mp3 of some sort.  Couldn’t find out from what.  Some imanga no doubt.  And the twevlth day was the first volume of Dramacon.

12 Days of Manga: Day 10

“On the Tenth day of Christmas, Tokyopop gave to me…more avatars!”

By popular request it seems, Tokyopop has created two more of their holiday avatars.  These two are from Dramacon and Fools Gold.  You can grab them know at the Tokyopop website along with the previous avatars.  Collect the whole set!

Once again, these will be available for the weekend.  Check back again Monday, after 5pm PST here or Tokyopop.com to see the next gift.  We’re down to the last two days.  Let’s hope Tokyopop makes them worth it.

12 Days of Manga: Day 8

“On the Eighth day of Christmas, Tokyopop gave to me…Pantheon High vol 1!”

pantheon.jpgYeah! More manga! I read the first chapter of this, and have been wanting to read the whole thing! Now I can! And you can too. But just until 5pm PST. Check it out, and then check out vol 2 which comes out in January. Something to spend your Christmas money on!

Check back here or at Tokyopop.com for the next gift.

Bandai Entertainment’s got the Code

My thanks to Mangacast for catching this. At the NYAF, Bandai Entertainment quietly announced the licensing of 3 new manga and one light novel: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. This was an anime series that premiered in Japan last year, becoming an instant hit. With character designs by CLAMP, and a well written story, this series has spawned not only a second season, but three manga adaptations and light novel. 10 years ago, the Empire of Britannia invaded Japan, using it’s mecha called Knightmares and overwhelmed the Japanese people. The country became known as Area 11, and the Japanese called Elevens. Now, a 17 year old boy named Lelouch, a Britannian, seeks revenge on his father, the Emperor, for the assassination of his mother and crippling of his sister Nunnally. That’s just the basic plot, and doesn’t even begin to cover what going on in this series.

codegl.jpgCode Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is a direct adaptation of the series. It follows Lelouch as he gains the power he needs to enact his revenge and possibly bring down an empire. The complexity of the plot and how well it stays true to the series will determine it’s success. The balance of drama, relationships and battle I think is just right to get a female audience. It is a shojo title and is 3 volumes long.

codegs.jpgCode Geass: Suzaku of the Counterattack looks at Lelouch’s story from a different angle. It follows Suzaku, Lelouch’s childhood friend who wants to see Japan free of Britannia’s rule, but chooses to do it from the inside. So it will have many of the same situations as Lelouch, but we will see it from Suzaku’s point of view. This is another shojo version and is at 1 volume and counting.

codegn.jpgCode Geass: Nightmare of Nunally is a side story, an alternate going off in different direction. In this title, Lelouch’s fate isn’t known, and it’s Nunally, his crippled sister that makes the Geass contract. She gets the power to see the lines of the future and a new body with which to fight. This is a shonen take on the story and is 2 volumes long.

code GEASS: Lelouch of the Rebellion is a light novel adaptation of the series. It’s 4 volumes long.

I’m really excited by this license, and am really surprised it didn’t get the attention that a lot of other announcements did. Code Geass is a big property in Japan, and was all the buzz in the anime community when it was showing. And for once, the buzz was justified. This is a great drama that I truly hope translates to the manga medium. With Lelouch and Suzaku covering both sides, the complexity will hopefully be kept intact. Check it out when it comes out.

12 Days of Manga: Day 7

“On the Seventh day of Christmas, Tokyopop gave to me…another imanga mp3!”

Now we’ve got the mp3 for the iManga Bizenghast. Closer from Divine Madness. I really liked this song when I first watched the imanga of Bizenghast on MySpace. You’ve got until 5pm PST to grab it, so go to Tokyopop.com now to get it.

Check back here or Tokyopop.com after 5pm PST to find out your next gift!

12 Days of Manga: Day 6

“On the Sixth day of Christmas, Tokyopop gave to me….Tokyopop Universe Wallpaper!”

Yes, this time, it’s a wallpaper of at least one character from all of Tokyopop’s OEL manga. It looks a little cheesy if you ask me. Most of the pictures are just taken from cover art. It’s also a very crowded picture as you can imagine. You really have to be very familiar with the Tokyopop library to know them all. It’s kind of hard to believe they’ve come out with so many original story books. Can you name them all? (No searching the TP website!)

You can get this wallpaper until 5pm PST today (12-18-07). Check back here or the tokyopop website for the next present!

12 Days of Manga: Day 5

“On the Fifth day of Christmas, Tokyopop gave to me, Biiiiizenghast Vol 1!”

For the whole weekend you can read Bizenghast vol 1. I’d really encourage people to checkBizenghast Vol 1 out this series. It’s very good, involving riddles that must be solved to put spirits to rest. I enjoyed it anyway.  And it also goes over the usual 3 volume model of most Tokyopop OEL!

Check back here Sunday night/Monday or go to Tokyopop.com for the next gift!

12 Days of Manga: Day 4

“On the Fourth day of Christmas, Tokyopop gave to me…more mp3s!”

Yes, it’s another mp3 from their iManga.  This time it’s Home from Riding Shotgun.  Looks like we’re going to get a chance to get all the main songs from the iManga.  Hey, how about a chapter of a mangapod to preview?

Once again, the mp3 is available free until tomorrow (12-14-07) until 5pm PST.  Check back here or at Tokyopop.com for the next gift.

12 Days of Manga: Day 3

“On the third day of Christmas, Tokyopop gave to me….Holiday Avatars?!”

Okay, this seems more like a stocking stuffer than a present. You get a choice of 5 “holiday” avatars. Undertow teddy bear with a santa hat, I Luv Halloween skull with mistletoe, Gothic Sports with dreidels, Bizenghast with mistletoe, or Princess Ai with a santa hat. They look pretty cheesy if you ask me, but hey, they’re free and do have a holiday theme to them. Go to Tokyopop.com to get them. You have until 5pm PST.


12 Days of Manga: Day 2

“On the second day of Christmas Tokyopop gave to me…imanga mp3!”

I guess it’s not all just manga. Though this is one of the things I’m liking about Tokyopop. They are trying to expand manga beyond the printed page, and use the available technology. I just wish they would stop with the Princess Ai over-promotion. Anyway, the mp3 from the Princess Ai imanga, Broken Leash is available to download at Tokyopop. (I would have preferred the song from Bizenghast, but I prefer that manga too.) Once again, it is only available until 5pm PST tomorrow (Wed, 12-12-07).

Check back here or on Tokyopop.com tomorrow after 5pm to find out what’s next!