Tokyopop’s Senior Editor On Why Series Go On Hiatus

By Ishaan . February 26, 2011 . 10:28am

Senior Editor at Tokyopop, Lillian Diaz-Przybyl, has an interesting post up at her blog on the Tokyopop hub [via  the ever-vigilant Mangablog] about manga sales, why series go on hiatus, and how the number of copies of manga in distribution at any given point in time are controlled by retail stores.


“One of the things I most hate to see on manga-related forums are comments like, “I’m interested in this series, but I don’t know if they’re going to cancel it, so I’ll wait a bit and see if it continues,”” Lillian says in her post.


She continues: “You know what practically GUARANTEES that something will get dropped from publication? Not putting your money where your mouth is and picking up volume 1.”


Lillian goes on to explain the basics behind perceived demand and supply of manga, a lot of which is governed by book stores, which constantly have various different titles fighting for shelf space. Online sales via sites like Amazon, she says, are a fraction of retail sales, so the manga industry is still very much reliant on brick-and-mortar stores.


When perceived demand for a series drops off, publishers consider putting it on hiatus to see if demand eventually picks up again to justify printing more volumes. Oftentime, however, if demand doesn’t back up fast enough, ultimately, not just the series but the license itself is dropped by the publisher.


Keeping the license would require them to keep paying the original Japanese publisher a licensing fee, which would be money that they would never make back during the time that the series is on hold.

Read more stories about & on Siliconera.

  • hmm so that why Enchanter was dropped T.T

  • I do not think any of the series I read ever go on hiatus…but from Tokyopop…I hope people continue to buy Seikon no Qwaser as I love that series to death and want it to all come out in its entirety as I can not get enough of Sasha and Mafuyu and Eketarina, lol…best series ever and best series Ive ever watched unsubbed/uncensored, it was just epic to be rewatched again and again.

    • Oh you, dirty boy, you~

    • You just want TiTS!

      (the psp game Trails in The Sky… what else did you thought about, person reading this post? muahaha)

      • Oh man was I happy after reading the first part, as that’s what I want too, but then I see the lower text and thought “Oh shoot you meant that” and was sad, BUT then I thought wait…Trails in the Sky…why the fu** am I sad?! And was uber happy again! :D

        …Whatever what I was trying to say is, that post was awesome! xD

        • Lol, yes xD i couldnt help to make fun of “TiTS” in my mind whenever XSEED talking about it on twitter… i was like… “Ahh god, that sounds so wrong xD” In every little tweet they mentioned it…

      • Zero_Destiny

        I’ve been waiting for TiTS to come to my house via US mail. :D Waku Waku
        XSEED the only company in America that’ll send you TiTS via the mail. lol

        • Indeed, the people at XSEED worked a lot so we could get TiTS into our houses… xD

          Oh god, i can’t anymore, this all sounds too wrong xD

          • Zero_Destiny

            There’ nothing wrong about a man loving TiTS. In fact, I think TiTS should be something everyman experiences at least once in his life. XD I know I can’t wait to get my hand some TiTS (it does have more than episodes you know). I can barely contain myself thinking about it. lol

          • oh man, i was anticipating this game, now you guys make it sounds weird =_=!
            it would be wrong for a girl to anticipate TiTs <_<

          • @Yumi:
            No way! It just makes you a far greater being, than girls that don’t anticipate TiTs! :D

    • Zero_Destiny

      So Sawada DOES have a Hentai no Tamashii :D I’ve judged you wrongly this whole time. lol

      • Which anime fan doesn’t? Even Sawada is not immune to the Getter Rays of awesome Hentai no Tamashii’s! :D

  • LOL @Tokyopop Remember the time when you localized #InitialD manga and effects of how you guys handled its localization? Yeah…

  • Soma

    I have no faith in Tokyopop. They stretched themselves too thin licensing too many series’ at once at one time. That resulted in a lot of really good series (BECK, for instance) getting put on permanent hiatus.
    Also, I find that the quality of their translations to be lacking. Their series’ are often filled with typographical and grammatical errors, too.
    Then again, I haven’t read anything from Tokyopop since 2008.

    • Ohh, BECK is awesome T.T

    • M’iau M’iaut

      BECK and DNAngel are probably the two biggest damagers to TPs rep that they drop stuff at any time. Both were series that had multiple editions released stateside, had strong anime fanbase tie-ins and received a fair share of PR in their day.

      • Beck was discontinued because Tokyopop and Kodansha had some issues. Now that Kodansha USA is establishing itself as a manga publisher, I’m sure they’d like to hear from you in support of the series!

        As far as I know, DNAngel is still being released by Tokyopop, but maybe more slowly because of the slowed down Japanese publishing schedule? I came across this site: and it looks like Tokyopop plans to release v14 this October—not significantly later than various other non-Japanese publishers.

        • M’iau M’iaut

          But in the case of BECK then, it should have been incumbent to let the customers have awareness. The point folks are trying to drive home is that issues aren’t just because folks were not buying. TP has a large measure of responsibility.

          And yes, DNAngel has started back up, but the original hiatus long preceded the Japanese delay; and that’s still two years for a series that had customers committed to 9-10 volumes during the initial run.

    • This. I had high hopes then they picked up Aria, and even went to far as to publish the prequel Aqua as well.

      They got two volumes farther than ADV then canned it.

      I’d rather give my money to Viz.

      • Soma

        Yes! Aria is great. I was really sad when ADV dropped it. By the time Tokyopop picked it up, though, I had already washed my hands of them. The quality of their books is lacking compared to every other North American publisher.

        Viz and Del Rey are the only two companies that I find are worth their salt. Yen Press has also delivered a couple of gems (Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro), but I really don’t like their translations.

      • Tokyopop is still publishing Aria too—they just released volume 6 two months ago.

  • Phlo

    Yeah, sure, Tokyopop. It’s actually OUR fault that we can’t trust you to follow through with anything.

    • neo_firenze

      Exactly. Publishers need to consider their image if they regularly drop series part way through. They might have short term benefit from dropping a poor performing series, but there are long term consequences in that fans will be more reluctant to even start buying new series until they have confidence that the whole thing will be released.

      If it becomes a trend, as it seems to be with Tokyopop, the consumer has every right to be skeptical that they should invest in something that the publisher won’t follow through on.

    • M’iau M’iaut

      It’s actually probably more our fault we didn’t treat every TP or whomever’s release like Love Hina or Fruba. Sadly, over expectations seem so rife in these linked industries (anime, manga, gaming). A few good quarters of numbers, a few runaway hits like some Japanese name no one can pronounce, and bang you’ve got a license to print money. When that golden goose ends up on the kitchen table, you simply move on to something else.

      Tokyopop is such an odd bird. Yes, they did a great job of pimping themselves and the Fruits Baskets of the world, and even did a decent with cross promotions, but even in their heyday, many titles got no press, or when ‘released’ did not show up in a timely manner. Of course folks are not going to buy something; WHEN THEY DON’T KNOW IT IS AVAILABLE TO BUY.

      • That’s soo true. Companies nowadays have issues with promoting their titles. They’d make a magazine/mangazine, sell a few issues, and then cancel their magazine. I know TP did a free magazine for awhile, but it went more into promoting all the non-Japanese stuff they were publishing and little about the actual Japanese titles. But even with that, that free magazine wasn’t available all the time to let us know or preview what new titles that were coming up. It might have just gave us a small list with release dates of titles and make us look it up on their website or just on the internet in general. However, with researching stuff on our own, it might distract people into reading scanlations than TP’s actual releases… So it ends up hurting their sales, unless it’s someone who likes to buy the actual volumes for series they like.

    • noxian

      i’m not sure if saying it’s anyone’s “fault” is quite the right situation here.

      i think the most fair thing is say is the Western manga industry has set itself up in a self-destructive cycle.

      she may hate that buyers say they want to wait and see if the publisher follows through with a series.
      but Tokyopop, and the industry as a whole, are responsible for breeding an environment where buyers have so little trust in publishers to follow through.

      in that sense, the “fault” runs both ways.

      however, the disingenuous part of Diaz-Przybyl’s statement is her attitude that its the buyers responsibility to support the product, as opposed to the publishers responsibility to sell the product.

      “i hate it when consumers say, ‘i’m not going to buy it!'”
      well, the thing is it’s the publisher’s job to sell it, not the consumers job to buy it.
      if Tokyopop’s witnessing that behavior on some grand industry-affecting scale, then it’s Tokyopop, not the consumers, who needs to take the step back and consider what they’re doing wrong.

  • Wow Lillian, you have a very nice name, but you are so ignorant to the truth that it actually hurts my sweet little heart~ At least I had something to laugh, thumps up! :D

    • Hraesvelgr

      Actually, I’m pretty sure the truth of the matter is that things are put on hiatus/dropped if they don’t sell well enough. That’s like saying lack of viewers isn’t why they cancel TV shows, lack of ticket/DVD buyers isn’t why they consider movies to be box office bombs or why future games are not made not because of lack of sales.

      On the other hand, I can see why people would be reluctant to buy from Tokyopop solely because of their past changes and constantly dropping titles.

      • I know that it is the truth that mangas are dropped when no one buys them, but like you said they dropped a LOT and made some decisions that weren’t good for their own health, which led to Tokyopop being one of the untrustworthy publishers there is. And it doesn’t help when one of their editors rants in her blog about the readers. :/

  • PrinceHeir

    lol tokyopop too many licenses yet most of them have been drop not to mention the censoring parts yikes.

    no just no.

  • Zero_Destiny

    Hiatus’s are the worst :( They kill me. Nothing like collecting 12 volumes of something only for it to stop and then it’s even worse when it’s not even popular enough to be scanlated so you’re just stuck never knowing anything. T_T I’ve definitely been less chancy with all the manga I buy now. I’m just tried of getting screwed and not being able to see the ending to the series. The biggest chance I took recently is probably Cross Game but that was a special case since I LOVE Adachi and I love the anime. I’ll take my chances.
    EDIT: Also Hiatus’s in Japan suck too. Like BEET the Vandal Buster and HUNTERxHUNTER :( I’ve heard that their mangaka are really sick or something and it’s been years too. I just keep praying that those Magnaka get better. It’ll be nice if they can come back to their work too. :) But yeah I do want them to get well soon especially since I’m eternally grateful to them for making some of the best manga I’ve ever read.

    • Oh man true BEET(I think they stopped it?) and HUNTERXHUNTER take like forever…That reminds me about D.Grayman too, I loved it to some part, after which it started to be a bit, uhm “strange”, the Mangaka was on hiatus a lot and I think they just stopped to finish it. :/

      • Zero_Destiny

        D.Gray-Man runs in Jump Square now (Used to be called Monthly Shonen Jump). It’s been running for like a year or so too, I think. If we’re lucky we get like 10-12 chapters of HUNTERxHUNTER a year. I some times just wish they turn it into a monthly series instead. And yeah nothing from BEET in years. Too bad it was made by the same duo who made the Dragon Quest: Dai’s Great Adventure manga which is why I had to watch BEET as well. Really was a great shonen action series that just felt so much like an RPG (l love how everyone Level’s Up too lol).

        • Ah, ok didn’t know that, thanks for the info! :D
          And I agree BEET was super funny. xD

        • Arcm

          I miss BEET I have all released books, which turned me to Reading Dragon Quest: Dai’s Great Adventure and that series was equally awesome… I hope BEET comes back someday. It’s around time for HxH to be coming back.

      • I don’t know about D.gray-man… My friend went to Japan once and brought back a Jump brochure and that was how I knew about Rosario Vampire and D.Gray-man. D.Gray-man was out of this world on the earlier chapters. Since then, the art changed and the story went wild, I have no idea what’s happening anymore.

        HxH… I’m speechless about it. He completes 1 volume a year and that’s it. *facepalms*

        Rosario vampire’s art is just so delicious. To think that he started with mediocre art, then it evolves into what it is now. The story’s quite nice, too. Well it is shounen-ish, but I gotta take a break from Billy Bat and Deadman Wonderland once in a while…

        • I’m with you on D.Grayman, the earlier chapters were amazing and really interesting with the new setup, but now I don’t understand shi** it’s just crazy..

          You’re not alone ot that either, I started reading HxH, when 15 volumes or so came out, I bought them all in one go and now I have to wait years for a few chapters before he goes on hiatus again…

          And again, I agree. xD Rosario Vampire is awesome, I love the girls, Mizore and Kurumu are funny as hell, and the art changed to one of my favorite modern drawing styles as well! Deadman Wonderland is one crazy story man, I don’t understand anything in it, but I’m surely not complaining. xD

          • I like Mizore and Kurumu too~ <3 I've got a Shueisha 1/8 Mizore, but the quality's meh, so don't go anywhere near it..

          • Zero_Destiny

            Oh man you’re all making me nervous. I just started to read D.Gray-Man. I watched the show back in the day and got bored somewhere around the 20 episode mark. Just recently found some copies of the manga for cheap said “Wow, this ART is amazing” and bought it on impulse. It’s been fun so far. Does it really become bad? I don’t want to drop another series. :U What happens to it (no spoilers if possible).

          • Personally, the manga is far better than the anime. The anime had the events in the manga (and novels) all rearranged unlike what’s read. (Same with Katekyo Hitman Reborn. lol I <3 <3 <3 that series to death, but the anime made me skip soooooo many episodes because stuff were rearranged and there were some fillers in it too.. *believes it's quite pointless to watch fillers, so she automatically skips them*) Though, you have to watch the second season. lol that's by far the best part of the DGM anime. It even stops before they had to move their HQs.

            So I'm not exactly sure how "bad" it's gotten since they moved their HQs. lol idk, just not interested in reading the part about the kid who can switch bodies. XD That got boring to me..

    • Now, you mentioning Cross Game made me get this in my head again:
      This is one song I would sing at a karaoke. =)

      • Zero_Destiny

        BEST OPENING EVER. Still listen to it on my Zune. The anime also had great ending themes too. :) The third is probably my fav ending.
        EDIT: Also I love the ending for the last episode
        Last Scene of the Anime (sorry I could only find it in Chinese (I think it’s Chinese): []
        @Lee but you’re right I LOVED every minute of the anime, and it’s retro-feel helped to make it even more fun. The first three volumes of the manga have been great (Viz gave us an omnibus and all future releases will be two volumes a set.) Kou and Wakaba. :( I cried like a little girl when I read it in the manga and I even knew what was going to happen because of the anime. Adachi’s just a great mangaka.

        • The whole soundtrack – nay – the whole anime is a masterpiece, at least in my opinion that is. I love(yes I said love) how they captured the whole retro feel of the manga, which in itself was a great source. Seeing Wakaba and Koh in the same shot again though… T_T

        • Oooh…. It’s in Catonese. =) Voices match up pretty well with their Japanese counterparts. Now you made me want to hunt down the series in this language. (TVB FTW!)

      • I hated how Cross Game finished…

    • Soma

      Cross Game is too good! Best series that I’m reading right now. I wish that more baseball related series’ would make their way to North America.

  • karasuKumo

    Lately from all these posts and peoples comments (I have read far too many -__-) about things not reaching the West (the Atlus, Namco stuff) it seems to me that the publishers expect us to buy it without question on the day of release if we have even the tiniest bit of interest in it. I support publishers and developers but I seriously don’t have the money for that.

    Would it be a safer bet just to learn Japanese and import the stuff, or would that be harming the western publishers?

    • tr1gun1212

      It would, by far, be the safer bet. Then you don’t have to care one bit what they do.

    • Caligula

      Not really, considering you would probably never actually get around to importing. In the time it would take you to become capable of reading Japanese fluently, you probably would’ve outgrown manga. Japanese isn’t known as the hardest language for a native English speaker to learn for nothing.

      • karasuKumo

        My mistake, I wasn’t speaking about Manga in general but about anything in Japanese that wouldn’t see western countries. I doubt I’d outgrow it but challenge accepted ^^ *stares at Japanese alphabets*

        • You can do it, man. Kanji would probably kill you, but once you remember katakana and hiragana and get some basic grammar structures, you should be able to walk on your own :3

          • karasuKumo

            Thank you ^^ I’m not too worried about Hiragana and Katakana but as you said Kanji will be the killer orz. That’ll be my focus from now on, Osu!!

        • Japanese is easier than English in my opinion, and i’m not a native English speaker, though i see English easier than Arabic which is my native language..
          the only difficult part in japanease is memorizing all the alphabetical characters, or in their cases the sound characters such as hiragana and katakana, leave the kanji alone, that is just worse ><!
          but as for making a conversation, it's much more easier..

          • karasuKumo

            Thanks for the advice, I like how Japanese is quite literal with its sounds without the need for much tongue rolling or mouth straining sounds so it’s quite close to English in that way haha. It’s just the alphabets and scentece structuring which will be hard :)

      • I must disagree with the statement that Japanese is known as the hardest language for a native English speaker to learn. Mandarin Chinese (or any Chinese dialect, really) would be far more difficult—there are not only far more characters that must be memorized for basic communication, but the spoken language is tonal—something truly foreign to English speakers.

        …I guess I’m just trying to say that native English speakers definitely shouldn’t be too intimidated by Japanese to try and learn a bit of it. Enjoying most comics and video games isn’t gonna require true fluency anyway.

        • Caligula

          I’m just repeating what the US Department of Defense claims, but Mandarin Chinese is definitely up there as one of the most difficult.

        • Chinese has been quite difficult for me, its a challenge but enjoyable, cant really think I will ever get to the level of mastering those tones…

          • If tones in Mandarin are giving you trouble, then you’re going to love Cantonese if you ever try learning it. >=]

          • I like just writing it more, (Traditional > Simplified!)

          • I’m used to hearing Canto, so naturally I wouldn’t know it’s one of the harder slangs… To me, Mandarin sounds like a slang that is spoken when you’re angry. The words have a really sharp sound to them :D

          • @Ashgail Honestly, I wouldn’t know since I grew up speaking Cantonese (and English) and learned Mandarin later on. Supposedly, if you were to learn one or the other from the ground up, Cantonese is harder.

          • I love Cantonese. I’ve been studying it for several years and I’m still a million years for being proficient but it is one of the most rewarding and versatile languages on Earth. It is truly a joy to both read and speak.

    • puchinri

      I’ve been studying Japanese for a few years now, but I rarely import, but it does help a lot when something I want just isn’t available. It doesn’t hurt that for games, manga, novels, etc., there’s generally some form of translation or something out there to help.

      I think it is safe to study the language and import some things if you have the time, money and dedication, but it still doesn’t hurt to get some things from some of the Western publishers.

      • karasuKumo

        Good point, only importing the stuff that will not come over here would make more sense, it would be a money saver haha ^^

    • RupanIII

      I tried to reply to you but I said a naughty word so it didn’t get approved I guess. I was agreeing with you. There’s something rather haughty about ‘I hate it when you don’t buy our stuff day 1, that’s why we’re -censored-‘ I’m mean jeez, not everyone has the cash for DAY1BABY unless they’re a certain poster on silliconra, let alone when they don’t know if they’ll even be able to finish the story. Pointing the finger at their fans instead of some introspection just makes them seem totally inept and is only going to insult/scare off whatever loyal fans they still have.

  • Caligula

    To be honest, I’m kind of surprised manga manages to sell here at all. Granted, I don’t read manga, so I might just not be clued in on these things. But literally all of the people I know who read it just read fan-translations.

    • puchinri

      I read scanlations myself, but if I can, I buy the manga too. But it depends on the series, and obviously, the publisher. Tokyopop has dropped series I was buying before so I don’t buy from them anymore (although I might buy a couple of series because I love them that much), but I think there’s a number of people who do buy manga. Whether to support the title, just to collect them or what, I can’t say though.

    • Joanna

      Like puchinri, I read scans and buy manga. I only buy the stuff I like and often use scans to check something out or keep up to date with the manga I like (I buy Claymore manga but I’m up to date with the scans). To some it may seem weird, but if I genuinely liked/loved the story, I want to come back to it and I love the feeling of reading a physical book. I know a few online correspondences that do the same thing, so not all people who read scans don’t buy manga.

  • Hours

    I’m sorry, but I’m not surprised by this reputation. It’s really hard to support a company that can’t even follow through on a five volume series, and especially one that stops before releasing the final volume.

    Case and point, Atelier Marie & Elie. The series was only five volumes, and they stopped after number four. It’s ridiculous. They can’t even be bothered to finish the one last volume of this series, which is incredibly short compared to so many others. And I bought every previous volume, so I was putting in my full support.

    Now I’ve promised I would not buy anymore Tokyopop magna until they released volume 5 of Atelier Marie & Elie. I hope some day they will finish what they started, but until then I will not support a company that will leave consumers hanging like that.

    • agree, i’m very disappointed with this series, i’v bought the first 2 vol, and was about to get the other 2 later ones, but when i saw there is no last vol, i just couldn’t invest my money on something that might never finish..
      i’v always said and i will keep saying it “TP have never disappointed us in disappointing us”

  • idk, TP has issues with choosing titles that either are on hiatus in Japan or choosing too many titles at once and trying to release them all.

    Edit: lol I mean, come on. I have a giant collection of manga titles and just from the hiatus list I made (, there’s 7 titles from TP of the 10 hiatus/canceled manga titles I have in my collection.. but now that I know they’ve canceled or put stuff on hiatus, I gotta go through my 200+ list and find out what titles those are. ._. Oooooh please, Red Hot Chili Samurai, don’t be canceled/on hiatus. I haven’t gotten 2 & 3 yet.

  • KuroAlmaz

    Wow, another company biting the hand that feeds them. It is not enough that Tokyopop created jaded customers by having them spend money on series; only to have them stab the customers in the back by dropping series. Now, they are insulting their intelligence. Great one. I give you a metal, but I spent too much money on the series you canceled.

    • JustaGenericUser

      I hope you wouldn’t give them a metal, they don’t deserve to hear good music.

  • Explain why you guys had issues with the licensor over Kino no Tabi then, Tokyopop. 8|

    I heard you guys dicked with the translation, putting chapters out of order. Is it my fault that I bought the first novel and then no more volumes were translated because you’re too afraid to admit you were the ones at fault? NOPE.

    So yeah, blame the fans when you’re too pussy to admit your flaws.

  • Not to be a jerk, but this is why learning Japanese is helpful (I was a Japanese major back in the day): you don’t have to wait on some middle man to finish translating to read something.

    • I dont know what utility there is for knowing Japanese, say for me, in CONUS. There would be no benefit in my field (papers are published in english), there isnt much need to speak it, and I do not think I would ever decide to import stuff from Japan like manga or anime or even games, if I knew Japanese. Isnt it more costly to import than buying in domestic CONUS?

      Actually I came across Russian and German scientific papers but they always include an english translation at the end of the document…

      • SeventhEvening

        Well, it might be a bit more expensive to import things, but there are titles that are totally worth playing that will never be translated. There are also movies and graphic novels that are totally worth experiencing that may never get translated, or may only get translated years down the road. I’m a huge fan of junji ito, so I often need to import volumes of his manga, otherwise I can’t read them. Homunculus is the same deal.

        Additionally, the cost to import varies. For games, it is usually more expensive than domestic. Same with CDs (unless its underground) or DVDs. But Manga is much cheaper, especially if you’re buying used. My entire collection of MPD psycho only cost about 1100 yen.

  • Whoomp


  • Whoomp

    Well Lilian, you and your colleagues over at Tokyopop have put yourselves in this position with your endless cycle of licensing a bunch of things which often have no preexisting fanbase on a whim and not give them any marketing only to cancel them when they (surprisingly) doesn’t sell. It can however work in the hands of the right company, just look at 7 Billion Needles from Vertical, practically no one had heard about this before they licensed it but because it was Vertical it was ensured that not only the manga itself was of some quality but the printing and translation would be too and therefore it didn’t fail. This would not have worked with Tokyopop since you have such an nasty reputation that is the polar-opposite (bad translation and print quality) from Vertical that is practically unrepairable at this point.

    And don’t think I have forgotten the other dodgy things you have been up to in the last few years: (among other thing)

  • SeventhEvening

    The problem I have is I usually read the Japanese versions. Then I want to support the English release. But by the time I discover there is an English release, it has already been cancelled. Or it is being released with a cover price that is more than twice the price of my Japanese copy (MPD Psycho). I’m someone who actively attempts to give them my money and I still can’t do it.

    I feel like the problem isn’t consumer side.

  • Joanna

    I used to go to physcial stores for manga, but it was so hard finding the volume I needed that once I switched to Amazon, I never looked back. Also, I’ve got a very different taste in manga and I find the stuff I like isn’t popular and tends to go out of print. :(

    I manged to get all the volumes of my favourite manga, Basara before it went out of print, but I wasn’t lucky enough with Please Save My Earth and now I’m trying to find a reasonably priced volume 13. :(

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos