In May 2011, Tokyopop shuttered its North American publishing operations, leaving dozens of manga in licensing purgatory. Among the most popular of these unfinished series was Hetalia: Axis Powers. The series’ premise is simple: all the countries of Western Europe are reimagined as cute teenage boys, each of whom behaves according to national stereotypes (e.g. the Italian character prefers eating pasta to taking action, the British character is horrified by his uncouth American cousin). As the series continued, more countries were added to the cast, giving the comedy a more international flavor.
Tokyopop published two volumes of Hetalia, the first in 2010, and the second in 2011. Both quickly went out of print, commanding high prices on eBay and Amazon. After several months of hinting that Tokyopop might reprint these books, CEO Stu Levy announced yesterday that Tokyopop had partnered with online retailer Right Stuf and Japanese publisher Gentosha Comics to bring Hetalia back into print.
Volumes one and two are available now as print-on-demand books, and retail for $15.99 each. Volume three will be available for purchase in June 2012, and will also be priced at $15.99. (All books are available through Right Stuf’s website.) As an added incentive for fans to pre-order volume three, the first edition will include eight full-color pages. Once the first editon has sold out, volume three will be available in a black-and-white, print-on-demand edition.