“Japan’s highly respected Nikkei financial news service is reporting that Kodansha has set up a U.S. subsidiary “to publish and sell translations of its Japanese manga” in the U.S. starting in September. “
- http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/12832.html

So I was able to actually confirm this a little while back, but in such a way that I couldn’t blog about it without getting a few people in some trouble.

I can also confirm that Dark Horse no longer has the license for AKIRA (licensed from Kodansha) and that Tokyopop has canceled Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad volumes 13 and 14, and this is a Kodansha-licensed title as well, so it looks like they might have lost that license (edit: or they canceled them for sales issues or another reason. It’s too bad too, because I always thought that was a title that could benefit immensely from a brighter spotlight, the kind that canceling 50 or 60 of their other titles might provide. Sigh…).

There’s more coming too, but I’ll let it go until an official statement is made somewhere.

Also, just a quick guess here, but I would find it surprising if Kodansha pulled any licenses back from Del Rey, as they’ll likely be relying on Del Rey parent company Random House for distribution in America (under the auspices of the Kodansha/Random House “deal”), and that would likely sour the working relationship. Which isn’t to say that it won’t happen of course, but is far less likely and has not, to the best of my knowledge, happened yet.

- Christopher


18 Comments on “Kodansha will start publishing in the U.S. after all…”

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  1. Halliday says:

    WOW. O_O

  2. MangaBlog » Blog Archive » Breaking: Kodansha setting up shop in U.S.? says:

    [...] UPDATE 2: Christopher Butcher has more, but it’s on double secret background. [...]

  3. Tina says:

    I thought DH was just waiting to re-release Akira when the film comes out?

  4. Halliday says:

    Glad I didn’t sell my AKIRA soft covers at ANIME NORTH. *tugs collar and gulps*

  5. Todd Ciolek says:

    Beck wasn’t really selling, so I doubt that Tokyopop fought all that fiercely to keep it.

  6. Amy says:

    wow this sure is interesting. I wonder how they’ll do in the states? They definitely have some of the best graphic designers over in Japan, hope they bring some of that talent here to raise the bar on manga packaging.

  7. Chris says:

    Derek: Well, yes and no. With the film coming there will be another edition, no doubt, and I can only imagine how kick-ass that edition might be…

    Tina: Looks like you thought wrong then, don’t know what else to tell you.

    Todd: I’m curious, where is that sourced from? I knew it wasn’t doing Kingdom Hearts numbers or anything, but it never came up in any discussions that I saw of “books in danger of being cancelled”.

    Amy: The bar could largely stand to be raised, yes.

  8. ed says:

    Actually BECK was brought up more than a few times by TP reps but that was back when TP rarely (practically never) canceled titles. I forget if BECK was going to be part of that line that was only going to be sold via their site (bypassing Diamond… Like Dragon Head which is also from Kodansha) which I believe TP gave up on.

  9. Chris says:

    Ed- Totally missed that… Perhaps I just had my blinders on because I like the series. I don’t think it was part of the print-to-order initiative like Dragon Head and King City were threatened to be though. But I’m sad to see it go, whether it was for sales or licensing issues.

  10. Todd Ciolek says:

    Chris: I had it firsthand from a Tokyopop editor (whose name I’m reluctant to disclose publicly) during the New York Comic Con. She mentioned that neither Beck nor Blame! had sold very well, though she didn’t mention anything about Beck being canceled.

    Blame! is another Kodansha property, but TOKYOPOP wrapped it up last November. I’d like to see Kodansha release more of Nihei’s titles on their imprint.

  11. a geek by any other name says:

    [...] Chris Butcher has a little more to note: Dark Horse has lost their Akira license, and Tpop’s Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad license is also in question (though in Tpop’s case it’s hard to know if it was cancelled by Tpop or Kodansha). [...]

  12. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » July 2, 2008: Child-size cup says:

    [...] [Publishing] It looks like Kodansha’s going to be publishing manga in the United States after all. ICv2 has the report, as well as word that Del Rey Manga doesn’t expect to start bleeding licenses over the move (a message reiterated by Dallas Middaugh at the Del Rey Manga Blog). Elsewhere, Christopher Butcher and Jake Forbes have commentary, and Simon Jones rounds up a number of additional links. [...]

  13. MangaBlog » Blog Archive » Kodansha reactions says:

    [...] As for Dark Horse, Christopher Butcher notes on Comics 212 that they no longer hold the license for Akira. And Tokyopop will no longer be publishing Beck, although a commenter says that may simply be because of poor sales. Chris also has some insight into Del Rey’s fate: Also, just a quick guess here, but I would find it surprising if Kodansha pulled any licenses back from Del Rey, as they’ll likely be relying on Del Rey parent company Random House for distribution in America (under the auspices of the Kodansha/Random House “deal”), and that would likely sour the working relationship. Which isn’t to say that it won’t happen of course, but is far less likely and has not, to the best of my knowledge, happened yet. [...]

  14. Kodansha to Open U.S. Subsidiary; Manga Pricing to Change? » Comics Worth Reading says:

    [...] Many questions result. Del Rey isn’t concerned — their licenses are proceeding as planned. Chris Butcher reports that Tokyopop cancelled Beck, a Kodansha title, but that might also be due to lower sales or Tokyopop’s own problems. [...]

  15. Kodansha to Publish manga in U.S. « Paul’s otaku notebook says:

    [...] Edit: Christopher Butcher at Comics212 confirms that Dark Horse has lost the licence to Akira, and Tokyopop has cancelled volumes Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad volumes 13 and 14, both Kodansha titles. (Beck could have been cancelled for a number of reasons not related to the Kodansha announcement, given the situation at Tokyopop these days, however.) [...]

  16. Blog@Newsarama » Blog Archive » Reactions to Kodansha’s announcement says:

    [...] Chris Butcher, however, says that Dark Horse no longer has the license for Akira and that Tokyopop has cancelled Volumes 13 and 14 of Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad, thought the latter could be due to TP’s recent troubles. [...]

  17. Random J-Rock Updates #2 « J-rock Explosion says:

    [...] -Tokyopop has officially canceled the best manga currently being printed in the US, BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad. I’m sorry but I have no faith in Tokyopop any longer and will not be purchasing any more manga from their company. I’ve waited three long years for them to get to the American Tour arc and now I won’t be able to read it.  Hopefully this new Kodansha company will pick up this series and treat it the right way. [...]

  18. Laffingman says:

    So…beck is not gonna finish in the US. I won’t be able to read the final books?

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