Look out New York City otaku, the Tokyopop Tour will be at the Bayside Queens Public Library beginning Monday August 2. The Tokyopop Tour is a combination grand marketing outreach event and the basis for seeking and filming local otaku—or manga/anime super fans—around the country for America’s Greatest Otaku, a new reality show produced by Tokyopop.
Tokyopop founder and CEO Stu Levy has outfitted a big tour bus and selected “The Otaku Six,” six college kids picked in a competition to ride along with him and a video crew in the bus to cities all around the country. The plan is to seek out the local otaku, or fans of manga, anime and Japanese pop culture, as well as to spread the good word about the otaku lifestyle in general and the Tokyopop publishing program in particular. PW Comics Week wrote about the plans for the Tokyopop Tour back in May.
The Tokyopop bus will travel more than 15,000 miles between July and the end of August, visiting 25 cities and giving out all kinds of Tokyopop swag and cool otaku stuff. The visit to the Bayside Queens Public Library will feature Topkyopop creators M. Alice Legrow, the artist and writer of the popular Bizenghast series (seven volumes and more than 125,000 copies sold) as well as Levy, who wrote Tokyopop’s Princess Ai series, and Japanese J-pop singer Reni Mimura. The tour will also promote the release of Hetalia, a new comic manga series in which the human characters represent the relationships between the Allies and Axis Powers during World War II.
Tokyopop associate publisher Marco Pavia says that so far the tour has visited Salt Lake, Dallas, Amarillo, Nashville and the big colorful bus also set up very close to the convention center during the recent San Diego Comic-Con. Pavia says the tour is, “getting a great reception on the road, with huge crowds turning out.” And he is particularly excited by the visit to the Queens Public Library. “Since I’m from Queens,” Pavia said, “I’m a little partial to this upcoming event.”