Is Tokyopop Rising from the Dead?

Over on the Tokyopop Facebook page, where disappointed fans are still getting the news that the manga publisher shut down its U.S. operations last May, Alexa TheSpider Norman asked yesterday,

Do you have any magic manga power left to resurrect yourselves? :C

That sort of question gets asked a lot, but yesterday, Tokyopop responded:

@Alexa Yes we do!

What's going on? Only Tokyopop CEO Stu Levy knows for sure, but over the past few days the publisher has been dangling some tantalizing hints that have fans puzzled and skeptical—and even wondering if Tokyopop's Twitter and Facebook accounts have been hacked.

On Tuesday, GeekChicDaily announced that Tokyopop would be coming back, not as a manga publisher but as an Asian culture newsletter. In a message on the website, Tokyopop CEO Stu Levy reminded readers that Tokyopop got its start as a magazine (then known as Mixxzine) that serialized Sailor Moon and Parasyte, among others, before the company went into the book business.

This got fans all riled up, so Tokyopop (no staffer is ever identified) posted on their Facebook:

Loyal Fans, we're very thrilled by your excitement but need to clarify: unfortunately we are not re-launching the manga - those properties have reverted to their owners and are amazingly difficult to get back. We’re launching an all new editorial TOKYOPOP newsletter about all things otaku and Asian pop-culture, powered by our friends at GeekChicDaily. We think you’ll really enjoy the news we’ll be bringing and apologize for the initial misunderstanding.

Got that? It's a newsletter. Not manga.

On Wednesday, everything changed. Someone posting on the @Tokyopopmanga Twitter account Tweeted "We're starting a newsletter and we're laying the groundwork for publishing new manga again."

Tokyopop's official Twitter is @Tokyopop, and for an hour on Wednesday, the @Tokyopop Tweeter answered questions about the newsletter and the @Tokyopopmanga Tweeter took questions about the manga plans. Some readers, including Deb Aoki, questioned whether the @Tokyopopmanga Twitter was real, but a post on their Facebook confirmed it:

We just wanted to let you all know that our new @TOKYOPOPmanga twitter account is official! Please feel free to tweet them with any manga questions. They are a part of the TOKYOPOP family. Thanks!

The @Tokyopop Twitter also acknowledged the new Tweeter.

According to the @Tokyopopmanga Twitter, the company is looking into publishing manga again, in both print and digital form. They want to publish new manga and will work to regain some of their old licenses, and they plan to start with an old license. A global (non-Japanese) manga may also be in the works. Levy is still running the show, and the anonymous Tweeter repeatedly deferred questions, saying he or she would have to ask Stu before revealing more information.

After this hour-long flurry of Tweets, the @Tokyopopmanga Twitter went quiet again.

Last month, Levy posted on the Tokyopop Facebook to ask if people would like a new volume of Hetalia; reaction was mixed, as some readers welcomed the return of the series and others feared they would get invested in the series and then Tokyopop would cancel it again.

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