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Name: Tokyopop
Date(s): founded 1997
Profit/Nonprofit: profit
Country based in: United States, Germany
Focus: manga
External Links: Official website
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Tokyopop (formerly Mixx Entertainment) is a American manga publisher and distributor with a German division.[1] It was a major North American distributor of manga and anime in the early 2000s before suspending its North American publishing projects in May 2011. This also caused the UK branch to close, since it relied on important publications from the North American branch.

The company was well-known among fans for a history filled with questionable business decisions, particularly their history of predatory contracts for young artists.[2][3] In 2015, Tokyopop announced at Anime Expo that it would resume publication in North America[4] but did not fully return until 2018.


In the late 90s, Stuart Levy started a company then known as Mixx Entertainment that published weekly serialized manga the same way it's frequently published in Japan in a magazine called MixxZine. Their major title at the time was Sailor Moon, which led to them pulling Sailor Moon from MixxZine and publishing it as a separate graphic novel. They also opened a film and television division, leading to them releasing the English-language releases of anime such as Initial D and Marmalade Boy.

By the early 2000s, Mixx Entertainment had become Tokyopop and emerged as a powerhouse manga publisher primarily due to their dedication to presenting manga in the same way it was originally made. Because Western countries read left to right but Japan reads right to left, prior attempts to bring manga to the United States involved the time consuming process of flipping art and reorienting it to be printed in a way Western fans were familiar with. Sound effects were also translated, requiring artists to redraw large sections of panels. Tokyopop's line of "100% Authentic" manga were printed right to left and kept all the original sound effects, making them faster to produce and allowing Tokyopop to offer them at a much lower price than competitors.[5]


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Business Practices

Tokyopop has been heavily criticized for underpaying contributors and using misleading contracts to retain the rights to any works published under their name.

LRT: DO NOT enter the Toky*p*p Rising Stars of Manga contest!!! It is 1000% a scam to get the rights to your IP (if they have first refusal, your rights are NOT actually creator owned). Can't believe I am having to warn people about this literally *20 YEARS* after the first time. Me, @SeidmanLea & others desperately tried to warn the younger generation of American manga artists back in like 2000-2004 abt these absolute shyster practices TP had for creators' rights, & we got called old jealous bitches. Well guess what, now I'm even OLDER. TP is STILL evil.

Elin Winkler via Twitter, 7/25/22

Anime Piracy

In 2016, Tokyopop uploaded the entirety of the classic film Angel's Egg to their official YouTube channel. Viewers noticed that the script matched a fansubbed version of the movie from the 1990s. Upon questioning by bunnycartoon of The Anime Nostalgia Podcast, Stu Levy revealed that Tokyopop didn't own the rights to the movie and "hadn't thought it thru" before uploading it. The company then deleted the fansubbed version of Angel's Egg from their channel.[6]

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Notes and References