Tokyopop’s Stuart Levy: “We’re A Lifestyle And Media Brand”

By Ishaan . May 15, 2010 . 11:25am Tokyopop founder Stuart Levy is currently preparing for a roadtrip with six hand-picked college students that his company dubbed the “otaku six” after a rigorous audition process. The roadtrip will involve travel through the country and stopping by at various conventions in an attempt to find “America’s greatest otaku” and give Tokyopop an opportunity to interact with their fanbase.


Publishers Weekly caught up with Levy to ask him a few quick questions, two of which were rather interesting:


PWCW: What are the participant responsibilities?


SL: The Otaku Six are my crew and cast for the show, my team. They will work with the HQ Crew to find the Greatest Otaku candidates, to research Otaku Spots in each town, and to produce the show with me. They’ll learn marketing, production and how to live on the road in tight quarters.


PWCW: How does the Tokyopop Tour fit into Tokyopop’s overall objectives as a publisher?


SL: 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 comment about being a lifestyle and media brand is rather interesting as there are, of course, avenues of the otaku industry that Tokyopop have not yet made headway into — the most significant being games. However, in the past, Stuart Levy has expressed great enthusiasm for both the iPhone and iPad, which would indicate that, perhaps, it’s a little too soon to rule out that possibility.

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  • Joanna

    I prefer they focus on getting their localizations done before trying other stuff. Sure, there has been a drastic improvement with their titles, but there are still things I wish they would do. DEL REY, do as they do, other publishers! Seriously!

    • I’d like to see them not drop Aria… (though it seems like they already have.)

  • Guest

    Simply terrible. I’m especially disgusted by these white-ass fools using a word like “otaku” incorrectly.

    • Hraesvelgr

      “Incorrectly” by Japanese standards, maybe. A lot of Americans that are into anime seem to actually like the “otaku” title, as it generally carries different connotations than it does in Japan.

      • Guest

        It’s a Japanese word. The only valid standards are the Japanese ones. Any different connotations are inherently incorrect.

        • TomSkylark

          While I have no stakes in the apparently never-ending otaku-means-social-deviant-no-it-means-fandom debate, Ferdinand de Saussure and pretty much every linguist after him are pretty clear that language is creative, and that cultural authority is pretty much phantasmatic-to-nil when it comes to language–hell, most internet message boards provide ample evidence of this.

          Moreover, considering the ubiquitousness with which Japanese decontextualizes and re-purpose English words, I think it’s pretty self-evident that translation can be a radical act of difference and defamiliarization, whether one “likes” it or not.

          • And who’d have thought that someday I would find Saussure popping up here on Siliconera :P

        • Hraesvelgr

          Wrong. Modern English is filled with loan words, many of which come from Japanese words, such as otaku. The negative connotation the word has for the Japanese is generally ignored by English speakers.

        • Aoshi00

          You know Jpn people call even Disney cartoons “anime” right? To them it just means animation or cartoon. Tell them they use the word anime wrong :)

  • puchinri

    They are indeed carrying a very different use of otaku. It doesn’t help people like weeabos if they push ideals that don’t reflect what they are in the culture they come from.

    And I can never forget the evil of that ‘contract’ they released some time back and how they were going to basically scam anyone that they were going to ‘collab’ with.

    • SeventhEvening

      This. I’ve met some pretty delusional weeabos in my time, and this just feeds those delusions. Several years ago I went to conventions regularly, but I can’t do it anymore. This “lifestyle” that Tokyopop is apparently supporting has seriously warped the fandom and given it a terrible reputation.

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