Mixx Entertainment is now known as Tokyopop. Founded in 1997, it got off to a bad start among manga fans after initial praise. The first issue of Mixxzine, its flagship manga anthology was greeted with mild praise due to the use of the cheap paper used in Japanese phone book manga anthologies. The first thing that was questionable was the use of dub names for the Sailor Moon chracters.
The company line was that Kodansha, the original publisher of the SM manga, has requested the use of the names that Dic, the company that dubbed SM, had used in its broadcast of the popular TV series. However, some fans said this claim was a lie, and a marketing decision made cynically to appeal to the new comers who had only seen the dub. I am not sure which version of events is true. Many fans also complained about the 'hip hop' style of Mixxzine full of misspellings and 'kewl' wordings. As a weird marketing decision to pander towards the more mainstream fan, Mixx called manga "Motionless Picture Entertainment' a catchy slogan that gained much ire.
The whole mainstream Vs manga fan contention came to a head with the resignation of Ron Scovil, former editor in chief of Mixxzine, after the removal of Sailor Moon from Mixxzine. It was announced that Sailor Moon would be continued in comic form, and a progressed story line in the now defunct SMILE magazine, which tried to be a teen magazine. Fans could either switch their subscriptions to SMILE or pay for both Mixx and SMILE, but there was no option to subscribe to the single comics. Angry at what he perceived as 'screwing the fans' by Stuart Levy, who is still in the CEO in 2002, Scovil left in anger, suggesting fans boycott the company's web board, which grew so acrimonious that it had to be shut down.
The affair of the terrible dub of Kenji's spring an art film by a famous director and Naoko Takeuchi's appearance at the San Diego Comicon in 1998, which was by all accounts, a poorly advertised disaster ' seemed to seal Mixx's fate. The rumor that went around was that the dub was dubbed by staff members. Whoever dubbed it, it was booed greatly because of the poor voice acting. At the Comicon, it is said that Naoko was treated badly by the staff and that Stu Levy's translation of her words during the Q&A session was atrocious (a note to the conscientious readers: In 1998, I was just leaving middle school, and so was unable to go to the con)
By 2000, they had changed their name to Tokyopop, and everyone assumed they were dead in the water. The magazine and the online store had closed shop. Sure, they continued to sell their cash cow, SM, but certainly they were a bankruptcy waiting to happen. However, they managed to revitalize themselves by releasing the Chix Comix (note the controversial name) such as Sailor Moon, Card Captor Sakura and Saint Tail. Graphic novels (branded "Pocket Mixx") were also selling.
Some rebranding was in order. The 100% Authentic Manga (launched in April 2002) line seems to be endemic in stores such as Borders. The manga is released unflipped and there are a variety of titles including Marmalade Boy, GTO, Real Bout High School and Love Hina. There are still some problems -such as the matter of Kodocha's name. Why Kodocha? It's Kodomo no Omocha. Also, the books are small sized (about the size of a Japanese tankouboun 0.65 x 7.46 x 5.12 (all in inches) ) and some say, flimsier than Viz's GNs. The translations are better than in the old days, which were full of translation errors, though, the names in Miracle Girls are still screwed up. It's been a mixed bag for this company, but I hope they survive, so I can keep getting GTO.