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Stuart J. "Stu" Levy (born August 24, 1967 in Northridge, Los Angeles, California[1]) is the founder, CEO and Chief Creative Officer of the manga media company Tokyopop. Levy also produces, directs, and writes for graphic novels, film and television.


Levy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics/Business from UCLA and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center. He studied at Tokyo University and Keio University in Japan and is a California attorney.[2] Currently, Levy chairs the Producer Guild of America's International Committee and was previously a Board Member of its New Media Council.[3]


Early projects

Levy designed and produced in 1995, for which he won the New Media Invision Award for "Best Design on the Web." From 1994 to 1997, he produced and distributed CD-ROM multimedia edutainment titles in Tokyo. Receiving investment from Mitsui Ventures, NVCC and angels, Levy moved back to the U.S. to form Tokyopop (formerly Mixx Entertainment) in 1997, a business venture designed to introduce the Western world to manga entertainment of all forms.[4]


Stu Levy founded Tokyopop in 1997. The company has offices in Los Angeles, California; Tokyo, Japan; Hamburg, Germany; and London, United Kingdom, as well as distribution and licensing arrangements with over 40 countries worldwide.[5]

Tokyopop's first manga graphic novel release was Sailor Moon. Tokyopop engineered prominent book distribution via retail stores, standardized book trim size, created a basic industry-wide rating system, developed the first-ever retail manga displays and introduced the world of graphic novels to a previously untapped audience—teenage girls. In 2002, Tokyopop launched its line of 100% Authentic Manga (printed right-to-left). Tokyopop launched their Global Manga publishing program in 2003 via the introduction of its "Rising Stars of Manga" talent competition.[4]

Tokyopop helped to pioneer the Cine-Manga format, a blend of cinematic properties and manga that uses imagery from movies and television series. Levy secured licenses to publish Cine-Manga with major entertainment brands including Disney, Nickelodeon, Dreamworks, Paramount, Universal, and the NBA.[6]

In 2006, the company launched an international line of teen fiction and began syndicating manga to U.S. newspapers[7][5] and teen fashion magazine CosmoGIRL!.[8] That same year, Tokyopop entered into a publishing agreement with HarperCollins Publishing to distribute Tokyopop manga and to co-publish manga based on HarperCollins' top youth novels.[9]

Levy also expanded Tokyopop's property reach beyond publishing into television series and DVD distribution, with many of its shows broadcast in the United States on Cartoon Network, Showtime and G4techTV and released on DVD.[10][11]

In 2007, Levy formed Tokyopop Media to focus on digital, film and television adaptations of Tokyopop's licensed manga content.[12] Tokyopop Media chose William Morris to represent Tokyopop and Levy as writer, director, and producer of entertainment content.[13] Under Levy's guidance, Tokyopop Media began producing a number of animated web shows based on Tokyopop properties including I Luv Halloween, by Ben Roman and Keith Giffen; Bizenghast, by M. Alice LeGrow; Riding Shotgun, by Nate Bowden and Tracy Yardley, and A Midnight Opera, by Hans Steinbach, which were launched in conjunction with MySpace.[14]

In 2008, Tokyopop announced a major restructuring that will create two separate divisions—the Tokyopop Inc. publishing unit and Tokyopop Media, a digital and comics-to-films unit—under the Tokyopop Group’s holding company. The moves will result in the layoffs of about 79 Tokyopop staffers.


Executive producer, feature film and TV

From 2000 to 2004, Stu Levy served as Executive Producer for multiple film, television and DVD projects. His TV credits include Street Fury, which he created, GTO (English version for Showtime TV), Rave Master (English version for Cartoon Network), and Reign: The Conqueror (English version for Showtime TV.) His DVD credits include the English versions of: Initial D, Marmalade Boy, Saint Tail, Samurai Girl: Real Bout High School, Vampire Princess, Brigadoon, Spring & Chaos, FMW, High School Ghostbusters, and Anime: Concept to Reality.[11]

Levy is an Executive Producer on the forthcoming feature film Priest, based on the Tokyopop manga series and which will be produced by Screen Gems, a Sony Pictures company.

Producer, feature film

In 2007, Levy began to serve as Producer on a number of live-action and animated film and television adaptations of Tokyopop manga, including Battle Vixens, by Yugi Shiozaki; Gyakushu, by Dan Hipp; Love Like Blood (based on Lament of the Lamb by Kei Toume)[15]; Mail Order Ninja by Josh Elder; My Dead Girlfriend, by Eric Wight; Poison Candy, by David Hine and Hans Steinbach; Princess Ai, by D.J. Milky, Misaho Kujiradou and Courtney Love; Riding Shotgun, by Nate Bowden and Tracy Yardley and Van Von Hunter, by Mike Schwark and Ron Kaulfersch.

Writer and director, feature film

Levy is currently prepping as co-writer (with Greg Lemkin) and co-director (with Takahiko Akiyama) for Love Like Blood—a live-action adaptation of the Tokyopop manga series Lament of the Lamb.[15] Levy directed the anime music video Broken Leash for Princess Ai and is working on an upcoming animated feature film for the series. Also, he is co-writing and co-directing (with Steven Calcote) the upcoming mockumentary about Van Von Hunter, the evil-vanquisher from Mike Schwark and Ron Kaulfersch's manga series by the same name.[16]


Under the pen-name D.J. Milky, Levy has written both manga graphic novels and children's books. [12] His writings include: Princess Ai, Juror 13, Karma Club, Kung Fu Klutz & Karate Cool, the novel adaptation of Sailor Moon, Stray Sheep and CD-ROM Best Selection '96. Current projects include Fright Elevator, Street Fury, Treasure Chess, and the upcoming sequel to Princess Ai, Prism of the Midnight Dawn.

Music composer

Levy composed lyrics and songs for Tokyopop projects, including the theme songs for Initial D, Reign the Conqueror, Rave Master, GTO, and the soundtrack for Tokyopop's Princess Ai franchise.[17]

Producer, broadband and mobile programming

Levy has produced a number of Web- and Mobile-based shows, distributed through MySpace, YouTube and Verizon's VCast. Web shows include I Luv Halloween, Riding Shotgun, A Midnight Opera, and Bizenghast. Two new shows—Gyakushu and Sokora Refugees—will launch in Spring 2008. A series of Princess Ai-based music videos will launch later in 2008.[18]

Producer, Internet

In 1995, Levy launched Japan Online for which he won the New Media Invision Award for "Best Design on the Web."[4] In 2007, Levy produced and launched a comprehensive social networking and UGC manga lifestyle website at[19]


Levy has volunteered his time to the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), a group that helps immigrant women who were taken advantage of by their husbands and did not know their own rights. [4] He also supports the Make-a-Wish Foundation, a charity dedicated to granting the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.[20]

Additionally, Levy regularly donates Tokyopop manga to libraries across the U.S. [21] as well as to The Kids' Wish Network, a non-profit foundation that deploys toys and books to hospital emergency rooms across the nation.


Writing as D.J. Milky (pen name)


  1. Amter, Charlie (January 17, 2008). "LA-Tokyo Express". Los Angeles Times. p. 7. 
  2. Jarvis, Michael (October 26, 2003). "The Godzilla-Sized Appeal of Japan's Pop Culture". Los Angeles Times Magazine. p. 9. 
  3. "SPADA Conference 2007". Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 McLean, Tom (October 26, 2007). "Profile, Stu Levy". Variety. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Kageyama, Yuri (November 25, 2005). "US Papers Adding Japanese-Style Comic Books". Associated Press. 
  6. "Tokyopop Does Nickelodeon". June 3, 2003. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  7. Masters, Coco (September 2006). "America is Drawn to Manga". Time. pp. A5.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. Memmot, Carol (July 6, 2005). "Japanese Manga Takes Humongous Step". USA Today. pp. Life 1. 
  9. "Tokyopop Signs Alliance with HarperCollins". March 28, 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  10. "New Music Unlimited". Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Stuart J. Levy". Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 McLean, Tom (October 26, 2007). "Comic Pics Go Pop". Variety. 
  13. Kit, Borys (August 3, 2007). "Tokyopop Signs with William Morris". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  14. "Tokyopop Markets OEL Titles on My Space". July 17, 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Ryall, Julian (October 15, 2006). "Lamb Leads Tokyopop into Live Action Arena". The Hollywood Reporter. p. 49. 
  16. George, Richard (December 8, 2007). "Tokyopop CEO Chased Out of Panel by Audience". Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  17. "Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo: Speaker - Stuart Levy, Tokyo Pop". February 2, 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  18. "Verizon Wireless Offers VCAST Customers Manga and More from Tokyopop". January 8, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  19. "New Tokyopop Website Offers Exclusive Manga". Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  20. "Tokyopop Manga Grants Girl's Wish". July 19, 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  21. "LA Libraries & Tokyopop Team Up". June 22, 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 

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