Man, the otaku are taking to the road, Viz Media is restructuring, Go! Comi has gone south. It’s been an endless day and to steal a line from my favorite drift-racing manga, Initial D, my hemorrhoids are killing me.
First off, Tokyopop is taking their brand on the road in a reality show. I put a few questions to Stu Levy, founder, CEO, and COO of TP for the deets and he describes the tour as such:
The Tokyopop Tour is actually two things with one united purpose. It is an outreach program and also a reality show called “America’s Greatest Otaku”. It’s purpose is to meet fans nationwide.
Outreach? Do manga and anime fans need some sort of intervention? Read the full article over at Publishers Weekly for more info. I describe the Tokyopop Tour as the otaku version of Mtv’s reality show, Road Rules. The interesting thing is that Stu Levy himself will be participating as a member of the group on the bus touring cross country and visiting summer anime/manga conventions.
As to how the tour fits into Tokyopop’s company objectives (i.e. selling more manga) Levy replied:
We are more than a publisher—we’re a lifestyle and media brand. This is core—it’s about reaching out to our fans and getting to know who they are. They are the reason we exist.
The approach is a bit vague and I’m not sure how this will influence sales of Tokyopop product, but given the state of manga today, it’s probably a good idea to reach out to fans and remind them that publishers are still here. I’m not sure the bus is going to do the trick but I’m a skeptic by nature.
Given the news of Go! Comi that Brigid reports over at Mangablog, it looks like an intervention (or resuscitation) couldn’t come sooner. Go! Comi’s website has expired and Gia Manry points out on Anime Briefs that Go! Comi hasn’t published anything since October of 2009.
But the big story of today is Viz Media’s layoffs – approximately 60 staffers, which equates to 40% of the publisher’s workforce, has been cut. This is coming as a big surprise. I’m sure more details will emerge and add to this story. In the meantime, twitterati and manga lovers throughout the ethernet are wishing everyone who has been laid-off the best of luck.
On the brighter side of news Anime News Network is looking for summer interns and editorial content for both the ANN website and ProtoCulture Addicts! Applications for interships are due May 14th so get on it if you want to learn more about the business of anime entertainment and filing news for a fast paced online publication. Pitches for stories/content should be pitched to Zac Bertschy (firstname.lastname@example.org)