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SakuraCon 2008 Tokyopop Panel - Big On Bishonen

Tokyopop came out with a pretty big group of folks: editors Lillian Diaz-Przybyl and Michelle Hyunh, and marketing rep Kasha Picars.

On the announcements side, they mentioned a new Princess Ai series slated to start at the end of this year by the manga-ka who did the original series, albeit with much more refined art. Fruits Basket is still moving tons of manga and drawing in new fans: the Fruits Basket hardcovers will continue for the moment, Fruits Basket sticker/temporary tattoo book is going to come out this summer, and a Fruits Basket 18 month dayplanner that be in Barnes & Noble in the same time frame with a wider release in October. They also intend to have quite a showing at San Diego Comicon with a Sgt. Frog prize wheel, (hopefully) free Fruits Basket temporary tattoos and a Bishonen Explosion 18 month calendar, which also be made available via one of the major book retailers as a gift with purchase item.

Sgt. Frog will drop new volumes in May and later on in the summer, after which they’ll be pretty much caught up with Japan. Vassalord, a title from Peacemaker Kurogane manga-ka Nanae Chrono will hit in July. They’ll also have Jyu-Oh-Sei by Natsumi Itsuki coming out with in the year as well. They’ll also be releasing the Gothic & Lolita Bible magazine as a quarterly with 50 percent original US content and 50 percent translated content from the original Japanese magazine, including the dress patterns. The first volume is already in stores.

On the online front, they’ve revamped Tokyopop’s website again, making it more accessible to people looking for specific titles, and adding more diverse content. They’ve brought over and translated a number of Sgt. Frog online games, are continuing their ani-manga project with shorts for Gyakushu and Sokora Refugees, have revamped their manga player and intend to have the 100 episodes of Rave Master they’ve worked on available on their site in some fashion in the future. Exactly how and at what price point (if any) is still up in the air.

The Q&A revealed some interesting tidbits as well. The Kino no Tabi novels are on hiatus until further notice as some licensing issues have arisen. The Slayers and Scrapped Princess novels are both on hiatus, as sales were quite weak for both titles. All DVD work has been handed off in full to FUNimation. On the yaoi front, they’re being very picky about the titles they’re releasing under their Blu imprint, though they have a deal in the works with a Japanese publisher that could yield some great content in that arena. Also in that vein, they’re still debating doing a compiled release of the Gravitation: REMIX doujinshi series in English, but note that it’s definitely on the table as a possibility. Lastly, with DNAngel restarting in Asuka magazine, they are definitely waiting on baited breath for any news of a compiled volume so they can release it domestically.

All in all, looks like things are going well for Tokyopop.

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