By The Editor
February 28, 2007 - 17:10
Manga Giant TOKYOPOP Celebrates 10th Anniversary
Key Milestone Coincides with Launch of the Most Thorough Ratings System Ever Developed by a Manga Publisher
Hailed by the New York Times as "the American pioneer of manga," TOKYOPOP, the company responsible for igniting the worldwide manga boom, is proud to celebrate its ten-year anniversary in 2007. To kick off the festivities, TOKYOPOP continues to set industry standards in manga publishing as it proudly announces the launch of the most comprehensive graphic novel ratings system ever developed. Designed to help librarians, educators, parents, retailers, and consumers make informed buying decisions in a way that is unprecedented in the graphics novel category, TOKYOPOP has worked with an outside, experienced consultant to develop a thorough ratings guide that not only reflects the graphic novel industry as a whole but also provides detailed explanations of its ratings, akin to the video game industry's ESRB ratings.
Expanding upon its creation of the very first graphic novel ratings system nearly ten years ago, which is now the industry standard, TOKYOPOP's all-new ratings guide includes more than 40 content indicators divided among five age ranges. In Fall 2007, a general set of content indicators in addition to the ratings icon will be printed on the cover each new series; more specific information will be available about ratings on the company's website, www.TOKYOPOP.com. With the help of seasoned consultant Michele Gorman (Getting Graphic!: Using Graphic Novels to Promote Literacy with Preteens and Teens and Connecting Young Adults and Libraries), whose experience with graphic novels in the library market has made her a respected expert in the field, the result is the most methodical ratings system developed by a manga publisher to date.
Blazing trails and setting industry standards is not new to TOKYOPOP. Founded by Stu Levy a decade ago, TOKYOPOP introduced North America to Japan's manga craze with the company's first release Sailor Moon. Shortly thereafter, TOKYOPOP engineered prominent book distribution via top retail stores, standardized book trim size, created a basic industry-wide rating system, developed the first-ever retail manga displays and introduced the world of graphic novels to a previously untapped audience: teenage girls. TOKYOPOP continued to send the publishing industry reeling with the launch of its line of 100% Authentic Manga (printed right-to-left), an instant hit with consumers that far exceeded sales expectations. In one of its most courageous moves, TOKYOPOP launched the first-ever Global Manga Publishing Program in 2003 via the introduction of its "Rising Stars of Manga" talent competition which, as of today, has resulted in the creation of more than 10,000 pages annually with hundreds of artists from all over the world. Through the years, the company pioneered the Cine-Manga(tm) format, a blend of cinematic properties and manga that uses actual imagery from hit movies and television series, and successfully launched an international line of teen fiction novels under its "Pop Fiction" publishing banner.
With offices in Los Angeles, Tokyo, London and Hamburg, and partnerships in Australia and China, TOKYOPOP boasts the largest worldwide manga brand recognition, shipping approximately 8 million books globally, with more than 30 million books in print. TOKYOPOP currently syndicates manga to more than 40 newspapers and to the world's #1 teen fashion magazine, CosmoGIRL! Additionally, TOKYOPOP has secured partnerships to co-publish manga with major entertainment brands including its distributor HarperCollins, Paramount, Universal, Nickelodeon and Disney. Along with its booming publishing business, the company licenses, creates and co-creates a multitude of extended manga products including digital entertainment (manga tones, manga pods, manga movies, manga-strology, manga games, manga dating); merchandise (T-shirts, jewelry, toys); music (several albums of the hottest music available from TOKYOPOP Music on i-Tunes); feature films (Priest, Lament of the Lamb, Princess Ai) and TV shows (Initial D, Rave Master, Reign the Conqueror, GTO).
According to TOKYOPOP founder and CEO Stu Levy, "For 10 years, TOKYOPOP has bridged cultures through the power of manga and our Manga Revolution. As a result, a new generation is learning to respect and appreciate--as well as enjoy--each other across the globe. The Manga Lifestyle truly knocks down borders. What's ahead? Over the next 10 years, manga will literally jump off the page into computers, mobile phones, TV screens, fashion, and theaters, and TOKYOPOP will be there, leading the way. As we forge ahead into TOKYOPOP's second decade, I would personally like to thank our dedicated staff, our business partners, our fans and of course the passionate, talented creators who are leading this global revolution with us. Viva Manga!"